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Showing posts from March, 2009

What I've learned about Twitter.

I'm approaching my one year anniversary on Twitter ( @wikimurph ). My first tweet? "Mountain biking in OC." For some reason I felt the world needed to know that. One year and hundreds of tweets later I've learned the true value of Twitter. Twitter is a real time wiki. Although Google won't admit it, Twitter is a search engine, not a "poor man's email" as it was recently derided by Eric Schmidt. Twitter allows us to tap into the brainpower of people around the world, trusted advisers and total strangers alike. Over time I noticed that I've gravitated toward people who write tweets that share knowledge ("just saw a presentation about...), tweets that pass along a provocative observation ("has anyone noticed that..."), tweets that point me toward content I might not otherwise have stumbled upon ("check out this site..."). I am following brand strategists, marketing gurus, social media wonks, designers, pop-culturists

The IDEO of marketing communications?

I’ve long been a fan of IDEO, the product innovation and design company, and have been thinking about what an advertising agency can learn from how they work. What would the “IDEO of marketing communications” look like? I first encountered IDEO when ABC news did a story on the firm. Nightline sent a team to the Bay Area company to chronicle a condensed three-day version IDEO’s innovation process, but didn’t reveal the brief until the day before the cameras arrived. Their assignment – reinvent the grocery shopping cart. Take a look at these videos , served up in three parts. (Disclosure: these videos are sold on Although I lifted these from YouTube, I bought a copy three years ago.) IDEO and an advertising agency are in the same business, albeit with different outputs. We both create imaginative ideas to help marketers grow. IDEO’s solutions tend to be 3-dimensional products. An agency’s end product tends to be online and on TV. IDEO’s process is fluid, evolving t

Building iPhone apps that don't suck

I like this piece by Fast Company, "How to build an iPhone app that doesn't suck." I think we'd all agree that apps rock. But, truth be told, for every must-have app there seems to be 10 lame ones. Fast Company's slide show provides a quick guide for marketers to follow. My favorite in the list? The WebMD app. Useful content served up through a simple interface.

What's in a name?

I like what Shell is doing with its new formulation, "nitrogen enriched gasoline." Shell resisted the the temptation to make up some scientific-sounding name (such as Chevron with Techron) and instead spoke in plain simple English. Techron feels like marketing, nitrogen feels like science. Imagine, then, the dilemma faced by the folks at Mercedes Benz when they chose a sub-branding theme for its new line of biodiesels. Mercedes BlueTEC involves a substance called AdBlue. AdBlue is urea. Here's a case where the plain simple English rule would not have worked well. Who wants to drive the urine-powered E Class?

Why Skittles matters.

Skittles jumped head first into the uncharted world of social media with its new un-website. What's an un-website you ask? Check out . This is wikibranding in action. Users define and create the brand's message and content. links to Twitter and Facebook to enable folks to tweet and friend the brand. Why is this important? It's just a candy after all. (A very addictive one at that.) It's important because it represents a bold move by a marketer to defy the category norm and test something different. Check out and you'll understand the dilemma faced by CPG brands. Why on earth would anyone need to visit And for the five people who do visit it, why on earth would they want to sit through a video on the history of sharing? Skittles' new un-website has people talking , although it may only be media wonks at this point. But chatter is chatter in this world. The spammers have already hijacked

Want brand loyalty? Be loyal to customers.

Customer loyalty is often a one-way street. Customers patronize specific brands over time and in return get....well, nothing. Car companies are big on loyalty marketing. But these programs often amount to nothing more than a special discount ("loyalty bonus") and sneak previews of a new model. The problem is that any buyer can negotiate a similar discount any day at any dealer. When you think about it, Apple does little for its best customers. We stand in line like everyone else. And how about Coke and Nike and Sony? What's the benefit of staying loyal? So this brings me to a category we love to bash -- airlines -- and offer some praise. For example, United Airlines (disclosure: although a BD'M client, I was a "1K" customer years before) offers its frequent fliers a wide range of perks in exchange for our continued business. As a loyal customer I get to fast track through check-in and security lines. I can sit in Economy Plus and get more l