Blog  Elektroniker

Walking Like Senna

I walked a Formula One race track last fall in Abu Dhabi, in the blistering evening desert heat. The city of Abu Dhabi opens the track a couple of days a week for bikers and joggers. I, however, was walking, due to a lack of appropriate sportswear, gasping for air, and happy to make it through even just one round. It was a surreal experience, not only because I was the odd outlier amidst hundreds of bikers and joggers, but also because it turned the purpose of the race track on its head – as my own private 'slow movement' against the race of the machines, fundamentally opposing the design intent of the venue. It felt like a meditation that turned the split seconds which typically frame the Formula One drivers’ quasi-automated blink decisions into an extended once-in-a-lifetime moment.

Blog  Elektroniker

Push to Pull

In light of the Arab Spring and the rise of India and China, and propelled by social technologies, the concept of ‘soft power’ (the phrase was coined by Joseph Nye in his 1990 book, Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power; defined as “the ability to obtain what one wants through co-option and attraction”) is ever more relevant. Or, in marketing terms, Push is out, Pull is in. If an idea, aspiration, product, goal, ideology, culture, narrative, or national identity is attractive to its constituents, it minimizes the need for constant reinforcement and regulation – whether that is advertising, promotions, and other persuasive efforts, or bureaucracy, command-and-control, and coercion. Pull is powerful (as John Hagel illustrates in his riveting book The Power of Pull). It has a lot of Pull (pun intended) because one doesn’t have to push. It saves energy that can be invested otherwise, for example, in whatever “it” is that creates Pull. No surprise then that individuals, organizations, societies, and entire nations wish they could rely on it more.

Blog  Elektroniker

Unpredictability is the New Consistency

 

A lot has been written lately about the changing profile of the CMO, a role which faces an increasingly complex set of stakeholders and expectations (“10 Great Expectations: What CEOs Want From Their CMOs”) as it is engulfed by empowered consumers, big data, digital media pervasion, and accelerated technology innovation cycles. While CMO tenures have slightly increased to an average of less than four years, the role remains a hot seat. Technology savvy, analytics prowess, and strict ROI measurement are almost unanimously heralded as the key attributes of a successful marketing leader. The CMO is expected to be a business strategist, innovator, and change agent, while at the same time also acting as the brand evangelist, inspirational communicator-in-chief, and cross-functional collaborator. Tough one. How can today’s CMO succeed in times of hyper-connectivity when long-held beliefs are shattered, audiences are transient, and “software is eating the world” (Marc Andreessen)?

Blog  Elektroniker

Smart Brands in the Connected Age

 
Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn yield unprecedented actual or virtual valuations. Social media empower and propel social revolutions such as the ones we are witnessing in Arab countries. Enabled by broadband technologies and mobile devices, entire industries are connecting with customers – and each other – in entirely new ways. Clearly, the Connected Age has arrived. A world population connected through ubiquitous, real-time, and social computing, and through more than 50, 75, or even 100 billion devices. A world where every thing is connected with everything.

Blog  Elektroniker

Don’t Interrupt, Disrupt!

How to Be Viral Without Viral Marketing

As we’re inundated with hero shots of the iPad every day, on every billboard and the back of every magazine cover, it appears to be a good time to rethink the relationship between advertising and product, between marketing and innovation. It’s not that Apple doesn’t spend any money on advertising – no, it was pouring a whopping $500 million into its launch campaign for the iPad. But what is different is that Apple’s marketing doesn’t have to be clever or utterly creative. In fact, it is stunningly not so. No major social media campaign needed to be sparked, no user-generated content contest needed to be held. And while the ongoing tongue-in-cheek anti-Microsoft ads are undeniably cute, they are not really an advertising revelation. Gone are the days of the bold “1984” campaigns. Today, Apple has earned enough attention to forgo any ostentatious marketing, in fact, so much that a cleverly orchestrated campaign would distract from the brand rather than boosting it. The company simply displays its products – that’s all it takes. Apple’s products are viral without any viral marketing.

Blog  Elektroniker

Meaning-Driven Brands

A list of visionaries, sense makers, disruptors, game changers and contrarians.

The-meaning-of-life
As the world slowly emerges from the economic gloom, and the “hyper-social real-time web” requires new organizational designs, it’s clear that business as usual will not be so usual anymore. Yet fundamental concerns remain, both for business leaders, who face the challenge of innovating in a hyper-transparent and always-on environment, and for consumers, who are increasingly searching for non-economic values amidst the shattered trust in business and the information overload. Smart companies recognize the historic opportunity to transform the way they do business and provide customers with more value-rich, sustainable, and meaningful products, services, and business models. From “un-entitlement” to “disruptive realism” to “for-profit activism” – here are some of the new paradigms that shape meaning-driven brands.

Blog  Elektroniker

The Remembering Self Reflects on Happiness and Morality at TED

TED conferences, you might think, are happy affairs. You get up early, meet the most fascinating people, listen to jaw-dropping talks (each followed by a standing ovation), have deep conversations, and party until dawn – and all of that for four days in a row, safely remote from your usual daily routine. The reality, however, is more complicated. The event is a physical and mental stress test, an emotional rollercoaster ride that challenges you with constant over-stimulation, extreme cross-pollination, and tidal waves of acceptance and rejection as you navigate the social networks in the conference’s “social spaces.” To slightly paraphrase Heidi Klum: “With one group you’re in, with the next group you’re out.” And yet you will never hear anyone who was lucky enough to attend TED come back and not rave about their experience. Why is that? Daniel Kahneman, the mastermind of Behavioral Economics, provided the answer – at TED2010: TEDsters are happy because they expect to be happy. Let me explain, or rather, let Daniel Kahneman explain.

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Apple and Bloomberg: Old Champions in the New Economy

Reading the business section of the New York Times today, you can’t help but notice the juxtaposition of two seemingly different companies, which, at second glance, have more in common that you might think. One is Bloomberg, the financial data juggernaut that has enough cash to aspire to become “the world’s most influential news organization.” The company has placed its bets on the acquisition of the venerable BusinessWeek, trusting that it will broaden its reach into a mainstream business audience. A few pages later, Digital Domain columnist Randall Stross reveals Apple’s pending patent application for a new advertising pop-up technology that forces users of devices and web sites to acknowledge the reception of the commercial message.

Blog  Elektroniker

Get Social Now!

Several blog posts this week, combined, pinpoint what are arguably the two most influential trajectories for the impact of communication technologies on business these days: from real-time web to real-time business, and from social media to social business design.

Blog  Elektroniker

Is Advertising Dead? or The Third Way of Building Brand Equity

There seem to be three (non-mutually exclusive) models for marketers tasked with building brand equity: marketing scarcity, marketing artificial scarcity, or marketing relevance.