What Marketers can learn from #RoyalWedding, Twitter & #cnntv

Its 4.53 AM CST (10.53 in London) and I've just been woken up by wife's alarm as she dashes to the tv and logs into facebook, while I remain in bed and bleary eyed fumble for my phone and  onto twitter.

The royal wedding proves that when you have a remarkable event and a motivated community people will connect and participate. This ranges from the truly devastating events in Japan, uprisings and political upheavals in the middle east and Africa and well yes who designed Kate Middleton's dress.

Right now the top 10 trending topics (aka brands) are of course all British including #BuckinghamPalace #ClarenceHouse #Royal Wedding and...... #Cnntv !!!???

So, despite the fact it's a (pardon the pun) Royal Flush, CNN have mastered the art and science of motivating their global audience of (consumers) to act, and simply use a hashtag. To be honest, I was expecting to see BBC.

I'm surprised at my own behavior, as well as the masterstroke of CNN. It goes to show that brands which understand their equity and consumer will thrive in this diverse new media web 2.0 age.......

Now ive woken up a bit I'm off to see that dress live...



Stop press.......Its BBC America on the TV....British marketers may once again rejoice.

#YearInReview - Brand Curious: most read posts of 2010

 In case you missed some of them,  here are your favourite posts this year:

  1. a review of the must have social media marketing book Wikipedia + Mentor + Superpower = #micromktg
  2. My unshakable relationship with a coffee brand Loyalty beyond reason = Nespresso
  3. Product innovation of the year candidate ?? Free #Summermash IPhone Bumper
  4. The catwalk comes to the nappy (diaper) category the war of nappies
  5. A simple and effective brand refresh  How to refresh brand equity without alienating your audience
  6. Comeback brand of the year  How #oldspice rescued 30' ads
  7. The best Christmas ad bar none this year Hyundai vs #Pamplamoose = outlandish soundclash
  8. A must read marketing rant The trouble with swatting flies
  9. Delightful US (football) world cup coverage ESPN world cup so far so good
  10. Hmmm.... already out of date Twitter tips ! Twitter 101 smart twips and top links

Quitting Facebook


Will there be a mass revolt to leave Facebook - or will Facebook prove savvy enough to fix the privacy issues and still remain 'sticky' ? This post is my response to a great question raised by Bob Knorpp at the Beancast - you can find his full question here.

Quitting Facebook
This issue is so emotive, hence upfront I must say that I empathize with people's frustrations, however I feel a lot of the sentiment is a function of a lack of understanding of the new digital age that we are in....Here's why.

On a personal level I am shocked at the lack of inhibition and naivety people have when they use a medium such as Facebook. Having seen the expression "get off my Facebook" a few times - it is clear that some people have become desensitized to any implication of 'Liking/following/friending' a person, product, brand, company, or cause, (or poking them for that matter !). Doing this on a platform such as Facebook is intrinsically a public and not a private event.

Change your mindset
You can guess where I am going .......We are proceeding through a digital revolution. With this change (eg akin to the industrial revolution) the old mindset of how things "ought" to be, how people "should" behave, how relationships "should" work no longer hold true. 

Nobody told you the rules have changed !
It is up to the individual to adapt.  Facebook is ultimately a powerful and open communication tool with the world, and if you want to keep things private - you must now resort to meeting face to face, sending a letter or even making a phone call ! Under the digital rules it is fine to change your mind - but up to (you) the individual to know how to undo or unlike or unfriend (and don't be surprised if it is not as easy as you would like it to be !!). Remember the rules changed when 'free' services such as Facebook and Myspace and Twitter installed themselves as indispensable platforms - that have greater reach and influence than tv.

I have amazingly popular and friends who were wise before their time and understood that to retain their privacy and avoid any risk of compromising they simply chose not to: blog, tweet, buzz, digg, or use facebook etc !

Staying Close
On a professional level Facebook (as per blog's, podcasts etc) have been transformative, and are an invaluable listening, learning and connecting tool. Ironically, in some companies these types of website could be on a 'blocked' list - yet are a way to build absolute closeness with consumers.

In conclusion.... I am not quitting Facebook, but I empathize with those that want to.

Its ok to be 'Good Enough'

So I finally relented, and tried Starbucks Via today. Over the last 5 years my pallet has adapted to love only Espresso based coffee, but that was not an available option at an event I attended today.

Out of curiosity I tried Via instead of the brewed Coffee option, and was stunned to find it so drinkable. So much so that I was tempted enough to have a refill - an unexpected positive experience. Yet it wasn't really so unexpected, because they keep telling me it tastes better than brewed coffee...but that just was not believable until now.
For sceptics of Via like myself they could have done much more to get me to try it, to provoke me out of my apathy/rejection.
But how ? As I follow Starbucks on Twitter, they could have sent me a DM or @ message, and I wouldn't have minded that, because I'm enough of a fan to follow them. If they had incentivized me I probably would have driven to a store flashed my Iphone app and tried a free sample, but they didn't.
Ultimately they had my permission to change my mind because I had already reached out to them through my Twitter follow and my Iphone app, but in the end they got me by accident.
I struggle with the fact that by only delivering a 'good enough' (according to me) product they managed to change my perception and make me an advocate. I also struggle with how Starbucks is re-framing its coffee Equity. Do they stand for great tasting coffee or good enough coffee ? Do they stand for a great experience or more frequent good enough experiences ? I think you know which one to choose here ...right ?

Twitter 101 – Smart Twips and Top Links

As a fan of Twitter and self taught user (via trial and error) I have collated dozen's of sources to write a 2 page guide called "Twitter 101 - Smart Twips and Top Links". It's ideal for beginners and intermediate users. Find it at the following link.

Hope it helps and please leave comments on the blog.

Brands. Don’t hide the facts - talk about price rises !

Kudos to Starbucks. I’ve been impressed with the recent Twitter communication from @Starbucks and the intelligent way they have engaged their followers after raising (and also reducing) some prices, by following 2 simple rules.


1.Be Transparent
As smart users of social media they maintained transparency in their communication, and didn’t hide from the facts. The first tweet was a link to an ABC report that was neutral in overall tonality; containing both positive and negative comments about pricing, but also referenced a competitors’ success (McDonalds).

2.Be Authentic
Today they posted a tweet to savvy sugar which gave 10 tips on how to save money, nicely balancing being informative vs overtly sales focused. The tonality of the piece felt authentic, and I love this grown up approach.

By building this kind of relationship with their consumers Starbucks is adopting a winning strategy to strengthen their brand.