Category Archives: marketing

Social Network Optimization is the new SEO/SEM

Or, how to buy friends and influence people:

“need someone with knowledge on how to post and title youtube videos and digg articles in a compelling manner… will be paid bonuses for results (ie getting on the first page of Digg, getting lots of viewers, comments, channel subscribers etc) in Youtube”NYCraigslist Posting
“We need someone with experience in adding friends via Friendblaster Pro or other similar applications to Myspace company profiles… We could pay by the friends. Say fixed amounts for every 500 friends. This is a lucrative position and would be long term. We already have a number of clients lined up.”NYCraigslist Posting
“We are looking for active Facebook users with lots of friends in their network. Since we are building a highly social app, it would be expected that you share it with your friends network…For current college students this could turn into a longer term campus rep position. “NYCraigslist Posting

The sharks are moving in. Buy your social network distribution now, while the kids are going cheap.
File under social graft. [tmJay Goldman]

thanks to M for the keen eyes and amazement.

Brand Awesomeness

Chris Matthews of Specialized has a great idea brewing about why Brand Awesomeness is the new brand awareness.

I’m not a big fan of “branding” in it’s classic sense. It seems to be relied upon too often as a crutch to support marketing efforts that don’t have a clear message, strategy, and direction. “Oh, this is more of a branding ad/email/website/billboard”…I’ve heard and read that often. In a world of connected customers, cheaper ‘no-name’ brands of high quality, and a whole lot of other marketing noise out there, does this really make any sense anymore? Or has it become a way to justify a poor marketing execution that merely follows tradition?

And so Chris introduces this idea of brand awesomeness. I’m sure you could think of a few brands right off the top your head that have high brand awesomeness. Let’s call this “unaided brand awesomeness”.

How are you tracking the aided and unaided awesomeness of your brand?

As Chris points out, in a world increasingly dominated by (inter!)-connected and increasingly advertising-jaded consumers, what matters for Brands is being part of the stories that consumers tell each other while the old one-to-many broadcast paradigm of Brand and PR building fades inexorably into the sea of background noise and filtered-out information overload.

Link: Designing Brand Awesomeness

ps. there’s a rumour Chris may be back in town to speak at our venerable alma mater sometime in the new year. Keep a lookout.

CaseCamp5 Toronto pt 3

Chris Matthews of Specialized Bicycles is schooling us all on Brand Awesomeness. It’s now defined term. Chris has way firmer thighs than you. Awesomeness doesn’t matter if you are the biggest gorilla in your industry you can still be awesome. As it happens, Specialized is huge their particular segment with approx $400-$500M revenues, 1500 dealers in USA, 200 in Canada and 40+ countries around the world yet still maintain a passionate customer base.

Brand Awesomeness: All that matters is doing stuff that makes sense to your customers.

Specialized riders clubWhat makes a ton of sense for specialized customers is the Specialized Riders Club an awesomely feature-rich community site for cyclists. You can create a profile, you can create a profile for each of your bikes in super-geek detail, you can find rides and riders in yours or any zip code. You can keep journals post ride stories and photos and gossip with community members about gear and rides and whatever it is cycle freaks talk about.

Lessons learned:

They were expecting hardcore rides to like it the best. Unexpectedly It made the biggest difference for new riders to help them find rides and how to get involved in the community.

People won’t tell you outright that you should build a brand community. But as a tipoff, you might think of this as a big red flag that your customers are ready for a brand-centric community:

“Does Specialized have an authorized tattoo? I am considering having the logo “S” tattooed on the lower part of my right calf. Do I need some kind of copyright authorization?” (they sent him the .eps file)

It did take longer than expected before membership accelerated. It was the second version with more features to let the community members talk to each other that seemed to do the trick. And time for users to learn what they were always missing.

Chris’ presentation rocked the show tonight. I hope he might post the slides and speaker notes to his site.

Thank you Eli and volunteers for bringing together another CaseCamp. Always a highlight of the camp circuit. Get your flickr fix here. I’ll update these posts with photos soon as I get the chance.

Hooray, CaseCamp is back

Specialized Angel

I’m super happy that Chris Matthews will be flying in* to present at the next installment of CaseCamp. Chris is the marketing genius behind the Specialized Angel and the Specialized Rider’s Club (Specialized’s super-popular social media and real-world community for cyclists). Looking forward to seeing Chris again and hearing about the Rider’s Club and the whole CaseCamp lineup looks great too.

It’s June 12, you can sign up on the Casecamp wiki. As always, expect a very classy event and, amazingly, it’s free. Here’s the official word from Eli:

Here’s the skinny on the next CaseCamp – just posted live yesterday.

+ NEW VENUE, the Century Room on King. Much more space, great patio!

+ Join the Facebook group AND the wiki

+ Three presentations thus far:
BMW Canada
Specialized: Riders Club (Facebook for cyclists with 11,000 paid
Freshdaily, publisher of BlogTO, Midnight Poutine & Beyond Robson

+ Always looking for sponsors. Anyone want to step up? Call, let’s chat! 416-566-2322

+ All 400+ photos from the Istoica booth at the last CaseCamp can be
found at:

+ Looking for proposals for the fourth presentation. There are already a few in, but it would be good to collect more (for this and future events).

* Specialized Angel not included

**Photo of Angel + Chris by karstensrage

Social Media, the Importance of Communities (and how to get one)

Visa Canada asked me to talk about the following topic this morning for 140 mid to senior level execs in the areas of ecom, marketing, finance and risk from online merchants.

Merchant Experiences in Social Media: Insights and tips into the strategies that merchants have taken to successfully harness the power of social media. An overview of recent merchant experiences – what’s worked, what hasn’t, and why.

3rd Annual Visa E-Commerce Summit (for merchants), April 23rd, 2007

It went pretty well! Here’s what I came up with: