Category: Clutter Free Marketing

Eating our Digital Vegetables

Eating our Digital Vegetables

vegetables for blogI’m pretty sure my name has been passed around on a “parents of young children = sucker for personalized gifts” list. This Christmas, my home and inbox have been deluged with offers for personalized stationery, christmas cards, coasters, ornaments, dog bowls, you name it – anything that will hold still long enough to be emblazoned with my child’s image. While the targeting is great and I’ve found most quite enticing, when its come time to actually order, I’ve discovered that many of these companies have forgotten to take care of the core of their online customer experience – their web sites. Have videos, fan pages, and Twitter strategies become the dessert that we can’t wait to eat first? Did we skip the marcom meat and potatoes this year?

The reason for the marketing/site hiccup is is probably pretty simple – in most organizations, the team that controls the experience and the team driving people to that site are usually different. However, they have to be in sync for the company to realize value from either group’s efforts. Here are a few quick best practices to make sure your marketing team is maximizing holiday joy and minimizing abandoned carts:

1) Stable sites – having a 1-day sale or special until midnight? Ignore the Twitter playbook and go for zero downtime during the holiday.
2) Tell me I’m in the right place – Whatever marketing used to get me to the site should be front and center
3) Make my “work” as easy as possible – There is definitely “some assembly required” on those personalized gifts. I tried ordering photo ornaments on 5 different sites before I found an option that was attractive, functional (allowing the upload/editing), and where the cart actually worked when it was time for the credit card. It’s all about the basics.
4) Transparent promotions – This one will be unpopular, but the ability to search online makes the fact that some channels or sub-groups are getting a better deal than others readily apparent. Experiment with earning loyalty by serving up the most relevant promotions.
5) Message Integration Cross-Channel – If this week’s theme is outerwear or helicopters, carry it through. During such a cluttered time of year, the shopper won’t be able to absorb different messages through different channels at the same time (e.g. Old Navy’s weekly messages + their Facebook conversation calendar).
5) Make it easy to get help or advice – Livechat, email that actually gets answered, FAQ, or a link to your Facebook wall – whatever it may be, give me some help options.

And with that, I’m off to knock the last few items off my list…

Chalkbot Closes the Loop

Chalkbot Closes the Loop

On July 2, I tweeted about a very cool real life application for Twittter during the Tour De France – Nike’s @chalkbot.  You could send a 40 character tweet to the @chalkbot handle and the message would actually be chalked onto the road during the race.

Given that the race is now over and our attentions focused on the upcoming LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit in Ireland, I had kind of forgotten about this.  Last night, however, I got a Direct Message from the Chalkbot with a link to this:


This is a photo of my tweet from 6 weeks ago in “real life” on the TdF raceway.  If you could read the fine print on the bottom, it actually gives the GPS coordinates of where it was chalked and the date and time it appeared.

This is a great example of creating another opportunity of Nike + LIVESTRONG providing additional conversational capital and opportunities for engagement.  The way that this principle sometimes plays into our lives at Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence is that we will create assets from events with influencers – interview videos, photos, etc.  They become an additional way to provide value and a great opportunity to keep the conversation going.

And on the LIVESTRONG front, the Tour is over, but the fight goes on.  Follow the road to the Global Cancer Summit in Dublin and beyond at

(Disclosure: LIVESTRONG is a client, but the Chalkbot project is not in our purvue)

Thoughts on PR Blackout Week

Thoughts on PR Blackout Week

pr blackout

(Note: Cross posted on the Ogilvy Fresh Influence blog)

We are 10 days away from PR Blackout Week – a week for mom bloggers to get back to the basics of blogging and temporarily ignore PR folks and brands – being organized by mom blog aggregator MomDot.  Opinions have varied as to  whether or not this is necessary or is a PR tactic in its own right. Regardless of your position, it is a wonderful invitation to discuss the state of union and give current practices a good sniff test.We see PR Blackout Week is a timely call to refocus all of us who love blogs on the value exchange that must take place in order for them to maintain their magic.   This sounds soft, but it is very real – the whole notion of “Digital Influence” is the changing sources and forces of influence around us.  If blogs went the way of infomercials, we would start blocking them with our Personal Message Shield(TM) along with the rest of the noise that bombards us daily.  Absolutely everyone in that scenario loses.

