Monthly Archive for February, 2008

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AKQA named Digital Agency of the Year in AdWeek


AKQA #1 Agency of the Year

clusters & connectors

Tightly knitted online communities are “clusters” and manifestations of social media such as blogs and widgets are “connectors”.

Some people emphasize clusters over connectors; others connectors over clusters…

It’s all about clusters & connectors and getting them to work together to create the kind of momentum that’s difficult to slow down.

5 core principles

These are the 5 guiding principles I believe need to be implemented by companies moving into digital:

  1. Trust
  2. Identity
  3. Openness
  4. Innovation
  5. Simplicity

Each piece of work should strive to touch each of these 5 principles.

3 kinds of urban graffiti art




Urban light art

AKQA makes Fast company’s top 50 most innovative companies

AgencySpy reports AKQA is 48th most innovative company globally, with Google in pole position followed by Apple.

From the website:

#48 AKQA

Most interactive-ad shops master either the creative or the technical; AKQA is expert at both. Whether building a Pixar-quality interactive online universe for Coke’s breathtaking “Happiness Factory” campaign (below), or masterminding a multimedia “alternate reality game” for Microsoft’s Halo 3, the digital powerhouse doesn’t just dream up mind-bending ideas, it actually writes the code that brings them to life. Which is why, after five consecutive years of profitability, AKQA is one of the most dangerous global forces in the ad industry. While ad holding companies and tech firms spent billions in 2007 to snap up digital shops, AKQA fended them off, opting instead for a $250 million investment from private-equity firm General Atlantic. In the meantime, the 700-person agency boosted revenues 39% to $100 million and added new clients such as Unilever, DoubleClick, and Cadbury Schweppes — on top of existing accounts with Nike and McDonald’s.

Fast company blog

More about AKQA can be found here.

‘customer service is the new marketing’

This was the title of a conference held in San Francisco a couple of days ago which Jeremiah Owyang spoke at. With Social Media and digital WOM marketing, friends will tell friends about their experience with a company, thereby impacting the way in which traditional marketing works.

They handed out this ‘pact’ to all attendees.

Among the many findings during the discussions were the following:

Different ways with Dealing with Detractors

# Varies in every situation.
# 1 to Many communications.
# Make them feel heard.
# Compensate them (depending on severity).
# Create a place for direct feedback, rather than having it in community forums.
# Develop a process for the different types of detractors.
# Having a good tone, being consistent with all members.

General Best Practices

# Trust is the foundation of every community
# Great relationships with members that want to share
# Make sure every question that is asked gets an appropriate answer
# Create a year long plan, so it’s effective across the business, thinking strategic
# Create valuable content
# Recognize valuable contributors
# Have knowledgeable moderators
# Incorporate it into your products
# Being Human: Make sure that people know that the community manager is a real person
# Acknowledge people
# Loyalty programs
# Focus on experience
# Quality Content
# Ask permission: Ask the members if we can reach out and talk to them first
# Start threads with questions to get the conversations going
# Help users connect with other users, identify ‘super users’
# You can never give too much information
# Encouraging feedback from the community
# Always have a direct email so it can encourage rapid response
# Rewarding and recognizing members that have done good work
# Embrace what the community is actually doing
# Acknowledge when people are right –even if they are hostile
# Bubbling up information, turning things into FAQs
# Internal encouragement for employees (points)
# Every question that someone else can answer, have it answered by the right person
# Track Google Alerts, if someone tracks outside the community pull them in.
# Be transparent, let the community monitor and police itself (rather than the company taking too much control)
# Reward and thank users that participate
# Plan and integrate internal knowledge bases

More here

The difference between forums, blogs and social networks

Forums should be like social mixers. Everyone is at equal level, milling about and discussing various topics with others. Forums allow anyone to start a topic and anyone to respond to one. Members are often at equal level, and content is usually segmented by topic. (rather than by people).

Blogs are like a keynote speech where the speaker (blogger) is in control of the discussion, but the comments area allows questions and comments from the audience. Kind of like a Q&A session after said keynote.

Blogs are journals often authored by one individual, and sometimes teams. In the context of business communication, these are often used to highlight exclusive content and talk with the marketplace, joining the conversations that existing external bloggers are having.

Social Networks are like topic tables at a school lunch. Imagine a fresher’s fair with big white signs above big long tables inviting people to sit down and join up with others of a like-minded interest? It’s like that.

Social networks allow people to focus on a person’s relationships or interests, rather that just their focused on topic. People that know each other (or want to meet each other) can connect via a variety of common interests. These are great tools to get people of like interest to connect to each other and share information.

In this way, it’s possible to concentrate on the selling points of each and hopefully bridge people’s expectations when using them.

Presidential Candidature, part deux

Back in February 2007 I wrote a post on the launch of the US Presidential candidates and how important digital would be in deciding the outcome of the next president of the United States.

Today, Super Tuesday will bring to an end to what started in February 2006. And it’s astonishing to me what difference digital has made to the experience.

Back then micro-blogging was barely a whisper. Twitter launched at SWMX in March of that year and John Edwards was the first to use it followed in quick succession by the other candidates.

At the time, I was very impressed with Barack’s choice of Brightcove to virally spread his ‘message’ and a little dumbstruck by Hilary’s choice of high quality Quicktime interviews (focusing primarily on news broadcasters and not bloggers picking up her sound bites). One truely seemed to understand the difference between digital and broadcast media whilst the other was pretending at the time that it didn’t matter. How times have changed.

All candidates not only twitter, but Google has teamed with Twitter to provide a Twitter/ Google mashup for Super Tuesday.

The very nature of how the candidates have been monitored has had to change.

Politics has moved on from sound-bites and newspaper spin. Discussion and debate online has fueled the need for openness, transparency and a new dialogue between the next president of the US and its people.

I wish them all a great deal of luck…and I hope brands have been paying attention :)

Insight into a Social Media campaign

How has generated traffic to its site. A nice case study.

Off the back of that post there’s another Soccer blog illustrating how soft the competition is in this area.

UK’s first cashless and paperless fare system

Bus operator Go North East claims to be the UK’s first cashless and paperless fare system allowing customers to order and receive tickets by texting “txt2go” to the number 60060. The system was developed by Go North East in partnership with IT services company Atos Origin and mobile-ticketing specialist Swiftpass.

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