Friday, April 29, 2011

Ask for little if you want to get loads. Snack size giving ads up!

Trendcentral.com writes this morning about new mobile apps that encourage do-gooding on the go.  
On the heels of Kickstarter came niche fundraising platforms like GiveForward and Pifworld, and now even video games are focused on saving the (real) world. New to the do-good scene are charitable mobile apps, which make it easy for users to lend a helping hand—whenever and wherever the mood strikes them.
WeFeedBack is a persuasive app that puts the developed world’s daily food expenditure in perspective. Enter the cost of a favorite food item into the calculator and it returns a startling figure: the number of hungry children that the same amount of money could feed. The math involved is simple; the food’s cost is multiplied by four, based on the World Food Programme’s estimate that it takes just 25 cents a day to feed one child. (One $9 panini, for example, is worth full meals for 36 kids). With its single-click option to “Feed Them Now” and engrossing global feedback tracker, the campaign has already collected the funds to feed more than 120,000 children.
An interesting study that shows the power of asking for little is Richard Wiseman´s charity experiment.Wiseman tested how willing people were to give, depending on what you asked for, and the results were stunning. The boxes saying "Every penny got 62 per cent of all contributions, while "Every pound helps" trailed in fourth place with just seven per cent of the total. http://www.quirkology.com/USA/Experiment_charity.shtml 
The same phenomenon can be applied on retail. Roger Dooley writes on his blog Neurosciencemarketing: "A second study found that exposing consumers to a “savings” message caused them to spend more than when they saw a “luxury” message. The authors of the paper, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, found this counterintuitive and perhaps worrisome: "Companies may be trying to attract customers with slogans associated with saving money, but in fact, this strategy may make consumers spend more money than they would if they had not been exposed to the slogans."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What´s the main trend: F-Factor or Rent-a-mate? What´s a friend nowadays?

Trendwatching´s May briefing is all about digital. The trend presented is F-Factor – where F stands for Friends, Fans and Followers.
Consumers are increasingly tapping into their networks of friends, fans, and followers to discover, discuss and purchase goods and services, in ever-more sophisticated ways. As a result, it's never been more important for brands to make sure they too have the F-FACTOR.
1. F-DISCOVERY: How consumers discover new products and services by relying on their social networks.
2. F-RATED: How consumers will increasingly (and automatically) receive targeted ratings, recommendations
and reviews from their social networks.
3. F-FEEDBACK: How consumers can ask their friends and followers to improve and validate their buying decisions.
4. F-TOGETHER: How shopping is becoming increasingly social, even when consumers and their peers are not physically together.
5. F-ME: How consumers’ social networks are literally turned into products and services.
Some interesting stats presented in the trend briefing:
Product recommendations from family (63%) and friends (31%) are the most trusted. However 81% of US consumers now go online to do additional research, with 55% looking for user reviews, and 10% soliciting advice from their social networks. However amongst people aged 25-34, this figure rises to 23%. (Source: Cone Inc,
June 2010)

• 90% of people trust the recommendations of their Facebook friends (Source: ExactTarget, August 2010)
• 31% of daily Twitter users ask their followers for opinions about products and services. (Source: Edison Research & Arbitron Internet, April 2010)

When talking about friends at Facebook I must share this job advert I just found for socialites/models for an Australian Rent-a-mate service. (http://www.seek.com.au/job/19608968?cid=jobmail)

RENT-A-MATE is a new concept of hiring out individuals based on their social abilities and interests, to allow our clients to get out of the house when they wouldn't otherwise be able to:
Our target market are clients who are:
·         Traveling
·         Working long hours so don't meet many people
·         Tired of their existing friends
·         Looking to try a new activity/sport
·         Disabled
·         Seniors
·         Simply wishing to meet new people
Your responsibility as a RENT-A-MATE would be to act as a friend, create conversation, and have an enjoyable time. The client will be responsible for paying for all food, activities, tickets, etc. as well as their time spent with you.
In addition to this RENT-A-MATE are also launching a promo MATES area to represent people who have the appropriate looks / experience to support the following work:
·         Modeling
·         Acting
·         TV / Events presenting
·         Dancing
·         Bartending
·         Public promotions
·         Corporate hospitality
RENT-A-MATE also offers free profile photography for promo MATES who are approved, as well as a free video recording session to increase your chances of bookings.

If you feel you have experience within any of the above areas, please apply for a position with RENT-A-MATE at http://www.rent-a-mate.com.au/application_form.php

Mike Lange - Owner
RENT-A-MATE

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Vara Ihop - new book by Carolin Dahlman

My latest book, arrived in the mail today, for sale in Sweden from May 1st. Book number eleven if I count all the versions!! I think I like books, lol :)

ADD-inclined Gen Y´s get "one minute news" - perfect match!

