Tag Archive: Google

Friday Five – January 24, 2014

How Spotify, Netflix and Amazon control your online habits
http://bit.ly/1asCeFB
“The more we know about you, the better the engine can be,” says Spotify’s Donovan Sung. This is why I’m still a big believer that the best is yet to come for Facebook. Choice Architecture is one of the most difficult things to grasp. When you have 3 ice cream flavors, choice is easy. When you have 100 it’s substantially harder. How information is presented will impact the consumer’s decision. This is why I think in-store design is so important, yet unfortunately overlooked.

Former Apple CEO backs virtual doctor’s office to create the ‘consumer era’ of medicine
http://bit.ly/1asDCbg
First, this is pretty damn cool. Second, do you realize we’ve been talking about this concept for roughly 10 years? The first doctor to get mainstream coverage of this was Dr. Jay Parkinson. In a Wired magazine article from 2007, he shared how he was using email, video chat and IM to treat patients. Perhaps, the world and technology needed to catchup to his trailblazing ideas. This is a great example of why I believe we are living in the Now Economy and it’s not going to change.

Target Tests Small Store for Urban Shoppers as Young People Pick Cities Over Suburbs
http://bit.ly/1asEuN7
Interesting isn’t it? Stores were once small and in the heart of the city. Then we went to the super sized Wal-Mart and Target format. From there it was on to the mega sized Sam’s Club approach. But, as people are sticking in the city and foregoing cars, we’re headed back to a smaller format. This is why I think the omnichannel approach Walgreens is taking by leveraging their 8,000 store footprint and adding larger format stores into the mix, is a win. It’s always easier to make your smaller footprint a little bigger than it is to downsize your larger format store.

Trends Come and Go in Retail, but Technology Is the One Trend That Is Here to Stay
http://bit.ly/1asFq3V
I think you could also call this post, “Job Security For Those Who Love And Can Adapt To Change.” This could and should have been a longer post, instead of a primer to get people to sign up for a white paper. I don’t normally include these types of links, but even in the relatively short post, I think they may a very important point – you need a model for managing and forecasting the rapid change in technology and its impact on your business.

Our Mobile Planet
http://bit.ly/1asGa98
If you made it down this far, thanks. This post is your reward. I spent hours playing around with the Our Mobile Planet tool that Google created. The tool lets you slice and dice a large variety of data about mobile. The data spans everything from app usage to mobile shopping and you can slice the data by age, gender and geography. This is the one link you’ll keep revisiting this year. Bookmark it. Yes, I said “bookmark.”

Friday Five – January 3, 2014

Google And Audi Likely To Announce Infotainment Partnership At CES
http://onforb.es/1bCvNcD
I’ve been saying it for nearly 2 years, but the future is mobility, not mobile. Our cars are one of the most mobile “devices” we own and yet it’s been fairly technology limited. Ford really changed that with their Microsoft Sync relationship. It was only a matter of time til someone turned your car into something that resembled your phone. If the rumors are true, it’s Audi and Google who are committing to bring you the future of mobility.

Wendy Clark: All Marketing Strategies Should Start With ‘Why’
http://bit.ly/1bCvZsj
I love this article, penned by Wendy Clark, Coke’s VP of Marketing. Brands are built over time and with relentless focus. There’s a reason Coke, as a brand, is recognized, understood and appreciated across the world. To hear Wendy explain it, it’s their focus on their mission. “In these moments, when we lead with the product (what) and not our mission (why), our decisions get smaller, our perspective less brave, our work less memorable, our world impact more limited.” Purposeful positioning matters. It gives a brand a foundation to build upon and to thrive on.

Zappos is going holacratic: no job titles, no managers, no hierarchy
http://bit.ly/1bCwjr6
It’s the kind of thing only Zappos could do AND be successful in doing. Instead of a top down hierarchy, “…there will be around 400 circles at Zappos once the rollout is complete in December 2014—and employees can have any number of roles within those circles. This way, there’s no hiding under titles; radical transparency is the goal.” I love this approach. Then again, I’ve always loved the idea of accountability. Roles are much more valuable than titles. It’s your role that enables you to feel purpose and drive impact beyond your box on an org chart.

