I wrote earlier that "marketing with meaning" has the ability to "activate" customers. An effective way to activate customers is by activating the dormant social networks they inhabit (often without even knowing it). While social networking has visualized the so-called six degrees of separation, all business transactions have a social component and can be seen as expressions of the underlying social micro-universes, the "worlds within worlds," in which--shifting time and place--individuals travel and interact. As marketers face the daunting challenge of connecting with fragmented audiences that are increasingly split into billions of social atoms … Read more
Sign of the times! Hat tip to @csaper for spotting Affluence.org, an exclusive online social network for the wealthy, "aimed at forming a socially conscious, elite, and exclusive community that helps wealthy, influential, and affluent people make life better for both themselves and others."
Now that the "rich are under attack" ("The Economist"), entangled in a fatal web of Ponzi schemes, excessive executive bonuses, and a monumental destruction of assets (some $10 trillion, around a quarter of the wealthy's assets, has been lost in the financial crisis), their interest in finding new … Read more
Design is not the answer to everything, but it certainly has an important role to play in almost everything that holds a society together.
In light of the current economic crisis, several U.S. professional design organizations (AIGA, IDSA, and others), design education accreditation organizations, and Federal Government officials have seized the historic opportunity and joined forces to launch an initiative to shape a U.S. National Design Policy. In a moment of great global uncertainty and an erosion of national confidence, designers are perfectly positioned to take on a leadership role in "Re-designing America's Future," and … Read more
About four weeks ago, I went for an annual physical and had standard blood work done. I was told to call back in a week, and of course I forgot. Today I had a message that said: "Hello, this is Dr. XX's office, please call us back at xxx-xxx-xxxx." That was it--the person didn't identify herself and also didn't say what the call was for. When I dialed the number, I was expecting to be told that I owed them money. But actually, the woman on the phone had no idea why she had called … Read more
AUSTIN, Texas--Someone blogged that South by Southwest Interactive is just like the Internet itself: disjointed, decentralized, scattered, fast, aggressive, random, fragmented, and so on.
In fact, the main commonality between the two may be that the number of attributes to describe them is infinite. Like the Internet, the annual tech conference here is an echo chamber of an echo chamber, a place where original thought and commentary get mixed up and mashed up in a highly self-referential meta conversation.
That was already the case before Twitter entered the scene at SXSW two years ago, but the microblogging service has certainly amplified the effect. It was both comical and frightening to see the uber-individualistic geeksters at SXSW captivated by the invisible rules of an ostentatious behavioral uniformity: within 1 mile of the convention center, you could observe the strange ritual of groups of people standing or sitting together, chained to their iPhones, twittering instead of talking: "SXSW. Twittering about SXSW."
The real conversation was often limited to a quick "What's your name?" or "Where's the next party?" just to have some input for the next tweet. It is indeed a read-write generation that is coming of age in the wake of an all-dominant present, with no particular loyalty to the past and maybe not even an interest in the future (see Peggy Orenstein's recent piece on "Growing up on Facebook" in The New York Times Magazine).
Yet the rise of the social digerati is unstoppable. New data by Nielsen Online shows that social-networking sites (which encompass social networks and blogs, by Nielsen's definition) are experiencing growth rates of twice as much as any of the main destination sites (search, portals, PC software sites, and e-mail). The time spent on social networks and blogging sites is growing at more than three times the rate of overall Internet growth. Furthermore, social networks are gaining traction among new audiences. … Read more
Social media strategist Shannon Paul, who works with the NHL Detroit Red Wings, said many good things on a SXSW panel this Sunday, but the one thing that stuck with me most was her assertion that brands need to become more “human” in order to connect with their audiences. She wasn’t referring to personifying a brand through a human face (be it an average employee or a charismatic leader), but rather to exhibiting ‘branded’ behavior that is truly human. What does that mean? What is the most human trait of all human traits? Shannon Paul posits it’s vulnerability.… Read more
New inspiration always floods in after a speaking appearance is over. Kicking myself for not highlighting a couple of things that were right in front of me @ my SXSW panel. Perfectly timed gifts as usual, in this case foursquare and tweetluck. Let me explain: in the world of social cohesion messaging rules. So, any conversation around behavior change needs to respect that role. Successful behavior change requires immediate feedback, and social relationships offer the best form of encouragement. But messaging platforms are direct, not directED. We spend a lot of time in them because they are … Read more
That a leading business school is dedicating an entire student-run conference to the topic of responsible business is remarkable (HEC Paris will do the same soon in May, also in collaboration with Net Impact) but not an isolated phenomenon. In the past few years, several top business schools, … Read more
I've been conference-hopping through Europe for the past two weeks. In Berlin, I discussed new "quality of life" concepts for Germany, and in Geneva I listened to speakers who held Utopian visions from an earlier era accountable for what could have been but wasn't. My own personal well-being was more mundane. I schlepped two big suitcases with me and saw the sun shine only twice. When you travel so much, you start to feel like Tyler Brule: quality of life is defined by the quality of the airports you pass through, the quality of the Wi-Fi … Read more
President Obama's stimulus package is putting aside roughly $21 billion for healthcare technology and the development of electronic health records (EHRs). At this point when we say "billion" or even "trillion" it doesn’t have much of an effect. So let’s try that again – Obama's stimulus package is putting aside $21,000,000,000 for healthcare technology. It is a ridiculous amount of money.But, where will it all go? Most of it is earmarked for the creation and utilization of electronic health records, which is essentially a digitized … Read more