Thursday, September 30, 2010

Predicting consumer behavior with Web search

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published an article on research about how the Web search is the crystal ball of future behavior.

"Recent work has demonstrated that Web search volume can “predict the present,” meaning that it can be used to accurately track outcomes such as unemployment levels, auto and home sales, and disease prevalence in near real time. Here we show that what consumers are searching for online can also predict their collective future behavior days or even weeks in advance. Specifically we use search query volume to forecast the opening weekend box-office revenue for feature films, first-month sales of video games, and the rank of songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, finding in all cases that search counts are highly predictive of future outcomes. We also find that search counts generally boost the performance of baseline models fit on other publicly available data, where the boost varies from modest to dramatic, depending on the applica- tion in question. Finally, we reexamine previous work on tracking flu trends and show that, perhaps surprisingly, the utility of search data relative to a simple autoregressive model is modest. We conclude that in the absence of other data sources, or where small improvements in predictive performance are material, search queries provide a useful guide to the near future."

Read the article here.o

Great Trend E-Book


Advanced strategic thinking for ad professionals


Social Media Flings


A new report from Accenture:

"Accenture conducted a comprehensive research program on the role and the importance of the physical retail channel for providers of communications products and services. We approached the research program in two phases: the first phase was an online survey of more than 3,000 consumers in 18 countries (representative across age, gender, education and occupation), and the second phase involved interviews of more than 50 senior executives at leading global communications providers. "

Download it here.o

How Customers Really Buy!


The Worst As in America

The Consumerist started a poll on the subject "The worst ad in America" and 30% of some 100.000 votes said this one was the worst:

Watch the rest of the "winners" here.o

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Visit the new Disney Concept Store


Plan Your Inspirational Tour

I came across this great list of recommended concept stores from all over the world the other day. A good start for planning your inspirational tour.o

Consumer confidence slips


How Technology Is Changing Retail And Marketing

An interesting panel discussion from PSFK.


More spent on nothing

A new report from Inside Network, "Inside Virtual Goods: The US Virtual Goods Market 2010 - 2011", forecasts the virtual goods market on the social media game arena, such as Farmville, will almost double from 2009's $1.1 billion to $2.1 billion in 2011.

"With an up-to-$750 million acquisition of Playdom by Disney, an up-to-$400 million acquisition of Playfish by Electronic Arts, the acquisition of Tapulous by Disney, and hundreds of millions of dollars in venture investments, virtual goods are impacting businesses across the media landscape," says Inside Network.
"Virtual goods, and the companies that create them, may be bringing the largest disruption entertainment, communication, and e-commerce infrastructure businesses have seen in years."o
A.K. Pradeep, the CEO of research whose book “The Buying Brain” has just become available for purchase. Obviously he is trying to reach new target groups with this video...

Welcome to my world, young cobras
You now in tune with Dr. Neurofocus
I was born with the power to read,
Your brain activity (Im a G)
Neuroscience is the study of the brain,
How its structured, the whole shebang
This is how it works, yer brains a series of complex networks
Some form Gs, some form jerks
Mine formed perfect (thats my word)
100 Billion brain cells, chillin in your head
They be chillin in your head
And how they connect, a network is set
These activate when stimulus is met
(Stimuli !!!)
So fly, I ..
Swoop in with sensors to feel on their vibes
My technology is called EEG
Electro enceph allography
And each of those sensors, do more work than
1 Million benchpressers
Now your brainwaves I measure
(At what Rate?)
2000 times a second !
Yeah, I know .. quite impressive
But please stay tuned, theres still more lesson.

Lemme listen to your brain
Lemme tune into your brain
Lemme pick up on your brain
Ima listen to your brain

Verse 2, Howdoyoudo ?
I bet youre wonderin how I make my loot ?
I bet you question how I can push this coupe ?
How I rock fly suits and wear Versace boots ?
Welllll come closer for a listen,
Sit Down
Turn on your television ..
You see that car ? See that brand ?
You see the package that shes holding in her hand ?
Zamn ! Your p300s off the charts !
Welcome to the world of the NeuroMarket.
We measure NeuroMetrics,
This aint gym class or stupid pet tricks!
I can see, when emotions are engaged
I can see, the attention that you paid
I can see, whats stored in your memo-rays
Dont worry, they cant see,
Its between you and me (wink)
I measure in the sub-conscious,
To hear what yer thinking,
Dude, that knowledge is righteous
Im not like them other guys ..
Who behind mirrors while yer under lights.
They only ask questions.
I gain insight, in every session.
Like purchase intent,
The novelty found and awareness thats kept.
We measure the Full BRAIN !
This aint Bio-metrics, or
Head bands, mayne !
Cuz the brain drives the body,
In my case a Caddy, a Porsche and an Audi.
Need Market research then call me,
ERP your TCE and Priming.
Dr. NeuroFocus, I always POP OUT !
So relax your cortex and step in my house.