More Than 300 Sharks In Australia Are Now On Twitter
http://n.pr/1bCwWRx
“Government researchers have tagged 338 sharks with acoustic transmitters that monitor where the animals are. When a tagged shark is about half a mile away from a beach, it triggers a computer alert, which tweets out a message on the Surf Life Saving Western Australia Twitter feed. The tweet notes the shark’s size, breed and approximate location.” That sums it up. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Pew Internet Life Project: The 2013 Social Media Report
http://bit.ly/1bCxuHd
Always a fan of the work done by Pew. Their reports on internet/digital/social use and adoption always have me leaning forward. In their 2013 report on social media trends we see a few interesting things.

  1. If you thought Facebook was on the decline…think again.
  2. Just about everyone uses social. Ok, not everyone, but 73% of adults online. That’s significant.
  3. While Facebook isn’t on the decline, people are diversifying their time across many social networks…especially Instagram.

The full report can be found here.

Friday Five – December 20, 2013

Why Advertising Is ‘Dead Last’ Priority at Outerwear Marketer Patagonia
http://bit.ly/JLguIf
Great reminder that purposeful positioning is more important today than it’s ever been. Mission focused organizations are finding an easier go in digital, because story-telling is simple and effortless for companies that stand for something bigger than just selling more cases.

The top visual design trends for 2014
http://bit.ly/JLhegz
Solid infographic outlining the major visual design trends next year. As a dad of 2, I’m especially thrilled to see “Hands on Dads” as an emerging category. Personally, I don’t think dad’s get enough credit for all we do. Also, pay special attention to #11. The idea that photos that aren’t professionally taken or styled will be expected and more impactful, will prove difficult for companies that like to over-edit EVERY visual.

Text messaging will look boring after you try this app backed by Betaworks and Dave Morin
http://bit.ly/JLhNqB
I’m not bullish on SnapChat as a business driving platform, nor do I see it ever living up to it’s valuation. Dave Morin, famous for launching and overseeing the slow death of Path, backed a new platform called “Context.” This will be one of several new messaging apps that will hit the street in the next few months. Each one will erode away at SnapChat’s audience. Teens are fickle and they certainly don’t want to be on the same platforms as their parents (see Facebook). As Gen X, Y and Boomers invade SnapChat, Context will be one of many alternatives teens and tweens will join.

Judging By Google Searches, Here Are The Things Americans Were Most Clueless About in 2013
http://bit.ly/JLitMM
I think this is a combination of the things Americans were clueless about (eg twerking) and interested in learning more about (eg Boston Marathon). While the data isn’t included, it’s clear the power TV has on search. TV is a stimulus that leads us to explore. And today, when we want to explore, it’s google that we turn to. In 2014 it will be interesting to see if twitter chips away at that decade + trend, especially as people want real-time and frequent updates.

Beyoncé Rejects Tradition for Social Media’s Power
http://nyti.ms/JLjfcr
Great background on how and why Beyonce chose social media over traditional marketing to launch her new album. I especially love this passage:

“I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it,” Beyoncé said in a news release, which so far represents the only public comments that she or Columbia, her label, have made. “I am bored with that.”

Perhaps if more marketers adopted this philosophy we’d see a quicker transition away from the copy and paste approach to marketing campaigns. The album itself is mediocre, but this is brilliant marketing. What I love about this, is that it speaks to why I got into marketing and advertising in the first place…to keep reinventing brands and breaking molds. That’s the fun part. Great marketers are ever curious and antsy. We like to tweak, plan and re-tweak. Then when we launch something, there’s a void, not a relief. That void is filled by thinking about how to set an even higher bar.

I’m Back – 5 Things To Share

It’s been a while since my last post. Too long. It’s not for lack of content. Believe me, I’ve had plenty on my mind, that’s worth sharing. A few things happened that brought my writing to a screeching halt:

  1. I’ve been swamped at the office working on some very exciting new projects
  2. I broke my hand which makes typing challenging at best
  3. I’ve been doing a lot more travel than normal and using the flight time to catch up on sleep
  4. I spent the last week in Florida with the kids at Disney World

Excuses, I know, we all have them. So with all that said, rather than write an ungodly amount of posts, I’m opting to condense all my ramblings into 3 posts with 5 focus areas. This is the first.

