October 31, 2006

  • Why Blogging Matters

    Over at Bernaisesource Dan Greenfield has pulled together six senior marketing executives to talk about why they think blogging matters. Here’s his introduction to the six mini-editorials:

    Technology has enabled customers to dramatically change their attitude towards marketing. As a result, they are tuning out in increasing numbers and talking back. Customers are shifting massively their entertainment and information consumption away from traditional media to the new web space. Marketers are responding by shifting their advertising to web properties, but online advertising is struggling to gain trust. According to a recent Forrester survey of US households, only 6% trust search engine ads and 2% online banner ads. Customers trust themselves and each other in influencing their perception of a brand. Yet few marketers have embraced blogging, although it supposedly enables a more personal and two-way interaction with the brand. So does blogging matter? All of us are senior marketing executives in established corporations but we also share a common passion for blogging. At the initiation of Eric Kintz at Hewlett-Packard, we decided to all get together to share our thoughts about the opportunities and challenges of this new marketing frontier.

    The entire article is well worth a read. Thanks to Judy Gombita for the link.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on October 31, 2006.

  • A Travel Guide For Second Life

    Wired Magazine is looking at Second Life just like One Degree is.

    Included in the feature are:

    I’m still not convinced that any of this is really relevant to marketers — at least in the short-run. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to talk about it. If you think that Second Life is for you and your brand, let us know. And if you’re from Telus, how about the inside scoop on how your SL(Second Life) store is doing.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on October 31, 2006.

  • Squishy Cows As Viral Marketing

    A few weeks ago the lovely AC Riley interviewed me for an article for Canadian Business but I ended up on the cutting room floor. AC was nice enough to post my part of the article to her blog and to let me reprint it here:

    Over the summer I had the absolute pleasure of speaking to Ken Schafer, VP-marketing at Tucows, as well as Mitch Joel, president of Twist Image for an article on viral marketing, Are Clients Catching Your Message? Both Ken and Mitch were informative, highly knowledgeable and a lot of fun to interview!

    Unfortunately, due to space restrictions, Ken Schafer’s contribution and the Tucows case study didn’t make it to the final version. So, I’d like to post some of the text that did not get printed:

    One of the things that often hold back SMEs from adding a viral component to their marketing arsenal is finding the right hook. It needs to connect with the consumer in such a way that it gets people talking and, more importantly, forwarding the campaign to friends and colleagues. Ken Schafer, VP-marketing at Toronto-based Tucows Inc., looked to the popularity of a particular company giveaway — a foam squishy cow — for inspiration.

    Well known as a provider of freeware and shareware downloads, Tucows was looking to promote its B2B offerings: wholesale Internet services and back office solutions. Schafer used the company’s technical blog, Tucows Farm which is read by software developers, programmers, and resellers of Tucows’ services, to execute its viral campaign.

    On July 10, 2006, there was an unannounced, one-day offer to give away the coveted squishy cows, with one provision: the recipient photograph the cow in an interesting place and post the picture online.

    The response was unexpected, with over 100 requests. Tucows ran out of the spongy bovines and is in the process of obtaining 5000 more for future campaigns. Schafer explained that campaign created more than the initial viral buzz — it also entices blog readers to keep checking back for other spontaneous campaigns. Ongoing benefits include word-of-mouth as more and more Tucows brand ambassadors pop up on desks and squishy cow photo shoots turn into water-cooler conversations. As the campaign continues, inbound links from the photos will continue to grow, driving traffic to the company.

    Tucows’ example is a sign of the times. Based on a survey of U.S. executives Blackfriars Communications’ report, Marketing 2006: 2006’s Timid Start, predicts a 10 percent drop in budgets allocated to traditional marketing with most of the shift going toward developing new media and alternative marketing — including viral.

    It’s hard to over-estimate how much people love those little squishy cows. We’re taking tubs of them to ISPCON next week to satisfy demand and hopefully drum up more pics of our little friends in exotic locales.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on October 31, 2006.

