Promise

Beliefs

Story

Gone are the days when marketing comprised of blindly using a push and pull strategy informing consumers about the features of your product to convince them to make a purchase.

Positioning and branding using digital media is absolutely essential to cut through the competition, get your brand ‘out there’ and retain loyalty by having people genuinely believe in your brand.

But, what exactly comprises of the word “brand”? Is it just your organisations vision and mission? Is it what you tell the customers, or is it the other way around – perception of what the people think of your brand!  Some of the best brands worldwide have adopted the golden triangle strategy for social media marketing and digital strategies.

  • Promise- The customer wants to know what are your deliverables, what do you assure them, what exactly are the benefits they derive out of purchasing your products. If the promise is delivered, the positive experiences will definitely be reflected in ROI and sales. Moreover, satisfied customers will share, retweet and blog about your brand delivering its promise. Reliability is key at this stage
  • Beliefs – Transferring the beliefs of your brand and what you stand for to the customers as well. Synchronised digital and social media marketing efforts will help you to achieve this – either through subliminal messages or an ‘out there’ approach.
  • Story – Products and services are no longer faceless things purchased to fulfil needs. The rich history and heritage behind your brand should be highlighted in your communication, on your website etc. The story may prove to be inspiring to consumers and they may identify with your journey.

Having genuine new content is very important as well. You don’t want to be one of those brands who’s pages are just retweets of repins  of reblogs !

 

If you follow this golden triangle for new age media branding, rather than a haphazard online communication plan, it will surely help you to get a genuine base of organic followers and believers in your brand !

 

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Everyone ‘does’ social media. Everyone says they are on some social media platform or the other. The latest Buzz now a days for every business is always remaining on top of mind of the consumer. We have been trying to grab the consumer’s eyeballs for years using traditional media. However, now a days with the increasing importance of digital and online media due to rise in smartphones and tablets, it has become imperative to connect with customers using new age tools and new media.

With the increasing emphasis on social media, almost every brand has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. But, in order to cut through the crowd, what customers are actually looking for are testimonials, and first hand reviews from other customers at the Zero moment of truth. One of the best new ways to reach potential target audience is through blogs.

Did you know – a  blog is a piece of a puzzle in a web of intertwined social media platforms – and making them all work together will help you get the most mileage out of your posts. Many firms are resorting to blogger outreach in addition to supporting digital media.

Promoting blog posts is critical for adding to your readership and getting others to share your unique content. Some tips by Kenneth Cameron, J.D. are given below -

Getting the Most Out of Blog Posts on Social Media: 5 Tactics

  • Use Twitter to share the link to your blog post. Start with an initial tweet just after the post is published and then continue to create unique tweets throughout the week to share the same post. (Try turning the title into a question! That’s a great way to engage on Twitter.)
  • Use an image from your blog post to share the link on Pinterest. Just remember to tailor this content to Pinterest – which is image-heavy.
  • Instagram. Seems like an unlikely way to share a blog post, right? Wrong! Using a fun image to describe your latest post with a caption like: New Post Up on the Blog! Is a great way to intrigue your readers? Instagram is also an excellent spot to capitalize on the use of popular hashtags.
  • Post links to your blog on Google+. Not only is Google+ a great addition to your Search Optimization Efforts, you’ll find a whole different community of potential readers.
  • Don’t forget about Facebook! Remember to tag any people or companies mentioned in your blog post – this will help increase shares of your link. Oh, and a great image goes a long way here too.

 

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The social media frenzy around Miss America

Posted by futurON Ltd on Monday Sep 23, 2013

Sometimes people on social media have the tendency to go crazy – and we all witnessed that after Miss New York, Nina Davuluri won the Miss America pageant.

