Is Technology and Data Spooky?!

Let’s be real. Technology is getting creepy. It’s the scary teacher from grade school that somehow always knows what you’re doing even when she isn’t even looking at you. It seems to be watching our every click spanning the vast universe of the Internet. Companies are focusing on developing technology that processes all of our data to make inferences that could help them turn us into customers, or more importantly, into advocates for their brand. Recently, a brand we’re all familiar with, Netflix, held a competition that rewarded a million dollars (no one we knew won to note) to the group that could create an algorithm that could create better movie suggestions for their members.

It is becoming more and more noticeable to all of us we know; the advertisements on Facebook are generated by endless data based on your profile and pictures posted. Did you notice if you’re wearing a certain brand or piece of clothing that you’ll somehow get an ad with that same information in it? It’s all about targeting, but that’s almost scary targeting! (They’re watching you)!

We have now a developed generation that focuses on individuality, and this evolution inspires us to publicize ourselves on social platforms such as Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, among others. The science behind this data as stated above is rapidly growing due to the high demand of how to use it despite how complicated it is. Going back to the Netflix competition, out of the thousands that entered their competition, only two teams were actually able to create algorithms that improved movie suggestions by ten percent. Acquiring data is easy, but making successful inferences from all of that data is the hard part. But even the smallest improvement can make a large difference by using data properly, which is why companies aren’t afraid to invest.

We’ve been thinking about that a lot on our end here at B Culture Media. How can we help the industry understand what to extract, or more importantly, what to put in place to make that extraction of data all the more usable from the get-go? And, how can we help them understand to the ‘T’ what their target audiences’ want so that all those ad monies are spent wisely. We feel it’s a bit like being Beauty from “Beauty and the Beast” and you have all of this amazing food enticing you to “be their guest”, but instead of that cute dancing cake, now it happens to be advertisements for billions of things you can put into practice to give you lots and lots of data…but, at the end of the day, what does that all translate into? Sales? Growth? Advocacy? What are you Mr./Mrs. X Brand actually searching for?

That’s what makes us understand that we’re circling around back to the technology/data days that existed before the Internet craze started. We need to fully understand the depth of a business, what they need to accomplish, and put into place strategies and metrics to ensure that the “cool” marketing recommendations using innovative technology will actually help an entire organization meet their business goals. Big data is useful, spooky targeted ads are useful, but you have to understand first as to why it’s useful and what you want out of it. I mean, of course besides tracking traffic to a website and the numbers of fans on social channels… those are easy!

@natbdold

@claudiavon

Bic for Her: Satirical Backlash

 

Remember the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt fad that swept across the Internet a few months ago? It all started with a fictional review on Amazon.com that claimed the shirt had mysterious powers to attract women. The comment was satirical, as many find the shirt ugly. Turns out, it became so popular, the factory producing it had to work overtime to fill all of the orders.

Well, a similar story has developed on Amazon.co.uk’s website in regards to “Bic for Her” pens. Let’s address the issue first. Why does Bic feel the need to make pens for women? Are they ergonomically designed for daintier hands? Have women had trouble writing for some time now and a product has never suited their needs? No. Hence, the backlash.

We’ll see if these reviews affect the company and its sales, but maybe take a step back and see if half of the world’s population may find your grasp for more profits patronizing.

Here’s the US version. Browse some great comments. Here are my top three. Enjoy!

  1. “Oh. My. God. I’ve been doing it all wrong. There was me thinking I didn’t need to worry about whether my writing implement sufficiently reflected my gender. Thank you so much Bic for showing me the error of my ways. Perhaps Bic will also bring out a new range of pink (or purple) feminine spanners, screwdrivers, electric drills and angle grinders so that I can carry out my job as a bicycle mechanic without further embarrassing myself? Luckily my male colleagues have managed to keep their disapproval of my use of their masculine tools to themselves. I’m so ashamed. And re-educated as to my place in society. Thanks again Bic!”
  2. “I bought this pen (in error, evidently) to write my reports of each day’s tree felling activities in my job as a lumberjack. It is no good. It slips from between my calloused, gnarly fingers like a gossamer thread gently descending to earth between two giant redwood trunks.”
  3. “My 17 year old daughter seemed DOOMED to attending a public university, but I bought her a pack of these pens and now she’s been accepted to Yale! Now when she meets a nice young man to marry (the ONLY purpose for a woman to attend college) it’ll be one with an Ivy League degree! Thank you Bic!

 

@BCulture_Matt

 

Trending Topics: Do Your Research

CelebBoutique learned the hard way to always check why a topic is trending on Twitter, or learn to manage their social media in-house, or hire a reputable digital media agency to do such a task (see: B Culture Media). When the hashtag #Aurora begin trending in response to the tragedy at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo, deepest sympathies and condolences were exchanged, alongside thoughts and prayers. CelebBoutique tweeted, “#Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress 😉 Shop: celebboutique.com/aurora-white-p…”

CelebBoutique is a UK-based online store that attempts to fashion customers after celebrities. CelebBoutique apologized through 4 tweets that all together read, “We are incredibly sorry for our tweet about Aurora – Our PR is NOT US based and had not checked the reason for the trend, at that time our social media was totally UNAWARE of the situation and simply thought it was another trending topic – we have removed the very insensitive tweet and will of course take more care in future to look into what we say in our tweets. Again we do apologize for any offense caused this was not intentional & will not occur again. Our most sincere apologies for both the tweet and situation. – CB”

A few problems: 1) If your PR is not US-based, that’s fine. Plenty of companies outsource, but if you’re botting to find words that match up with trending topics to link to your online store, be prepared to deal with the consequences. 2) If you had not checked the reason for the trend, why did you tweet it? Either because you are not a human double-checking these things, you have no idea about social media, or you are just stupid. Any way you slice it, you messed up.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to the victims and families of the Aurora tragedy.

