The Consumer Matters is the blog of Leslie Grandy, aka Gearhead Gal.  My passion is creating and delivering compelling products that delight customers through simple and elegant user experience design.

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Monday
Jan242011

5 ways social media will change your marketing plan

First published in iMedia Connection

Article Highlights:

  • Campaign ideas will be deconstructed into smaller, more digestible messages
  • Applications will continue to adapt to user behavior, leading to hyper-personalization
  • User-generated content will influence marketing strategy

Reputation and relationship management skills are foundational to architecting an effective customer development strategy for both B2B and B2C enterprises; this will be acutely true in 2011. No longer just the responsibility of a community manager, social communication will be integrated into service and support experiences, product, point of sale, and commerce solutions. Because official spokespeople are no longer the sole purveyors of your company's message, social channels can be counted on to accelerate and amplify the conversation between customers and brands. Look for the following trends to drive changes to integrated marketing plans in the year ahead... read more here

Sunday
Jan232011

Favorite Tweets of the Day

@businessinsider iOS Is Half Of New Enterprise Mobile Activations http://www.businessinsider.com/ios-enterprise-2011-1#ixzz1BvON9rD2

@greatestquotes "You just can't beat the person who won't give up." - Babe Ruth

Blogging is the democratization of publishing via @jeffbullas 

Fascinating piece by @: Identity and The Independent Web via @
Sunday
Jan232011

Marketing in the Age of Social Media

I enjoyed this presentation by Edward Boches (@edwardboches), Chief Creative Officer at Mullen, recently named #3 in Ad Age's A List. So, naturally, I thought I'd share it.

Sunday
Jan092011

CES 2011 Video Moments

I hope you enjoy these two video montages of the sites and sounds of CES. It's a visual and auditory mashup, but so is walking around the show floor.

And, just in case you think it's all glam and glitter at CES, please see my post on Technorati, Ten Things I Hate About CES.

Sunday
Jan092011

Can America Become The Comeback Kid?

If you ask the CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association what America needs to do to become as great as it used to be, he'll tell you the answer lies in two words - support innovation.

Gary ShapiroGary Shapiro, head of the organization that annually mounts the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, believes America's position as a global superpower has been diminished by the federal government's immigration, education, broadband and tax policies which have dimmed our entrepreneurial spirit.

Shapiro feels so passionate that the country needed a strategic turnaround plan, he says he almost named his new book simply "The Plan." In an interview on the verge of opening the 2011 trade show to tout his short treatise "The Comeback, How Innovation Will Restore The American Dream," Shapiro said, "I created a SWOT analysis for the country, and evaluated our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats."

The CEO of the CEA was steadfast in his interest in speaking about long range vision, and was committed to the perspective that his job is to focus on federal policy. Downplaying the impact of the state government's role in fostering innovation, maintaining employment levels or managing immigration at our borders, Shapiro suggested that the economic situation California has gotten itself into is a local business issue that gets sorted out through competition among states for jobs and business. "Other states win when California makes bad decisions," Shapiro remarked. Despite insistence that innovation starts with federal policy, in his book, Shapiro compares the financial woes of California to the economic implosion of Greece.

Read more: http://technorati.com/technology/article/ces-can-america-be-the-comeback/#ixzz1AaSFwU00

Sunday
Jan092011

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo On His "Technical Debt"

In this interview at the mini All Things Digital conference at CES, the Twitter CEO euphemistcally describes the "fail whale" and his plan to have us see it less.

Sunday
Jan022011

Favorite Tweets Of The Holiday Weekend

@kenradio Why Bing "Likes" Facebook, Facebook should give Microsoft an edge against search rival Google -

@bgershon Ad Execs Gaze Into 2011 Crystal Ball - Great overview.... 

Social Media in 2011: Expect a Big Dose of STFU from my pal @

Great article from @ to start the new year, Design Thinking and the courage to do things 

RT@quirkyinc The NY Times Pogies celebrates product features which are "clever twists that make life just a little bit better" 

Sunday
Jan022011

Can You Define What Makes An Influencer?

