What Every Social Media Marketer Should Know About Empathica’s GoRecommend

GoRecommend, a patent-pending “advocacy engine” from Empathica, helps convert consumers into brand advocates by enabling them to share positive retail experiences.

After customers complete a survey on a recent retail experience, the GoRecommend engine prompts those who were happy with their experience to make an online recommendation. An automated referral process gives customers the opportunity to pass along their positive messages via Facebook, Twitter and email.

Ways the product benefits social media campaigns

Empathica has found that approximately four in five customers have had a positive retail experience and would be willing to promote the brand to their communities. GoRecommend facilitates sharing their retail experiences and becoming brand advocates. To date, GoRecommend is being used by more than 50 brands, and has generated over 181,000 consumer recommendations, exposed to more than 33 million individuals.


by Neil Glassman
http://www.socialtimes.com

GoRecommend, a patent-pending “advocacy engine” from Empathica, helps convert consumers into brand advocates by enabling them to share positive retail experiences.

After customers complete a survey on a recent retail experience, the GoRecommend engine prompts those who were happy with their experience to make an online recommendation. An automated referral process gives customers the opportunity to pass along their positive messages via Facebook, Twitter and email.

Ways the product benefits social media campaigns

Empathica has found that approximately four in five customers have had a positive retail experience and would be willing to promote the brand to their communities. GoRecommend facilitates sharing their retail experiences and becoming brand advocates. To date, GoRecommend is being used by more than 50 brands, and has generated over 181,000 consumer recommendations, exposed to more than 33 million individuals. Leer más “What Every Social Media Marketer Should Know About Empathica’s GoRecommend”

Touchpoints Bring the Customer Experience to Life

In the first two pieces in this series we looked at defining customer experience, and using a customer journey map to gain more insight into how customers engage with your organization. A customer journey looks at things entirely from the customers’ point of view:; their actions, goals, questions, and barriers over time. In this installment we’ll look at a framework for understanding how your organization supports the customer throughout that journey. This is accomplished by orchestrating touchpoints — a touchpoint being any interaction point between the customer and your brand.

Being creative with how you think about the touchpoints along the customer journey can yield surprising benefits. For example, in the car insurance customer journey, one of the stages — if you’re unlucky — is getting in an accident and having to report a claim. With most insurance companies this is a complicated and poorly-defined process that takes place at a traumatic time.


by Adam Richardson
http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2010/12/touchpoints_bring_the_customer.html

In the first two pieces in this series we looked at defining customer experience, and using a customer journey map to gain more insight into how customers engage with your organization. A customer journey looks at things entirely from the customers’ point of view:; their actions, goals, questions, and barriers over time. In this installment we’ll look at a framework for understanding how your organization supports the customer throughout that journey. This is accomplished by orchestrating touchpoints — a touchpoint being any interaction point between the customer and your brand.

Being creative with how you think about the touchpoints along the customer journey can yield surprising benefits. For example, in the car insurance customer journey, one of the stages — if you’re unlucky — is getting in an accident and having to report a claim. With most insurance companies this is a complicated and poorly-defined process that takes place at a traumatic time. And for insurers it is also a time of risk because a significant number of claims are fraudulent — the accident never happened. Progressive Insurance rethought this step of the journey and introduced a new touchpoint — their now-famous white vans show up at the scene of the accident as soon as it’s reported. This helps the customer feel taken care of at a stressful moment, and it minimizes the possibilities for fraud because the accident can be verified. (I’m endebted to Frances X. Frei, who wrote about Progressive in this HBR article, and revealed the insights about the dual benefits of its operational choices.) Leer más “Touchpoints Bring the Customer Experience to Life”

The Power of Customers’ Mindset

re your customers in a concrete or abstract mindset as they think about purchasing your product? The answer can affect how much they buy.

Every day consumers make purchase decisions by choosing among large sets of related products available for sale in the aisles of stores. What factors might systematically affect how consumers make decisions among an array of products? Our research explores one aspect of that question.

