Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Apple’.

Social Brands: Augmented Experiences

by Simon Kemp in News

When people buy brands, they’re usually paying for something more than a core product or service.

For example, they don’t really pay for the liquid inside a shampoo bottle; they pay for beautiful hair, and for the confidence which that brings.

Ultimately, people pay for benefits; products and services are simply a means to an end.

The most successful brands understand that broader, benefit-led marketing allows them to extend their impact beyond core products and services to deliver ‘augmented’ offerings that create far greater value to both them and their audiences.

This approach applies to brands across almost all categories:

  • Nike sees large-scale participative events like its We Run races as core revenue streams in their own right, not just activities designed to increase sales of the brand’s apparel.
  • Apple’s App Stores and iTunes Store move the brand from a manufacturer to a lifestyle brand whose impact extends well beyond the technology sector.
  • Madonna purportedly earns more money from concert ticket and merchandise sales than she does from album sales.
  • Red Bull has gone so far as to reposition itself as a ‘media and experiences company’, using its ‘extreme stimulation’ proposition to extend the brand’s offering well beyond its heritage of energy drinks.
  • American Express doesn’t just offer payment services to its merchants; it uses activities like its OPEN forum and Small Business Saturday initiatives to become an overall ‘partner in success’.

It’s clear to see why this approach works: augmented experiences offer people something more than a mere means to an end, and as a result, they succeed in delivering a differentiated value proposition that people are willing to pay more for.

Moreover, these experiences are inherently more ‘social’ than simple products and services too – it’s easier for people to share an experience than it is for them to share most products.

Critically, there are also more compelling reasons for people to talk about great experiences than there are for them to recommend specific products.

As a result, augmented experiences can inspire a social media impact that extends well beyond the reach of customer reviews or the brand’s own social media posts.

So, when it comes to your brand’s social media, don’t just think about how you’ll drive greater engagement with your own social media posts; use augmented experiences to inspire organic audience conversations, and become a brand that’s always worth talking about.

Read more in the Social Brands series by clicking here.

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We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #33

by Jordan Stone in News Google+

Social Media Dominates Asia Pacific Internet Usage
Nielsen announced its Asia Pacific Social Media Report and found the region has undergone an unprecedented level of growth in the past year. Notably, social media is seen as having a noticeable impact on consumer purchasing decisions:

In Asia Pacific, online product reviews are the third most trusted source of information when making purchase decisions, behind family and friends. This is particularly so for purchases of consumer electronics, cosmetics and cars – products where consumers are most likely to base their purchase decisions on online product reviews.

The report looks at Internet usage across Korean, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, India, Singapore and China.

Foursquare in talks with Google, MS and Yahoo! about search partnerships
The Telegraph reports that Foursquare is in talks with the three major search engines which could allow people to look up the most popular bar or restaurant in their area in real-time. Dennis Crowley, Foursquare’s co-founder, has said:

Our data generates hugely interesting trends which would enrich search… Twitter helped the world and the search engines know what people are talking about. Foursquare would allow people to search for the types of place people are going to – and where is trending

It’s worth noting that Twitter’s first commercial deals were with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft, licensing its real-time feed of information.

Say Hello to the New MySpace Profiles
After reports of falling traffic figures, it looks as though MySpace is trying to change its fortunes by completely redesigning its user profiles. MySpace confirmed that it was demoing a new look and feel to the site, which includes:

  • An improved UI and navigation menu
  • A Facebook like newsfeed with a user’s recent activity
  • Social network integration with other sites like Facebook or Twitter

Facebook will announce 500 million users; announces 150 million on mobile
In anticipation of hitting the half billion user mark, Facebook is planning to mark the occasion with a new consumer marketing initiative called ‘Facebook stories’ in which they hope to celebrate the impact of the social network on their users’ lives.

The announcement is expected any day now, and will sit alongside other large milestones announced last week, such as hitting 141 million unique visitors in the US (comScore). There are also an estimated 150 global mobile users, according to Facebook’s Head of Mobile Products Eric Tseng, who also indicated last week that we can expect to see Facebook’s “Like” buttons in mobile applications soon.

The New York Times notes that with this impressive growth, comes some grim challenges at the social network grapples with how to handle deaths in the system as older users die:

Now, people over 65 are adopting Facebook at a faster pace than any other age group, with 6.5 million signing up in May alone… People over 65, of course, also have the country’s highest mortality rate, so the problem is only going to get worse.

That said, big steps have been made to improve the ease with which ‘ghosts in its machine’ are identified, and profiles can be “memorialised” such that grieving friends can still post messages on those pages as a tribute.

Apple deleting mentions of Consumer Reports’ iPhone 4 piece on forums
Since the iPhone 4’s release last month, Apple has been going through a bit of a rough time with widespread reports of an antenna design flaw that was causing the mobile signal to degrade and calls to be dropped.

Consumer Reports last week released independent findings that confirmed there was a design flaw with the iPhone 4 which caused problems with its reception. This news spread quickly online, but Apple made the questionable decision of  “deleting threads about the Consumer Reports article from its support forums”, which deepened the crisis further.

