NOTE: This is a full archive for the Project Community: You & The World (2014) please see the main site for the most up to date information.

Posts Tagged Marketing

I work with floating people

This course made me reflect about the relationships between the elements involved in the system of the online communities for innovation. I specified "for innovation" because the goal changes the structure of our web constructions. Let me explain this better;

THE GOAL

Online communities are generally a subjective system (this is also important, each person has a different online community) created by an individual and a bunch of weird people floating in the air. I know it is a creepy description but it works. Well, I can interact with these people through different means: social networks, blogs, wikipedia, crowdfunding websites, etc… nothing difficult here. Now, think to this structure, it misses something. It’s the goal. Without a goal it is pointless to use it! Different goals will change the shape of the community involved. If I am feeling alone and I want to find new friends I will use different networks to reach a selected number of floating people (I am alone, not desperate) and then I will change the relationship into a face-to-face one. On the other hand if I want to chat with a friend I just need to reach her/him and communicate (or her/his mother, father, sister, dog if she/he is not answering.. No, I am not desperate).

Now, let’s change this goal with a "design goal". Our project is a perfect example. Yes, I have a NGO but I can just take its purpose and translate it as my goal, it will make things quicker. Well let’s analyse what I learned about this love triangle: me, the online community and the project/purpose.

               

THE NEED

First, very important part is the need. Floating people have to express a need that could involve my project, my service. There are two different ways to approach this element. You can “feel the need” and design a solution or, and that’s our case, create/adapt the need to your project.

That could sound deceitful, but it is not (if it is not done by Apple). Look at our NGO, few people really think a Tiny House Community is a solution to a need, however the space on this world is decreasing and we are overusing our resources and that’s a problem, that’s a need. Money is also decreasing and we are living over our possibilities, that’s a problem too! "Creating the need" means to make these people aware that there is a different way of living!

To study the need we can use our marketing strategies. I love the Purple Goldfish Strategy (not only because of its name). It is all about what can you give that others can’t. In an ocean of red goldfish ( or orange or yellow, that’s the colour anyway!) what makes you “purple”? Merging it with the need you get something to make your difference even more powerful! Indeed if you have something the others don’t and it is something that people really need (or think they need or discover they need) you have a huge potential.

THE AWARENESS

This is the base of every interaction me-community, without it everything becomes useless, it is the crowdsourcing part of our course. Unfortunately we don’t live in a world where investors just knock at your door (or if they do they do it when you are in the bathroom), people won’t help you in your project if they don’t know it. Here we have many different way to make people aware. I continue to say that Twitter is one of the best one, but also Youtube (why not? Make a video and spread it through Twitter, Facebook, etc..). You could also think to more traditional tools. Why don’t use the “creative guerrilla strategy”? It’s a old (but not that old) marketing strategy that involves strong graphic works. In these works there is something that excites your curiosity (the color, a shape, a huge written like “BOOBS” or “SEX"(you see it worked?)), then if you look at them closer you will find all the informations or a message with a website, etc… It is a manual thing but you can use stickers with this kind of messages and spread them around, in a zone or a city easily and it’s very enjoyable to create these kind of graphic works. Returning to web awareness system we also chose to create events for our NGO, to make people understand that these tiny houses are very cozy and clean, not like in TV shows! In this case, probably Facebook is the best events spreading system.

Example of Guerrilla style campaign by Benetton (that in the meanwhile is exploiting chinese children to make clothes. Here it is another important thing for a project, consistency)

THE FINANCING

Financing is an action that you (aware) community does with your project. An important rule in this topic is “nothing is for nothing”. You have always to remember that people don’t give money for free, you have to give them something. On the other hand you have to give them something that doesn’t make you lose money, it could seem obvious but it is not. Fundraising is something precise, you should fix a goal, a number, you starting money, what can you offer, its cost… It is complicated, you have to be very careful when you organise a fundraising campaign and collect/use numerical data and measurements for it if you want to earn money. I have already talked about many other details in crowdfunding/microfinancing in my previous post. I actually didn’t know anything about it before I did this course (really, I was thinking to bag-snatches as fundraising tool before that) so, I think this is a great achievement!

