Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Travel Differently

Do we buy the way we used to nowadays ? I was having a chat with my team how we have changed our method of buying.

Take travel for example. 14 years ago, I will first walk into a travel agent who would push me a load of photocopied brochures and my knowledge on the place based on the travel agent who tried very hard to flock the packages to me.

And now ? I’m empowered with so much information I don’t even know where to begin. Would I go website to check destination or price first ? Or how about what do to, where to go, what to eat …. All these information available easily through one click and you’ve probably heard it before.

What I want to share with you is how marketers have go one step up by utilising technology to capture their target while they are traveling. Enter American Express Travelcast – a podcast downloadable into your iPod. Together with this download is a pdf file of a suggested walking route. And the scenic route was specially mapped to have retailers, restaurants offering some sort of discount to American Express card holder. I believe this is true embracement of technology.

Check it out at http://www.americanexpress.com/italy/travelcast/index.html

Pandora - Box of the Future

Pandora – If I’m not mistaken, it’s a Greek mythology. But fast forward to today; Pandora.com is defining how you listen to music. In year 2000, a group of musicians and technologists came together to create the most comprehensive analysis of music.

Since then, they’ve set forth to capture music at its fundamental level – everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony. Their journey is still continuing but you can listen to them online via streaming.

It works by you entering your favourite song or artiste (song would be better) and they will calculate the genome of that particular song and find matches based on that. This allows you opportunity to listen to new singers or songs that you’ve probably never heard before and yet they share the quality you like.

I just cannot imagine anything better than this and thank you to the Pandora team for working relentlessly to create such a compelling product.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Consumer Generated Content

My first topic for today is probably about podcasting and blogging. How had podcast change the way we look at marketing? Essentially, the world is shifting from marketers being the provider to being an enabler. We can no longer able to continue providing content to satisfy our consumer because they do not buy into our messaging. The marketing environment has shifted since then and we’re beginning to create “tools” for self-expression within the construct of a brand.

The irony is of course a lot of old thinking still embedded into this new medium by certain marketers who believe that podcast and blog is a new channel for them to flock some banner and maybe a Flash-based advertisement. Such a creation not only block consumer from believing you but actually amplify their thought you’re just in to rip their money.

In a new environment like what we’re living today, it’s imperative that our thinking be shifted towards a stronger customer-centric approach by empowering our consumer to create and manage their own content. By saying words like these, I probably have legals from client side all totally worked-up because they believe consumer might tarnish their brand. Frankly, opening up to a new environment is not easy but if you choose to be the last to open up, so be it. I’m not forcing anymore but I’m certain that the future is here, and consumer should be given the right to voice their delight or unhappiness. Our old advertising school always teaches us branding is perception and yet brands today are beginning to be exposed for what they are and this is a scary thought to many marketers.

Personally, if you brand is weak when it’s exposed, you should actually revisit your product structure or pricing strategy rather than living in denial that communication can solve all your problems even if your product sucks!

As a communication person, we can work with the channels; weave ourselves into the space with right messaging rather than outright “Buy me! Buy me!” blatant ads. By mixing the right ingredient of magic, you can see that the consumer begins to open up to you more than you can ever imagine.

Let me take Lego for example. Knowing that they are in decline while challenging big boys like Microsoft Xbox or Sony Playstation, they re-invented themselves by giving their own fans an opportunity to create rather than being sold some pre-fab pieces. First, they created Lego Factory that allows customer to design, pick their own pieces and they will wrap it in a box to ship to you. (
http://www.lego.com/eng/factory/default.asp) And that’s what I’m talking about. Lego is truly giving consumer the ability to create their own content. Secondly, they are invited their Mindstorm fans from all over the world to participate in programming and providing constructive feedback to finalise the product. Lego has shifted their business to consumer, so can you …

Welcome to Alter Ego ...

Welcome to my new BLOG! This new blog is essentially my alter-ego, a view on emerging new media in Asia. We are all Asian tigers or dragons, whichever that fits your profile and we need to continue to have a voice on how we’re shaping the market with new innovative marketing methods. I would hope to be able to share practices with like-minded people around Asia.