For all those who haven’t caught up with the momentous occasion yet, here it is:

 

Crowning of the new Miss America

Nina Davuluri was the subject of a tirade of racist remarks on Twitter after she was crowned, oh wait, as she was being crowned. The new Miss America showed immense gratitude as she gave her first speech. Take a look at what she had to say and a few things you didn’t know about her. She also spoke to Bloomberg TV after the pageant about how she survived the hate:

 

Nina Davuluri: How she survived the hate

Diversity is one of the more significant things she touched upon when she spoke. The world as an entity is embracing diversity, and the support and adulation she received was way more than the temporary backlash.

It was a proud moment for the world – an American of Indian descent won the coveted beauty title of the land. It only reflects how the world is becoming more inclusive, tolerant and all-encompassing. And kudos to the United States, the world’s biggest superpower is demonstrating it in every sense of the word.

Social media – the facilitator

We cannot overlook the role social media has to play in creating a connected world. Thanks to the wonderful world of the web, there is less opacity, more transparency and a great understanding among people, today.

So where there were people who made unjust remarks on Twitter, there were people standing up for the new Miss America in full support, and in larger numbers. And this highlights the point about justice in social media that Ms Davuluri speaks of – where positivity surpassed the overall negativity.  Accounts that create disparity on social platforms get initial traction but not the long term benefit in comparison with accounts that spread positivity. In fact, social platforms can delete these accounts for spamming or spreading hatred – as they did in this case. Being connected to people across the world should be the reason for more acceptance because one becomes more knowledgeable about other people and their cultures. For instance, the very fact that someone called her an Arab is telling of how ignorant the person is, and how connected with the world they actually are on social media. Some of the Tweeple apologized for their offensive tweets and some remained remorseless as can be seen here.

This debacle is a classic example of what NOT to do on social media. It is a place to collaborate and learn, not propagate hate and intolerance. Social media is a huge space to create and bring change – whether it was the Anna Hazare movement or the Nirbhaya rape case. Let’s use it to spread a positive change.

Here at futurON, we thought this video by YouTuber – iiSuperwomanii – sums up our thoughts on this matter. Enjoy!

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There is a whole lot going on out there with regard to education and new ways to disseminate it – and social media is a front-running contender. So what are you going to read here that you haven’t read elsewhere? Let’s highlight the objectives:

  1. A look at the future of education in India. What could be, if we used technology?
  2. The global scenario and work being done world over. Assistance for teachers in the form of blogs, infographics and tools.
  3. The futurON Take

To begin with, we’d like you to consider this:

Scenario 1

Rani and Raju go to school. As in any school, they learn five subjects and two languages. They’re studious, take notes in class, solve problems, ask teachers doubts, study for the final exams and pass with great grades.

 

This is how most of us have schooled.

 

Now get this:

Scenario 2

Rani and Raju go to school. They have fun, participate in extra-curricular activities, take notes, solve problems and go home. But before going home, their History teacher gives them homework to read up about the Mughal era.

After getting home, they finish their homework and logon to the social media education tool that their school automatically registers them on, during induction. They see that their History teacher has started a new discussion on the Mughal era. The children participate in the discussion by presenting, countering and debating points with their peers as their teacher moderates the discussion. She then conducts a pop quiz in the end to test how much was learned from the discussion and grades the students.

The students understand the nuances of the subject this way. Based on their performance in the pop quiz, they know how they should approach questions and answer them. The children then appear for their exams well-rounded and knowledgeable about the subject.

This is an ideal case scenario. We’re not saying schools must function this way – but how awesome would it be if they did?!

We understand that it is difficult to move from a chalk-board to key-board style of teaching. But given the pace at which the younger generation picks up on technology, it is inevitable.

Have we made progress?

It is time educators get their act together – and some of them are. If not aggressively, there is a small rising tide somewhere waiting to become the big social media wave in the education system.

futurON spoke with Ms Vijaylakshmi Subramanian, Principal of MCTM CC Matric Higher Secondary School, based in Chennai, India. On being asked about the role of social media in education, she said, “If they (students) are guided, it could be a wonderful tool to learn.” She was all for the medium, but laid emphasis on the fact that children are vulnerable and must be taught how to use the medium positively.