Lemme listen to your brain
Lemme tune into your brain
Lemme pick up on your brain
Ima listen to your brain

Wal-Mart goes to Africa

"Wal-Mart Stores Inc. made an aggressive but expensive bid to expand in Africa ahead of its international competitors, offering to buy South African retailer Massmart Holdings Inc. for 32 billion rand ($4.6 billion). Wal-Mart's proposed offer—the company's biggest acquisition in more than a decade—would represent a relatively high premium for Massmart, a 290-store chain operating in 13 African nations." Read more here.o

Glen Senk on the Technology aspect of Merchandising


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On Advertising

Watch in larger format here.o

The Power of Apology


David Droga On The Positive Impact Of Advertising

"Perhaps one of the greatest and biggest changes in the advertising industry has been the way brands sell themselves and the mediums in which they do that. It’s as much about the communication, but also now it is the body language of a brand…how it actually operates and exists in the real world"


A Virtual Fitting Room

Fits.Me, an Estonian start up, has come up with a robot that will help e-tailers to sell clothes online.

FastCompany reports:

"A robotic mannequin that takes your body measurements and mimics your shape, so that you can see exactly how clothing would fit you, online. Launched in June, has already shown promising results for clients: One German test-run showed that the robots increased sales 300%, while reducing returns 28%. :"

Heikki Haldre, CEO of Fits.Me tells that "All told, the robot is capable of replicating 2,000 body shapes. When a retailer signs up with, they first send in their clothes. Each size is placed on the robot, which then cycles through all the body shapes it knows."


Monday, September 27, 2010

Alternative Thinking 2011

The Deloitte Global Energy & Resources group released today “Alternative Thinking 2011: Top 10 Trends and Issues in Renewable Energy” at the World Energy Congress in Montreal. The report identifies key forces impacting the growth of the renewable energy sector today and over the next twelve months, chief among them the increasing complexities of access to capital, tax and government regulation, and the imperative for renewable energy leaders to effectively manage large-scale operations and attract right-skilled workers.

Rebounding from two years of dampened investments, renewable energy is enjoying robust merger and acquisition activity and an improving initial public offering (IPO) market, in part due to government stimulus. Yet, the lending market remains tough and uncertain as borrowers face increasingly expensive and onerous terms and governments under pressure consider limiting crucial incentives.

“Renewable energy is at a pivotal moment in time as an industry. It must access funding in order to grow, but to do that it must also offer more than proven technology. Companies will need integrated organizations, broader capabilities, and more developed supply chain resources to roll out programs on a significantly larger scale,” said Roman Webber, Deloitte Renewable Energy Community of Practice Leader.

The report identifies new funding sources such as companies in South Korea or sovereign wealth funds from Asia and the Middle East. It also signals a major shift in investor preferences, e.g.,solar energy has asserted primacy over wind for investors.
In another indication of increased expectations for renewable energy companies, the report noted that board members will be required to keep watch on a company’s reputational goals of sustainability and net energy efficiency.
Further, joint ventures are becoming a more common way for companies to achieve scale. Companies can “supersize renewable energy” by pooling resources to create a consortium that can enter new markets and spread risk. Renewable energy companies can also look to rivals for resources, including the traditional oil and gas sector, for complimentary expertise to help them plug skills gaps.

“Looking ahead, many oil and gas supply chain companies will begin to think of themselves as energy supply companies. On the flip side, investors seeking new opportunities should look at the supply chain, which has to develop significantly to meet the needs of renewable energy companies,” Webber said.
The report outlines where and how renewable energy companies can grow, the skills and characteristics that its managers will need to drive that growth, and emerging investment opportunities. Among the findings:
Impact of regulatory scrutiny:

Regulatory uncertainty is complicating the investment environment as governments under financial pressure and a changing picture on security of supply are looking at levels and duration of incentives. Additionally, a plethora of incentives—from carbon credits, feed in tariffs, and tradable certificates to tax credits, can create unnecessary complexity for investors.
While equity investments in renewable energy are surging, some IPOs and debt financing are also hampered by regulatory uncertainty and caution. Debt deals are taking longer to close, terms of refinancing are changing, and lenders are paying closer attention to power purchase agreements.

A more politicized marketplace will require managers to hone their stakeholder management as well as commercial skills. Separately, managers embarking on joint ventures must exert financial discipline across the board, focus on operational efficiency, and have strong teaming and engagement skills.

The bigger costs of sustainability:

Board members should take a hard look at environmental and social consequences of a high- infrastructure business while advancing a sustainability agenda. Companies will need to embed sustainability into their corporate strategy and supply chain in order to preserve their reputation and that of their industry.
At some point, consumers will need to buy into the cost of renewable energy

Where the jobs are:

The manufacturing side of renewable energy has provided short-term relief to the job market, but the demand side of renewable energy should be a longer-term source of employment in managing energy usage. While requiring up-front costs of training and retaining, they are likely to pay more and be more sustainable.
This report is part of a series released by Deloitte that covers oil and gas, power and utilities and mining, and the renewable energy sectors. It draws upon in-depth interviews with renewable energy companies, industry analysts, and senior energy practitioners from Deloitte member firms from around the globe.

Download report here.o

Channel Choice

Via The Hub Magazine, Masha Sajedeh

"A multichannel eco-system serves shopper needs.

In the era of multichannel marketing, the roles and relevance of both traditional and new channels is being questioned. As the battle for channel supremacy rages, we are left wondering: What role does the store play in a world where people have many other shopping and buying options? Why should a shopper have to go to a retailer and a manufacturer website? Can a last-minute price check on a mobile phone in-store really match the diligence of comparison-shopping online?

