Trust is the Gateway to App Sales Success


When we search on the internet we are investing a small amount of trust in the speed, responsiveness and accuracy of the search engine that we are using. After all, the future of your brand is micro. We trust that Google or Bing is reliably trawling the web for the latest information, indexing knowledge to the deepest level and connecting the dots between what we need to know and where it can be found.

Both Google and Microsoft invest significant resources in improvements to their search engines. But it’s not just about the information source – it’s vitally about relevance. This is the scary truth about search – that the search engines already connect a vast amount of information about us and make it available to the public – to people, brands and businesses.

But this fantastic chart from Silicon Alley Insider reveals that when it comes to recommendation – specifically for app discovery – social referral accounts for almost as much as search. The research carried out by Nielsen indicated that 63% of Android and iOS users use search to discover new apps in the various app stores – only slightly in front of personal recommendation from family or friends at 61%.

But the thing that drives both of these figures is trust. We trust search and we trust our friends and family. We trust search and social. And together they can be a powerful driver of sales – for whether we like it or not – we are all retailers now.

Vibewire’s fastBREAK – Lies

Each month, Vibewire, in conjunction with the Powerhouse Museum, hosts a fascinating and always illuminating event that showcases innovators and the ideas, passions and personal motivations that inspire them. Each person is asked to share the personal story – the WHY, not the WHAT or the HOW. In a way – fastBREAK is like a TEDtalks for young people.

In July, the topic for the month was “lies”. Why do we lie and what does it say about us and our world. This topic was explored by

  • Hannah Law, social media director with Switched On Media
  • Tim Burrowes, journalist extraordinaire and driving force behind Mumbrella
  • Simon Cant, innovation consultant at CANTT
  • Jack Hilton, magician known as the Great Hiltini
  • Dev Singh, entrepreneur and marketing strategist at Sketchpad Ideas

As always, it was a brilliant morning, with Sydney’s art and business communities mingling in the Powerhouse Museum’s fantastic Boiler Room, nourished and inspired by the BlackStar Pastry’s inventive deliciousness.

fastBREAK happens on the lasts Friday of every month from 7:45am. Everyone is welcome – and if you’ve never come, we’d love to see you there in September. Put it into your diary today!

The Hard Work of Radical Transparency

I remember feeling like my jaw had hit the floor.

I had just started my first week of working for IBM and had read about an article published by an analyst firm. Days earlier – working as a freelancer – I had tried to contact this very same firm to discuss another topic – and gave up, stonewalled at every turn. And when time is money (and that money is your own), you have to choose your battles.

But this time there was something different. “Gavin Heaton from IBM” sounded so much more important. I was FROM somewhere – and it was somewhere with a big brand name. And within seconds I was speaking with the document’s author – discussing some of the findings and thinking through how this might impact my new role.

Over the years that follow, I fell in love with branding. I loved the way it extended into people’s lives – how it opened the door to opportunity and how it could change our experiences – as customers, employees and partners. But these days, branding is a different beast. It’s been inverted.

Sure, many of the strengths and benefits remain, but we have to work harder now. We cannot rest (or hide) behind the brand in the way that we used to. We have to inhabit a world of radical transparency … one where our brand does not stand alone in the public sphere – but is accompanied into the spotlight by our governance processes, decisions, data and even the personalities of our staff, executives and stakeholders. Take a look below at this video from the SEOmoz team.

Are we ready for radical transparency? We’d better be – for it is already upon us.

SEOmoz on Radical Transparency in Business from Dan McComb on Vimeo.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

Over the last week, I have been fascinated by the concept of disruption. Everywhere I look I see fear and uncertainty – from political debate to economic prosperity. But I also see abundance – insight, creativity and persistence. And yet, we hold more tightly to the former and relinquish easily, the latter.

These five must-read posts share a sense of optimism – and a determined focus on practical action. Sounds like just what we need in the weeks ahead. Chin up!