Trendcentral has spotted a Gen Y media trend:

"Former MTV exec Doug Greenlaw is perhaps more attuned to the desires of Gen Y than are most media professionals. Along with his son Mack (also a former MTV staffer), Greenlaw recently founded One Minute News, a video-based, online news start-up targeting ADD-inclined Gen Ys. Visitors to the minimalist site can choose their topic of interest (everything from international affairs to entertainment), click on their video of choice, and be informed of a current event or issue in less than one minute. In true Gen Y form, the news outlet’s roster of reporters, which includes Current TV alum Yasmin Vossoughian, is as multicultural as it is young." Check it out: http://oneminutenews.com/

I bet a lot of serious grown ups will find this horrendous!!! "Can´t the kids consumer more than a minute of the important issues in life" Gaaaasp! I agree that choosing gossip mags or chilling in front of crappy tv shows like Jersey Shore might lead to entropy, but I also think that too much news consumption can do the same. When we focus on all the negatives in life, and use our time to worry and frown, we damage our health and wellbeing.

I´m re-reading the amazing book "Hidden messages in water" by Masaru Emoto, a scientist who has taken photos of water crystals and through this discovered how our thoughts, words and vibes can influence the quality of the water we consume and are built of (70 % of YOU is made out of water).

He was stoked one day when him and his assistant decided to play music to water and see how it reacted. It turned out the water crystals turned into beautiful shapes when listening to classic music, but turned ugly when heavy metal came through the speakers. He then started to say certain words and write notes on the bottles to see how the water reacted, and once again he was stunned!!! Saying nasty comments like "you are a fool" damaged the crystals, while they seemed to love the sound of words like happiness. The words that lead to the prettiest shape was "gratitude and happiness".


Hence, if we fill ourselves up with positive messages, this will affect our bodies and worlds. Maybe news are dangerous for you, watching all that pain and trouble? I know how much happier I have become living in Australia where we don´t care too much about the dramas or wars, instead of living in Sweden where everyone is overly concerned about everything! I´m not ashamed of turning off the news today, while I was a heavy consumer over there. I rather create happy pretty crystals in water...


 
Look at the light, not the darkness. Look up, not down.

How you word your product can make a huge difference too: http://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/positive-names.htm

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We never need a product - only what the product can do for us


I just made this slide and thought you might like it. It´s an important part of strategy and marketing to not be too hooked up on the product benefits and features, but to instead research the market properly and understand how the product fits into people´s lives and make things better, bigger, richer - both in a practical and emotional way. Never forget to ask what problem you are solving for the person who you want to shop your stuff!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

We drink alcohol like our mates drink alcohol - or...? What is driving a habit?

Perhaps not so surprising, but research has found that we copy our friends´ behaviour when it comes to alcohol consumption. We drink like our friends.

“The influence of your friends and people you have connections with can affect your health just as much as your family history or your genetic background," says Nicholas Christakis, professor of medicine at Harvard University and lead author of a study of drinking habits.

In the study, self-reported alcohol intake over time followed changes in the alcohol intake of the respondents' social contacts and researchers found that a person was 50 percent more likely to drink heavily if a person they are directly connected with also drinks heavily and 36 percent more likely to drink heavily if a friend of a friend drinks heavily.

According to The Economist, the world drank the equivalent of 6.1 litres of pure alcohol per person in 2005, (data from the World Health Organisation published on February 11th 2011).

“The biggest boozers are mostly found in Europe and in the former Soviet states. Moldovans are the most bibulous, getting through 18.2 litres each, nearly 2 litres more than the Czechs in second place. Over 10 litres of a Moldovan's annual intake is reckoned to be 'unrecorded' home-brewed liquor, making it particularly harmful to health. Such moonshine accounts for almost 30% of the world's drinking. The WHO estimates that alcohol results in 2.5m deaths a year, more than AIDS or tuberculosis. In Russia and its former satellite states one in five male deaths is caused by drink.”

Is the Harvard research giving us a solution to the drinking problems of the world (or use it as a way to sell more drinks...)? Can we send out troops of drinkers or non-drinkers to spread their habits to others? I´m not sure.

We don´t really know if we drink because our buddies are drinking, or if we hang out with the buddies who like their booze in the same way as us...

My dad was an alcoholic, and he didn´t become one because his friends were heavy consumers. No, he wanted to justify his drinking urge by spending his day in a house where everyone else craved the vodka as well. If you want to eat rubbish food, be negative in your mindset or drink yourself to death, you will not be comfortable to have friends who are little positive, wholesome angels. No, you will think those healthy people are annoying – and you will prefer those who don´t nag or judge you. Addictions are complex, and no one who has never felt the craving can understand someone who has.

But anyway, if you are surrounded with ‘good’ influence at early age, I think that may give you a choice in life, beyond your biological mix of genes attracting you to bad stuff.

