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Design your own coffin!

There is certainly a trend towards personalisation, as discussed at length by Trendwatching in their May 2005 article.
coffin
Here’s an interesting spin on personalisation with a design your own coffin! Aired on Dragon’s Den tv show last week in Australia, Life Art has created a business that makes coffins from recycled and biodegradable products.

The artwork, is printed on stickers and then applied to the outside to produce a very personalised coffin. The cost is around the same as existing wooden coffins. You certainly have a captive audience, and I am sure this product will spread through word of mouth. I think this is a great idea and I wish the business well. Now .. I wonder how much I could get for selling some ad space on the sides?

China Voices

Having just come back from my 8th China trip, I was again impressed by the continued growth and dynamic changes that were noticeable from when I was last there in Jan 2005.

Presenting at the Ad-Tech Conference in Shanghai, I made some really excellent contacts which I will refer to in more detail over the next few weeks.

Today, I want to touch on the incredible volume of Chinese online voices that resonate via bulletin boards, and blogs. In part due to the limited and controlled media, China has always had a strong tradition in tapping “word of mouth” as a way to get the “real story”. Now due to the massive internet growth going on in China .. many of these conversations are taking place in explicit and therefore measurable forms.

Here are some numbers from Sam Flemming the co-founder of CICDATA, a company that specialises in measuring and tracking what the chinese consumer is saying. Here are some stats that Sam presented

103 million Internet Users
40 million Bulletin board (message boards users); (doubled in 6 months)
35.2 million go to Bulletin Board at least once a day
30 million go to Bulletin Board at least twice a day
5 million blogs

China is talking, and these numbers are expected to double by 2008. Lots of the discussion are questions about product or services or recommendations and if you have products or services in China, then you better have a strategy for tapping into these channels.

Here’s a couple of examples Sam presented.
g-fly
G-fly .. I was born in 7th November of 1988. I am not a kid. I came here to share my photos with skaters, also hope to communicate with everyone about skateboarding. Also I am the leader of the skate-girl BBS in the SKATEHERE forum.

our-golf
Anti-Japan sentiment runs high China and plays a factor in purchase decisions, but there is an incredible passion for cars such as the VW golf. The “Our-golf” club organised this photo by parking their cars into the word OURGOLF.com

What is the Chinese consumer saying about your brand? If you don’t know, talk to Sam Flemming and find out? Then you are in a position to create specific Word of Mouth marketing strategies?

Word Mosaic

What images do the words 9/11, Middle East, Oasis, or even “Word of Mouth” mean to you?

Grant Robinson has created a tool called Montage-a-google, which searches Google images and creates a mosaic of the results, which retain their links to the original source. This makes for an interesting viewing experience. Here’s what i got when i entered “Word of Mouth”

montage

For more examples, here are the Flickr images tagged with Montageagoogle.

What I find interesting is the results you get when you type in some well known consumer brands such as Snickers. What does your brand look like?

snickers

Mobile Call to Action

Young people carry their phones with them everywhere, and whilst 3G may make the web browsing experience more acceptable, using the 12 phone keys to interact with the web can be challenging.

A company called MOBOT has addressed this challenge with a unique visual recognition technology that allows consumers with a camera phone to take pictures to respond or express interest in relevant products.

mobot

The technology can be applied to various marketing mechanics. Here’s a few examples from Mobot.

Mobot can deliver information, discounts or special offers
Where can you buy the shoes in that ad? Just take a picture and Mobot the ad. Want a ringtone from your favorite band? Mobot the CD case. Want the score from today’s game? Mobot the team logo.

…or multiply impressions through scavenger hunts and games
Consumers can Mobot your existing media or you can send them off to Mobot something else – a smile, a car, their favorite silly face. Create a scavenger hunt where pictures are clues. Morph pictures into coded messages. Launch trivia games. Send Magic 8 ball style responses. Bring on the interactivity, turn on the fun.

…or kindle word-of-mouth viral campaigns
Mobot can start a cascading effect triggering special emails that can be forwarded to friends. Mobot can be the key to accessing exclusive offers that can only come by referral. Mobot photo contests don’t just create great online content for marketers, but they also get consumers to text and email their friends to vote for their entries. Nothing brings on word of mouth like pictures.

I like the idea and when the technology is packaged with some clever calls to action, it could really enhance existing print and billboard media. To often, by the time you get back to a computer the “call to action” is forgotten, but enabling a phone camera shot will tap the impulse and cool factor providing the ability to respond at the time of interest. SMS’ing a brand name or special code to a number can deliver a similar benefit and may actually be quicker, although doesn’t quite have the same cool factor.