Sunday, 18 January 2009

For now

Yes it's true I have not been very active on this side of the www. I promise you that I will try my utmost to start posting again....soon.

For now, if you feel the urge (or are really bored) you can follow me on twitter, flickr and Check the bar on the right.

Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Brands as Media 2

I’m terribly sorry that it’s only now that I get back to the brands as media thing. I’ll spare you my lame excuses for my tardiness and get right on it.

The main thought was that some brands or companies are becoming (or could become) a platform hosting communication in more then one direction. Brands-as-media adds an indigenous content and platform layer to the brand-as-curator idea, creating co-suming between brands and their users.

The co-suming thing was picked up by Vee.Chen of Shrink the Media who mentioned it in her article Creating Time. What she says is that by “creating a space for consumers to play in and providing them with incentives to do so brands are becoming a medium to spend time with”. What Vee.Chen does is incorporate the word time into the co-suming equation, which really got my thoughts going. Thanks for that Vee, I’m much obliged!

What the word time (and some brain activity of yours truly) more or less does is bring my previous posted Maslow theory and co-suming together. In ‘What's the Next Big Thing’ I make the statement that consumers are moving into the self-actualisation (top) layer of the Maslow pyramid where they are conscious of their own needs and abilities. To fulfil these needs and maximize their abilities they actively engage in personal growth, development and eventually creating (which is the opposite of consuming).

The moment consumers choose to spend (more) time (...time!) on a platform/medium it’s possible they will engage in the ultimate form of self-actualisation; creating. In the self-actualisation layer consumers become creators and with that they block brands and companies from entering that layer.
What’s left for brands to remain in contact with their users is providing tools and platforms that the users might want and/or need.

Oh, and also, given the fact that it invites users to actively engage in creating and that it provides tools to develop and create, it’s also very web 3.0 isn’t it. Which is a good thing since we all hold our .0’s so dearly.

So there you have it, more of my thoughts spoken out loud and another page of my moleskine spared. You think it's jibber jabber or you think it does matter? Either way, let me know!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Brands as Media

Originally this would be about UGC, CGM or indigenous content (as I saw someone call it the other day, like that word a lot). But it moved somewhere slightly different...

Before I go further huddle up and listen, here’s what’s up; let’s all make a pact right here and now and drop the name CGM, okay? Why? I don’t think that the word consumer should be used in this context due to the fact that the users are actually creating which, in my opinion, is the absolute opposite of consuming. But let’s not elaborate too much on that right now.

It’s clear that indigenous content is blurring the previous clear(er) lines between companies and consumers. But it seems that there is much more happening. Noah Brier wrote some very interesting views on this, which you can read here.
Noah says that indigenous content will be integrated in more and more sites, that it will turn companies’ media spending more and more into a trial&error model and that it will become more and more a part of long term relationships. Now let me try and make some bold move about indigenous content (watch out!), which was evoked by this article on Adverblog (ou, si vous parlez francais, l’article ici), by taking this one step further with the aid of eBay.

Basically what eBay is doing, by selling their advertising space on to the users of eBay, is providing their users with a platform to communicate…and by this they actually more or less become a medium.
Hmmm, could this mean that brands (companies) could turn into platforms where they ‘co-sume’ (hey, I just made up a word…) with their users. With co-suming I would mean the company using content by individuals and individuals using all things offered by the company. A more open and long-term relationship would come into existence where both parties could aid eachother in many ways (or is that too much of a naive utopian thought?).

Eventually this could mean that a brand becomes its own medium, I think.

Okay ‘till here, for now (sorry, got a job to do…). Obviously it needs some more thoughts and ideas, but I like where this could be going.

So watch for an update on co-suming and brands as media.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007


Since I’ve been actively engaging in the blogosphere (yes I know I’m the very last...). I find that there are a mere three dozen or so blogs I regularly visit or which I follow through RSS.
All these blogs more or less treat the same subjects (brands and other related shizzle), which is the reason I read them, they’re interesting to me.

Obviously the people who are writing these blogs share some of my interests (and huray for that). Therefore quite often I run into similar articles on different blogs. These three dozen or so are what I would like to call my personal blog-bubble
So let’s assume here that these three-dozen blog writers all read each other’s blogs. Now if you wanted to get your hip and happening viral (sorry for that word) message across about say, a new ‘neuro marketing thingie’, all you have to do is tap into one of these three dozen blogs and we (yes I do see these three dozen as we) would know all about it and most likely write about it.

From a less egocentric point of view; is it actually interesting to be mentioned on these blogs because, well in the end it’s only going to be three dozen writing/reading about it.
Or are there more people reading this and are there interconnecting blogs which bridge the gap between two different blog-bubbles. These would be even more interesting to watch and use as a ‘viral’ engine.

But as I said, just a thought.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Focus Groups and Contexts

Lately I’ve been thinking about focus groups and context. These thoughts have mainly been fed by some stuff in my blog-bubble.
This this article by Vicky of Naked communications in NY and this film made by Roger Baldacci and Lawson Clarke of Arnold.

Now if you don’t mind I’ll add my tardy piece to this context scented jigsaw puzzle.

I really have to agree both with Vicky and her excellent view on context and with Roger and Lawson and their view on focus groups (although the choice for 1984 seems a bit, well, outdated). I think that the views of Malcolm Gladwell and his spaghetti sauce talk at TED and the view of Kevin Roberts in his book Lovemarks strengthen this view as well.

They say that focus groups, old school style, or the 'answers' theses groups give are not representative. Either by providing the wrong context in which the questions are asked or by asking the wrong questions all together

In my opinion context and focus groups are two inseparable things where context often has too much influence on a focus group. Often due to the context factor, focus groups provide a pale representation of how a situation actually is.
Now how could the factor context be used to make focus groups (or whatever you want to call them) more realistic/efficient/meaningful/representative.