Tuesday
Dec142010

A Socially Syndicated Dessert Idea

On my first day in my new office, one of my R2Integrated colleagues brought in a freshly baked batch of phenomenal cake pops.  When I asked her how she managed to poise such a quaintly designed, icing covered ping pong ball sized piece of moist cake on the end of a stick, she proceeded to give me detailed multi-step process which I instantly knew I’d never have the patience or skills to execute.

Undaunted, I remained fascinated by the incredible portability and convenience of the dessert-on-a-stick concept, and set out to execute something decidedly simpler to conquer at a recent dinner party.  I began with the most child-friendly of recipes, a Rice Krispies treat, and melted a bunch of chocolate chips. Inserting the sticks into chunks of the treats, I coated them in thick layer of chocolate one at a time. It maybe took half the number of steps as those yummy cake pops, but they looked pretty darn good.

Standing at attention on the serving plate before my guests, the Rice Krispies lollipops screamed both neat and gooey all at the same time. It was then I realized that the essence of that original ball of red velvet cake on a paper stick lived on, at least in a small way through how I re-packaged the value I got from the initial idea.  Someone else who was more of a cake fan than me might have immediately thought of other interesting ways to serve cake after seeing a cake pop and extended the idea further (perhaps cake in a cone?); I only thought of what else I could serve on a stick that’d be less effort than that cake recipe seemed to be?

Great ideas, re-packaged, are still great ideas.  The idea, re-presented, still has merit but it is amplified by its extension.  In putting my own spin on the novelty and utility of the dessert poised on a stick, I added the simplicity of the new recipe, as well as the nostalgia of a favorite childhood treat, and broadened the opportunity to pass it on.  In advancing what was important to me, I syndicated those features which my own capabilities could carry forward.

New media marketers need to recognize that re-packaging is a natural part of sharing.  When ideas are syndicated, they don't always get re-transmitted in their original form or with the same emphasis.  What's perceived as the most important meta-message by a marketer may not be the "thing" that the audience hears and carries with them.

 

 

Sunday
Nov212010

Gearhead Gal's Favorite Things Giveaway

If it is good enough for Oprah, it's good enough for us. Here at The Consumer Matters, we just love books and giveaways like the Big O does. (Okay, to be clear, we're not giving away an iPad or taking everyone to Australia like Gayle's best friend.) Sure we love our Kindle and iPad to read ebooks, but we also love to own the real pulp and glue smelling thing. To thank everyone for following us over this past year, and in honor of the season of giving, we're offering our readers a chance to get a fresh, shiny new copy of some of our favorite business bibles. And, if this goes well, we might move from gifts to gadgets.

All you have to do is "Like" The Consumer Matters on Facebook, and add a comment on that page telling us why you are interested in a specific book listed below. If you want more than one, you'll have to work for it - provide three separate posts to plead your case. We'll give you some time to write a pithy, compelling, or needy post on our Facebook wall.  And we'll even give you a few days to be creative.  Next Friday, aka Black Friday, we'll pick the lucky winner, and then as an added bonus, you'll also be able to tell all of your friends that you nailed your first holiday gift without having to get up early and wait in line.

Our first book is Cynthia Rabe's "The Innovation Killer."

Next up, we're offering Jeffrey Hayzlett's "The Mirror Test."

And finally, our last selection is "Customer-centric Product Definition" by Sheila Mello.

 

So start the Like-fest and check back here and on Facebook next week for the lucky winners.

Sunday
Nov212010

Understanding The Relationship Between Social Networks And Social Media

Despite the title that's overlaid on this frame, the video is not about a circular argument. It's worth the three minutes to listen to Matt explain the consumer intelligence that has grown through the creation and maintenance of trust and admiration networks, technical networks, and advice networks.

 

Monday
Nov152010

All I Want For Christmas Is...

