Wow, what a dustup! I love scenarios like this; it shows how much things have changed regarding "rapid-response PR". 

I won't go to the point of rehashing the whole boo-boo; but I imagine some marketing and PR folks are in the hotseat today, and wishing it was over already. The short version is that GoPro sent a nastygram to an online reviewer/seller of cameras -- and the Interwebs just blew up with, ahem, "feedback" about the action.

What struck me at a fast scan of this article (and not taking the time to dig into the apparently vast array of source material that has materialized) is that the corporate communications seemed to be a ham-fisted mashup of warm 'n' fuzzy informal outreach ("Hey Greg, we're posting to Reddit..." the corporate head of communications says to a reporter) alongside a legal bray about copyroght infringement. Just a strange tactic.

Look -- I think GoPro's got a great product; I don't have anything negative to say about them. It just seems that their comm and PR folks got caught making a mistake -- WHICH ANY OF US COULD DO -- and now it's just going to leave a negative impression.

You know what this makes me think of? The "Gotcha" speed-rounds of political maneuvering you see during the heat of a campaign (go back and watch Wag the Dog again).

And for the many "armchair attorneys" who've chimed in -- it's a tidbit of entertainment, and then on to the next.

We live in strange times! 


 
 
Yesterday morning, I unplugged my Android phone from the charger as usual, only to find that it was having a fractal meltdown. Usually I enjoy the pretty color show I see when I restart my phone -- but this time it just would not stop. Unplug. Pop battery out and in. Restart. Fractal color madness, never ending. Pop battery out and in again. Restart again. Try backup battery. Nada. I tried all sorts of things during the day -- no luck. Finally I just turned it off and plugged it back in to fully charge again. 

Got to the Sprint store five minutes before closing. (I HATE being one of those retail-staff-abusers, but I couldn't get there any earlier.) Ended up with THREE Sprint employees, techies all, manhandling the phone and trying all the stuff I had already tried.

No joy.

They did a factory reset (which wipes your data, sorry -- they warned me). I ended up with the Android robot lying on his back with a red triangle with an exclamation point coming out of his middle. Stuck! Then they tell me it appears I don't have the $8 protection plan (error! I thought I did, even though a friend who's a Sprint employee always tells me it's dumb: if something happens to your phone, just add the protection to your account, wait two days, then use the protection plan.) Given that they're now 30 minutes past closing, I just took my dead phone and went home.
Then *I* played around with it some more. And I dug through the Android Forums. Dammit, I'm an early adopter, I bought one of the very first Android phones and I'm on my fourth Droid. there's NO WAY I was going to let this hunk of plastic, glass and silicon beat me down!... and... I figured it out. I fixed it. I found the secret combo of factory reset plus reboot plus black magic plus swearing eternal allegiance to primary colors that worked.  THREE Sprint employees couldn't figure it out. I could. Neener.The best thing of all?All my "stuff" came right back -- because it was all backed up via my Google account: apps, email, files, photos and videos, books and audiobooks -- the works. Poof. Magic. I was so happy! 
 
 
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I love PicMonkey. Love it love it. I was very fond of Picnik, which is closing in a couple of days -- PicMonkey was started by a few of the Picnik engineers. It has the same cool factor, but it's a little different.

Why is this great? Because it's a satisfying and easy way to manipulate your photos. 

I had opened another, similar, app today (which I won't name) and it looked... hard. Hard to learn and hard to use. I closed it. Fast.

Consumers want easy and they want fun. Products that provide this do well -- those that don't, dont.

 
 
http://www.thefilterbubble.com/10-things-you-can-do  -- This is a great article on how to prevent those stalkerish follow-me ads that tend to crop up whenever you hit an eCommerce site with a particularly aggressive advertising strategy. I used this at my last company thanks to recommendations from our fabulous agency -- but I realized it would only "work" for a short time, before consumers just plain got fed up. I hit my tipping point this week, when one company's ads started taking over every damn Web page I hit. Enough!


Here's the How-To for specific browsers:
And fortunately, "there's an app for that" -- yes, indeedy.