10 food & drinks trends if you are interested in this area: http://www.cnngo.com/singapore/eat/10-food-trends-expect-2011-054718

And an article from MIT, explaining why it´s hard to break a habit: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2005/10/20/mit-explains-why-bad-habits-are-hard-to-break/

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bank marketing amplifies the view of them being smooth talking bad boys

Why are so many banks marketed with fear as a core message? By amplifying what customers are scared of they damage the whole industry.

Let´s have a look at the big four (85% of the market):

- ANZ bank promote their fabulous service with Barbara - who lives in the bank world and is an ignorant bitch (I guess).
- NAB sell their own fabulousness by telling people to break up with their current banks - because they suck (I guess)?
- Commonwealth Bank showcases how friendly they are by having people faint by the unexpected thought of a bank person calling them back - since most other banks will never do such a thing (I guess).
- Westpac is apparently a bank you can bank on - while the others are not? (I guess)

Someone asked me "do banks need to be liked?" and I must say YES. We all need to have a bank, and we all want to trust our bank, since it is representing our secure base. The bank has all your cash and this is what you need to pay rent, get food and shop for cars or mascara - all the essentials... We desperately want to have a bank we CAN trust.

When a bank indirectly tells you that banks are not to trust - at least not theirs - they awaken a negative emotion, a doubt that lingers around there in the gut, but that we do NOT want to have.

People want to feel safe. This is why so many around the world are drawn to smooth talking politicians, pastors, bad boys and sales assistants. We want to trust. We want other people to lead with confidence, so we can live life comfortably. If they don´t, we get too much responsibility, and most humans are not born to like that... Not everyone wish to be a leader, but rather look up to the stars and follow. Only a few dares to step up against normality, go against and raise their fist.

Hence, telling people you should go to a bank because the other banks are bastards, is to play in a very dangerous emotional space. Since everyone else has the same message - saying YOU are the bastard - customers will jump around, trusting no one.

I don´t have numbers of ROI and other ways to measure success, but would love to get some if you guys have... Has anyone compared bank ads and what actually works - in the long run? I know I think I am with Commonwealth bank because of Roman who works in Bondi and who I adore, and that they have most ATM´s and I am a tight ass who doesn´t want to pay fees. But who knows - maybe I was drawn to the bank to start with because of other forces?



I think BankWest is silly, and what does happy has to do with banks? But at least it´s positive, and I do think people wish to laugh in tragedies... Consumer insight: Most people feel a bit of guilt, fear and worries when it comes to their money situation (and prefer to talk to their mum than the judgemental bank person who will put the blame on them for shopping an ipad instead of saving for super) and as in all conflicts and dramas, a big laugh is what will most successfully release tension.



But is it successful? Let me know if you know, I´m just referring to psycological findings...

And, isn´t banks similar to NRL players; people assume they will screw up? The bad boys always do, don´t they Todd...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Married couples choose to live apart - new trend to avoid closeness?

I heard on channel 9 news this morning that it is getting more common for married couples to have separate houses, especially if they re-marry. I´m not sure how many couples the statistics are based on, or if it is a phenomenon in a small city outside London (need to check the news again for details) but still think the stats were interesting.

Intimacy, closeness and reality is sort of not trendy anymore. We all know that having 732 Facebook friends doesn´t mean you have someone to chill with on a Sunday, and that the technical developments have separated people and brought us together at the same time, but what does this mean in the long run. For how long can we live our individual lives without losing our minds?

OR is this completely natural. The longer we live, the more complex our personalities and needs, and the harder to compromise and share with other human beings. Families no longer gather around the dinner table, eating the same food. There are one kind of milk for every person in the house hold, and we hang out with friends in the physical world at the same time as we have conversations on our iphones, ipads and checking out the other people around us.

Kids are better than adults doing this, which means it´s a learned behaviour. Which means that multi-closeness or apart-closeness it is not harming us or goes against our nature. Some people will be frustrated about the development, and we have all met those who say ''I hate Facebook" and judge the 600 million people who love it, but it´s all about different needs for different people. Haven´t old people always frowned at what the young ones do?

Living together. Living apart. Whatever suits you. As long as you are not hiding from living NOW and opening up for love.

Monday, April 18, 2011

People don´t get happy until they are 85 - unless we make them shop the right stuff of course...

