"If you want to get M&Ms with your name on it, you can do that.
This is just the most exciting time, I think, in history, because of
the way that consumers are using technology to empower themselves." --
Steve Rubel, senior vice president of Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm, in an interview on videocast, Rocketboom.
Listening to this interview, I imagined my daughter getting this invitation by text message (click to enlarge).
Reading this morning about the Google Corporation's new business offering, "Apps for Your Domain," something dawned on me my wife has been saying for years: I should start paying more attention.
The article said the search/platform company is offering qualified customers Gmail accounts without ads (what they call sponsored links.) I am thinking, I don't have any ads in my Gmail, why is that? Am I "qualified," whatever that means?
Well, I just checked. Two-and-a-half inches out of my 10-inch wide window are in fact ads (25%). I just never ever noticed. Or at least my conscious mind never noticed. Hello!
War deciders, doers, architects, supporters, and critics rarely listen to each other before the first shot is fired. They never listen to innocent bystanders, whom they callously call “collateral.”
I agree with what professor and political advisor, Yoram Peri, writes about the relationships between those involved in a decision to go to war.
In many respects, war has been the most decisive factor in Israeli society. Wars have shaped Israel's political agenda, and unsuccessful military campaigns have sparked protest movements, brought down prime ministers and redrawn the political map.
...Israel's fundamental security posture will not improve until the
pattern of relations between its generals and political leaders is
dramatically altered and a better decision-making mechanism in national
security matters is established.
Peri's commentary in the Washington Post. The title of this post was from a Vietnam-era movie
Two by-products of communication technologies--the steady increase of available information, and the rapid decrease in trusted sources--mean that knowledgeable and truthful intermediaries are more important than ever for helping us make big decisions.
Traditionally trusted sources, such as encyclopedias, media spokespersons, and universities, are being replaced by everyday citizens and just plain common sense.
How many of us base decisions on the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval? None. How often do we ask a friend, or go with our gut instinct? All the time.
In addition to asking friends and family, I get a lot of information from the internet. The first place I usually visit when I check out a company or person is their "About" page. If I do not find real people with real names, I go elsewhere. They may know something I need, but I would rather act on information from people I trust. The second thing I look for is validation from other trusted people. Could I be fooled? Sure, but this step is better than rolling the dice.
Why are have so many traditional intermediaries become clueless and untrustworthy? They forgot what they were about.
I am listening to a live Skypecast with Seth Godin (blogger, author, marketing "guru"). He is reminding participants to take a chance when they are writing or blogging. He contrasts Bob Dylan--who reinvented himself and upset fans several times over the years--with Bobby Darin, whose career appeared to follow a playbook.
Most decisions carry some risk. In the end, it may be worth it. Dylan certainly is.
Some time ago, I described a possible future where everything about an individual shopper's experience changes as she pass through a store: the products, signs, prices, lighting, sounds, and even the smells, are tailored to that individual.
This type of multi-media, multi-sensory brand presentation would be too powerful not to influence purchase decisions.
ads currently being placed on the sides of 25 Central London buses are a step in this direction:
the bright red buses cart riders to and fro, messages will change based
on their geographic location, as tracked by the global positioning
system. For instance, a bus traveling along shopping-centric Oxford
Street might mention department stores, or a bus in Charing Cross might
remind people they can search Yell.com for tapas restaurants nearby.
Viacom is providing the technology behind the morphing bus ads.
"It's more about fine-tuning the messages so they are relevant to consumers," said Newman.
My prior post; story on interactive outdoor ads'; another story with bus photo
When considering a decision from the present vantage place or time, allow that we hold at least one presumption, one "truth," or one strong belief, that is either false or illusory when seen from another perspective. Mark Twain said it better:
"When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand
to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished
at how much the old man had learned in seven years."
They are "packages" of many smaller choices that other people and organizations have made for us, hoping we will agree and choose their brand as ours'.
Brands are everywhere: political parties, companies, ethnic groups, movie stars, neighborhoods, and even entire countries. All can be viewed as packages of pre-made decisions. We seal our brand choices with money, votes, and sometimes, our lives.
When we accept the pre-made decisions represented by brands, we must also accept the possibility that some elements that go into making a brand may be manipulated, deceitful, or more dangerous than we perceive. Some recent examples involving product brands:
Tylenol’s terrorist painkiller capsule poisoning incident in the early 1980s
Coca-Cola's 1999 European contamination scare and recall of 17m cases
Merck's Vioxx, the arthritis drug which has been linked to heart attacks.
What happens when our decision goes bad because we accepted a brand? Why do brands fail in the first place? Failures are not acts of God. They are much more mundane: they may result from flawed design or quality control, cut corners, or human error. The hype may have exceeded the brand's ability to deliver. Bill Clinton lied and lost. Merck and our doctors did not fully communicate the risks of Vioxx and withdrew the drug.
Paradoxically, large companies see their response to brand failure as a "chance to demonstrate a company’s regard for its
If we are going to continue to use brands to make our own decisions, we are going to have to begin to understand what is in the package that we so readily, and often thoughtlessly, accept.
Related story in the Financial Times,Dell can turn product
failure into an opportunity. (Subscription req'd);