Monday, 23 March 2009

How brands will look once the economic crisis is over...

I received an email forward with these logos in at work but due to copyright issues, thought it'd be safer if I uploaded them here instead. They certainly got a smirk or two out of me!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

The first rule of social club... well, not really

There’s been a little confusion regarding the set-up of the social media breakfasts that are happening in Melbourne every Friday morning. Lucio from Marketing Easy has been getting queries left, right and centre, therefore has indicated that it would be great if some of the details behind the foundations of the breakfast could be clarified so that he can provide some responses. So, I am just going to jot down some points and then open up the discussion.

This confusion is completely understandable as there are many that may not be familiar with the origin of the breakfasts and the format that they were modelled on. The weekly meet is meant to be the parallel of the coffee mornings currently happening at Single Origin in Sydney, where a medium-size crowd meets to extend and build their online relationships, offline. Discussion is free-flowing and as far as I can tell, no agenda is set.

The Melbourne breakfast is entirely social, open and collaborative. Anyone is welcome to come along and the more the merrier, as it makes for interesting and diverse conversation. The conversation does tend to revolve around social media, since that is the thing that we all have in common, so someone who doesn’t spend anytime connecting online may feel a little lost.

The meet is community organised and led, this means that no one person is responsible for determining the direction of the mornings apart from the odd occurrence where we (admin/organisers) might decide on a new location, but this would be after consulting with everyone first. Think of a grassroots effort.

The meet is a social event with friends, and yes it involves networking, but in a peer-to-peer way where we discuss things informally. It is not meant to a place where you go to ‘win’ business or try to sell to people. Obviously being friendly and social with someone can have its benefits, but ideally these interactions would occur outside of the morning’s chatter.

This may also sound like a no-brainer but it has cropped up - the meet is not meant to be commercialised. This means there are no sponsorships, no display advertising for sale on the external site and no leveraging of the breakfast against a company or the like.

The discussion will continue to be relaxed without a schedule, so, no there won't be any monologues or speeches to the crowd by anyone. No profiles on attendees or their companies either. If you are interested, try going for a one-on-one.

Finally, everyone is responsible for paying their own bill – you wouldn’t leave your friend with a $50 discrepancy on the way out (yes this happened... twice) so you make sure you fix your own bill.

For those interested in a regular, more formal business-oriented meet in Melbourne, this could become a reality in the coming months, so stay tuned.

Having said all this, I've really had such a great time meeting everyone over the last three months and hope that it will continue on well into this year and beyond. I love going to the breakfast (when I can make it) because I simply enjoy meeting new people, and getting to know connections from my networks offline. (I wish I started the site: :-P

So... if it's blistering 45 degrees or chilly dark Melbourne morning, come along at 8am to Mr Tulk @ The State Library of Victoria (corner La Trobe and Swanston Streets - map at this post). Look for #socialmelb tags on Twitter for updates, join the Social Media Club Melbourne Facebook group, the Meetup group organised by Ross Hill or visit the website Lucio knocked-up -

Saturday, 7 March 2009

The exchange is now the bonus

I had to come up with some quick sentiments yesterday at a marketing breakfast here in Melbourne. After hearing the first three speakers (financial services, FMCG and info/search backgrounds), talk about value, value and value, it became increasingly clear to me that marketing is no longer about an exchange in value, rather, it's about providing value. We obviously would like it to be the former, but to remain competitive in this age of transparency, dialogue and choice we need to constantly think about giving our users, our consumers, value in all aspects of our offering. I think the web is a great indication of this, with many solely web-based companies naturalising into global giants completely through caring about the user and adding value to their experience. The bottom line for them is their users, as this is where the power lies. If an exchange takes place, perfect - it is now the bonus. If not, a timely awakening might be on the cards.

This progression in marketing has shifted to an almost political-like model - we have leaders, but really these are nothing without the people. They are followers to their people - dictated to on a daily basis. The power has shifted. This is democracy in its purest form. People are being collectively given what they want, and if not they'll move onto someone else who will. The same goes for brands.

The only products or services where this is redundant are luxury brands, since they have always done the dictating. People want to be told what to want. On the downside, with disposable incomes on the decline, it will interesting to see if this will be the case in a couple of years.