The Consumer Matters is the blog of Leslie Grandy, aka Gearhead Gal.  My passion is creating and delivering compelling products that delight customers through simple and elegant user experience design.

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Entries in social marketing (7)


Can You Define What Makes An Influencer?


A Socially Syndicated Dessert Idea

On my first day in my new office, one of my R2Integrated colleagues brought in a freshly baked batch of phenomenal cake pops.  When I asked her how she managed to poise such a quaintly designed, icing covered ping pong ball sized piece of moist cake on the end of a stick, she proceeded to give me detailed multi-step process which I instantly knew I’d never have the patience or skills to execute.

Undaunted, I remained fascinated by the incredible portability and convenience of the dessert-on-a-stick concept, and set out to execute something decidedly simpler to conquer at a recent dinner party.  I began with the most child-friendly of recipes, a Rice Krispies treat, and melted a bunch of chocolate chips. Inserting the sticks into chunks of the treats, I coated them in thick layer of chocolate one at a time. It maybe took half the number of steps as those yummy cake pops, but they looked pretty darn good.

Standing at attention on the serving plate before my guests, the Rice Krispies lollipops screamed both neat and gooey all at the same time. It was then I realized that the essence of that original ball of red velvet cake on a paper stick lived on, at least in a small way through how I re-packaged the value I got from the initial idea.  Someone else who was more of a cake fan than me might have immediately thought of other interesting ways to serve cake after seeing a cake pop and extended the idea further (perhaps cake in a cone?); I only thought of what else I could serve on a stick that’d be less effort than that cake recipe seemed to be?

Great ideas, re-packaged, are still great ideas.  The idea, re-presented, still has merit but it is amplified by its extension.  In putting my own spin on the novelty and utility of the dessert poised on a stick, I added the simplicity of the new recipe, as well as the nostalgia of a favorite childhood treat, and broadened the opportunity to pass it on.  In advancing what was important to me, I syndicated those features which my own capabilities could carry forward.

New media marketers need to recognize that re-packaging is a natural part of sharing.  When ideas are syndicated, they don't always get re-transmitted in their original form or with the same emphasis.  What's perceived as the most important meta-message by a marketer may not be the "thing" that the audience hears and carries with them.




Lessons From BlogWorld: What Goes On In Vegas Shouldn't Stay There

So you couldn't make it to BlogWorld and New Media Expo this weekend? Don't worry, though, because I had a Technorati press pass and headed to Vegas to get a little taste of the South Pacific...Ballroom, that is. The Mandalay Bay Hotel Convention Center served as host for the event, and while hotel guests toured the Shark Aquarium a couple of hundred yards from the conference, bloggers and digital marketers dove into the deep end of the social media pool. Corporate exhibitors like the U.S. Army, Ford, Southwest Airlines and Kodak shared space with Co-Tweet, Radian, Rackspace and Tungle,to participate in the business of conversational media.

Interview with BlogWorld Co-Founder Rick Calvert

If you search for job openings with the keywords “community manager,” LinkedIn will return over one thousand results. According to Rick Calvert, co-founder of Blogworld and New Media Expo, the popularity of job listings on sites like Linkedin or Monster is an indicator of how bright the future is for social media in corporate America.

“Companies know they need Community Managers,” Calvert says, “because they know they need to engage with their customers in a range of ways through social media, even though they are still learning how to manage those conversations.”

Education remains a primary goal for Calvert and his Blogworld team. “These attendees reach a global audience of over 250 million people.” he pointed out. “Their influence is undeniable.” In an interview conducted halfway through this year’s Blogworld event, held in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Hotel Conference Center, Calvert indicated that attendance has doubled in the last three years of the conference, but at 3000 attendees, what’s billed as the World’s Largest New Media Conference, is still pretty small given the nearly 200 million blogs that have been created worldwide.

Calvert acknowledged that it is hard for corporate marketers to know what technology platforms will stick with consumers; Calvert admitted even he “missed the point of Twitter at first. I wasn’t sure if it had real value or would turn into FriendFeed.”

Education is why he says he is committed to growing the conference over time.  Read more...

And more about my experience at BlogWorld on 



Marketing To Communities Of Interest

Fellow ex-Visio marketer, and Chief Innovation Officer at r2i, Holly Brown presented at the Social Media Breakfast on the challenges for marketers in a peer to peer world. Authentically engaging in relevant, real time conversations is job #1.