Amidst this chaos, three imperatives have emerged for maximizing the relevance of channels both new and old in their role to ultimately move the shopper closer to a sale: First, a channel must emphasize its unique comparative advantages. Second, a channel must meet a minimum threshold on shopper expectations. Third, channels must collaborate to enhance the multichannel experience for the shopper.

With our channel choices including everything from the physical store to e-commerce sites, manufacturer websites to catalogs, social to mobile — and beyond — how should we use these channels to help shoppers along their journey?

Answering this question begins by examining each channel against the four needs shoppers look to address as they make their purchase choices, specifically: product; price; time and convenience; and experience.

A channel must emphasize its unique comparative advantages. Clearly, not all channels can address these needs equally, nor can an individual channel address a shopper need completely or entirely on its own (see chart one). Channels address certain needs better than others and knowing this helps a channel define its role and mission for the shopper.

Begin by understanding which shopper needs are best addressed by a channel. Then determine how a channel can deliver on that particular need better than or differently from any other channel. This will help a channel create a unique point-of-difference around a need that is relevant for the shopper.

For example, in chart one, the store is great at delivering rich experiences, but so are catalogs, manufacturer websites and some social media channels. But the first-hand experience of a store cannot be replicated in any other channel. Similarly, ideas and inspiration are unique to a catalog experience, just as in-depth information is to a manufacturer website, and personally meaningful experiences are to certain social-media channels.

Therefore, if a store really wants to win on this dimension, it needs to create an immersive and tangible experience that can only be appreciated in-person. Take American Girl Place stores, for example—the lavish tea parties and glamorous haircuts are something you can only experience by bringing your doll with you to the store.

Understanding the comparative advantage of catalogs has helped many retailers highlight their ability to inspire and seed ideas with shoppers. The latest catalog from Barneys New York comes complete with 3D visuals and the glasses to bring the fashion to life. The new Diesel catalog has been transformed from a magalog into a videolog, complete with songs, characters and scenes that allow shoppers to appreciate the fashions in context.

The internet is unique in its ability to cast a wide net to shop a lot of retailers and brands without ever leaving the comfort of one’s living room. enhances this experience by letting shoppers enter a search item once and receive suggestions for retailers that they can “flit” back and forth from.

A channel must meet a minimum threshold of shopper expectations. As shoppers become accustomed to the benefits of shopping a particular channel, they also become more demanding in the way they shop other channels. Their expectations of shopping overall evolve and they carry these expectations with them from channel to channel. It is not good enough for a channel to exceed expectations on one dimension. If a channel cannot at least satisfy basic needs on other dimensions important to the shopper, people will have no choice but to avoid it.

For instance, because of the way people have shopped in stores, they expect to try on clothes and get the opinions of others before buying. However, shopping online has people guessing and speculating about how an outfit will look and what their friends may think.

Trunk Club has overcome this void by using online service consultants who interview customers to determine their clothing needs and preferences, then send a big box of apparel to model in front of the camera. Customers keep what works and send back what doesn’t, all without setting foot inside a store.

Conversely, the internet has provided shoppers with limitless product selections and efficient navigation tools. In contrast, in-store navigation of even a relatively limited selection is still challenging. To address this, Priscilla of Boston stores have incorporated touch-screen catalogs that enable brides to preview gowns with the stroke of a finger. Stores using the touch screens have reduced the
time required to browse 250 dresses from two hours to 20 minutes.

In a multichannel world, a shopper’s channel expectations are based not only on the way they use that channel, but also on what they experience in other channels. Channels can’t afford to simply build their strengths; they also need to overcome their shortcomings.

A channel must collaborate with other channels. Earlier, chart one showed us how channels are inherently suited for doing certain tasks better than others, but no single channel can deliver on any shopper need entirely on its own. Chart two shows why people therefore use multiple channels to perform different tasks as they move along the path-to-purchase.

Certain channels are used earlier in the process because they are a good source of information (online) or ideas (catalogs), but play a limited role late in the shopping journey. Other channels (like sales associates and mobile) provide the shopper with specific information just before the moment of purchase to help facilitate the decision. The store plays a role at various stages by providing the shopper with first-hand knowledge in the midst of the process and helping to complete the transaction.

For this reason, it is important that channels not be islands unto themselves. Of course, channels need to weave a seamless network, transitioning shoppers successfully from one task to the next. But even more important, channels need to collaborate—using their strengths to build upon the weaknesses of other channels—always enhancing the shopper experience.

The multichannel model from Sears combines the conveniences of online browsing with those of in-store pick-up. From the shopper’s perspective, this delivers the best of both worlds in one experience.

Kohl’s has added in-store kiosks that let shoppers jump online and order out-of-stock items and have them shipped to their home for free.

Ikea has brought the power of mobile to enhance the way shoppers view their catalog. iPhone users can download an augmented reality app, giving them the ability to place a piece of furniture anywhere inside a room around them, “virtually.” Best Buy’s Twelpforce uses Twitter to provide access to its in-store technical assistants outside the four walls of the store.

For too long we have debated the threat of online versus in-store, mobile versus online, social versus search, and so on. The multichannel world is not a “this or that” world; it is an eco-system in which multiple channels can harmoniously co-exist. How? Channels must acknowledge the other channels to define their own unique purpose for the shopper, solve for any gaps in expectations created by other channels and collaborate with other channels to enhance the experience for the shopper. "o

Tech Megatrends

Watch this condensed trend briefing in larger format here.o

Instore decision making

Dan Ariely is a professor and behavioral economist whose work studying decision making has taken him from MIT to Duke University.

