Omnipresence Will Define 2016 For Major Brands

Expectations around customer service and service in general now defy the laws of physics. Miss a customers moment of need and you might never get the opportunity again. Which is probably the reason that company teams, now more than ever, strongly debate how to use and implement newly minted social platforms and channels that are able to maintain brand presence available at all times to consumers. According to Trendwatching.com, in the coming year brands will continue to pursue that strategy.

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Amazon Dash

2015 saw new channels appear everywhere. Washing machines and other appliances have become retail channels via Amazon’s Dash Buttons. A similar innovative approach was unveiled by Antwerp’s Hotel Banks as the Mini Fashion Bar: an initiative created in partnership with fashion brand Pimkie. Rooms were stocked with a range of apparel and accessories, chosen according to the weather and activity in the local area. A fashion concierge could also be contacted in case a guest required additional sizes or different garments. Items were to be purchased upon checkout.

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Pimkie, The Fashion Mini-Bar

New contexts mean new opportunities. Just look at how knowing people’s locations has unlocked and transformed mobile commerce. Now, even newer and more sophisticated contexts are just around the corner. When you consider an omnichannel strategy, you can learn a lot from Domino’s highly regarded Pizza AnyWare initiative.

The pizza chain has continuously expanded the variety of ways that impatient and hungry pizza-lovers can place their orders. Customers can voice order using the Siri-like app Dom, by tweeting or texting the pizza emoji, and while driving home in a compatible Ford. After ordering, they can track their pizza’s arrival time via the Domino’s smartwatch app.

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Dominos, Pizza Anyware

So, the next time someone suggests addressing your omnichannel strategy, Start by asking why customers might embrace you using a channel. Next, challenge whether existing channels really satisfy the deep needs and wants of your customers. Could you create any new ones? Finally, imagine entirely new contexts you could leverage and that consumers might not even be yet aware of!

 

 

5 Connected Gifts Sure to Wow This Holiday Season (2015)

With the Holidays rapidly approaching finding original and amazing gifts can become somewhat of a last minute headache, but thanks to the awesome sauce of the Internet of Things many ordinary products are ordinary no more and pack absolutely amazing features sure to “wow” friends and family.

Take a look at some of the neatest IoT and connected gifts of the season:

RideOn Augmented Reality Snowboard/Ski Goggles

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The RideOn augmented reality goggles is an interactive navigation tool for skiers and snowboarders. The hands-free RideOn experience features the ability to gamify your journey down the slopes in regards to time and accuracy, while it also helps you navigate between runs, lodges and nearby restaurants or bars.

The RideOn augmented reality ski goggles also have interactive features so that you can the location of friends and communicate them through audio or video. You can also throw a virtual snowball at any friends also using the goggles. The play feature also allows for the projection of a virtual slalom track, turning any run into your own customized race. You can also chase the shadow of your favorite professional ski athlete down the mountain. Pretty amazing!

Preorder them at www.rideonvision.com

Ember, The Intelligent Coffee Mug

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For the coffee lover in your life, the Ember coffee mugs are highly intelligent and high-tech devices, offered by California-based Ember Technologies, that are designed to keep your coffee at the perfect temperature for around two hours. The mugs uses special phase-change heat and cooling technology to optimize the temperature of your brew so that it won’t scald your lips or indeed be disappointingly lukewarm when you sip on it.

These coffee mugs work in conjunction with a companion app, that notifies you via your smartphone when your beverage has cooled sufficiently to drink. They take a proactive approach by bringing your drink down to the pre-set temperature rather than waiting for it to cool naturally. It also allows you to set different temperatures for different beverages. Hooray for connected coffee!

Order yours at http://www.embertech.com

 

94Fifty Smart Basketball

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Make every shot count with the most high-tech basketball you’ve ever played with. The 94Fifty Smart Basketball senses what you’re doing right and wrong with every shot and dribble, giving you feedback to make you a better player.

This basketball is loaded with sensors to count dribbles, force, shot release speed, shot arc, backspin and more. It can be used both indoors and outdoors and connects to both iOS and Android devices. The app will even give basketball skills drills and workouts in addition to giving you feedback on your game. The wireless rechargeable battery lasts for eight hours and the ball connects to your devices via Bluetooth.

