Monthly Archives: May 2012

MAY 2012 // ISSUE 25

STATE OF AMERICA

Free-Phone-For Data Project: A Look Into How The Next Generation Views Privacy –  For four years, nearly 200 high school students in Dallas voluntarily allowed every text, email and IM to be monitored in exchange for a free BlackBerry. Despite being fully aware of being monitored, messages ranged from completely innocent or contained swearing to sexual references and even drug deals among the half a million texts researchers received every month. While it is shocking to some that kids would so willingly allow their most intimate conversations to be mined for data about everything from bullying to suicidal thoughts, it’s loud and clear that privacy does not mean the same thing as it does to older generations. 

Via Forbes.com

 

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

A Look Into Why Gen Y May Believe Owning A Car Is “Not Cool” – Millennials are often viewed as “game changers” in the auto industry. Over the next 10 years, it’s anticipated that 40% of new cars sold will be purchased by Gen Y consumers. That’s assuming Gen Y consumers actually wind up owning cars at all. Perhaps that’s not the safest assumption to make. While the decline in interest has been blamed on the recession, rising costs related to auto insurance and gasoline, and even on the Internet, texting and smartphones, Millennials have very different values than their parents when it comes to cars. Waiting to buy their first Beemer is now said ironically than excitedly. The car is no longer viewed as a luxury status or a ‘look at me’ symbol as it is for Boomers. Their consumption of cars is much more economical and less egotistical as the options for getting around a city and the highway (sans car) multiply. Driving, it seems, is being seen as a high cost that is becoming easier to cut out.

Via Time.com

 

SMART BRANDS

Walmart Entertainment’s Disc To Digital Program – Want to turn your bulging library of digital video discs into high-definition video streams that you can access anytime without spending a fortune? Walmart has the answer. The company has rolled out its disc-to-digital movie store conversion program as a way to promote use of their new digital content delivery service, Vudu.com. This program allows people to bring DVD or Blu-ray discs to any Walmart store and unlock access to a streaming version of the video through Vudu.com. Here’s how it works: Bring in physical DVDs or Blu-ray discs to a participating Walmart store, then pay $2 per disc to access the streaming equivalent through Vudu on supported devices, including computers, tablets, smartphones and game consoles–basically anything that supports Vudu. Out of the gate, the service offers over 4,000 titles, and it’s available in about 3,500 stores.


 Via Vudu.com

 

BRIGHT IDEAS

Instagram Producing Insta-Artists –

Seemingly unrelated, Instagram-powered art shows are popping up around the U.S. In New York City, Brian Difeo, head of the Instagram NYC community, recently put on an exhibition of Instagram images. His aim was to elevate the Instagram image to new heights. The show included images culled from six of Instagram’s most popular NYC photographers voted on via a social media contest sponsored by the W Times Square. In Fort Lauderdale, Joshua Miller, the executive director of C&I Studios, also put together an Instagram art show. Using a hashtag, Joshua ran a photo-a-day contest for 25 days. Every day people submitted photos based on a daily theme which culminated into an exhibit. In providing amateur photographers access to creative tools, once only accessible in the professional world, Instagram is disrupting the notion that only ‘true’ artists can create gallery worthy art.

Via Readwriteweb.com

ON THE RADAR

Read This: Next Issue is a Netflix-style service that offers a buffet of magazines for your tablet device. Available now on Android tablets, and coming soon to iPad, Next Issue is a collaboration between five big magazine publishers including Condé Nast, Hearst, News Corporation and Time Inc. For a flat monthly fee of $9.99 users can access unlimited monthly and biweekly magazine issues.

Know This: These days, it’s all about instant access and gift registries are finally catching up. MyRegistry allows users to add gifts from any site on the Internet onto one universal gift registry. After adding a “MyRegistry” button to their bookmark bar, users can easily add items to their registry from any site they visit. There is also an option to sync pre-existing store registries and even register for cash.

Try This App: Cupidtino, an online dating service designed specifically for people who love Apple products, released an iPhone app to complement their dating website. The app is free and lets users search and browse profiles and send ‘heartbeats’ to members that interest them. When it comes to dating, it’s always good to start with a common interest.