On how increasing numbers of choices can confound actual purchase decisions:

On how we make comparisons only based on the options intuitively available to us, and how similar options impact decisions in unexpected ways:


Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Mobile as a laptop


Friday, September 24, 2010

TalkTrack study proves the power of word of mouth in brand promotion

Consumers have ten conversations a day on average in which they mention brands, 62% of which are ‘mostly positive’, according to TalkTrack - the first ever comprehensive word of mouth study in the UK - funded by Starcom MediaVest Group, News International and ESPN.

TalkTrack, which tracked more than 14,000 conversations by 2,500 people in May 2010, now delivers a clear understanding of the nature of brand conversations, detailing who, what, when and where they are taking place, allowing brands exclusive access to valuable information across many sectors.

It found that, despite conventional wisdom, 81% of brand conversations actually take place face-to-face, with an additional 11% on the phone, and just 7% online. However the study still shows the internet to be crucial in the mix of media driving word of mouth brand advocacy. In fact, the study found that 47% of brand conversations mention media of some kind, with the internet leading the way (15%), followed by TV (13%), newspapers (5%), magazines (4%), radio (2%) and posters (1.5%). It also shows that where online is mentioned, consumers are more likely to seek further brand information – 30% are ‘highly likely’ as opposed to 20% when the internet is not mentioned.

From a marketing perspective, TalkTrack discovered that advertising is still the number one driver of brand mentions (17%), followed by programming/ editorial (11%), websites (10%), POS (8%), promotions (5%), social media or online reviews (4%) and direct mail (4%). Additionally, the study discovered that 67% of conversations that contain a media or marketing reference also include a recommendation to buy, as opposed to 51% without these mentions, and the young and educated are more like to reference media or marketing.

Added to all that, the study identified an influential group of brand advocates, officially named Conversation Catalysts™ by Keller Fay, the specialist company that conducted the research. In all, around 8% of the community falls into this group, a group more likely to earn over £55k per annum, be degree educated and have a professional occupation. Conversation Catalysts™ will usually have a social network twice the size of the average consumer; they mention twice as many brands per week and are twice as likely to give advice.

Other major findings include:

• The Top 10 brands with the highest percentage of positive mentions (descending):, BMW, New Look, Sony, Adidas, Nescafe, Volkswagen, Primark, HP and Nike

• Top 10 brands with the lowest percentage of positive mentions (descending): Microsoft, HSBC, Santander, Vodafone, McDonalds, T-Mobile, KFC, Barclays, TalkTalk and BT

• Those in the 24-35yo age bracket are more likely to talk about brands

• The older you get, the less negative you tend to become about brands

• People earning under £15k are more likely to be negative

• People who are married or married with kids are more likely to be positive

• 64% of people have a conversation on Food and dining on a daily basis, with media and entertainment a close second at 63%

• 57% of people mention Beverages on an average day, with sports, recreation and hobbies at 50% and technology close behind at 48%

• Media, technology and personal care received the highest proportion of positive mentions, with banks registering the lowest net advocacy

Stewart Easterbrook, CEO at Starcom MediaVest Group UK, said: “TalkTrack is a crucial new study for brands in the UK, given its unrivalled ability to track brand advocacy via word of mouth. We have long since known how much word of mouth can affect brand success but TalkTrack allows us to track who, what, when and where brand conversations are taking place. Knowing the impact of media and marketing and who the most influential consumers are is crucial in understanding the role media can have in earning share of voice.”o

Thursday, September 23, 2010

28% of European Mobile Consumers plan to use the Mobile Internet Once a Week or More in Next Year

MMA-Lightspeed Research Study Reveals Strong Consumer Preference To Visit Free Mobile Internet Sites, Demonstrating Major Opportunity for Advertisers

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) ( and research partner, Lightspeed Research (, today released results of the latest UK, French and German Mobile Consumer Briefing reports on mobile Internet usage. The research shows high interest in mobile websites, with an average of 28% of European mobile consumers expecting to access websites once a week or more using their mobile phone over the next year. British mobile consumers emerged as the most likely to use the mobile Internet regularly, with 36% stating their intentions to do so over the next 12 months, followed by Germany at 27% and France at 20%.

Free access to websites on the mobile Internet emerged as a major driver for usage, with 56% of consumers in France and the UK, and 35% in Germany, stating that they would be very unlikely to use websites which charged them a fee. Fast loading times of websites to the mobile device and simple viewing and navigation were also key amongst French, German and British mobile consumers, with relevant and useful content whilst on the move also featuring highly for Germans.

Other key findings included:

•News, weather, social networking and mobile search were cited as the sites mobile consumers were most likely to access over the coming year, with maps and directions being the most desired content in the UK and France, and headlines in Germany.
•On average, 30% of mobile consumers (30% UK, 25% France and 36% Germany) were willing to receive alerts from websites of interest on their mobile phone, with 38% preferring these to be via SMS rather than email.
•Mobile search engines emerged as the most popular means of accessing websites on the mobile handset in all three countries, followed by bookmarking in the UK and France, and alerts and notifications in Germany.
“The survey results have shown that there is a clear and growing market opportunity for the mobile Internet,” said Peter A. Johnson, vice president of market intelligence, MMA, and author of the study. “The high usage of the mobile device for accessing websites is opening up as a key channel for advertisers. To make the most of this opportunity, site owners and developers need to ensure their websites are well-designed for mobile, user-friendly and easily discoverable using mobile search engines.”

