Posts tagged "Mobile"

Shooting Higher & Teaching Kids About Food

This morning a little voice inside my head told me that I need to shoot higher with my goals, and in that moment, I realized that I have not done a very good job of aligning my desires with what I’m ultimately seeking in life.  I have focused on short-term goals as of late, and it’s time for me to look a little further out if I ever expect to get there.  As the morning progressed, I was fortunate to run across a very inspiring piece of content through Twitter.  I took the time to watch and I now have some much needed clarity on what I want to do next.

My friend Sean Wood tweeted about a TED award winner, Jamie Oliver that is advocating for what could prove to be one of the most important movements of our time – teaching kids about food.  In his words: “I wish for everyone to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.” This may not sound very exciting or conjure up the imagery that other major issues in our society bring forth, but trust me – this is a big one.  Perhaps this is even the biggest challenge we face in our ‘modern’ society today.  Check out this must-watch video (embedded below) and see if you don’t agree.  Hopefully it might even change your life.

In recent years, I have come to appreciate food more and certainly have a respect for fresh, local ingredients and home cooking.  I prefer to eat food that I have prepared myself or that friends, neighbors, and family have prepared with health in mind over eating out where I am less certain about what is on the plate in front of me.  Paying attention to the food that I eat has made a huge difference in my life, and my body is much happier now than it has ever been because of the good fuel that I’m feeding it regularly.

So, what does this have to do with shooting higher?  It occurs to me that this movement needs some serious attention and a coordinated effort by many different entities.  Governments, corporations, individuals, communities, schools, etc. all need to band together to fix the problems that we are facing in our food supply, which of course cause major health problems that cost everyone a lot of money and ultimately a lot of lives.  This is a big problem to tackle that will not be solved easily, so shooting high is necessary to make meaningful progress.  How do we start?

We are in an age of hyper-connectedness, which means that spreading the word about any topic you can imagine is easier now than it has ever been, particularly with kids.  The recent Pew Social Media & Mobile Internet Use Among Teens and Young Adults Report confirms that kids have more access to the internet and mobile phones more than ever, which of course is no surprise.  This provides an incredible opportunity to engage these kids in creative ways and help them understand the concerns and also the opportunities around food.  Consider the following statistics and charts:

  • Three‐quarters (75%) of teens and 93% of adults ages 18‐29 now have a cell phone.*
  • In the past five years, cell phone ownership has become mainstream among even the youngest teens. Fully 58% of 12‐year olds now own a cell phone, up from just 18% of such teens as recently as 2004.*
  • As of September 2009, 73% of online American teens ages 12-17 used an online social network website. *

*Pew Internet & American Life Project, Social Media & Mobile Internet Use Among Teens and Young Adults

Pew Internet & American Life Project

Pew Internet & American LIfe Project
Even more interesting is the fact that kids and adults are actively searching online for information on health and dieting.  Check out the charts below:

Pew Internet & American LIfe Project

Pew Internet & American LIfe Project

Now is the time to educate kids and adults on food and its importance to health and well-being.  People are looking, so we need to make sure they are finding good information, especially in social and mobile channels, which are clearly important connecting points across a broad spectrum of the population.

I also believe that the opportunity exists to transform the conversation around diet and health due to the extreme attention that has been paid to our health care situation in America as of late. The question is, who will be the key players that can frame the discussion for positive results?  I’m inspired by what the First Lady, Michelle Obama is spearheading with the Let’s Move initiative, which focuses on childhood obesity, diet, and exercise.  This is the kind of leadership that the issue needs in order to pick up steam.  Allison Rose Levy wrote a great article about the initiative yesterday.  Check it out here.   Looking ahead, who are the brands and organizations that will step up and become a driving force in this area?  Perhaps you work for one of them?  If so, let’s talk!

The opportunities are rife to expand this conversation with kids and young adults using social and mobile tools, and we need to shoot high to propel the message into the mainstream.  My goal with this post is to expand my own thinking and find out who is doing the ground work in this area so I can connect with them and discover how I can plug in.  It has been my intention to do meaningful work that makes a positive difference in the world, and I can’t think of a more worthy pursuit than this one.

This is what I’m doing today to shoot higher.  What about you?  Are there big ideas that you are working on?

Shooting Higher & Teaching Kids About Food

This morning a little voice inside my head told me that I need to shoot higher with my goals, and in that moment, I realized that I have not done a very good job of aligning my desires with what I’m ultimately seeking in life.  I have focused on short-term goals as of late, and it’s time for me to look a little further out if I ever expect to get there.  As the morning progressed, I was fortunate to run across a very inspiring piece of content through Twitter.  I took the time to watch and I now have some much needed clarity on what I want to do next.

