Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

2009 Mark P. Tiner Education Foundation Board Meeting

The 2009 Mark P. Tiner Education Foundation Board Meeting

Last week The Mark P. Tiner Education Board met to select a financial needs scholarship recipient. Over 70 graduating high school seniors from throughout Orange County, CA applied for the scholarship.

It's rewarding to continue my brother's memory forward and help a well deserving student pursue higher education.

The board will present the scholarship next month.


Viral Marketing: We Share What Defines Us

Marcus Goodyear, an online editor for several magazines, recently wrote Viral Marketing: We Share What Defines Us, an exhaustive follow up to my recent post, Why Do Certain Websites Go Viral?


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day



"The Fragile Earth Needs A Voice" -Green Peace

Enjoy an interesting video created by Green Peace for Earth Day.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Philips Carousel Commercial



Enjoy Carousel, Adam Berg's short movie used to promote Philip's Cinema 21:9 Television, the world's first cinema proportion TV. Additionally, Philips created a microsite to promote the new TV and short film.

The short film is inspired by Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Night," featuring swat officers battling robbers wearing ominous masks. Carousel is intended to be an endless loop; a literal "carousel" of cinematic creativity.

As marketing campaigns are centered around promoting technology, instead of a brand name; focusing on creative engagement will continually drive successful marketing campaigns in the years ahead.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Why Do Certain Websites Go Viral?

Last week, Ashton Kutcher made national headlines by challenging CNN to see who could be the first Twitter user to have one million followers. Kutcher punked social media and won the challenge by being the first Tweeter to reach one million followers. Shortly afterwards, Oprah had Evan Williams, the founder of Twitter, on her show. The exposure introduced Twitter to Oprah's legion of viewers who no doubt learned about the micro-blogging service for the first time.

From March '08 to March '09, Twitter saw its traffic explode over 2500 percent (see chart below).



Earlier this year, fmylife.com .launched. The site lists short humorous entries about unfortunate circumstances. Anyone can anonymously contribute to the website.

In 4 months, the site went from zero viewers in January to 1.8 million unique visitors in April (see chart below). The website has already secured a book deal with Random House Books and there is probably a movie deal somewhere in the works.


Twitter and Fmylife are two examples about how websites can grow viral at different paces.

For over two years, Twitter has been a buzz word in the social media community. From the Virtual Worlds Conference to the Inbound Marketing Summit, social media experts discussed the importance of micro-blogging service and the potential marketing implications. It was a big deal when social media gurus, including Chris Brogan had over ten thousand followers. ...Let alone when Kutcher reached one million.

After the 2008 Presidential Election, the mainstream media started encouraging viewers to follower reporters, journalists and various celebrities on Twitter. Quickly interest in the website ignited and Twitter exploded into society's daily vernacular.

But what's the tipping point?

Is it the mainstream media that encourages viral growth?

Or is it something else?

Fmylife was launched four months ago and today averages over 1.8 million visitors. Those statistics took Twitter nearly two years to reach.

Clearly, the mainstream media is not the sole cause of fmylife's success. The viral growth occurred through a natural inclination for friends to share the website with their peers.

"Check this out!" "It's so funny!" The word-of-mouth happened through social media websites, including Facebook and MySpace, where users posted links to entries on the website, which encouraged friends to visit the website. ...And VoilĂ ! FML enters our modern vocabulary.

Today, visitors join Twitter, because it's the cutting edge social media website. It's cool to join. People visit FML, because it's funny. ...Cool and Funny? Is that all it takes? Maybe.

Ultimately, it comes down to the perceived viewpoints of ourselves. Do we view ourselves as being funny and cool? Do we want to reflect that feeling to the world and share content that reinforces that aspired feeling? The natural avoidance of cognitive dissonance or the uncomfortable feeling of holding two opposite feelings, is a reason why some websites experience viral growth and others do not.

Ask yourself two questions, when designing your next website with a viral focus:
1) What are the aspirational feelings of my target audience?
2) How can I reinforce those viewpoints and encourage them to share it with their friends?

Asking these questions moves the website beyond simply offering quality content. It helps encourage your target audience to share your content.

There are academic journals full of quality content, but have less then a few thousand subscribers. Why? Because sharing the content with friends does not increase most reader's perceived feelings about themselves. They are simply satisfied with reading the content and discussing it in small circles.

However, unique marketing books, like Seth Godin's Purple Cow, make it on a bestsellers list, because readers are encouraged to share the book's innovation and coolness. A reader's perception of innovation and coolness are increased, when he or she shares the book with a friend and cognitive dissonance is avoided.

As with websites and books, the importance of creating content that is worth sharing to augment a person's perceived value of self will help encourage a brand, product, or company to experience viral growth.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

One Day Without Shoes: Toms Shoes



This Thursday, don't be surprised to see your boss walking barefoot to the water cooler. To raise awareness about how one pair of shoes can impact a child's life, Tom's Shoes has created "One Day Without Shoes." Participants are encouraged to go barefoot to help Tom's Shoes spread its benevolent message. Similar to Nike's Human Race, One Day Without Shoes globally spreads Tom's Shoes mission and uniquely connects its target audience.

