Archive for the ‘Gap’ tag
Today, when Diane von Furstenberg’s second collection for GapKids and babyGap launches in stores nationwide, Aviary will launch a special edition “DVFxGAP” mobile editing suite that includes frames, filters, and stickers in bright colors and jungle prints.
Founded in 2007, Aviary powers mobile photo editing tools for services like Twitter, Flickr, and Photobucket. The company soft-launched its native ads platform in beta last week after an alpha test with brands including Red Bull, Atlantic Records, and H&M.
“Our partnership with Aviary is an exciting way to generate awareness of our DVF x GapKids collaboration through a limited edition digital experience targeting Aviary’s socially savvy network,” said Rachel Tipograph, director of global digital and social media for Gap in a statement. “It’s also an opportunity to tap into consumers’ digital behavior of taking, editing and sharing mobile photos of their shopping hauls.”
The retailer is also promoting the campaign with the #DVFlovesGap hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.
Tango, PicStitch, and Muzy are a few of Aviary’s 3,700 partners that will have the editing suite ready to go at launch. Aviary told us they chose these partners because they are highly ranked in the App Store and reach a combined 10 million users.
Users can also download the free effects in the Aviary app by clicking on the Effects, Stickers and Frames buttons.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
A few years ago when I was working in a corporation, our head of sales used to say, when someone was late to a meeting: “in conclusion”, as they walked in the room.
It was a joke of course. If we look at it more closely, the discontinuous nature of our online meetings, make us all walk in the room late most of the time. So what feels like a repetition, something taken for granted, for the people in the room, is new to everyone else.
I feel I’ve been saying that to you for all these years by using the tagline:
Connecting ideas and people – how talk can change our lives.
Because that is an outcome, a desired one and hopefully one we achieved more often than not here. An outcome nonetheless.
Evaluating blog as an asset
When we stick long enough with closing the gap between the promises we make and those we keep, we we get the opportunity to make better promises.
That is good for a variety of reasons, and off the top my head they include:
- had we waited to start after knowing all the work and energy that we would need to expend, we would have probably not done it
- or worse, we would be still overthinking it
- or second guessing ourselves
- on the bright side, the act of sticking with it teaches us what it feels like to make this kind of commitment
- we learn a lot about our thinking by doing it out loud
- we test ideas, get feedback, build them, and community, iterate
- keeping to a regular regiment develops our stamina
- it also is an opportunity to be generous in giving
- while we continuously clarify our purpose
- we experience what it feels like to keep promises (and conversely how it feels when we break them… including both intended and unintended consequences)
- we wrestle with big issues our clients face like moral choices in our practice by making ourselves visible, thus accountable to our readers
- some of the unintended consequences taught us valuable lessons, others opened up larger opportunities than we had imagined
… and so on. Plus, writing 2 million words is good practice.
Content is a business asset, especially when you look at it as a tool to build and deliver.
What a difference doing makes
When you took the time to think first.
For the purposes of this post, I’d like to focus on the one skill that makes all the difference in business — and that is understanding how close the asset is to value.
Marketing needs to make business sense, and for it to do that, it needs to be a practice that involves all the assets that are up for trade.
That includes the levers marketers work with to influence results: product/service, price, place, and promotion (last in my view) as much as it does the people, process, and tools/technology employed to work on them.
Understanding the asset you intended to create and that you didn’t intend to create and ended up with is probably the most underestimated skill in business.
Does a blog help you?
It does, provided the organization receives what makes it stronger, more resilient, and enduring in return. This goes to the quality of the trade.
So it’s not just doing for the sake of doing or we would not be here. There are many decisions, interactions, and results that got us here.
Designing for “the way we do things here”
Which means we should be understanding and designing for “the way we do things here”.
This opens up all kinds of possibilities.
One possibility is that nothing might be broken and need fixing. This speaks to me as I’ve often wondered about the other symptom of marketing that doesn’t make business sense, which is where our “not invented here” bias engages.
Have you ever worked in an organization when a new management team came in (or outside consultants) and insisted on changing everything before gaining an understanding of how processes, people, and tools were put together to trade?
