Monthly Archives: March 2012

MARCH 2012 // ISSUE 16

STATE OF AMERICA

Spring Break Gets Tamer As World Watches Online – In this era of “Jersey Shore” antics and “Girls Gone Wild,” where bikini tops vanish like unattended wallets, it would seem natural to assume that this generation of college students has outdone the spring break hordes of decades past. But today’s spring breakers – at least some of them – say they have been tamed, in part, not by parents or colleges, but by the hand-held gizmos they hold dearest and the fear of being betrayed by an unsavory, unsanctioned photo or video popping up on Facebook or YouTube. It seems that spring breakers have been Facebooked into greater respectability.

Via New York Times

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

The Sharing Economy – If you own something, there’s probably a place on the Internet that will help you share it with others. Cars, bikes, homes, parking spots, clothes, household items, you name it – peer-to-peer marketplaces for all types of goods are popping up everywhere, offering users the ability to share and borrow those items they’d rather not be burdened to purchase. The concept of accessing rather than owning is taking the technology world by storm. Enter the emergence of the sharing economy. Uniiverse, a marketplace for collaborative consumption activities of all types, released a video that illustrates a compelling story for the future of collaborative consumption.   

Watch It Here

SMART BRANDS

Skillshare Launches “Brand” Schools  –  Skillshare, the peer-to-peer learning marketplace that allows anyone to teach anything, has launched branded hubs for organizations called ‘schools’. These Skillshare Schools will allow anyone to learn from experts, the brand’s employees, behind some of the world’s most iconic brands and the most influential small businesses. The first brand to come on board is GE with a mission to reignite a pride and interest in manufacturing by inviting people to “get their hands dirty”. Ogilvy, the advertising agency, is the second in line to come onboard to provided classes on digital marketing.  Skillshare has also created its own school that teaches people how to launch and grow a startup from the ground up.

Via Skillshare.com

BRIGHT IDEAS

10 Ideas That Are Changing Your Life – Change happens incrementally, yet in our modern era things are changing faster than ever. TIME looks at 10 big ideas that will shape our lives, beginning with Eric Klinenberg’s fascinating research on the rise of solitary living. TIME Ideas also looks at how outsourcing our memory to Google is actually changing our cognitive habits. What else is in our future? Food that lasts forever, the end of nature, black irony and a new religion of no religion.

Via Time.com

ON THE RADAR

Know This: Google Play is an entirely cloud-based digital content service from Google. Music, movies, books and apps are stored online and purchased content is available across web, mobile and TV platforms. With seamless synchronization between devices, entertainment discovery and sharing become even easier.

Read This: In The Power Of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg explains why habits exist and how they can be changed. Duhligg offers a new understanding of human nature and its potential for change. If we understand habits and how to alter them, then we can potentially transform businesses, communities and our own lives.

Try This App: Zynga recently spent $180 million to purchase Omgpop and its hit gaming app Draw Something. Offering a twist on Pictionary, Draw Something involves making quick sketches that illustrate words for a friend to guess. Try this app and see why 35 million others have joined this doodling craze.

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MARCH 2012 // SXSW EDITION PT 2 – ISSUE 15

STATE OF AMERICA

Suffering From FOMO? –  The country is in a FOMO state of mind, and it isn’t pretty. That’s Fear Of Missing Out, for those who’ve missed out on the acronym.  Today the public is exposed more than ever before to what other people are doing, and people are filled with a gnawing uncertainty about whether they are making the right choice about what to do or where to be. The fear of missing out has always been there, but it’s exploding with the onset of real-time, location-based and social media tools. Check out the animated video for the highlights of the presentation JWT, an advertising agency, gave at SXSW.

Via JWT

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

Crowd-Financing Plays A Star Role At SXSW – The film “Girl Walk // All Day” is one of 33 Kickstarter-aided films played at the South By Southwest Film Festival. That’s a full 10 percent of the festival’s entire slate, an eye-opening total that shows what a significant role the nearly three-year-old Kickstarter is playing in financing indie films. Even SXSW Film head, Janet Pierson, was surprised when she heard the number. “It’s giving audiences the power instead of executives,” states Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler, essentially allowing audiences to curate what SXSW attendees see.

Via Huffington Post

SMART BRANDS

The Real Winner Of SXSW…AmEx? The 162 year old financial services company acted like a tech startup and stole the attention away from the thousands of startups represented at SXSW.  AmEx had plenty of competition. Before the festival even started, most insiders had declared Highlight the hottest technology to launch at SXSW 2012. So how did AmEx win in the end? It had the most ubiquitous new product, it threw the biggest party with one of the world’s top celebrities and it might possibly change the way the industry thinks about social commerce. Last year, SXSW die-hards were concerned that corporate brands were taking over Austin.  This year, brand marketers were far more prominent, but no one was complaining.