Be The Publisher Of Your Own Online 'Newspaper'

I already write this blog, so I never entertained the idea that I might need to take on the added responsibility of publishing my own newspaper with a branded masthead. But reduces journalism to the act of editorial curation, a thought that no doubt would give my mother, a retired journalism professor, heartburn. You can see what I mean by clicking here to read  The Gearheadgal Daily. The site merchandises that " organizes links shared on Twitter into an easy to read newspaper-style format. Newspapers can be created for any Twitter user, list or #tag." 

A new category of mobile and web applications is being built off the premise that consumers need a better user experience to harness and manage the flood of real time information rushing at them from Twitter or Facebook (Look at Flipboard, and, for example.) believes that with a newspaper-style columnar layout and several more characters than 140 it will be more enjoyable to scan for relevant content. Not surprisingly, you can subscribe to other "daily newspapers". But after the creating the second one from a Twitter list, I felt as overwhelmed by the influx of information as I had before. 

I do appreciate how creates media sections for photos and videos. They are easier to scan parsed from the Tweets, and lay out nicely on the page. The editable newspaper headline is also great, if you want to mail the link as a marketing tool, for your brand which may be different than the Twitter ID.

The product is in alpha. 


For A Day, Ashton Kutcher And I Had the Same Number of Followers

Was it an accidental search for fellow fans of an eighties rock band or the nefarious hacking of a hidden Twitter application command that bankrupted celebrities like Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) and Perez Hilton (@perezhilton)  of millions of followers today?

According to Gizmodo, a regular Twitter customer in Turkey claims to have accidentally stumbled upon a way to force any Twitter user to follow you. By simply entering the word "accept" with a username - for instance, type [accept oprah] into the Twitter status field - anybody could get themselves followed by people like Oprah, Jack Welch or even Kim Kardashian. The action is similar to adding "RT" before a username to repost a user's status.

The value of a follower is a hotly contested topic in marketing circles these days, and having celebrities follow you is a sign that a fan may have gotten the attention of a star. While the bug was being investigated by Twitter, followers were set to zero, and the notorious celebrity leaders of the Twitter pack had to laugh off their sudden unpopularity.  Wrote @bodhielfman "I have more followers than @aplusk." In addition, marketers who measure the success of their campaigns by fans and followers had to do a day of client-side vamping to manage the fall in metrics that normally would be considered catastrophic by most brands measuring the reputation and reach of their social media spend.

Later in the afternoon, as following counts were returned to users profiles, there was still damage control to be done, since it appeared forced followers were still showing up in users' lists that they hadn't really joined. @ConanOBrien posted the disclaimer, "if it ever says I have been following more than one person, I have been hacked. I'm a completely monogamous Twitterrer - I only follow Sarah Killen."


If only Tiger had tweeted instead of sending SMS, he could have said someone just co-opted his account.


Do You Have An Idea That Can Change The World?

Tony Stark's Innovation Lab

First published on Technorati

In the first Iron Man movie, entrepreneur Tony Stark made a handsome living in weapons manufacturing. After all, war is good business.

But the sequel, which opens May 7, introduces us to a more socially responsible—and apparently socially networked—Tony Stark. The new and improved Stark is looking to reward a fellow visionary who wants to change the world with a complete Audi-sponsored, tech-lover's fantasy experience: driving an R8, flying an amphibious ICON A5 aircraft and wining and dining at some of the top establishments in Los Angeles. Oh, and $15,000 to develop the idea.

Audi's marketing team blurs the line between reality and fantasy by including the fictional Stark character as a judge in this campaign to extend their product placement for the drool-worthy R8 sports car. The contest asks "Do you embody the truth behind the world's progress?" and it is intended to showcase "innovation, adventure, and intelligence worthy of Audi and Tony Stark."

Audi r8

Having a great idea, though won't be enough to get you behind the wheel and living the life of the founder of Stark Industries. You will need friends, and lots of fans. "Participants must rally members of their Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other social media networks to rate, comment, and discuss their ideas."

You can download the Tony Stark Innovation Challenge Contest Brief which details the guidelines for submissions and the criteria that will be used for rating the videos, and the ideas they represent. Here's a short list of goals the judges want the idea that is highlighted in the winning video to achieve:

  • Make the world a better place by solving a problem or improving an existing solution

  • Articulate and demonstrate expertise of the “better living through technology” philosophy

  • Have a scalability and adoptability to potentially change the way we live

  • Showcase innovation, adventures, and intelligence worthy of Audi and Tony Stark

  • Appeal to the general audience as viewer ratings will help determine top entries

Videos will be accepted starting Wednesday, April 28th through June 9, 2010 here, and finalists will be selected after a public voting period that ends June 13, 2010. There must be someone I know who would let me be the Pepper Potts to their Tony Stark and take me to that Audi Design Center?!?