 

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MAY 2012 // ISSUE 24

STATE OF AMERICA

New Phobia For Cellphone Addicts – Nomophobia, the shortened form of No-mobile-phone-phobia, refers to the the fear of being apart from one’s cellphone. According to a study by SecurEnvoy, a company that deals in mobile phone technology, Nomophobia is on the rise with 66% of responders admitting to a need to have their cellphones with them at all times. This number is up from a similar study conducted four years ago, where 53% of people admitted to a fear of being without their cellphones. If not having access to your smartphone stresses you out, or if you feel anxious after your phone battery dies, then you may have Nomophobia. Other behavioral symptoms may include: using your phone while in the bathroom, sleeping in bed with your phone, and using text messages to talk to people who are physically in the same room as you.

Via msnbc.com

 

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

Ordinary People Trump Celebrities In Brand Endorsements – Companies are moving away from celebrity endorsements and turning to real customers to represent their brand. In a society of overexposure and celebrity scandals, consumers are paying attention to brands with relatable, authentic communications. Currently, only 10% of ads feature a celebrity, down from a peak of 19% in 2004. Consumers are responding to realism and honesty. No one really believed that Tiger Woods drove a Buick, and his celebrity didn’t translate into car sales for General Motors. In an effort to get real, Ford had actual customers give testimonials at a mock press conference for its “Drive one” campaign, while Febreze ditched their unreal, perfect-smelling world in favor of blindfolding ordinary people and plunking them in stinky situations like dirty restaurants and filthy living rooms.

Via AdWeek

 

SMART BRANDS

Wikipedia Expands Into Academia – Wikimedia, the parent company of Wikipedia, is in the second year of their ambitious Wikipedia Education Program – a global project with a vision to mobilize and empower the next generation of human-knowledge collaborators. Regardless of its ubiquitous use, constant allegations of incorrect information and bias have dogged the open encyclopedia for a long time. The Wikipedia Education Program and its collaboration with academia signify Wikimedia’s move toward legitimization and respectability. Known as Ambassadors, experienced Wikipedia editors serve as evangelists within the participating academic insititution and train professors and students on Wikipedia article construction, format, tagging, and community ettiquette. Students edit Wikipedia pages related to their field of study, and professors are encouraged to edit pages as well as create new articles in their field of expertise.

Via Wikimedia.org


BRIGHT IDEAS

Pinterest: From Pinning To Purchase – Research firm Vision Critical analyzed the Pinterest habits of Pinterest users from the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Australia and shared insights into the pinning behavior of users who went on to purchase the items they pinned. This infographic of the study’s findings shows that more than 1 in 5 Pinterest users have pinned an item that they later purchased, which is a high conversion rate in the social world. Alexandra Samuel, Director of the Social + Interactive Media Center at Emily Carr University, takes to the HBR blog and highlights the best ways for businesses to increase conversion from pinning to purchase.

Via Harvard Business Review

 

ON THE RADAR

Try This App: To mark the beginning of the 2012 baseball season, baseball card manufacturer Topps released a free app for iPad users. Baseball fans can download Bunt and participate in a fantasy baseball league that aims to recreate the baseball card trading experience. Players collect 9 of their favorite players, earn points on how their players perform, and trade and compete with their Facebook and Twitter friends.

Or Try This App: Japanese fashion brand UNIQLO commissioned Keigo Oyamda, a Grammy nominee, to sing to its consumers every morning. The branded Wake Up app is a clever social alarm that consumers can integrate into their daily lives. The alarm provides a more peaceful rousing from bed by using calming vocals and music influenced by the weather and time.

Watch This: For photos, saying ‘cheese’ often results in a plastered-on fake grin. In this “Smile” video by “Marcel the Shell” director Dean Fleischer-Camp, people pose for photos while Fleischer-Camp takes a video of them instead.  The result is an entertaining and interesting look into the brevity of happiness.