Madness ensues. It doesn’t stick (or work).
More possibilities open up when you build on top of what works.
In simpler terms, it’s the difference between wanting to “change the world” and designing to the way the world is, how we do things here.
Make sense. Make do. Make it.
Some of you may have noticed the change in the header. As I was reflecting a couple of days ago about engagement, soundbites belong to the promotional side of things and we’re about seeing and designing to the whole thing here.
The new words you see up there are the simplest way to describe three fundamental questions that sit on top of marketing that makes business sense:
Why me? Why now? Why not?
You write to “the way we do things here” (your “here”).
Conversation then comes in handy to build a context where we can design to that.
How we build and deliver speaks to our ability to make better promises by closing the gap between what we make and the experience of it.
To me, it makes sense to invest attention, time, and effort to support the whole system of why and how things work.
For a back story on relationships and thinking together see this conversation on modern virtues with Peter Tunjic.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.
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Clips Is a Clipboard Manager for Jailbroken iPhones That Syncs with Your Computer and Other iDevices [Video]
iOS (Jailbroken) and Windows: Clips is a jailbreak tweak that makes it simple to sync whatever you copy to the clipboard with your computer, helping to bridge the gap between your mobile devices and your desktop. More »
I'm proud to share with you Evol8tion's first "Founder's Spotlight" from our Madison & Mountain View Tumblr Blog. Every week, we'll ask the founder(s) of a startup in our database 8 questions, including which brand(s) represent their soul mate wishlist.
Starbucks, Gap and American Express…take note as you're called out in this week's piece.
Welcome to Madison and MountainView’s second editorial franchise,Founder Spotlight. Each week, we’ll ask our Evol8tion 8 questions to feature a different entrepreneur, for our readers to get to know the face behind the emerging startup. Every company has a story, filled with passion, challenges, and an umatched drive to succeed. Our first interview is with our friends at UPlanMe, a live interactive event marketplace – turning everyone into a natural social butterfly. Hope you enjoy, and if you’d like the spotlight on your team – please reach out to email@example.com for consideration.
Brian and Sean are best friends who found inspiration for their startup after a family Thanksgiving meal, when they were on a hunt for some post holiday fun. Desperately seeking to find an open (and hoppin’) East Village bar to no avail, Brian and Sean stumbled upon an idea to create customized calendars, and thus UPlanMe was born.
Brian Kantor (@BrianScottK) heads up UPlanMe’s brand and partner acquisition and previously spent the first 6 years of his career working in online, mobile, print and TV advertising for OMD, BlackBook Media andRolling Stone. Sean Barkulis (@SeanBarkulis) currently oversees UPlanMe’s broader product strategy, business development and technology, but began his career in Finance where he invested in distressed technology and media companies. He then left to launch his own online trading platform for illiquid securities.
UPlanMe is a live digital marketplace for events, updates and promotions – from creator, to influencer, to consumer. For consumers, UPlanMe is a customized online calendar that updates itself automatically with the events, specials and activities going on nearby. For brands & businesses, UPlanMe enables them to place updates, events, specials and schedules directly onto customers’ calendars as well as to push out that content across the web. UPlanMe also provides online calendar software to 3rd-party publishers, so they can pull content from our database into their websites.
Tell us… what was the vision behind UPlanMe?
UPlanMe strives to be the end-to-end solution for brands and businesses to manage and promote their updates, events, specials and schedules across the social web; while allowing consumers to easily interact with those brands and businesses, so they never miss out on events and activities.
Name one failure you benefited from – what lesson was learned, and how was it applied?
Very early on we realized the “chicken or the egg” problem that impacts many startups—it’s tough to attract users to your platform without any content, and it’s even more difficult to get brands and businesses to create content for your platform without any users. We forced ourselves to find ways to find clean, useful, reliable brand-content from alternative data sources across the web- giving users valuable content to interact with, before we’d be able to sway brands to embrace our offering. As a result, we developed a suite of powerful tools and analytics for brands to leverage our platform before having a huge user base.
