GReader Shared Posts

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ether Dome - Real World Innovation

So, I was going to discuss the difference behind real world and online innovation. But, after doing some research, I've to focus on some of the similarities.

But, before I jump into that, let me give @marketingprofs Ann Handley some more information on the Ether Dome. It's the site of the first documented demonstration (in the West) of anesthesia during surgery.

Once I did a bit of reading, the technique of using narcotic anesthesia for at least a millennium. The concept was not new, but the use of ether was a refinement on what had existed before. This principle of innovation has repeated itself through much of history -- including the internal combustion engine we rely on so much today.

Without veering into hyperbole (had to delete a few paragraphs), the Internet does encourage innovation by opening up access to history to a broader group of people. What I find interesting is that the new social media space is an extension of the offline history of people creating communities around their interests, locations, jobs, religions, etc.

Looking at it through that lens, the tools we are using to connect online now are less important than the acceptance of moving our ability to connect and develop relationships online. The real innovation is changing the perceptions about the validity of these methods.

Friday, February 22, 2008

100% Sure-Fire Tip for Better Blogging

Inspired by a number of posts I've read about how to be a better blogger, I'm narrowing it all down to make it easy for you.

If you're prepared to have your blog-world rocked (you'll probably want to sit down for this) then read on!

Do what works for you.
If you're reading this, Stop. Go back up a line, that's where the important stuff is.

And now that you know, go forth and spread your opinions, knowledge, wisdom, etc. to the world.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Coffee and Conversation with Starbucks

First, I got started down this rabbit hole when Unique Frequency quoted a comment of mine in his post about Starbucks.

The post referenced Brand Autopsy's post about Starbucks returning CEO Howard Shultz and why he should blog. In addition to just that post, they have a whole series on how to solve Starbucks' problems. Obviously, he knows more about Starbucks than I do.

But, I am undeterred. I want to build on his post. Since I'm using this space for my own thought experiments about marketing, this felt like a good topic to tackle.

If you don't want to read the whole thing, here's the one liner:
Starbucks culture needs to change, the blog would only be the first step.

First, I want to nuance his argument that Shultz should start a blog. The Starbucks brand is based on the customers' experience on the ground, in the shops, coffee in hand. If Shultz starts a blog it should be for the purpose of being an example to the rest of the company to open lines of communication. As CEO he can effectively use his blog to broadcast what's happening on a corporate level but he's not going to be an interesting conversationalist for the people that want to know why ~their~ Starbucks doesn't meet their expectations.

Before I get too caught up in my own smrtness, let me present my research.

Looking over Jeremiah Owyang's Forms of Marketing list, he states under the Community Marketing and Social Marketing section

Remember this section is less about the tools than it is about the end result: people connecting with other people.
Shultz doesn't need to connect with every one of Starbucks' customers. He needs to facilitate a culture of community that encourages other people in the company to express the brand experience "everywhere customers expect [it] to be." That's a daunting task. But, it can be done.

Scott Shamberg talks about his brand experience with Disney as a case study. He says when talking about his daughter's 'princess makeover':
Each cast member would stop when they saw my daughter and say things like “Oh my, what a beautiful Princess.” Not some of the cast members. Every single one of them.
Granted, the Disney park is not quite the size of world-wide Starbucks operation. But Disney does have near infinite touchpoints happening as cast and customer mix constantly. Shultz talks in his press releases about re-building that experience. He's not going to be able to do it alone, in this case blogging would help increase the credibility in his commitment to this ideal.

Finally, I was just doing some research the other day on the concept of Third Place, and now Third Space. I question that Starbucks needs to compete for the online attention of their customers. But, if they are going to they should integrate them as tightly as they can with the Place customers are already familiar with.
  • Create aTwitter account that asks "What are you drinking"
  • Or get ambitious and create mutiple accounts based on regions so people get a better sense of place
  • Feed coffee orders to in-store monitors (randomize or time-delay to mitigate privacy concerns) that customers can use for discovery of new options
  • Get involved in social network groups
  • Create a blog network with local managers and outside voices
  • Get Creative!
Finally, Shultz should realize the incredible opportunities they have in the already passionate community that Starbucks has online. Starbucks doesn't need to re-invent the wheel or try to figure out their social strategy alone. They've got people already doing it for them.

Del.icio.us tag: Facilitating+Conversation

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Not Participating, Making a Difference

I was talking with a co-worker of mine this morning about the disappointing loss of the Patriots in the Superbowl. (To the Giants credit, they played hard and earned their win.) When the question came up what the NFL does with all the gear that gets printed for the team that doesn't end up winning.

He speculated that they should send it to 3rd world countries where the people don't care about the game, but would care about having clothes. We agreed that would be a better solution than just destroying it all.

He sent me this article later in the morning.

Children far removed from the game benefit as well, thanks to a partnership developed in 1994 between the NFL and the relief organization World Vision. By next week, World Vision will have delivered the pre-printed - and incorrect - Patriots champion gear to underprivileged children in Nicaragua.

Last year, the league donated Chicago Bears merchandise to children in Zambia after the Bears lost to the Indianapolis Colts, according to World Vision spokeswoman Anne Duffy.
I can't say that I agree with everything the NFL does but this speaks highly in their favor.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Social Media in 3-D and beyond

I was talking earlier with someone about all the term "Social Media". It's an interesting label because it describes tools, purpose, and ideology.

Tools -- Blogs, Twitter, Utterz, SeeSmic, facebook, MySpace, Ning, Wikis, Flickr, Tags, Viral, Web2.0
I see this as 1-dimensional social media.

Purpose -- Professional (Corporate) vs. Personal
This is 2-dimensional. You have tools and you use them.

Ideology -- Conversation, Community, Giving up control, Listening, Niche vs. Mass
Now we start to see shapes, 3-dimensional social media is more complicated and holds more potential.

Time -- Relationships
And, just to throw in a wrench, I've included the 4th dimension. Relationships don't just happen when you click on the button to add someone as your friend in social network du jour. This is the crux of social media. If you do everything else but don't spend time on relationships, you're just a cheap, extruded plastic souvenir that someone's picked up in a virtual tourist trap.