October 26, 2006

  • Organizing the CMA’s DMC — Louise Clements’ Thoughts

    This 1:01 video features event organizer Louise Clements sharing her thoughts on the conference’s length, and her opinions on the conference’s vibe. I apologize that the video cuts off, but my memory card ran out of space.

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    Recorded at the Canadian Marketing Association’s Digital Marketing Conference in Toronto, October 20th, 2006.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on October 26, 2006.

  • Steve Levy On Market Education

    This 0:37 video features Steve Levy, of Ipsos-Reid, answering a quick question regarding the gap of knowledge between marketers and agencies.

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    Recorded at the Canadian Marketing Association’s Digital Marketing Conference in Toronto, October 19th, 2006.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on October 26, 2006.

  • Thought

    I’m showing my class how to blog. Once I post this they will TOTALLY get it.

October 18, 2006

  • Thinking About Second Life

    We haven’t spoken much (okay at all) about Second Life, the virtual online space that is getting lots of attention.

    While Second Life may look like a game, it is much more than that. You can chat with others in the virtual space, create your own space and objects, buy stuff, and bring parts of the “outside world” (such as sound, video, feeds, etc.) into SL Second Life). In fact, “American Apparel has a store” (that’s me buying a track jacket up there) and “Starwood has a hotel” in SL.

    Others are following. This is, of course, all very experimental but I’m finding it very interesting. When I bought my American Apparel gear I was helped by a real American Apparel staffer who ran around the store looking for something for me and complimented me on how it looked once I’d tried it on. Note that I really paid for my virtual jacket using Linden Dollars that I bought with really Loonies. Yes, American Apparel made real money selling me virtual clothes.

    I’ll be keeping an eye on Second Life because the gang at “Tucows” is thinking about if and how it might prove to be a good communication and community building tool for us. I’d be interested in hearing from others that have experimented with Second Life as a marketing tool as well as those who’ve taken a look and rejected the idea. Feel free to add your thoughts (and questions — I know this is a bit weird) below…

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on October 18, 2006.

  • Floyd Landis Gets Serious About Context

    I’m a firm believer in contextual advertising — making ads have some very direct correlation to the content that brought the user to the page in the first place. Of course, Google AdSense has made this concept pretty common (see the ads around this post for example) but controversial Tour de France winner Floyd Landis” offers a great example of this strategy on his blog. Here’s his site (as of, uh, now):

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    On the lower right you’ll notice an ad that says “Learn more about the hip Floyd chose”. Clicking through we learn that inside Floyd there is a Birmingham Hip I really wish that clicking through had taken me to a testimonial and more information about Landis’ hip and such. But still, not bad for a (basically) non-commercial site.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on October 18, 2006.

October 16, 2006

  • Frank & Gordon Are Dead. Long Live Gordon & Frank

    We here at One Degree have built a little cottage industry out of following the online adventures of Gordon & Frank.

    As you may recall, the Bell Beavers first started appearing around Superbowl 2006. At the time I noticed that while Bell had built a custom site for their mascots and frankandgordon.ca they had forgotten to register the transposed names — gordonandfrank.ca. I pointed that domain to my One Degree post on the topic and within a few days we had a major story on our hands.

    Rumour has it that word of this oversight and our coverage of it went all the way to Michael Sabia’s office.

    Now we move to the next chapter.

    It appears that a few weeks ago Bell decided that, since the awareness campaign for Frank and Gordon was over, the micro-site for their spokes-beavers was no longer required.

    So they just took it down.

    No redirects, no “sorry but we’re not here anymore”, no pointing it to the bell.ca home page. Nothing. So it looks like it’s “Frank & Gordon Are Dead. Long Live Gordon & Frank”. gordonandfrank.ca now points to a new Frank and Gordon Category.

    We promise we won’t overload you with Bell Beaver minutia but we will give you occasional updates on how the beavers are being used — particularly in an online context.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on October 16, 2006.

