Thursday, 16 December 2010

Three trends for 2011

What are the three key digital trends for 2011? Here are some thoughts.

1. Location
Location based services haven't taken off yet, but smartphones are starting to go mainstream. 20% of adults currently have a smartphone in the UK, and this will rapidly increase in 2011.

Expect consumers to start using location to find their friends when they are out socialising. And expect retail brands to quickly start offering deals to groups of people who buy or eat together, as Gap, H&M and McDonald's (client) have already done in the USA. 48% of 18-24 year olds already have smartphones, so expect all of these to take off fastest for youth brands.

Smart brands will start to think about how to use this in more imaginative ways. Trade conferences, party political conferences, meetings, festivals and live music events are all obvious places that could use location effectively.

2. Social
Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerburg has repeatedly said that almost any experience is better if it's social. In other words our offline friends really matter to us - and make our online experience much better.

And Facebook's Like button has spread like wildlfire across the internet, showing that people love 'liking' things.

Personal endorsement by a friend is massively powerful - so it's not surprising that corporates are quickly catching on to the value of social plug-ins (such as 'Like' buttons and embedded Fan page boxes which show you what your friends have liked, commented on or shared). 2011 will be the year that social plug-ins move to become as popular as sharing buttons have.

And expect marketers to start becoming much more inventive in extending the socialness of their campaigns, whether it's photo tagging, Facebook's social plugins or simply incorporating fan pages into advertising and PR.

3. Data
Direct marketers have known the value of CRM databases for years. And webcentric businesses like Amazon have been very effective at using customer data to provide quality recommendations.

In 2011 more and more marketers will extend the use of this data across their marketing strategy. For instance:
  • Web traffic analysis from firms such as Hitwise (client) allows firms to understand what their target audiences do online, cross referenced with customer databases such as MOSAIC, and to benchmark themselves against their competitors.
  • Auditing and monitoring online allows firms to use the internet as a continual rolling focus group - telling them how consumers are perceiving advertising and experiencing products every day.
  • Narrative and messaging can be easily tested online before launch. A/B testing on websites, and pay-per-click advertising on Facebook (client) and Google allows firms to quickly and cheaply test creative concepts, tactical approaches language and competition.
  • Crowdsourcing and customer forums, such as those run by GiffGaff (client), Starbucks and Dell are a great source of creative ideas and day-to-day feedback on product experience.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Why digital can transform organisations

Here are three good reasons that digital can make organisations much more effective:

a) You can join up communications that are currently done separately - so reducing duplication and wasted messaging. So for instance you can create an integrated stakeholder, consumer and internal communications programme, rather than paying for 3 streams of activity.

b) You can also reduce duplication between the functions of the main business and communications. For instance integrated customer services and communications potentially allows your brand marketers to get daily customer insights at very low cost.

c) Measureability of digital is far better than conventional communications - so it's easy to rapidly understand what is and isn't working. This can be applied both at the strategic end of planning a campaign (e.g. testing alternative competitive spaces, testing messages) and at the execution end of the campaign (which media coverage actually drives sales?).

For a great example of a company that has put digital at the core of its entire corporate strategy, have a look at GiffGaff (a client of ours):

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Improving your personal brand online

How can you make sure that you have an effective personal brand online that attracts potential employers and clients?

It’s surprisingly easy to rapidly improve your showings in search engines and make yourself more findable. Here are five easy things to do:

  • Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date and complete. And make sure that your ‘public profile’ (which is what Google indexes) is complete. Somebody we know recently updated his profile and got a series of former colleagues to recommend him. A month later he was working in 10 Downing Street.

  • Invite your contacts to be your connection on LinkedIn. It’s extremely easy to upload your entire address book from Outlook and invite hundreds of contacts to connect. The more people who are connected to you, the easier you are to find.

  • Link up your Facebook profile, Twitter account, LinkedIn account and anything else you do online. Services such as Posterous and Hootsuite make it very easy to share one piece of content (for instance an article you have written) on your blog, Twitter feed and Facebook page / profile all simultaneously.

  • Upload any public presentations you’ve done recently onto Scribd. Presentations on there are very visible for search engines – especially if you tag your presentations appropriately.

And if you want proof that these points work – Google ‘Rob Blackie’.