Jarter Jargon

Archive for September 2012

As everyone knows, Mayor Bloomberg of New York City has been fighting hard for the ban of sugary drinks over 16 oz. in an effort to curb obesity. He is still keeping his firm stance and has recently received support from the NYC Health Panel who has stepped up to back his ban on super-sized sodas.

Restaurants, movie theaters and other outlets have six months to comply or face a $200 fine each time there’s a violation, the health department said. The ban doesn’t apply to convenience stores and groceries that don’t act primarily as purveyors of prepared foods, which are regulated by New York state. The rules do allow consumers to buy as many of the smaller drinks as they want and to get refills.

This means you fans of the 7/11 Big Gulp can breathe a sign of relief. Although, the 7-11 Double Big Gulp holds about twice the amount of fluid than the average adult human’s stomach. The average adult human’s stomach can hold comfortably about 32 ounces at any given time. The Double Big Gulp holds about 64 ounces of soda or Slurpee.

However, going back to the fact that even though sizes over 16 oz. in establishments that fall under the ban’s control, people are still able to buy as many 16 oz. cups as they want as a way to kind of circumnavigate the ban. But how are brands responding to Bloomberg’s efforts to combat obesity?

Many of the large players, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, are arguing that it restricts freedom of choice. In all actuality, will this ban really move their stock needles? The future shall tell. But what about the mom-and-pops of the city? This ban could have devastating effects.

While the ban restricts drink choices, certain beverages are “clean.” Drinks that you sweeten yourself are fine (e.g. certain Starbucks’ venti drinks), as well as certain beverages that are also 50% milk (e.g. a big 32 oz. Oreo Coolatta from Dunkin’ Donuts).

What can companies do to offset the effects of the ban? They could undercut consumers and jack up the prices of the 16 oz. drinks, but that is highly unethical. Another route that I could see happening is a revamping of drinks offered. Is it possible that we could see new lines of drinks rolling out to get around the ban?

Let me know how you feel about the ban in the comments below. In the meantime, enjoy this short video explaining the ban (and poking a little bit of fun):

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Recently, Marissa Mayer, Yahoo!’s new CEO, announced that all employees will be given a new smartphone. Mayer is going to allow employees to choose from an iPhone 5, Galaxy S3, a few HTC devices or Nokia’s Lumia 920. Notably absent from the list: BlackBerry. Yahoo is going to move its users off of BlackBerry devices in 22 countries and onto something more consumer friendly.

But why the switch? If you really look at it, Blackberry has been slipping in numbers for quite some time now. The iPhone and other smartphones have taken control. Mayer’s reasoning is to get Yahoo! employees to start thinking and acting like most of its users.

For a company like Yahoo — whose business is a purple mix of technology services, display advertising and media — it doesn’t make sense to focus on attracting BlackBerry users. It’s also unlikely that Yahoo sees much of its mobile traffic coming from BlackBerry users.

If a company is going to create consumer facing products and services, it needs to be able to experience those products the same way its users do. It’s a genius move on the part of Mayer, because it helps push employees from all parts of the company — from product managers to engineers, from sales to customer support — to look at and approach Yahoo from the point of view of the average user.

To me, it seems like Mayer knows exactly what she’s doing. Positioning your entire staff to look at your own business from the eyes of your audience gives you great insight on managing and maintaining a huge brand like Yahoo!. I wouldn’t be surprised to see new features that integrate smartphones in the near future. I think Yahoo! will do great things to develop better experiences for users, and I honestly think it’s something other corporations should take a look at.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that all corporations should give all its employees the newest smartphone; it just means that a lot of corporations spend large amounts of money to gain insight on target audiences when all they need to do is try and view themselves from the eyes of that very audience.

I’m sure by now you have heard the song “Gangnam Style” by South Korean pop sensation Psy.

If not, get out from under your rock.

Before we go any further, let me say that I have no idea what Psy is saying in “Gangnam Style,” but I do know that Gangnam-gu is one of the 25 gu (local government districts) which make up the city of Seoul, South Korea. It is one of the most affluent areas of Seoul and is located in the southeast of the city.

It’s also the newest craze to hit the internet. It’s catchy, it’s danceable, and the dance that accompanies it is easiest for the whitest, most inept dancers on the planet. I can’t dance to save my life, but I surely can cut the hell out of a rug dancing like I’m riding a horse. I can safely say I’ve never lassoed harder in my entire life. Maybe I can start up my rodeo career. Either way, how does a song garner 172,000,000 views in just two months? How does any video reach viral fame?

Viral marketing is a surefire way to get your message out to a hefty number of viewers (as seen by the hundreds of millions of views on many viral videos) in a very short amount of time.

According to marketing professors Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein,[9] to make viral marketing work, three basic criteria must be met, i.e., giving the right message to the right messengers in the right environment:

  • Messenger: Three specific types of messengers are required to ensure the transformation of an ordinary message into a viral one: market mavens, social hubs, and salespeople. Market mavens are individuals who are continuously ‘on the pulse’ of things (information specialists); they are usually among the first to get exposed to the message and who transmit it to their immediate social network. Social hubs are people with an exceptionally large number of social connections; they often know hundreds of different people and have the ability to serve as connectors or bridges between different subcultures. Salespeople might be needed who receive the message from the market maven, amplify it by making it more relevant and persuasive, and then transmit it to the social hub for further distribution. Market mavens may not be particularly convincing in transmitting the information.
  • Message: Only messages that are both memorable and sufficiently interesting to be passed on to others have the potential to spur a viral marketing phenomenon. Making a message more memorable and interesting or simply more infectious, is often not a matter of major changes but minor adjustments.
  • Environment: The environment is crucial in the rise of successful viral marketing – small changes in the environment lead to huge results, and people are much more sensitive to environment. The timing and context of the campaign launch must be right.