  1. Michael Michalko asks why we keep getting the same old ideas – and suggests that we need to protect our imaginations by disrupting our habits, thinking patterns and routines
  2. I’ve never really been that interested in food blogs. But this post from Martin Weigel gives me a way in, explaining why creativity is like cooking. Time to plate up
  3. We’ve all heard the line about every answer looking like a nail when you have a hammer in your hand. Paul McEnany suggests that sometimes we need to look first at the problem and not just jump to the ready answer
  4. What is the future of business? Kate Carruthers says it’s entwined with the future of technology
  5. Last week at the ADMA Forum there was plenty of discussion on the topic of “big data”. But what is it and what does it mean? SimplyZesty explains big data and how social media uses it

Welcome to the Age of the Social Consumer

Names can be confusing – especially when it comes to that ever shrinking membrane between businesses and their customers. Variously we call them customers, clients, stakeholders and consumers. Sometimes these people – for they are always people – are also our employees, partners, shareholders, suppliers and even executives.

The lines have blurred.

Let me just say that this has always and forever been the case. It’s just that in the past we have been happy to jump between roles – to change our mask as we pass security and to leave it at the door as we enter our homes. But over the last 20-30 years there has been an erosion in the compact that we make with businesses that once allowed this play acting to continue. We no longer have a job for life. And we are equally likely to discard one brand for a competitor’s at a moment’s notice.

The casualty in all this is, of course, trust.

This introduction to the Q3 refresh of the Outlook on Australian Social Business in 2012 reveals the trend – that we are already, always connected. And that we are – now more than ever – digitally connected. And no matter whether we see ourselves as employees, customers, shareholders or executives (or anything in-between), we are all Social Consumers.

The updated report is divided into three sections:

  1. The new face of doing business looks at social consumers, their expectations and how these play out at the membrane of the brand
  2. The business value of customer intimacy investigates the style of interactions and engagement
  3. The hidden power of enterprise social media focuses on the types of behaviour, systems and processes that are being used behind our business firewalls

You can purchase and download your copy of the report today.

In Every Presentation, the Story Starts With You

Over the last month or so I have done a lot of public speaking. It can be one of the most terrifying activities that you ever willingly put yourself through. Or you may find it exhilarating. But no matter whether you fall into one camp or another, you will quickly realise that you face a challenge – and that is to tell a story.

How do you do it? Where do you start?


You start with you.

Samantha Starmer has created this great presentation on the nuts and bolts of presentations. She suggests you start with your own story – why are you speaking and what do you want people to remember. From there it’s about understanding the environment for your presentation and getting a feel for the space and the audience; structuring the presentation well and rehearsing.

Sounds simple, right?

The reality is much more challenging. But if you follow this approach, you’ll be well on your way.

The Social Power of YouTube Search

Creating a YouTube channel for your brand is a no-brainer. As the second largest search engine – and especially influential with younger audiences – YouTube can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of your digital strategy.

But just as we must optimise our blog posts and website pages to achieve decent ranking on Google’s search engine, we also also optimise our videos for effective search results on YouTube.

The interesting thing for me, however, is the focus and importance that is placed on the social dimension of the YouTube search algorithm.

Take a look at this great infographic from Martin Missfeldt – showing how it’s not just about the number of views or keyword relevance that are important. Other elements that impact your ranking include:

  • Sharing – through social sites like Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon and Google+, as well as the number of sites that embed and link to your videos
  • Reactions – the number, type and style of interactions have a massive impact – including votes, responses, playlist additions, comments, reactions and so on
  • Audience retention – how to your videos rate competitively, do they hold your viewers throughout the clip?

This social dimension means that – when combined with the overall strength of your YouTube channel (authority, trust, subscribers etc) – your success with video is largely reliant on your ability to create a vibrant community rather than casual video viewers. And that means really understanding your audience – not just uploading a ready-made TVC. And it makes me wonder whether this is Google carrying A/B testing on their search engine … because for ages I have thought that the future of search is social. This may be one of the early steps.