Old Spice social media campaign
Last week Old Spice / Wieden+Kennedy turned a lot of heads with its innovative use of social media for its ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ campaign. We’ve twice written about the campaign so it needs little summary here – head over to our previous posts to learn more.

Starbucks is the first brand to reach 10 million Facebook fans
Following on the heels of Lady Gaga becoming the first ‘person’ to gather 10 million fans, Starbucks has now become the first brand to collect 10 million fans for its Facebook page. According to Inside Facebook:

The company’s audience of 10 million people around the world has been hard won with marketing, promotions and advertising. Over the years Starbucks has given away free ice cream on Facebook, been recognized by Facebook [for fan page innovation] and was also the most popular brand [on the social network].

Ben & Jerry’s drops email in favour of social media
Ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s is looking to abandon its current email marketing activity in favour of using social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to engage with customers on an ongoing basis. The decision was based on the feedback they received from customers who would prefer being contacted via social media.  Ben & Jerry’s still plans to send one email update to customers each year, and the company has received “mainly positive feedback on the decision” thus far.

K2 Skis redirects entire company website to Facebook
K2 Skis has made the bold decision to redirect the company’s entire website to its Facebook Fan Page in an effort to boost its fan base. By becoming a Fan of their page, users will be able to see next year’s line up.  All Facebook notes that this is the first time they’ve “ever seen a company shut down their corporate site as part of a promotion,” but it doesn’t appear to be driving significant numbers just yet.

BT uses social media to decide ending for TV ad campaign
BT has taken to Facebook in order to have the public decide the ending to their long-running ‘Adam and Jane’ TV ad campaign. Fans of the “Please don’t let Adam and Jane off the BT home hub advert break up…” Facebook group were given a sneak peak of the ad before it aired this weekend, and asked to vote on the ending which will be aired in late August.

The Human Avatar

The internet is a dark dark place. And Josh is their plaything

This just about sums up The Human Avatar campaign for EA’s new game All Points Bulletin (APB).  To tie in with the customisation available in the new game, APB decided to take a real person and over the course of several weeks transform them into a real-life avatar that will be released in the game – all to be decided by votes via their website. After selecting the candidate Josh, users then voted on his haircut (cyber punk), piercing (septum) and tattoo (back wings).

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We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #10

by Jordan Stone in News Google+

Recruitment consultants find digital skills in short supply within PR industry
PR recruitment agency Major Players last week told PRWeek that there is a shortfall in candidates with a general understanding of social media. After analyzing a sample of 4,500 CVs from the past two years, only:

  • 6% referenced social media
  • 9% mentioned Twitter
  • 2% talked about blogging
  • 13% included ‘Facebook’ – although in some this was merely highlighted in the ‘interests’ section

This stands in fairly stark contrast to the current need for digital skills in the industry “with around 33 per cent of recruitment searches by employers being for digital and social media expertise, while a further 28 per cent require a general understanding of social media, generally in consumer roles.”

Privacy no longer a social norm, says Facebook founder
The rise of social networking online means that people no longer have an expectation of privacy, according to Facebook founder and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg.

Speaking at the Crunchie awards in San Francisco recently, he suggested that the rise of social media reflected the changing attitudes of ordinary people online. Though a great number of people are choosing to share more information online, the degree to which ‘privacy is no longer a social norm’ is debatable.  Check out the full article in the Guardian, which sums up Facebook’s moves in recent to bring more information into the public domain, and the adverse reactions that followed.

Social Media and the Haiti crisis
Following last week’s tragic earthquake in Haiti, social media played a significant role in raising awareness and getting aid donations from individuals across the world. Below are a few impressive ways in which web and mobile technology have been deployed in the past week to bring the tragedy to light.

If you haven’t already done so, you can donate to relief efforts via UNICEF or the International Committee of the Red Cross.

PostRank Top Blogs of 2009
PostRank last week announced their list of the most engaged, most influential and ‘biggest mover and shaker’ blogs of the last year.

To create the list, they gathered and analyzed over 2 billion individual engagement activities on 20 social hubs, (e.g. Twitter, Digg, Delicious) and ranked 15,725 blogs in 491 topics. Check out the Top Blogs of 2009 here. Each topic contains a ranked list of blogs, along with each blog’s engagement profile and top posts for all of 2009.

Yelp takes on Foursquare with new iPhone check-ins
In the latest version of its iPhone App, Yelp has added the ability for users to “check-in” and share their location with friends, similar to what you can do on services like Foursquare. Unlike Foursquare though, users don’t compete to become the only mayor of a single location, but can become ‘regulars.’ We wonder whether removing the ‘game’ element will affect user uptake and the incentive to check in. That said, Yelp have an existing userbase of about 1.25 million people per month. Some key features include:

  • Friends can see a list of all of your check-ins
  • You can bring up a map of nearby check-ins
  • Post your check-ins on Twitter
  • Businesses can offer promotions and discounts to their regulars

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