Attention-seeking nutter

Jaffe Working Away
Originally uploaded by CC Chapman.

As you probably know, Joseph Jaffe is undertaking a bit of a world tour … ok, well he is at least coming to Australia on his way back from Cannes 😉

So today, Katie sends me a link pointing out this article in our local rag, The Sydney Morning Herald’s online edition (hope you all can see this). As Paul McIntyre writes, "Jaffe could be excused for being another attention-seeking nutter in the new media arena except that if he is, big companies are opening their doors to nutters …". He may not be a nutter, but he is certainly going to cause some chaos while he is here … sounds like fun!

Trophy cupcake for Paul

Normally I don’t go in for long posts … I am not a fan of reading nor writing them — but every now and then a post comes along that just carries you away with it. This one by Paul McEnany is one such post. It returns to a theme that he has been exploring for some time — the changing media environment we live in and the changes it will wreak on the unsuspecting players in that landscape.

Paul writes with an insider’s view on the outside world. He pulls you into his posts with a torrent of ideas and a fusion of images. He makes you feel like you are holding your breath as you read. At the end of the post, you gulp burning air like a drowning man. In this post he ends with "breathe easy …" — just to remind you that oxygen is as important as passion.

What’s on top of your fridge?

On Top of the Fridge
Originally uploaded by birdw0rks.

You know eBooks and publishing has been on my mind quite a bit lately … and I stumbled upon this rather cool site. You will see why it struck a chord … it is a promotional site for a book — and the site itself tells a great story about the need to create a website and get your message across in a unique way. Oh, and not spend a million dollars …

Now, I saw this a few days ago … actually it could have been longer, but you know what it is like in the blogosphere — things come and go so quickly! If I remember rightly, I first saw this site by following a link from Lewis’ blog over to Seth’s blog … but then I forgot about it — not because it wasn’t interesting or even remarkable, but mostly because I thought that Seth had it covered. But then, tonight, I stumbled on it again and remembered that this was, indeed, an interesting approach … but more importantly, I wanted to blog about it because I may want to remember it again in the future … and it is much better for me to leave my ideas here than on the top of my fridge.

A future closer than you think

Greg Verdino is graciously sharing some of his good thinking on emerging technology trends … and while he has taken out some of the detailed thinking and analysis, there is enough there to get your brain firing.

I particularly like the section on kids … it is clear that kids no longer make a distinction between real/virtual personas in the way that we/I do (the older generation). As Greg says, "virtual identities are the real deal for youth".

The implications for brands and marketers are profound. As consumers shift their mindsets away from traditional channels and methods of brand engagement/product selection, those businesses that have not begun the long task of understanding emerging media will find themselves in danger of irrelevance. More importantly perhaps, the gaps left in the market will be filled by new brands eager and willing to play in the spaces inhabited by this new generation of consumers, leaving the late-comer brands out in the cold.

Will there still be a place for the late-comers? Of course … but the size of the market will shrink, with the audience base simply drifting away to new brands/technologies/platforms. A good example is another of Greg’s trends — the shift in the focus of digital video. Driven by multiple need states demonstrated by the rise of timeshifting/on-demand and user generated content, what we now consider "television" will continue to lose contact with its shifting audience base, allowing new operators such as Joost to CREATE a new market space potentially more lucrative (and targeted) than the old free-to-air network.

Makes me feel older just thinking about it 😉

Which list are you on?

Originally uploaded by veracity.

Lists are funny things … there have been books about them, about our desire to create, control and manage our worlds — and there are entire blogs devoted to lists. In fact, some of the very first blogs were simply that — lists of links.

In many ways, Google and Technorati are list builders, providing us with a surrogate for creating lists. is another as is MyBlogLog … and there are many others. And on a smaller level, our own blogrolls are a type of recommendation list.

Within the global marketing community we have Mack’s excellent Top 25 and Todd And’s Power 150, and not to forget, Joseph Jaffe’s fun Most Valuable Blog (and big congrats to BMA).

There are bound to be many other lists that are beyond my ripples of reading covering other category areas. But this morning I got an email for a list that is a little closer to home. Craig Harper has compiled a list of 100 Australian blogs and promises to update it each weekend. I hope it is automated … but it certainly provides me with more blogs to check out — I just don’t have to travel quite so far 😉

Bridging the Gap

The more I think about Heart Intelligence, the more I like it as a way of understanding communications. It is like a lovemark with … well, a lovemark with a brain. It takes "gut instinct" and recontextualises it as a form of logic — it gives us a way or perhaps, a reason, to confirm our sense that there is something deeper at play in the way that we communicate. It certainly provides an understanding of the desire or impulse to "connect", but it also provides a tangible link to our bodies. At first instance, heart intelligence makes a great deal of sense in relation to communities — both on and offline — but it also makes sense in terms of any form of human communication. (Bloggers should be able to relate to the increased heart rate and adrenaline rush that comes when you receive your first comment.)

When I was looking through the presentation deck below (courtesy of Katie), I was struck by the way that the principles and approaches to bringing brand strategy and design together reinforced this idea of heart intelligence. However, I am thinking that heart intelligence is a way of understanding brands and communication from the consumer backwards, not the brand forwards. More to come on this!