Ok, I am in my mid 30´s so according to research I am not very happy at the moment – buy wow how my level of happiness is about to increase soon!
In a study of 341,000 people American National Academy of Sciences found that enjoyment of life dwindled in early adulthood, but took an upward turn in the late 40´s, finally peaking at age 85.
Psychologists believe that this bliss may be because in old age we become more selective about how we use our time and focus more on things that we enjoy, rather than the things that make us unhappy.
Isn´t it sad how we get so occupied by life that we forget to enjoy it – until we are 85!!!
For marketers its valuable information since we can for sure fill that lack of happiness with lots of products in a period when people build house, family and career and are in serious need of both things and confidence.... Sounds cynical of course, but isn´t this what we do all day? Trying to make people happy? We fill emotional voids and run like a water stream in to those empty spaces.
As long as the water is clean, I guess it´s ok. Who am I to judge how people find their happiness? If someone gets happy when buying a new really expensive eye cream from Estee Lauder and get goodie bags too (I TOLD you I´m in my mid 30´s and need these things, lol)... who is anyone to judge?
His Holiness @dalailama tweeted yesterday “No matter what our situation, we all share the same aspiration for happiness.”  (pst. quoting a tweet and not the books is a sign of our snack sized information era)
He means happiness is the purpose of life. Joy, laughs, contentment, pleasure, peace of mind, butterflies in your belly – however you describe it, happiness is the purpose of life. Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever your age – happiness is the purpose of life. It is in our genes.
This is why we love the meaningless kicking of a ball on a stadium, why more people watch the low rated Hollywood crap than the ‘fancy’ films or why I felt absolutely fantastic yesterday when travelling back home carrying a really expensive cream for my eyes. There is a lot to worry about in the world and in our own life and personas… but joy is a human need.
I listened to a talk by strategist Rob Pyne the other week and he had developed Maslow´s famous pyramid to include humor. I liked that thought, and I do sometimes think our need of happiness goes beyond our need of food and water as well. We know that kids who don´t get hugs and love die…
Emotional branding and Love Branding is much stronger than rational arguments, graphs and ratings. Sure, the numbers back up our gut instinct when purchasing something our heart is craving, but they don´t lead to purchase on their own. Whatever makes us happy, we will pay for!
I wish of course that more people could find the true core of happiness at a younger age, and that the early adulthood could be a pleasant experience instead of a hunt for success, money, kids and stuff. But who am I to judge…?
Find things to laugh about today J

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A boygirl - or a human? Andrej Pejic is a symbol of a shift towards humanity beyond gender

The hottest supermodel at the moment is a boy looking like a girl in a 'Boy George but classy' way. Andrej Pejic was raised in Melbourne and got to be the face and body of a Jean Paul Gaultier wedding gown in Paris earlier this year. He is called "an angrogynous sensation" and is for sure stunning in a really cool way.

His approach may be a sign of metrosexuality taking a step further. In Australia, ads from beer brands are trying to win men back to the cave stage, but globally there is a trend towards genderlessness. Or should I say individualism, letting people be what they wish to be no matter how they are born.

I love this thought. When we are allowed to grow and explore all parts of ourselves, without being limited by cultural barriers like gender, religion or looks, we can experience freedom beyond the political freedom philosophers have discussed through time. When people can live their life as they wish, they can maximise their true potential and meet dharma. 

Looks is just one part of this, but a symbol of a shift.

(For those who can read Swedish I have developed an ideology beyond politics I call 'life liberalism' in a book. Email if you want to read and I´ll send a pdf.)

More about this beauty, Andrej Pejic: http://models.com/people/andrej-pejic

Purchase my book on Libertarian Feminism (in Swedish, publisher the market liberal think tank Timbro): http://www.timbrobokhandel.se/B%F6cker/242/frihet-och-feminism.aspx

Friday, April 15, 2011

Why don´t people like freedom, and why are we happy when buying the right shampoo?

Why are people still supporting the leaders who hold them down? Why are people avoiding freedom, loving boundaries and the stability of a Boss? Berlusconi keeps messing up - but the Italians still vote for him (at least until the opposition can unite on a new head). Khadafi is apparently surpressing the Libyans - but he has lots of supporters. All through history people have happily obeyed kings, f├╝rhers, priests and tsars. It seems like freedom and democracy is not a human need.

Existentialists like Kierkegaard and Nietzsche who saw happiness as a result of finding ones meaning of life and taking responsibility to go for it and live accordinly in passion - but who also pointed out that
freedom leads to negative feelings like despair, angst, absurdity, alienation and boredom - put a finger on why so many humans prefer to stay in the comfort zone instead of experiencing life to the full and exploring their full potential.

Being happy through completion has a price. When you get full freedom and live your life as you are born to do, you are suddenly put on a stage. You will experience pressure to perform, to be in charge, to enjoy fully - which lots of people rather avoid. Having a Leader is easier, at least it seems to be. It´s like you are a little baby, safely tucked in under a blanket in your cradle. People feel: "Let others bother about your finances, about fighting wars and building streets and hospitals - let the politicians handle all those things - and I can just chill and have a beer! Let me live life to 80% - to make it FULL and to find the powers within costs too much..."

Some people are born leaders, crazy and brave, and they will lead if you let them. They will jump into risks and challenges. But not everyone is like that. Others listen to the Bosses, and even if they know Berlusconi is a performer - full of words - they will WANT to trust him - to avoid being the captain themselves.

Human nature.

