Posts Tagged ‘Branding’

From Billboards to Business Cards

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Although they have existed for quite some time, QR codes are really beginning to take off.  They are more apparent now than ever appearing on a variety of everyday items. The QR or “Quick Response” code allows a person to scan in order to learn more about a company, person or product.  Rather than having tons of small text, if someone is interested in learning more, they can just scan and read on!

My first interaction with the strange-looking square was while flying on a family vacation.  My father handed the man his smartphone instead of passing off five different papers to the gate attendant.  The initial thought that went through my mind was “wow, I can’t believe there is such a thing! This is definitely a way of showing how our world is becoming more environmentally aware.”   About a year or so later, I realize it was much more than that.

A few months ago, a billboard was put on display in New York with a giant QR code that really turned heads.  On the bottom corner of the billboard, the Calvin Klein Jeans logo was apparent.  Most people would assume that the code would bring them to the website in order to purchase jeans.   Instead, a very sexual video appears with models who are wearing jeans.  This billboard has created quite the debate.  If the passerby wanted to learn more or find out what it was all about, they had the opportunity to do so.

Some companies are using QR’s to help simplify tasks.  Ikea has pitched that they may have a video with QR codes to go along in order to put together furniture.  Reading a manual is time consuming and often confusing, but instead, people can scan in order to move ahead in the video or maybe even scan the actual product itself.

The corporate world has also begun to use QR codes.  At meetings or conferences, one often obtains a handful of business cards and later, enters in all of the information.  Recently, we’ve seen people putting QR codes on their business cards so that others can scan the contact information right into his or her smartphone.  It can even incorporate links to social media sites.

Appearing on soda bottles, airplane tickets, billboards and business cards, QR codes have been effectively put to use.  I’m interested to see what other ways they will be used.  I would like to see a QR contest held sometime in the near future.

When have you used QR codes before?

Facebook Vanity URLs

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Yesterday, Facebook announced in a blog post that starting 12:01 EDT, Saturday, June 13th, vanity URLs will be available for all Facebook profiles and Fan Pages.  This is an important step for Facebook. They are perhaps the last of the major social media platforms to offer them, as both  MySpace and Twitter already do.

A vanity URL is key for your personal brand because it allows us to find others online, by name and without a lot of work. Sure, Facebook has a search bar, but right now the problem is that once you search for someone and it pulls up results and then you still have to dig through those all of those to find the “right” person.  Once Saturday hits, you can easily just type in a friend’s specific URL and you’re DONE. Much easier.

This also means that Facebook can now play a more pivotal role in a person’s online brand.  Across all social media platforms, most of us try to keep consistent whether we use our real name or a pseudonym, people learn about us and look for us based off of the personal brand we have built.

Why else does this matter? It’s good for SEO and it allows us to find exactly what we’re looking for and know what we’re looking at. Something with a bunch of random numbers and symbols at the end doesn’t really tell us if we’ve found the right person or page. It also makes me dig even more when searching.

A few questions I have about the change though: will we find that Facebook users will begin to utilize the platform differently? Will search be as popular and will we still browse through the hundreds of random “John Smiths” of the world until we find the right one?  It will be interesting to see if this alters behavior in any significant way.

 What are your thoughts on the new vanity URLs? Will you be staying home this Friday to get one?

Also, to stake your customized claim on Facebook this weekend, you can visit

Introducing M.insight: The First Mobile App Designed for PR, Marketing and Advertising Pros

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

We’re really excited about launching the M.insight mobile app today, for the iPhone/iPod Touch, Blackberry and Windows Mobile devices.

Our colleagues often ask our recommendations on great blogs covering marketing communications and social media.  And quite honestly, with a bewildering number of blogs covering the space, it can get a bit overwhelming trying to decide which ones to read regularly to stay on top of news affecting our industry or clients.

Well, M.insight is designed help.  It’s a simple, free mobile app that aggregates content from a hand-picked group of highly respected blogs and news sites within the industry so you don’t have to dig through hundreds of blogs to get to articles that really matter to you.  And M.insight delivers this up-to-the-minute content right to your smartphone, so you can catch up on your reading whenever you have a few spare minutes.  You can add as many of your favorite feeds as you like, or delete feeds you don’t care about.  You can even monitor social media right from your smartphone.

Check out to learn more about the app and download it to your smartphone.

We really hope this app becomes a useful and time-saving tool for our colleagues and peers.  We’d love to hear what you think!  Let us know in the comments section.

M.insight Splash Page

M.insight Splash Page




















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M.insight Categories

Brands in 2009

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Looking ahead, as many are laying out plans and budgets for the year in front of us, I thought it’d be important to revisit two major realities of today’s digital world:  the big-picture role brands play online and the truth behind engagement, participation, etc.

One “old” post I constantly find myself going back to is David Armano talking about brands being facilitators online instead of, traditionally, broadcasters.  Using this thinking often during brainstorms and client meetings, the point here is that as the communication landscape changes – so must a brand and how they react, participate and work with their audiences.  From David’s post:


Brand As Facilitator

This means that like any good facilitator, they get off center stage, move over to the side and let others do the talking. But just like any good facilitator, the brands who succeed in this direction need to master it as an both and art and science. Good facilitators know how to actively listen, how to create environments which stimulate productive conversations and interactions and most importantly they add incredible value even though they may come across as the least vocal in the group.

Another truth to be mindful of in 2009 is the reality behind participation. As marketers, we like to think every audience we try to reach is 100% engaged and digitally active. Sadly, as Jake points out, that isn’t so.


Most of today’s web community falls into those three buckets.  The large majority being an audience who never really engages themslves, taking content and moving on.  A small percentage of people actually mold and adust what is out there  - but only what is out there, nothing comes from them directly.  Finally, the 1% who actually create and drive activity.

A great stat that Jake provides to back-up the 90-9-1 principle:

Just 0.16% of all visitors to YouTube upload videos to it, and 0.2% of visitors to Flickr upload photos.

Even if you’re a “creator,” think about how many photos or videos you upload in a day vs. the amount you passively digest from links found online or passed on from friends.  I’d bet that ratio supports the principle behind Jake’s great single-serving site.

In 2009, we should focus on changing both of these realities for the better. The opportunity is there to level the playing field and for brands to become better transparent, active participants with not just the media but their customers and the digital world as a whole. In doing so, hopefully we’ll see the facilitator model be more popular and the 90-9-1 percentages begin to adjust themselves, moving closer and closer to the 100% “participation nirvana” we’re all seeking.

What do you want to see happen in 2009 for the world of PR, interactive marketing, etc.?