Who is your Mentor?
Help us out here, whats the best piece of advice you can give to aspiring startups?
If someone isn’t already using Facebook, then they are a late adopter, and probably not going to use your product. Assume all of your users are already on Facebook, and use that info to your advantage. Let Facebook do what Facebook does best, don’t reinvent the wheel, and remove barriers to entry for your platform.
Who are your dream Brand Soulmates, you’d like to work with?
Brands like Starbucks and Gap are perfect soulmates for us, because of their constantly evolving suite of products, offerings and promotions that would benefit from a direct conduit into the calendars of current and prospective customers. (Side bar: Our Evol8tion team also thinks credit card companies, such as American Express, or Chase Sapphire that consumers are consistently using at these events would also be fantastic matches)
What is your favorite startup resource?
We’re big into our communal office within the WeWork Labs - the whole “incubator” workplace has been great for us! Being surrounded by so many like-minded startups who share the same challenges, really serves as an unparalleled resource to overcome what ails us.
Getting a bit deep here – tell us your fears, whats keeping you up at night?
We hope our users come to find UPlanMe as an indispensible part of their daily lives. Despite our tremendous progress to date, we fear that all of our energy and resources will be exhausted before we have the opportunity to realize that dream.
I really wish I thought of…. (Come on guys – don’t say Facebook… its a cop out answer!)
SinglePlatform. Whoever becomes the hub for local businesses to manage their online presence is going to go gangbusters in the coming years.
Thanks for reading! Check back next week for more stories, and to see if your interview was chosen – be sure to follow @uplanme for their latest updates.
Ambient marketing meets urban landscaping in this IKEA’s project made in Japan. The Swedish brand took over the streets of Harajuku in Tokyo or, better, the gaps between the buildings in Harajuku, to display pieces of its furniture collection and prove that they can fit everywhere and enrich even the smallest living spaces.
The project is called IKEA Sukima Gallery, and on thededicated website you can find the images of this exhibition en plain air.
San Francisco-based FabKids is the latest startup to try its hand at subscription-based e-commerce, taking on competitors like Wittlebee in the kids’ apparel space, but with a slightly different twist. Instead of offering a box of separates shipped monthly, FabKids will send out one complete outfit it has designed in-house and personalized to the child, based on a custom profile filled out at signup.
There’s a bit more news about the new company, too. It’s also the latest to see participation from a celebrity partner. In FabKids’ case, actress Christina Applegate is providing design input in exchange for equity in the company. However, Applegate was not a part of FabKid’s recent $2.6 million Series A round of funding, which was led by Hillsven Capital, and saw involvement from Sugar Inc.’s Brian and Lisa Sugar, as well as other Silicon Valley angels.
FabKids was created by serial entrepreneur Andy Moss who previously founded fashion search engine ShopStyle.com, which merged with Sugar, Inc. in 2007. Moss ran ShopStyle through last summer, which is when he began work on FabKids.
At ShopStyle, explains Moss, customers often said that it would be great if the service could recommend specific styles or outfits. “It really got me intrigued with the concept of personalized e-commerce – and how do you actually deliver to a consumer based on the things you know about them?” His own experience as a parent (son is 13, daughter is 8) played into this, too, he says. “It was fun to see their personalities change as they grew up, and the different clothes they liked or wore through that process.”
Moss thinks that personalized e-commerce will eventually apply across the board, but kids and baby was an easier entry point into the space. Unlike many competitors in the subscription e-commerce business, FabKids doesn’t aggregate from various designers. It’s developing its own label in-house. Competitively priced with something like Gap Kids or J Crew’s Crew Cuts, for example, the entire outfit that’s shipped will be sold for a flat rate of $49.95 per month (with free shipping and returns). This could include a top, bottoms and accessory, perhaps, or dress, leggings and socks, for example.