Another example of people abandoning freedom is Ukraine, where the old leaders are voted back after a period of democracy: "Ukraine´s brief flirtation with Western-style democracy is over... It took a revolution in 2004 to get rid of Leonid Kuchma, the Soviet-style strongman who ruled for ten years. But is leaders soon fell to squabbling, and last year exasperated voters finally dumped them in favour of Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Russian apparatchik with links to rich oligarchs. Now they´re back where they started. After barely a year in office, Yanukovych has forced through constitutional changes that give him all the power, with parliament rubber-stamping his decrees. He has reneged on his promise of lower taxes and instead offered relief to the big corporations run by his pals. His rival, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, is facing corruption charges without any real evidence presented..." (from the Week)

I think many liberal politicians get it all wrong because they assume that wanting freedom is in our genes. It is not! Freedom of choice, freedom of speech - forget about it; most people are too frightened to make choices - and speaking in public is apparently scarier than death for a majority of us. This is why democracy is not 'good' in itself - it may well lead to slavery and barriers. Good or bad? Who knows the meaning of that...?

Love is on the other hand a human need. The sense of belonging, being normal and 'ok', fitting in, belonging, following a crowd - it all comes down to the need of LOVE.

Need of love leads us to famous brands, to dressing like everyone else, to keep on shopping for shoes even if our wardrobes are packed already.

It´s nothing I wish to exploit, as if I was another Berlusconi or Ceasar or Pope, but basically this is what we play with as marketers. How to help customers get love from their peers. We lead them to the brands that will give them a lifestyle that makes them feel recognised and appreciated. We guide them to the brands that help them feel confident and a part of something bigger. We understand their deep needs and behaviours to sell them things that expands their circle of love, makes them fit in and attract.

People who seek just products are rare. They might be the early adopters, looking for new gadgets, but they do that to fit in to their group of early adopters! They too seek love. No body buys with rational motives alone.

It is a dilemma to be a marketer, guiding people to love in a commercial way. I´ve been a libertarian writer for ages, debating and arguing for political freedom, because I assumed it would help people grow, find their dharma, and be happy - but I´m not sure that is a better, more honourable way than to sell peanuts and hamburgers. Is it ok though, to lure people to spend all their money on stuff, while all they really want is a hug...? Not sure.

We are all different, and humans are complex creatures. I can´t demand anyone to be happy in the way I choose. All I can do - as a marketer or a political columnist - is to be humble, gain understanding of humanity and work from the heart. If a chick gets happy when buying a certain shampoo or a Toyota, I will let her be. What do you think?

Pst... This does not mean I support Khadafi, Berlusconi or any dictator in the world.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Love Branding, Lovemarks - Like two religions talking about the same Energy

When I say I work with "Love Branding" many people think I either work for Siimon Reynolds old agency Love Communications, or with Kevin Roberts´ Lovemarks. Both lovely guys with bright ideas, and our philosophies are similar, just like two spiritual schools most likely refer to the same energy or God (the mysterious 'something bigger') even if they are separated into various cultural churches.

Compared to Lovemarks, Love Branding is probably:

1.  more psychology and science based,
2.  more a method about HOW to make people fall in love with your brand,
3   more research/insights/people focused than advertising focused, and
4   more 'spiritual' since I work with my insights from connecting people in romantic relationship.

But I do admire both Reynolds and Roberts, and decided to re-read Lovemarks today to get some great inspiration. If you don´t know what the book is about, here is a summary from the website: http://www.lovemarks.com/

About LovemarksThe Future Beyond Brands


Brands have run out of juice. More and more people in the world have grown to expect great performance from products, services and experiences. And most often, we get it. Cars start first time, fries are always crisp, dishes shine.


A few years ago, Saatchi & Saatchi looked closely at the question: What makes some brands inspirational, while others struggle?


And we came up with the answer: “Lovemarks: the future beyond brands”

How do I know a Lovemark?
Lovemarks transcend brands. They deliver beyond your expectations of great performance. Like great brands, they sit on top of high levels of respect - but there the similarities end.


Lovemarks reach your heart as well as your mind, creating an intimate, emotional connection that you just can’t live without. Ever.


Take a brand away and people will find a replacement. Take a Lovemark away and people will protest its absence. Lovemarks are a relationship, not a mere transaction. You don’t just buy Lovemarks, you embrace them passionately. That’s why you never want to let go.


Put simply, Lovemarks inspire: “Loyalty Beyond Reason”

The Hallmarks of a Lovemark
At the core of every Lovemark is Respect. No Respect? It’s not a Lovemark. It’s as simple as that. Check out the Love/Respect Axis and see just where your favorite brand is sitting.


A Lovemark’s high Love is infused with these three intangible, yet very real, ingredients: Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy.


Mystery draws together stories, metaphors, dreams and symbols. It is where past, present and future become one.


Mystery adds to the complexity of relationships and experiences because people are drawn to what they don’t know. After all, if we knew everything, there would be nothing left to learn or to wonder at.


