Sunday, March 28, 2010


In Chapter 5, Hobbies and Altruism, of Citizen Marketers the authors recount the story of how Eric Karkovack was able to revive a dead soda, Surge, via raising awareness and recounting personal stories with the soda on his website Consequently, CocaCola re-released the soda as Vault, in part due to his large online following and community.

Furthermore, the story explains how his new website dedicated to Vault, significantly outranks CocaCola's own site for the beverage because he created and expanded his site with more passion and most importantly was willing to listen to his audience.

To me this is a theme that we see time and time again across internet advertising. Companies ignoring their audience and only presenting the message that they think is appropriate. Whether it be in failed twitter marketing plans or boring websites, the theme is consistent that people want to feel like they are apart of something and involved, and in order for that to occur someone needs to be listening.

When companies refuse to listen to their consumers and don't give them the opportunity to express themselves the companies, in the end, are very much hurting themselves. That is what separates the internet from so many other mediums of communication: it allows millions of people to easily be heard and to ignore these opportunities is social suicide.

Thinking Outside the Box

After reading Greenpeace's tips on how to make a viral video, the thing that stuck with me the most, was the idea that the reason that most of the viral videos on the internet are user created is because the users are the ones thinking outside of the box. That the public are the ones with the freshest ideas and know how to avoid recycling past viral successes.

The example given in the article is the now famous dramatic chipmunk:

I too, think this is an excellent example of how anyone with a little imagination can create something so simple yet so perfectly executed. Innovation has always been the key to successful buisness marketing and we find that more and more obvious during this age of social media interaction.

Throughout time, we have seen that the companies who thrive the most in competitive markets are the ones who go outside of the established guidelines and use their wits, ingenuity, and heart to circumnavigate their competitors. Today social media gives companies marketing sectors a bigger ability to display this phenomenon more than ever. However, it is my belief that ultimatly the public determines the market and that is why they can create the most powerful messages.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

On Podcasting

Audio books are a creation that goes back to the 1980's. They take a traditional way of telling a story, reading, back to its roots, listening. They are a nice, simple way of easily digesting a piece of entertainment.

While listening to the SXSW Podcast on Podcasts I was reminded of audio books in the commentators various suggestions on how to spice up a podcast. I also think that many of these tips could have been applied to my group's podcast to make it a more cohesive, polished product.  Outside of the obvious technical issues that help to create a good podcast, I think that the SXSW commentator's suggestion of creating a story arc and summary via bullet points is an excellent idea.

This idea of spontaneous chatter between specified key points allows the podcast to combine the simplicity of a audio book and the chaos of a conversation into a developed, complex form of Web 2.0 story-telling. With the commentator's able to explore the creative elements of an interview while still being able to steer the conversation through its various pit stops.

To me, thats what separates the great modern story-tellers from the good ones. This ability to balance spontaneity and focus can be the deciding factor in how one average low budget podcaster can create a unique platform for themselves to attract an audience.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The FTC Guidelines

After reviewing the new FTC guidelines and reading the supplementary article, "Understanding the New FTC Guidelines" I was surprised that the issue of how businesses can use testimonials in advertising for online marketing had not been addressed before Dec. 1 of 2009.  To think of all the years of online marketing and millions of scandals associated with fraudulent advertising can be overwhelming. For a level of enforcement to just now be reaching web 2.0 components such as blogs is quite disturbing.

Even now the FTC will only monitor the activity of dishonest opinions of products uses on a complaint by complaint basis. I understand that the quantity of advertising online is through the roof and incredibly difficult to monitor, but I have to think that there is a more efficient and protective way to look into false advertising programs before their effects have been felt by the general public.

At the same time I have to distribute some of the responsibility to the consumers to do their best to protect themselves from false advertising. As a part of the online community the burden to do your homework and be secure in your purchases and personal information is squarely on each of our shoulders. Too often are we tricked into the notion that something is too good to be true, and false or manufactured testimonials are just another branch of this identity theft tree. Thus, I think that the Socrates philosophy of questioning everything is the safest measure one can take with themselves onto the internet.