Via AdAge

BRIGHT IDEAS

Lessons From Disruptors: Game Changing Startups – It’s not every startup that revolutionizes an industry, changing and sometimes reversing the direction of a long-standing space. This SXSW panel invited three startups that did: Jawbone re-shaped mobile lifestyle; Lytro changed the way photos are taken and experienced; Nest re-defined the thermostat. These game-changing startups shared their secrets of success and give insight to how they developed the visions that have guided them to be true disruptors.

Via Time.com

ON THE RADAR

Follow Me: @baratunde – Baratunde Thurston, Director of Digital for The Onion, was this year’s opening keynote speaker for SXSW. His keynote, titled “How to Read the World,” offers insights into the world-changing intersection of comedy, politics and technology. Follow his Twitter for tips on navigating the changing social media landscape.

Read This: In The $100 Startup, author Chris Guillebeau focuses on 50 case studies of people who have built successful businesses from a modest investment, which – in many cases – totaled $100 or less. In his SXSW panel discussion, Guillebeau shared valuable lessons from those who’ve learned how to monetize personal passions and turn ideas into income.

Know This: SXSW Accelerator is a high-stakes competition where early-stage technology startups demo their innovative new products in front of a panel of influential industry judges and a live audience. SXSW offers a roundup of this year’s grandprize winners and the products we should be on the lookout for.

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MARCH 2012 // SXSW EDITION – ISSUE 14

STATE OF AMERICA

Al Gore & Sean Parker Discuss Hacking Politics & Call For An Occupy Democracy Movement Online – Former Vice President Al Gore and online entrepreneur Sean Parker gave an overflow crowd at SXSW a pep talk Monday on how the political system needed to be ‘hacked’.  The men discussed what they said was the intrusion of big business into the democratic process, and their hopes for the Internet to take power away from the political industry. Parker is setting things in motion by investing in a series of start-ups that aim to fill that void: Causes, which enables people to create movements in support of social causes; NationBuilder, which gives office-seekers a low-cost means to do grass-roots organizing; and Votizen, which helps politically active people plumb their social networks for like-minded voters.

Via Washington Post

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

Users (Not Consumers) Are The New Growth Engine – Aaron Shapiro, CEO of Huge, discussed his new book, Users Not Consumers, at a SXSW panel this past week. His talk focused on explaining the difference between users vs. consumers and why they are a brand’s new customer. Users, which may or may not be consumers of a brand, are everyone who interacts with a company through digital channels. When someone uses Facebook, they’re a Facebook user. Checking the weather on a phone? Then that person is a user of The Weather Channel. The prominence of digital media and tech in a person’s life is causing every brand to have more users than customers. These users in total are more influential to the company than those relative few who have actually paid for its products and services.

Via Aaronshapiro.com

SMART BRANDS

GroupMe, Last Year’s SXSW Breakout Start Up, This Year’s Brand Partnership Star –  Thanks to Twitter, digital media pundits spend all year making predictions about what technology will break through at the following SXSW. In 2011, GroupMe won on the “buzzmeter” for its group messaging technology. It quickly went on to capitalize on the buzz by partnering with marketers and allowing brands to create groups. These partnerships give companies access to the real-life networks GroupMe users build on the texting platform. Despite being less than two years old, GroupMe is no longer a startup trying to get noticed at SXSW. They are now on panels with big brands giving advice to young startups on how to do it right.

Via Groupme.com

BRIGHT IDEAS

Why You Should Start Doodling Now – What’s more overwhelming than all the information learned at SXSW? Trying to take notes and remembering everything learned. The SXSW panel Shut Up & Draw brought a brilliant solution to this problem. Apparently, doodling is the mind’s way of ensuring that there is enough cognitive stimulation to stay focused and remain engaged in an information exchange. Doodling, sketching and drawing is the mind’s way of reflecting information back to itself, allowing people to grasp it more efficiently. Until a person can see something, in many ways they can’t really know it at all.

Start Doodling Here

ON THE RADAR

Follow Me: @1laurab1 – NBCU’s Culture & Insights Lab’s very own Laura Barajas is on the ground at SXSW, spotting trends and tweeting insights live from the events as they happen.

Know This: Ogilvy Notes is a series of visual summaries of the biggest and best keynotes and panels at SXSW. If you didn’t catch the conference this year, or if you’re just getting back, make sure you check out this site to stay on top of emerging trends.

Try This App: The most buzzed about startup at SXSW 2012 is a location-aware iPhone app based on social discovery. Highlight aims to transform how people meet by alerting users when they are physically near people with whom they share a connection such as mutual friends, similar interests, or the same hometown.

