Archive for 'Video'

Remove the irritant – Amazon attacks Wrap Rage

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We hear a lot of buzz about innovation.  Everyone is trying to create the next iPod. 

But sometimes, the most powerful way to reward current customers and gain new one is not by inventing something new…but instead, by removing an irritant.

Amazon announced on their home page yesterday (I think) that they’re waging war on Wrap Rage.  This is the frustration people experience when they try to open something they’ve bought that has been sealed as though it contained the key to Fort Knox. 

In a letter from Jeff Bezos, the company announces it’s multi-year initiative to create Frustration Free Packaging from Amazon.  (Read the announcement here.  Click on it once to enlarge enough to actually read.)

They go on to announce that they’ve partnered with Fisher-Price to unveil this initiative with the first results of their efforts.

Bloody brilliant.

In addition to waging war on Wrap Rage (who knew it had a name?), they’ve also created a place where customers can upload videos or photos of their own wrap frustrations.

Two big takeaways for all of us:

  1. Sometimes the most innovative thing you can do is eliminate something that’s a barrier or problem.
  2. When you create an easier, better, faster way — shout it to the world.

What is the biggest frustration your customers experience?  If you don’t know — ask them.  If you do know, why not remove it?

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Today’s vote is historic. And I assure you that no matter who you voted for,your guy in some way manipulated you. Once you found yourself making your choice, most people will defend their choice logically. Although as we know in sales 101, we buy for emotional reasons and justify with logic. .

Some interesting lessons for us online marketers have been revealed of late by political experts.

Mark Nagaitis, CEO of 7 Billion People, said “This analysis demonstrates how
the design of a website and the use of language can influence the effectiveness
of that site in communicating the desired message. Too many web designers
underestimate the power of language in reaching the complete audience, not just
their base.
” Key findings from the analysis include:

  • The McCain website uses language that emphasizes risk and problem avoidance
    – such as the section on the Homeownership Resurgence Plan featured prominently
    on the home page during mid-October 2008 in the final weeks before the
    presidential election.
  • By comparison, the Obama website offers voters key language on hope and
    opportunity as the primary focus, with risk items still present but secondary in
    nature.
  • Democratic candidate Barack Obama’s website is designed to appeal to people
    that use peer opinions and other references in their decision-making process.
    Obama’s website speaks to those that see themselves as part of a group. (For
    example, the Obama Everywhere section on the home page includes links to popular
    social networking sites).
  • Conversely, rival John McCain’s website appeals to those people who make
    decisions based on gut-feeling, information and personal choice. McCain’s
    website primarily speaks to the individual, not the group.
  • Senator McCain’s website presents information in a procedural, step-by-step
    fashion that appeals to analytical voters that feel comfortable with process and
    order – there is a clear path from the initial landing page that features Vice
    Presidential candidate Sarah Palin to the center panel of the website home page
    presenting topical videos denouncing his competitor. McCain’s website may feel
    constrictive to some voters.
  • By contrast, Senator Obama’s website appeals to voters that prefer choice
    and exploration of all of the options available to them. The website contains a
    wide array of menu items and clickable section headings representing numerous
    choices for visitors that need to feel that they have explored all the options –
    including a Learn menu section providing backgrounds on the wives of Senators
    Obama and Biden, texting for campaign updates, Obama Mobile for ringtones and an
    official iPhone application for the Obama campaign. Obama may be missing the
    opportunity to talk to voters that prefer order and process on the site.

The Gopac knows this and as such shows us some interesting language patterns that  politicos should use:

Use the list below to help define your campaign and your vision of public service. These words can help give extra power to your message. In addition, these words help develop the positive side of the contrast you should create with your opponent, giving your community something to vote for!:

Optimistic Governing Words

share, change,
opportunity, legacy, challenge, control, truth, moral, courage, reform,
prosperity, crusade, movement, children, family, debate, compete,
active(ly), we/us/our, candid(ly), humane, pristine, provide, liberty,
commitment, principle(d), unique, duty, precious, premise, care(ing),
tough, listen, learn, help, lead, vision, success, empower(ment),
citizen, activist, mobilize, conflict, light, dream, freedom, peace,
rights, pioneer, proud/pride, building, preserve, pro-(issue): flag,
children, environment; reform, workfare, eliminate good-time in prison,
strength, choice/choose, fair, protect, confident, incentive, hard
work, initiative, common sense, passionate

