A Moral to the Story on Timeline

March 2, 2012

There has been a story circulating around in Facebook. An old story (on Internet time scale), but a good story. Seeing it on so many Timelines, it made me think of it in a new way – and thus made me write this post.

The story is about a particular Joshua Bell, a former child prodigy now a world-famous violinist, and how he plays the violin incognito at a metro station in Washington D.C. See the video below for the show.

So, Joshua played for 45 minutes and only 6 people stopped to listen to him. A man who plays a 3.5M dollar violin and usually to a crowd who pays 100 dollars per ticket only earned 32 bucks during that morning. The moral (in the story that is passed along on Facebook) is: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

And I do agree with this. Very much to be honest. Well, at least at first.

After having thought about it, I saw this from another angle. One, that suggests the moral of the story would rather be: we all are subject to our subconscious. Our experiences are made up of not only what we feel but also what we believe. If I hear a violinist on a subway I think its just some background noise to me reading the newspaper and it wont much move me, but if I hear that same violinist at a 18th century theater for a price that makes me know it’s a night to remember, it will most likely move me – a lot.

It’s not only about the content, but also about the context. Image matters.

[Read the full story on The Washington Post]

The State of Facebook Marketing in Finland 2012

February 13, 2012

Social media is like teen sex. Everybody wants to do it. Nobody knows how.

This wonderful and a bit vulgar thought also resonates with Facebook marketing. Every marketer wants to do something there since the 850 M users are just a click a way – not to mention that the competitor is already there! But how many of these marketers actually know what’s it like as a marketing medium? What to do there? How and when? And what to expect in return for the effort?

We [us at H+K] wanted to fill this cognitive void and so we made a wide research on the state of FB marketing in Finland in cooperation with the social network analysis agency Verkostoanatomia. And I must say (with all my modesty), the research turned out something that hasn’t been seen in Finland to date. Some of the findings are truly fascinating, but I’m even more excited because of the methodology and the sample size. Now one can truly say their plans and actions are based on rock solid facts.

The research was done datamining over 1000 top pages in Finland and surveying 90 of their admins. We used a (currently free) cloud-based datamining service called Sometrik which gave us a chance to monitor those pages almost as if we were using Facebook Insights. It wasn’t an easy job – but it was pretty damn neat!

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The State Of Digital Communications – Our View

December 14, 2011

Before we head towards the time of predictions for 2012 on social media / digital marketing frontier, it’s good to have a thorough look on where we are right now. Here’s something that I came up with my digital colleagues at Hill+Knowlton, trying to paint the picture from a broader, sky-high perspective. We didn’t just want to talk (once again) about how digital has changed communications, but instead try to understand how digital communications (now taken for granted) itself has changed.

The six main themes/points/findings are of course a bit more clear when presented, so for those of you who missed N2 Social Media Hub on 10th November, please ask for more details.

It’ll be nice to see how many of these will be featured in 2012 predictions and trends.

A Marketing Mastery Poster Child

September 5, 2011

Here’s a marketing campaign I really like. Many marketers could learn a thing or two from it: how to carpe diem, how to mingle online and offline, how to entertain and how to engage.

The story begins with an art student doing her diploma and wondering whether an individual could buy ad space outdoors. She wanted to see something else in the city than the everyday ad clutter. In December 2010 she contacted JCDecaux, a leading outdoor advertising company in the world, and got an OK for her idea. Haluan nähdä muutakin  (“I want to see something else”) campaign was born.

So she made a Facebook page her project, and got 3500 fans in 10 days. She and her fans funded the project, in other words the ad spend for JCDecaux. The participants also collaborated on the poster that was to be placed on the JCDecaux frames. Each participant got to write her own ending to “I want to see…”, and all of the greetings were then made into one collage (see below, click to enlarge).

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LinkedIn celebrates it’s 100,000,000th [infographic]

March 22, 2011

I’m a huge fan of both LinkedIn and infographics.

So congratulations for LinkedIn for its 100M members! And big thanks to Vincenzo, a colleague of mine from our Rome office, for this nice piece of infographic!

The State of LinkedIn 2011

Did you know: piling up the business cards of 100M people would soar higher than three Mount Everests on top of each other. (Source: LinkedIn’s own infographic)

Now you do.

Hipstamatic makes marketing as easy as “1, 2, 3, say cheese”

March 4, 2011

No one would admit being a hipster, but everyone admits that Hipstamatic is amazing.

Anyone who doesn’t know what Hipstamatic is is probably living a life in which there are no iPhones or Facebook. The photography application has been named iPhone App Of The Year and downloaded more than 1.7M times during it’s first year (2010) according to The Wall Street Journal.

Hipstamatic was one of the first apps I downloaded, and I’ve been an avid user ever since. But I’m also a huge fan of it business-wise.

I love the way they have designed their business from a marketing point-of-view. The product itself is fantastic in what it is supposed to do: to bring back the look, feel, unpredictable beauty, and fun of plastic toy cameras of the past (quoted from their mission statement). But on top of delivering on this promise in a very user-friendly way, they have created a product with something I like to call built-in marketing auto-pilot. The (Hipstamatic photo)graph below explains this in more detail:

The existing customers will be happy capturing those special moments and bring more value and money for the company.