Nest Smart Thermostat

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The Nest Thermostat is a smart new thermostat technology that allows you to control the temperature of your house right from your smartphone. If programmed correctly, the Nest can save up to 20% on your heating and cooling bills.
The Nest Learning Thermostat auto-scheduling feature learns what temperatures you like and turns itself down when you’re away. The remote control functionality allows the thermostat to be be controlled from anywhere over WiFi. Easy installation allows you to have the Nest up and running in about 30 minutes. The Nest thermostat is compatible with 95% of low voltage systems. Designed to be simple and more easy to use, the Nest is a revolutionary change for thermostats.

Apple Watch

Happy Holidays!

Hyper-Connected with the IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been in the world spotlight lately. With its projected ability to expand connectivity and provide feedback from all of our objects in our homes and potentially everywhere else, it is no surprise it is being acknowledged as one of the most interesting and game changing developments of our time.

As of late, our cars have been getting the latest and greatest upgrades technology is able to provide. We are able to tell when routine car maintenance is needed thanks to sensors in our cars that provide feedback  to the vehicles dashboard or at times our connected phones. Car play ,by Apple, and its other counterparts are able to sync to our Bluetooth enabled phones as soon as we enter the vehicle allowing our companion smartphones to tell us exactly how long it will take us to get to work even when we really don’t let them know we were headed to work thanks to accurate guesswork courtesy of location tracking, and amazing algorithms. While some might find this amount of vehicle technology overwhelming to think about, there are others that are utilizing the IoT and expanding upon the connected life concept by further developing technologies that may seem intrusive at first light but in reality become quite helpful.

Hello Connected Biometrics

 

Driver recognition, eye guided hands-free, annoying beeping when you look anywhere else but the road and coffee sales person at the same time, these features will definitely seed an ever streaming amount of data into the cloud that could possibly serve a higher purpose for businesses and customers al together.

Um, Hello Biometric Based Insurance Plans?

 at TrendHunter Magazine explains best. Just as routine car maintenance leads to good automotive health, key players in the auto and insurance industry are putting biometric systems to use for the upkeep of mental, physical and emotional well-being of drivers and passengers. Some of the most standout examples of this include projects like Jaguar’s Mind Sense, Toyota’s use of Kinect technology to identify owners, the health-monitoring Kia Cub Concept and the drowsiness-detecting 2016 Nissan Maxima. In terms of show, the Lexus RC F ‘Heartbeat Car’ combines biometric technology with electro-luminescent exterior paint to display the driver’s pulse.

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Sooner than later, connected biometric scanners will be all around us. In the world of vehicles that means that we might get rewarded or possibly even snubbed for driving habits that we did not even think of as beneficial or detrimental when in reality the only thing in our minds in munching down our cheeseburger as we switch lanes struggling to make it to work on time.

 

 

 

 

The Influence of Great Storytelling

Stories were the first way of passing on knowledge. From gatherings around a fire to big screen movies, compelling storytelling has a way of gripping our emotions, take us to places and help us experience things that we may never be able to in our daily lives. Some stories are fun, some are saddening, some are eye opening; whichever it may be, good stories tend to stick with us for many days as we allow them to sink in and blend with our understanding of the world around us.

Stories have power. They delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate, challenge. They help us understand. They imprint a picture on our minds. Want to make a point or raise an issue? Tell a story. —Janet Litherland

Stories are all around us, they are what inspires, moves, and encourages us to make sense of things – There is an irresistible power in story telling and companies are starting to take notice.

Bill Kolbenschlag explains that for quite some time, viewers have had commercials pushed upon them, whether it’s at the peak moment of a show, in between plays of a sporting event, or even at the start of the newest blockbuster film.

However, interruptive advertising isn’t nearly as effective anymore, since people are watching less live broadcast TV. Instead, the trend is moving towards watching video online.

“The percent of online adults who watch or download videos has also grown over the past four years, from 69% of adult Internet users in 2009 to 78% today,” writes Kristen Purcell of the Pew Research Internet Project. And a third of millennials watch no broadcast TV, according to The New York Times.

As a result, brands are increasingly pressed to create content that people will actually want to consume.

Here are 4 ads that do an amazing job at storytelling and have managed to continue to bring attention to their brands way past their air date:

Chipotle – Back to The Start

 

HBO – I Still Have Soul

 

CoorDown – Dear Future Mom

 

Degage Ministries – Homeless Veteran

 

 

Marketing on a Budget

Lets face it, unless you have inherited money, amassed a small fortune, or found some investors, most small businesses have limited resources to do what they need to do in order to survive.

One of the major areas that companies must allocate funds to is marketing. In order to make a sale, companies need to invest money in research, advertising, and promotion. In other words, they need to be able to find who will benefit from their products or services, they need to appeal to them, and then offer incentives in order to close the deal. The problem is that in order to get much of that information, a serious amount of time, effort and cold hard cash has to be put forward – sometimes more than what a struggling business is able to come up with. However, that is no more.