 

Saturday
Nov132010

Postcards From The Open Mobile Summit 2010

Monday
Nov082010

What A Panel Looks Like As An Infographic

Today I moderated a panel for the Open Mobile Summit entitled "Beyond the digital living room: Entertainment Anywhere." The design firm, Fjord, had a "visualizer" onsite who, in real time, illustrated the salient points of the discussion in a mind map on the ballroom wall.  Here are snippets of the mural that reflected our discussion.  All I can say is that it was interesting to see the totality of the conversation in graphical form.

Graphics by Fjord

Friday
Nov052010

Favorite Tweet Of The Day

RT@profhamel What's important: in a (consumer) value theory of   (via @

Wednesday
Nov032010

The State Of The Blogosphere 

Over the last year, since I started this blog, I have learned a lot about social media. One thing I learned is how content syndication helps attract more eyeballs.  I set out to understand what syndication opportunities existed for nobodies like me, and one of the channels I discovered was Technorati. When I joined the team late last year, the company was looking for original content to maintain its SEO ranking and develop a robust advertising model. The serendipity of my timing helped me get exposure for my writing, and awareness for my blog, and helped Technorati adjust to Google's changing page rank algorithm and grow it's ad revenue.  

Like a lot of things in social media, the effort hasn't yet made either of us an abundance of wealth. That said, at least from where I sit, on balance it has been a win-win, which seems like a reasonable goal for activity on the new frontier of media. 

This year, Technorati's annual State of the Blogosphere report focuses on women who blog, like me. One "important trend is the influence of women and mom bloggers on the blogosphere, mainstream media, and brands. Their impact is perhaps felt most strongly by brands, as the women and mom blogger segment is the most likely of all to blog about brands." Hear here!

"In addition to conducting our blogger survey, we interviewed 15 of the most influential women in social media and the blogosphere," Technorati reports today in its introduction to the multi-part series. 

I am honored to be a part of the 15 women who Technorati deemed worthy of interviewing for this series, which I am told will be posted on Friday. In the meantime, you can access a great video interview with Charlene Li, a woman on the forefront of social media trends, whom I met when she was an analyst at Forrester. 

Read more: http://technorati.com/blogging/article/state-of-the-blogosphere-2010-introduction/#ixzz14GKo4qcU

Wednesday
Nov032010

A Few Of My Favorite Tweets

RT@punchcut 5 considerations for  UI: "Not a Phone, Not a PC: Why Tablets Must Be Different"   

RT@: If You Are a Startup Founder, You Need To See This 

RT@ Denying the existence of Android fragmentation is the technological equivalent of being a Global Warming unbeliever.

RT@ webinar w/Berkeley's Hank Chesbrough, the world's leading expert on "open innovation." (Nov 11)

Thursday
Oct282010

US Army Soldiers Blog And Tell - And The Brass Encourages It!

This post first appeared on Technorati.com

As part of a campaign in the mid 1940’s to educate soldiers and their families on the perils of too much information sharing during wartime, the military issued communication guidelines for writing letters home, while public service ads proclaimed, “Loose Lips Sink Ships.”

With the reputation for non-disclosure that the US military has, it’s somewhat unexpected that the US Army represented one of the biggest brands exhibiting at BlogWorld & New Media Expo this month. But the US Army appears to have leap-frogged many familiar brands in corporate America by embracing user-generated content as a way to connect with and convert potential customers.
Logo
How did it come to be that the US Army designed a blog, Armystrongstories.com, to actually encourage soldiers to tell their stories? According to Lieutenant Colonel Andre Dean, Chief of Strategic Communications for the US Army Accessions Command, which is responsible for recruitment, it was possible because of the vision of one very savvy Lieutenant General who knows a little something about taking risks.

General Freakley serves as the Commanding General for the U.S. Army Accessions Command and Senior Commander of Fort Knox. The General has served the Army for almost 35 years at every level of command from platoon leader through division commander. He has led Soldiers in combat three times, serving in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). So, what kind of risk could conversational media present to a guy like this?