My friend Sean Wood tweeted about a TED award winner, Jamie Oliver that is advocating for what could prove to be one of the most important movements of our time – teaching kids about food.  In his words: “I wish for everyone to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.” This may not sound very exciting or conjure up the imagery that other major issues in our society bring forth, but trust me – this is a big one.  Perhaps this is even the biggest challenge we face in our ‘modern’ society today.  Check out this must-watch video (embedded below) and see if you don’t agree.  Hopefully it might even change your life.

In recent years, I have come to appreciate food more and certainly have a respect for fresh, local ingredients and home cooking.  I prefer to eat food that I have prepared myself or that friends, neighbors, and family have prepared with health in mind over eating out where I am less certain about what is on the plate in front of me.  Paying attention to the food that I eat has made a huge difference in my life, and my body is much happier now than it has ever been because of the good fuel that I’m feeding it regularly.

So, what does this have to do with shooting higher?  It occurs to me that this movement needs some serious attention and a coordinated effort by many different entities.  Governments, corporations, individuals, communities, schools, etc. all need to band together to fix the problems that we are facing in our food supply, which of course cause major health problems that cost everyone a lot of money and ultimately a lot of lives.  This is a big problem to tackle that will not be solved easily, so shooting high is necessary to make meaningful progress.  How do we start?

We are in an age of hyper-connectedness, which means that spreading the word about any topic you can imagine is easier now than it has ever been, particularly with kids.  The recent Pew Social Media & Mobile Internet Use Among Teens and Young Adults Report confirms that kids have more access to the internet and mobile phones more than ever, which of course is no surprise.  This provides an incredible opportunity to engage these kids in creative ways and help them understand the concerns and also the opportunities around food.  Consider the following statistics and charts:

  • Three‐quarters (75%) of teens and 93% of adults ages 18‐29 now have a cell phone.*
  • In the past five years, cell phone ownership has become mainstream among even the youngest teens. Fully 58% of 12‐year olds now own a cell phone, up from just 18% of such teens as recently as 2004.*
  • As of September 2009, 73% of online American teens ages 12-17 used an online social network website. *

*Pew Internet & American Life Project, Social Media & Mobile Internet Use Among Teens and Young Adults

Pew Internet & American Life Project

Pew Internet & American LIfe Project
Even more interesting is the fact that kids and adults are actively searching online for information on health and dieting.  Check out the charts below:

Pew Internet & American LIfe Project

Pew Internet & American LIfe Project

Now is the time to educate kids and adults on food and its importance to health and well-being.  People are looking, so we need to make sure they are finding good information, especially in social and mobile channels, which are clearly important connecting points across a broad spectrum of the population.

I also believe that the opportunity exists to transform the conversation around diet and health due to the extreme attention that has been paid to our health care situation in America as of late. The question is, who will be the key players that can frame the discussion for positive results?  I’m inspired by what the First Lady, Michelle Obama is spearheading with the Let’s Move initiative, which focuses on childhood obesity, diet, and exercise.  This is the kind of leadership that the issue needs in order to pick up steam.  Allison Rose Levy wrote a great article about the initiative yesterday.  Check it out here.   Looking ahead, who are the brands and organizations that will step up and become a driving force in this area?  Perhaps you work for one of them?  If so, let’s talk!

The opportunities are rife to expand this conversation with kids and young adults using social and mobile tools, and we need to shoot high to propel the message into the mainstream.  My goal with this post is to expand my own thinking and find out who is doing the ground work in this area so I can connect with them and discover how I can plug in.  It has been my intention to do meaningful work that makes a positive difference in the world, and I can’t think of a more worthy pursuit than this one.

This is what I’m doing today to shoot higher.  What about you?  Are there big ideas that you are working on?

Mobile Engagement

What questions are you asking regarding mobile engagement?

You are asking questions in this area, right?  If not, what are you waiting for?  Here are some thoughts to chew on that might help you steer your thinking toward mobile.  The recently released Morgan Stanley Mobile Internet Report suggests that web traffic will be greater on mobile browsers than desktop browsers within 5 years and that shipments of smartphones will outpace that of desktop PCs by 2012!  These are remarkable predictions that deserve some serious consideration.