As most marketers realize, not all shoppers are created equal. Within the same store, one may be searching for a specific product to meet an immediate need, while others may simply be browsing. Just as they can have different goals when they enter a store, individual consumers may approach purchase decisions with different mindsets that can affect how they shop. In social psychology, a mindset is defined as a set of cognitive processes and judgmental criteria that, once activated, can carry over to unrelated tasks and decisions. In other words, if you get a consumer thinking a certain way, that way of thinking — that mindset — can influence his or her subsequent shopping behavior.

In particular, social psychologists have identified two distinct mindsets that are relevant to how consumers make decisions when choosing among large sets of related products: abstract and concrete. An abstract mindset encourages people to think in a more broad and general way. Consumers in an abstract mindset who face an array of related products will focus more on the shared product attributes associated with an overarching purpose — for example, the general category of hair care or car maintenance. Conversely, a concrete mindset draws attention to lower-level details and attributes associated with execution or usage; consumers in a concrete mindset will thus focus on factors that differentiate between products.

(…)


By Kelly Goldsmith, Jing Xu and Ravi Dhar
Full article [PDF]
http://sloanreview.mit.edu/the-magazine/articles/2010/fall/52112/the-power-of-customers-mindset/

Are your customers in a concrete or abstract mindset as they think about purchasing your product? The answer can affect how much they buy.

Every day consumers make purchase decisions by choosing among large sets of related products available for sale in the aisles of stores. What factors might systematically affect how consumers make decisions among an array of products? Our research explores one aspect of that question.

As most marketers realize, not all shoppers are created equal. Within the same store, one may be searching for a specific product to meet an immediate need, while others may simply be browsing. Just as they can have different goals when they enter a store, individual consumers may approach purchase decisions with different mindsets that can affect how they shop. In social psychology, a mindset is defined as a set of cognitive processes and judgmental criteria that, once activated, can carry over to unrelated tasks and decisions. In other words, if you get a consumer thinking a certain way, that way of thinking — that mindset — can influence his or her subsequent shopping behavior.

In particular, social psychologists have identified two distinct mindsets that are relevant to how consumers make decisions when choosing among large sets of related products: abstract and concrete. An abstract mindset encourages people to think in a more broad and general way. Consumers in an abstract mindset who face an array of related products will focus more on the shared product attributes associated with an overarching purpose — for example, the general category of hair care or car maintenance. Conversely, a concrete mindset draws attention to lower-level details and attributes associated with execution or usage; consumers in a concrete mindset will thus focus on factors that differentiate between products.
(…) Leer más “The Power of Customers’ Mindset”

Facebook is becoming real life

I’ve covered a few articles on the blog that show how Facebook is moving out of the confines of a typical social network and becoming more and more integrated with other parts of our lives. Delta Airlines turned it into a booking engine, Coca Cola took it into amusement marks with real-world Likes and we’re starting to see many other examples that show how the site is growing at an alarming pace and steadily diversifying. The latest addition comes from Target, who are introducing Facebook Credit gift cards into their stores.


Author of Facebook is becoming real lifeby Lauren Fisher

I’ve covered a few articles on the blog that show how Facebook is moving out of the confines of a typical social network and becoming more and more integrated with other parts of our lives. Delta Airlines turned it into a booking engine,  Coca Cola took it into amusement marks with real-world Likes and we’re starting to see many other examples that show how the site is growing at an alarming pace and steadily diversifying. The latest addition comes from Target, who are introducing Facebook Credit gift cards into their stores.

facebook gift cards Facebook is becoming real life

This is Facebook’s first foray into the retail world and it’s an important one. While the concept may not be all that new – we’ve had iTunes gift cards for a few years now – this has important implications for the way we consume our social content. While the iTunes card leads to one site and one purchase, the potential for Facebook gift cards is phenomenal.

The area of online purchases through games and social objects is ready to hit the mainstream and Facebook have just made this a little bit easier. By providing a physical purchase point they tap into common behaviour – purchasing a gift card – but use this for something completely new. I think it’s absolutely genius  and brings us one step closer to a unified shopping experience, where your real and virtual currency are no longer separated.