October 13, 2006

  • Bell Beavers Making Guest Appearances Online

    A few weeks ago I got my monthly “Aeroplan”: newsletter and I was surprised to see some familiar but unexpected faces in there — Gordon and Frank — the Bell Beavers:

    I can’t seem to think of any other examples of mascots from one brand being leveraged by another. Did the Honey Nut Cheerios Bee ever do a Nike commercial? I vaguely recall the Pets.com Sock Puppet in someone else’s ad after the dot-bomb, but still, this is pretty unique.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on October 13, 2006.

October 4, 2006

  • Catmas.com — Can Viral Marketing Be Perennial?

    Generally, Viral Marketing is a one-hit wonder kind of business.

    Take for example “Snakes On A Plane”:

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    Or maybe “ShaveEverywhere”:

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    Virals are the “I Melt With You” or “Puttin’ On The Ritz” of the Internet marketing business. (SEO is “Dark Side of the Moon”, SEM is “Nevermind”.) At the risk of overextending the metaphor, my team at Tucows is looking for catmas.com to be our White Christmas — a perennial, seasonal hit.

    Here’s how Joey “Accordion Guy” DeVilla (Tucows’ Technical Evangelist) got newbies up-to-speed on the festivities:

    Back around the fall of 2003, Ross [Rader] and I wanted to come up with a little event to commemorate the launch of Blogware, the software with which our blogs (and this blog) are built. It didn’t take long for us to settle on “Post a Picture of a Cat to Your Blog Day”, an unwieldy title that refers to the cliche that bloggers always post pictures of their cat on their blogs. The day took place on Friday, October 3rd, 2003 and enough blogs participated for us to call it a success. From that day forth, we declared that the first Friday in October would be the official day on which you should partake in that most bloggy of blog activities: posting a picture of a cat on your blog.

    The following year, we gave the day a pithier name: BlogACatMas, and more people contributed. By 2005, BlogACatMas had caught the attention of the Canadian national newspaper, the Globe and Mail, which made mention of our holiday in an article titled The Truth About Cats and Blogs. This year marks the fourth instance of our special holiday, whose name we’ve shortened to Catmas (although “BlogACatMas” is still an acceptable usage) and registered as its own domain,Catmas, the home of this blog, whose purpose is to keep the Catmas spirit alive all year ‘round.

    Catmas 2006 will take place this Friday, October 6th. We encourage you to post pictures of cats — they don’t have to be your cats, any ol’ cat will do — to your blog and tell us about it in the comments of this blog! Just remember the funnier or cuter the picture of the cat, the better. p. We’ll do a bit of a deconstruction on the results of BlogACatMas 2006 once all the fur settles. (And if you have a blog, we’d love it if you’d post your kitty pics and let us know at “catmas.com”.)

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on October 4, 2006.

  • Exclusive — Wendy Muller Leaving Google Canada

    Anonymous sources earlier this week told One Degree that Wendy Muller — Head of Canadian Advertising Sales and Operations at Google Canada is leaving the company after almost exactly four years at the search/advertising firm. When asked for comment, a Google representative replied:

    We can confirm that Wendy Muller will be departing Google. She has been a key asset to Google in the development of the sales organization in Canada, and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

    No further details are known at this time. Muller joined Google on October 2nd, 2002 and at the time the company stated:

    As head of Canadian advertising sales and operations, Muller is responsible for growing and maintaining Google’s client base, generating Canadian ad sales revenue, and growing the team to support expansion. She brings more than 20 years of Canadian advertising and publishing experience to Google. Most recently, Muller was the chairman of DoubleClick Canada, where she led the overall growth and operations for the region. Prior to DoubleClick, Muller held numerous high-level positions in the advertising and publishing community.

    Hopefully we’ll hear Wendy’s plans soon.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on October 4, 2006.

October 3, 2006

  • Nakama Is Interesting

    Earlier today Ambient Vector launched their new mobile service, Nakama. We think they’re interesting. Judge for yourself.

