Nov 022009
 

Innocent smoothies latest campaign... innovative, but not all innocent!The girls love making up stories and writing them down. They’re forever scribbling in notebooks, on bits of paper, on the backs of envelopes… anywhere they can really. There are poems, short stories… even full-length children’s picture-books complete with accompanying illustrations, scattered all over the house. One of the twins has even set a career goal to become a writer and illustrator of children’s books when she grows up.

While it might be a bit early for that, I have to admit that some of the stories they come up with are surprisingly good, as long as you’re prepared to gloss over the spelling and grammar errors endemic to an eight-year-old’s writing. They’re entertaining, have a good balance of dialogue and narrative, compelling characters and even a workable plot. It’s fantastic to see the girls ready to engage with and explore written language at this age, but I guess making up stories is an intrinsic part of childhood, and writing those stories down is simply a natural progression of that.

For the last week or so they’ve been putting their love of stories to good use on the web, in an online competition being run by smoothie-maker, Innocent. The company has taken the classic paper and pencil game “consequences”, and adapted it for kids to play online. Traditionally the game involves writing a sentence on a piece of paper and passing it on to the next person. They then read it, and fold the paper over, hiding the original sentence before writing their own… and so on until the conclusion of the story. The web version Innocent has come up with is much simpler… and all the more ingenious for that.

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Jul 152009
 

The Toyota IQToyota Ireland’s latest publicity campaign for their new micro saloon, the IQ is going to include handing out four of the teeny-tiny four-seaters to bloggers / twitter users. The lucky individuals will get to use the car for six months in exchange for blogging / tweeting about their experiences with the vehicle.

The promotion was announced by @toyotaireland on Twitter:

4 Irish bloggers wanted to give happy homes to 4 Toyota iQ’s for 2009 check out http://bit.ly/YV9gT

Predictably they’ve been inundated:

In under 12 hrs of launching our IQ promo we’ve had excess of 100 applicants, 13% incr in daily traf to toyota.ie & 30 new fols. ds twit wk?

If you’ve got a blog and a Twitter account, are over 21 and you live in Ireland you can apply for the 6 month Toyota IQ test drive – but hurry – applications close on Friday! You can check out the full terms and conditions here.

It’s a great idea… one that’s already generating a lot of social media buzz… and provided Toyota handles it properly, and leaves the individuals to write openly and honestly about their experience of the IQ, it could be a real winner for them.

Who knows… if this works out for Toyota it could make a wonderful case study for next year’s follow-up to “Understanding Digital Marketing”.

Jan 142009
 
Thursday Afternoon City Hall Wedding
Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

I just read a post in my Feedreader from Damien’s corporate portal, Mulley Communications, where he looks at the difference between marketing and PR — the former, he surmises, is akin to a “quick shag”, while the latter is more of a long term relationship….

I can see what he’s getting at, but to my mind PR — the building of relationships and reputation for a brand — is part and parcel of the bigger overall concept of marketing. Marketing encompasses pretty much everything from the inception of a new product or service (what does the market want, need, demand?), it’s design (to meet that want, need, demand), it’s promotion and sale, follow up support… everything! Including PR.

So yes, there are companies out there who subscribe to the “short-sharp shock” approach to marketing and to PR — snapshot advertising campaigns, a flurry of press releases / coverage for a new product or service… and then silence. There are also companies that understand the value of building long-term productive relationships with their customers, with influencers online and in traditional media, with society at large.

I think it’s probably more useful — borrowing Damiens relationship analogy — to compare businesses with people. There are those of us who perpetually lurch from one short-term relationship to the next, but have commitment issues when it comes to investing in a long-term relationship. They have plenty of fun, and can see great short-term results, but ultimately end up lonely and unfulfilled.

Then there are those who come to appreciate the value of building a relationship over time… of getting to know the subtle nuances of another person’s character, and yes, in some ways, even compromising a bit of our own to mesh more effectively and make that relationship work.

Of course most of us start our adult life in the former category… but over time, as we realise there’s more to life, we gradually see the value of commitment and long-term relationships. It’s an evolution — one that I think applies equally to businesses.

Short-sharp-shock marketing (including PR) is typical in the early stages of an organisation — it’s the old-way of getting the message out their in a blitzkreig of advertising and press coverage. Hammer home the message, build an audience. And then, silence, until the next campaign.

As the business grows (smart businesses, anyway) it begins to realise that there’s more to this equation… that it could be missing out on something much more rewarding and fulfilling. It realises that it needs to start listen to and interacting with its customers, to deliver more value, refine it’s offering. It needs to get over its commitment issues and engage in a long term relationship.

Call it marketing, call it PR, call it whatever you want — but if you want your business to become more than a one-night-stand get over your commitment issues and start engaging with your audience…. Woo them, before another suitor proposes and you lose them for good!

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