The company is starting out with a focus on girls’ clothes, sizes 2 through 8, but plans to expand in September to sizes 10 and 12, then to boys and infants in 2013. Taking a page from ShoeDazzle’s book (the personalized shopping service for shoes and handbags), FabKids steps parent and child through a sign-up process to determine what they like. The 15-question quiz, asks not only for name, age and gender, but also things like what’s the child’s favorite outfit, color, or pet. There are 100+ different outfit combinations available at launch that fit different “personality” types like princess, boho beach, fashionista, or even just jeans-and-tees.
FabKids makes it easy to skip a month, and has also set up another revenue generating feature via an option which allows friends and family to “gift” an outfit from the site with no further commitment. It will be interesting to see how the subscription angle plays out, especially since ShoeDazzle recently dropped that as the only way to shop. For what it’s worth, Moss says he thinks subscriptions make sense for the kids’ market, because here, it’s about a need, not just a “want.” (Kids, they grow so fast!).
Besides Ross, the founding team includes clothing experts and e-commerce veterans Lauren Uppington (VP Merchandising), Vincent Lo (VP Engineering) and Allison Vigil (VP Planning & Operations), Denise Kalinowski (Head of Design) with experience from Tea Collection, Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and One Kings Lane, as well as, of course, Shop Style.
Christina Applegate’s Role: Creative Input (Could Product Placement On TV Be Next?)
Applegate’s involvement came after FabKids reached out to her through a friend. ”What we really like about Christina is that she’s a new mom herself, has a wonderful TV show that’s super popular where she’s in that same mom role, and she’s someone everyone has grown up with in our target demographic,” says Ross. He also notes she has a strong personal sense of style and strong opinions about what works. But her involvement sounds minimal – “creative guidance.” The designs are actually created by in-house designer Kalinowski.
We asked if the collaboration would mean FabKids’ clothes would start showing up on Christina’s show (“Up All Night,” a comedy about new parents adjusting to post-baby life), especially given that it features a toddler who could serve as a live model? Moss insisted that the deal was done with Christina herself, and they hadn’t established any deal with the show’s producers at this point. “But we’re obviously still talking about those kinds of things,” says Moss.
The new site is live now, and is offering parents 15% off their first purchase to try it out. We wonder if Fab.com is OK with the name?
Coming on the heels of multiple claims of past Apple talks with Twitter, including old whispers of an investment in the company, a new report reveals the iPhone maker may be looking at using the micro-blogging service to fill the gap left by Ping when the service shuts down this year.
“Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s places.”
Humans can learn to understand, if they’re willing to do so.
How many times a day do you seek to understand? How do they compare to the number of times you look to receive and transmit information?
You could make a many appropriate course adjustments by analyzing the gap between promises made and promises kept. The more you close that gap — learning to understand — the more confidence you have in your ability to time the future.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.
For in depth content Sign up for the Premium Newsletter.
The fine folks at ShopIgniter have put together an impressive playbook white paper on promoting and selling using social media. They’ve joined the roster of sponsors here at Social Media Explorer, too, just to make sure you have a chance to see it. The download is free and is well worth the time to download and read.
ShopIgniter is a software company that provides and end-to-end solution to help companies post and manage engaging content on social networks. But their Playbook is useful to you, even if you don’t use their software. It takes a decidedly business approach to social media marketing, walking you through the business funnel and process of buying for the average consumer.
The really strong point for me in reading through The Playbook was their focus on the consumer gap between discovery and purchase. Understanding that gap for your customers will absolutely help you deliver better results in closing leads, deals and sales. The document is smart and helpful. Give it a look see.
And thanks to ShopIgniter for supporting us here at SME. We’re happy to pass on the good content to folks!
Bled Symposium 2012 summary by Toni Muzi Falconi
Ten years ago, in July 2002, some 100 scholars and professionals from many European countries met in Bled, Slovenia, to discuss and launch the Bled Manifesto, possibly the single most important document concerning our profession to date; this document has had a huge impact on developments in Europe and around the world.
Bled is a cozy little lakeside village in Slovenia where, since 1993, Dejan Ver?i? and his team have been recruiting many of the best world thinkers and doers in, for or about public relations, to attend the conference every first weekend of July.