What seemed to be lacking, however, was an awareness among the educators and teaching staff, but in this regard Ms Subramanian said that educators around the world are connected today through professional social media platforms. She for instance, makes it a point to network with educators across the globe through groups and discussions on these professional networking sites and hence is in-the-know of the developments and progress in the field of education, world over.

We also came across an article in which some other educators say they believe this model can work out (albeit for higher education, at graduation level and such). But it has its pros and cons that have been highlighted in this article.

What our global counterparts are up to?

Globally, there is more work being done on the matter. For instance, there’s more content for the education and awareness of teachers and how they can incorporate social media into their curriculum.

Mashable’s article called The Teacher’s Guide to Social Media outlines the don’ts of social media for educators and edSocialMedia’s article called A visual guide to using social media highlights how an educator can effectively use social media to teach. There are also several easy-to-use tools that educators can employ in their teaching methodology.

The futurON Take: We believe education will give rise to a thinking generation and what better medium to reach out to the younger generation than the one they understand best – social media. It must be looked at as a productive medium rather than a disruptive one. And this is a good time to begin. :)

Tell us what you thought about the article? Where do you think we stand, as a nation, in this regard? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.

Related Reading

 

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Google+: A force to be reckoned with

Posted by Mallika on Wednesday Sep 4, 2013

 

Absolutely!

For one thing I was forced to get a G+ account because there was a pop-up on every Google window that I don’t have one.

And just when I thought I had evaded the pains of signing up, I HAD to open one because I had to +1 something to see more details.

And that’s how I was bullied into opening a G+ account :)

My thoughts: Why do I need this? Everyone I want to be in touch with is on Facebook! (Or Twitter, or LinkedIn – these cover all categories – good friends, just friends, acquaintances, colleagues, professional network et al.)

I’m sure you’ve thought of it, too. So, where does Google+ figure in this competitive social media space? And what chances of survival does it have in comparison with social media mammoth – Facebook?

Here’s an interesting infographic I found, and must say, was quite surprised with what I learnt.

Facebook vs. Google+

Infographic - Facebook vs. Google+

 

Why Google+?

Having seen that the entire objective of Google+ was starkly different from Facebook’s, the concept of Circles started making perfect sense, to me.

With Google+, it’s not so much about personal connections as it is about common interests. So, the whole idea that anybody on the Google network can add you to their Circles – means they want to connect with you because of a common interest/opinion they share. Which is why you can go easy on your privacy settings, so you can keep browsing away and +1- ing away on the Google+ network (the option to lock, protect or guard your data is always available).

But since, we’re all tuned to the Facebook way of functioning, this seems a bit too intrusive to some of us. We need to un-Facebook ourselves to understand the functionality and actual potential of Google+.

But that’s only as far as your personal page and your personal interests go – when it comes to business and marketing, it’s a whole other ball game.

Here’s an interesting article I found on SocialMedia Examiner on why you should not overlook Google+ when it comes to marketing. The article also includes a podcast of an interview with Jesse Stay, the author of several books including Google+ for Dummies and Google+ Marketing for Dummies.

He cites 4 ways that Google+ can help your marketing and hence your business:

  • Improve your search results in Google
  • Bring social connections into your YouTube videos
  • Add a CRM experience into Gmail and Google Calendar
  • Build connections through Google Hangouts

Business Insider, too, has an interesting article on the rise of Google+ which includes some great data and analysis.

So, it won’t be the best thing to write off Google+ yet. Don’t be swayed by the beautiful user interface (UI), user experience (UX) or the cool Hangout communities. Google has entered the space for the long haul and as I said – it’s a force to be reckoned with!

Let us know what you think of the article. Would you like to see a part 2 on best practices? Write to us in the comments below.

 

Please note: The opinions expressed here are purely the author’s and not the company’s. All data and facts have been sourced from third party sites.

