AniBlurbs (Column)

Anibal's thoughts on Online Marketing Strategy, Service Design, Tech, Innovation, Business and more…

Brand Utilities: The End of Advertising Magic?

Consider this. By 2010, Best Buy’s Twelpforce had responded to over 29,000 questions and accumulated 26,837 followers on Twitter. But consider this too. It was the largest electronic retailer in the country – it takes a lot of shoppers to generate revenues of $4.4 billion in the month of December 2010. Consider too the sheer breadth of its offering, and that there are 245,267,292 people aged 15 years and over in the United States many of whom will presumably be in the market for some kind of electrical goods. And remember that the service was promoted through TV advertising as well as in-store-messaging. Suddenly it begins to feel as if that utility was actually delivered to and experienced directly by a relatively small population.

So, it is worth considering whether the mere availability of this service worked to elevate the brand’s reputation as being knowledgeable and responsive amongst a much broader population. Even though they never took advantage of this piece of utility. So was Twelpforce really a piece of utility?

One of the most eloquent and thought provoking essays on Advertising, Brand Utilities and Tech hypes I’ve read in quite some time. If like me you’re craving for some food for thought and sharp analysis Re the intersection of / hype surrounding the (much vaunted death) of Advertising and the rise of Brand Utilities, this is it.

Read the whole essay by Martin Weigel (@mweigel) here » The Enduring Power Of Stuff That Isn’t Useful And Why ‘Utility’ Will Not Overthrow Magic.

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Do Rosario’s Three Laws of Customer Centricity

The Three Laws of Customer Centricity (Beta)

1.    A company may not wilfully and knowingly harm the interests of a customer/partner/stakeholder or, through inaction, allow a customer/partner/stakeholder’s interests to come to harm.

2.    A company must, to the best of its efforts and resources, service the customers and put them at the centre of every business decision, except where providing such services would conflict with the First Law or Third Law.

3.    A company must protect its own long-term interests and existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.


The above was an idea I derived from the famous Three Laws of Robotics, a set of three rules written by SF author Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), which almost all positronic robots appearing in his fiction must obey.

I was thinking of coming up with a “Three Laws of Customer Centricity” adaption, but I think the model still needs some tweaking here and there. Any ideas?

              





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Pay with Facebook: The “One-Click” Solution to Save Newspapers Online?

“…there is a group of executives inside the company that believe “Pay With Facebook” could end up a bigger revenue source than Facebook’s advertising revenues. We’ve estimated Facebook’s advertising revenues will reach $475 million in 2009.

To get an idea what kind of challenges Facebook will have to overcome to get there, consider that during the second quarter, eBay subsidiary PayPal’s revenues were $669 million, up 11% y/y.

It got there with:

  • 75 million active registered accounts
  • A total payment volume of $16 billion in the quarter
  • With accounts containing approximately $3 billion in stored value that is spent every 2 weeks
  • Supporting 19 currencies
  • With a .30% fraud rate

Facebook can’t approach any of those numbers yet, but it does possess one distinct advantage — nearly 300 million monthly active users.

What’s more, the rousing success that is Facebook Connect — the service that allows users to log in to participating third-party sites using their Facebook IDs with one click — hints that Facebook users might appreciate a similar “one-click” simplicity when paying for merchandise on the Internet.”

Be sure to check the whole article at BusinessInsider.com

Privacy concerns aside, one can imagine that Facebook’s One-Click payment solution, along with the social sharing of articles and posts through Facebook Connect, could be the panacea for newspaper publishers looking for ways of monetizing content beyond the stale and flailing “generate-pageviews-sell-banners” business model.

How so?

Well, besides the general mentality that digital content should be “free”, one of the major issues in monetizing content on the web by surrounding it with a “Pay-First wall”, is the fact that visitors don’t know in advance what (quality) they’ll exactly be paying for; consumers fear buying a shrink-wrapped magazine purely based on its cover, only to be disappointed afterwards.

Whereas on iTunes or with Steam you usually know that what your getting is guaranteed to have a substantial replay-factor or, in the case of iTunes, since the price is relatively low, you can afford the risk of a dud every now and then.

This, arguably, is not the case with ubiquitous news, or in-depth articles.

Utilizing Facebook’s micro-payment solution combined with Facebook Connect however, publishers will have the opportunity of using a “hassle-less” One-Click online payment solution, powered by trusted(?) recommendations of friends: “Hey Todd, here’s an article I just read about Obama’s healthcare reform,  touching it from a viewpoint I believe you’d find interesting, check it out. Cheers, Brian.” Ching!

Farfetched? For a showcase of the true power of social sharing: Think the Bit.Ly-shortened links being universally shared on twitter, spreading idea’s, content (and malware) virally. Only this time it’s done by folks with verified Facebook ID’s so you know they’re actually real and can be trusted.

Off course, should the scenario sketched above come to fruition, Facebook will have to get a piece of the revenue pie too, but the publishing moguls ‘d be wise to carefully re-consider jumping into their fabled “No-Can-Do” reflexes, since it’s becoming increasingly clear that the other option for them and their companies’ stakeholders is not having a pie to share at all…

(PS please note that I deliberately left all privacy concerns regarding Facebook out of this exercise, since I believe that we should topple the online publishing troubles in a concentric way; shilling away to the core, tackling the multifaceted problem layer by layer, instead of pre-maturely obstruficating any possible solution by thinking in limitations only.
This, however, does not imply that I don’t see the possible dangers of Facebook not only owning your social graph and personal data, but also knowing when you bought what (and whom approved said purchase!) and where you’re likely to go to form a political opinion or otherwise.

Though I feel and see that having this kind of aggregated combined profile data of possibly more than 300 million people in the hands of one party could pose a real threat when falling into the wrong hands, I urge you to go and take a look over at Alexander van Elsas’s blog, as he has already indentified and dissected this problem with great abandon.)





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