Effluence : What every corporation needs to succeed

I have beat my head on the wall to find a word to replace the static nature of our current lexicon. Marketing does not work because by design it is finite; it assumes its product information reaches a market and that’s the end of it. Social media, is just as encumbering because in effect, it implies boundaries to commercialism. The truth of the matter is cloud-computing grinds forward and nary a system has been conceived to help business adapt. Mark my words the future of businesses will be marked by their effluence; their skill at ensuring that their information flows, speed and breadth. No information will ceases to flow, even if trickling forward.

Effluence is what cloud-computing has wrought. No application offers this at the moment. The cloud permits public and private applications to flow; there is no stopping effluence. Marketers must know the keys that cause the data to move forward. Massively and fast. Some say it’s creative. Some say its authenticity. Some say its algorithms. Some say its tribal insight. No one agrees; but, in the end it is people that make it flow. They must be understood; data must be intuitive, the content must intuitive, the context must be relevant (that’s actually an oxymoron).

The problem is most companies’ effluence is occuring at a trickle; this is not necessary. There are cues that prevent data from moving forward with more than a trickle. They must first realize that people are the media. The people who buy and the people who sell–everyone. The media is not the media. The apps are not the media. All require action on the part of people to make the data flow. The internet is populated with stagnant tiny puddles of data; Google calls it “low quality”. To some extent they are right.

Everyone is a producer of data. Everyone is pushing the data forward. Producer and media are the same. It is an even playing field. So how do you give propulsion to your data? Effluence.

I am on the march to develop the app of the century to enable data to flow, fast and widely. Brands, products, creations, services will find this organic system simple and begin to navigate, navigate, navigate! Effluence™, now trademarked. And in development (also eflooNz™, FFluenz™)

Is this author the next mega-girl-geek? I dunno. But I won’t be wearing irreverent t-shirts when I get there! I start a new Mega-geek style that has effluence.

Which brings me to Klout. It measures numbers, all which can be gamed. Influence that is based on syntax and numbers is fleeting. Your ability to make data flow forward won’t be based on insipid talk and social pressure. It will be based on real, deep, unfooled around with ability to make it move forward. Real clout will find its way naturally, unforced, powered by human will.

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Filed under 2012 MARKETING FORECAST, Branding 2.0, Branding Trends, Influence, Marketing Trends, Media Landscape, SOCIAL MEDIA, The Cloud, The Future, Web marketing

Pinterest signals the start of web’s next phase

Screen Shot of my Pinterest page March 8, 2012

There is no argument that the web is an all-you-can-eat buffet. Pinterest is one of the new belles at the ball; she seems to be on everyone’s dance card. What Pinterest achieves that Facebook, Google+ and other social networks do not, is immediate access to many ideas and people in one view. This means no downloads, confined to one entity with each and no time wasted reading idle chatter. You can view context you have already defined in your settings and receive a visual synopsis with captions from the many and not the one; this is key. Time is valuable and our curiosity has been stealing it, with little value derived from this theft.

THE NEXT PHASE HAS BEGUN

It is time for the web to enter the next stage of its evolution. It is overdue, in fact. Developers, investors in applications, must understand how people function once content reaches their ears and eyes. The visual cues can make or break any interaction. The  line-up of hyperlinks, links, logos, text at entry points must all be subsumed for the truly engaging visual, faster modality. You cannot fight the way the human brain works. Data, code, pixels and their progenitors must now say to themselves, “we must adapt to human behavior, we have pushed them to the limits of IT”.  This is the era of the shutterbug and the videographer; this is where engagement speeds up and can carry through to conversion. An image is “worth a thousand words”; this will never change. Notwithstanding, captions have always been the most read copy in advertising; in our formative years, all images in our books where accompanied with captions. We creatures of the image seek to confirm our comprehension of an image and this is the the most powerful use of text; so, invest in the time you spend in captions, alt tags and the first comment.

I am not finished on matters of Pinterest; because, it is about how we people function. The heart of my work.