 

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MAY 2012 // ISSUE 23

STATE OF AMERICA

Non-Commitment Culture –  

In the American mind, renting has long symbolized a person on their way to, but not yet having achieved, the American Dream. Across the board – for goods ranging from cars to books to clothes – Americans are increasingly acclimating to the idea of giving up the stability of being an owner for the flexibility of being a renter. The new realities of our increasingly mobile economy make it more likely that this transition from an Ownership Society to a Rentership Society will unleash a wave of economic efficiency that could fuel the next boom. The recession has resulted in a hesitancy to make long-term financial commitments. As unemployment and underemployment remain realities, people will retain this mind-set into the future. The recession isn’t the only driver of this behavior — owning and using fewer goods as well as sharing those resources with others is viewed as environmentally friendly. There’s also the fact that with goods becoming digitized and living “in the cloud” there’s frequently less satisfaction in owning physical objects.

Via WSJ.com

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

More (Literally) Mobile Consumers Spur Outdoor Advertising –

The mobile phone has made people, literally, more mobile. As consumers become more connected while on the go, brands are realizing the value of the out of home (OOH) medium. According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, OOH advertising has outpaced the overall ad business. OOH advertising is no longer just static billboards and posters, many have incorporated new technologies and specifically mobile phones in hopes of capturing people’s attention. In fact, in many cases, the ads themselves are simply becoming points of entry for mobile and social programs. They’re also becoming much more hyper local and timely thanks to technology that allows campaigns and messaging to be altered based on time of day, weather, demand and a variety of other factors. One such campaign from McDonald’s changes its billboard messages depending on the outside temperature, during cold weather it promotes hot coffee drinks while warm weather causes iced drinks to be shown.

Via AdWeek

SMART BRANDS

AmEx, A 162 Year Old Financial Institution, Recasts Itself As A Tech (Savvy) Brand – While SXSW is the event that has catapulted such startups as Twitter and Foursquare into popularity, some will say AmEx stole the show this year when it introduced Sync. Sync is a paperless coupon program which automatically loads onto an AmEx credit card when cardholders tweet certain hashtags. Its forward thinking approach has lead to other beloved social programs like their “Link Like Love” feature on Facebook that offers discounts based on what users of the network like. The brand knows that while technology changes  the landscape and their business, continuing to provide a deep service-based relationship with their customers will never change.

Via AdAge

BRIGHT IDEAS

Want A Team To Be Creative? Make It Diverse – Groupthink brainstorming – a team where everyone in the room is likeminded, possibly works in the same department or industry, has similar perspectives and tends to agree with each other too much – are creativity killers. Too quick consensus and shared conclusions often paralyzes great teams and brainstorming sessions. The crucial element for group creativity is diversity. Innovation teams tasked with creating or iterating existing products need tension to produce breakthroughs, and tension comes from people with diverse point of views. Since problems are often times too complicated for any one approach to work, integrating diverse perspectives assures coming up with a variety of approaches.

Via Harvard Business Review

ON THE RADAR

Watch This: YouTube Space Lab is the latest YouTube experiment in online global experiences. Launched last year in partnership with Lenovo, students were invited to upload videos explaining an idea for a science experiment that could be conducted in space. Watch the above video to see the finalists and to get to know the two global winners of the competition, who were recognized at a special award ceremony in Washington, DC.

 
Try This App: UCLA developed a WeTap app which supports the use of re-useable water bottles by highlighting public locations for free, clean water. WeTap relies on the world’s largest database for drinking water sources and also taps into crowdsourcing to collect updated data from its users. The app gives the location of drinking fountains using GPS and Google Maps, rates the quality of the faucets, and shares the news with other users

Or Try This App: Nestle’s Kit Kat released an app designed to help manage the stresses of social media by giving users a much needed break. The Social Break app links with accounts on Twitter and Facebook and will automatically post status updates for users. Additionally, people will no longer have to hit the Like, Re-tweet or Share button every time they are tagged in a post. Social Break provides an easy way for busy bodies  to tune out from the stress of social networking.

