Fellow Quaker Kit Shea and I recently attended the Mayo Clinic’s Transform 2011 conference in Rochester, MN. Billed as a multidisciplinary event that focused on the transformation of the delivery and very experience of healthcare in the in United States through innovation and design, the sessions we attended and stories we heard proved to be nothing less than exceptional. Many of the speakers left lasting impressions, but one in particular makes for an interesting case study in evolution through the utilization of readily accessible technology.
September 16th, 2011 by firstname.lastname@example.org
Brands have always leaned heavily on technology. One might even say that brands owe their very existence to technology. After all, television, radio and print are what created mass brands in the first place. In the early days, we didn’t need to know how these analog systems worked or how to get the most out of them. Much like the computer you’re reading this on now, it didn’t require a technical degree to use it.
Today, technology is infiltrating every corner of our lives and with it has come an explosion of new interaction points with consumers. Clearly, our understanding of how technology works and how to use it as marketers must evolve. And in a dramatic way.
No longer can we get by without understanding the inner workings of these interrelated systems. We need to know how to customize and manipulate the many diverse parts to best fit our unique consumers and our unique brands. To be successful, we have to think more like programmers and less like users. Traditional media, social media, mobile media, web media, websites, blogs, CRM, SEO, SEM and everything new and exciting lurking around the corner must be mastered and programmed in order to see its true potential. And we haven’t even scratched the surface.
Every technology has a precise purpose and a particular effect. Each touch-point influences and appeals to very different groups of consumers. We now have the ability to program and optimize this vast network of technologies and media in our favor. To test out and prove what truly impacts sales, awareness, loyalty and short and long term growth. To eliminate waste and redundancy and track how every penny we spend drives consumer action.
To succeed in this increasingly complex, technology-laden world, we must be world-class hackers, manipulating data and technology to our own benefit.
Take advantage of this immense power and use it wisely to the peril of your competition.
If I was to say “Golden Arches,” I bet the first thing that would come to your mind wouldn’t be technology or innovation. It would probably trigger thoughts of Big Macs, Egg McMuffins, Happy Meals or if you’re like me, thoughts of indigestion. As easily one of the most recognizable brands in the world, McDonald’s knows that they need to do very little to grab your attention. Honestly, have you seen the mayhem that is followed by the annual re-release of the McRib? But, what does a fast food giant like McDonald’s do when they want to grab your attention? One might gravitate towards one of the hundreds of TV commercials we have all seen over the years, or one of the dozen or so catch phrases like “I’m lovin’ it.” But for a chain that serves nearly 50 million people each day worldwide and opens a new location every four hours, drumming up a silly slogan just won’t do. When your revenue stream is off the charts, you can afford to think outside the box and give away some free food as well, all in the name of getting people talking.
Enter an interactive challenge, where you can play to win free food. McDonald’s rented out a jumbotron on The Stureplan Hotel in Stockholm Sweden, where you can play traditional pong using your mobile device to control the paddle. The coolest part? You don’t need to download anything, just go to the site on your device and it uses geolocation to ensure that you’re in the game area. If you last 30 seconds against an increasingly fast computer opponent, you win your choice of several products and the coupon is sent directly to your mobile device. For more information, check out the video below.
The Blistering Rise of iPad and Tablet Computing. Is iPad an iFad? Think again. That is a link to an article from yesterday’s FastCoDesign, or CoDesign (hm, not sure if I typed that right, either way it’s www.fastcodesign.com), a really great daily source of business + design + technology and where they all meet. I do, however, prefer the @fastcompany twitter feed, my favorite non-friend tweeter that I follow. Anyway, click on the link above and check it out. The title is self-explanatory, and includes a nice infographic. It’s not even nearly the most convincing bit of research about the future of tablets. I believe that holding an iPad (just bought one a couple weeks ago) is like holding a humble preview of what is to come for computing and technology. Keep in mind that this device is LESS than 1 year old. Still an infant. Why listen to me though!? All you have to do is go to www.allthingsd.com (another great tweeter: @allthingsd), click on Video and then find “D8” in the drop down menu. The “D” conferences are held annually in California and basically consist of Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher of the Wall Street Journal having candid conversations with CEO’s of some of the biggest players in the tech world. Choose any video of any CEO and listen to him/her talk about the future and iPad/tablets. I will leave you with a quote from D8 by Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of Dreamworks Animation:
“In our lifetimes, ya know, Steve Jobs is truly one of the single most amazing, brilliant, inventive, creative, entrepreneurial people. He’s sort of in a place of himself here. And in my opinion when we see … if you could step back and look at his legacy, in fact his greatest accomplishment is going to be this tablet.”