 
 
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The holiday shopping numbers have been analyzed and crunched, and the verdict is in:  consumers went crazy for one big category of tech gadgets:  smartphones, tablets, and eReaders.  Sure, you could make a case that these are in fact rather different groups – but when you think from a consumer’s point of view, they all do essentially the same thing:  hook you up with information that’s not on paper.  Smartphones allow you to actually talk to a person should you desire – but ask any teenager, and text messaging and Facebook are the main communication uses for a phone.  Actual talking is mostly for staying in touch with grandma and grandpa.

A just-released Pew Internet Research study stated that the percentage of adults who own a tablet PC or e-reader nearly doubled during the 2011 holiday season.  According to the survey, 19% of adults said they owned a tablet as of January 2012, up from 10% in December.

E-reader (NOOK, Kindle, etc.) ownership figures increased by the same respective amounts. The poll also found 29% of Americans owned at least one of the devices in January, up from 18% last month.

In addition to tablets and eReaders, smartphones have smashed through the 50% adoption point for many consumer segments.  

According to a Nielsen Research study released in November 2011, while only 43 percent of all US mobile phone subscribers own a smartphone, vast majority of those under the age of 44 now have smartphones. 

In fact, 62 percent of mobile adults aged 25-34 report owning smartphones. And among those 18-24 and 35-44 years old the smartphone penetration rate is hovering near 54 percent.   

 Given that these devices are no longer even remotely unusual or exotic, we’ll start seeing one simple but important issue that business owners must attend to, and this hits on one of my current pet peeves:  

MAKE SURE YOUR WEB SITE IS MOBILE-DEVICE-FRIENDLY!  

 Pull out your Android or iPhone, and see what your own Web site looks like – if it’s ugly or unreadable (like the example I show, which is the Web site of one of my favorite authors) – fix it.  If you haven’t updated your Web site in several years, or only changed the content on rare occasions, odds are really quite good that it will look terrible.    Think about it – when you’re searching for information from your phone, doesn’t it drive you nuts to find the Web site you want, only to find that it’s nearly impossible to read? 

 Generally, your mobile site does not need to provide 100% of the content available on your main site – you’re free to edit.  Who we are, Contact Us, Directions… make your key information easy to find.  And don’t use Flash – many devices can’t easily run Flash content.  (Another pet peeve of mine – I really, really HATE flashy Flash site openings; it’s usually something that advertising agencies feel they can’t live without, but it drives me nuts.)       

Think of all those newly-minted tablet and smartphone users – and make sure their mobile device interaction with your brand is one that delights them.  That’s the smartest way to go.   

 
 
Last night, I was at our local "Retail Resort" (yes, they actually call it such; rustic design, lots of fake evergreens, and the security guards are dressed as park rangers!). This mall is in the second-highest-income zip code in Colorado, which abutts the highest-income zip code.  The stores tend to the swanky, high-end brands; there's even a Tesla auto showroom.  

There is also an Apple Store on the main level, and a Microsoft Store on the floor above.  I'm sure I must have broken a zillion mall rules, but my cell video cam "accidentally" shot short video of both stores.  I'm cutting a comparison together to post here.  As a former Microsoft employee, their store just made me sad.  It's so weak, so unfocused, and such a copycat attempt to cash in on Apple's deft retail touch.  



Stay tuned...
 
 
New Year, new quarter, new objectives – do you need to set a brainstorming meeting?  One of the big challenges can be if you’re trying to include groups in multiple locations for a single session.  There are many great tech tools that enable you to connect via video, online whiteboard, audio and PowerPoint – but the tools, while important, are not all you need.  I’ve had to run sessions like this in different US cities as well as with offices located in different countries, and it takes more thought and preplanning to make brainstorming work effectively if you don’t have everyone in the same place, let alone taking into account any time zone or cultural differences. The book “Gamestorming” by Sunni Brown provides great ideas for the actual meeting content; but here are some other tips to keep in mind: 