Leer más “Facebook is becoming real life”

What’s New in Consumer Web

[Más…]

FollowStyle has entered the shopping experience market creating a hip network of fashion minded people to post their outfits, tag products and truly rate the sexiness of clothes. Pretty soon when you are shopping at a retail store you will be getting text (SMS) coupons, can take digital photos while trying things on and even have apps to make suggestions of how to look better or create a more ‘personalized’ look. How scary is that to make the clothing and fashion experience a wide open show for the web? To some that might be appealing, to others concerning. Even better, what are the retail shops going to do about this dilemma? As a corporation how do you cater to what is becoming a social media divide? Old school vs. new school.

What we learned this week about Consumer Web:

* Privacy is not sexy
* Advertising standards are increasing
* Mobile is the new internet


by Ellie Cachette

marijuana.leafConsumer advocacy groups seem upset with concerns about internet privacy, while research indicates the average consumer will and is sharing more information than ever if they are promised something of value in return.  Target starts selling Facebook credits gift cards and we already know how 7-11 stores are pimped out in Farmville branding. No one is talking about Foursquare anymore as all eyes were on Apple this week. On the bright side you can locate the best medicinal marijuana in your neighborhood using Weedmaps.com

Leer más “What’s New in Consumer Web”

Timberland Offers 3D View of Earthkeepers

Leagas Delaney is the agency behind the print and TV ads; Holst created the 3D window displays and microsite.

This is not the first time that Timberland has boasted its green initiatives. Last October, the footwear and apparel brand tapped singer Wyclef Jean as its “Earthkeeper hero.” The two partnered on a U.S. campaign to promote environmental and humanitarian efforts in Haiti.

Several months later, the company began running a series of outdoor, environment-themed events in 10 U.S. cities as part of its 2009 sponsorship of the Green Apple Festival, an annual music and Earth Day awareness event. The brand launched a contest in conjunction with the event to promote the Earthkeepers line.


– Elena Malykhina
Timberland is putting its best foot forward in a new global campaign showcasing the Earthkeepers collection of eco-friendly apparel.

The effort, dubbed “Nature Needs Heroes,” includes TV, print and retail ads, as well as social media and a microsite that uses 3D technology to help consumers become better acquainted with Earthkeepers. The site allows users to examine a frozen moment on screen at a 360-degree angle.

Retail ads, too, utilize 3D technology. Starting Thursday, select store windows in the U.S. started featuring oversized graphics, which consumers can bring to life using 3D glasses handed out in stores. Point-of-purchase displays show an x-ray image of the Earthkeepers 2.0 boot, touting the company’s use of recycled materials.

In the past, Timberland focused on traditional elements like TV and print, said Jim Davey, Timberland’s vp of global marketing. “This is the first time we’ve reflected new media realities with additional elements like 3D microsites and interactive windows in our retail stores,” he said.

Furthermore, Timberland aims to drive its eco-friendly message home through TV and print ads, which focus on a “lost bottle.” The humorous ads depict a man chasing a runaway water bottle so that he can recycle it. TV spots will air in the U.S., Europe and Asia during live sports, primetime and late night programs. And those consumers who want to create their own heroic moments can do so using Timberland’s Earthkeepers Facebook app, called “Virtual Forest,” which debuts later this month.

“We’re finding that consumers are being drawn to the styling and performance of the new Earthkeepers collection, but it’s also the most environmentally-innovative collection of products we’ve ever launched,” said Davey. “Great products that happen to be more sustainable makes for a great story.” (Timberland has had a good year so far, with sales growing in the high teens, said Matt Powell, an analyst at SportsOneSource.) Leer más “Timberland Offers 3D View of Earthkeepers”

MasterCard Brings E-Commerce to City Streets

For the past month, MasterCard has been running an out-of-home campaign to promote its MarketPlace e-commerce site. The goal? To get consumers’ attention both online and offline.

