Going Green


I have been watching a show on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) called Carbon Cops where a team come into your house and assess how much carbon your household generates per year. And then, in reality TV makover style, they help you make the changes that will bring you down to earth (often with a thud).

It is quite amazing, but the average Australian household generates about 14 tonnes of carbon per year. That sounds like a lot (and it is), but some episodes have shown that the use of old 4WD vehicles can, in some instances, exceed this in isolation. Plane travel is another large polluter, with a massive amount of carbon generated by frequent flyers (especially those flying internationally).

Obviously those with jobs requiring travel have no way of reducing their carbon footprint without resorting to buying carbon credits in one form or other. Many Australian energy companies now have significant green power options allowing you to choose to draw your power from renewable energy sources … so this is a start. But one of the most interesting aspects of the Carbon Cops show is the energy monitors that they use to show households how much energy is being used at any point in time.

This funky looking model called the ecoMeter is made by a company called Ampy and it looks just like the model used in the show. As your energy consumption increases the lights across the bottom increase. Four solid squares and the colour changes from green to RED. What this allows you to do is to monitor your actual behaviour and to take steps to change it (isn’t this a marketer’s dream?). I have fired off an email to the Ampy folks to find out how much these babies cost … and while I am worried about my actual usage — I am sure there are plenty of steps that can be taken to bring it down — I just need to KNOW and understand my own pattern of usage.

The challenge will come if the cost is significant. One would think that devices like this, together with water tanks, would be a great way of spending some of the Australian Government’s massive budget surplus. In fact, it would be great if it was mandated that all new houses had to be fitted with similar devices (I am sure there are plenty of other good ideas around this).

Oh, and if you want to see how much carbon YOU create per year. Take a look at this calculator. And be afraid. And ashamed. I was.

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From Interrupt to Interact

Marketers should have learned this by now, but it seems that some of the most basic new media/social networking lessons are proving hard to absorb and to act upon. A new report by Forrester’s Charlene Li points out that marketers are continuing to focus on tactical interruption based marketing across sites such as Facebook and MySpace, using microsites and banners to deliver campaign messaging to the ready-segmented online communities …

Surprise, surprise, this approach does not seem to be generating the type of successes that were anticipated. Why? Quite simply because social networking is a dynamic experience — and those engaged in using these sites are more interested in the content and the moment-by-moment interaction that is available than the unimaginative advertising efforts developed by advertisers.

I have to admit that my interest in Facebook has been fairly recent and I have yet to really delve into and adopt it as my very own. But what it does seem to do very well is to provide a cross-over space between the personal and professional realms. For me, LinkedIn is great for managing a professional network, while Facebook provides a less formal way of extending my relationships — providing a sense of play and an opportunity to convert "contacts" to "friends". This is particularly important capability considering the amount of time we all seem to work these days.

From a marketing point of view, breaking into a friend-to-friend network such as Facebook is highly desirable. The innate "influence factor" that drives these networks is lucrative — we are after all, more likely to TRY something, BUY something or PROMOTE something if it is recommended by someone we know/value. Moreover, as these networks continue to aggregate value … as we bring more of our expertise, experience and life into the space, the value of the network will grow exponentially (I am sure there could be a good graphic in this concept) … making Facebook and similar sites hugely attractive to not just marketers but also to employers.

This is an important point to note, as there has been a small wave of furore generated in Australia by the spurious claim that Facebook is costing Australian business around $5 billion a year in lost productivity (both Katie and Matt weigh in on the topic very nicely).

Richard Huntington has a great post on how social networks are transforming the WAY that the work of advertising agencies is now being carried out and indicates that such a revolution would never have happened even a short while ago. Even the process of ideation is changing with iteration occurring in almost realtime via blogs, instant messaging and Twitter meaning that MY great idea may, in fact, be the product of the rapid activation of a personal/professional social network. Does this make it any less mine? Does it make the outcome any less valuable to my client/employer? Of course not.

All this points to an evolution in idea generation/innovation across industries … with collaboration being activated and driven by our personal networks. The brands and organisations that understand this dynamic will find ways of supporting and activating these networks — but not through stodgy, old-style advertising — only innovative, thought provoking and valuable efforts will succeed. I have a feeling that only by moving from an interruption mentality to an interact orientation will brands and organisations thrive.

Company Blog Healthcheck

  Originally uploaded by Nikographer [Jon]

A company blog is not like a "normal" corporate website. It is not a place for the standard collateral, links and information. It is not a repository for forms. It is a living, breathing method for capturing the ebb and flow of company-customer dialogue. It shows your company for the best (and worst) it can be …

And despite a pronounced and continuing growth in what is called the "blogosphere", the art of blogging is still a very inexact science. What makes a blog work? What creates more problems than it solves? And what is the difference between a personal and a professional blog?