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MARCH 2012 // ISSUE 13

STATE OF AMERICA

Public Education Gets Massive – Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are tools, like Udacity and Udemy, being used to democratize higher education. While the vast potential of free online courses has excited theoretical interest for decades, in the past few months hundreds of thousands of motivated students around the world who lack access to elite universities have been embracing MOOCs as a path toward sophisticated skills and high-paying jobs, without paying tuition or collecting a college degree.

Via New York Times

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

How To Talk To Women –  In this year’s Women’s Issue, AdWeek profiles three female consumers: The Indie Woman, Mom Achiever and Alpha Goddess. This issue also provides case studies on how brands including Chevy, Axe and TD Ameritrade are creating campaigns speaking to women as they really are instead of the traditional and stereotypical profiles of yesteryear.

Via AdWeek

SMART BRANDS

Harley Davidson Taps The Tweets Of Its Riders –  Social media marketing is nothing new, but Harley’s effort is distinct not only for being conceived, developed and executed entirely by the brand’s cultish fan base, but also by using that same base to challenge the stereotype of the Harley rider. Harley’s marketers plucked the idea for the campaign from a fan named Harold Chase, a member of the brand’s Facebook based crowd sourcing platform Fan Machine. “Our fans know how to express our brand,” said Dino Bernacchi, Harley-Davidson’s director of marketing communications. ‘They live it every day.”

Via AdWeek

BRIGHT IDEAS

Why Videos Go Viral- Not all YouTube videos are made equal. If you’ve ever wondered why that is, Kevin Allocca, YouTube’s trends manager, explains viral videos have three factors to thank for their success: taste-makers, communities of participation, and unexpectedness.

Via YouTube

ON THE RADAR

Know This: In a move that reflects how some news and information breaks first on Twitter, the MLA has announced a standard format that enables academics to cite Tweets as sources.

Try This App: MovieGoer is a free, social networking app that aims to make your moviegoing experience more interactive. In addition to easy access to trailers and locating nearby theaters, the app allows you to see what movies friends are going to and lets users record and share short video reviews of movies.

Watch This: Booktrack is a soundtrack for books. Watch the above explanation video which uses music, sound effects, and ambient sound to give users a more immersive reading experience. Disclaimer for commuters: Please be aware of your surroundings.

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MARCH 2012 // ISSUE 12

STATE OF AMERICA

Millennials Just Want To Laugh  According to a new survey, comedy has replaced music, sports, and even “personal style” in helping young adults define their sense of self. Comedy is central to who they are, the way they connect with other people, and the way they get ahead in the world. One big takeaway is that unlike previous generations, humor, and not music, is their No. 1 form of self-expression.  One of the many ways this generation has separated itself from Generation X is that it has replaced irony with absurdity as their favorite form of comedy.

Via NY Mag

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

Consumers Rewarded For Stuff They Already Own – The concept is simple: People take pictures of all the things they have in their closet. When tagged by brand and purchase location, people are receiving rewards and deals based on their proven likes. Own enough Nike sneakers and they could potentially earn discounts or exclusives on upcoming Nike sales. RNKD, the new startup by the Zappos founder, is one of many sites that are providing rewards to people for engaging in these behaviors.

Via The Huffington Post

SMART BRANDS

And The Oscar For Best Short Film Goes To…An iPad App – The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore which won an Oscar this past weekend, is not just a film but a book and an app. The book/film/app is like a well-written bedtime story and an immersive animated movie at once. The author William Joyce — who also happens to be an accomplished illustrator for the New Yorker, published animator, Emmy winner and character designer for Pixar — created the interactive book-app around the story and the animated film to allow readers to experience the book any way they like.

Via YouTube

BRIGHT IDEAS

Test Your Search Skills With Google Puzzles – To help people improve their search skills, Google partnered with Wired Magazine to create Google Puzzles which help users achieve mastery in their search skills. Each day at 12:01 a new puzzle will be provided as well as the answer to the previous day’s puzzle.

Via Google

ON THE RADAR

Follow Me: R.L. Stine, the author of the popular Goosebumps horror series for kids, gave his Twitter followers a free story recently. The novelist decided to use Twitter to publish a mini-horror story about a haunted kitchen.

Read This: Zain Raj, a sought out leader in the marketing and strategy space, recognizes we all have brands that are part of our rituals. Some of his are: Having coffee at Starbucks, watching TV on his iTouch, starting his day with the WSJ, searching on Google and shopping every other weekend at Costco. Raj points out in Brand Rituals, that these brands have created a deeper sense of loyalty and bonding than their competitors. He provides case studies and strategies on how to make a brand central to a consumer’s ritual.

Try This: Barbie launched its new marketing campaign ‘What Happens When You Play With Barbie?’ as part of its 50-year celebration. Barbie installed the ultimate Dream Closet complete with 24-foot tall, jewel encrusted doors leading into a two-story set. The pop-up closet, launched at Fashion Week, features augmented reality technology “mirrors” that allow users to try on Barbie’s glamorous outfits.

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