 

 

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Who says Instagram isn’t for everyone?

Posted by futurON Ltd on Thursday Aug 22, 2013

 

It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is or even what its nature is – if you’re on Instagram, your business is beautiful pictures. And if you can connect with people through your pictures, there’s nothing that can stop you from succeeding.

Here are 3 brands you’d have never thought could be runaway hits on Instagram:

 

1. Maersk Line

Maersk Line is the world’s largest shipping container company

Maersk Line is the world’s largest shipping container company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a wonder how a shipping container company can connect with people at large. But one look at the number of followers will answer that question. Each time Maersk Line shares a picture, it’s accompanied by a caption or description with the location of the ship and at what point in time (season, time of the day) the picture was taken. Sailors, boat enthusiasts, travelers, adventurers, naval officers and even photographers are a part of this community built by Maersk Line.

 

2. PayPal

PayPal is a global e-commerce business allowing payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet

PayPal is a global e-commerce business allowing payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PayPal took a unique approach called re-imagining money, through which they highlighted the experiences that the PayPal service enables. It is a sort of adventure diary of guest Instagrammers on the PayPal account. The result of this is beautiful pictures and a direct connect with audiences.

 

3. Lexus

Lexus is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation

Lexus is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lexus and more than 200 Instagrammers joined hands to create a stop-motion film using only pictures taken through mobile devices. They called it LexusInstafilm – take a look at the creativity that ensued and how it all came together. You can never go wrong with a strategy like this!

On Instagram, the idea is to celebrate the power of instant photography. And that’s what these brands have done on different scales.

 

7 things you can take away from their success stories

  • You need a clear strategy to get started on Instagram – Who is your target audience? What are you going to say to them? What should they expect from your page?
  • The nature of your business is not a limiting factor to venture into Instagram
  • Your brand positioning can be different and more creative on this platform
  • It is an interactive medium and the more your audience participates and contributes, the richer your content
  • People are your biggest strength! Talk to them, take their advice, make them a part of your brand
  • On Instagram, the good can be made better and the pretty prettier
  • See how you can enhance the utility of the platform (like in the case of Lexus)

And don’t forget your filters and frames – they are imperative to giving your pictures a finesse. And the hashtags will help other interested people find you easily.

In case you’re still wondering how the Nikes and Burberrys of the world jumped out of billboards and magazines to enter our world through our smartphones. We can tell you one thing for sure, the first thing they did was get an Instagram account! And that’s where you should begin, too.

See our previous post about Best practices for Instagram to know how you can get started.

We at futurON would like to know what you thought about this article. Did it help you or not? Did it give you more clarity on how this medium can be used? Post a comment and let us know.

 

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What is Vine and why is everyone talking about it?

 

It wasn’t that long ago when video capture and editing was the purview of a select group. The camera equipment was expensive and bulky; it was in the league of designing a spacecraft! It also needed a lot of training and special editing software. Back in our parents’ day, they had to carry 20lb VHS recorders just to shoot a few minutes of film!

And we have it so easy! A video recorder that fits in our pocket and snippets of video in a super-digestible format. It is truly an evolution of social media apps. Voila!

 

In January 2013, Twitter released Vine video, its free video-sharing application that enables brands, businesses and consumers to shoot and upload six-second snippets to blogs, presentations, e-mails and social media sites. Vine is Twitter’s six-second video. The idea is to create quick, easy and interesting short films to share with friends and network on Facebook and Twitter. It is an app, currently only for iOS, that records six seconds of video and posts it on an endless loop to your Twitter account.

 

We have put together a bunch of reasons why Vine should be a part of your marketing mix?

We have already noticed how more marketers are using images and videos in their marketing mix; visual content is a marketer’s survival guide today. Capture quick video snippets and post them to YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter.

It’s testimony to the fact that media soothsayers have been crowing for years about how video is the future.

It is also a great App to drive Social Media ROI. One can drive more traffic by using tags, social buttons and share buttons.