Now, for all those corporate bloggers out there, there is help at hand. Mack Collier has announced that he is now available for blog consulting services. This is a great opportunity to get frank, insightful and practical information on how to improve your blog from one of the social marketing masters. Mack’s new services can be done remotely or in person. It is up to you.
Absolutely invaluable 😉

View from the Porch

View from the front
Originally uploaded by servantofchaos

Actually, I think this is a view OF the porch. That’s right … this is the new place right before the chaos hit. It is unlikely that it will ever look as neat and as tidy again.

Well, it has been a little longer than eight days … and looks like it may be a few more until the blog gets back to normal. You see, moving house and moving phone lines got a whole lot more complicated on the day. With the truck packed and the old place cleaned out, we rang the real estate agent to let them know we would be around to pick up the keys. "Oh no, you can’t have the keys … the house didn’t settle today". Was that a fire alarm or just bells going off in my head?

A couple more hours, some rain, frantic phone calls all over the country and yet more cleaning … and we were finally given the go ahead to move in under license.

Now after a couple of weeks of unpacking, we are almost box free.

Unfortunately we also moved into a new telephone exchange area which has meant quite a bit of Internet-related drama. First up I was informed by my ISP that there was NO ADSL available on my new line. After a short rant, I found out that the line could be upgraded but would take 6-8 weeks.

Totally unimpressed I rang Telstra, Australia’s leading telecommunications company and owner of the vast majority of the fixed lines in the country. By now I was not mucking around — I wanted cable. There was no cable anywhere near my house, there was no ADSL capable lines, no plans for upgrading … and no wireless options that would not require a second mortgage. Things weren’t looking good. (On the plus side, the broadband consultant that I spoke to was excellent.)

I rang my ISP back and requested the phone line upgrade. Six to eight weeks it is … in the meantime I am living a dial-up existence. It is slow going, unreliable and ties up the only phone line in the house. There is more to this story and I will share it with you over the next couple of days (it will take that long to upload).

In the meantime, my BrandingWire buddies launched into the latest topic — car dealers. From a quick (but slow) scan of the blogosphere it seems that this topic has hit a nerve. My own post was interrupted with moving dramas (even though I thought I was well prepared — I was obviously mistaken), but it will be up in the next couple of days.

For now, I am taking in the view from the porch and catching up on some reading. The offline kind. And checking out Phil Gerbyshack’s favourite books on Shelfari. Now, if only they would allow Lulu.com books to be added I would put up the Age of Conversation.

Packed and Ready

Packed and ready
Originally uploaded by brufsup100

It has been a big week of chaos here (what’s new?).

But the most chaos has been generated by cleaning up. How? Well, I am moving house and it is taking ages to pack boxes, sort through old, outdated and unwanted items and to sell a heap of stuff on eBay!

Of course, moving house also means moving phone lines. And technology being what it is … means that I will be offline for about 8 days while the phones are connected. This also means no access to email — except for a desperate dash to the local Internet cafe.

Hmmm … could be a whole new world by the time I get back online.

Jaffe Pays It Forward

After receiving an iPhone from upcoming actor, Tim Coyne, in exchange for an episode’s sponsorship of Across the Sound – The New Marketing Podcast, Joseph Jaffe is aiming to give the NEW iPhone back to the person who is ultimately responsible for allowing Tim to achieve his goal – getting an audition on a network television show.

This is an interesting extension to Jaffe’s recent foray where he received an offer of an iPhone within half an hour of requesting one. Now, if Paul McEnany knows any producers, this is his best opportunity of picking up an iPhone for free 😉

read more | digg story

Why Blogging is Good For Your Brain

good for your brain
Originally uploaded by love was all we knew

I remember a while ago that David Armano asked a question of his readers. It was about the number of books that they read. If memory serves me correctly, David had been challenged by Roger von Oech to read books more often.

I was thinking on this the other day, especially in light of The Age of Conversation … and while this is not particularly earth shattering, it is an observation worth re-stating.
If you read one book a month, when the average person reads one book a year, this will give you an edge. In five years the average person will have read five books while you would have read 60. Blogs further compress this process … the circles of influence and the power of collaboration and incremental innovation evident in the way that blog-based ideas build, means that PARTICIPATING in social media accelerates, even faster, the process of learning.

This makes blogging not only good for your brain, but also important for your career and your future capacities. Expertise is now at your fingertips … and only a few clicks away.
What are you waiting for?