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December 11, 2008

Mothballing Marktd, Evolving PSFK

by Guy Brighton in Ad Biz, Automotive, Brand Experience, Branding, Creative Thinking, Design, Discipline, Electronics, Entertainment, Event Marketing, Fashion, Food & Drink, Gaming, Guerrilla Marketing, Health & Beauty, Home & Garden, Influencer Targeting, Market Research, Media & Publishing, Media Planning & Strategy, Mobile Marketing, Music, Online & Web Services, Online Marketing, Outdoor Marketing, Packaging Design, Product Design, Public Relations, Retail, Sector, Sports & Fitness, Telecom

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We’ve made a decision to stop publishing on Marktd. Despite making changes to focus on the creative/marketing ideas sister site of PSFK.com, we are still unhappy with the quantity and quality of the site.

Marktd started life as a subscription site called IF! which offered ideas to marketers about how to promote their products in a fresh, modern way. It was fairly successful and we got a good number of people pay the $25 subscription - but we felt that the subscription stopped it being read by a large group of people. A few months back we decided to stop the subscription and relaunch the site as Marktd. Since then interest in the site hasn’t really picked up. I would suggest that this is because of a number of reasons:

* We just aren’t that interesting in marketing and advertising. Personally it’s been 7 years since I had a full time job in advertising and the longer time goes on, the less interest I have in the field. Combine that apathy with the fact that only one or two of the regular writing team have ever worked in advertising.

* Many of our readers who work in marketing and advertising don’t seem to be that interested in only reading about marketing and advertising.

* When we do find exceptional marketing ideas that we are interested in, they tend to end up on PSFK.com anyway.

* We launched Marktd because IF! just wasn’t good enough. We’re closing Marktd because the site just didn’t meet our standards.

Maybe one day we’ll think about relaunching it - maybe with a sponsoring partner. From today, the Marktd email newsletter and RSS will change to PSFK content. We’re hoping that the existing Marktd readers will get even better creative ideas content as a result.

Thanks,

PF

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December 3, 2008

Recap: Good Ideas in 2009 in Digital: Shaping Our Online Identities

by Christine Huang in Brand Experience, Branding, Creative Thinking, Media Planning & Strategy, Mobile Marketing, Online Marketing, Web & Technology, Youth Marketing

At our Good Ideas in 2009: Digital salon yesterday, much of the conversation surrounded how our online identities are created, both actively - through our own decisions of what we share about ourselves - and passively - through the actions and perceptions of others. Given that we only have control over half of that equation, how do we ensure that the best and brightest portrait of ourselves is seen by the wider community?

Piers posited his “Red Coat, Black Coat” theory back in 2006, which proved to be a harbinger of conversations to come about approaches to online privacy as the internet extends its reach further into our daily activities. At yesterday’s session, two methods became most evident: one centers around greater transparency. By choosing to let every detail out into the public sphere by our own hand, we’re able to send a clear message that says “this is who I am and I’m okay with that.” Of course, this is a bit of a risky proposition, but a more complex picture with all of its strengths and flaws, is certainly a truer one as well.

The other view that operates alongside the above idea of being “free and open,” is to take a more dynamic role participating in the feedback loop. Developing relationships with not only your friends, but your critics as well, promotes conversation and can lead to understanding.

These lessons don’t only apply to our individual profiles anymore either, but speak to the larger identities being developed at the level of corporations and brands too. Building on this platform, we’re witnessing a trend of businesses starting to raise the bar in terms of the amount and type information being provided to the public, while at the same engaging consumers on a more personal basis.

Online retailer Zappos was mentioned during yesterday’s session as one company that has been able to implement this model in a positive way through the context of their social media-styled employee blogs. Other examples that illustrate this new movement include user generated review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp that enable businesses to directly respond to their costumers and GM Facts and Fiction, an attempt by General Motors to dispel rumors about the current state of their company.

As we begin to see successes from the early adopters of this paradigm shift, we expect more companies will jump aboard and participate. This trend can only lead to a richer consumer experience for all involved.

Watch the video of yesterday’s inspiring session here, and read Fast Company’s review of it here.

[image via Michael Martin]

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November 20, 2008

Hands-on with the Engaging Ideas Card Pack

by Nicko Margolies in Brand Experience, Branding, Creative Thinking, Design, Market Research, Media & Publishing, Media Planning & Strategy, Outdoor Marketing, Packaging Design, Product Design, TV Advertising

A while back, we wrote a short post about the Engaging Ideas Card Pack and mentioned, “We haven’t gotten our hands on the full set, but it looks like a neat package for a broad range of ideas.”  Well, now (thanks to Rob Fox) we’ve gotten our grubs on the entire pack and sifted through the stack of colorful cards.

The first impression is that they look like a deck of large novelty sized playing cards printed on thick stock cardboard.  The front side of each card is an image meant to invoke the message or activity presented on the back.  For the most part, the full card formatted images are stellar, ranging from iconic art and expressive photography down to some painfully low resolution and pixelated images.  However, given the goals of the cards to engage employees through practical exercises, this is a rather minor point.