Help Make a Life Bridge One Coffee at a Time

I’ve never run a marathon in my life. And I never intend to. But some people not only run real marathons, they run them metaphorically too.

Imagine if your mind and body could combine to make a life bridge – that you could use your brains and brawn in such a way as to change a life. Save a life. Make a difference.

That’s exactly what Matt Jones wants to do. He wants to raise awareness of global child mortality and he is crowdsourcing support for a project one coffee at a time. He’s going to run 10 sub-marathons in 10 cities across 10 countries all in one month. By supporting his project, you will help create Life Bridge: the book, a design forum in each city, an actionable list and a co-created three year plan to help alleviate child poverty by 2015.

How does it work? Here is what he recommends:

1. Go ahead and make my day. Support me for $4: The cost of a coffee. Come on- join me on the journey!

2. Consider the $33 reward ’10 Postcards Sent With Love’: This includes a signed copy of the ‘Life Bridge’ book. Let me share my journey with you personally by sending you 10 postcards along the journey. There will be inspiration, and there will be rawness of experience. Sent with a lot of TLC.

3. If you can afford it, chose the $240 reward ‘Hardcover Edition’ with postcards: This will be a rare and beautifully published hardback edition of the ‘Life Bridge’ book, signed with a dedication from myself. I will also be sending you 10 postcards from along my journey while I am digging deep and giving it my all.

I’ve joined in – and it would be great if you could too. It’s just $4 – the cost of a cup of coffee – a small contribution to a large problem. Please consider supporting this Pozible project.


Setting a Social Media Agenda–Courtesy of Randi Zuckerberg

1345079821At the Australian Business Chamber of Commerce conference in Melbourne this week, I have been fortunate to hear the ideas and insight of a number of overseas speakers, including Rosabeth Moss Kanter and Randi Zuckerberg. And while I have done my best to share this insight via Twitter using the hashtag #acbc12, the stream does not do justice to the energy, insight and passion of the speakers. For no matter how much we write, we are always caught in the trap of writing – it’s just words and doesn’t pack the punch of an on-stage, in-your-face presentation of ideas.

Before kicking into  trends, Randi Suggested that there are some personas that we don’t want to adopt, including:

  • The crazy cat lady
  • Obsessive food blogger
  • The humble bragger
  • The depressed broadcaster
  • The old person who doesn’t get it. The person who uses Facebook as Google
  • The fruitless celeb tweeter
  • The cheesy motivation tweeter

And while we may all wink knowingly at these, she also advised that there were TEN key trends that we needed to be aware of:

  1. Luxury living without luxury spending
  2. Loyalty program of the future – make your fans famous
  3. Using platforms for customer service
  4. Mobile first
  5. People as curators – become the expert in your field
  6. Have a sense of humour
  7. Crowdsourcing
  8. We are all media companies now
  9. Video and livestreaming
  10. Gamification

Now …. we may see these trends and behavioural manifestations in our audiences … but what does that mean for your business. Let’s think about that strategically. And let’s turn this into a social business. Together. I call it the Social Way – but you may call it the cost of doing business.

Here’s to Your Strange Heart

Many, many years ago – back in my early days of social media, I connected with a very strange person. His name is Mike Wagner. He was a boldly creative and generous spirit that leaped at me out of the vast sea of social media chaos. I loved his energy and his thinking.

But the thing is … he stood out. We connected. We conversed. And after many years of connecting over social media, we met – face-to-face – in Des Moines, Iowa – and I felt like we had been friends for years. I thought it was about some deeper truth related to social media. But I was wrong.

And now I know how he did it. He used his STRANGE on me.

In this great TEDxDesMoines talk, he talks about the positive power of strangeness – and how we can tap into our strangeness to connect with the people who can help us solve the problems of our world.

So how do you feel today? I’m full of Johnny Cash today, but tomorrow I expect a touch of Ray LaMontagne. Rock on with your strangeness today.