Sensuality keeps the five senses on constant alert for new textures, intriguing scents and tastes, wonderful music. Sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste.


Our senses work together to alert us, lift us, transport us. When they are stimulated at the same time, the results are unforgettable. It is through the five senses we experience the world and create our memories.


Intimacy means empathy, commitment and passion. The close connections that win intense loyalty as well as the small perfect gesture. These are often remembered long after functions and benefits have faded away.


Without Intimacy people cannot feel they own a brand, and without that conviction a brand can never become a Lovemark.

Shah Ruhk Khan - a famous Bollywood star - is by the way the Nr 1 Lovemark in the world, according to Lovemarks.com

Sign up for Kevin Roberts´ newsletter, out every Friday! http://www.saatchikevin.com/Subscribe/

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The ad men you don´t want to copy

Just re-watched one of my favourite YT clips about the wankers in adland :)

Taxis for singles - makes you great and green (like the Hulk!)

I love this idea! Tiny cars, suitable for one person plus luggage, are carrying travellers from Stansted Airport, north of London. Instead of having massive taxis with one guy in a suit in each of them, you get a greener, earth healthier option. The cars combine low fuel consumption with reduced carbon dioxide output (2.6 kg less on a 30 km trip).

Some people say it doesn´t matter. Switch the electricity off at night or not, separate glass from rubbish or not, using aircon or not - I´m just a little Me you might say, what difference can I make? But sometimes difference is not made in physical steps but in mental. When you choose the tiny car and turn the light off for an hour a year (great opportunity to play with sparkles!!!) you make a decision that can enlighten a world. Your energy shifts, you feel better about yourself, you become more aware of things. And those tiny changes will be big changes eventually.

"The fluttering of a butterfly´s wings can effect climate changes on the other side of the planet" Paul Erlich, The Chaos Theory

From Wikipedia:
The butterfly effect is a metaphor that encapsulates the concept of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory; namely, a small change at one place in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere. Although this may appear to be an esoteric and unusual behavior, it is exhibited by very simple systems: for example, a ball placed at the crest of a hill might roll into any of several valleys depending on slight differences in initial position. The butterfly effect is a common trope in fiction when presenting scenarios involving time travel and with "what if" cases where one storyline diverges at the moment of a seemingly minor event resulting in two significantly different outcomes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Will women work in the future?

Will women have children in the future? Will there be housewives? Will women work?

A study from Regus has found that 33% of companies believe that employing and trainging young mothers is risky because they may end up leaving after a short time to have another child. 37% are concerned that part-time working mothers will show less commitment and flexibility than others.

But mos employers - 63% - say they value part time returning moms because they offer skills and experience that are difficult to find in the current market. They are also more likelyto be cheap... 54% of companies favor part-time mothers because they offer experience and skills without demanding top salaries.

Companies worry about all sorts of things. They avoid us Europeans because they need to make sure we get a 457 visa - which is actually a guarantee to have staff staying around - and they avoid moms because they might be leaving.

Thing is if you are a great employer encouraging and empowering your people, they will stay. If you disrespect and nag, they will leave. Karma is a far stronger rule than demographic.

I don´t think women will be baby producers only in the future. Step by step we move towards a world where individuals are valued for what they do, think and are, instead of what they look like beween their legs. We will see a world where we are not born into a certain gender culture, moulding our lives and personalities, limiting our movements.

Or is this just my dream...? Life style changes tend to move slower than technological changes, but be just as suprising.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why celebrity ads do not perform better

Advertising analytics firm Ace Metrix has studied and analysed 2600 TVC´s from 2010 and the conclusion is that celebrity ads do not perform any better than non-celebrity ads and in some cases they perform much worse.

I think the reason for this is that using a celebrity might be your ONLY strategy. If the famous face is going to attract customers by being famous you are using a lazy shortcut, that will not lead anywhere. Great ads are built on insights on the customer and her life, feelings, thoughts, fears and aspirations. Without them you are lost, you are building a house on mud, and that house will not last for long.

Some brands use celebs in a smart way, matching the person with the brand and the customer soul, but many times the marketer is trying to buy success instead of earning it. By opening the wallet and put a superstar in the TVC they hope the fame will rub off.

But.... the new research is a warning. Be smart. Just as you can´t buy love by opening the champagne, you can´t fool people into loving your brand by dancing with the stars. The customer is the STAR.

Friday, April 8, 2011

For how long will bills be around? Those dirty space and time thieves

Sweden will get new bills in 3-4 years, showcasing our most famous singers and writers. No royalties to be seen. Astrid Lindgren - author of childrens books - got the lowest dollar number but will be the one we most often use. The leftish feminists are actually arguing at the moment that even if there are 3 women and 3 men, the guys represents the higher values... Ah well.

