September 22, 2007

HOWTO Bleach-stencil a shirt

Filed under: links, marketing, social media — Simone @ 11:45 am

Damn, if I were a marketer of bleaches I would link to stuff like this.


Or maybe not. Maybe, just maybe, I couldn’t overcome the fear of Web 2.0 or the simple fact that “the bigger the company gets, the more energy anybody trying to get anything interesting done will have to spend“.

Note to self: If there’s anything you learnt these years of working, is that trying is not enough. So pls stop looking for excuses and start pushing your company (I mean the building et all, if needed) where it is supposed to go. You either gonna be an hero or lose your job. If you put it in perspective, it may be worth running the risk.

Original link via BoingBoing.

[Bonus: I’m listening to the latest album by Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Lifeline. It rocks. Highly recommended.]


July 16, 2007

Talkquote: better honest than polite

Filed under: marketing, PR, quotes, talkmarks — Simone @ 4:35 pm

I’d rather be honest than polite.
jonathan Schwartz, CEO, Sun Microsystems

I’ve already praised the great job Sun is doing to be part of the conversation.
In this post Jonathan explains why too much focus on legal stuff is just that: too much.
I know this is true for my background is legal and there’s a reason if I turned my (professional) life around completely to become a marketer. He also makes a point on how important transparency has become in this world and how how far behind most companies (and departments) are on understanding it.

This decade states the end of the glorious marketing bullshit. Pls take note.

June 28, 2007

The road to a subservient company

Filed under: marketing, talkmarks — Simone @ 6:28 am

Ok, today you can easily have a transparent discussion with your users (if you like to), but can your company really DO what your users say?

Mentos is again leading the pack of “conversational” companies in the FMG market. After the immensely popular Diet Coke + Mentos campaign (2,3 million views just on YouTube as I’m writing), where they made a great job of taking a potential PR risk and turning it into a huge brand relaunch, they decided to go a step further.

Meet Jason, a live Mentos HQ intern (or at least he introduces him as one) that  will do work that you schedule for him. This is subservient chicken squared! 🙂

Mentos Intern
Now of course this is an adv campaign, but what about you? Can your company be a subservient company?

Txs WOW Report for the link!

June 10, 2007

Zooomr 2 weeks downtime or how good conversation can change the world

Filed under: marketing, PR, talkmarks — Simone @ 10:16 am

Scoble posted what’s maybe his best post since I started reading his blog.

He starts off by linking to a Mashable review of Zooomr vs Flickr to tell a story about Zooomr, a photo sharing site from Kristopher Tate and Thomas Hawk (that’s really just the two of them), competing with the likes of Yahoo (Flickr) and Fox (MySpace).

I can’t tell the story better than Scoble, but I’d like to point out to a couple of things that resounded in my head. Now Zooomr experienced 2 weeks downtime. Needless to say, that’s a MAJOR problem if you host a photo sharing site.

To use Robert’s words:

After all, any other Web 2.0 business that had been down for two weeks would just have been written off. One reason we still care is because Zooomr did pretty well over their two-weeks of hell (they were down for two weeks) by staying visible thanks to live video streaming on

So, what happened? They basically kept on the conversation. Even in their worst possible scenario, they were transparent and open to discussion. Strangely, people cared.

Why? Because they were part of a compelling story. They weren’t actually experiencing a site downtime. Not at all. By simply being explained what was happening, people became part of the story. They became brave guys helping a 19-years-old kid keeping up his unlikely company against hordes of Goliaths. That’s a can’t miss story if simply you are part of it. I can see Yahoo employees cheering for Kris to succeed. Brilliant.

For the record, now the site is up again (on Zoho servers) and I’d like to know what happened to their registered users count. I’m much more likely to join Zooomr now than I was before the downtime. Of course, having the site up is not the point anymore. Not now that users benefit became heroism.

June 8, 2007

The blogosphere gets mad at UK Olympic Logo

Filed under: marketing, talkmarks — Simone @ 10:01 pm

UK Olympic LogoThat… thing (I really don’t know how to define it) you see on the right side of this post is the new logo for the London Olympics 2012. A big discussion surfaced after it was unveiled (thanks to it £ 400K price tag it even made it to the Digg Homepage) following this declarations from Seb Coe, chairman of London 2012 organising committee:

“This is the vision at the very heart of our brand”

“It will define the venues we build and the Games we hold and act as a reminder of our promise to use the Olympic spirit to inspire everyone and reach out to young people around the world”

“It is an invitation to take part and be involved”

Seth takes the opportunity write a cool post on logos, where he basically sais that “great logo doesn’t mean anything until the brand makes it worth something” (ok I’m over-simplifying, go read it).

