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Musing, marketing, and meaning in the connected world.

Disrupt and Disrupted - Notes from The Great Indian B2B Marketing Summit

I had the great pleasure of speaking at The Great Indian B2B Marketing Summit in Bangalore yesterday, organized by Jessie Paul, the former CMO of Indian outsourcing juggernaut Wipro, author of the book “No Money Marketing,” and founder of Paul Writer, a marketing consultancy cum hub that runs an influential online CMO Roundtable and other formidable programs to facilitate the exchange amongst the Indian marketing community. The program was quite an eclectic mix of topics, ranging from social media and digital marketing trends, to market development, to marketing leadership, to personal branding.

Getting Personal: Who Can You Trust?

With all your data in the cloud, is your identity in limbo? Is privacy really over, as Mark Zuckerberg so controversially claimed? A recent Nokia Siemens Networks study found that most people are concerned about privacy, but that their concerns do not prevent them from sharing information if they think they will benefit. The study explored the views and behavior of nearly 10,000 mobile phone and Internet users in 14 countries. What are the broader social implications of such massive “consumer data volunteerism” – the asymmetrical sharing of personal data (digital data relating to an identified or identifiable person)? What enables trust: Is it the more traditional Notice and Consent model, fully transparent privacy settings, a nuanced model of user control, or economic incentives (e.g. revenue share or access to an exclusive marketplace, an ecosystem of trusted partners)? If privacy is a product, then how do you design for control (or the loss thereof)? Who’s protecting the consumer from data abuse? And which “trust frameworks” and “trust brokers” are most effective: state-regulated models, federated models (such as OpenID), third-party NGOs (a “Data Security Council”?), or a commercial entity such as Google, guaranteeing its “citizens” data safety as long as they are within its ecosystem?

(Good) Movies and The Three Dimensions of Meaning

I haven’t seen The Social Network yet. But the recent debate about the movie that, characteristical of a successful product, quickly transcended the original artifact and evolved into a broader cultural discourse (a “third meaning”), made me think about how dramatically my own movie experience has changed over the past 30 years. I’ve been fascinated with movies ever since I was a young boy. At the age of 10, I completely immersed myself into films such as Jungle Book, watched them again and again, learned the dialogues by heart, and accumulated an encyclopedic knowledge of the characters. A couple of years later, I became obsessed with the Bond series (I still know the entire filmography in and out). Films were my reality, and my life took place in a parallel universe for the most part.

The Economist and the Human Potential

If TED is about “Ideas Worth Spreading,” then the Economist’s Ideas Economy conference series is – as the title would suggest – about ideas worth monetizing. It’s the Economist, stupid! The venerable publication, a notorious late adopter, has realized that despite solid market standing it must reinvent itself to survive, both through a suite of new digital products and by branching out into the conference business. The focus on Innovation (as in “a commercialized original idea,” as the excellent moderator Vijay Vaitheeswaran defined it in his opening remarks) is a natural fit: The Economist has always stood for liberal economic policies and liberal social values – which is typically the kind of fabric that innovation thrives in.

The most recent event of the series (full disclosure: frog design was a sponsor) took place last week in New York: With the theme “Human Potential,” 250 business leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians, and academics discussed for two days how to foster and tap into the creativity and intellect of their employees, stakeholders, peers, and students. The cynic could object and ask “Do we indeed have potential?,” inferring that the term “potential” implies progress and betterment – but are we, humans, even good? And if so, can we get better?

Openness or How Do You Design for the Loss of Control?


Openness is the mega-trend for innovation in the 21st century, and it remains the topic du jour for businesses of all kinds. Granted, it has been on the agenda of every executive ever since Henry Chesbrough’s seminal Open Innovation came out in 2003. However, as several new books elaborate upon the concept from different perspectives, and a growing number of organizations have recently launched ambitious initiatives to expand the paradigm to other areas of business, I thought it might be a good time to reframe “Open” from a design point of view.

10 Reasons Why TV is Good For You

Our friends from the Norman Lear Center, one of the world’s leading think tanks and research institutions devoted exclusively to entertainment, is celebrating their 10th anniversary in style – with a list of ten good reasons why TV, the last remaining mass medium, is good for you: “We've heard the arguments: How TV is bad for us, how it's linked to violence, the obesity epidemic, the dumbing down of culture. At the Norman Lear Center we've made it our business to study entertainment -- televised and otherwise -- and believe that whatever its downsides, TV also has much to contribute to a healthy, connected and well-informed society.“

Apps, Apps, and More Apps

"They have become a filter for our world," writes PSFK in a post on the "History of Apps," and points to this great infographic from Online MBA that at least gives us a sense that this fast-growing genre is somehow manageable.

Touch / Nature

“I am against nature. I don't dig nature at all. I think nature is very unnatural. I think the truly natural things are dreams, which nature can't touch with decay.” - Bob Dylan

Old Spice and the Return of Ad-Power: Are "Transformats" the Future of Marketing?

Silver Fish Hand Catch! As the social web’s echo chamber is gushing about Wieden+Kennedy (W+K)’s masterful Old Spice campaign (actor and former football star Isaiah Mustafa wowing viewers with his smooth-talking delivery in video replies to hundreds of online queries or comments tweeted to him by web users), first spoofs are manifesting its pop-cultural credentials, and the meta-story is increasingly becoming the story ("how did they do it?"), both practical and philosophical questions arise. The jury is still out on the campaign’s commercial impact (various news sites and blogs are reporting that sales have fallen by 7%, which various other news sites and blogs dispute). I’m more interested in the campaign as a cultural phenomenon and its lasting implications: Is it a one-off nifty idea or are we witnessing the emergence of something bigger than that, a whole new paradigm for marketers and content producers, as Mashable claims?

Edelman's Six Digital Trends to Watch

From “marketing in the age of streams” to the “Googlization of media” to “situational awareness” to “location, location, locaton” to “business becomes social” to “private becomes public” – in their latest report, Edelman’s digital mavens Steve Rubel and David Armano provide a solid overview of the six key digital trends to watch.

Six Digital Trends To Watch by Steve Rubel and David Armano