The credit card brand has put up storefront ads featuring black-and-white vinyl panels and taglines like: “A Smarter Way to Shop Online” and “Where Bargains Find You.” The effort, which includes ads in New York, Chicago, Miami and Philadelphia, wraps up this month.

The displays, set up in busy retail locations, consist of motion sensor-activated screens on which items like a purse, laptop and sneaker pop up when someone walks by. There is also a mobile component: Pedestrians can view the latest offers via MasterCard MarketPlace’s RSS feed and e-mail deals to themselves.

MasterCard hopes “to capitalize on consumers’ dual online-offline shopping behavior by directly placing the MasterCard MarketPlace ‘shop smarter’ message within the physical, brick-and-mortar shopping experience,” said Cheryl Guerin, the company’s svp of digital marketing. Storefronts were a “natural channel extension,” she said.


– Elaine Wong
For the past month, MasterCard has been running an out-of-home campaign to promote its MarketPlace e-commerce site. The goal? To get consumers’ attention both online and offline.

The credit card brand has put up storefront ads featuring black-and-white vinyl panels and taglines like: “A Smarter Way to Shop Online” and “Where Bargains Find You.” The effort, which includes ads in New York, Chicago, Miami and Philadelphia, wraps up this month.

The displays, set up in busy retail locations, consist of motion sensor-activated screens on which items like a purse, laptop and sneaker pop up when someone walks by. There is also a mobile component: Pedestrians can view the latest offers via MasterCard MarketPlace’s RSS feed and e-mail deals to themselves.

MasterCard hopes “to capitalize on consumers’ dual online-offline shopping behavior by directly placing the MasterCard MarketPlace ‘shop smarter’ message within the physical, brick-and-mortar shopping experience,” said Cheryl Guerin, the company’s svp of digital marketing. Storefronts were a “natural channel extension,” she said. Leer más “MasterCard Brings E-Commerce to City Streets”

American Apparel collapse told through 10 of its advertisements

By David Kiefaber on Thu Aug 26 2010

AaFlavorwire’s exploration of American Apparel’s decline, as shown through the clothing company’s slapdash advertising, is like watching a clown die: sad, sobering, but still funny. That its owner is a sexist mongrel is well-known, but Dov Charney’s transgressions have been far from the only problem at a company that never settled on what image it wanted. Its models were either blankly parading their scanties with gonzo-porn production values (the “Pyramide Humaine” ad is especially gross) or trying to look casual in boyishly ugly, unflattering designs. Sometimes there weren’t any AA products in the ads at all. Now, a certain amount of cheeky camp has always been part of AA’s brand, often literally. Which is fine, but they had trouble deciding how seriously to take themselves, and now the company is in danger of being removed from the NYSE.


By David Kiefaber on Thu Aug 26 2010

AaFlavorwire’s exploration of American Apparel’s decline, as shown through the clothing company’s slapdash advertising, is like watching a clown die: sad, sobering, but still funny. That its owner is a sexist mongrel is well-known, but Dov Charney‘s transgressions have been far from the only problem at a company that never settled on what image it wanted. Its models were either blankly parading their scanties with gonzo-porn production values (the “Pyramide Humaine” ad is especially gross) or trying to look casual in boyishly ugly, unflattering designs. Sometimes there weren’t any AA products in the ads at all. Now, a certain amount of cheeky camp has always been part of AA’s brand, often literally. Which is fine, but they had trouble deciding how seriously to take themselves, and now the company is in danger of being removed from the NYSE. Leer más “American Apparel collapse told through 10 of its advertisements”

Ready to Give up Your Consumer Data in Exchange for Bargain Deals?

We’ve had it hammered into our heads that our consumer data – where we shop, what we buy, how much we spend – should be guarded with, if not our lives, then at least every password encryption tool in our arsenals. But what if this consumer data could be harnessed to benefit both retailers and ourselves, giving us discounts on products we want, without compromising our privacy? That’s the thinking behind soon-to-be-launched WeShop, a collective shopping experience that uses aggregate consumer data to get you bargain deals on your favorite products.