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MAY 2012 // ISSUE 22

STATE OF AMERICA

The Four Year Career  – According to recent statistics, the median number of years a U.S. worker has been in his or her current job is just 4.4, down sharply since the 1970s. Statistically, the shortening of the job cycle has been driven by two factors. The first is a marked decline in the “long job”–that is, the traditional 20-year career. Simultaneously, there’s been an increase in “churning”– workers that have been at their current job for less than a year. Shorter job tenure is associated with a new era of insecurity, volatility and risk. And yet, many members of the American workforce aren’t pining for a return to the era of the long career because they now have a the opportunity to try their hand in different fields and pick up new skills.

Via Fast Company

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

Clothing Swap Meets –  

Retailers from Gap Inc. to Urban Outfitters Inc. are already struggling to persuade consumers to pay full-price for clothes. Now, it turns out, many of their younger customers prefer trading T-shirts, jeans and designer dresses among themselves than actually buying new gear. Clothing swaps are a hot ticket for Americans aged 18 to 34. Millennials attend swap house parties from New York to San Francisco. And they gather online, frequenting such sites as Swapstyle.com. Frugality has become a way of life for a cohort weighed down by student-loan debt and high joblessness, according to WSL Strategic Retail. “They can stay engaged in fashion without getting themselves in more debt,” said Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL. “This generation has also grown up in an online world of Craigslist and EBay where selling something or swapping something has become somewhat second nature.”

Via Business Week

SMART BRANDS

Pepsi Pulse – 

Pepsi has just launched its first global campaign “Live for Now.” After an exhaustive and rigorous consumer insights-led process, the core insight that inspired the campaign was this: Coke is timeless; Pepsi is timely. “Brands that are timeless want to have museums, ” Brad Jakeman, President – Global Enjoyment and Chief Creative Officer said referring to the World of Coca-Cola attraction. “Pepsi is not a brand that belongs in a museum.” One of its first initiatives to “capture the excitement of now,” is its newly launched Pepsi Pulse – a dashboard of pop culture. The real-time platform lives on Pepsi.com and curates trending pop culture and trending news as well as tweets from celebrities. There is also original content that includes deals and celebrity challenges. Pepsi wants Pulse to invite and inspire consumers to live in the moment by knowing what’s hot across the web so they’ll be the first to share the information with their friends.

Via Pepsi 

BRIGHT IDEAS

Pebble Watch: The Most Successful Kickstarter Project Ever – The Pebble, a watch with an e-paper screen that runs apps from a smartphone, has – in its first three days on Kickstarter – attracted almost 19K backers and raised over $2.6 million, surpassing their initial $100,000 goal for putting the watch into production. The project has now exceeded $10 million and it still has eight days to go. How did it become so successful? Here are a few key insights into their success:

1) Having a proven track record – the team behind Pebble have been designing smartwatches for 3 years

2) Building an incredibly useful product – the watch is not bogged down with useless apps and keeps the design simple and clutter free

3) Connectivity with the right devices – works for both iPhone and Android

4) Continually improves itself – in surpassing their monetary goal, the team has invested in additional features to improve Pebble’s appeal.

 Via Vimeo

ON THE RADAR

Read This: Passion and Purpose, published by Harvard Business Press Books, surveys 500 students from the top U.S. business schools and draws insights from the young leaders who are tackling today’s biggest challenges, including globalization, sustainability, technology and diversity. These firsthand accounts of successes and setbacks – from launching start-ups to taking on the family business – reveal how the next generation of ideas and aspirations are shaping business and redefining leadership around the world.

Play This: Habro wants to make board games more social by releasing zAPPed editions of three of their most famous games. The Game of Life, Monopoly and Battleship will soon be available as ‘zAPPed’ versions, offering enhanced social elements and additional content through iPhone/iPad integration. For example, Monopoly zAPPed will handle all of the banking transactions and will also turn the Chance and Community Chest cards into mini games that affect the player’s progress.

Try This App: Time To Enjoy is a new time-driven app that focuses on the “when” instead of the “what” in regards to finding something to do.  Designed to sync with a user’s calendar, this app sorts through details of hundreds of hyper-local events ranging from sports and concerts to art exhibits, yoga classes, and book readings. Events are only shown if they align with the exact amount of time a user is available.