“With almost a third of mobile users intending to use the mobile Internet in 2011, it is becoming a very attractive medium for brands and advertisers to engage with consumers,” stated Ralph Risk, Lightspeed Research Marketing Director EMEA. “Understanding how their customers use the mobile Internet is key to designing effective and interesting content.”o

Future books

The Future of the Book. from IDEO on Vimeo.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Favourite colors according to men and women.

Click on this link to discover the preference for various colors...o

Learning how consumers value products

Suggesting to consumers that they will use a product frequently can actually reduce their interest in purchasing the product.

"When consumers estimate the value of a durable product, they consider not only the absolute number of times they think they will use the product, but also the number of time they will use the product relative to other consumers," write authors Rebecca W. Hamilton, Rebecca K. Ratner (both University of Maryland, College Park), and Debora Viana Thompson (Georgetown University).

The very same cues that consumers use to determine that they might use a product frequently also make them think that others use the product more often than they will, the authors explain. In an initial study the authors found that college students reported playing video games more frequently when they used a high frequency response scale (ranging from "less than once a week" to "more than once every day") than when they used a low frequency response scale (ranging from "less than once a year" to "more than once a week").

However, the participants who used the high frequency scale were less interested in buying new video games, and the low frequency scales nearly doubled the percentage of respondents who accepted a free trial of a new video game. "The high frequency scale leads them to believe they play video games less than other college students," the authors write.

The researchers also that found college students were willing to pay more for a digital reader when they believed another college student had written a review suggesting low frequency of use ("once a week") than when the reviewer suggested high frequency of use ("once a day.") But when the participants thought a parent in a distant city wrote the review, the effects diminished.

"Ads or customer reviews highlighting how a product can be incorporated into a consumer's daily life can backfire if consumers believe their own usage frequency will be lower than others," the authors write. "Our findings suggest that if individuals believe they won't be able to keep up with the pace of others, they might choose not to even try."o

Hard-wired for chocolate and hybrid cars? How genetics affect consumer choice

Clues to consumer behavior may be lurking our genes, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research

"We examine a wide range of consumer judgment and decision-making phenomenon and discover that many—though not all of them—are in fact heritable or influenced by genetic factors," write authors Itamar Simonson (Stanford University) and Aner Sela (University of Florida, Gainesville).

The authors studied twins' consumer preferences to determine whether or not certain behaviors or traits have a genetic basis. "A greater similarity in behavior or trait between identical than between fraternal twins indicates that the behavior or trait is likely to be heritable," the authors explain.

The authors discovered that people seem to inherit the following tendencies: to choose a compromise option and avoid extremes; select sure gains over gambles; prefer an easy but non-rewarding task over an enjoyable challenging one; look for the best option available; and prefer utilitarian, clearly needed options (like batteries) over more indulgent ones (gourmet chocolate). They also found that likings for specific products seemed to be genetically related: chocolate, mustard, hybrid cars, science fiction movies, and jazz.

The researchers also found that some tendencies did not seem to be heritable—for example, a preference for a smaller versus larger product variety or likings for ketchup and tattoos.

"The current research suggests that heritable and other hard-wired inherent preference components play a key role in behavior and deserve much more attention in marketing and decision-making research," the authors write.

The authors believe their work may reveal some important information on the genetics of "prudence." "Some people may be born with a tendency to 'be in the mainstream' whereas others tend to 'live on the edge," the authors conclude.o

The Power of Creativity

Creativity – the core generator of wealth for building a new recovery.


Where do all good ideas come from?


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Try before you buy

Montreal-based Nuevo Watches has launched an Iphone-app that makes it possible to try watches on your arm before you order. A really simple way of solving a problem with e-tail.o

50 Stunning Infographics

Learning and accepting is so much easier when things look good. Watch 50 stunning examples here.o

Monday, September 20, 2010

Social Media Risks

- Thirty-three percent of SMBs have been infected by malware propagated via social networks. 23 percent cited employee privacy violations on popular social media sites
- Thirty-five percent of SMBs infected by malware from social networks have suffered financial loss
- Facebook takes top spot for social networking-related malware infections, followed by YouTube and Twitter

Panda Security, the Cloud Security Company, announced the results of its first annual Social Media Risk Index for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The study, which surveyed 315 US SMBs with up to 1,000 employees throughout the month of July, revealed that 33 percent of these companies had experienced a malware or virus infection from social networks, with 23 percent citing employee privacy violations resulting in the loss of sensitive data. In addition, thirty-five percent of survey respondents that were infected by malware from social networking sites suffered a financial loss, with more than a third of those companies reporting losses in excess of $5,000.

“Social media is now ubiquitous among SMBs because of its many obvious business benefits, yet these tools don’t come without serious risks,” said Sean-Paul Correll, threat researcher at Panda Security. “In Panda’s first annual Social Media Risk Index, we set out to uncover the top SMB concerns about social media and draw a correlation to actual incidence of malware infection, privacy violations and hard financial losses. While a relatively high number of SMBs have been infected by malware from social sites, we were pleased to see that the majority of companies already have formal governance and education programs in place. These types of policies combined with up to date network security solutions are required to minimize risk and ultimately prevent loss.”

