Digital Marketing – digital, tech & brand fusion

Former MySpace CEO explains Facebook’s brilliant strategy to avoid disruption

“Products that rely primarily on utility to drive engagement stay in fashion far longer than those that rely on entertainment”

25 Disruptive Technology Trends for 2015 – 2016

25 Disruptive Technology Trends for 2015 – 2016 – Brian Solis

Brilliant summary of what to look forward to in the year ahead – 25 Disruptive Technology Trends for 2015 – 2016

I especially liked / am excited by:

1) Social Media 1.0 is dead.

Social media becomes part of a digitally transformed ecosystem Real-time and content marketing becomes more sophisticated and portable Social becomes key hub for shaping customer experiences Social connects the Zero Moment of Truth and the Ultimate Moment of Truth

5) Notification windows introduce a thin layer for rapid engagement.

Apps such as Yo, while a novelty at first, will redefine what an app is and will be…no kidding.

7) The Internet of Things is a hot and beautiful mess until it becomes the Internet of Everything.

By 2020, the number of devices connected to the Internet is expected to exceed 40 billion. We’re just getting started.

10) Focus on the kids! Generation Z is mobile first and mobile only and they’re nothing like Millennials.

Exciting times ahead!

Building a $billion business for the Internet Age

I found the below article from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt really insightful into the world of Google, but also how a business looking to win in the internet age / connected world / always on world (< insert buzz phrase of the month) needs to be thinking, staffing and organizing itself.  Whether you’re a brand, agency, or business the ability to transform is paramount.  Power is now with consumers, their voice is the loudest when multiplied, therefore the need to have a great product or service is greater than ever before.

Product companies are trying to create connections with consumers through building their ‘Brand’.  Brands are trying to augment ‘Services’ on top of their brands principle to create loyalty and affinity.  At the core is a great service, product or experience – and having the right organizational structure and environment to create and maintain this.

Working for a leading ‘Digital Agency’ we are ever looking for ways to evolve our ways of working to make us more agile, more creative, better placed to create the next great idea for the brands that we serve.

I’d recommend reviewing the full presentation, but I pulled out some of the favorites that resonated most with me.

“To be successful in the technology-driven internet age, a company has to attract “smart creative” employees and then create an environment where they can thrive.” 



















Facebook Buy Now button: Door-to-door sales in a digital age

There has been talk for a while about f-commerce (facebook commerce) or s-commerce (you guessed it, social commerce) and it finally looks like it’s here. Facebook has previously tried to launch this before through the form of ‘Deals’ and many brands have in the past built custom tabs within Faecbook to drive buy-now conversion.

Facebook today took a further step in ruining what is great about the platform by announcing they are testing an in-stream ‘Buy Button’ in the US.  To you and I, more ads to sift thorough as you browse your ‘friends’ latest baby/cat/dog/holiday status updates.
Statement from Facebook here:


As someone who advises brands on their digital and social business strategy, I am constantly saying that brands need to move away from distraction type media to attraction strategies, building brand love, engagement and ultimately audiences that will buy and advocate your brand or product.  Specifically facebook and twitter would be key channels for this within a brands architecture due to their size of audience, and spread of demographics.  Twitter is also experimenting in this area, but I won’t go there today….

Facebook’s latest addition makes that sell a little harder, as it’s clearly moving away from its core of being a platform based on storytelling and ‘connecting the world’ (< Facebook’s mission) to a transactional selling platform.  To be blunt, this to me just seems like a ploy to get brands to spend (even) more media units with the social network, to satisfy the companies IPO investor returns.

Let’s take it back to the core, and delve into the word ‘social’ just for a second and I’ll explain my point.
Social is a behavior, and is inherently about connecting people and engagement between those people (or brands) – alike to a social setting in the real world.   People have conversations on social ‘channels’, and brands who understand ‘how to be social’ are tapping into those conversations and building an association around a topic close the brand’s heart or beliefs.  Done correctly people then build up an affinity to that brand because their values and/or wants & desires match.  Think Nike and running (or World Cup); Red Bull and extreme sports.

Ultimately it’s about conversations, building relationships and publishing great content that resonates.  When people muse Facebook they are in a mindset for this type of interaction – they want to be entertained, or educated.  Are people in a purchase mindset?.. I don’t think so.  To go from ‘hi hello, let’s be friends’ to ‘buy my products’ the next minute seems strange as a behavior.  If a friend in your physical social circle was like that you’d soon unfriend them (or if that wasn’t an option, make fun of them).  Facebook’s new feature is like the door-to-door salesman of the digital world – with the ability to knock on potentially millions of doors in one click of button – with little care for the amount of people disturbed whilst they prove ROI (make a sale).

Facebook should leave selling to platforms built for selling, platforms that people visit to buy things.  Yes the watch in the picture above looks great, but I wasn’t looking to buy a watch (is the point).
Facebook should be a place for brands to build strong relationships with their fans, share their beliefs, show them why their product is amazing, and provide signposts to where the products can be purchased (such as website, physical retail or e-tailer).  Facebook is a brands opportunity for an always-on conversation about why their product or brand is great – then when I think ‘I want to buy a cool watch’ I think about that company and visit their (hopefully) mobile ready digital shop-front.

Being interrupted with the same advert to ‘buy-now’ for days on end is alike to the old world of 30sec TV ads, I’ll start ignoring them and worst-still subconsciously I’ll start disliking the brand that interrupts my downtime.

Brands should invest their dollars in understanding their target customers through listening and engage them with  great on-brand content that will build a longstanding relationship and affinity with the brand.  A ‘buy now’ button may create short-term sales, but will never build a longstanding customer base or brand love.

IAB Social Committee – Kick-off

On Friday the IAB SE Asia Social Committee was formed with great energy and a mission to increase grassroots talent in the SE Asia region in Social Media business skills.

With the group being spearheaded by @kmandel (Chair) – HootSuite APAC MD and @freddie_covi – Twitter APAC Marketing Director, and representation from largest digital platforms everyone’s expecting big things.  I proudly was nominated the Vice-Chair with a specific remit to bring an ‘Agency-lens’ to the group.

More to come on what we will be doing – but there will be definitely be some cool events and content coming!

Some pics from the briefing and kick-off session –

Ken kicking things off to the IAB board and other committee’s:
Ken kicking things off

Me talking about our guiding principles: (be social, have fun, and drink ;))
Chris Bell talking about our principles

Our Social strawman:
Our initial social strawman


Lastly, we are still looking for additional members to join this committee – specifically if you work within a media agency environment.  Get in touch with me if you fancy coming aboard – @chrissbell

2014 – The Year of Digital Transformation?

As ever at this time of year we start to see industry prediction around what the next year with be the ‘year of’. For the previous 2-3 years we’ve had a mixture between Social Media and Mobile being the must-do digital task for the year – which always felt to me like people were missing the point and power of digital strategy.

I’m not sure I still agree with the title of this post for 2014 – in my opinion many business have been transforming, in some shape or another, for the last 5 years. However the points that the article makes are spot-on around looking at your Digital strategy holistically developing a cohesive approach with customer experience at the heart.

Article referenced:!BOSok

Shanghai, Jan'14

Shanghai, Jan’14

Singapore F1 2013

Friday’s practice session pictures. Still amazes me how this Grand Prix track is literally cut into the city centre of Singapore



Singapore’s iconic Fullerton Hotel in the background


View down onto turn 1,2 from Suntec


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