Billboard advertising…. some would say I’m not the biggest fan. Despite a move from a purely stagnant structure, to more digitally centric in some respects, it still doesn’t strike any chords with me.
Relative to the highway kind, I just find it hard to believe that anyone really pays attention to these structures that dot our landscape. Heck while driving in the car, some people have a hard enough time paying attention to the signs for exits and the speed limit (hello person in Chicago that cut me off last night as you cut across 4 lanes of traffic to narrowly get to your exit), so is it realistic that people are truly being influenced by your brand and comprehending its message while in their car, playing with their iPod, texting and eating lunch, all while driving 70 mph?
In reference to those that are in place around malls and some cities presently, some big technological advances seem to be coming and they’d be ones that could give billboards the boost they need.
Can you say ‘shopper targeting via facial recognition’ three times fast?
Recently an article in The Guardian reported that at least in Japan, the sci-fi technology that was featured in the film Minority Report where Tom Cruise’s character is marketed Guinness via interactive billboard ad that scanned his iris, is in fact a reality we’ll soon see.
All this is pretty crazy right?
Apparently the first digital billboards that are using this technology and capable of delivering messages are being tested in shopping malls in Japan right now, using technology provided by electronics corporation NEC. As you’ll see from the image below, should you find yourself in Japan and crossing paths with one of these billboards, you’ll be greeted by a virtual mannequin. I know, it looks kinda weird, but hey, all technology is a little rough the first go round.
So at first, the facial recognition technology will use software that can identify a shoppers gender, ethnicity and approximate age. 85-90% accuracy is mentioned as a benchmark. Of course, this will come in handy when advertisers want to market a product in a gender specific manner.
At the end of the day, is this advancement important? In my eyes, yes, it is and it was to be expected. If the technology develops well, it could open up a lot of new and unique doors for engaging with consumers. Say a consumer is intrigued by the message they see or hear, giving them the ability to interact with the ad and the device presenting it (potentially even interfacing with their mobile device) beyond the mere presentation of a product as they walk by, could be a great asset to a brand when reaching consumers on the go. On the other side of the coin however, privacy concerns and just an overall feeling of weirdness surround this, which is inevitabley going to be a touch road block to get past.
Wherever things go from here, it’s certainly interesting to see yet another way that interactive technology is affecting yet another aspect of the marketing landscape.
I like cars. Always have, always will. Planes on the other hand, not really the same love affair there, but put a plane and a car combined, that actually performs both roles flawlessly, that’s a different story.
That’s why I am geeking out over the Terrafugia Transition. It is exactly that: a plane and a car all in one.
A plane that can fly 460 miles at 115mph?
A car that has foldable wings and still gets 30mpg?
Plane. Car. Whatever. It doesn’t matter because it rules and I want one.
The best part about it is that under ‘Safety Features’ it reads: “Drive in case of inclement weather.” Given the way some people drive on the road around Cincinnati in the rain, I’d actually consider going from plane to car less of a safety feature, but that’s just me.
I need to find $195,000 to get one of these, so feel free to email me if you have any ideas or want to do a time-share.
Why open a bag of cat food with your human hands when you can just have the internets do it for you? Read all about it here on Engadget, or just watch the movie:
Is this the future? One commenter provides a word of caution:
JS Posted: “No way in hell am I gonna have electronics easily accessible to my cat. He’ll hax0r it and the next thing I know he’s built himself a megajoule laser.”