I participate at all levels of this particular food chain – I’m a mom, a PR professional, a blogger,  and a blog reader.  When I think about this value exchange issue, I ask myself a few questions in front of the mirror in harsh flourescent light:

  • Am I, as a PR professional, providing something of true value to the bloggers I would like to work with?
  • Are bloggers, by working with me, in turn empowered to share something of value with their readers (insights, a new experience, media, meaningful pass alongs, etc)
  • Am I acting in the best interests of the ultimate blog readers when I work to craft a blogger experience?
  • Am I as a blogger delivering great content to my readership?
  • Am I actively supporting the bloggers who provide me with great content, ideas, experiences, and laughter?

While PR Blackout week may not be for you, there’s no time like the present to look at your own RSS reader, your blog, or your blogger engagement programs to reassess whether or not you pass the test on adding value to every link in the chain.

What Stuck from WOMM-U

What Stuck from WOMM-U

It’s been 3 weeks since the best WOMMA conference in years.  As I’ve been reflecting, one of the big things I’ve been trying to nail down is exactly WHY I am so sure it is the best conference in years and what ideas I have taken with me.  Here’s what’s stuck:

Content Buoyancy – There were a lot of great takeaways from YouTube’s Jeben Berg’s talk (captured here on the All Things WOM blog), but this is the concept I am still pondering some weeks later.  Given that no piece of content will stay at the top of the YouTube pile forever, content buoyance describes your content’s ability to rise back to the top of the heap.  Will it find new relevance what conditions change in the future?  Does the content have the ability to be evergreen and find new audiences over time?  The example used here was Nike’s Ronaldinho Touch of Gold video from 2005 that has garnered 28million views over the years:

In this case, its about great content that doesn’t grow stale.

Blowing ChunksBlowing Chunks with Ted & John is not just a compelling name for a breakout, but an invitation to great conversations.  Fizz Corp‘s Ted Wright & John Moore from Brand Autopsy not only brought beer, they brought a fun WOM construct – the “Nausea Avoidance Checklist”.  This invited participants to share their WOM mis-steps in a fun and safe environment.  It was like group therapy.

Pack Your Knives & Go
Pack Your Knives & Go

Location, Location, Location – This year’s WOMMA was just a few miles away from the previous one, but world’s away in terms of talkability.  The Ritz Carlton South Beach and its gorgeous beach setting was a breath of fresh air and WOMMA activities included lunch served by none other than Top Chef finalist Jeff McInnis.  Another divisive event element was the “naked” dessert spread on night 2.  Some people loved it, some hated it, but it gave everyone something to chew on which was, indeed, the point.

Positivity Reigns on Yelp – The conversational nugget that Goeff Donaker shared that Yelp reviews are 6:1 positive is something that I have already used in conversation multiple times.  People want to go out of the way to share POSITIVE experiences with others.  God bless altruism.

WOMMA not only knows how to throw a great conference, they also know how to host an online conversation.  If you have an opinion on where ethical boundaries should be drawn around “sponsored conversations”, please make your voice heard on the Living Ethics Blog.

Social Media & Swine Flu

Social Media & Swine Flu

I had never heard the phrase “pandemic flu” before my arrival at Ogilvy 18 months ago.  Having never worked in public health or (thankfully) lived through a scare, it wasn’t anything that crossed my consciousness.  Upon coming here, however, and learning about the great work this team did with the US Department of Health and Human Services Pandemic Flu Leadership blog, I started to learn about the role that personal preparedness will play in preventing a Pandemic and the power of social media in spreading that message.  It was also an example of the potent combination of a credible author (then Secretary of HHS Michael Leavitt) with a controversial topic and a social media platform for discussion.

In the last 48 hours, there have been some mainstream media articles pointing fingers at Twitter, where #swineflu has been the #1 or #1 trend for the last 3 days, as the culprit of spreading hysteria and bad information.  While I’m not particularly interested in long tail analysis on swine flu OR in taking medical advice from my Tweeps, social media can be a quick and powerful way to amplify some very credible sources of health information.  Looking at Twitter as a detriment is pointless when it can have power to spread correct information.  The CDC has embraced the tool and the 3 month old @cdcemergency handle is up to almost 40k followers who want to get their health information from the horse’s mouth, but on a platform that they already embrace.

Ogilvy in Asia has additionally put together a very helpful aggregation of up-to-the-minute credible sources of health information on the Swine Flu.  If you are wondering about something you have seen on facebook, the news, heard from a friend, etc, this is a great resource to check that information against the CDC and WHO.

Another source for interesting analysis from the science side can be found over at which has put together a great collection of perspectives on the issue from a peer-reviewed, science-based, hysteria-free perspective.  And with that, I’m off to wash my hands for the 5th time today.