  1. We launched 4 the first ever Walgreens Photo Blog, titled “Walgreens Snaps.” I got the privilege of crafting the first post. I’m excited about this blog because it’s content that our community wants and it’s going to drive serious SEO performance for our Photo Site.
  2. Like many early adopter brands, we launched our official Walgreens Google+ page. We’re still figuring out how we’ll use Google+, but I can tell you that Hangouts will be a major part of how we find success on Google+.
  3. First To Know” launched on our Walgreens Facebook page. First to know is about rewarding our most plugged in community members. By signing up for first to know, Facebook community members will be alerted to great deals, special offers and more, before ANYONE else learns about it. The response has been great since launching 2 weeks ago.
  4. Our Walgreens Social Media team won a Chicago Interactive Marketing Association award for our Flu Check-In program. While I’m not an award junky like Creative Directors at Leo Burnett, I think awards are a great sense of validation for the ideas we’re bringing to market. Part of our KPIs this year are 5 projects that meet the Return On Amazing criteria…with 3 of them needing to win awards. This helps keep the bar high and all of us focused on big ideas that drive the organization.
  5. Our Social Media team started as a team of 1 and now we’re a team of 7 with 2 more hires to go. Sam Ogborn and Eric Gottloeb are our 2 newest hires. Both bring great experience…REAL experience, as opposed to “consultative” experience that’s focused on theory. To go from 1 to 7 inside of 7 months…and eventually 9, definitely shows you how important social is to our organization.

My Early Thoughts On Google+

This video from The Jimmy Fallon Show does a great job of explaining the mass hysteria around Google+:

It’s funny, but Seth Green is spot on. Others, more qualified than I, have already ripped the invite policy, so I won’t go there. We also have a large group of misguided people who are proclaiming Google+ a Facebook killer or a twitter killer or a something else killer. To those pundits, I say, you are missing the point.

I resisted the urge to publish a post on Google+ right after it came out, unlike many others. When I first joined there just wasn’t enough people using it to get a fair read. To be honest with you, there still isn’t enough people, or maybe a better way to say it, is enough of the right people using it to make a fair evaluation. With that in mind here’s 5 thoughts I have:

  1. Google+ gets a lot right.  As I wrote on Google+, “Circles seem like the key. The ability to segment your entire circle of connections into sub-circles is a game changer and honestly, aligned better with user behavior. We don’t want to share the same way with a long-time friend, co-worker, former colleague or family member.”  That’s really the killer function and it shows that Google truly understands user behavior.  But, it’s also something that Facebook could very easily replicate.  So how long will it really be a point of differentiation?
  2. The integration of Google+ into all other Google products (gmail, calendar, etc.) was the smartest decision they made.  Instead of Google+ becoming a separate destination it can now act as something that ties across all the Google products you’re already using.  Facebook can’t even start to compete here.
  3. The lack of a mobile app for the iPhone and Blackberry (yes, I know the Blackberry is dying a slow death) is hurting the ability for Google+ to scale.  With more than 40% of Facebook users using Facebook via mobile devices and similar behavior (mobile, mobile, mobile) for other social networks, Google wasn’t thinking forward enough here.  As a sample size of 1 I can tell you my Google+ usage is nowhere near as high as it would be if I could be connected to it on the go.  Big miss here that I know they’ll correct, but it needs to be said.  The success of failure of Google+ will be tied directly to how strong and simple the mobile experience is.
  4. Google+ isn’t a replacement for twitter or Facebook.  But, it is something that will redirect and shift where we spend our time.  That’s why #2 is so important.  We already search for things, email, watch videos on youTube, scheduled events, etc.  With Google+ being integrated across all Google products, Google has found a way for us to “multi-task” with Google+ while we’re doing something else powered by Google.  Time is finite, the integration approach is one way to gain more of it.  What else will they do to keep us plugged in?
  5. This is the most important thought, what problem does Google+ solve?  I still don’t know.  Sure, it’s nice.  It’s simple. It has great features like Circles and Huddle.  But, if you are already on Facebook, if you are already on twitter, if you don’t social network at all, what does Google+ provide that makes your life better, simpler, easier, more enjoyable, etc.?  The best products, the best ideas, the best platforms…the ones that succeed, SOLVE a problem.  What does Google+ solve?
I’m looking forward to using Google+ more and more, especially through the iPhone and iPad apps once they are in market.  After that, I’ll have a more in depth post covering what I think the value of Google+ is for users and marketers.