Blog debt out of control

US National Debt
Originally uploaded by Jeff Milner.

OK … I am getting desperate. There are so many topics for me to write about and only so many hours in the day … I am getting deeper and deeper into debt. This could be the only similarity between myself and George W Bush … oh, that and our shared mastery of the English language. But I promise to one day return, in more depth, to these topics:

  • All relationships are local: Lester Wunderman masterfully demonstrates the art of storytelling and leaves us with a simple insight into relationships: "… all relationships are local. If they are not yet so, technology, time, our vision and human warmth will make them so". Hence this. (Found thanks to this excellent post by Peter Kim.)
  • Art for a good cause: My buddy, Marcus, apart from his myriad skills and well-known marketing genius, is a damn fine artist. He decided to paint this and offer it up for auction — with the proceeds going to charity.
  • Age of Conversation: Drew and I have been exchanging a hundred e-mails a day for the last week, getting the ball rolling on the Age of Conversation eBook. Check Drew’s site for an update later today.
  • I am in awe: Cam Beck has been amazing. Not only has he setup this great website in honour of Sandra Kerley, he has also been writing some of the best marketing analysis anywhere. In the last month he has covered innovative/daring thinking, Google/Viacom, branded online music experience via iTunes and the power of storytelling. If you have not read these posts yet, check them out — and you will find it is just the tip of the iceberg! Excellent insight from both Cam and Paul Herring abounds!
  • Greenormal: John Grant’s fascinating new book … watch as the draft materialises before your eyes!

Why Clear User Experience Strategy is Important

Comeclean_2 Yesterday I wrote about this. I thought it was funny and wanted to share it. But I wonder if it got the point across? You see, it is actually a viral campaign.

There seems to be a disconnect between what and how this campaign is, and the message it communicates. From my point of view, this is a great use of technology and certainly should generate some viral word of mouth. However, the execution is just a little too clever … perhaps it is too authentic — and the call to action — try this too — is too subtle.

This is why it is important to really think through the user experience strategy and make sure that it is aligned with the objectives of your marketing strategy. Great execution unfortunately doesn’t pay the bills — results do. And results require alignment of all your strategic elements — and sometimes success is only a single click away.

Heart Intelligence

arms wide open…
Originally uploaded by piapest.

When our emotions over-run our mind’s ability to control our speech, we say "we are speaking from the heart". Or we’ll say, "I knew this in my heart", or "I felt it deep in my heart" … the list goes on. The link between the heart and our emotions crosses languages, cultures and histories — and yet, as marketers, we seek to understand the logical patterns of behaviour, approach consumers as rationally defined groupings responding to messages, cues and stimuli in measurable and predetermined (or at least managed) ways. Perhaps we are just seeking out a pattern to make sense of the chaos of our lives.

Tonight I was watching a show (yes on TV) about "heart intelligence". It discussed the way that lives of transplant patients changed after the operation. Sometimes these changes were immediate and extreme … reflecting the personality, tastes, nature, capabilities and interests of the donor. In one case, upon regaining consciousness, when a woman was asked how she felt, she responded that she would "kill for a beer". Up until the operation she had not been interested in beer and certainly wouldn’t use that sort of language. There were other cases … amazing.

It makes sense on a number of levels … however, the discovery of neuron cells around the heart capable of storing memories brings another dimension to the heart. If memory is, indeed, distributed throughout the body (ie not locatable to one single point), then it is wholly conceivable that the influence of our heart and body on our "rationality" is yet to be fully understood.

Where am I going with this? Why, back to community, of course … and to storytelling. You see, when I first came into contact with my friend Christina Kerley, I was overwhelmed by her energy, positivity and generosity. I knew she was a good person. But how could I know this? How could I come to this conclusion without meeting her, without looking into the whites of her eyes? In the blogosphere, to an extent, we are flying blind … so we have to trust our instincts — we have to listen to what our hearts are telling us.

Now many of you would have also been amazed and perhaps benefited from CK’s energy, passion and enthusiasm. Maybe she has shared her thoughts with you on her blog or in email. Perhaps you are lucky enough to have met her in person, or worked with her professionally. Or perhaps you have yet to come within her orbit … but chances are, if you are reading this, then you are likely to have had some time in the light of CK’s generous spirit.

You will also know that recently she has faced the most difficult and challenging time of her life with the passing of her mother, Sandra. And it is clear from the way in which CK and her sister, Melissa, celebrated Sandra’s life, that the strength, courage and vibrancy that we know and love in CK was also in abundance in Sandra’s life. The heart intelligence that beat so strongly in Sandra’s approach to the world also drives her daughters and touches all who come in contact with them.

In honour of Sandra’s life, a few of us have banded together to establish a website to raise funds for one of Sandra’s favourite causes — Habitat for Humanity. As CK explains, "It gives people homes; what’s better than a home really? Dignity. You see, the people in need of homes actually build them right alongside the volunteer team so it’s not so much "charity" as it is "community."".

Please consider supporting this great cause — even the smallest amount when pooled together can make a lasting beneficial change in a person’s life. Go on … you know your heart thinks it is the right thing to do 😉