Saturday, 28 July 2012

Looking good in the digital age

Read this interesting article about how people are increasingly becoming conscious of their looks and some of it, well, a lot of it is also fueled by our increasing connectivity. This interestingly is called the 'Facebook effect'. The more one gets involved with the various image heavy platforms - more people become obsessed with their appearances. The article pointed at the fact that video chatting tools like Skype and Facetime might perhaps have led to more and more people going under the knife.
The last bit of trivia might be an exaggeration but I do definitely notice that people who are hyper connected digitally have most certainly gotten more aware of their looks and especially their flaws and at all times busy accentuating what they think make their appearance more appealing and hiding the slightest hint of flaw.

The emphasis is on the total personality. Till recently, it was only about the conversations one had online - what one said, what one liked and shared was important. Now, the focus is equally on the face I put forth.  Its no longer good enough to look good in person but also choose clothes, hairstyles make up and other accessories which accentuate the personality one wants to portray in the digital world.

Interestingly, there is a heightened knowledge of lighting - what and where should be the source of light when Skyping. The key is to look effervescent while hiding the double chin, the grey hair, slightly angular nose. The list is endless.
Apart from rehearsing presentations, the current trend is to also practice flattering angles and facial expressions for the webcam.

With increasing obsession with video devices and social media tools such as Skype, Facetime - this is an interesting trend to look out for.      

e-mailer marketing campaigns are now using social media for a wider reach

The recent trend in e- mail marketing is integration of social sharing. This functionality enables sharing the content of your email via facebook, twitter, google+, linkedin etc. Interestingly, it comes complete with tools to track analytics like page views of the email and linkages to the social media site as a result of the emailed content.  
Marketers are going to find this useful as instead of having to deal with both - an email marketing service and a social media management tool  - one easy to use interface can do the job of both. 
My Emma, Constant Contact and Vertical Response are some of  the companies that  allows you to click a button 'add social sharing' while you are creating your email. When your customer clicks the button - it takes them to your company's social media page where they can like and share information about the company or a particular product. 
Services such as iContact allows you to choose the section of the emailer which you would want your audience to share  - could be the entire message or just a section. 
Mail Chimp is really cool.They even allows merging of youtube merge tabs that can help incorporate videos in your email marketing message. 

Friday, 27 July 2012

Connecting with people

There is a stampede of brands at the social media fair. Every brand wants to be there and every brand wants to get their before their competition for every brand wants to connect with the digitally connected customer.  But unfortunately most want to do so without really understanding what makes their object of desire tick in the digital space, especially in social media - an environment where customers are in complete control and they choose who they want to have a relationship with.  Gone are the days, when customers were the passive recipient of a brand’s monologue in an effort to create a relationship with them. The shoe is indeed on the other foot.
We, the marketers, seem to have forgotten a simple truth we have known always. In building a brand offline, we have constantly peeped into our customers’ lives to look at every aspect which could help us to create a relationship with them. Having found what was meaningful enough, we have pitched a relevant promise – be it fresh breath confidence or beauty like a film star – most often, something the customers were looking for. This simple truth eludes us when we want to connect with our customers on Social media.
Brands seem to believe, they can ‘connect’ with their customers by just being present on social media.  But wait a minute, did anyone remember to check with their customers what would get them excited enough to ‘connect’?
For most customers, social media is about engaging with friends and family, accessing news or quenching their thirst for entertainment. For them, social media is definitely not a medium to interact with brands.
Brands will need to dig deep to uncover the insights which will get their desired customer to give it time, attention, endorsement and data. Brands need to carefully consider how they can create social media experience that is unique to their brand, offers customers adequate value and exploit the power of the social community.
Here are a few recommendations for brands, based on a research by IBM, which could possibly lay the foundation for a successful social media strategy
1. Start thinking like a customer. Find out why a customer would choose to interact with a brand. Recast social interaction strategies on finding a common value. Once the common value is shared and established, the intimacy will come.
2. If you don’t know what your customers value, ask them. Dialogue and participation is what social media is all about. Find creative ways to engage them in a dialogue. But remember, only once they are empowered to choose the outcome of the dialogue, will the advocacy and the brand affinity start to take shape.
3. Provide incentives. Find out what could be the incentives for people to share your content with friends to capitalize on the viral effect that social media offers.
4. Remember now the customer is in control. Rethink the traditional model of managing customer relationships which was passive and one way and adapt it to the new reality.
5.  The customer’s experience with the brand has to be seamless. Social solutions should not be devised as a standalone programme but has to be well thought through and integrated with other customer facing initiatives.