A decade after the Manifesto was written, some of the same and many new academics and practitioners from more regions of the world met in July 2012 for two days of discussion on the status of the profession.
Bled Symposium 2012 comprised 26 papers, as well as several panels and discussions (including a formal plenary session where Slovenia’s president recognized—in their presence—the major impact Larissa and James Grunig have had on our global discipline). The line up was too rich and diversified for one person to summarize; interested individuals are invited to check out the full program.
Instead, what I’d like to do—following the just-released results of the European Communication Monitor 2012 (ECM) presented by Ansgar Zerfass—is comment on some of its more interesting findings on the state of the profession, also relating them to the contents of some of the other Bled 2012 presentations. One may read and download the full ECM study and its more-recent annual dynamics.
European Communication Monitor 2012 (ECM)
This report immediately and transparently indicates that, by not being able to indicate the universe (composed of high-level professionals in Europe), the 2.185 participants from 42 countries should not be considered a representative sample, but rather a universe in itself. This is relevant, as most of the self-selection online surveys (30 questions to this one) neglect to indicate this caveat. We are so used to interpreting opinion surveys to back our own opinions or “confirmation bias,” that we seldom realize by doing so that we’re fooling ourselves.
The respondents defined themselves as:
- chief communication officers (CCOs) of organizations or CEOs of consultancies (43 per cent)
- managers of a specific discipline in a public relations department (29 per cent)
- with the remaining (21 per cent) as team members or consultants
Of these: 30.5 per cent operate in western Europe, 29.2 per cent in southern Europe, 29 per cent in northern Europe and 10.6 per cent in eastern Europe.
The survey indicates that ethical issues are more relevant today than they were five years ago (57.6 per cent), mostly due to the:
- increase of compliance and transparency norms (77.3 per cent)
- use and abuse of social media (72.3 per cent)
- growing complexity of international communication practices (57.4 per cent)
Specifically, consultants, as well as public affairs and government relations practitioners in organizations, say they encounter the most ethical challenges.
Codes of ethics are hardly ever referred to or used—only 29 per cent of respondents have referred to a code at least once—while 32 per cent believe codes are all outdated. However, 93 per cent believe that a code is needed, while 30 per cent attribute this compliance role to the national association of professionals and 28 per cent attribute it to international associations. (Interestingly, only 10 per cent indicated governments should be responsible for compliance.) Even non-members believe that professional associations are the most suitable providers.
Complementary ethical challenges in New Zealand; CIPR (UK) booklet
This is a first point to comment: scholar Margalit Toledano presented an interesting summary of focus groups she conducted with New Zealand practitioners to understand if the digital environment has substantially changed the nature of ethical challenges. The answer, of course, yes it has, but the specific practices mentioned by participants were not as many as one may have anticipated; fewer than 10, in fact.
SEO practices—specifically, when we interact with algorithms rather than persons, to change the public visibility of specific content in search engines.
astro-turfing campaigns—when we create fictitious organizations to run public opinion initiatives, not citing the real subject who is actually performing and paying for the exercise.
transparency—when we use false identities to intervene in discussions and express opinions or one-sided facts to prove a point for our clients or employee organizations.
Regarding another aspect of the ethics issue, there appears from the survey a blatant contradiction between the claim that ethical challenges have increased, that codes of practice are irrelevant, yet needed, and that the challenges and tasks lie with professional organizations.
A possible interpretation is that codes are nice-to-have Linus-like blankets, in order to give us the ability to cite them with others (i.e., our stakeholders) but we do little, if anything, to apply them.
An ancient issue, I agree, but here the concept is more bluntly stated. And again, repeated, when the study reveals that 70 per cent of respondents believe that national or international accreditation programs can only help improve the reputation and the recognition of the field, but only 58 per cent agree that a global accreditation system will help, and 54 per cent that accreditation as such ensures practitioners receive proper knowledge of recent communication tools and trends.
In short, we do not believe that what we do with our public relations codes or accreditation programs are really useful, but we do them in order to improve our reputation.