Who is on your bill? In the future, don´t you think we will be able to make our own? If bills will even exist... I love the ad from Visa where everyone simply pay with their card while some dude brings up a dollar bill, hence needing change - and stopping the flow of the queue. Brilliant! Why are Visa not showing it from their website by the way? Why are brands not spreading their videos through their owned media after spending so much on bought and earned? Odd. (there is no 'follow me on twitter' either... social media consultants, give Visa a call!!)

I wish I could use my phone to pay, especially after being on a run when all I bring is my key and phone. If I want to go to the shop for milk after I need to go home to get my wallet. Sure, I could do the shoe trick or put the cash in my bra, but how nice is that... Makes me think of how awfully dirty dollar bills are, and that the health minister should ban them! Or, even better, Visa could use this fact in their next ad. "Go Germs"!

Anyway, sales of hand sanitizers (Us 06-09. I´m sure there are fresher numbers out there but I had these laying around...)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Women are chatty shopaholics - Confirmed!!

Nielsen Wire just released these data about texting among men and women of all ages (Us). Amazing! Of course you are not going to blindly trust statistics... but look at how much teenage girls are tapping away!

And look at the data in the second graph, of how much women shop compared to men.
Ah, that women are chatty shopaholics is nothing new I guess, but still something that are simply not talked about enough at agencies, where insights on female behaviour and emotions are still not strong enough, and both strategies and campaigns are created by men. No complaints, but it can only get better :) I recommend to read Shemarketing by Amanda Stevens and other books, but to really get into the minds of women you have to understand how insecure and caring and fabulous and needy we are on a deep deep deep level. Love Coaching women have opened my eyes beyond focus groups and latte talks on Sunday mornings. OMG, we are complex, lol.

Read the whole article: http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/consumer/in-u-s-men-are-shopping-more-than-ever-while-women-are-watching-more-tv/

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Beautiful choir presented on TED and other music + youtube stuff



Another 'music + YouTube' phenomenon is of course The Symphony Orchestra:



"Join 101 musicians from over 30 countries who make up the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 playing a spectacular Grand Finale concert at Sydney Opera House.The musicians met for a weeklong celebration of music in Sydney culminating in the Grand Finale featuring animated visuals on the interior and exterior projections by Obscura Digital on the iconic sails, all synchronised to the music of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011's performance and conducted by YouTube Symphony Orchestra Artistic Advisor Michael Tilson Thomas."

And then we have the Iggy Pop version...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A brand is a blend - and the wrong jeans might scare the girls off

Me and my closest single girlfriends were having a drink at the rsl on Sunday and we were of course checking out the boys. The place had talent, but we found ourself going "that guy is cute but I can´t stand v neck tees", or "I thought he was hot, until I saw his jeans". Shallow, yes, but this IS how it works, whether we want it to or not.

Sure, you might have a brilliant personality, and even a to die for body, but if it´s packaged in the wrong way, the chances of being picked up can still be low...

The same rule can be applied on brands. If a shop has great clothes, but the carry bag looks cheap or if a girl is hunting you around the shop to 'help' you (soooo annoying) it can scare people away. If your powerpoint presentation looks messy, clients will not see your fantastic ideas. If you are constantly late, it doesn´t matter if the service you provide is good.

You do NOT sell just your product or service You sell a brand - a blend of expectations, aspirations, memories, experiences, subconscious and conscious thoughts and feelings. A brand is not what you want it to be, but what it is. It is not an item, it´s a story.

Have a look at how Don Draper sells what the client think is a boring product: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHUUyx0d7qw&feature=related

In a world of never ending choices you need to watch out, be aware of the details and the holistic outloo. The wrong tee will make a girl go 'naaaah'. And what if she was the one...

TEDx at Carriageworks in Sydney May 28

Don´t forget to sign up for TEDx on May 28!! http://www.tedxsydney.com/default.cfm

Monday, April 4, 2011

The bus says "sorry" and I feel fantastic!

I saw this new approach from Sydney buses the other day. The bus is no longer simply "not in service" but "SORRY not in service".

What a difference a little word makes. Sorry...

Suddenly I smile, suddenly I feel seen as a human being and not talked to robot to robot.

What if more organisations could see the importance of this, and add a few "sorry" before their messages. Like: "sorry, this table is reserved", "sorry, but could you please not put pads in the toilet" or "sorry, we are closed, come back tomorrow".

What a difference a little word makes. Sorry...

Why don´t you add a few words to your vocabulary today as well? Please, sorry, thank you, you are lovely, great work, awesome, fabulous, well done, good on ya, keep smiling! It will make a difference...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Who creates these sexist ads?

Reckit Benckiser has made another shockingly bad ad, following the BAM and Vanish ones... The ad rolling on Australian TV at the moment is selling a toilet cleaner with seriously sexist attitudes. A man comes home to see his wife (I assume) unpacking glasses, because THE neighbours are coming to visit and everything has to be PERFECT. The husband then brings his wife (or I kind of hope she is his cleaning lady and not in a relationship with him) into the bathroom and look at the toilet, saying "How are you going to make THAT look new?"