THE GROUP

It could happen that you have an idea but you can’t do it by yourself. Let’s think about a videogame, maybe you have ideas about the story, the effects and you can draw 3D characters for it (you lucky girl/boy, I am not able to use Photoshop properly!) but you don’t know how to link the commands to movements, you have not any experience about computer programming! Well, here you can use again your online community! You can find partners that will help you in it. We learned how to manage a group in our course. For example for a videogame I would recommend you to work in group of three, so you can have a better control of the progress and, as Chris Corrigan said, you are more creative and that’s important for a videogame even if you lose “diversity” but, if you start with a clear idea of what you want to do you only need people who can help you in completing it (creativity). (I thought that a practical example would be the best way to express what I learned)

MAKE IT BETTER (BETTER, BETTER, BETTER…ok it is not about Beatles)

This is something I would like to explore. It is about those networks created to share a design idea and to use gathered feedback to make it better. It would be anyway a personal creation because the “deep style” is characteristic of the designer, but functions and shapes are modified by other future users or designers. Many web design competitions work like that, involving the customer/user in the creation of the final object. However the customer/user will give some tips but is the designer that has to translate them in a visual form. It could be very interesting to understand how to use it in the future to create a sort of “crowdesigning" and anyway, it is very challenging. I think that the best way to learn it is to participate or look to design competitions and analyse reactions to each work to understand if they could be valuable in the final elaboration. I would also like to see on the web if someone has already created something like that (we are in 2014, when you create something it is already created… except an easy way to go to gym).

      

  

WHAT ELSE?

Well, this course taught me all these things above about managing a project in an online environment and dealing with online communities. Obviously these are terribly important in our future, people are digitalising their lives (take a train and look around you, how many people do you see with the mobile in their hands? Probably a lot), if we will be able to meet those people on the web and to understand their needs and their thoughts we will be able to create new products that will totally change the world. Old ways of designing are slowly fading away except the strongest ones (that’s why i mentioned guerrilla). We have to find a new space to extend our networks and to link ourselves. The web gives us the possibility to do it remembering to not exaggerate using it. Our lives are here in the real world, not with floating people :) Well, stay connected for next post! I think I added enough pictures on this post, moreover I have in my mind an artistic representation of a floating person but I don’t remember the artist or the name, do you have some idea? See you next time!! :)

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Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: A road to the plain

Revealing the secrets behind marketing strategy of Johnnie Walker

Johnnie Walker - The Man Who Walked Around The World

Check out this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnSIp76CvUI of the very first Johnnie Walker commercial. I will be reflecting on its brand in the following post. Take a 6 minutes of your time and enjoy! Thank you.

Johnnie Walker is a blended Scotch whiskey, first introduced in 1820 in the grocery stores. It’s famous all over the world, with annual sales of over 130 million bottles. Owned by Diageo that originated in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland, Johnnie Walker built the history and strong position on the market, even almost 200 years later.

The video starts with a piper, playing music somewhere on a road in Scotland, on a typical rainy weather, in the mountains. Out of nowhere, there comes a man, walking down the road. He makes the piper stop the music, so he can tell a true story.

The man is dressed up in old classy clothes, smelling like history and untold secrets. He walks bravely, courageously. like he has been through a lot. The music is low, progressive motivating, with a sense of adventure. During the 6 minute video, he passes by objects, which happen to be on the road at the perfect time, perfect place. They relate to the progress of making the precious liquid, from barrels to the bar with bottles. 

In the end of the commercial, he points out a label “Keep Walking” - the main memorably moto of this brand. As he walks down the road, telling us the true story, he reminds us to “keep” doing it, as a metaphor of flowing time, a chronology of life. 

The bottle became an icon, the brand - international symbol of progress.

As a whole, this commercial made me think of life, a burning desire to live and keep walking no matter what difficulties I face. A state of mind, where I believe in my potential, recreating the required confidence level. Now, I want this bottle, I want Johnnie Walker, a drop of it, to feel the taste, the fire and how it flows through my body, powering the “engine”, like the spinach reflects on Popeye the sailor. Now, I trust the brand, in its world rank, in its position on the market.