With the ever-expanding social media market, it is prime real estate for marketers to push their message to millions of people worldwide in real time. It doesn’t have to be a hit song. It doesn’t have to be a video of your cute cat. It can be whatever you want the message to be, but without the right message, in the right channel, getting to the right people, well, you’re just as lost as I am with Psy’s lyrics.

So get out there, put on your rodeo dancing shoes, and put the world’s market to use. In the mean time, brush up on your galloping and lassoing skills.

It all started with a few sites back in the day (a few more back depending on your age). Xanga, LiveJournal, and Myspace were in, and if you were on, you were out. Friends were connecting, sharing, and discovering together.

Then along came Facebook. The new, and soon to be, mogul on the internet. No one knew its full potential then, but it soon exploded into a phenomenon that has defined a generation as well as set the groundwork for future social media expeditions.

Then came a handful of new ways to share information and content: Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr, Pinterest, and a menagerie of others. But if we look at it, each outlet does the same thing essentially, each with its own quirks.

All of them are integrated, and for the most part, all of them got to where they are now by outperforming similar platforms. Myspace lost out to Facebook, Pixl and other photo editing/sharing platforms lost out to Instagram, and many blogging platforms have grown to successful popularity.

With over 300 blogging platforms, 200+ social networks, over 80 microblog platforms (no, Twitter is not the only one), and thousands of other services and tools along with the ecosystem support tools (e.g. Twitter clients like HootSuite or Seesmic) and plug-ins, well, perhaps it’s a little crowded.

Can it be possible that there are just too many out there to use/choose from? Obviously certain people don’t have any need for specific platforms, but still. We see businesses leaping head first into social media without considering “How can I use ‘social media X'” rather than “We need to use ‘social media X’.” Many of us have profiles on countless social media outlets, but why? Do we really have a use for them, or are we simply logged on because everyone else  is?

In a recent IMC class, we learned about looking at what the problem actually is before listing basic ways a problem can be fixed. You want to increase brand awareness? Facebook might not be the best solution for your specific brand.

Taking a look at how brands connect through various social media channels, it can be done, and it can be done well. I do think that many brands feel as if because their competition is using a certain channel, they need to as well. This can backfire extremely quickly.

For marketers it creates a nightmare of channel fragmentation which means more up front research and constantly re-evaluating where to put the chopped up marketing budget. For developers of new apps and services they will need to significantly raise the bar or face slow or no adoption. For investors and VC’s, they’ll likely see more failures unless they do good due diligence up front to determine the significant difference and value. Consumers only want to use so many tools. Civil society from that context is the same.

 

It’s been some time since Twitter’s launch (six years ago), but if you think about it, Twitter has come a long way from tweets about normal every day life. Today, you can’t watch a show without having some sort of integrated #hashtag featured in the lower corner. Brands utilize #hashtags in commercials as well.

Every event, the Super Bowl; the Olympics; political conventions; all have a specific and carefully crafted #hashtag that accompanies what is going on.

Chris Messina is the original inventor of creating these social “channels” using the infamous # (pound) sign. “I’m more interested in simply having a better eavesdropping experience on Twitter. To that end, I focused my thinking on contextualization, content filteringand exploratory serendipity within the Twittosphere,” Messina explains.

The interconnectivity on Twitter started as a way to dive deeper, easier into information being exchanged. It has now expanded into something more powerful than I think Messina believed it could be in the first place.

Even now, artists are creating pieces that react to the buzz of certain topics and #hashtags on Twitter.

Each day, people are pushing the boundaries of social media to find a new and creative way to utilize its services. The rise and expansion of these #hashtag channels is very impressive, and I firmly believe it is not done quite yet.

Furthermore, in our everyday lives, my generation is notorious for physically saying “hashtag” before something to yet again bring in some sort of real-life Twitter interaction. And still, as I hit publish and prepare a tweet for this post, I know I’ll be using #hashtags to be seen in those channels.

A weekend in Chicago turned into a technological epiphany. I deleted my Facebook, I didn’t tweet, I didn’t shoot a picture with Instagram, and all in all, the only people I kept in contact with were my parents via sparse texts (also a handful of emails related to work). And to be completely honest, it was awesomely refreshing.

Lately, I’ve been wondering where the limit is for social media. When do we stop? With the countless hours of YouTube videos posted each minute, all the active members on Facebook, and the millions of tweets sent out each day, how do we stay connected to who and what we want?

I am currently following 491 people on Twitter. Do I see what every one of them are saying? Not even close. It is almost impossible to check every followers’ account to keep up to date with everything they push out. Then there are the people who seem to have absolutely nothing to do all day judging by the amount of tweets they send out (32 tweets in 5 minutes? Tsk tsk, he-who-shall-not-be-named).

So again, where do we draw the line. Personally, social media has become more and more fascinating while also becoming more and more terrifying. Really, how do we keep up with everything that is going on? There are infinite amounts of “things” out there people are talking about, but there is literally not enough time ever to keep up with all of it.

And I know this all sounds fairly hypocritical seeing as I blog, tweet, and share pictures of my lunch on Instagram, but as of late, it’s all been winding down.

I think that social media has hit its plateau. We can analyze only so much, and we can use social media to benefit our brands and lives only so much. An artist at the GALORE festival in Copenhagen, Denmark challenges our reliance on all things web social in this time-lapse video that asks the question: “When is too much simply too much?”