OK, making ads for toilet cleaners can´t be the coolest job in the world, but how can any marketing manager who lives and breathes in Australian culture believe that it will be appealing to show a woman getting told she won´t be able to clean the toilet properly? I just go: Clean the f''¨´´cking toilet yourself Mister!!! I´ve cleaned the rest of the house, don´t ask me "How will YOU going to make that look new?"

Plus, who hangs out with neighbours they are scared of? This is the land of friendly casual bbq´s where everyone talks to everyone. If you are so whined up about having guests over, don´t invite them. Or MOVE!

I haven´t been able to locate the ad, but if you find it, send it to me please :)

On the Reckit Benckiser website I read about their commercials: "It´s all about making an impact. Doing somethng properly. RB invests more in media than any of its competitors - 12.4% of net revenue. That´s visionary."

Yeah, right...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Creative Chinese consumers are bossy status seekers

I´m off to Beijing in July so I thought I´d check out what´s going on there. TNS has identified "ten things you should know about China". Interesting stuff! Anything you wish to add?

1. China's urban and rural population.
With ubiquitous pictures of China's modern development it is easy to overlook the fact that more than 700 million Chinese live in rural areas where per capita income is a little over 700 dollars a year. This means that the products and services for these markets need to be different from those in large cities. However rapid urbanization is on the way. Over the coming years 10 million will move to urban areas every year, and half of China's population will live in cities and towns by 2015.

2. A grey population.
It is a common perception that Asian populations are a lot younger than in the West. Asians do make more babies, but lower standards of health care have, in the past, meant Asians die a lot younger. However this is changing. The Chinese market is no longer driven only by youth but also by the 'greying' consumer. While older people's incomes may be limited on an individual basis, collectively they offer a sizable target market with relatively unique physical and emotional needs. For example visits to supermarkets are not just for shopping but are also a leisure activity in China.

3. China is inventing its own product cycles rather than following the West.
The traditional purchasing model of moving up the product chain is not relevant in China. In other developing countries, like India, a consumer would start with a small car and buy a bigger car when they could afford to. In China consumers move from owning nothing to buying a big car. This is due to a rapid and recent acquisition of wealth. Manufacturers should not assume that the traditional product development cycle of the West will apply to China.

4. Proud to be Chinese but admire others.
In recent years there has been a huge shift in the global balance of power with China becoming a key player. The Chinese are fiercely proud of this. From spectacular economic growth to staging the Olympic Games - the list of achievements is long. The Chinese often feel that China provides more opportunities than the West but that the world does not understand its culture and values. Despite this strong and often overt patriotism the Chinese have been open to the influence of other countries. While rediscovering the power of their own feng shui, they also enjoy Korean opera, Japanese cartoons and practice Indian yoga.

5. Web 2.0.
It is well known that internet users are growing exponentially in China and this is likely to continue. However, what is less well understood is that internet adoption in China is not following the Western model but is establishing its own unique pattern. Western consumers regularly use the internet for e-mail and e-commerce; Chinese consumers, in the main, use it for information gathering, social networking and entertainment. Internet in China is a means of expression and interaction. The reliance on internet is further magnified in the context that many Chinese people are consuming products and services for the first time. For instance, 70% of car buyers are first time buyers and tend to use the internet for information on which to base a purchase decision.

6. Online commerce.
While as a proportion of total trade in China, online trade is still small, in absolute terms it's extremely large. Contrary to expectations, e-commerce is not just a big city phenomenon. Young consumers in smaller towns and cities often buy apparel and fashion products from websites such as Taobao as the physical distribution lags behind significantly when compared to the large metros.

7. Going green.
A recent report suggested that China has now overtaken the US as the largest energy consumer in the world. However, it also a fact that consumers in China are becoming more concerned about the environment and global warming. They are increasingly willing to pay a premium for environmentally-friendly products and services from companies that take their social responsibility seriously.

8. Chinese people are creative and love design.
After years of collective uniformity, Chinese consumers are eager to express their creativity. Design has always been important in certain categories, such as clothing and consumer electronics, but is now finding its way in almost every product category in China.

9. Chinese consumers are questioning and demanding.
While on one hand, Chinese consumers are widely embracing modern products and services, they are also becoming more assertive, even militant. One of the reasons is that branding has a limited history in China. As a result the attachment that the consumers have with a brand is often not very strong and they can be unforgiving about any lapse that they see in a product's performance.

10. Up trade and down trade.
It is not uncommon to see an office worker with a mobile phone that costs one month's salary to buy. Chinese consumers are willing to pay above the odds for two things - status and the protection of their children's health - while conversely using cheaper products in the privacy of their own homes.