Can you feel it, too?

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Posted in Community, Group 10, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: RIGHT ON TARGET

Learning marketing

Online communities are an indispensable tool for telling the world what that company, NGO or entrepreneur is doing or planning to do. What’s the first thing one does when is curious to know more about any subject? They google it! No business can afford to be out of the online environment nowadays.

It isn’t enough just to be there (just to have a website and a facebook page), you have to do it well. The “Theory of change” strategy I found to be an excellent way to work. It adapts well to that project’s purposes, what ever it is. In Tiny Houses, for instance, we defined the main goal of building a physical community. Well, to do that they need funds, so what can we do to raise money?

With this determined goal we could start to think about ways to achieve it - sponsors, partnership with companies, crowdfunding and creating a start up. Without a well known objective we would not have been able to conduct our work in this path.

Going back a little more in time, we wouldn’t be able to define the goal if we didn’t know really well the NGO we are working with and what they want to accomplish in the end. But also, and maybe more important (because that’s what is going to make the designer’s work stand out) is to figure it out what they need but they don’t know they need - or they can’t put in words to tell us. In a certain way, this is related to marketing - how does the NGO presents it self publically.

That made me want to get to know more about marketing itself. I believe marketing is the connection the company has with it’s costumers, i.e., how to build and maintain that relationship, giving the sense to your client that they can trust you.

To deepen your knowledge, there are many online platforms available that provide free courses on marketing and a broad range of subjects. I recommend futurelearn.com. The courses are provided by top universities, you get to network with people with the same interest, you get feedback and you can even talk to the teachers themselves. Have fun!

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Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Leticia Fernandez - Project Communities 2014

(Don’t) Look back (in anger)

We are almost there, that’s the seventh week and the project is going to end. It’s difficult to have a resume of what I learned without having a resume of what I and we did and what I felt. That’s why my blog post will be about the whole path during this course and it will be pretty serious (at least I will try to do my best) and not whimsical (discovered new word, I don’t know if it is right, english dictionaries are generic) and funny as usual. I promise I will do a comedy-style post with the last one.

THE SUBJECTIVITY OF FEELINGS

That’s the first point, it is about the link between us, our NGOs and our four themes, a link expressed often as “confusiastic”. It is a general idea that tries to define a feeling that should occur in our progress, however it is very difficult to accept it. In fact the themes can provide different reactions in different people. Somebody can be very sure and enthusiastic about crowdsourcing and confused about work teams, somebody else can be very interested in marketing and doubtful about crowdfunding. What I am trying to say is that is not possible to define with one only word the whole course and all the topics. That’s a first lesson about media and network technologies and knowledge, they are different, deeply different and the common mean (the computer) is not enough to link them in their complexity.

Now, things are becoming more difficult. I think that some themes with some NGOs can cause fear, anger and confusion, not confusiasm. Let me explain it better with our (group 1) example: our NGO is difficultly reachable by an effective crowdfunding campaign. People involved are not “rich” and it is tough to make people donate because you can’t give back something with crowdfunding average donations. On the other hand you can give back something really “tiny” but donations would be too small to reach their goal. They want to build a stable and enduring community so they need a continuous amount of money. Now the theme “crowdfunding” was narrow for us, we needed to enlarge our horizon, our view and we needed to include big companies in our project. However that is not anymore crowdfunding as intended in the theme, we explored “microventure” and startups world. It wasn’t a real problem but it was obviously difficult to understand the exclusivity of that topic. That’s why I think that a theme as “fundraising" could fit the course better. You can include in it crowdfunding but not as only option.