Stay-tuned for my Pinterest journey and how you can leverage it in a human context. Forget that it is an application.

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Filed under Branding 2.0, Branding Trends, Content is king, Mindmatching, Musings and rants, Neuromarketing, NEW TREND, SOCIAL BRAND OF THE WEEK, SOCIAL MEDIA, The Future, Web marketing

BRANDfutur : on the road again

I am going on the road again with my own production, “BRANDfutur”. This six hour seminar-slash-lab will shed light on the shift, the future, processes that are now irrelevant and so much more. I miss those days, being face-to-face with people who thirst to learn. I did it for years; but, my health put an end to that. Now I am on the mend, neurons poised to perform.

You can sign up at http://brandfutur.eventbrite.com .

Started a blog for BRANDfutur to keep you up to date and answer your questions. View our trailer or my vlog.

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Social web : not a diaspora, but delusion.

Many of my contemporaries and I have agreed that we do not like the term, “social media”; but, when comparing to traditional media, it is social. Social is a two-way exchange. Traditional media was one-way, with us as passive participants.

We have also expressed disdain toward the use of “media”. Let’s be honest, the apps aren’t there to bring us together, as benevolent cupids of sorts. They are looking to monetize with ad revenue. That makes it media.

I’ll bet you’ve participated in this discussion often. My point is, I have come to terms with the terms. At this point in our advancement, it is moot.

“Social”  is about social exchanges everywhere. In blogs, in forums and on network pages, streams; but, it is also connected to our physical exchanges in stores, cafes, entertainment venues, on the street…

The “cloud” (the web) likes to think itself the end-all-be-all; but, there is no diaspora. We are still physical beings and continue to move in physical space even if technocrats believe we exist within the confines of IP addresses and our served-up soup of techno-distractions. The physical realm is now referred to as “location-based”. I believe the drive to connect us at every moment, right up to the latrines, will trigger a tech correction, a contraction. We see symptoms already in Facebook with a huge drop-off in the Western world, before the advent of Google+.

Let’s not forget the absolute power of a retail experience, the power of attending an event.

Have you noticed the gloss of excitement in people’s eyes when they meet today? We have been so disconnected by our connectedness that meeting in the physical gives us a “buzz”.

The web’s finest moment in my opinion is when it triggers a full social experience. How great is it that you can broadcast to a large group that you are meeting for beer at the local pub at 6 and hundreds show-up? That’s called a TweetUp today. We use to call it the “social hour”. There’s that pesky word again.

Why do we show up and meet strangers? Because text and avatars just don’t cut the mustard against pressing flesh, eye contact, smiles and interrupting each others’ voices with excitement.

ANECDOTE: My neighbor is 48, happily married man, blessed immeasurably and does not know how to use the internet. Nor does he need to. It is humbling to be reminded that not everyone circles around our techno-centric-self-importance.

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Filed under 2012 MARKETING FORECAST, Location-Based, Media Landscape, Musings and rants, SOCIAL MEDIA, The Cloud, The Future, Traditional Media, Twitter

The 3 Keys to making your brand social in 2012

Seems everyone is trying to get a handle on what is important and what is not in the new world of brands. I am attempting to make this brief so you can get these precepts quickly and ruminate on them.

KEY #1 : Humanization

Bakers Adam and Ken hold the Artisan Baker Cup

Brands are still communicating as inanimate artifacts, offering synthetic meaning in social. This won’t work in social. It’s about people. I mean real people with real names. Some will call them Community Managers; but, ultimately it’s anyone who is posting, sharing on the net on behalf of your brand. You cannot succeed in social from a faceless pool of admins. Once, you accept this you can begin to discuss in your brand’s voice in the sea of voices that will mingle with you. Your people will represent your brand through their own authentic expressions; you will have to accept this with minimal control. Recruiting people who suit a culture defined by your customers will go a long way in providing comfort in the process.