 

1) It is a perfect app for brand-new user generated content

In my previous blog, we discussed how companies would make the most of User Generated Content. And Vine is the best way to create short, beautiful, looping videos in a simple and fun way. Sometimes, clients have problems gathering up-to-date seasonal content for their websites, however user generated content is a great source of recent information and Vine is a perfect platform to leverage that.

Vinepeek is a website that enables one to drive more traffic to all social media platforms. It aggregates videos in real time showcasing an endless stream of six-second snippets of everyday lives.

 

 

2) It is a brand new and exciting way to reach out

Vine has managed to garner mass followings despite of it being a micro-video site. It is a great way to reach out to followers, and customers by broadcasting a 6 second video. One can also shoot a short loop; post a video with a minimum of 3 seconds. A brand or a company can share the best moments with the new hero of video sharing app. Its brevity is the (potential) source of its creativity. Small Tip– Pick a shot that’s mostly still but has just one or two elements that move.

 

3) It is the combination of the best!

Vine is a video sharing app, a combination of photo and video sharing with sounds. You can think of Vine as Instagram meets YouTube with a dash of Twitter!

Social networks, Facebook and Twitter are aware of this and have already started to get their hands on it.  We saw a couple months ago how Facebook is betting on improving the way content is consumed on its platform. Two of the latest improvements are the Social Graph and the Newsfeed update. The latest development in the social video area is Twitter’s Vine Social Video App.

 

4) Vine is great for Social SEO

Vine is a true representation of the times as far as how and where communication between brands and the individual is going. Social video apps are how people want to engage and communicate with each other. Twitter’s inclusion of video content will prove to be a pivotal asset in the process of strengthening brands’ relationships with their consumers, as they develop their social SEO and search marketing strategies.

 

5) Vine is simple to use

Vine is simple to use, the app’s stripped-down interface attempts to remove every point of friction. It offers users the opportunities to actively edit their creation. It is content that is easily made and easily consumed.

Vine videos are already starting to clog my Twitter feed and here’s a link one such interesting video. Let us know how you would use this cool video-sharing app both personally and professionally.

You can connect with us on Twitter @futurontweets or you can follow us on Facebook. 
Disclaimer: All links/image posted are on third party websites. Copyrights as applicable.

 

 

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Facebook Home: A bid to increase ad revenue?

Posted by Saahil on Friday Apr 5, 2013

The much awaited launch of a Facebook phone has met with mixed responses from both industry veterans and avid facebookers.  Facebook did not unveil a phone, but a bespoke Android overlay called ‘Facebook Home’. It also revealed that the Taiwanese electronic giant, HTC Corporation, will debut a phone called ‘HTC First’ which would run the overlay as standard. This debut is touted to happen a week from now.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and chief executive, explained that the firm is looking to put ‘people, not apps’ at the centre of the phone in a bid to revolutionize the smartphone experience and to further grow its mobile experience.

“We’re not building a phone and we’re not building an operating system. What we’re building is something that goes much deeper than just an ordinary app.” he said.

‘Facebook home’ app shows off capabilities such as a slideshow of recent images on your front screen or putting updated from friends at the top of the screen. “The home screen is the soul of your phone. You check it a hundred times a day, so we want to build the best experience for every person on their Android phone.” he said.

Another key tool built into the platform is the ability to receive messages – called Chat Heads – without having to exit the app you’re currently using while still being able to reply to the messages you’re getting, as either texts or Facebook messages.

‘Facebook home’ is intended to work across platforms, so iOS and Windows Phone messages will appear in the similar manner.

This app will be made available to the public on 12th April in the US only. Some of the devices to run on the platform will be HTC One, HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S3, Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and Samsung Galaxy S4.

Zuckerberg was joined by Peter Chou, CEO HTC, to show off ‘HTC-First’ the first smartphone to run on this overlay. The device will be available from 12th April in the US on AT&T for $99.99.