A Child’s Imagination

I love Legos.  I think I love them more as an adult than I did as a child.  In fact, there’s really only one major Lego initiative I can remember undertaking as a kid.  My dad and I, over the course of about a month, built Disney’s Magic Castle.  It was hundreds of pieces. I wish I had a picture; I looked all over Google for it, but couldn’t find anything.  Bummer, because it was impressive.

My son, John, loves Legos.  Love might even be an understatement, because Legos seem to be a passion for him.  This past weekend, John and attended the Lego KidsFest in Minneapolis.  It was a blast.  Just awesome.  John was tentative at first.  I think the scale of the event was just daunting for him.  But, he quickly warmed up and got to work with building towers, buildings and cars that could be raced down ramps.

I mostly sat back and just watched him dream up idea after our idea.  There’s something cool, raw, interesting and exciting about watching a child create something.  There are no rules, no boundaries, no need to be uniform.  It’s all wide open.  It’s pure creativity, just like how it should be all the time for everyone.

When did we stop imagining like a child?  And why?

My Next Project For My Next Kid

If I ever have another kid, this is exactly what I’m going to do:

Sure, my 1 Photo A Day Projects were cool…

and

…but I have to admit, this is brilliant. Well done Google.

Can You Pay People To Change?

Can you pay people to change?  Can you purchase compliance?  Is social success predicated on company culture?  Do people really want to be social?  Are the social “gurus” (laughable) right in how the lofty and esoterica language they use to describe social?  All of these questions and more are up for grabs with Google’s decision to tie employee bonuses to the succes of failure of their forays into the social space.

Last week, Larry Page, Google’s CEO sent out a company wide memo that outlined the importance of social, the role employees must play in driving social success and how their compensation will be tied to Google’s growth in social.  If you will, Google is trying to buy employee participation, adoption, interest and promotion of social.

Ballsy, for sure.  It certainly sends a signal that Google has flopped thus far in social and doesn’t want it to happen again.  I’m not exaggerating when I say failure.  Take for example the following: Knoll wasn’t a hit.  Orkut fell on deaf ears.  Jaiku was just bad.  Wave was a failure.  Blogger is nice, but is no WordPress.  Buzz didn’t take off.

Over and over Google has flopped in the social space for one reason or another.  Will this brave approach by Larry Page be the lightening rod that unifies the organization or will it cause irreparable harm because people will be faking their participation?

Time will tell.  But, one thing is for sure, this is the ultimate social experiment.

Sign Of The Times

Notice we have companies driving people directly to YouTube instead of their websites to watch their commercials?

Also, kinda funny that the official Google Super Bowl from 2010 shows up first in the video portion of the search results.

Parisian Love

I’ve watched this Super Bowl ad from Google more times than I can count. I remember watching it live during the Super Bowl, in Vegas, and being stunned at the simplicity of the spot. It connects with us, because we’ve all started our journey toward something bigger at the altar of Google.

Last week Kevin Willer of Google, shared that this spot was not created for the Super Bowl. Google had created several “Search Stories” videos and simply picked the best performing spot to run. Brilliant, when you consider most companies invest several million dollars into a new commercial that they are hoping will perform.

The Search Stories program is pretty cool.  You can literally create your own story using a slick and simple to use tool. This past summer I used the tool to create one hell of a search story. With the holiday season upon us, I urge you to let your inner geek shine and try creating your own for someone special!

About
Digital dad to Cora and John. Love ironing, bourbon and BBQ; no necessarily in that order. Living life, like I stole it. I'm always up for a

spirited conversation. These are my thoughts and ramblings, not those of my employer.
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