Tuesday, April 27, 2010

To make 'like' easier

Facebook just gave you a great new tool to spread recommendations about your product.

Many brands have content, news about their newest shiniest product, that they would love to get shared across social networks. The idea of information about your product “going viral” and gaining vast reach without having to pay media costs has long been a holy grail.

But despite platforms like Facebook providing the possibility for it to happen, it hasn’t.

Why, because of the friction involved. The effort both you (the brand) and your fans have to go through to get the information to “jump the wall” from your website to the social network, is too high.
Facebook just changed that by proving a portable Like button (it used be the Fan button). Copy and paste a few lines of code onto your site and you can have that familiar Thumbs Up right on your own website. And since a Like is form of recommendation, earning and getting those Likes visible is extremely valuable.

Here is the simple elegance, when a person clicks on the Like button on your site, news of that gets posted to their wall. For their (on average 150) friends to see, and hopefully click on. No need for them to do messy copy and paste, nor to go through the hurdle of logging in. Just click.

Get a few tens of thousands of people to Like your news, and you quickly gain reach that people thought only “old” media could give you. For free. Facebook expects to serve 1 billion “Like” buttons in the 1st 24 hours of its launch just to give you an idea of scale.

Now, you all you need is news that people will Like!

We at Vocanic implemented this on our own website www.vocanic.com, allowing visitors on the page to “Like” the page. Take it for spin and see how easy it is – easy enough for your brand’s audience to do too.

By Ian McKee, CEO Vocanic

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Brand within a brand

How important a role do brands play when it comes to creating a nation’s image? Perhaps a lot, according to Tim Love, Omnicom’s Vice Chairman and recently-named chairman of Asia Pacific India Middle East & Africa (APIMA).

Brands are both target and the key vehicle to improve a nation’s perceptions he says and what better example than the United States. Love discussed this in a recent lecture at Oxford University titled "The Penalty of Freedom."

Despite a generally positive global reaction created by Barack Obama’s presidency, there continues to be a significant anti US sentiment worldwide. Citing the reports from the Pew Research Centre which has been measuring the global attitudes about the US since before 9/11, Love says that the results show a slight improvement in America’s image in 2008, but its well below the ratings in 1999 and 2000. Moreover, this perception was exacerbated by the global economic tsunami that started in 2008 and which has been perceived as a result of unrestrained US financial hubris.

Marketing in its May issue asked the head honchos of agencies whether nations can really brand themselves. Love in his lecture goes a step further saying sweeping societal and technological change has altered traditional definitions of global brands in a world with new frames of reference.

This, Love says, also reflects in concern brands have in mind given the interconnectedness of the global economy as well as potential unfavourable perception towards American businesses and brands. He cites that among the world’s top 100 economies, 49 are nations, while 51 are multinational corporations. This means more peoples lives are touched by corporations and brands than any single nation's government.

“The planet is not one homogeneous market and multiculturalism is fast becoming an essential characteristic of global brand-building,” Love says.

This does not hold only true for America. Look at the socio-political upheaval in Thailand and the impact it has had not only on the country’s image among tourists but the business operating there. Foreign reports stated how some hotels in central Bangkok closed temporarily because of fears of violence between security forces and anti-government protesters who occupied an upmarket shopping and leisure district since 3 April. This included InterContinental Hotel Bangkok and also the luxury shopping mall Gaysorn Plaza.

And just as I pen this blog, we receive news of AdFest, one of the industry’s most reputed event falling to the axe.

This takes me back to what Peter Valerio comments on marketing-interactive’s story on whether Singapore can brand itself as a nation? Valerio says image is a far more appropriate word than brand as far as its perception is concerned. If anything, image management/influencing is far more appropriate and realistic.

Love further adds that the evolution of media in particular is creating a new generation of global citizens whose affect on brands is undeniable. However, he emphasizes that there is a penalty to this new-found freedom of unprecedented levels of shared communications. “In a world where we are all more accessible and more visible, we also must become more accountable—to ourselves, to our society and to our planet,” he says.