    One Degree: Who needs you? Nakama lets anyone with a mobile phone capture, publish, share and view pictures and videos. We want to get everyone with a cameraphone using Nakama, and sharing their pictures and videos.

    One Degree: Why do they need you? Nakama is (to us) the easiest way to share pictures and videos: something almost everyone with a cameraphone wants to do. We’re also really focused on entertaining people… phones today have great displays and fast networks, so they’re an obvious choice to kill some time, browse a few pictures, watch a few videos, and be entertained, and this is something Nakama is especially good at.

    One Degree: Why are you interesting? We’re not sure that we are :-), but we’re flattered you asked. We’re a small team, with great backers, and great people. We’re also solving a whole lot of hard technology problems that are hidden by our focus on making the user experience as clean and simple as possible.

    One Degree: How do you make money? Nakama makes money three ways:

    1. Premium services (more hosting, special content, etc.) — There are a ton of parallels in the web and mobile world here.
    2. Advertising — Mobile banner ads are cute (and lucrative), but we’re also looking at interesting opportunities like using Flash and video ads on mobile. # We’re not telling — Nakama’s got what we think is a huge opportunity to build an ecosystem. Sound vague? Yeah… but you’ll see soon enough. We promise.

    One Degree: What is your mission? Oh, the meaning in a word… Nakama loosely translates to “Circle of Friends” in Japanese (it also translates to “useless” in Urdu, but you can’t win ’em all). We want people to use Nakama every day to publish special moments in their lives, connect with their friends, and entertain themselves on the metro.

    One Degree: Who are you? Ambient (the makers of Nakama) is a small software startup, made up of a small management team, with amazing engineers, and fortunate enough to have a stellar advisory board, and tier-1 venture capital backers behind us.

    One Degree: Where are you? We’re based in downtown Toronto, a block or so from King and Spadina. Send us a note if you’re in the neighborhood.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on October 3, 2006.

  • Exclusive — Scotiabank Podcasts!

    Exclusive A little bird let me know that Scotiabank has just launched a podcast for the bank called The Money Clip. (As an aside, I’m wondering if, given Apple’s aggressive trademark saber rattling we should call it an “audiocast” from here on out. Wait I know, how about “Zunecast”? 🙂

    Scotiabank’s Michael Seaton tells me that they’ve submitted the feed iTunes but will likely not appear there for another day or two as it apparently takes them a while to approve things. Right now it is streaming and downloadable from the page. The first series from The Money Clip is on Mutual Fund Investing, split into three segments for beginners, intermediates and advanced investors. Part one is available now. Part two goes up next week and the series continues. Michael believes this to be a first for a North American financial institution.

    Here’s Michael’s overview of the service:

    • This podcast represents a first in Canadian financial servicescertainly it is among only a select few worldwide

    • The goal is to extend the same neutral and helpful advice for Canadians as demonstrated in our newsletter, The Vault. (The Vault is an online guide to getting ahead financially, helping Canadians with insights and advice on money matters for six years via email — over 1,000,000 subscribers currently receive The Vault newsletter via email.)

    • Podcasting is a big part of Scotiabank’s digital communications and marketing strategy as it will allow us to go deeper into financial matters, speaking with experts inside and outside Scotiabank

    • We hope the self-select/on-demand nature will deliver our brand in a relevant and meaningful way for customers and non-customers interested in demystifying and growing their personal financial knowledge.

    • Access is provided in three ways — iTunes, downloadable audio file or, via streaming audio on the site.

    • A side goal of The Money Clip is to help overcome perceived technical barriers with the term “podcast”. We hope to demonstrate the power of informative audio in a highly accessible and exciting way. (Yes, we will try and make finance exciting!)

    The site is still a little rough around the edges (no iTunes listing, feed called “XML” and not properly formatted, adding a www. in front of the URL breaks it, etc.) but overall kudos to Michael his team and Twist Image who help them out with it.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on October 3, 2006.