Social Media Benefits Outweigh Concerns

According to the survey, SMB’s top concerns with social media include privacy and data loss (74 percent), malware infection (69 percent), employee productivity loss (60 percent), reputation damage (50 percent), and network performance/utilization problems (29 percent). However, these concerns are not deterring SMBs from reaping the business benefits of social media as 78 percent of respondents reported that they use these tools to support research and competitive intelligence, improve customer service, drive public relations and marketing initiatives and directly generate revenue. Facebook is by far the most popular social media tool among SMBs: Sixty-nine percent of respondents reported that they have active accounts with this site, followed by Twitter (44 percent), YouTube (32 percent) and LinkedIn (23 percent).

Facebook Emerges as Top Source for Malware Infections

Facebook was cited as the top culprit for companies that experienced malware infection (71.6 percent) and privacy violations (73.2 percent). YouTube took the second spot for malware infection (41.2 percent), while Twitter contributed to a significant amount of privacy violations (51 percent). For companies suffering financial losses from employee privacy violations, Facebook was again cited as the most common social media site where these losses occurred (62 percent), followed by Twitter (38 percent), YouTube (24 percent) and LinkedIn (11 percent).

Social Media Governance and Education Are Prevalent Among SMBs

To minimize the risks associated with social media, 57 percent of SMBs currently have a social media governance policy in place, with 81 percent of these companies employing personnel to actively enforce those policies. In addition, 64 percent of companies reported having formal training programs in place to educate employees on the risks and benefits of social media. The majority of respondents (62 percent) do not allow the personal use of social media at work. The most common disallowed social media activities include: Playing games (32 percent); publishing inappropriate content on social media sites (31 percent); and installing unapproved applications (25 percent). In addition, 25 percent of companies said that they actively block popular social media sites for employees, mainly via a gateway appliance (65 percent) and/or hosted Web security service (45 percent).

Survey respondents included individuals involved in setting and/or enforcing policies related to network activities at 315 SMBs within the United States.

Read the report here.o

The Future of TV


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Time spent online...

Watch in large format here.o

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Big Blue

COLOURlovers investigated the 100 top web brands to investigate if there were any pattern in the colour of the logos. There were. To make a long story short, if you want to play it safe, go for blue with red as a second runner up.

Check out this great infographic on the subject.o

Friday, September 17, 2010

Luxury Retail Market


New hope for retail


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Trend Report Coming Up

During October, Retailomania will publish a new report outlining retail and consumer trends likely to impact retail development during the decade to come. Order your copy now for free, by sending a mail to, and you will get your copy by mail a soon as it is finished.

Example of contents:

- Globalization 2.0/Glocalization 2.0
- The Unstoring of Retail
- Neuromarketing
- The Consumer Shift
- Mirroring Online -> Offline
- The New Service Society
- Etco

Let them touch it.

It is an old truth in retailing that letting people touch the merchandise induces feelings of actually owning the product already, and thereby making people more willing to buy.

Most retailers have built their Mobile Commerce systems with the assumption that, to customers, a smartphone is just like holding the store in the palms of their hands. But that may be wrong, according to researchers at the California Institute of Technology. A Caltech team ran experiments that show customers are willing to pay about 50 percent more for products they can actually touch while shopping, compared with purchases based on just a text description or picture.

Read the research paper here.o

Would you buy Kincho after this?

Ads are sometimes rare, funny and sometimes just outrageous. These are eh...Japanese.


Zero Upside Down

So how many vistors do you think miss this display?

Via Adsoftheworld.como

Most Talked-about Brands Webinar


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Learn from Sam Walton!

Some books are worth reading twice. "What I learned from Sam Walton; How to compete and thrive in a Wal-Mart world" is one of them. Author Michael Bergdahl outlines how to strike against big-box retailers by understanding their strategy and what NOT to try. The book is very pedagogic in both structure and content and has a lot of easy to use checklists such as:

"Pricing Checklist

Review this pricing checklist of success strategies and tactics designed
to help you compete with big-box retailers like Wal-Mart and not
only survive, but thrive.

-Avoid selling the same products Wal-Mart sells
-Don’t try to match Wal-Mart’s prices
-Ask your vendors for competitive product/pricing ideas
-Provide higher-quality products at higher price points
-Price a consumer shopping cart of comparison staples competitively (within 10 to 15 percent)
-Broaden your overall selection of price/product choices: good, better, and best
-Talk to your vendors about partnering with you on lowering their prices
-Shop competitors’ stores for ideas and an understanding of their price strategy
-Ask your suppliers for special-buy and sale merchandise for your customers
-Make certain shelves or inventory are clearly marked with accurate prices
-Advertise product guarantees and service after the sale"

Download the excellent sample chapter here. Click here to order your copy.o

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Counterfeit Self: The Deceptive Costs of Faking It

Although people buy counterfeit products to signal positive traits, research shows that wearing counterfeit products makes individuals feel less authentic and increases their likelihood of both behaving dishonestly and judging others as unethical. In four experiments, participants wore purportedly fake or authentically branded sunglasses. Those wearing fake sunglasses cheated more across multiple tasks than did participants wearing authentic sunglasses, both when they believed they had a preference for counterfeits and when they were randomly assigned to wear them. Another experiment shows that the effects of wearing counterfeit sunglasses extend beyond the self, influencing judgments of other people’s unethical behavior. It was also demonstrated that the feelings of inauthenticity that wearing fake products engenders—what we term the counterfeit selfmediate the impact of counterfeits on unethical behavior. Finally, we show that people do not predict the impact of counterfeits on ethicality; thus, the costs of counterfeits are deceptive.