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MAY 2012 // ISSUE 21

STATE OF AMERICA

Connected Neighborhoods In Action – Live in one place long enough and people start developing strong opinions on things in the area that need improvement. In the digital age, people no longer have to walk over to their neighbor’s door and ask to help by signing a petition. ‘Signing in’ to a neighborhood and connecting with those who live in the area about shared issues – speed bumps, recycling, bike lanes – is a more likely and familiar scenario nowadays. The new social network Neighborland is helping neighborhoods do just that by helping people rally their neighbors to take action. The recently launched site, backed by the co-founders of Twitter, takes neighborhood revitalization a step further. The site functions like Digg or Reddit for neighborhood ideas, pooling suggestions from the residents. Neighbors have the ability to browse these ideas and show support by clicking a “Me Too” button indicating they’d like the suggestion to be taken seriously. When an idea gains enough traction, Neighborland makes it visible to the appropriate local city agencies.  

Via Neighborland.com

 

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

Online Shoppers Demand Retailers Up Their Game In The Offline World-Online shopping has become a mainstream activity – 70% of all Internet users ages 14 and up bought something online last year. The good news for retailers is that while online (web & mobile) shopping has increased, it has not impacted trips to brick and mortar stores. Research shows that while some shoppers use the web for purchases, they prefer going into their local store for pick up as well as returns of unwanted online purchases. The challenge though is shoppers’ new behavior has raised their expectations of in-store experiences as they find inconsistencies between a retailer’s on- and off-line channels. One such disparity is the knowledge gap between sales associates in store and customer service reps online. Shoppers expect consistency from store to Web to call center to mobile. The other expectation stated in the research is access to real-time inventory information that is available not only across all systems but at a moment’s notice. As nothing is more frustrating than trying to locate a product and having to call individual stores and the website separately to find it.

Via Adweek

 

SMART BRANDS

BMW’s Mobility Of The Future – BMW has established a new, sustainability-focused sub-brand, and along with it, a venture capital fund for finding and helping tech startups in the field of mobility, location and travel. BMWi Ventures promises to deliver innovative mobile solutions to improve urban mobility – inside and outside of the car. It has invested $100 million in the project and expects to spread it among early- and mid-stage mobility and travel tech startups. The fund’s first investment is MyCityWay, a suite of location-aware apps for urban navigation.

Via BMW-i.com


BRIGHT IDEAS

Striiv – Fitness Meets Gaming Minus The Console –  Striiv, a new entrant in the growing market of exercise-tracking gadgets caters to the crowd that doesn’t care to track, graph or analyze their every move. Instead, it motivates people to move through games and charity. Striiv functions like a pedometer by measuring the number of steps its user makes. What separates Striiv from the average pedometer is the option for embedded apps. One such app, a Farmville-like game called MyLand, makes every step made translate into buildings in the game. The more a person moves, the bigger their farm. The device also allows people to give back by ‘walking’ for charity.  If people reach 18,000 steps, Striiv will donate money to Global Giving on their behalf. There finally are no excuses left to get moving.    

Via Fastcoexist.com

 

ON THE RADAR

Play This: In an attempt to mobilize the 45 million 18-29 year olds eligible to vote in 2012, MTV is extending their “Power of 12” voting campaign to include an interactive game called Fantasy Election ’12. Similar to Fantasy Football, the game enables users to draft a team of candidates and earn or lose points based on how their candidates behave in the real world. Users also earn extra points for registering to vote, checking into debates, and casting their ballot on November 6th. High performing teams are eligible to win prizes such as tickets to MTV’s Video Music Awards.

Try This App: Doink Express is an app that allows you to use photos on your iPhone to create customized and beautiful messages. From the basics of simply writing a quick message on a photo to a loved one, to creating a full animation using that photo and sound, Doink Express really seeks to bring out the iPhone artist in you.

Or This App: Ever been harassed by airport TSA? There’s an app for that, you know. Instead of tweeting your frustration, you can actually complain directly to the government using the new FlyRights app. Designed by the Sikh Coalition, FlyRights is available on both iPhone and Android platforms and provides an easy way to send complaints directly to the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. The app is intended for everyone who feels they are unfairly profiled or subjected to other unfair treatment, be it race, religion, or gender.


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