The founder of WeShop, Tony Lee, believes that the recent discussions around consumer data are skewed towards scaring consumers rather than educating them:

“They understand their data belongs to them and the privacy issues, but they don’t understand the worth,” Lee says. “The people spearheading privacy debates are brilliant because they phrase the rulings around the nature of the data, rather than the value.”


Posted by Lauren Dugan

shopping We’ve had it hammered into our heads that our consumer data – where we shop, what we buy, how much we spend – should be guarded with, if not our lives, then at least every password encryption tool in our arsenals. But what if this consumer data could be harnessed to benefit both retailers and ourselves, giving us discounts on products we want, without compromising our privacy? That’s the thinking behind soon-to-be-launched WeShop, a collective shopping experience that uses aggregate consumer data to get you bargain deals on your favorite products.

The founder of WeShop, Tony Lee, believes that the recent discussions around consumer data are skewed towards scaring consumers rather than educating them:

“They understand their data belongs to them and the privacy issues, but they don’t understand the worth,” Lee says. “The people spearheading privacy debates are brilliant because they phrase the rulings around the nature of the data, rather than the value.” Leer más “Ready to Give up Your Consumer Data in Exchange for Bargain Deals?”

The Dell Streak Shows The CE World How To Be Relevant In An iDevice World

Someone at Dell deserves a raise. Actually, a bunch of people probably deserve a monetary reward for the Dell Streak as it takes many people to get a product to market. It’s the fact that the Dell Streak actually made off an engineer’s computer and to retail stores is something that should be celebrated. In an iPad and iPhone world, Dell threw out the mold and made something actually different. That’s awesome.

Dell finally released the Streak’s price and release date yesterday: available August 13th for $300 on contract, $550 off. A bit more than the norm, yes, but the Streak isn’t your average phone/tablet. It’s the convergence of two form factors and Dell must have known it wasn’t an iPad killer or any of that nonsense from the start. It really seems like the company just wanted to offer consumers something a bit different.

I’m not here to debate the Streak’s merits. I’ve only spent a few minutes with the device at E3. John did the full review and he liked it it quite a bit. I’m simply trying to give Dell a bit of credit that’s so rare recently. These days it seem as if everything has to be a killer of some sort; an iPad killer, a Kindle killer, a Prius killer. God help a product like the Streak that was clearly never meant to kill anything. Those devices instantly are wrote off, deemed also-rans and predicted to fail.


Someone at Dell deserves a raise. Actually, a bunch of people probably deserve a monetary reward for the Dell Streak as it takes many people to get a product to market. It’s the fact that the Dell Streak actually made off an engineer’s computer and to retail stores is something that should be celebrated. In an iPad and iPhone world, Dell threw out the mold and made something actually different. That’s awesome.

Dell finally released the Streak’s price and release date yesterday: available August 13th for $300 on contract, $550 off. A bit more than the norm, yes, but the Streak isn’t your average phone/tablet. It’s the convergence of two form factors and Dell must have known it wasn’t an iPad killer or any of that nonsense from the start. It really seems like the company just wanted to offer consumers something a bit different.

I’m not here to debate the Streak’s merits. I’ve only spent a few minutes with the device at E3. John did the full review and he liked it it quite a bit. I’m simply trying to give Dell a bit of credit that’s so rare recently. These days it seem as if everything has to be a killer of some sort; an iPad killer, a Kindle killer, a Prius killer. God help a product like the Streak that was clearly never meant to kill anything. Those devices instantly are wrote off, deemed also-rans and predicted to fail. Leer más “The Dell Streak Shows The CE World How To Be Relevant In An iDevice World”

In Recession, Drinking Moves from Bars to Home

Erin Ryan / Corbis

When the going gets tough, the tough, um, go drinking. That’s the word from a new Gallup poll showing that 67% of Americans are hitting the bottle, the most since 1985. Another sign of challenging economic times: more and more of those rounds are happening in the kitchen, not at the corner pub.

