You’re a Comic Sans Criminal

comicsanscriminal Matt Dempsey is far kinder than I – wanting to educate and transform those who wantonly and willingly use Comic Sans in their presentations and other documents.

If it was up to me, you people would be the first to the wall when the typography revolution comes.

But in the spirit of the season, I’m willing to forgive and forget. Have a great holiday – even all you evil comic sans geniuses out there.

Via @trib.

Word Lens is a Gift for Travellers

Now, I just stumbled across this and think it’s fabulous. Word Lens is an iPhone app that works even without a connection to the internet. It reads signs through the iPhone camera and translates them for you.

Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself.

Of course, the real question is whether it can translate American. Or Chinglish.

Evolution of Social CRM (Infographic)

I have been fascinated by the rise of sites like GetSatisfaction. They use community, reputation and social media to help businesses transform their customer service. In many ways, it’s a little like crowdsourcing your customer engagement – and to be honest – I am surprised not to see more businesses using this approach.

But what does it look like in reality?

This infographic from the GetSatisfaction team shows – particularly from a customer service point of view – how putting a bit of social connectivity into the CRM mix can change how you engage with those valuable peeps – your customers.

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Now, for my money, this is just one flavour of Social CRM, but it certainly rings true for GetSatisfaction. But what about your business? Is there a social dimension that you are tapping into? Is this something you are considering for 2011? I have a feeling you want to get on the front foot with your strategic social media thinking sooner rather than later.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

In the past, December has been a month of frantic activity that lasts a week or so, and then it’s a matter of wrapping up loose ends, presents and extra surprise, last minute gifts. This year, it seems that we are all running frantically towards the end of the year with no stop point on the tinsel covered horizon. It’s been busy, busy, busy.

But no matter whether we like it or not, a stop point will come. A New Year will dawn. And there will be work to do, ideas to hatch and projects to kick along.

And just to prove this busyness out, here are five great posts that sound like they have the volume set to 11 on the awesomeness scale. Rock on.

  1. Andy Wibbels over at Get Satisfaction shares The Evolution of CRM Infographic. Or more precisely, it’s the evolution of Social CRM. Not bad. It’s very much focused on the Get Satisfaction model, but does get you thinking. Does it apply to your business?
  2. Because, no doubt, early next year you’ll be asking for the top Australian memes or virals for 2010, be sure to check Julian Cole’s collection.
  3. Ever wondered how Groupon happens to sound so quirky and engaging all the time? Well, here’s the Groupon Secret Copywriting Guide. Some nice tips for us all to remember!
  4. Edward Boches explains, in the context of Frank Rose’s new book, that the story of storytelling is shifting. So what is the future of stories? Yes, it’s the internet. No surprise – right? Wrong. The surprise is in the “why”.
  5. Stefano Maggi rounds out the five must-reads with a gem – reminding us that CRM is in Your Product.

Australian Asylum Seekers Infographic

Each year the Australian population swells. There are babies born and plenty of smart people moving to our country. And there are people who arrive here seeking asylum. But what are the percentages – and should we really be worried by the numbers of people desperate enough to risk their lives arriving by boat on our northern coast? This infographic from the folks at Crikey tells the story (HT to Tiphereth Gloria).

AustBoatPeople They look like one percenters. Statistically, that makes them bloggers, tech evangelists or early adopters.

Seriously, it’s about time we stopped whining about the “dangers” of these arrivals and started living up to our international humanitarian obligations.

Are You Contagious?

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Each year, Contagious Magazine take a look at the top trends, most popular products, experiences, slick style-focused devices and all the other virtual and tangible accoutrements that help us define our lives. The Most Contagious 2010 is the place where you can download the report or just browse through the site, catching a nuevo-retro glimpse into the just exhaled creativity of entrepreneurs, activists, designers and yes, marketers of all shapes and sizes.

My favourite would have to be The Wilderness Downtown from the experience section. I loved it when I checked it out, and I’m pleased to see it hits the mark with the Contagious folks too. But, I have to ask … what did you love this year? Do tell.

A Spot of Cat-Sourcing

We all love the idea of crowd sourcing – getting ordinary people to use their creativity, energy and skills to complete a task. But how does that apply to non-people based brands and products? What if you are, say, a pet food company like Purina Friskies and wanted to apply the principles of crowd sourcing? Maybe you could get the cats of the world to don cameras and shoot A Day in the Life of Mitzy. Well, that’s kind of what they have done.

Check it out.

Oh, and if you really are a cat person, don’t forget to download a cat ringtone from their website.

BP v The Internet – Anatomy of a PR War

With the US now looking to sue BP (and other firms) over the alleged violation of federal safety regulations in connection with this year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill, it’s interesting to take a look at what unfolded online.

Angela Natividad has put together this detailed presentation that calls out key moments where BP could have engaged online but failed to do so. It also shows the ramifications of their inaction. It’s a nice way of demonstrating precisely how a perfect storm can take place online – with a brand at the very centre of that storm.

The question you have to ask yourself is – “is our business any better equipped to deal with such a perfect storm?” If not, find someone to help. Just don’t wait until the storm front arrives.

Top Tweets of 2010

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Twitter’s year in review for 2010 has listed the top 10 most powerful tweets of the year. My favourite of the list comes from @BPGlobalPR. But I also have my own favourites … which I keep track of through the year. Here are my top six.

This is like the Triple Word Score on Twitter. Derek Jenkins, Nick Hodge and Scott Rhodie all in one delicious package.

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This one from Connie Reece still makes me laugh.

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Robert Campbell endears himself to yet another community.

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Michael Specht talking career aspirations …

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Annik Skelton’s always vying for a spot on any top tweet list. Here’s one from her vast repertoire.

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And finally, Peter Flaschner reveals the issues with having like names on Twitter – eww indeed!

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Do you have a list of favourite tweets? Who / what works for you?

Brands are the Social Stories We Tell

Prompted by a message from Sean Howard, asking about brand visualisation tools, I revisited a post from 2009. Titled Brands are the Stories We Tell, it looks at a personal profiling tool from MIT that lets you map out the characteristics that describe “you”. While the end sequence is useful from a persona mapping point of view, I particularly like the way that the persona building process is visualised.

Here is what I saw when building out a profile on gavin heaton. Click the image below for the full view. It’s like watching the Google web spiders in action – collating what the web thinks of you.

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Of course, when you profile a brand or a product, then you also end up with an interesting sequence that describes how and where your brand lives online. But I think it’s most important to watch HOW the profile is built. Here’s why:

  1. The repetition of keywords and their proximity to other keywords will create a centre of gravity for your brand. Ensure that the stories you tell about your brand connect with your desired brand experience keywords
  2. Increasingly, social media content is creating the online context for your brand. This means that your content marketing needs to be strong – make sure that you have well-planned social content that help optimise your story across the social web
  3. Your brand is the stories that other people tell – if there are an overwhelming number of negative stories, it’s going to make your brand a centre of gravity for all the wrong reasons. Get the experience right!
  4. You will see trends and themes in the data. Use these to tactically build your presence in places that there are already conversations taking place. Don’t hijack the conversation. Add to it.
  5. Social content wins … content from blogs and social networking sites outperforms all other content on the web. This means that your brand is the story told by others in a social context.

So what does the web tell you about your brand? Check out the MIT personas tool to find out.