Read the full research here.o

Sunday, September 12, 2010

More on Social Media ROI


Ads vs Reality

Don´t let this happen to you:

Watch more fast food ads at

Hmmm...are there anyone out there who feels a little like this:


Business Model Innovation


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rose coloured glasses

Consider a shopper who is in a great mood. She might be feeling contented after having eaten a delicious meal, or she might be feeling proud after having accomplished an important goal. Given her affective state, how will she perceive the products she is about to encounter?

The answer to this question might initially appear simple: much classic research shows that positive affect produces a “rose-colored-glasses” effect, making everything appear more desirable.

Read the rest of this research paper here.o

Leadership knowledge

How Leaders Self-Regulate Their Task Performance:Evidence that Power Promotes Diligence, Depletion, and Disdain

"When leaders perform solitary tasks, do they self-regulate to maximize their effort, or do they reduce effort and conserve their resources? Our model suggests that power motivates self-regulation toward effective performance — unless the task is perceived as unworthy of leaders. Our first studies showed that power improves self-regulation and performance, even when resources for self-regulation are low (ego depletion). Additional studies showed that leaders sometimes disdain tasks they deem unworthy, by withholding effort (and therefore performing poorly). Ironically, during ego depletion leaders skip the appraisal and therefore work hard regardless of task suitability, so that depleted leaders sometimes outperform non-depleted ones. Our final studies replicated these patterns with different tasks and even simply manipulating framing and perception of the same task. Another experiment also showed that the continued high exertion of leaders when depleted takes a heavy toll, resulting in larger impairments later. The judicious expenditure of self-control resources among powerful people may help them prioritize their efforts to pursue their goals effectively."

Read the 70-page research paper here.o

The Un-Facebook Campaign

Diesel launched an analog Social Media campaign. Pretty innovative.

And by the way, what is your FB Ass Status?


Innovative Concepts: One Stop Travel Shop



"Retail America has run directly into a brick wall."
Read this article from The Burning Platform here.o

Friday, September 10, 2010

Retail Survival

"As e-commerce continues to shape the retail experience, new and exciting opportunities for retailers and customers are emerging. The transactional value of the storefront has a different currency than the value that online shopping offers.

We are witnessing a transformation in business models for retailers, opening up possibilities for more fluid and convergent retail experiences."

Download the paper describing the perspective from Method design agency here.o

Baby carrot junk food

The goal: To sell baby carrots. The solution: To make them look like junk food.

Chances are that baby carrots never will be considered cool. But in the one billion dollar market of baby carrots, you have to be bold if you are going to take on the eighteen billion dollar salty snack machine. And this is how they are planning to do it according to USA Today:

- Packaging in Doritos-like bags.
- Sold out of cool school vending machines.
- Sporting slogans like this on billboards and packs: "The original orange doodles."
- Touting seasonal tie-ins. Coming this Halloween: scarrots.
- Offering a phone app powered by the sound of folks munching carrots in real time.
- Airing TV spots that tout baby carrots as extreme, futuristic snacks.

And the spots are just ready to go on air:


The rise of the RTDs -Trends in alcohol consumption

Cocooning is a major trend when times are tough, and for several reasons. During periods of turmoil, family, home, belonging to a group seem more important than when good times are ahead and that are probably a part of our genetic set up. . The other aspect to take into consideration is economy – as incomes are more uncertain, cut backs are made into the part of expenditures that seem most unnecessary – travelling, restaurants, fashion etc. This seems pretty logical.

Having this as a background let us discuss the subject of alcoholic consumption for a while and see how values and macro-economical trends affect consumption of liquor.

All cultures have had their favorite way to get stoned. The Germans and English are into beer, Frenchmen, Spanish and Italians have a love for wine, while Swedes and Finns along with Russians and other Easter Europeans need Vodka to endure the harsh winters in the north. Apart from this heritage almost every culture have found their own way of fabricating spirits from various local plants such as potatoes, rye, wheat, sugar cane and cactus. Drinking habits has also had an political dimension as colonial powers and then during the 20th century, specific spirits have been labeled as “in”. Whiskey for example had a rise after WWII as being the preferred drink of US and UK, associated to victory and progress in other parts of the world. So, to conclude, alcohol has been playing a major role in the culture of the western hemisphere.

Ever since the then major trends have come and gone, making some brands and categories more profitable or popular during periods and then degenerate and pass away as new consumer wishes sparkle new inventions in another category. From time to time, some brands have been able to vitalize an entire category.

ABSOLUT for example, did this to the vodka category in the 80s by introducing a premium brand and later follow up with flavored vodkas, introduced through the hip and trend sensitive gay communities in the US. As other brands moved up to launch their versions of flavored vodkas, ABSOLUT managed to keep a distance as they in a very Troutian way, invented a new ladder in the minds of the consumer, and where a little faster and edgier in launching new innovative flavors. But as in all success stories, all trends have a peak, and at some point, consumers go and look for something new. Flavored vodkas are still large in volumes but one might expect that new tastes will have a shorter life span and be sold at a lower price that what would be the case in the 80s.