Now I don’t want to be part of the detractors of the design (I’ve actually found some lovers as well!), but my point is: isn’t it the same thing for the brand?
I mean, isn’t the brand a collection of logos, users (and non users) perceptions, images, experiences, words etc?

Wikipedia definition of brand is:

a name, logo, slogan, and/or design scheme associated with a product or service. Brand recognition and other reactions are created by the use of the product or service and through the influence of advertising, design, and media commentary. A brand is a symbolic embodiment of all the information connected to the product and serves to create associations and expectations around it.

Now is an Amazon recommendation part of the brand? Is your friend telling you that an indian restaurant is fantastic part of the brand? Is a link from another blog part of the brand equity of a blog page? According to the definition above (and to my opinion, for that matters), it is. For all of that “is a symbolic embodiment of all the information connected to the product and serves to create associations and expectations around it

But what does it mean to say that your friend is part of an indian restaurant’s brand? He’s not on the fancy logo, the people running the restaurant most likely wouldn’t ever recognize him, you can’t even be sure that he’s ever been there. In my opinion he IS the brand because he’s the only one who had a conversation with you on that particular restaurant. Of course you may have a conversation with the restaurant itself if you had been eating there (via the food, the waitress, the furniture etc) or even just passed by (via the logo or the whereabouts).

Of course, conversating directly with the restaurant makes some sense (after all a direct chat is sometimes the best way to get things right), still bad marketing messed things up a little bit. As Seth himself writes in his book All Marketers Are LiarsThere’s a huge cohort of consumers that shares the worldview that marketers are lying scum“.

That’s one of the reasons I see the communication moving away from the directly involved people and getting into open conversation: believability is an issue today as it has never been in the past. Oddly, an unknown blogger may be more believable than a self-appointed “brand-speaker” (agency, PR, marketing department). Why? Because a blogger (generally) doesn’t hide himself. He reveals his name and speaks for himself. You wouldn’t trust somebody speaking while hiding in the shadows as well. That’s the reason why I like what Sun is doing (and even Microsoft is not that far behind), because they talk with users by putting their name and face into the discussion, whether they are being praised or blamed. In a world of liars, that’s all I can ask.

June 5, 2007

10 Questions with Threadless [Guy Kawasaki Blog]

Filed under: marketing, talkmarks — Simone @ 9:15 pm

Threadless logoMy favorite marketing author Guy Kawasaki has an interesting post on Threadless.

As Guy points out:

If you had told me that a company could succeed by running weekly tshirt design contests and then selling the winning designs, I would have told you that you’re nuts.

Threadless not only embraced the conversation, they actually made it their primary (only?) asset. So no more wasting time here, go on and read it!

Threadless homepage

June 3, 2007

Days of understading + links

Filed under: links, marketing, PR — Simone @ 4:33 pm

You might have noticed I’m not posting that much these days. The reason is not that I’m busy (even though I AM VERY busy). The reason is, I decided to ponder all over again all that I’m saying here. Am I so sure that what’s going on is a real revolution? How do I know? Is it all going to be just incremental stuff in our – already stuffed – life? After all I might as well be wrong on all I think. Well for now here’s some more stuff to feed your informational overflow 🙂

Google Gears is bridging online and offline
This is, I think, a huge step toward having your own life networked (don’t know if it’s good or bad)

SEO found dead in Building 43
I Agree with Seth that getting to the first result position in Google is now more important than ever before. I also agree that Google knows this and is going to make almost impossible to game the system. One thing I don’t know: How much money is it worth being first? Anybody has some numbers please?

The Art of Schmoozing
Guy Kawasaki has a must-read post on how to PR yourself

Hugh on Bill & Steve Show
If you live on planet earth you know they met. Though I expected something more, Hugh Mcleod has a nice post on this.

The Difference Between Marketing, PR, Advertising, and Branding  (via micropersuasion)

May 27, 2007

Kudos to folks @ Sun: they reinvented the product page

Filed under: advertising, marketing, talkmarks — Simone @ 10:14 pm

Chris at the Social Customer Manifesto has a brilliant post on how Sun has made the infamous “product pages” that any company website has a little less stupid.

