December 11, 2008
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.
December 1, 2008
Rob Walker over at the NY Times calls attention to an interesting study conducted at the University of Maryland recently, tracking what is being called “incidental brand-consumer encounters.” Essentially, the research was meant to determine what kind of effect, if any, brands have on us in the context of strangers. With all of the advertising bombarding as we walk down the street, the ones with the most impact might not be traditional advertising at all, but rather subtle cues picked up from the people around us holding cans of Coca-Cola or wearing a T-shirts emblazoned with an easily identifiable logo.
In one study, each subject was shown 20 photographs of people in various situations and instructed to focus on facial expressions. Afterward, each subject was offered a bottle of water from a selection of four brands. The experiment had nothing to do with facial expressions and everything to do with which kind of water they chose: the subjects had been divided into groups, based on how many of the photos they viewed incidentally included a bottle of Dasani water. Among those who looked at Dasani-free pictures, about 17 percent chose that brand. But about 40 percent of those who viewed a group of pictures that included 12 with a Dasani presence made the brand their pick. Since subjects who actually noticed the brand in the pictures were eliminated from the results, that spike in popularity evidently came from exposure that the subjects weren’t even aware of. “In essence,” Ferraro says, “we have these brief social encounters fairly regularly, and they may have an impact on our choices.”
Walker uses the Ralph Lauren logo as a telling example of a company’s ability to create a lasting, recognizable logo that has been so seamlessly incorporated into their product line that rather than reaching a level of cluttered ubiquity, has almost been rendered invisible - but not really. And that might be the very reason that it’s so successful. Recognizing this fact perhaps, Ralph Lauren has smartly allowed the iconic image to play its influential role in public, while leaving it absent from their advertising campaigns. An interesting lesson in out-of-box marketing and brand positioning, especially given out turbulent economic times, proving that less is sometimes more.
[via Rob Walker at NY Times]
November 20, 2008
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?
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.
Team PSFK are pleased to announce our second book! At this time of year we’re supposed to produce a trends report for 2009. When we all sat down and chatted about it, we thought such a report would be so gloomy and rather depressing. We didn’t want to write about things like ‘trading down’ or ‘discreet consumption’! We wanted to talk about all the inspirational ideas we read and write about every day, we wanted to spread the positivity, we wanted to encourage you to re-ignite the world. Honestly.
So we created Good Ideas In 2009. The 80 page click-to-print book features nine Good Ideas and manifestations of them. We write about design, mobile, collaboration, digital, social media, the long term and much more. Click through to the Blurb site and you can get a sneak peek.
The books are $50 for the softback and $60 for the beautiful hardback. If you’re considering buying reports for your company or just books for your coffee table, we ask you to consider Good Ideas In 2009. We’re rather proud of it. We hope it inspires you yo make things better.
November 18, 2008
Fast on the heels of what many are heralding as the most successful presidential campaign ever staged, folks everywhere are hoping to be the first to uncover the valuable lessons that made this historic election possible. Those in the marketing industry choose to look at the Obama campaign from the perspective of “effective sales pitch to the entire nation,” able to cross all demographics with a single message. However, maybe this is view is too narrow and fails to see the broader implications as we move forward.
To that end, Gawker offers five realistic takeaways that paint a bigger picture of our country:
1. Facebook doesn’t mean shit - Social networking is still emerging as a tool. Online activity still doesn’t guarantee real life action.
2. TV is still king - The internet continues to grow, particularly as a communication tool, but TV is ubiquitous and still the best method for reaching the widest audience.
3. The candidates matter - Likable equals electable, no matter who you are.
4. Elections ride the swinging pendulum - In light of the past eight years, America was ready for a change.
5. Campaign tactics are always evaluated in retrospect because the media has no idea what it’s talking about, mostly - Until the public’s reaction can be gaged, it’s all pure speculation.
November 17, 2008
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.
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.
November 6, 2008
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.
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)
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).
November 4, 2008
As pop-culture and celebrity gossip blogs continue to see increased traffic, particularly with the youth demographic, advertisers’ views on what counts as acceptable have started to change. Given the uneasy economic climate and tightening budgets, it’s become increasingly important for mainstream brands to be mindful of where their ad dollars are going. As a result, following the crowds, even if that means entering non-traditional venues on the web with less respectable material, makes a good deal of sense. Despite the inherent logic of this move, some in the media still question whether this issue has more to do with negligent ad networks than with any real shift in attitude. In either case, it’s always been a challenge for manufacturers to reach a new audience without alienating their loyal base. The takeaway from this seems to be that a quality product or service will go a long towards keeping your customers regardless of the occasional media misstep.
In recent weeks, ads for Days Inn and Samsung have popped up on the blog Egotastic!, known for its photos of underwear-shedding pop stars. Aside from ads for P&G brands, AOL’s considerably more PG-13 TMZ.com has sported banners from Wal-Mart and Verizon. Last Thursday, WWTDD, which revels in disparaging celebrities, carried promotional ads for NBC’s 30 Rock.
Digital buyers report that across several categories—particularly movie studios and products that target younger consumers—brands have come to terms with whatever reservations they might have once had about the content of such sites, as they simply cannot ignore the passionate following the sites have built.
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View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: collaboration brand)
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