Friday, October 23, 2009

Coca-Cola 'Expedition 206'

In 2010, Coca-Cola is sending a team of Happiness Ambassadors around the world to visit 206 countries in 365 days.

Their mission: Find out what makes people happy.

According to Coca-Cola:

In January 2010, a team of three travelers will begin an unprecedented journey. A mission. An expedition. A quest to visit in 365 days 206 countries where Coca-Cola is sold. These three travelers are more than mere explorers–they are Happiness Ambassadors, and they will seek and share the optimism and happiness of Coca-Cola from Aruba to Zimbabwe and everywhere in between. They will participate in some amazing events including the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the World Expo in Shanghai.

Throughout the year-long journey, these Happiness Ambassadors will be sharing their blog posts, tweets, videos, interviews and pictures so you can follow their adventures in every country along the way.

But first we need your help. We need you to help us select the lucky travelers who will undertake this exciting and record-breaking journey. Which Ambassador team will uncover happiness in every corner of the world? It’s up to you. Check out the team profiles, vote for your favorite and let the journey begin.

The campaign is called 'Expedition 206' and will run throughout 2010.

There is an online voting being done to choose which teams should be preferred to undertake the journey, from a shortlist of nine finalists. The winners will begin their journey on 1 January in Madrid and end it in Atlanta on 31 December, at the World of Coca-Cola museum.

Mash-up Social Media Strategy – USP

It will be documented via the official Expedition 206 website as well as on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Flickr.

The public can engage with the campaign by acting as virtual tour guides, making suggestions as to where the ambassadors should go and what they should do when they are there.

"This mash-up of social media — online photo galleries, video clips, blogs, microblogs, social networking — combined with an amazing journey, enthusiastic travellers and a theme of happiness is a great way for us to connect with people around the world.” – Adam Brown, director of digital communications and social media at Coca-Cola

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

America's Best Young Entrepreneurs 2009 - BusinessWeek

BusinessWeek readers nominated a record number of young entrepreneurs.

Here is the list
1. Ascension Aircraft
What It Does: Aircraft sales and leasing
Founder: Jamail Larkins, 25
Web Site:
Based: Augusta, Ga.

What It Does: Online collaboration tool
Founders: Aaron Levie, 24, and Dylan Smith, 24
Web Site:
Based: Palo Alto, Calif.

3. Click To Client
What It Does: Online marketing agency
Founder: Shama Kabani, 24
Web Site:
Based: Dallas

4. Emergent
What It Does: Renewable energy consulting
Founders: Jesse Gossett, 23 (left); Jayson Uppal, 23 (center); and Chris Jacobs, 21 (right)
Web Site:
Based: Boston

5. I Bec Creative
What It Does: Web development and graphic design
Founder: Becky Stockbridge, 25
Web Site:
Based: Portland, Me.

6. Intern Queen
What It Does: Internship placement consultancy
Founder: Lauren Berger, 25
Web Site:
Based: Los Angeles

7. ModCloth
What It Does: Online marketplace for indie designer fashion and decor
Founders: Eric Koger, 25, and Susan Koger, 24
Web Site:
Based: Pittsburgh

8. NoteHall
What It Does: Online marketplace for class notes
Founders: Sean Conway, 25 (right); Justin Miller, 21(far right); B.J. Stephan, 24 (left); Fadi Chalfoon, 23 (second from left)
Web Site:
Based: Tucson, Ariz.

9. Trunk Club
What It Does: Online clothes shopping service for men
Founder: Joanna Van Vleck, 26
Web Site:
Based: Bend, Ore.

10. Tumblr
What It Does: Microblogging platform
Founder: David Karp, 23
Web Site:
Based: New York

See the full slide show of 25 U.S. Entrepreneurs Ages 25 and Under

Yahoo's "It's Y!ou" Campaign didnt click - YouGov

There's evidence that Yahoo's $100 million "It's Y!ou" ad campaign might actually be hurting the company's brand. A company called YouGov interviews 5,000 people a day and asks them about brands. For Yahoo, they asked "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, was it positive or negative?"

YouGov then gives the company a score between -100 and 100, compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive.

Here's the bad news for Yahoo (YHOO). Since the launch of "It's Y!ou" campaign on September 28th, Yahoo's buzz score dropped from a 35.4 to a score of 25.5 as of yesterday, Monday, October 12th.