  • Preplanning is essential – you need more structure when groups are not together
  • Give each team prework to accomplish. Use the “split groups” necessity as a positive instead of a negative: give each group tasks to complete and then share with the rest of the team
  • If all team members don’t know each other well, have them wear name tags. Do everything you can to familiarize the team members prior to the brainstorming
  • If possible, have each group GO OFFSITE to a video conferencing room – it helps remove distractions. Video makes it a lot easier to interact.
  • Make sure you have the same resources available to both teams (ie, books, notes, reports, etc.)
  • Have a team leader at each location; but only one overall Moderator – Moderator should be skilled at managing this kind of meeting
  • Think up icebreaking activities that can help build trust (just google “meeting icebreakers”) – but here are a bunch of ideas: http://insight.typepad.co.uk/40_icebreakers_for_small_groups.pdf
  • Have a backup planned in case your online tools go down. (It DOES happen!)
  • Keep the group size manageable: max of 8 – 10 at each location (4 – 6 seems ideal)
  • Make attendance mandatory if at all possible. If time zones are way off (ie, meeting in San Francisco and Dublin), try to schedule two sessions: one that’s easiest for each group (since one group will get to work early, and one will stay late)
  • Stick to a firm schedule (especially for breaks and start and stop times)
  • Don’t let the “Main Office” group dominate the meeting
  • Structure the session so there’s time at the end to summarize and clarify next steps

Good luck! this can be a fun and informative experience if you plan it well.
 
 
I have read a number of articles recently on what to do to ramp up your company's mobile marketing, like this one.  Most articles provide similar sorts of advice:  don't spam, know your market, provide a coupon, things like that. All good advice. However, as an Android user with a wee bit of an addiction to my device, I've got a more modest proposal:  

If you want to goose along your mobile marketing strategy, start with something a little more basic:  MAKE SURE YOUR WEB SITE IS PHONE-FRIENDLY.

For example, this Mobile Usability Update from late September 2011 discussed the following types of tasks
  • Highly specific tasks. For example, "You are in an electronics store and consider buying a Canon PowerShot SD1100IS as a present. The camera costs $220.25 in the store. Check adorama.com to see if you can get a better price online."
  • Directed, but less specific. For example, "Find a moisturizer with SPF 30 or above that is suitable for your skin." (While using the Walgreens app.)
  • Open-ended, but restricted to a predetermined site or app. For example, "See if you can find any interesting pictures related to today's news." (While using the China Daily app.)
  • Web-wide tasks that let users go anywhere they wanted. For example, "Find out which is the tallest building in the world." (While giving users no indication of which site might have the answer.)

How does your own company's Web site stack up?  Do you have a dedicated mobile site that's easy for someone to use via phone?  Do you offer a choice?  I know a company that drove a lot of their customers nuts last year because if you accessed their ecommerce site from anything that was not a traditional computer, you got their phone app.  Which, if you think about it, would drive a tablet owner NUTS.  My site is built using Weebly, and I love how clean the mobile version is from my phone -- AND that they offer a choice of viewing either "Mobile Site or Full Site".  

What I'd love to see in 2012 regarding mobile marketing is for more companies to focus FIRST on providing a super clean, easy to use home base, and once that's handled... then start testing other tactics.
 
 
  I just noticed this post on Alltop about how social media has plateaued.  I'm not surprised!  I remember when marketers got all hot and sweaty about email marketing in the mid-90's; it was supposed to kill off virtually all other types of media, and we;d even stop killing trees.  Anybody remember the promises of "the paperless office"???  

Twitter's tapering off... Chris Brogan made a great point about this, and as usual I agree with him. Believing you NEED more Twitter followers is like believing you NEED more Facebook friends.  Heck, I routinely bump people off my back because I don't cotton to spam or irrelevance.  

It's not going to die, certainly, but I think we'll start seeing a rebound in 2012, where people start to reconnect to other people in real life, face to face.  It will be interesting to see how the trends continue to shift.
 

NOOK. NOOK. NOOK.

06/11/2011

 
I did it -- I finally bought an ebook.  I went NOOK over Kindle, and I flipping LOVE this thing already.  I have a penchant for reading ginormous novels -- and I love using the library, which means having to lug around a 3 pound, 1400 page paper brick wherever I go.  (1400 pages was the length of a recent novel by a favorite author -- and that was pretty much the last straw.)

I have dreamed of an actual ebook since I was a little kid -- and I am delighted with this gadget.  I did a lot of comparison-shopping, but in the end the simple fact that Barnes & Noble is a brick and mortar chain that employs people in communities all over America (instead of just Amazon's Seattle base and wherever their handful of distribution centers are) was the tipping point. It feels like supporting Barnes & Noble is just a little bit more capitalist/consumer friendly than feeding Jeff Bezos more dough.  Besides, NOOK makes it really easy to borrow library books; gotta love that.