Ever since I read Naked Conversations I started looking real close to Sun as one of the few companies that are fully engaged in the conversation (Jonathan Schwartz, Sun’s CEO, is an active blogger himself as well as thousands of his employees), but this fell under my radar.

Basically they link on the product page to a variety of post, coming either from the internal blogging system but also from external sources.

With Chris’ words:

The kneejerk reaction is “why on EARTH” would Sun link from its site to a customer site that contains paragraphs like:

“I want X4100’s, NOT M2 BULLSHIT. I want lots of them and I want them quickly. I want a SunSolve worth paying for. I want a that has been updated and more easily navigated than what we had 5 years ago. And most of all, I don’t want to keep hearing that Dell doesn’t have these problems!!!”

Why would Sun link there? Because that’s where the conversation is happening, and it’s where the “live web” part of the customer experience is being documented, in real time, by a passionate customer.

I totally agree. There’s no place to hide anymore. You have no other choice than embrace the conversation and ride it.

Uh, and just in case you’re wondering, the disgruntled customer above end up praising Sun for helping him solving his problem. There’s no ad agency in the world that can provide a commercial better than that.

Dr Martens Punk Ads lead to Satchi & Satchi firing

Filed under: advertising, marketing, talkmarks — Simone @ 10:49 am

Some days ago, an ad campaign featuring some dead punk-rockers (though I personally don’t consider Nirvana to be punk) wearing Dr. Martens boots leaked on the internet.

This got the attention of the blogosphere as well as of traditional media (lovely Courtney obviously had something to say), and lit up a conversation that culminated with Dr. Martens finally firing Saatchi & Saatchi (their ad agency).

The Daily Swarm has a full coverage of the facts.

This is, I think, a huge mistake for Dr. Martens.

I don’t want to discuss the creative idea (that I like) here, but let’s face it: how long since you heard something – anything – about Dr. Martens boots?
They still have a lot of awareness, but they’re definitely not today’s trend like Crocs, for example.
They had a chance to shake a fading brand, but chosed to close the discussion instead of riding it.

So what would I have done instead, you ask?
Well, I would have first blamed the agency for the leakage just to make lawyers happy. Then, I would fire up the discussion, saying that those ads (that – again – won’t ever be published by Dr. Martens) are nice and shouldn’t offend anybody. After all, those guys were really using those boots. This would of course boost even more conversation around this, focusing on something that is actually good for the brand (its link to the punk -rock generation).
Next steps would obviously depend on how the conversation would develop (I think you can’t control the conversation around your brand, you can just listen and take actions), but I can’t foresee anything bad coming out of it for Dr. Martens.

May 23, 2007

Links for 24.05.2007

Filed under: advertising, links, marketing, media — Simone @ 10:19 pm

Technorati relaunches
mmm… it smells like a teen seach engine.

Mentos Geysers: world record attempt
The Google CPG (consumer packaged goods) blog has a post on the attempt to achieve a world record for most Mentos and Soda Fountains. I think the way Mentos approached a possible PR threat and rode it as possibly the biggest online media success story ever is just revealing. They did nothing special after all: they simply didn’t hide, spoke openly to their users and to the general public, embraced the discussion they didn’t start and came away with great goodwill and a world online campaign for little to no cost. Was that luck? Maybe so. Would your company exploit its luck like that?

When Trains Fly (from Advertising Age)
Nice one from AdAge. Do you know which market are you competing for? I feel like current revenue streams may be a big obstacle finding that out (or a big incentive to lying to yourself).

Deprivation Day 2: No Problem
Another one from AdAge. Diary of a TV less life and tips on how TV can be substituted with various online services, YouTube in primis. I live a TV-less life since a couple of years (I KNEW I HAD TO MAKE A BLOG OUT OF THAT! I KNEW THAT! Damn…) and I’m pretty happy. I read a lot more, I keep more and more blogs active (er… sort of…) and, well, not much else that I can think of. Uh, and another thing: I’m making my folks marketers’ job a lot tougher 🙂
Oh, and I agree that wisdom of crowds is selecting (and – indirectly – generating) much better content than any editor in chief, I guess that most people sticks to online media because of that.

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