Archive for business

Business in Bites: Google Think

Seems like Google have started a new channel for “Business in Bites”

Good idea but I wonder whether the signal to noise ratio is going to make it worth-while?
TED is excellent. TED is curated.


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The Audience is Always Right

Excellent presentation by TBWA which discusses their approach to marketing and advertising, “an approach that shifts communication from brand-centric to audience-centric thinking“.

I have become very interested in user-centered design practices and strongly believe that humans need to be at the center of all marketing and all new product and service design and delivery. It’s seriously the way forward and I firmly believe that organisations that incorporate user-centered design methodologies, and invest time and budget in user experience design, research and well considered planning will be in a better position to create products and services that provide better value for consumers and subsequently better ROI value for businesses.

I have thought a lot about what lies at the core of what I want to do with my life and work and I would really like to make people’s lives better through my work and ultimately help influence off-line behaviour in ways that bring good to the world through the internet. Wow…how’s that for an elevator pitch….

If you have read through my blog you will know that I am also very interested in how people use the internet to express their innate humanness and be more human. Activism has been something that I tend to discuss quite a lot, however I really feel that my focus is shifting more towards reflecting upon how I can better consider humans and human-ness when creating online services and products that affect behaviour. Affecting behaviour is what I do as a digital marketer and what I would like to do as a citizen of the earth.

As Aristotle states:
“If communication is to change behaviour it must be grounded in the desires and interests of the receivers”

(I wonder is Aristotle would have even considered what “communication” would come to encompass!)

I have started a new blog as well where I hope to document my exploration of my interest in design thinking, human-centered design practice and related topics at

Anyway, enough about me……and a few more nods of agreement with this preso by Michael Zorn of TBWA Berlin.

The presentation amongst other things touches upon the importance of the need for marketers and advertisers to provide value for consumers and the need to put the needs of people at the fore-front of activity in order to build trust and a platform for engagement for a brand. It discusses the need to consider context, contact and content, the need to consider and create multiple tribes, and the need for media arts and the theory of disruption.

Read it…it’s good.

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Cause Marketing: Examples, Discussion and Stats

Haagan Dazs have created a cause marketing campaign to help endangered bees.

Bees are an endangered species and also a vital part of our ecology. Did you know that we rely on bees for one third of our food supply?

They have  a pretty little micro-site up at promoting the fact that honey bees are in danger and that you can help them help the bees by buying their “Bee-Dependent” flavours.

Through purchasing one of their “Bee-Dependent” flavours Haagan Daaz will contribute funds to help save the bees! The site is fun to use and has a download-able lesson plan. I think this gives it some authenticity and extends the campaign further than it being just a branding exercise.

The site has a viral mechanism – send a bee – where you can design your own bee avatar and send an e-card with a message to a friend.

My bee avatar

My bee avatar

They also have a bee shop where you can purchase merchandise and a percentage goes towards helping the bees.

I have written a bit on this blog outlining the benefits of cause marketing for brands. You can find some more ranting about cause marketing here, and some other examples of campaigns here: Nokia’s  N96 Campaign and Ben and Jerry’s Whirrld Peace Campiagn

According to research:

“KANSAS CITY (PR WEB) October 23, 2007 – The 2007 PR Week / Barkley Cause Survey reveals that philanthropic activities can drive business success. In fact, 72% of consumers say that they have purchased a brand because it supports a cause they believe in. Furthermore, corporate respondents say they see positive PR (65.3%), an increase in sales/retail traffic (26.7%) and an enhanced relationship with their target demographic (52%), as a result of their cause marketing efforts.”

Cause Marketing is not new. It began in the 1980’s when American Express kicked off a campaign whereby every time someone used one of their credit cards they would donate money to the Statue of Liberty fund (also their icon image – NB a well selected charity in line with their brand.)

Stats prove it…this is really where it’s at. Help the world – help your brand make money – and help consumers feel good about themselves. It really is a win – win!

Here is a list from 2004 listing many other examples of cause marketing and stats from as far back as the 80’s.

If you are interested in executing these types of campaigns for your business check out the Cause Marketing Forum, Market Watch also a very good post on the subject, and perhaps this article “Cause Marketing Tps: Boost Business by Giving Back” aimed at small businesses may help.

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Brain Rules

John Medina has written an interesting book called Brain Rules – 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School.  The book has a companion site which has some elearning modules which compliment the book.

The 12 principles are: exercise, survival, wiring, attention, short term memory, long term memory, sleep, stress, sensory integration, vision, gender, and exploration. Go to the books site to find out what these are all about. I love this kind of research which yields useful productivity tips based on physiology.

I am a bit of an exercise fan and I particularly enjoyed the research he presents about the brain benefits of exercise. Additionally having worked at some organisations in agency-land that seem to function on the steam of stressed employers, the section on stress was also interesting. 

Check out Garr Reynolds (author of Presentation Zen) presentation on Slide Share called Brain Rules for Presenters where he has pulled together an entertaining presentation applying Medinas’ principles to presenting. I think it’s worth a look!

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Innovate Your Mind

An article in the NY Times “Can You Become a Creature of New Habits?” discusses how trying new things can change your neural pathways and boost your creativity.

It says that the quality of “wonder” is key to innovation….that when we “decide” things all the time we close our mind to alternative possibilities, and that an innovative mind is continually investigating new possibilities.

It discusses the benefits of being in “stretch””

ie “there are three zones of existence: comfort, stretch and stress. Comfort is the realm of existing habit. Stress occurs when a challenge is so far beyond current experience as to be overwhelming. It’s that stretch zone in the middle — activities that feel a bit awkward and unfamiliar — where true change occurs”

Stretch can be cultivated through the Japanese practice of Kaizen.

Kaizen is used within the innovative Toyota Production System and Anthony Robbins is also a fan.

From Wikipedia: Kaizen (改善) is Japanese for improvement. It is a Japanese philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement throughout all aspects of life. When applied to the workplace, Kaizen activities continually improve all functions of a business from manufacturing to management and from the CEO to the assembly line workers. By improving the standardized activities and processes, Kaizen aims to eliminate waste”

Unlike the west concept of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, Kaizen has its route in a philosophy of continuous improvement…yielding mental stretch..and innovative thinking.

On a final note the article notes that:

“You cannot have innovation…unless you are willing and able to move through the unknown and go from curiosity to wonder.”

(I have include an image called Wonder:Zena Gazing at the Moon by one of my favourite artists Alex Grey)

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