A new report by Mintel International, a market-research firm, shows that a growing number of Americans are guzzling down wine and spirits at home as opposed to in bars and restaurants, and many are trading down to cheaper brands as they seek fiscally conscious ways to party in a sluggish economy. (See pictures of booze under a microscope.)

“We used to say that [alcohol consumption] was recession-proof or at least recession-resilient, but the rules have changed in this recession,” says David Henkes, a vice president at Technomic, a research and consulting firm. [Más…]

Though the recession technically ended more than a year ago, high unemployment, stagnant wages, falling home prices and shrinking retirement savings have shattered consumer confidence and affected where and how much Americans imbibe, according to the Mintel report. Traffic to restaurants has plunged, with fine-dining establishments taking the biggest hit as businesses pull back on entertaining clients and consumers keep a tighter grip on their pocketbooks. (See a new generation of Mediterranean wine.)

Sales of alcoholic beverages at bars and restaurants fell 4.6% in 2009, while sales at liquor stores, supermarkets and other retailers for “at home” drinking rose 1.2%, the report said. Americans are gulping 10 drinks on average each month at home, compared with only 5.7 drinks in bars and restaurants, the report notes. (See the top 10 bad beverage ideas.)


Erin Ryan / Corbis

When the going gets tough, the tough, um, go drinking. That’s the word from a new Gallup poll showing that 67% of Americans are hitting the bottle, the most since 1985. Another sign of challenging economic times: more and more of those rounds are happening in the kitchen, not at the corner pub.

A new report by Mintel International, a market-research firm, shows that a growing number of Americans are guzzling down wine and spirits at home as opposed to in bars and restaurants, and many are trading down to cheaper brands as they seek fiscally conscious ways to party in a sluggish economy. (See pictures of booze under a microscope.)

“We used to say that [alcohol consumption] was recession-proof or at least recession-resilient, but the rules have changed in this recession,” says David Henkes, a vice president at Technomic, a research and consulting firm. Leer más “In Recession, Drinking Moves from Bars to Home”

Creating not just jobs, but good jobs

Posted by Barbara Kiviat

Richard Florida’s recent piece in the FT, “America needs to make its bad jobs better,” presents a pretty interesting argument, one that a nation so focused on job creation might want to keep in mind. Florida points out, as plenty of others have before, that the sorts of service-sector jobs the U.S. is on track to create the most of in coming years—for home health aides, customer service workers, food preparers, retail sales clerks—don’t necessarily pay all that well, and certainly not as well as the manufacturing jobs they are replacing. Florida then argues that low pay isn’t necessarily inherent in these sorts of jobs, and that it is fully within our control to make them better:

It has happened before. [T]he blue-collar jobs we pine for were not always good jobs: we made them good jobs. When my father came back from the second world war, his poorly paid factory job had been transformed. He was able to buy a house, put his two sons through college and participate fully in the American dream. Some of this was due to the power of unions. Most of it was because of the enormous improvements in productivity wrought by improved technologies and management techniques. The same thing can and must happen in the service sector.


Posted by Barbara Kiviat

Richard Florida’s recent piece in the FT, “America needs to make its bad jobs better,” presents a pretty interesting argument, one that a nation so focused on job creation might want to keep in mind. Florida points out, as plenty of others have before, that the sorts of service-sector jobs the U.S. is on track to create the most of in coming years—for home health aides, customer service workers, food preparers, retail sales clerks—don’t necessarily pay all that well, and certainly not as well as the manufacturing jobs they are replacing. Florida then argues that low pay isn’t necessarily inherent in these sorts of jobs, and that it is fully within our control to make them better:

It has happened before. [T]he blue-collar jobs we pine for were not always good jobs: we made them good jobs. When my father came back from the second world war, his poorly paid factory job had been transformed. He was able to buy a house, put his two sons through college and participate fully in the American dream. Some of this was due to the power of unions. Most of it was because of the enormous improvements in productivity wrought by improved technologies and management techniques. The same thing can and must happen in the service sector. Leer más “Creating not just jobs, but good jobs”

L’Oréal weighs up ‘digital mirror’ kiosks


L’Oréal is considering rolling out in-store kiosks across UK retailers that would enable consumers to try out hair and beauty products virtually.