Facebook confirmed that they are working with EE, Samsung and a host of other vendors on delivering the overlay when it is made available.

Industry analyst have underlined that this move, by Facebook, is to boost the firm’s desire to get its users more active on the site in order to help boost the appeal to advertisers.

It appears that analysts have given an overwhelming verdict in the negative. Perhaps this diffidence stems from the level of excitement and expectation they had developed prior to the event. To me 12th April is the ‘D’ Day.

Please let us know what you feel about this new ‘game-changer’ strategy?

 

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User Generated Content –These three words were being bandied across in marketing and social media circles last year. What is UGC and why are marketers making a huge deal about it? How does it empower the new-age marketer? Is user generated content the new currency—gold— in social media and marketing? The importance of user-generated content in the world of marketing, branding, and advertising is its capacity to influence purchase decisions, brand affinity and brand loyalty.

Here are the answers. User generated content was a big trend last year, a trend that is not a one-off affair. This trend is worth tracking because it represents a radically new definition of what constitutes value to the consumer. Co-creating with one’s consumers is an important one to watch not because content and experiences will be co-created by the consumer but because tapping into the ‘collective experiences, skills and ingenuity of hundreds of millions of consumers’ around the world is a complete departure from the inward looking marketing model which is so common to many brands and corporations around the world. For decades, these consumers have been saving up their insights and rants about the stuff they consume, simply because they didn’t have adequate means to interact with companies, or with other consumers for that matter. User Generated Content helps customers with direct influence on what companies develop and produce for them.

If content is king then, UGC is the content maker! UGC is content that is generated by people who visit your site. It is pretty straightforward. Forum entries, reviews, blog posts, comments and social mentions are among the types of content that can be generated by users. Be it entertainment, communications or e-commerce, consumers are increasingly in charge of the creation, distribution and consumption of digital content.

afaqs! Campus spoke to 40 experts to find out their One Big prediction in the Digital Marketing space in 2013. Also, Paurush Sonkar, Deputy Chief Manager
L&T General Insurance predicted that Marketing will be powered by UGC this year.

Big news organisations like BBC and CNN have been using User Generated Content to plug the gaps that their own journalists can’t cover – by submitting photos, videos and updates on breaking news. Contribution of user generated content (UGC) by the wider public or ‘citizen journalism is a common phenomenon.

Its benefits are that the audiences witnessing incidents can post eyewitness accounts on the Internet as soon as they happen or send reports and photos to the media. It provides inspiration to any brand wanting to turn its customers into ‘reporters’, sending in findings, observations, and suggestions. And as this model is spreading like wildfire, expect more consumers to ‘get’ and enjoy the concept. Sauvé marketers have caught up with the trend looking to leverage the web as an effective marketing and communications channel. The continual rise of social media, Google’s ever-changing algorithm, quality and fresh content play a central role in empowering the new marketer who relies on user generated content which can help companies rapidly scale and promote original content in a way that benefits both the company and the readers.

 

The advantages of UGC are massive; it paves path for a solid organic ranking, better SEO, it is highly cost-effective and very quick and easy to set-up, it also encourages and enables online visitors to enhance marketing, increase your site’s retention, bookings, enquiries, repeat visits and browsing time. This allows visitors to upload their own testimonials, reviews and experiences to your website that breeds loyalty and significantly enhances the interactivity of your site for online visitors.

2011 – 2012 was about companies understanding what UGC is all about. Companies shared that user-generated content is part of the new marketing paradigm, but more than half of companies have yet to fully recognize this very fundamental transition in marketing. However, many marketers predict that 2013 will be different and companies will officially seek UGC. Building marketing campaigns around user-generated content will be an important new ingredient in the marketing mix.