With the dawn of mass databasing and social media, small businesses now have all the information a few clicks away for a fraction of the cost. What used to be thousands of dollars worth of painstaking segmenting research can now be conducted in a matter of minutes through background social media databases aimed at providing simplified marketing services to business by providing demographic as well as psychographic profiles from the billions of active users in their platforms and databases.

Facebook ads are a great example of such system. The platform allows your business to target very broad or very specific segments of users depending on many factors such as age group, location, likes, hobbies, and so on. You can choose to advertise on pages with similar interests and even set budget limits for advertising campaigns. Twitter, Instagram, and other major networks offer the same capabilities.

Social media is a great way to create brand awareness, which can be one of the greatest challenges for a company with a limited marketing budget. However, social media marketing is a great way to start with minimal costs. Whether you’re a large business or a lone entrepreneur, social media marketing can be the most inexpensive and powerful marketing tool in your toolbox in order to build the trust and authority that helps grow your business. It is growing faster than ever before, and is increasingly able to provide companies with flexibility and increase their success. Social media marketing can benefit your company, not just because competitors are doing it, but because it is an effective and economical tool for connecting with your customers.

The advantages of social media over traditional marketing are numerous.

  1. It’s cheaper. A lot cheaper. You can reach 1,000 people for a fraction of the cost using social media than you can through television, billboards or even email
  2. Social media is the only marketing platform that allows you to engage and interact with your consumers – it’s a two-way relationship, which can be hugely lucrative for brands
  3. The results are measurable, and marketers can take immediate action to spot trends and re-align campaigns

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So remember, next time you find yourself marketing on a budget, social media will help you pinch those pennies and get the most bang out of your buck.

Gone Viral’

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You post it, a few seconds later likes & shares spiral out of control. Next thing you know, you have gone viral! But, what was it, what did you do?

The Million Dollar Question

What makes something go viral? Ask different people and the answers are sure to vary. Emotional connection. The LOL factor. Shock and awe. Crazy headlines. Unbelievable news. As more people become “connected” within the Internet of Things companies have begun to turn away from typical internet advertising tactics such as SEO, and SEM. Instead, they have begun to turn towards social media in an attempt to reach customers in an engaging way that captures their attention and delivers a meaningful message.

Going viral, in terms of the internet refers to content that can spread just like a virus. People become “infected” when they see it, and like any good friend would do they compulsively pass it on, like a brotherly handshake after a good sneeze. This “infection” usually comes from emotions that induce people to share it so they can later discuss the content.

Many companies would kill to know what the secret recipe to going viral is. The sad reality in my opinion is that there is no magic formula that works overall. Your website content, photos, or a video you’ve created can “go viral”, your marketing can turn viral and in the case of social media, a blog, a Facebook page or group, or a tweet can turn viral. However, before getting too excited, you can hope for it, you can position your content to be at its best and most interesting with the underlying wish that it will catch on, but you cannot make it go viral. At the most, as Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman explain in their book Content Rules, you can “nudge, poke, and pray for it … [but] the truth is that viral is largely a happy accident(1).

Just about anything can go viral!

Ultimately, going viral is all about being in touch with the people around you and if you are a company of course, your consumer base. Don’t create technical and difficult content, create content that flows and vibes with your segment. It does not always need to be funny or loud, but it should definitely be useful in some way. Whether it is cheering someone’s day up or creating interesting and extremely relevant content.

Here is some of my favorite content that has gone viral, some of these are hilarious, I prefer to stay on the funny side of things. :)

Kmart Ship My Pants

“Carrie” Movie Promo Stunt

TNT Add Drama

Poo-Pourri

Cheers!


(1) Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman, Content Rules, p. 113, (2011), ISBN978-0-470-64828-5

Send me a bird!

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For the past couple of weeks I have been contemplating adding myself to the millions of Twitter users around the world. While I probably won’t be posting much aside from telling the world semi-irrelevant things about how my morning went, or how bad my lunch was, there are some wonderful accounts with a lot of substance crammed up in a measly 140 characters.

Twitter, the groundbreaking microblogging platform that is used for much more than microblogging purposes is simple and baffling at the same time. Locked within 140 characters, users have the capacity to break a news story, become politically active, rant about terrible customer service and even have conversations over live TV shows. With over 260 million users its has become a communications powerhouse across the world.

Twitter Infographic by DashBurst.
Twitter Infographic by DashBurst.