A DACHSHUND THAT PRETENDS TO BE A ROTTWEILER

Big danger in marketing zone. Three strategies: value proposition (ok!), purple goldfish (great, I love this one) and “what can we learn from Cocacola” (and here is the problem). Even if the example of Cocacola could be, reflecting a lot on it and stretching it, useful there is fundamental contradiction (and I think that’s why in group 1 nobody choosed it). That’s something really similar to philosophical disprove; even if you could use it in NGOs (and it is difficult) the big problem is that we are trying basically to compare a HUGE multinational company with a small, local NGO. It is a big generalisation in terms of dimensions and goals, are we sure that we can do this step (even if Melinda Gates says that is possible) and are we sure that there are not strategies that can be more suitable for our NGOs?Moreover watching at the video of Melinda Gates I think that it wouldn’t work;

1- Many NGOs are acting with single events, single initiatives. That makes completely impossible the real time data. Cocacola is continuing to sell bottles every day, they can have precise data and know the flexions of their market. For a NGO is more realistic to collect and analyse data at the end of an event but that is completely different.

2- Local entrepreneurial talent. That’s just obvious, many NGOs (as Tiny Houses) are local. Dealing with local entrepreneurial market is the first thing you have to do.

3- Marketing. Sure, saying it so generally it seems right but can we really compare the marketing actions of a NGO with marketing actions of Cocacola? I hope no! That would spoil NGO goals and existences.

On the other hand the Purple Goldfish Strategy is kinder, is more general, from the small store to, why not, a NGO! I hope that you understand what I mean, we need more adaptable strategies like this one, not the ones tested only by big companies. Here is another important lesson, adaptability over big results. They are obviously welcome but adaptability will allow you to create networks and systems that can be used by more people and help them in a proper way.

DIFFERENT MEANS DIFFERENT USE

Now we can introduce another important lesson about all your work. There is a specific mean for each work you have to do. Passing through the complexity of social media you will have to recognise the useful tools from the fancy but useless stuff (*cough!*… facebook hashtags… *cough!*).

FUTURE STEPS

Now, what I would like to learn more? I would like to deepen my knowledge about fundraising, about startups creation and the ways to start your own business. Also, I would be very interested in the world of online design contests and related community valuation of projects. 

Anyway, now we are finishing our lessons and, even if I gave just some advice about what, in my opinion, was too confused and less enthusiastic, I am happy about this course. It helped us to know how to contact and to deal with a client and we started to understand how are groups working, these are probably the main results and I think that are the best results we could have. 

Well guys, see you next week, stay connected for the last post for Project Community! Bye bye! :)

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Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: A road to the plain

LinkedIn Marketing: about Showcase Pages and the end of Products & Services tab

“There’s nothing like a game of show and tell. Educate and engage members by showcasing your company’s best products and services on your Company Page!” That’s a quote from the LinkedIn marketing manual for the section Products & Services, a section of the Company Page on LinkedIn. However, LinkedIn seemed to have learned about how users on LinkedIn engage with social media content. In November 2013 it announced the arrival of LinkedIn Showcase Pages. A feature that allows you to post “Products & Services” content as a status update.

LinkedIn Company Pages

Recently LinkedIn announced that it will drop it’s Products & Services tab from the Company Pages. Static content on LinkedIn is apparently not as much viewed as content updates. And since LinkedIn relies both on page views for it’s advertising solutions and relevant content to stay attractive for it’s users it has come up with LinkedIn Influencers (knowledge & learning updates by the LinkedIn community), Pulse (find out what is hot content in your network) etc and by removing another static content type it’s moving more and more towards becoming ‘your network media outlet’ providing relevant and recent content about your interests and related to your network.

Showcase Pages

status update showcase pageLinkedIn company LinkedIn Showcase Pages can be created as part of your LinkedIn Company Page. And offers you the opportunity to segment your messages to people who are only or primarily interested in just one product or services your organisation has to offer. You can provide an update just like you create a your own profile or company update. (so including links to files, presentations etc). A great way to share compelling content! If your content appeals to your audience you will be able to expand your organic reach for your products and services, because people will like and share your content. I’ve started experimenting with a Showcase Page for a CNCPTMKR project: Social Innovation News.

Searching for content is currently only possible by scrolling up & down all your status updates. So timing your posts will require some extra attention. Although LinkedIn claims that your Showcase Page will also popup in search results.

I just hope that one day LinkedIn will dust off the good old LinkedIn Signal. Making easier to search through all these LinkedIn (Profile, Company page & Showcase page) status updates and really get on top of what is happening in my network.

 

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Posted in Community, NGO Partners
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Maarten van Leeuwen