Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Money, freedom and the web

Money won't create success, the freedom to make it will.

Nelson Mandela is one of the person who made of his life a living manifesto for human rights. He spent most of his life in jail and was eventually released after the South African government decided to change its policy about racial issues.

This quote of his is to me a warning that is becoming more and more important to Web and the Blogosphere.

We do all remember when Internet was a land of total freedom: freedom to surf, to write, to share, to discuss, to meet.
Lately, with big money around, everyday there is a sign that this freedom in endangered.
And politics play its role, too.
Think about YouTube, since it has become GooTube and Napster, long time ago.

And yesterday, two news:

  1. the European Community published a recommendation to all its members to keep traffic data for security reasons. Now, this security issue is the perfect reason for any government to give a look into our stuff, any kind of stuff;
  2. a new content recognition software able to identify stuff copyrighted even if mashed.
I do not blame the commercial side of the Web, nor the advertising world which feed me. But there are too many grey area around which provide good reason to limit the freedom of the Web users.

Do you feel the same as me?
Or I'm a bit paranoic?

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

The new Z-list

This picture has been taken in Rome, at Ponte Milvio.
Someone, few months ago, began to close a lock with their initials on: the lovers' names initials on a lock to seal the love between two persons.
Then another couples added their own lock, and another one and another again and again and again: this is the actual image.
How it was born, no one knows, how it was spread, no one knows, but it worked and it works. The Z-list has probably many parents as every smart idea but we know how it spread around. And now is back: visit these blogs, leave a sign of your appreciation if any and spread it. Let's make it bigger and bigger as the locks at Ponte Milvio: a sign that love is in the air.

My Marrakesh
The Viral Garden
Choice at Your Fingertips
Ruminate this site
Evolution...not just a theory anymore
Travel And Vacation On Blog
Through the Lenses
A Free and Decent Blog Host
What is Brand?
Asyuu @ Forest
Employment Law Colorado
Current World news
World Blog Collection
Girls Swimsuits
Asia Inspection Community
Business Garden
Dipping into the Blogpond
The Best Guides to eCommerce with Favor
SEO Blog
Energy Blog
Dosh Dosh
Daily Blog Tips
Forged Euphoria
Above Popular
Gangster Sonny
Connected Internet
Mike's Money Making Mission
Time to Budget
Can I Make Big Money Online
Flee the Cube
Blogging Secret
Blogging to Fame
Million Dollar Experiment heads Down Under
Quest to make money on the internet
Kumiko's Cash Quest
Calico Monkey
Internet Bazaar
Shotgun Marketing Blog
Customers Rock!
Being Peter Kim
Pow! Right Between The Eyes!
Billions With Zero Knowledge
Working at Home on the Internet
MapleLeaf 2.0
Two Hat Marketing
The Emerging Brand
The Branding Blog
Drew's Marketing Minute
Golden Practices
Tell Ten Friends
Flooring the Consumer
Kinetic Ideas
Unconventional Thinking
Conversation Agent
The Copywriting Maven
Hee-Haw Marketing
Scott Burkett's Pothole on the Infobahn
Multi-Cult Classics
Logic + Emotion
Branding & Marketing
Popcorn n Roses
On Influence & Automation
Servant of Chaos
Presentation Zen
Dmitry Linkov
John Wagner
Nick Rice
CKs Blog
Design Sojourn
Frozen Puck
The Sartorialist
Small Surfaces
Africa Unchained
Marketing Nirvana
Bob Sutton
。Hola! Oi! Hi!
Shut Up and Drink the Kool-Aid!
Women, Art, Life: Weaving It All Together
Community Guy
Social Media on the fly

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Nothing Can Stop It, Janey Girl!

In answering a comment from BobG to my latest post about five reasons why we blog, I found myself defining the blogosphere as a fluid environment. And, as any fluid environment, it can be a friendly one or a mortal one. As it was for Blob, yes that Blob.

When entering into the blogosphere, the first feeling is to be in someway lost, without a compass nor a scout to drive you around.
It' s not easy to admit it, but I'm rather confident that this was the first feeling for almost all of us. And if it is difficult for us as individuals, let's figure out how challenging should be to a company. I believe that this is mainly why we see so many different approach to this fast changing world.
  • companies acting as landlord of the coal mine to defend feudal rights
  • companies hiding themselves behind their history and brands
  • companies trying to stop sea waves with a wall made of sand
  • companies jumping on the bandwagon when it's already late
  • companies brave enough not to be scared by the changes
  • companies understanding the Darwin laws
  • companies perceiving the add-ons
One thing is very clear: nothing can stop it, Janey Girl!

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Bridge over troubled water

Valeria Maltoni in her latest post about why we blog made me the honour to be one the five bloggers mentioned.
I tell you that this is a great reward to me for some reasons:

- Valeria run a great blog, very well written
- she is a skilled professional and has a terrific professional profile
- the other blogs mentioned are top class

I left my previous job on May last year to learn more on the Web 2.0 and purposely went to explore the market in the US and the English speaking blogosphere.
I found a fascinating world made of professionals in marketing, advertising, pr.
At the very beginning, I pose, as the title of a book from my favourite write, Bruce Chatwin, a question to myself: " What I'm doing here?"
The answer was, and is, that all my way into blogging is driven by learning.