L'Oréal face Cheryl Cole
L’Oréal face Cheryl Cole

The kiosks use EZface technology, which acts as a ‘Virtual Mirror’, showing users how products would look without having to apply them.

L’Oréal will be trialling the kiosks later this month offering products from brands such as Maybelline, ahead of a possible commercial deal.
Leer más “L’Oréal weighs up ‘digital mirror’ kiosks”

Using Innovation to Deliver on Strategy


Last week I ran an executive education course called “Strategy In Action“. It’s an intensive full-week course and we try to equip managers with ideas and processes that will help them to develop and execute strategy. As part of the course, I also arrange guest speakers who have examples of good strategy in their business or are interesting because of the way that they have overcome challenges in executing strategy. This execution focus matters. Like innovation, most strategies fail because they aren’t executed very well. Strategy analysis and development is where we tend to put the most effort but this is hardly ever where the problems occur. Leer más “Using Innovation to Deliver on Strategy”

Springwise | New business ideas from around the world


The music industry has long been putting fans to work for help with promotions and sales, and now it looks like Domino’s Pizza is getting in on the action as well. A new widget launched last month lets consumers serve as affiliate marketers for the brand through their social networking pages and blogs.

Domino’s UK is apparently the first brand to test the new widget, which comes from UK agency BLM Quantum, part of Arena BLM. All consumers need do is install the widget on their website, blog or social networking page, start promoting Domino’s on their personal web space, and then wait for the cash to roll in. The widget tracks all orders placed through their site and rewards consumers with 0.5 percent of every purchase.

All the marketing experts in the world can’t hold a candle to the persuasive power socially connected consumers have over each other; the key is harnessing that power and putting it to work for your brand—with rewards, of course, for the consumers in question. Who will be the first brand in *your* industry to leverage the virtually limitless marketing muscle of sellsumers?

Website: www.dominos.co.uk
Contact: www.dominos.co.uk/about/contactus.aspx

Spotted by: MarketingWeek via Rick Edgars

It’s been only a few weeks since we covered French WTFjeans, but we couldn’t resist mentioning another gadget-friendly clothing accessory we recently came across. For those not willing to stuff their jeans with electronics—however well-suited those jeans might be—the Bandee is a multifunctional sash designed to hold mobile phones, iPods and all sorts of other gadgets that otherwise fill up pockets or get lost in handbags.

The award-winning Bandee is a “multifunctional transport solution for the little things of everyday life,” as its Berlin-based creator puts it. Cellphones, music players, wallets, ID, keys, lipstick and a virtually infinite variety of other small items fit nicely in its many pockets, relieving the wearer of the need to carry a heavy bag or load the pockets of one’s clothes. Compartments are configured to ensure that nothing falls out—even on the most challenging half-pipe, say—and a variety of designs are available. Pricing ranges from EUR 29.95 for solid-coloured Bandees to EUR 39.95 for multicolour designs.

Currently selling through its online shop as well as through retail outlets in Portugal, the Netherlands, South Korea, Poland and Turkey, Bandee is now seeking distributors in other countries. One to bring to the gadget-dependent masses in your part of the world…?

Website: www.bandee.de
Contact: info@bandee.eu

We’ve seen numerous social networks for travellers in recent years, including KLM’s location-specific Club China and Club Africa for connecting people who do business in those parts of the world. Taking a slightly different tack is British Airways’ Metrotwin, which focuses on comparing and contrasting city “twins” instead.

New York and London are the cities paired on the main Metrotwin site, which provides recommendations for the best neighbourhoods, businesses, attractions and places to visit on both sides of the pond. Rather than connecting travellers, it strives to be more of a social utility for time-starved, novelty-seeking urbanites living in or travelling between the two cities. Same goes for Metrotwin Mumbai, a like-minded arm of the effort that pairs London and Mumbai instead. The site explains: “Do you know where to find the Breach Candy of London? What about the Tate Modern of Mumbai? Metrotwin makes these cross-references useful by asking people like you to suggest Mumbai and London ‘twins’ for neighbourhoods, businesses, attractions, places and people.” Rather than reviewing any and every cafe in those cities, then, it focuses on comparable “best of” destinations, drawing from local online communities and bloggers—who, incidentally, get rewarded for their content with British Airways miles.

