Archives for posts with tag: marketing

A while back I was asked by Patrick Stal from Interbrand if I would do an interview for their quarterly magazine IQ. This issue is all about digital and I had the opportunity to talk about digital branding and the role of design in this context. Read the full article below.


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As you might or might not know over the past 2 years I had the pleasure to speak at a few iStrategy conferences across the world. It has been a wonderful experience and an honor to speak at such a great Social Media event and meet so many digital media professionals, and I highly recommend this conference to anyone in this line of business!

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There ain’t such thing as a social media expert!” is probably the first thing you thought after reading this headline right? I fully agree! It will take years still before we can really talk about experts in social media. However I am intrigued about what the DNA will be of these people. What will be the combination of knowledge, skills, instincts and experiences such an expert should have?

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A while ago I wrote a post on my blog called ‘The customer is no longer king… he is God.’ In this post I argued that with the convergence between the virtual and the real world through mobile and social media, and the increasing value of the customer’s voice, brands will have to re-think the way they will remain relevant to people by adopting an outside-in approach at the core to their business strategy.

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There are people that just have a sixth sense for social media, and it is always a great inspiration to learn from these pioneers.  I had the pleasure to see Ramon DeLeon aka #RamonWOW in action at the #M2C2011 Conference in Paris. Ramon is “The Pizza Guy to Know in downtown Chicago!” He is a franchise owner of 6 Domino Pizza places in Chicago, but most importantly, he is a social media pioneer and if you ask me, a genius!

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It’s no secret that I love social media. I am very active on many platforms such as on my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr and Youtube to name just a few. And although I am not afraid of sharing parts of my life on these platforms with other people, I am also very aware of the fact that all the content that I share, and my behavioral data, is used for commercial purposes by those platforms and by anyone who uses “listening” tools to gather insights. But are those 600 Million users on Facebook as aware about this as we online media professionals are?

Privacy & Ethics | don’t we care about people’s privacy anymore?

I think as a professional designer in the space of online media, and thus also social media, I have an ethical responsibility towards people that I design content and services for. The people I call “consumers” or “visitors” during my working hours. The people that ultimately pay my salary, and allow me to have a great job. Funnily enough, I am such a “consumer” too, and so are you, and I would like to know that I am being treated well. Don’t you?

There is nothing wrong with using insights gathered through advanced listening tools, statistical data, or using behavioral targeting to find hot leads, but it’s the transparency of this towards people which to me is very important. Only when people know that this is happening can they make conscious decisions about what to share on the web and what not to. Do you think most people read fine print such as;

“Only click “Allow” for applications you trust. Allowing this application to connect to your account may give it access to your Direct Messages (DMs), or the ability to Tweet on your behalf.” Twitter Connect


“You grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook” Facebook terms and conditions

… I don’t think so either. And I really do think we should do a better job of creating awareness about this without scaring people. This implies we have to be more transparent about what happens with this data, and provide the tools and information to people to both see how their data is being used and give them control over its use.

Privacy & Design | transparency builds trust

Trust is a key element when building relationships. We know that by now. So how can we trust something which is not being upfront about what it is they do with our data? Or how can we build a trustworthy brand if we are not upfront about how we will use our customer’s content and data?

I think taking this into account when designing can play a huge role in overcoming this, and building trust.

People who use Twitter probably have seen this screen. It is the screen you see when you use your twitter account as identification to another site. This functionality has great benefits as it allows you to bring your Twitter identity onto other websites and take away the burden of having to register and remember another password. The downside is, as you can see on the right, that potentially all your data is available to that third party website. Even your direct messages!! Now that’s quite scary right?

Now let’s analyze this design. Clearly all the focus is put on the big “allow” button. This is what they want you as a user to click. The button is big and bright blue; it has a gradient and is on a white background for maximum visibility and contrast.

So take a close look at the right panel, with the privacy warning. It has a light blue background, a small and grey font and is to the right of your reading path. Basically it is designed to have much less prominence and distract you as little as possible from hitting the “allow” button.

Sure you can argue that all information is there, thus Twitter has checked the “ethical” tick box. But think about it. Have they really? Shouldn’t they have given this way more prominence? I think so!

Privacy & Armageddon | scams, robbers and global domination

But there is a darker side to privacy and social media which is very scary. Personally I am not too paranoid about it, but again this is because I make conscious decisions about what my virtual self does on the web.

In the article “The Dark Side of Social Media and PrivacyMark Evans brings to our attention how vulnerable we are when we keep checking in at places on location based services such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places. When you check in you are basically letting all the robbers in the world know where you are, and thus also where you are not. Home!