We have put together a bunch of reasons why companies will officially pursue UGC for 2013 and beyond:

Reason One

Explosion of Social Networks


With the number of people on social networks continuing to explode (according to eMarketer, there will be 114.5 million user-generated content creators online by 2013), the opportunity for brands to leverage content created by consumers in marketing efforts will continue to grow. The impact and power social media has when it comes to content sharing is massive; this is an understatement. UCG campaigns are huge drivers of social engagement. We have millions of tweets about our brands, thousands of Facebook ‘Likes’, hundreds of thousands of check-ins on Foursquare. Pinterest and Instagram are adding even more to social-media data deluge – very visually.

Here’s an interesting info graphic to demonstrate the same.


Reason Two

People look to others for a sense of reassurance and validation from people like themselves or Using Social Validation as a Marketing Tool


This sense of connection has been a driving force in the success of crowdsourcing and the harnessing of user generated content (UGC) in driving consideration and product sales. Campaigns created with crowd sourced content are novel. This has created a new channel allowing audiences to change their role from mere onlookers to participants. This multi-channel dialogue can empower fans to be a part of the experience. Companies and media organisations will look to use UCG in their marketing mix. Apparently 95% of the people need social validation before making a decision. Given that social validation is so rampant, it only seems natural to talk about it in terms of business marketing. Certainly reviews and client/customer testimonials serve this purpose. However, social media is playing a larger role in social validation each day.

Reason Three

Content sharing has evolved in the recent years


As newer smartphones showcase better camera technology, consumers are responding by creating and sharing better content with friends and network. Instagram, Viddy, YouTube, and Pinterest represent just a handful of companies who have skyrocketed to success based on sharing user-generated content. Many Indian companies like Mouthshut.com, Freshlimesoda.com, Sulekha.com, Shaadi.com and Naukari.com are great examples of sharing user-generated content.

Reason Four

UGC is an opportunity for true brand development


Brands use user-generated content to get authentic experiences andopinions from their audience, be it good or bad. A negative comment could really be an opportunity for brands to see where there’s a problem and also a chance to interact with someone that took the time to engage you online.

Reason Five

Companies and brands will figure out more practices for utilizing and leveraging user-generated

1.Brands will respond and engage more vehemently with people.

2.They will understand customers and their audience and will know what tools to provide and use.

3.Brands will be realistic with regard to what to expect from their users.

4. Brands will be realistic and will expect to have the good with the bad.

5. Brands and companies will recognize and reward active content users.

Reason Six

Bespoke Lifestyle of the new consumer


Today’s consumer doesn’t settle for anything that is run-of-the-mill.

He/she seeks something different; something is custom-made, tailored to his/her needs, something that is concierge or made-to-order. This guarantees goods, services and experiences that are tailored to their needs.

 

Amazon does it the right way!

Amazon has partnered with Facebook to bring a new layer and add an offshoot into product recommendations.

Now Amazon users will be able to link their Facebook account to their Amazon account. At the outset, this will allow Amazon to show you recommendations based on your Facebook interests and activity.

Let us know how your brand uses UGC in its marketing mix? Is your company looking forward to this new marketing paradigm?

You can connect with us on Twitter @futurontweets or you can follow us on Facebook.
Disclaimer: All links/image posted are on third party websites. Copyrights as applicable.

 

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Orwellian SocietyDuring the height of the economic meltdown I wanted to learn about some of the economists who had predicted this mayhem, apart from the usual names of the Austrian-economic school of thought, like Nouriel Roubini, Peter Schiff, Gerald Celente etc. I came across Web-bot Project created by Clif High and George Ure. It was a software originally designed to predict the stock market trends in the late 90’s. Their website claims that the scope of their functionality was extended to cover world events. This unique ability to predict world events a-la Nostradamus was into much controversy after a claimed 60% hits and 40% misses and off late there has been more misses than hits.

I was inclined towards this ‘savant’-like software because of their secret algorithm based on numerical values assigned to emotionally quantified lexicons with a focus on duration, impact, immediacy and intensity; after completely sidelining the reason for the switch from making literally billions of dollars every day by predicting the market (I mean it doesn’t make sense to move from such a lucrative business) to a fakir trying to make ends meet and living hand to mouth.