As marketing messages are frequently lost in the cloud of daily marketing messages, is there an idea your company or brand can rally a one day event around?

The Visa Black Card: Exclusivity for the Masses



"And the black card don't got no max." - Jay Z

Years ago, American Express launched the Centurion Card The prestigious card carries a $2500 annual fee and is awarded to American Express users who spend $250,000 annually. The card essentially has "got no max."

New Bentley? No Problem.

New Yacht? No Problem.

Invitation for your cousin to attend a sleep over at Hannah Montana's home? Well, that may be a problem.

American Express' Centurion Card paved the way for the recent launch of Visa's Black Card. Similar to the Centurion Card, Visa's Black Card is awarded to the top percentage of Visa Card users. However Visa Black Card users only pay a $500 annual fee and there is no exorbitant annual spending requirement.

A Visa advertisement claims that the card is "the world's most prestigious and versatile card." It may be versatile. However, with Visa's goal to have 3 million users carry the card, is the Black really the most prestigious?

In today's turbulent economy, rebranding extremely exclusive services is becoming the new mantra. Massclusivity or the offering or exclusivity to the masses, allows brands to reach a larger audience with the mystic of being perceived as being exclusive.

As your brand or company is looking to remain steady throughout the recession, consider repositioning a product or service with more exclusivity. It may seem like a step backward, but the ability to appeal to a consumer's desires, not only needs, may be the real answer forward.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Festival of Life









Yesterday, I volunteered at Fred Jordan Missions, a nonprofit community outreach in Los Angeles' Skid Row. It was rewarding to provide the needy with a warm meal, Box of Hope and some Easter cheer.

To learn about ways to serve your community this spring and summer, visit volunteermatch.org.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

SEO Design Tips

The NBA playoffs will tip off soon!

The players are ready, but is the official website?

In an era where anyone can easily become a website developer due to template design and click & publish software, it is important for brands not to overlook search engine optimization strategy.

One important design strategy is to include title tags in the images of the website. Title tags are not viewed by humans and only viewed by search engines when they crawl a website. For example, if you look at the bottom two images, you will notice two different perspectives of the same website. The first displays how the website is viewed by humans and the second shows how the website is viewed by a search engine.





(NBA.com as viewed when crawled by a search engine)


Ideally, the title headings, including "teams," players" "nba playoffs" and several others should be included in the title tags of the website. Including title tags helps position websites on keywords, which increases the website's ranking in search engine queries.

Since the NBA's website has a high page rank of 7 out of 10 and a very established audience, including image titles will not significantly increase traffic to the current site. However, including them will help the NBA's authority on these terms.

If you are redesigning a website or looking to increase positioning on certain key terms, make sure to include title tags in the current layout of a site. It is a design element that is easily overlooked, but will help optimize your website for search engines.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Flutter: The New Twitter



A week after April Fools' Day, Flutter: The New Twitter, a Slate V mockumentary, continues to create laughter across the cyber landscape. Flutter tweets fun at the persistent and rapid growth of social media websites. The satire depicts how users' attention spans are quickly decreasing and creating demand for the fusion of social media websites.

As the amount of Twitters has skyrocketed from 4 million in November 2008 to 14 million today, the popular micro-blogging site continues to receive daily recognition in mainstream news. Everyday society is reminded about the site from DJs, television anchors and journalists who encourage the public to follow their tweets.

If Twitter continues to grow at this viral pace, don't be surprised to see Evan Willams, founder of Twitter, nominated for Time's Person of The Year. After all in 2006, Time recognized You (a.k.a YouTube) as the Person of the Year. Then again, maybe that's just flutterful thinking.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Business Cards Are Soooo 1985


(Apple's 1985 Office Lemmings Commercial)

In an era of Hybrids, Teslas and Go Green initiatives, business cards are starting to fall the way of the newspaper ...out of print and into environmentally friendly formats.

Last month at South By Southwest, Contxts, a free electronic SMS business card service, took the conference by storm, well the service at least saved a few trees. Instead of exchanging business cards at networking events, attendees simply said text me at 50500. Attendees electronically received contact information, saved time and avoided the hassle of sorting through dozens of cards following the event.

Contxts allows recipients to receive not only basic contact information, including address, email and occupation title, but the electronic business card can also display the social networks affiliated with the registrant. If you are want to show innovation in the workplace, avoid looking like a corporate lemming, or join the Go Green bandwagon and save a few trees, then Contxts may just be the service for you.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Desktop 2009

(April 2009 Desktop, Fiji (C) Tiner (1200x800))


“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land, there is no other life but this.” -Thoreau