Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Leveraging Social Media and Web 2.0 in a Product Launch

This morning I co-presented with Wilson Craig, PR Manager at Cisco for the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association's (SVAMA) networking breakfast. We shared the strategy, tactics and lessons learned from the recent Cisco ASR 1000 product launch where we leveraged interactive and social tools as well as social media outlets including Facebook, Second Life, blogs and discussion forums to spread its marketing message.

Here are the slides from our presentation:

Friday, March 21, 2008

Apple Ad - Cool or Disruptive - or Both?

Apple has a new Mac vs. PC ad on doing a comparison of operating systems (Vista and Leopard).

From a technology stand point it's very cool and innovative - that shouldn't be surprising coming from Apple. The skyscraper on the right automatically plays a video when you land on the NY Times homepage. The "PC Guy" realizes that there's bad press on the Vista OS in the top banner so he does an "Emergency Banner Refresh" to update the ad (this is the cool and innovative part - the top banner and the side skyscraper banner are tied together and the top banner actually refreshes on queue to show a new ad).

Although it's a cool ad I think it's a little annoying and it's not inline with the whole "Web 2.0" movement of being integrated versus interruptive. I actually don't like when the ads play automatically. When I visit the NY Times website I'm there to get a news update. If the ad were related to what was on the page it wouldn't be as annoying - for example if I were reading an article about operating systems I would likely value what Mr. PC and Mr. Mac had to say but if I'm going to the site for an update about the elections its just distracting.

Now this is Apple and the cool factor lets them get away with more but I'm interested to find out how the general public reacts to this type of advertising.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Game On

It's no secret that I'm an advocate of using online games to create an engaging and fun environment for people to learn and interact with your brand. I've even questioned whether online gaming was web 2.0's killer app. Cisco's latest EDGE QUEST game was a result of my persistence on this topic and has proven to be a good investment so far. But if you're still looking for more ammo to sell this concept to your organization, iMedia Connection posted a useful article: 11 Reasons to Extend your Brand with Games. Here are the highlights:

  1. The bottom line is we just want to have fun: According to the National Institute on Media and the Family, 35% of Americans rated video and computer games as "the most fun entertainment activity."
  2. Online games can be viral and ubiquitous: They are portable and can be emailed, hosted on websites, syndicated, distributed to mobile phones, etc.
  3. They deliver results: Some say that advergaming offers retention rates 10 times higher than broadcast commercials; 15-45 percent of consumers who receive an advergame actually play it, and for an impressive average of 25 minutes. (Source: YaYa LLC.)
  4. Games and simulations are a great way to educate your prospects and customers: They also added sales to that list in the story. Cisco's EDGE QUEST game is a great example of how we made it educational but still fun and engaging.
  5. Online games create an impetus to interact with your brand: If you're looking to build a relationship with your customer this is a good way to get to know each other in a way that "appeals to our emotions."
  6. Online games deliver greater brand recall: It's memorable. Why? Because it's visual, interactive and engaging.
  7. Provide greater customer insights: Customers are more willing to share personal/preference information in exchange for the ability to play a game.
  8. Games engage the emotion to reach the intellect: You're not only drawing them in for the fun but able to deliver key info and brand messages. "It's a one-two punch."
  9. Provide your prospect with an active (not passive) experience: Participation is required.
  10. Multiplayer games can be the glue to build community around your brand: This is something that is probably best done with Second Life. Simulating real life environments are no longer abstract thoughts when you can illustrate it in a virtual setting.

Synchronize your brand vision across all touchpoints: Because of the portability you can "span far and wide" hence fully leveraging your investment for a large, global audience.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Why Everyone Should be on LinkedIn

I am participating in the WOMEN Unlimited leadership program and have found myself becoming a LinkedIn advocate. I think that everyone should have a profile on LinkedIn. People have asked me what the value is if they are not looking for a job. To that I simply tell them how I use LinkedIn:
  • It's a convenient place to store my most current resume. I update it as my career changes so when I am ready for the next opportunity I don't have to go hunting in my folder list for the last doc I created.
  • It's a great way to collect, track, and present referrals. When you are ready to make a move, your new position will typically ask for three references. Now I can also provide a link to my LinkedIn profile which includes a number of endorsements that I've collected throughout my career. I maintain this vigilantly - every time someone I work closely with moves out of my group or if I move to a new position I will ask for endorsements to keep my profile fresh.
  • Networking is a key benefit. Just about everyone is on LinkedIn and when you live in the valley people are moving to new positions all the time. LinkedIn offers a convenient way to build and stay in touch with your professional network.
  • If you're at all interested in building an online presence, LinkedIn is a good start since your information can be searchable. Plus you'll get a vanity link (ie. that you can reference in bios or in your resume which also makes your personal brand that much more 2.0.

For more uses and benefits of LinkedIn check out Maureen Caplan Gray's post which also provides examples of how she leverages LinkedIn to build her business.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Leveraging Social Media and Web 2.0 in a Product Launch

Part of the reason I've been a lazy blogger lately is that I have been consumed with launching "the most powerful compact router every created" - the Cisco ASR 1000 Series Routers. It's been a fun launch and we pulled out all of the web 2.0 stops creating a Virual. Viral. Visual. launch. Here's a laundry list of how we leveraged Web 2.0:

  • Pre-Launch Uber User Site - We leveraged light hearted videos on this site and posted them on YouTube to maximize visibility.
  • Facebook Group - This was part of the pre-launch so I was able write about this one in an earlier post and even shared our process and tips here.
  • Interactive 3-D Game - I would like to give kudos to the vendor - Somnio - who helped us create this very cool online game. "EDGE QUEST" offers our audience a fun and engaging way to learn about the product and interact with the Cisco brand - a no-brainer given the playing statistics of online games.
  • Social Media Web Widget - Again kudos to Somnio here for the development of Cisco's first web widget that 'lets our content free' by allowing users to embed it on their site (as shown below).

  • Social Media Release (SMR) - It's been nearly a year since I stumbled across and wrote about SMRs. What make them different from a traditional release? It's the approach and the fact that a SMR leverages and highlights all of the social aspects of the announcement.
  • Second Life Presence - We were able to leverage Second Life pre-launch by hosting a countdown party and post launch by walking through a product demo.
    Other Stuff - We also leveraged sites like Digg,, Technorati, Reddit and StumbleUpon - we also have a focused blogger outreach program and a pretty cool looking launch page.

Want to know more about this launch? I'll be presenting on March 26 with Wilson Craig, PR Manager at Cisco for the Silcon Valley American Marketing Association to share processes, best practices and results.