Beyond the basics of having a presence on the mobile web, we must make sure that our presence there makes sense from the end user’s perspective.   The questions I believe we should ask when beginning to think about mobile strategy are ‘how can we provide value to the user’s experience while they are on the go’ and ‘can we provide this value with a unique proposition that our brand is best suited to deliver?’  These questions along with others that are customer-centric set the stage for a fruitful relationship between your brand and your customers.

Placing ourselves in the customers’ shoes

Placing ourselves in our customers’ shoes first allows us to be in a better position to meet their needs.  The needs will be different with each organization, but one thing is consistent across nearly all of them – the ability for users to access information that is readable, digestible, and actionable while on the go.  Don’t forget about that last point – if they can’t take action at the point of need, then the opportunity is missed.  The mobile web is critical territory, and if your customers are not able to get what they want from a mobile device, what does that say about the value you place on these interactions?

Have you developed a mobile site for your brand?  If so, is it just a repackaged version of your existing site or does it truly take into account the experience that a user has when consuming content on a mobile device?  What about mobile apps?  Have you developed a mobile app for Android, iPhone, Blackberry, etc.?  In either case, what needs are you satisfying for the customer?  Notice I didn’t say what needs are you satisfying for your internal marketing department.  This is the critical fork in the road.  Believe me, customers are not waiting around hoping for another way for you to market to them on their mobile phone.  However, many of them are no doubt longing for an easier way to access information, complete a task, discover new products and services that meet their needs, etc.  These are the desires that we need to pay attention to.

Focusing on the Point of Need

We should start with the customer’s point of need and work back into the tools to help from that perspective.  Peter Sells did a fantastic job of illustrating this in his recent speech at the Battle of Big Thinking.  Special thanks to Jonathan MacDonald for pointing out this video! In his talk, Peter mentions a positive experience that he had with British Airways that was facilitated by a mobile site accessed via iPhone.  Check it out if you have the time.  At the end of his presentation was a quote that I thought really nailed the idea of asking the right questions:

Instead of asking what we should be saying to the consumer, ask what we should be doing for the consumer.’  Exactly.

On the other hand, Steve Smith has recently documented countless missed opportunities from brands of all ilk that are simply not utilizing mobile to its potential or are ignoring it altogether.  Steve’s article left me scratching my head and wondering why so many brands have failed to realize the importance of providing a solid mobile experience with their brands.  There is no question where this is headed, but there is definitely a question of how well brands are going to be poised to capitalize on the opportunities to connect with millions of users who have the power of the web at their fingertips 24 hours a day, and virtually everywhere they go.

If you have physical locations that you need to drive traffic to, are you paying attention to mobile search placement?  If you sell products through mass distribution channels, is there an easy way for people to learn more about your products on a mobile device?  Better yet, does your packaging encourage this?  If a customer is browsing for more information about a specific product or service, do you provide a way for them to see who else has purchased or provided a review of that product or service on their social graph?  Could you?

Integrating Mobile and Social

It’s been said that mobile and social are close cousins, and I totally agree.  After all, being social is about connecting with others, and mobile devices are the quintessential connection points that are by our sides day and night.  Social and mobile are joined at the hip, and we should endeavor to connect the user experience in social channels to the experience on mobile platforms.  Services such as Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, etc. are underscoring the desire for people to connect with each other and share experiences, tips, etc. with friends on the go.  Additionally, the adoption of mobile applications such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. reminds us that people are taking their social graph with them wherever they go and sharing more aspects of their lives than ever before.

How are you leveraging this for your benefit?  Do you encourage social sharing on your mobile site and/or apps?  Does your main website have functionality that allows customers to send reminders or product info to their mobile devices or create accounts they can access via your mobile site or mobile apps so that their shopping experience is easier when they are away from their computer?

Planting the Seeds

This post is all about planting the seeds for a renewed commitment to mobile engagement.  If you are exploring mobile, hopefully this has spurred some thought.  What do you think?  Does this resonate?  What questions do you think we should ask?

Lessons in Simplicity, courtesy of the American Red Cross

You can text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross relief for Haiti.

The earthquake in Haiti this week has had a profound impact on people from all over the world, and it’s quite moving to see the outpouring of support that has taken place in the aftermath of this disaster.  One thing that occurred to me last night was how the American Red Cross has been able to engage people to donate money quickly using a very simple method – an SMS campaign.  As of Friday morning 1.15, they had raised $8 million from the campaign in $10 increments, and donations are still on an upward trajectory.