KEY #2 : Context

So we have evolved from “Content is king”. We now understand that content is both developed and curated, and this requires skill and time; hence, a whole new domain has emerged in the field of work. So, you need to develop and curate content within your brand’s context and not just related to your brand. If you make bread, then jam, toast, recipes belong in your context; accordingly, you write, shoot, record original content. You also curate content from the jam folks and recipe-makers. Equally, you curate content from customers, their ideas and experiences. Now, if someone built a house with bread, you don’t miss that. Maybe you build it yourself. The imagination has no limits. Bread is more than freshness, taste and nutrients. This last point is where brands need to evolve.

KEY #3 : Upselling

Witherspoon Bread Company's master baker, Denis Granarolo, teaching

As you accept to exploit the context of your brand, upselling makes sense. For many brands, this is where profits emanate. To present enduring upselling ideas, let’s go back to bread, to develop a simple analogy. Can you sell the dough in frozen balls to be purchased in quantity? Can you sell the branded electric breadmakers they’ll need? Can you bundle the bread with something else i.e. Bread and butter (yes collaborate!) ? Can you sell, “The All-Things-Bread”, recipe book featuring bread puddings, sandwiches, French toast? Can you launch a new fad like “Blasagna” (lasagna made with bread-I just made that up)? Can you sell a book, ebook or film on the history of bread, from the Incas through Marie Antoinette to modern-day Mennonites? Can you sell bread gift bags, you know the fancy ones sold with wine (if bread has meaning, why not present it as a gift)? Breadmaking classes in your community? Breadmakers’ socials? Can you host Breadmaking tours of your plants (like Hershey)? Can you open branded stores that showcase all your products, upsells and your star Baker (and allow people to bake their own)? (Help! I can’t stop! I am a creative. It is manna to me.) This is organic growth. Love kindling. My point here is that if you have a core brand, old, unknown or waning, or you have difficulty monetizing it, your profits may be in the upselling of that brand. Your brand will become a universe of its own. A large community. Context with power. And out of that more and more relationships, conversations and profits will grow. See what your customers invent. Think of your brand as a gateway to relationships that can be built on a kaleidoscope of brand extensions; but, make sure these are also driven by customers and influencers. Add curating within your context and you have revitalized your brand for time immemorial. I see very little of this on the web right now. It’s still, “here is our brand, here is our brand copy, buy it”. It’s what I call, “Dead Brand Walking”. Here are some timeless up-selling successes: the Billybee honey piggy bank, Coca-Cola paraphenalia, Harley Davidson artifacts, Time music collections, McDonald’s glasses and toys, mobile bundles, added value on internet basic services… At Pizza Hut when they ask you if want cheese on your garlic bread, that’s upselling. It ‘s time to take this to the next level; but, don’t be obnoxious like outsourced customer-service was when I bought a Dell years ago (they have regained control). I had to threaten to hang up and drop the sale if they asked me to buy one more thing!  Your brand may be the taste-test; the upsell is where the profits are.

Hoping this is is manna from heaven as it was for me.

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Filed under 2012 MARKETING FORECAST, Branding 2.0, Branding Trends, Content is king, Great Brands, Marketing Trends, SOCIAL MEDIA, The Future, UNBRANDING

NEW! Brand polling blog launched today : “Brand Poll”

Click on the image and go vote on the first brand controversy: Comment made by Loblaw CEO, Galen Weston, about Farmers’ Markets.

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New video just went live: Dr. Katherine Albrecht on internet privacy

This video is simply extraordinary. This scholarly privacy expert, principal of search engine Startpage, could not flesh out privacy issues related to internet searches better if the founders of Google did it themselves. But then, the story would be different. You will ask yourself as you listen, “How naked should we be?” This question was asked by futurist Gerd Leonhard, during the interview. The answer is self-evident from this interview in my humble opinion.

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Filed under 2012 MARKETING FORECAST, Branding 2.0, Futurists, Learning from the past, Marketing Trends, Media Landscape, Privacy Matters, SOCIAL MEDIA, The Cloud, The Future, Thought Leaders