Contrasting Words

Often we search hard for words to define our opponents. Sometimes we
are hesitant to use contrast. Remember that creating a difference helps
you. These are powerful words that can create a clear and easily
understood contrast. Apply these to the opponent, their record,
proposals and their party.

decay, failure (fail)
collapse(ing) deeper, crisis, urgent(cy), destructive, destroy, sick,
pathetic, lie, liberal, they/them, unionized bureaucracy, "compassion"
is not enough, betray, consequences, limit(s), shallow, traitors,
sensationalists, endanger, coercion, hypocrisy, radical, threaten,
devour, waste, corruption, incompetent, permissive attitude,
destructive, impose, self-serving, greed, ideological, insecure,
anti-(issue): flag, family, child, jobs; pessimistic, excuses,
intolerant, stagnation, welfare, corrupt, selfish, insensitive, status
quo, mandate(s) taxes, spend (ing) shame, disgrace, punish (poor…)
bizarre, cynicism, cheat, steal, abuse of power, machine, bosses,
obsolete, criminal rights, red tape, patronage.

How can you use these lessons to better your online marketing?

David Bullock has interviewed the Obama Social Media team and says:

..the key is to look beyond what the world is evaluating
(politics) to ferret out what this campaign can teach us as we grow and
expand the reach of our businesses.

And the winner is . . .

Actually, that’s poor grammar.  There will be three winners for the REMO Training package for replying with their thoughts and opinions on what would make the training most beneficial.

Phil Bordeaux wins one copy for his response AND stepping up to the plate first.  It’s never easy to be the first one to speak up so I appreciate Phil’s willingness to put himself out there.  See, it pays to act quickly.  🙂

John Mazzara will be another other winner for outlining a complete package offering. His suggestion of including audio is something that didn’t receive as much consideration as it should have so I’ll work on including audio with the training package. It’s an option that may appeal to enough people to warrant the effort and extra expense.

Earlier in the year, Tego Venturi won a copy of “The SEO Bible” on one of our sister sites.  While he’s already received a copy of the eBook associated with that training (his site has soared in the rankings ever since), the video production was halted on that project in order to focus on real estate first.  That’s my mistake so he’ll receive a copy of the REMO training for being so patient. He’s in real estate so this offering is likely more relevant anyway.

Congratulations to all of the winners.  I’ll be contacting you this week to iron out the details.  I just may award another winner if someone steps up and suggests something worthwhile so don’t stop commenting or making suggestions.  🙂

Personal Branding is its own reward

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Each year, Dan Schawbel’s organization recognizes some of the standout brands with Personal Brand Awards. Last year, Rohit Bhargava won the gold award, and this year Jeremiah Owyang was presented the 2008 gold award. An esteemed panel of judges made the selection and people were graded based on a few factors, such as value proposition, differentiation, and marketability.

I’m humbled to tell you that I was one of the 6 people honored with recognition.  It’s quite an honor and even more so, when you see the other recipients.  I’d like to take a minute and introduce you to each of the honorees (well, except me…you know me!)

Gold Award:  Jeremiah Owyang

Jeremiah is probably one of the most trusted and sought after experts in the social media space.  As a researcher for Forrester following media trends is his day job.  He’s very generous with his time and knowledge and the judges wisely selected him unanimously.

Silver Awards:  Daniel Scocco and Laura Fitton

Daniel is certainly a go-to-guy for blogging, people trust him and he constantly rewards his community.  He offers up tips and strategies on blogging and currently holds the #29 spot in terms of popular blogs (according to Technorati).

Laura’s focus is on social media consulting, specifically "microsharing" which is all about harnessing the power of tools like Twitter, Pownce, Plurk and Jaiku.  She’s often quoted on and offline about where the world of social media is headed.

Bronze Awards:  Jim Kukral, Wendy Piersall, and little old me

Jim’s thing is all things affiliate marketing,
social media and internet marketing each and every day. He communicates
his brand through both video and written entries and is a common face
at industry events.

Wendy introduced herself to us as eMoms at Home which has now evolved into SparkPlugCEO.  Wendy’s message is about the power and possibilities of working for yourself and from home.  Her personal story inspires many to take the leap.

Me.  Enough said.  If you want to read what Dan and the judges said…(this link is for you, Mom and Dad!)

Congrats to all the recipients.  As you can imagine, it’s heady stuff to be among them.