After almost four years I spent in awe of their ruse. I learnt of RIOT (Rapid Information Overlay Technology). RIOT is developed by Raytheon, world’s fifth largest defense contractor and is aimed towards tracking people’s movement on social media and predicting future behavior by mining data from social networking website.

Raytheon, the Massachusetts-based company has acknowledged that the technology was shared by the US government and industry as part of a joint research and development effort, in 2010, to help build a national security system capable of analysing “trillions of entities” from cyberspace.

Have authorities become so red handed that they are willing to ‘overtly’ convert the western world into Stasi, Germany?

It has harnessed and prompted civil liberties and online privacy concerns. The world witnessed the power of social media during the Arab Spring but most just stopped short from thinking about the ramification of it getting transformed into ‘Google for spies’ and tapped as a means of monitoring and control.

Raytheon’s “principal investigator” Brian Urch explains in a video that the photographs users post on social networks sometimes contain latitude and longitude details – automatically embedded by smartphones and tablets within “exif header data.”

RIOT pulls out the information along with the location where the photograph was taken.

“We’re going to track one of our own employees,” Urch says in the video, before bringing up pictures of “Nick,” a Raytheon staff member used as an example target. With information gathered from social networks, Riot quickly reveals Nick frequently visits Washington Nationals Park, where on one occasion he snapped a photograph of himself posing with a blonde haired woman.

“We know where Nick’s going, we know what Nick looks like,” Urch explains, “now we want to try to predict where he may be in the future.”

Riot can display on a spider-diagram and the intricacies between individuals online by looking at who they have communicated with over Twitter. It can also mine data from Facebook and sift GPS location information from Foursquare, a mobile phone app used by more than 25 million people to alert friends of their whereabouts. The Foursquare data can be used to display, in graph form, the top 10 places visited by tracked individuals and the times at which they visited them.

This shows that Nick, who posts his location regularly on Foursquare, visits a gym frequently at 6am early each week. Urch quips: “So if you ever did want to try to get hold of Nick, or maybe get hold of his laptop, you might want to visit the gym at 6am on a Monday.”

Data mining from public website for law enforcement purposes is legal in most countries. Federal Bureau of Investigation has requested help to develop a mining application to monitor bad actors and groups.

However, Ginger McCall, an attorney at the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Centre, said that the Raytheon technology raises concerns about how copious amount of user data could be covertly collected without oversight or regulation.

“Social networking sites are often not transparent about what information is shared and how it is shared,” McCall said. “Users may be posting information that they believe will be viewed only by their friends, but instead, it is being viewed by government officials or pulled in by data collection services like the Riot search.”

Jared Adams, a spokesman for Raytheon’s intelligence and information systems department, said in an email: “Riot is a big data analytics system design we are working on with industry, national labs and commercial partners to help turn massive amounts of data into useable information to help meet our nation’s rapidly changing security needs.

“Its innovative privacy features are the most robust that we’re aware of, enabling the sharing and analysis of data without personally identifiable information [such as social security numbers, bank or other financial account information] being disclosed.”

Late last year RIOT was featured in a newly published patent, Raytheon is pursuing for a system designed to gather data on people from social networks, blogs and other sources to identify whether they should be judged a security risk.

In April, Riot is scheduled to be showcased at a US government and industry national security conference for secretive, classified innovations, where it was listed under the category “big data – analytics, algorithms.

Can RIOT be a successful version of Web-bot because it has been created by organisation with deep pockets? If so, can it be used to accurately predict future events? Can Nostradamus revisit? Only time will tell. In the meantime, we can take sides on as to do we want security over freedom or freedom  over security.

In the end I would like to quote the great Roman Emperor.

“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present”

-Marcus Aurelius.

We cant wait to hear your views on whether you prefer freedom over security or security over freedom.

 

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