Source: Business Insider, Silicon Alley Insider

Friday, October 9, 2009

Evolution of Social Media: The next phase

A powerful tool to understand customers and increase ROI. Next phase of Social Media will not monitor but merge business intelligence to analyze & take effective measures

Over the past few years social media has emerged as a powerful platform not only for connecting likeminded people online but also to understand specific preferences of different niche groups. There are a number of such examples. Not just the big brands but even the small and medium sized businesses are making their presence felt through this platform and are also introducing innovative marketing campaigns to leverage this highly lucrative platform. Few companies have been able to garner impressive ROI, one such example is of Dell, the company made more than 3 million USD using Twitter as a medium to reach out to its existing and potential customers. There are many other examples.

It seems that the life cycle evolution of social media is waiting for the next giant leap. One can classify the evolution of social media so far into three phases;

• First Phase: began with one or two sites and then graduated to networking sites like Facebook, Orkut, Twitter, Wikis, Blogs, Video and Picture sharing.

• Second Phase: Techies coined the term Web 2.0 to make their presence felt and interesting applications were introduced.

• Third Phase: The current phase, where digital marketing evolved from the web marketing era and became synonymous with an integrated digital marketing concept that imbibed web 2.0 and mobile marketing. Companies realized the potential and power of this combined Digital Marketing Concept and came up with innovative marketing campaigns. Thanks to the creative and digital agencies for these path-breaking concepts.

One common trait in all the innovative marketing campaigns is that despite huge engagements & participation by the target audiences that resulted in sales, companies used social media platforms to reach out to their customers and engage them with interesting tools instigating them to buy. Dell is a unique example where they approached the customers with the core objective of listening to their opinion and getting their feedback. An interesting fact is that the company used this information to align its marketing and sales approach to digital platforms.

It is clear that just Listening to the social media consumer is no longer enough. It is time for companies to think out of the box and not just use social media platforms to make their presence felt. They should get involved in different ways, such as product/services conceptualization and development, positioning, communication, offers/discounts etc. Basically, use social media to understand what people are talking about, understand their viewpoint and preferences, gather insights, identify their problems and opportunities, and reach out to them with much more efficient marketing strategy. Brands also need to be more flexible in how they approach social media, avoiding “One size fits all” approach to marketing.

Another important aspect is to merge the marketing concept with localized touch i.e. one should not forget that the basic definition of social media is community based networking. Although the platform is globally available; it is advisable to transform the global campaign with a localized digital marketing strategy e.g. in Asia and Europe, where every country has different and unique culture, socio-economic divides.

From a technology perspective, to complement this approach, Google has taken a path-breaking approach once again with SideWikis.

What’s in the Future?
The fourth phase: which is yet to begin can take forward the concept of SideWikis leading to the emergence of technologies based on human intelligence and will track and analyze all the opinions voiced by users on social media platforms. These tools will not only track comments but also act like a typical sales or BD executive who categorizes similar opinions and approach them with a right proposition.

Popular social media platforms like blogs, facebook, twitter, discussion boards etc. can be integrated with technologies that can carry out the following processes:
• Track user comments and opinions
• Understand requirements and talk like human minds
• Categorize the opinions and comments
• Create graphs and charts using business intelligence
• Provide a user interface for the BD and Sales executives to access list of potential targets with their exact requirements and approach them with the right sales or brand awareness or image enhancement proposition

One major example in this context is Crimson Hexagon's VoxTrot listening platform. Crimson Hexagon's VoxTrot listening platform provides companies with actionable insight into consumer opinion of their brand, product, or market. VoxTrot technology can identify opinion from large quantities of text, whether it's an in-house content repository or the vast blogosphere. Crimson Hexagon's VoxTrot Opinion Monitor has its roots in a statistical algorithm created by Gary King, a professor at Harvard University. Proven in research and commercial settings, the technology is patent-pending and already in use with global brands.

This technology analyzes the vast social internet (blog posts, forum messages, Tweets, etc.) by identifying statistical patterns in the words used to express opinions on different topics. It uses these patterns to calculate the percentage of opinion for reach opinion category, as defined by you, the business user. Competitive technologies, by contrast, simply count the number of mentions of different keywords or infer generic positive/negative sentiment. You can read about the technology in detail at following links:
- How a listening platform provides actionable insight
- Measuring brand equity in the age of big data

I would love to hear from you on this article, be it in response to what I have outlined here or your own thoughts on the subject. In case you have an opinion or viewpoint, let’s connect and discuss innovative options for the transformation of Social Media & Web 2.0 to the next level.