If you’re wondering who made the call, the judges were:

 

Read more about the award in the most recent edition of Personal Branding Magazine.

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The Winner’s Curse is a term used to describe auctions whereby the winner will overpay because he/she overestimates the item’s actual market value. This tendency to overbid is due to factors like incomplete information or other market participants. Recent research show that people also overbid because of the fear of losing in a social competition. 

A team of NYU neuroscientists and economists conducted brain imaging studies and discovered that the striatum, a part of the brain’s reward circuitry showed an exaggerated response to losses during an auction game. When a group was told that they would lose $15 if they failed to win an auction, they consistently bid higher than others who were told they would win $15.

The difference lies in way the auction was framed. When simply reminded of what they had to lose instead of what they stand to gain, participants responded with higher bids.

While there have been investigations of overbidding which have attributed the phenomenon to either risk aversion or the ‘joy of winning,’ it was the use of imaging data which allowed us to distinguish between these conflicting explanations and actually arrive at a new and different one, the ‘fear of losing.’…We were able to use neuroimaging results to highlight the importance of framing, and specifically the contemplated loss, as an explanation for overbidding during experimental auctions.”

This ‘fear of losing’ seems to be triggered by competition with others and perhaps, attachment to the value of the item. A interesting takeaway point: instead of only highlighting the benefits or promise for a product/service, it would be beneficial to indicate what the buyer might potentially lose by not making a purchase or taking action.

People implicitly understand that they’re  dealing with other consumers because of factors like exclusivity and scarcity. The one who acts swiftly will get to purchase and enjoy the benefits of the product, while others may not. The call-to-action is much intense in an auction, because the actions of others occur in noticeable real-time. Competition is in the forefront of the mind.

This study reminds me of how much competition is almost intrinsic to human society. You see competition between individuals, groups and countries in business or sports. It is perhaps, both an evolutionary necessity and a learned behavior that one develops in order to survive or thrive within a social environment.

We are all familiar with the pleasure of competition. Many of you have bought items from Ebay, an online auction marketplace.  Often, your decision to make or abandon a purchase is rushed along on a subtle but tangible undercurrent of excitement during the process and a feeling of minor elation for having won an item at a favorable price.

Could there be a way to transplant the fear of losing and the pleasure of winning into a non-auction scenario? Perhaps the use of a competition as a backdrop where each consumer’s individual drive can play out against others. Make them interact and challenge one another within a superstructure that helps YOU fulfill specific end goals.

Let the Competitive Instinct Flourish Within a Social Environment

CompetitionImage Credit: Swamibu

Businesses or marketers should think about how to create a social environment which encourages the natural competitive instincts of their audience. Interaction within this sphere motivates each individual consumer/participant. This helps to increase the level of audience engagement and automatically enhances the value of the product/service/site.

Social news sites like Mixx.com proudly highlight their top users by displaying them on a leaderboard or giving them specific awards/badges. This symbolic segregation of a group of users from others and the conferring of exclusive emblems of acknowledgment enhances the visibility/reputation of these individuals. This becomes something others can strive towards.

Not everyone will lust after awards or a higher user ranking. In fact, most casual users won’t care or bother to go after greater recognition. But owners of these communities know that there will always be a segment of hardcore users (the more competitive or goal-oriented ones) that will work extra hard so they can improve their score or rank higher on the leaderboard.

This addicted 1% of users enjoy a sense of achievement and are often enough to generate enough activity to make your site grow. This effect is even more prominent when the community itself is the main attraction. Take the example of video games with online features: players will gladly pay for a monthly Xbox Live subscription or WOW account so they virtually cooperate or compete with other individuals. Inter-user competition becomes an value add-on.

Such a social environment is not very difficult to create: there are a few fundamental elements involved. For starters, users should be able to interact freely with one another, through the site’s main features or separately in an standalone environment. Also, bind user profiles and on-site activity to awards, rankings, points, recognition, rewards and achievements.

Allow people to form sub-groups to pursue a diverse level of interests. Facilitate inter-user contact and interaction by organizing open competitions or one-off events that everyone can join. These special events can be plotted on an established calendar of regular activities which involve the community or its sub-groups.

The general theory is simple enough: Think about creating social environments that are conducive for your overall business objectives. Apart from simply marketing your site, we should look at giving our audience the ability to connect (and compete) with each other.

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Fear of Losing: Using Competitive Instincts to Your Advantage

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