Let’s take a moment to think about this.  $8 million in less than 3 days.  This is big!  To put it into perspective, this is equal to the corporate cash donations of Microsoft, Kellogg, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Bank of America, Western Union, General Mills, Kraft, GoDaddy, Walmart, and Morgan Stanley combined!  And we’re only 3 days into this simple text-to-donate campaign.  This is a remarkable example of simplicity being the key to getting people to take action.  I can’t think of a better example of a successful, yet simple campaign that has taken off so quickly.

What is the lesson here for marketers?  I believe there are a couple of lessons actually.  Number one being that people have a desire to help others in need.  This goes back to the cause efforts that I’ve been writing about lately.  It’s obvious that we have a connection with our fellow humans that runs deeper than social classes or geographic boundaries.  I won’t beat this drum to death here, as I think it’s self explanatory that aligning with relevant causes can be an effective way for brands to connect with people.

The second lesson that inspired this post is that sometimes simplicity can be very effective at getting people to take a desired action.  I think sometimes we fall into a trap as marketers and digital pundits where we are so focused on the new tools that are out there that we forget some of the most effective tools have been around for quite a while.  The Red Cross could have probably created a much more elaborate donation mechanism using all kinds of fancy tools and tactics, but instead they set up a simple way for people to make a donation quickly and easily from their mobile phone (not just smartphones).  Simple.  Effective.  Viral.  Of course, the message went viral due to people posting the campaign on social channels and the exposure the campaign received in other media, but you have to wonder how this would have worked if there had not been such an easy path to donate.

Take a moment and think about programs you have coming up or goals you are trying to achieve as 2010 gets underway.  Are there things you can do to simplify the process for the people you are communicating with?  It’s worth taking a step back from time to time to evaluate what’s working and how things can be made easier for people.

What do you think?  Did simplicity play a part in the Red Cross achieving this level of support?

Also, if you are interested, here’s a great article from AdAge that details the efforts that some corporations are making to assist in the disaster recovery.

Top 3 Reasons Droid won’t be an iPhone killer (and why this is a good thing)

competitionMotorola and Google are out for blood with the Droid campaign, let there be no doubt.  The direct, between the teeth knocks at the iPhone have definitely upped the ante in the battle of the smartphones.  But will the Droid really be be an ‘iPhone killer?’  Here are the top 3 reasons why I don’t believe so, and why this is a good thing for marketers and consumers.

1. iTunes. iPhone integrates with iTunes seamlessly and easily, and with the largest catalog of music online, you can bet that this will keep Apple on solid ground with the iPhone for some time to come.  Matt Rosoff at CNET sums this up nicely in this article.   I remember back when the LG Chocolate came out and how cool I thought it was.  That is, until I tried to get my music into the phone.  It was a nightmare.  It all sounded great in the ads and on the website, but when I got the phone home and actually started using it, my delusions of utopia quickly faded.  I’m one of the millions of people that like the fact that Apple makes it easy to catalog my music and take it with me wherever I go.  Is iTunes perfect?  No.  But it does what I need without a great deal of fuss.  The ease of use and direct integration to iPhone cannot be underscored enough.

2. App Store. Technically part of iTunes, sure, but this deserves its own point.  Apple is WAY ahead of the competition with apps, and now has over 100,000 apps available in the app store.  For many users, this is the ballgame.  Apps take the iPhone to a new level and allow unprecedented customization of the user experience.  This opens up all kinds of doors for reaching on-the-go consumers.  The opportunities are substantial for developers and forward-thinking marketers, and with so much momentum behind it, it’s highly unlikely that many successful developers or marketers are going to abandon the app store for greener pastures.  Rather, those same developers and marketers will likely look at the Android Market as a new opportunity to reach even more customers, not a replacement for Apple’s App Store.

3. Innovation at Apple. Like them or hate them, Apple knows how to innovate.  You don’t have to look hard to appreciate the truly innovative spirit of the company.  They obviously put a lot of emphasis on the user experience, not just functionality.  They already have a great product that people love, but I’d be willing to bet that they are hard at work on the next iteration of the iPhone (probably even harder now that Droid is about to hit the scene).  This is the beauty of competition – it propels the market forward.

As the competition heats up, the opportunities for everyone will expand exponentially.  This is a great thing for consumers, regardless if they own an iPhone, a Droid, or neither, as developers and marketers will look for ways to win over customers with new features, competitive pricing, sexier phones, etc.  This is also great for Marketers, because with all the emphasis on the battle for new smartphone customers, many more doors are opening for connecting with consumers on-the-go.  We are only limited by our imagination for what experiences we can enable and the value we can provide to our constituents.  That should be music to all of our ears.

What do you think is going to happen with the launch of Droid?  Should Apple be scared?