If that is the case, aren’t we victims of our own hype? And where is the behaviour/communication link?
As for regulation of the profession only 10 per cent believe this task should be entrusted to government in the interest of the public, rather than to associations in the interest of its members. A very interesting paper presented by Estelle de Beer from the University of Pretoria explained in details the process that PRISA (the Southern Africa public relations institute) has initiated to eventually regulate the profession.
Eighty-four per cent of respondents cite as the major barrier to success the lack of understanding of communication practice within top management. As the second major challenge, 75 per cent also indicate, difficulties of the profession itself to prove its impact on organizational goals.
Once again, it appears that we ourselves complain that others do not understand us more than we complain about our own ineffectiveness to prove that what we do is valuable.
Evaluation and measurement in the USA
This latter point correlates with the data supplied by University of Southern California’s Jerry Swerling, presenting on the USC Annenberg Strategic Communication and Public Relations Center’s seventh biennial Communication and Public Relations Generally Accepted Practices (GAP VII) study of the PR market in the United States, where it indicates that, compared to 2010, American organizations have increased their investments in evaluation and measurement from 6 per cent to 9 per cent of the total investment in public relations activities. See the highlights and/or download the full study.
While I am at it, another interesting data from the GAP study is that, compared to two years ago, PR practitioners dealing with customer relations has jumped from 5 to 15 per cent; this is clearly a consequence of social media.
Where time is spent
Ninety-two per cent of the European responders say that, compared to five years ago, corporate organizational narrative is created by all its members interacting with stakeholders, and 82 per cent say that there are more touch points with their publics.
Although the majority of productive time still goes to operational communication, this is not more than 37 per cent of a typical week, while 29 per cent accounts for planning, organizing, leading staff, evaluating strategies, preparing for crises.
Reflective activities instead (i.e., aligning comm educative activities (coaching, training and educating members of the organization) take almost 15 per cent.
Coping with the digital revolution is still the most important strategic issue for 46 per cent of respondents, while 44 per cent say it is the effective linking of business strategy and communication. Thirty-four per cent instead indicate the need to address more audiences and channels with limited resources, at par with helping management take strategic decisions.
Advisory influence (the perception of how seriously senior managers take recommendations of communication professionals) has decreased from 78 per cent in 2011 to 70 per cent in 20012, while executive influence (the perception of how likely communication representatives will be invited to senior-level meetings dealing with organizational strategic planning) had also decreased from 77 to 72 per cent.
The digital environment
As for the digital environment, not surprisingly respondents of previous years had overestimated the growth of social media (online communities were forecasted to increase 82.2 per cent in 2011 versus the actual increase being recognized as 75.8 per cent this year, etc.), but of course this still remains a major challenge for organizations.
If one compares the American data with the European, the former appears to make much more use of online communities (67.7 per cent versus 50.4 per cent), microblogs and Twitter (59.2 per cent versus 39.5 per cent), etc..
Training, professional development and management qualifications
As for training and professional development, the most important providers are national professional Associations, but companies use universities significantly more often (42 per cent) than governmental (32 per cent) or NGOs (31 per cent).
As for management qualifications, while the gap between communication skills development offering is 1.4 per cent higher than the actual need, the gap inverts significantly in management skills (-22.1 per cent), management knowledge (-30.6 per cent), business knowledge (-22.3 per cent) and so on.
I am well aware of the limitations of this guest post summary. I strongly suggest that interested readers look up all the Bled Symposium papers that are due to appear soon on the bledcom.com website.
On the other hand, the integration of the results of the two quantitative reports by Zerfass and Swerling, with the very interesting qualitative effort conducted by Jon White for the CIPR (and also presented in Bled) on “PR in 2020” (read it here), might lead one to believe that indeed there has been in these last 10 years a significant change in the profession and that, at least in part, this change has also been determined by us!
I hope you take advantage of some of this fascinating reading, so that you can better appreciate the wonderful and inspiring Bled Symposium offered in 2012. (Videos of lectures from #bledcom12 are now available on YouTube.)