@BCulture_Matt

5 Tips to Surviving Google Penguin

Amidst the destruction left by Panda, Google introduced the world to Google Penguin in April, leaving many troubled and anxious as to what was coming. In a nutshell, Penguin is an algorithm designed to eliminate black hat SEO strategies and web spam. Penguin’s central purpose is to encourage quality content with the goal of promoting an enjoyable online social experience for all users. Duplicate or suspicious will be flagged and the appropriate person(s) notified of the findings. To avoid the Penguin blues, here are 5 tips to effectively combat the system.

  • Create and publish authentic content on all platforms. Change things up as you use various platforms, so content is relevant and credible.
  • Automated backlinking systems are trouble. Avoid it like the plague.
  • Ditch all “spammy” tendencies. Don’t spread yourself too thin or cut yourself short. All published information, notes and comments should be relative to the subject.
  • Exercise balance and restraint when using keywords and phrases. Commonly referred to as “keyword stuffing”, this former SEO method is extremely limited, thanks to Penguin.
  • Be prepared. Before carrying out anything, layout marketing strategy and know where you’re headed. Create a guide to keep the project on course and moving in the right direction.

Most people view Google Penguin as another disruptive bump in the online world – but by applying these tips to your marketing strategy, your chances at getting flagged are significantly lower. It comes down to a single fact:  Audiences want to connect with fellow humans, not spam bots.

@BCulture_CourtB

Who Said Press Releases Can’t Have POP?

Kellogg’s Press Release

There is certainly a pun used here, and definitely meant to be one! Sure, press releases have been around for how long (Wikipedia says the first one was written and sent out onto the “wire” in 1906- First Press Release – Wikipedia), but how have they evolved over time?

Above is a great example of what press releases can look like today. Who says they have to be dry and boring giving only facts. Instead, they can POP (again, pun- intended) like this example above from Kellogg’s and their infamous POP Tart (we all loved them as kids, admit it). They can integrate video, look creative, and can include other exciting ways to speak to your target audiences.

Building on the B Culture Media’s brand storytelling knowledge base, this is really where innovation happens. When you take something like a press release and turn it into a powerful brand storytelling medium using things you’d never traditionally think should be incorporated.

This kind of press release isn’t new by any means (not like this just came out yesterday), but it’s always good to get back to roots and examine how things can be done at a very basic level. Last thing that should happen is for brands to get in a rut doing the same things they’ve always done “just because”…

Another great POPPING press release: DIY Network Landscaping Press Release

@natbdold

Your Brand’s Transparent, Whether You Like it or Not

So, you have decided your brand is not ready to be scrutinized on the social web. You don’t think your product has matured and you say you are still in the “we are not ready” phase when social media and online communication is brought up at your board meetings. Guess what – that’s not up to you!

Do a quick search on any of the search engines, or better yet, go to Addictomatic and see what pops up when you enter your brand’s name.

Shocked? Your brand is already everywhere and you haven’t even hired someone yet to launch your brand on social sites and put together a social media strategy. Your customers, advocates, haters and past employees are saying all sorts of things about your brand.

It is time your brand “Harnesses the Internet” as Jay Baer and Amber Naslund would say. Customers are not only critical of your products and services, but now with the power of social media, they are critical of your brand, it’s employees and the culture that you exude. “Having a great business or product to sell is important. But if you’ve truly got something of value to offer, the how and why you go about doing that are every bit as critical as the what.” – The Now Revolution

Customers are not only giving recommendations online and telling friends in their network how horrible of an experience they had at your restaurant, but keeping a close eye on the whole experience that they are having with your brand. Not being on Facebook and other tools that your customers prefer to use in their everyday lives is one of those judgments placed upon you. You say your brand isn’t ready, but your customers are! It is no different than you having a party at your house and not serving any food or beverages because you think your guests will not “need” it. However, your guests are probably depending on food and or drinks and by not offering it, you are tarnishing their expected experience.

I made two visualizations of my social graph to give brands an example of just how far my opinions can go. The first (TouchGraph Facebook Browser) is just my Facebook network (direct and extended) and the second (Friend Wheel) is my social graph and it’s reach. The Friend Wheel shows that my out of my 400+ Facebook friends, I have over 9k links and people who are touched by my social actions. Pretty powerful!

The TouchGraph Facebook for Brittany Long

TouchGraph Facebook for Brittany Long

 

The Friend Wheel for Brittany Long

The Friend Wheel for Brittany Long

Here is the Hierarchy of Buying from UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging. It outlines how customers buy online and is one of the eye opening reasons that your brand needs to engage your customers online and fill their social needs.
Buying Hierarchy

It isn’t enough to just monitor your brand’s presence online, you must let your customers into your brand culture and product quality in a genuine way so they will share it with their friends.

-@beadiful4you