Then you have scammers, who viewed one of the many tutorials on “How to hack a Facebook account” on YouTube, and send you scam mail from your friends account asking you to send them money urgently because they have been robbed. (Real story)

All of the above is scary but, when aware that this can happen, you can be alert about it and be conscious about what you do and don’t do.

The thing that probably worries me the most is all the content, profile information, photo’s and behavioral data of over 600 Million people all stored on Facebook servers.

To get an idea of how much data that is, watch One Minute on Facebook video.

All this content is centrally stored and owned by 1 company. Can you only begin to imagine what would happen if a malevolent person would get a hold of that? Just as provoking a thought, what would have happened if the SS would have had access to this during WWII? Scary right? Is it unthinkable that this could happen again? I sure hope so, but think about it and be conscious about what and where you share things about your life.

Here is an interesting movie with a “Facebook conspiracy theory” which I do not necessarily believe, but it does illustrate the point I am trying to make.

I don’t think there is any reason to be paranoid, I know I am not. It is all about being conscious of our privacy and about what we allow other to see, track and use. And as professionals in the online world we need to be careful and respect privacy of people as it ultimately affects ourselves, our children and all our loved ones.

Article originally posted on iStrategy Blog

Last week I headed down to London to visit the iStrategy event in the Millennium Hotel in Kensington. Over the 2 days many interesting speakers brought their experiences and insights to a group of 250 online professionals.

I will not go into the details of each keynote, as Phil Jenkins already posted a great summary on his blog. Instead I want to reflect on the things that where memorable to me and I have started reflecting on after the event, and give you an impression of the event itself through some pictures I took.

The good

“People talk to people, not to brands”. This was a theme I heard a few speakers talk about. Brands like Dell are empowering and enabling experts in their organizations to become brand advocates on twitter, and have them engage with people in social media. “You cannot outsource social media” as you need the expert knowledge that is within the people of the organization in order to have a meaningful engagement. Enabler for this is a mind shift within an organization, social media becomes part of employees job profiles and objectives. Brands need to pay utmost attention to employer branding and nurture engaged people to become spokesmen for the brand.

Convergence convergence convergence! Everything is coming together and connecting. Products, people, data, touch points and content. The mobile platform is the main driver for this shift and is enabling a greater value for people by bringing everything they care about and need in one interface which they carry with them all the time. We are just at the early beginnings of this new world, and are learning everyday how we can bring true value to people through this new technology. Behavioral transformation seems imminent. Trial and error is the way for brands to experiment and learn with this new phenomenon.

What people want & what people need.  Both David Henry of Monster and Mark Stuart of CIM touched upon the imperative of understanding people and taking User Centric Design (UCD) as the strategic driver for successful experience design. As this is my mantra I really enjoyed their talks and was glad to hear the success story of Monster.

The bad

A better “Sales pitch” balance!! Some keynotes just did not land at all, as the majority of the slides where a self promotion and sales pitch. Not delivering any value to the audience. On the twitter feed #istrategy2010 the comments were very critical about this, and a learning to those speakers. Sure speaking at a conference is an opportunity to get leads, but there is no need to be a speaking advert. Bringing meaningful and helpful content and insights will be your best advert!

“Sex sells” Jonathan Oliver of Microsoft had a strange presentation. He started of very strong talking about creativity and how creativity is about ideas that can drive innovation on all fronts. A very charismatic and enthusiastic speaker with great passion for the Microsoft brand. He even managed to have the audience stand up!! Respect! He got all my attention … until…. He showed a case study of a campaign targeted at 15 year old boys, and the main visual to the campaign was a bikini babe!!! He talked about how successful the campaign was… Now this I found very disappointing, how can creativity lead to bikini babe? This is not creative, this is the easy sell! He did however manage to deliver the most retweeted quote

“Social Media is like high school sex. Lots of guys talking about it, few doing it, and even less doing it right.”

The Social

I met loads of great people at the event and the #istrategy2010 tag helped me find them. I highly recommend them so here is the list!

@yushkalia @PhillipJenkins @RIBenjamin @lars_hilse @_insightz @tamhm @taylorzoe @KerryatDell @hoorayhenry @FZammit @nclangereis @nickwallen

If you get a chance to go to one of the upcoming iStrategy events in Syndey, Singapore, San Jose or Amsterdam I highly recommend going! Visit the iStrategy website for more info.

More detailed notes on the keynotes by Phil Jenkins

iStrategy 2010 Conference – London

iStrategy Conference Day Two

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