General Freakley did have to get an exception to Department of Defense policy to enable his team to launch the blog nearly three years ago. Lieutenant Colonel Dean pointed out the same need exists today as there was during World War 2 to keep the US military efforts confidential so soldiers in the field are safe. "Our troops don't want to jeopardize operations or put anyone in harm's way. Very few people have time or access to blog from the battlefield."

On leave, or when they are back at base-camp, soldiers may go online and share stories about their experiences. And Army Strong Stories is not limited to just Active Duty soldiers, and welcomes contributions from Reservists, National Guard members and cadets. Indeed, many of the top bloggers are not actively facing or writing about combat. Popular occupations for Army bloggers are public affairs, human resources and the Army band. The most prolific blogger is a Major in the Army Medical Department.

Blog stats


One frequent blogger is Major Benjamin Grimes of the Judge Advocate General, who is based in Tacoma, Washington. Major Grimes says he writes because “I really like what I do.” Struck by the transparency the blog provides, Major Grimes jumped at the opportunity to share both the good and bad about daily Army life. He is able to write about his disappointment in leadership and the responsibility that he feels to teach subordinate soldiers how to make tough choices. “Not every day is full of unicorns and rainbows,” he said. “By writing with Army Strong Stories, I help to give life and depth to many people’s image of a faceless, soulless Army.”

With over 1400 posts from more than 400 bloggers, and an additional 1300 comments to publish, you might imagine that the Army would have their hands full editing and fact-checking content, not to mention training soldiers fresh out of high school how to communicate effectively on behalf of the brand. But Lieutenant Colonel Dean says editorial work is limited to removing occasional content that doesn't comply with the site guidelines. "The biggest surprise has been that we have had to do very little of that. When we discover a story that is false we'll remove it, but for the most part the community polices itself."

Despite evidence that the site drives traffic to GoArmy.com and brings fans to Facebook, it has yet to ignite a social media fire across other branches of the military. Lieutenant Colonel Dean says the Accessions Command team recognizes the blog isn't only about the conversion metrics for recruits and is committed for the long term. "When the war began seven years ago, there was a lot of positive press about what our troops were doing." But with media coverage focusing on the economic battles US citizens face back at home, soldiers' stories are simply not being told as often. Soldier bloggers fill that void, and help maintain top-of-mind awareness for the Army brand.

Sunday
Oct172010

Why Aren't Big Blogs Well Represented At BlogWorld?

Do you think of TechCrunch as a blog? What about Engadget? As a technology product marketer responsible for press relations, you’re probably being counseled to include online publishers like these in your media strategy for product launches.  Yet, surprisingly, very few of the blogs you likely follow were represented at this year’s Blogworld and New Media Expo in Las Vegas, which bills itself as the World's Largest New Media Expo. I've been pondering why that might be, especially given my own publishing partner, Technorati, who publishes the State of the Blogosphere annually and claims to be the "Blog Authority," was not a sponsor or an exhibitor either. 

Sure, when you are as widely known as ReadWriteWeb or Gizmodo, you don’t need to get a booth and show your wares to attract advertisers or writers, but what's the reason that the publishers of those sites are not giving back to the blogging community, helping aspiring writers and participating in the conversation around blogging as business. 

I mean, once you’ve sold your blog to a major portal or media company, I guess you can say you are no longer a blogger, and perhaps that prompts folks to want to forget their humble roots.  Or maybe the pressure to perform at that point is so great you can’t make the time to mentor the next guy or gal, and pass along any lessons you’ve learned.

And then there’s your new boss who thinks because they’ve purchased your blog, they no longer need to represent themselves in panels or sponsorships, showing they are supportive of or empathetic to the blogging community.  AOL, Yahoo, and Microsoft all have their picks of the most popular kids in the blogosphere when they pull their checkbooks out, but none of them were a presence at BlogWorld.

In my conversation with BlogWorld co-founder Rick Calvert, I learned that the show helps brand marketers understand how to use blogs in their media strategy. So why don't the successful bloggers and blog networks socialize theirs brands better to the marketers trying to understand the blogging community and help others learn more about what readers want? 

Who wouldn't benefit from more people engaging in this conversation around new media content creation?

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