The 52-card deck (not including two jokers) is meant to stimulate positive discussion through identification of business goals and ideals.  The cards are divided into three general categories: Discover, Design and Deliver.  In this hierarchy of inspiration the cards build on each other by slowly introducing more complex activities, interspersed with straightforward tips.

The themes that appeared the most were honing the effectiveness of leadership, identifying core values and honing the business environment to suit the challenges ahead.  Here are two sample cards that we think embody the entire project:

21.  Distributed Leadership

We tend to think that leadership is something that happens at the top.  True, but what is perhaps more true is that acts of leadership happen across and throughout business, day in, day out.  Identify these acts of leadership, encourage them and communicate them widely.  Doing so helps to demonstrate that all people can offer leadership and will also help acts of leadership to flourish.  This exercise also begs an answer to a fundamentally important question necessary to achieve higher levels of engagement: what does your business recognize as leadership?

48.  Heartstorming
A success factor for any engagement effort is to discover, design and deliver better ways to connect emotionally with people to inspire their commitment and action.  To help accomplish this make “heartstorming” rather than just brainstorming, a core aspect of your business’ problem solving and change practices.  Demonstrating difference, “heartstorming” will help to uncover and build stronger emotional connections by focusing groups on questions like:

  • I love it when…
  • I get a kick out of it when…
  • My heart beats faster when…
  • I’m energized when…
  • It frustrates me when…
  • I feel undermined when…
  • I’m intimidated when…
  • I feel powerless when…

The Engaging Ideas pack is clearly based on solid business research and extensive experience in the corporate environment.  Stagnation of ideas is the clear hurdle targeted by the collection and we applaud the stepping-stones proved for those slow to innovate.  Overall, the package is a collection of ideas that won’t be revolutionary to those knowledgeable, but gives a beautifully formatted package of ideas to those hoping to give the friendly push to coworkers or employees.  Engaging ideas is a careful and successful balance between professional business pursuits and playful corporate connections.

Thanks again to Rob for taking the time and money to ship a sample pack across the pond.

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November 18, 2008

Innocent Drinks Foster User Feedback

by Nicko Margolies in Brand Experience, Food & Drink, Media Planning & Strategy, Online & Web Services, Online Marketing, Public Relations, Web & Technology

The folks at innocent drinks, makers of tasty smoothies, have revamped their site to include a rating and review section. Hoping to foster a more robust brand culture and connection with their audience, innocent is trying out a consumer-centric website. The new feedback area provides simple ratings along with more detailed reviews. A built-in feature promises to randomly select comments to be highlighted on the homepage and further entices visitors by awarding funky prizes each month. The site layout was designed by Soup with a goal of pushing the playful nature of the company into the digital arena.

[via Ellie @ Soup]

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November 17, 2008

Good Ideas in 2009 Salon, Mobile: Steve Roberts

by Scott Lachut in Creative Thinking, Market Research, Media Planning & Strategy, Mobile Marketing, Telecom

PSFK is excited to announce Steve Roberts, CEO and Founder of ShopText, as a speaker in our Good Ideas in 2009 Salon. Steve will be participating in our first discussion surrounding ideas and innovations in the Mobile space on the morning of Tuesday, November 18th.

ShopText has developed a technology that brings the shopping experience directly to the cell phone, enabling consumers and brands to interact via text message. This new model literally takes retail anywhere, to a point where brick and mortar stores and even internet connections are no longer necessary.

Steve Roberts launched ShopText in November 2006. Prior to ShopText, Steve’s marketing and internet experience includes COO of McCann Erickson’s $200 million relationship marketing company MRM Partners, CFO of McCann’s $650 million marketing services companies and CFO of Modem Media (acquired by Digitas in 2004), where he led the company’s IPO in 1999, and drove its profitable growth to a run rate of $160 million in revenue. Prior to Modem Media, Steve held several global and international P&L management positions at United Technologies. Prior to joining UTC in 1990, Steve structured debt financing for radio, paging, cable and newspaper acquisitions and leveraged buyouts in the Corporate Finance Group of Continental Bank (now Bank of America). Steve has an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and a B.A. from Middlebury College.

Tickets for this and all other Good Ideas in 2009 Salons are available for purchase here.

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Good Ideas in 2009 Salon, Mobile: Alistair Fulton

by Scott Lachut in Creative Thinking, Market Research, Media Planning & Strategy, Telecom

PSFK is happy to include Alistair Fulton, Senior Manager in Deloitte’s Telecommunications, Media & Technology practice, as a speaker in our Good Ideas in 2009 Salon. Alistair will be participating in our first discussion surrounding ideas and innovations in the Mobile space on the morning of Tuesday, November 18th.

Alistair has over 15 years of experience in customer and brand strategy, product development and performance transformation in the wireless space both in an advisory role and in industry. Prior to joining Deloitte Consulting he served as SVP of Strategy & Business Performance for O2, the largest wireless operator in the United Kingdom. In this role he was responsible for leading the development and execution of O2’s transformation strategy post de-merger from British Telecommunications in 2001, including the development and implementation of O2’s customer and product strategies, underpinned by the development and launch of the O2 brand.