With nearly 8,000 tweets sent every second across the globe, there is no denying Twitter’s massive influence. No social network has really been able to have the direct impact on its surroundings like Twitter has, this is probably attributed to the hashtag. Before Twitter, the # key was little more than something found on a telephone number. Now, hashtags are the definitive way to group tweets on the same subject. Hashtag are the ways users communicate their ideas. They are crucial to content discovery on Twitter and are what connects people and companies to specific topics, location or experiences.

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With Twitter’s accessibility, it has become extremely easy for a community or a group to rally around an idea or a cause. The collaborative reporting concept that is fostered on Twitter can lead directly to social movements. The recent example being the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. Public outrage over the abduction of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls by Islamist militants fostered a global social media support campaign with millions of messages tagged with a simple demand.

Twitter provides a forum for dialogue, entertainment, discussion and breaking news. It is a great opportunity to express oneself and be captivated by others outside of our immediate locale and thanks to its 140 character limit, personally, I think this might be a better choice than Facebook which seems to be cluttered with meaningless and lengthy posts.

By now I have finished setting up my Twitter account, adding a few friends, some celebrities, my favorite TV shows and some other things. The first official tweet on my feed? “Instagram is a fun place to lie about the quality of your life!” @Funnyordie. 

Lol, if this is what Twitter bring to the table, I’m already liking it!

Get at me on Twitter @therlmartinez


http://www.likeable.com/blog/2014/08/how-twitter-has-changed-journalism-forever

https://socialcontrol.com/the-facts-about-hashtags/

http://www.jeffbullas.com/2014/04/16/15-twitter-facts-and-figures-for-2014-you-need-to-know/

Living Digital

It is incredible what new technologies have been able to accomplish in the past 20 years in the area of one-way/two-way communication. It seems not too long ago I was sticking my fingers into the rotary dial of a landline phone as I was waiting what seemed forever for it to return from zero.2d89079221fbb30c8709e5b3468e97f9
I can’t really recall who I was calling, but what I can remember is that “fingers crossed” someone would be able to answer it on the other end and it was not just ringing in an empty house. Those things had the capacity to ring for ever too! Let me add, I grew up in Panama City, Central America; so things might have been a little more dated (I’m being generous in my wording lol) in 1995 there than lets say, most places in the U.S. at the time. I think my first taste of DLS internet came to be around 2002-2003 at a whopping 112kbps. Anyways, more on the internet later!

Fast forward back to the future however – comically, Doc Brown, Marty McFly, and that old beat up DeLorian touched down about 5 days ago all the way from 1985 – and communication has been completely revolutionized thanks to the meeting of digital technologies, miniaturization, powerful algorithms, human creativity and yes, the Internet. Now days, the only real wheel that serves to take a look at before trying to reach out to someone for whatever the reason, business or pleasure, is quite possibly the wheel of digital and emerging medias:

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Lets not get too narcissistic here, but at the very center of it, you!

So, What Really is Emerging Media and Why Does it Matter?

It is hard to put a finger directly on what really qualifies as emerging media. After all, emerging(1), according to Merriam Webster’s definition, is something that is newly created or noticed and growing in strength or popularity. Media on the other hand is plural for medium, which in the world of communication simply refers as the means that deliver such. So what really is emerging media? Well, take a look around you.  What is trending? What is relevant? How do you communicate and build relationships in todays world? The answer is probably closer than you think. More than likely on your desk or pocket, continuously changing the way we interact with out environment. The American Journal of Business’s short hand description of emerging media is that it is communications – of all types- based on digital technologies, and increasingly interactive components(2).

The world of communications is rapidly changing. It seems like every day a new social network or communication app becomes available that somehow integrates or blurs the line between what is virtual and what is real – it is all around us. Social networks, blogs, forums, instant messaging, mobile marketing, e-mail marketing, business platforms, you name it, the list goes on.social-web-overview-in-2015

From a marketing perspective, emerging media plays a key role in understanding the potential customer. Being able to track and measure their reactions and interactions with a brand helps businesses and organizations figure out the best ways to appeal to their audience. From a consumer point of view, its gives us the ability to connect with huge aspects of our lives in an extraordinary variety of ways. It allows us to connect with distant family, network with like-minded people, learn new skills at the drop of a hat, connect with out favorite brands, and more importantly, order Domino’s online with a simple 🍕 emoji on a Monday night… 🙌🏼

What is your perspective of emerging media?

(1) http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emerging

(2) http://muemergingmedia.weebly.com/what-is-emerging-media.html