Archive for March, 2009

March 30th, 2009

There’s nothing less natural than a brand in a mailbox

by Laurent François

I had an interesting conversation with a relative last week-end. He asked me what he could get from social media for one of his client. I answered: what can your client give to the citizens?

It can sound like arrogant (and it’s not because I’m French, come on!)

But after a while, we had this common statement:

  • there’s nothing less natural & normal than receiving an email or an ad from Scientology or Pizza delivery services, online or offline
  • we don’t really read and care for what does not concern us in our daily life
  • we’re all a bit rebellious and marxist: that’s our power as consumer to say no! to external presences and attempts to abuse us

Few hours, and few cups of coffee later, we had this common position:

  • brands need value propositions when they talk to citizens: you can only talk shit when you’re already good friends
  • you become angry only with good friends; so when you don’t know someone, you have to be kind and introduce yourself first. “Hi, my name is Pizza delivery service. And you?”
  • brands are chosen by consumers. and hey! consumers are the guy who buy your products at the end (it seems stupid but we have to think about that)

And that’s as simple as that!

March 27th, 2009

Pop-up stores: marketing revival linked to affinity media

by Laurent François

Stéphane Lautisser, a great digital planner based in France, gives us some insights about “pop-up stores”.

Pop-up stores are “moving stores”, that aim to create a new relationship with consumers:

  • get new types of people
  • make consumption an event
  • show a greater creativity
  • etc.

Stéphane quotes some examples like Method, or Everland:

Everland in Paris: has there ever been a stranger work of art than Everland? It’s a travelling hotel room that tours Europe, plonks down in beautiful places and people visit it, even staying the night, to get a vision of a world where mobility and permanence magically collide. And, in properly pretentious modern style, once you’re inside the room, you’re part of the art. It’s currently sitting on the roof of the Palais de Tokyo gallery in Paris, facing the Eiffel Tower, and you can pop in during the day to investigate – while also touring the most consistently innovative modern-art gallery in the city. Sleeping over is more complicated – you have to visit the website daily and grab the nights as they become available, about two months ahead – but even a visit would make a fascinating centrepiece of an arty weekend in Par”

Good to see that this kind of marketing fits with digital culture, and our “affinity” minds.

March 25th, 2009

"Beyond advertising: Choosing a strategic path to the digital consumer" an IBM study

by Laurent François


I think we all do agree that we have to go social. Nice news; but how to achieve this goal? IBM has just released a great document, focusing on the capabilities issues and how to handle them.

Document is to be downloaded right here.

“Regardless of the chosen path, being competitive and overcoming substantial hurdles will require a fundamental change in capabilities. New capabilities across four areas hold paramount importance as traditional advertising gives way to consumer centricity: creative, insights, collaboration and workflow.

  • Creative – From media-centric development to cross-platform innovation. This requires experimentation across platforms and consumer participation in the creative process.
  • Insights – From disparate data to greater insights. The future requires insights to be seamless and more granular, leveraging tools such as integrated campaign dashboards to enable decision making.
  • Collaboration – From proprietary models to open collaboration. A new set of partnerships – such as peer collaboration between cable companies or content collaboration with ad networks – is needed across the evolving ecosystem to exploit opportunities, enable scale benefits and deliver efficiencies.
  • Workflow – From manual and analog to automated and digital processes. New tools and applications can deliver end-to-end processes, from automated micro-versioning to digital inventory optimization.”
March 23rd, 2009

Why Twitter is not Facebook, and why some people think it is

by Laurent François

Twitter is a the worldwide flavor of the month. Gosh, it seems like you could talk to the whole world, Twitter would be about to defeat Facebook, people would love Twittering and Twitter would give their money/time back to the users. Yes, but no. Wake up: there’s nothing like that at stake.

Facebook model is partially based on implicit network. Implicit networks don’t mean static networks: an implicit network is basically your address book. Your mum’s phone number, your lawyer, your friends, your coleagues, your girfriends’ friends, the guys you could invite at home, or that you met in a party. it’s based on your “real” social activities.
Facebook model is also based on explicit networks. Explicit networks mean that you have a purpose: hooking up a boy or a girl (we all receive strange Friendship requests), business, preparation of a meeting or of an event, spying…”Networking” with an aim. And some of these explicit reasons make us angry: we’re fed up with all the guys trying to seduce us, we’re fed up with all these intrusive business guys that you don’t really know.

Twitter is probably more based on explicit networks: I have an explicit interest to follow NYTimes account, to follow my coleagues thoughts and noise, to get in touch with the great social media experts in California. And there comes the problem: once your implicit network comes into an explicit one, there’s a trouble: the noise is too big to be followed, so the social usage you have on twitter is just very weak. And we all experience it: we start removing, cleaning the profiles we follow. There are as many Twitter explicit usages than individuals on them. But there’s a critical point that we all fix: like any noise, if it’s too loud for you, you have to turn the volume down.

So Facebook starts to think “feeds” and social. Is it jeopardizing Twitter? No, because there’s a shelter called implicit network: you cannot overload your real friends with your explicit social activities. It’d be too much. And in the meantime, if you start sharing your personal pictures on Twitter, you give implicit details of your life that don’t fit with Twitter explicit logics. Unless you like voyeurs.

Finally Facebook is not Twitter. And guess what: Twitter does not want to be Facebook.

“Without knowing it, Twitter is quickly becoming the best search engine out there (watch out Google!). It is powered by people you know (or are connected to) and it is full of smart people. Very smart people. On top of that, we are able to harness the infamous wisdom of crowds to get a response. There have been times where multiple people have provided pieces of the answer that together paints a perfect picture. There have even been debates that have lead to various answers that provide color and perspective.”

Because based on human analysis. A kind of big “wiki function” added on a Search Engine.

March 23rd, 2009

Visualization Lab as a new path for journalism: providing processed tools

by Laurent François

What’s that ? Explanations on NY Times:

” With Visualization Lab, NYTimes.com users will be able to visualize and comment on information and data sets presented by Times editors, share those visualizations with others and create topic hubs where people can discuss specific subjects. There is also a separate site, Many Eyes, run by IBM Research at http://services.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/. Please feel free to participate and contribute in both places. “

Impressive: NY Times provides an “editorialized” or “processed” tool to a web community, in order to start a conversation to create value added.
It’s probably one new path for journalism: not diffusing a kind of absolute / static truth, but providing dynamic elements of analysis in which opinions can debate.