Hear more from Alistair at our Good Ideas session this coming Tuesday. Tickets for this and all other Good Ideas in 2009 Salons are available for purchase here.

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November 10, 2008

The Risk of Combative Ad Campaigns

by Scott Lachut in Ad Biz, Brand Experience, Media Planning & Strategy, TV Advertising

Eschewing the prevailing theory in advertising that one should never mention your competitor’s product, many companies are taking a page out of the political campaign season and going with attack ads or in the parlance of the industry, “comparative advertising” that do just that.  The trend towards negative marketing is being attributed to the downturn in the economy, forcing businesses to compete for a smaller pool of consumer dollars.

Although a dangerous proposition with plenty of potential to backfire, agencies tasked with creating these campaigns have found injecting humor to be the best method of ensuring success.  Additionally, the charges being leveled against the competition need to be well-researched and not simply anecdotal. Advertisers shouldn’t underestimate the savvy of their customer base by pushing unsubstantiated claims, simply to move a few more units.  The risk outweighs the reward in these instances, given the the web’s potential to reach a wide audience if any fallacies are uncovered by the public, thus alienating the very people they were attempting to court.  At the same time, a poorly conceived strategy opens the door for the competition, allowing them proper justification to employ undercutting tactics of their own.  The real question seems to be how much tit for tat can we collectively stomach before everyone walks away a loser?

“It’s very tactical, it’s very short-term, but today marketers are thinking short-term,” said David Melançon, the chief executive of the Ito Partnership, a brand identity consulting company in New York.

Other examples of negative product pitches include a long-running campaign from Apple that mercilessly mocks the PC operating systems sold by Microsoft; a campaign from the Fox Business Channel cable network, which deridesJim Cramer of CNBC; ads for Burger King that take on other fast-food chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s; and a campaign for a new variety of Campbell’s soup, Select Harvest, that berates Progresso for selling soups with ingredients like monosodium glutamate.

[via New York Times]

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November 7, 2008

Sea Change, New Attitudes on Pirated Material

by Scott Lachut in Ad Biz, Media Planning & Strategy, Online & Web Services, Online Marketing, Web & Technology, Youth Marketing

MySpace and Viacom’s MTV Networks announced a deal that will partner them with Auditude, a technology firm that has developed a means of identifying whether uploaded video clips belong to a particular TV Network by recognizing unique electronic signatures.  Auditude approached these two companies with this technology, marketing it as a means of incorporating advertising.  Essentially, any content appearing on MySpace belonging to MTV Networks will be tagged, allowing either business the option of inserting ads.

This represents a significant change in attitude for both companies.  In the past, MySpace TV, the second largest video site behind YouTube, might have blocked this pirated material completely, while traditionally Viacom has attempted to keep its material from being posted without their permission.  It will be interesting to see if viewers will embrace these expanded freedoms even as their rights to commercial-free content are taken away.

“Now the shackles are off our users,” said Jeff Berman, president of marketing and sales at MySpace. “They are fully empowered, and the media companies get to monetize and get all the data from this. They know what is actually being consumed out there and get the benefit of the viral promotion.”

“We’ve been empowering consumers to use our content in new ways for a while now, and allowing uploads of our content has been a goal for us,” said Mika Salmi, president of global digital media at MTV Networks. “MySpace and Auditude were the first partners we found with the right technology, business model and user experience to do it right.”

[via NY Times Bits Blog]

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November 6, 2008

Good Idea Salons In NYC In Nov/Dec

by Guy Brighton in Ad Biz, Brand Experience, Branding, Creative Thinking, Influencer Targeting, Market Research, Media Planning & Strategy, Mobile Marketing, Online Marketing, Telecom, Viral Marketing, Web & Technology

PSFK presents Good Ideas In 2009

Starting Nov 18, PSFK will be running a series of breakfast discussions in New York City up until the holidays. We aim to host these Good Idea Salons twice a week about different topics that we hope you’ll find inspirational and helpful as you prepare for next year.

Good Idea Salons are part of our Good Ideas initiative - a campaign of positivity in a time when we need a little.

EVENTS
Good Ideas In Mobile - Tuesday, November 18
Good Ideas In Design - Thursday, November 20
Good Ideas in Collaboration - Tuesday, November 25
Good Ideas In Digital - Tuesday, December 2 (details to follow)
Good Ideas In Social Media - Thursday, December 4 (details to follow)
Good Ideas In Brand Experience - Tuesday, December 9 (details to follow)
Good Ideas In Design II - Thursday, December 11 (details to follow)
Good Ideas In Collaboration II - Tuesday, December 16 (details to follow)
Good Ideas For The Future - Thursday, December 18 (details to follow)

FORMAT
The session is really a conversation with a group of about 30-40 readers. For the first 10 minutes, PSFK will present a thought starter then a number of experts will open a discussion and invite the audience to debate for the next 40-50 minutes. Simple. Time: 8.30-9.30am (Doors @8.15am).

SPONSORS
These events are kindly supported by Another Anomaly, thehappycorp and Naked.

DETAILS
http://www.goodideas2009.com

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