  • Community. There is an active online community in which people share and discuss their Hipstamatic photos and attend competitions. This of course leads to…
  • New lenses etc. For a mere 0,79 € the users can buy new sets of lenses, films, camera cases etc. A small price for a man, but a big pile of money for the company (which gets 70% of the revenue of each download).
  • Ordering prints. Another easy-to-use service that the application offers is the print shop. With just few clicks the user can get his or her favorite photos delivered home for a reasonable price.

The customer-base will grow organically thanks to smart marketing-moves in business and product development.

  • The story. The story of the company – or the myth – is carefully crafted. A conversation piece that spreads.
  • The wow! effect. You know when you see a Hipstamatic photo. Maybe not the first time see one, but after that you do.
  • The social media integration. It’s all built-in: Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr you name it. We’ve all seen in our FB news those albums called “My Hipstamatic Prints” with amazing shots that make us go “me too!”.

This is strategic marketing with capital S and M.

20/20 vision for business

January 23, 2011

The optical industry isn’t in good shape, at least here in Finland. The biggest Finnish business newspaper Kauppalehti reported that half of the optical companies are making losses, not profits (Kauppalehti 20.1.2011).

“The market is saturated, there is more supply than demand” concluded Ilkka Liukkonen the CEO of the Finnish Opticians Union (Suomen Optikkoliikkeiden liitto) on Kauppalehti. Another reason for the downfall of the industry are the expensive rents of the store locations.

When the going gets tough, what do the tough do?

Seek for a blue ocean.

Enter Warby Parker, a New York start-up and a manufacturer of fashionable vintage glasses. Against the conventional wisdom, they sell their glasses on their website only. You try the glasses on virtually (see below), or even order a set of five to try at home for five days, before buying them.

And why wouldn’t you buy them.They’re Brooklyn-fashionista-class fantastic and they only cost $95 a pair — 3 – 5 times less than competitors’ glasses. This is because Warby Parker cut out the middlemen and sell straight to customers, and thus avoided also extra costs of retail markups and brand licensing fees. Another thing they did against the common sense of the industry is that they only do the basic prescriptions, not bifocals for example.

Warby Parker is a brilliant example of a strategic marketing value innovation, where at the same time the costs go down and the customer value goes up. See the results for yourself: their business isn’t going down, but up, up, up — in the first three weeks they had reached their sales goal for the first year.

P.S. My personal fave is of course the monocle, which is, as their website puts it, “the perfect accessory for budding robber barons, post-colonial tyrants and super villains”. Just my style.

(Source: Business facts about Warby Parker from The New York Times.)

Kanye, the service company

October 24, 2010

What’s the difference between Metallica and Kanye West? These 34 minutes.

Metallica was one of the biggest bands of the pre-Internet world. While they have been busy trying safeguard their turf by waging a war against the pirates, Kanye and other digital native artists have been re-defining the business.

To the pre-Internet mind, a short film that is shared for free is pure madness. We create products and sell them for good money, say Lars Ulrich & co.

But the industry has moved from selling products to selling services. Products (songs) are provided, services (gigs) are sold.

It’s a dramatic change, and there is no stopping it. Broadband has made all content  hyper accessible – all barriers to reproduction and sharing have fallen down. Making money out of that content (i.e. songs and albums and the like), isn’t a sustainable business no more. Concerts offer a non-reproduceable, non-copyable, one-off experience and thus make for a stable earning model.

To put it in a very marketing way: songs are the ads for gigs.

A fan-tastic piece of UGC

August 28, 2010

At the end of the social media rainbow is a treasure that every brand is looking for: fandom.

This UGC ad encapsulates the idea of brand fandom.

The story goes something like this: Guys are at a bachelor party. They have loads of their favorite drinks, including the one on the video, the Finnish specialty: Original Long Drink. One of them shows off his skills in opening the bottle (yes, with a shovel). Others have their Nokia phones at hand and decide it needs to be filmed. They set up the cameras and have several takes (and bottles) till they feel they got it right. After the party, one of them does some editing, publishes it for the world to see, and spreads the word on social networks.

In the old world these guys would have been sued.

In today’s world they should be hired.

What I especially love about the production – in addition to it being real, genuine and original – is how the guys managed to grasp the essence of the brand’s personality into the setting: the whole idea of the Finnish summer. And also, a nice little detail in the end is the “product placement” of a small Finnish clothes company, Makia – another example of how fandom plays out.

David & Goliath in the realm of communications

May 25, 2010

Here’s one of the basic rules of PR:

“If you don’t communicate, someone else will do it for you.”

We all know what this means. Proactive communications is the key to success.

What it doesn’t mean, on the other hand, is that if do you communicate, someone else won’t still do it for you. And this is especially true in the age of social media.

A recent example.

BP (British Petroleum) had a major oil spill accident in the Gulf of Mexico on the 20th April 2010. Pictures say more than words. A true crisis — for both the company and the environment.

And BP did communicate. They sent out press releases, put up banners on their front page, did a specific landing page for the oil spill and tweeted like hell (see below).

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