I think the answer lies in the fact that you shouldn’t go to a consumer but let him/her/them come to you. Answers and opinions should not be ‘forced’ from a focus group they must have the option to be given at any time and any place.
I think that social networks provide a major opportunity here. Create a media where questions, opinions and answers from consumers and companies can flow freely in all directions without f-ing with their context too much.
Do think outside of the facebook / myspace context as well. They are off course decent starting points and some brands already have their facebook profile (most of the time sadly to communicate in just one direction) but the words social and network provide much more possibilities for companies to start from.

Social networks provide a big opportunity to minimize the influencing factor of context to a bare minimum and they can be a worthy replacement of focus groups.
So to get valuable information let’s focus less on groups and try to be more social in networks (get it...)

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

All is Brand

Quite some while ago a my oh so sweet and lovely friend ‘Mar’ invited me to go to a book launch of this book called ‘Bonfire of the brands’ by Neil Boorman.
The event took place at Mother, where a discussion panel talked about the book and the addition of some glasses of wine stimulated the audience to react as well (coincidentally, they also served the world’s largest bread sticks).

The book is a sort of reflective diary by Neil who, a bit over a year ago, decided to burn every single branded item he had (I know…very brave man) to find out if it’s possible to live without brands

Although I really like the idea of Neil, my very humble opinion thinks it is impossible to live without brands or be unbranded. Why?
First let’s start with a quick but quite essential question: Why are ‘things’ branded? It’s to stand out, to get noticed, to differentiate from similar products etc.
Now let’s take a look at people in general (and Mr. Boorman in special). They try to stand out by branding themselves through their character and physical features (core values) and friends, parents, family, living area and clothes (added values). So basically everyone is a brand in their own, to be more exact you are brand ‘fill in your name here’.

What Neil does by burning all his branded possessions is differentiating himself from his social surroundings. He obviously does it for all the right ethical and moral reasons and stuff, but he is actually re-branding himself and (as I like to believe) in a much stronger one than he previously was.
So now, the moment ‘monsieur sans marques’ puts on a black unbranded shirt, or makes his own toothpaste (he actually did!) these products in essence become brands as well (also you really have to make an effort in finding these so they actually are more differentiated then the well known average high street brands).

So are unbranded items brands as well? I believe they are (besides the fruit & vegetables category though). Not in the way of a name, design, color or logo but in the way that they too communicate a distinct message of differentiation and tell something about the consumer.

Got opinion?

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Using Design to Tell The Story

I came across this infomercial (is that word still used?)/movie thing at hypediss. It's about a new skate shoe by éS.

I'm digging this movie for two reason's.

First one? It gave me the feeling that I understood what skating was about. Now I'm not a skater (I used to be when I was younger though, rockin' my 'caballero street') but this short movie really seems on the spot like an idols contestant and boy does it deliver. The music, light, feeling...the whole shabang. I believed it.

So now for the second reason. I really liked the design of the shoe. The colours I find pretty nasty to be honest, as if someone dipped the tip in OJ and decided that this was going to be it. Tadaa!
But these colours actually told the story of the development of the product. So besides this being a shoe wíth a story, through its colours it actually tells that story at the same time! Now that's some smart thinking mister!

Off course not every grandma, city banker or homeless dude in the world will now think, 'hey that young skater punk is wearing the lightest sakteshoe around', but the target group will probably know the story behind it and that's the most important right?

Anyone knows any other products that use a similar trick? Should be interesting.


PS Check out the shoe collection behind this guy, wtf? Looks like Kanye can't tell this guy nothing...

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

What's The Next Big Thing?

Change will always happen, that's why there will always be next things.
Some of these things tend to be bigger than other things that's why there will be next ‘big’ things. The big (!) question here being off course: what is that next big thing?

Before I will try to answer that question it might be good to tell what that question means to me. I read the question as ‘what is the next big consumer trend?’

To answer that it is first important to realize that the most important word in this question is the word consumer since he or she is always at the birth of any new trend. Anyone who doesn’t create, consumes so it is safe to say that there are quite some consumers out there and an thus equal amount of trends.
These smaller consumer initiated trends are all very interesting and well worth mentioning but they become even more interesting when they are added up to that one big consumer trend. That next big thing.

Derived from many smaller trends I think that next big thing will be consumers moving into the top layer of the Maslow model, the so-called ‘self-actualization’ layer, where they are very conscious of their own needs and abilities.
Striving to fulfill those needs and maximize their abilities materialist things become subordinate to personal growth, development and eventually creation (the opposite of materialism/consumerism).

I won’t list all the smaller trends that underscribe this trend just now because I think that this post is already becoming to long (and also because, honestly, I don’ yet know them all). But I will keep posting them under the tag ‘Maslow’.

Anyone an opinion on this?

Tuesday, 9 October 2007



So here's the first post.

The reason why I've started this blog is sort of mentioned on the right. But there's also another reason; it's a paper I wrote for a job application.

A market research company (who's name will remain unmentioned, sorry) wanted me to send my CV along with a 350 word paper. The title of the paper? 'What's the next big thing?'

So two months ago on a tuesday evening (three hours before the deadline...always last moments right?) I wrote my humble opinion on the subject and emailed it. Apparently the person on the other end of the glass-fibre cable did not agree with me, or at least that's what I'm assuming since I didn't hear anything from them since.

So here I was left with this article which I believed in...what to do with it? I found that letting it collect dust in my applications & CV folder would be a shame.

*Ping*, small moment of enlightenment...a blog! Since I was one of the three people left on this planet without one I thought that now would be a good time as any to start one. At least I already had one article I could post.

Et voila mesdames at messieurs, that's why it starts here! Enjoy


PS Anyone want to guess what my next post will be...?