Now in beta, Metrotwin puts an interesting spin on travel review sites by focusing on equivalent attractions in very different cities. That’s how people often learn about new things, after all—by comparing them with what they already know—so the approach makes intuitive sense. One to emulate for travellers in your part of the world, or to apply to a different product category?

Website: www.mumbai.metrotwin.com
Contact: support@metrotwin.com

Spotted by: Louisa Redshaw

Image credits: Deepa and obo-bobolina


UK law requires that children under the age of 12 travel with a booster seat to help avoid serious injury in the event of a collision, and similar laws apply in countries around the world. Normally made of hard plastic, these seats are bulky and difficult to transport, so many children go without proper safety provision when travelling in other people’s cars, rental cars and taxis. Enter BubbleBum, an inflatable, safety-approved car booster seat, providing a lightweight, portable alternative to its cumbersome counterparts.

Launched in December 2009 and claimed to be a world’s first, the patent-pending BubbleBum booster seats fold flat when deflated, making them easy to carry in rucksacks or handbags and convenient to take on holidays, school trips or car pooling. The BubbleBum booster seat is priced at GBP 24.99 and can be purchased through the company’s website.

BubbleBum is currently negotiating distribution deals with several large retailers in the UK, Ireland and North America, as well as a travel company. Given the increasingly mobile lifestyles of parents, the demand for travel-friendly child safety solutions is surely on the rise. Get on board now and strap in for a rewarding ride! (Related: For parents on the go, folding high-chair made of cardboard.)

Website: www.bubblebum.co.uk
Contact: info@bubblebum.co.uk

Spotted by: Mark Nagurski

Much the way Supercool School allows anyone to create and monetize an online school, so Estonia-based Traindom focuses on helping information entrepreneurs market their expertise.

No programming or design skills are required to create an education-focused business with Traindom; rather, the site gives users everything they need, including an easy-to-use product creation interface, client management tools, payment systems and more. Content can be conveyed through text, images, audio or video, and support is available both from the company and through a community forum. Traindom users don’t pay until they win 10 sales, and there are no contracts, setup or termination fees. Pricing ranges from nothing for a free account supporting up to 10 clients with 500 megabytes of video storage to USD 99 per month for unlimited clients and 10 gigabytes of storage.

Picking up where general sites like Instructables leave off, Traindom could provide just the platform for minipreneurs with niche expertise. One to try out on the target market that matters to you?

Website: www.traindom.com
Contact: info@traindom.com

Spotted by: John Greene

University of the People—which we covered last week—may be tuition-free, but plenty of other schools around the globe are profitable. Just launched earlier this year, Supercool School is an education platform that lets anyone create and monetize an online school of their very own.

For USD 15 per month, users of San Francisco-based Supercool School can create real-time classes and make them available to an unlimited number of students from all around the world. The white-label platform offers streaming audio and video as well as the ability to share documents and presentations over the web. Every live class is recorded and stored, enabling thousands of students to view them afterwards. School creators can offer their classes for free or charge for them as part of a global education business that’s customizable, brandable and scalable. Professional accounts with unlimited access to Supercool School are now in invitation-only beta; in the meantime, a free version of the platform can be used to offer up to 15 classes per month.

More than 45,000 companies and 300,000 entrepreneurs post revenues of roughly $30 billion per year in the U.S. education and training services industry alone, says Supercool, which now enables more than 100 schools, 700 classes and 2,500 users. Time to start a little global education business of your own…? (Related: Peer-to-peer ‘(un)classes’ match interest with passion.)

Website: www.supercoolschool.com
Contact: contact@supercoolschool.com

Spotted by: John Greene

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