At Lewis Green's place, I've learnt about integrity and ethic in this business. Most of the time conversation with Lewis turn over the transparent and honest approach to clients, their (and our) business and, in general, to the others;

at Tim Jacksons's place, I've learnt about pure passion. It seldom happen that someone get the gift to work for the company of his/her dream. Well, Tim is one of this lucky few and everything in his blog delivers the passion for his job and his company. Something that we should all feel in our everyday life;

at Mack Collier's place, I've learnt about the social media. His blog is a real catalyst and we do share the passion about the strange way the music majors try to stop the world going round and round;

at Gavin Heaton's place, I've learnt that the miles are no longer a factor when you share a common language (and the by the way, he'got the book earlier than me!!);

at Simone Morgagni's place, I've learnt the beauty of writing. His blog (unfortunately it's only in italian) is a great place where to discuss of linguistic, politic, philosophy for the pleasure of the discussion, something as what the ancient Greeks called the Agorà.

One goal, five places.
But many others are around, some of them I've already linked and I'm grateful to, some of them I hope I'll know in the future because when to get into the blogosphere, you begin a journey.

Monday, February 05, 2007

why i'm not going to see these movies

in a world jammed with visual experience, different ways of entertainment fruition, peer-to-peer, dvds, etc., the movies majors try on one side to drive us to theatre to see their products and on the other side to block the circulation of the same products.

in all these efforts money focussed , it seems they have lost the creative push to differentiate, to create engagement, to thrill the audience.

this morning in my feeder i got this image of new movie trailers.
five out of fourteen movies have the same display: black background, one or two words in silver or gold and that's it.
  1. disturbia is about a serial killer
  2. rescue dawn is the story of an american pilot in vietnam
  3. hot fuzz is the story of a policeman detached in a place where he discover that the local hero is not such a hero
  4. live free or die hard is the fourth episode of the die hard saga
  5. sunshine is the about a space mission
with plots so different how comes that the ads are so equal?
yes, probably one or two of these movies will earn big money but it won't be for this creative approach, no doubt about it.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Luxe, calme et volupté (part 2)

If we look at the revenue figures of leading fashion groups, we may find some surprise.
Valeria Maltoni, in a recent post, was posing some questions about luxury brands and the need to grow:

  • Can a company really go for high-end and mass market under the same name brand? Ironically, what appeals to mass market is what high-end customers shy away from.
  • Would you rely on customer focus groups to make a decision on which end of the market to preserve? Tiffany did after complaints about crowding were beginning to appear in internal consumer research.
  • Would you be willing to sacrifice sales growth while you recalibrate the brand one way or the other? In publicly traded companies investors may have you for dinner.
  • We often talk about how spreading ideas can be fantastic in exposing people to your brand story. Is overexposure the price you're willing to pay?
If we look at the figures mentioned above, apparently most of the luxury brands are able to balance between aspirational and mass market.

Gucci revenues are generated for a 55,7% from leather goods ( wallets, keyrings, bags), 13,8% from shoes, 12% from women and men wear, 3%from royalties and licences, 15% others;

Bulgari revenues are generated by 45% from the entry level ring;

50% of Richemont sales are from jewellery and 50% from watches, leather and writing instruments (which are the fastest growing business).

Where are they so clever? Selling one bag at 10.000 usd to the high end consumer, create a hype for the brand, the halo effect and then selling tons of wallets at 150 usd each to the mass.
It's the call for being part of a world of dream.

But some other significant difference is in the way luxury companies use their brands portfolio.

Some of them use the same brands for products with different price range: Tiffany does so, and Gucci, Bulgari, Montblanc, Louis Vuitton.

Some others differentiate brands for price range but making clear the holding they belong to: Armani and Emporio Armani, Pomellato and Dodo, Dolce and Gabbana and D&G, Prada and Miù Miù just to name a few.

In any case brands are not endangered by the mass market products diffusion but, on the contrary, revenues are soaring.
The mass market products have definetely higher margins because it's the brand and the logo and not the product itself to make its value.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Saturn should looks inside

Do you remember the story of Tim Jackson's Saturn, the car which stop itself in the middle of the streets, etc.

Do you remember the poor response from the car dealer and the manufacturer?

Do you remember the buzz going around the blogosphere?

Well Saturn took a bold move and fired the ad agency.
Account was moved by Goodby to Deutsch without a review and the given reason is that sales of GM's Saturn brands were flat or only up slightly in 2006, and the inability of Goodby's campaigns to raise those numbers were likely a major factor in losing the account.

Gentlemen at GM and Saturn, are you really confident that changing the ad agency will move sales if you do not look into yourself? Or maybe it was the easiest thing to do, transferring the responsibility outside the company?