A new trend in the vodka category is attempts to launch new premium brands in the ecological segment, appealing to a more ecologically oriented consumer. Several example of this exists. Only a few have made it over the generic level, in terms of having a story to tell. The Smooth Vodka above though, has managed to win several international gold and platinum awards over the last few years, making it one of a few promising products in this sub-category of vodka. Other, so long more far-fetched examples are to infuse vodkas with different kind of mind or state altering herbs and chemicals , for example the energy booster Taurine of energy drinks such as Red Bull or other performance altering ingredients.

Today´s market could be divided into HoReCa (Hotel, Restaurants, Cafées), GTR (Global Travel Retail) and home consumption. Since 9/11 travelling the world has been associated with fears for terrorist attacks and the last years economic turmoil have had a negative effect of world travel, the cocooning effect set aside, making GTR a less profitable operation. The same goes for HoReCa as private spending are cut. This makes home consumption an interesting arena for retailers and brands. And this is also a big possibility to innovate and start new trends.

Look at how our homes have evolved the last decades. Kitchens are no longer cramped compartments where wife´s struggle to serve the needs of hungry families. It is a computerized workshop where guests and hosts prepare dinners together often integrated into the living rooms in order to simplify communication with other members of the herd that engages in other activities such as helping Mario to another level on the Wii-console. Electrolux´s design department declared "War on white" a couple of years ago, meaning that white goods design were meant to position the appliances as designer objects in the kitchens of tomorrow. The bathroom, before a moist temple of dirt cleansing, has turned into home spas.

The barbecue, a black-burned incinerator for various animal parts has turned into a men´s heaven of polished steel, with heavy duty tools in order to maneuver delicatessen over the giant surface of gas burners. The living room contains more computer power that the entire NASA controlled at the time of the moon-landings. During the good years, several categories have got an upswing with a new premium level, previously known to a very small number of enthusiasts, coffee and chocolate being two of them. Just look at the premium coffee machines on display in any home appliances store today. 15 years ago, there was none of their kind.

Our homes are reflections of the best of what we have seen in the outside world. That is, even if times are rough, we have gotten used to a certain level of standard in our consumption. We have learned new things and changed our ways of living and the way we drink and eat. Just because times are harder, does this mean that we all should go back to the times before all this happened in terms of food and drinking habits. I don´t think so. We translate our habits into new forms of consumption, and look for things we can bring home without lowering our standards.

This makes the RTD (Ready To Drink) category interesting. The home bar has been a concept during some periods the latest decades, with the 70s and 80s as peak periods. But, really, it never where any better than a pale shadow of the real thing. Mixology is not for everyone, and as the evening went by, the quality of the family bartender seldom went beyond gin and tonic, despite his monstrous and very manly bar set up. This is a parallel to all the handy men out there, who buys premium tools in order to put in a screw in a wall every second year making every project a $50 investment all things taken into consideration.

This is a good example of what this could mean. Tasty drink and estethically pleasing design from GeVe Spirits. Aside from beeing a better alternative than what probably would be the outcome of the home chemists version of those famous drinks after 15 minutes of splattering, they are also containing less alcohol than most drinks, making them a better alternative for social gatherings.

The rise of the RTD segment is driven by the cocooning trend, the economic downturn, but also by the fact that new product are at hand that makes it possible to serve a real, premium tasting drink, only with the addition of a few ice cubes and a shaker. No need for home bars, splashing twenty different fluids and filling the fridge with various juices and other appliances. This is what I mean with reflecting the outside world at home. The "At Home trend" will be covered in other segments in coming posts.o

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Less than 10% of word of mouth conversations happen online.

Don´t ever forget this!

"Digital marketers hot for Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare will no doubt question this stat. However, Keller Fay stats dating back to 2006 have consistently shown word of mouth conversations disproportionately happen offline in face-to-face and voice-to-voice settings. 90% of all conversations Americans have about products/services and brands taking place offline is a startling statistic. (In future posts we will dissect the online/offline word of mouth disparity with more Keller Fay TalkTrack(R) insights.)

The important implication for marketers is that brands cannot ignore the offline conversations people are having. Brands cannot rely solely on online social media marketing to spark conversations. It’s another opportunity, not the only opportunity."

Read the post here.o

Why stories are more important than brands.

According to Tom Peters:


25 Signals for Change

What are the signals indicating change? This speech by Niku Banaie is from 2007 but still very accurate.


Angels and Demons

Interesting blog post: In New Zeeland, energy drinks are targeted towards the male and female audience in a very different way, despite the fact that the content are more or less the same...

"First, the only difference between the male and female version of the drink (other than the marketing, which is downright diametrical) is the number of calories. The female version, Angel, is low calorie; the male version, Demon, is not. So dieting, an imperative towards thinness, and femininity (not to mention innocence) are all lumped together in the marketing of the product." Read it here.o

What women want

"We live in a world that is owned by men, designed by men and managed by men - and yet we expect women to be active participants in it"

Legendary shopping guru, Paco Underhill has done it again. A new book, likely to impact marketing and store planning for years to come, has been put on the shelves of book stores around the world. This time, Mr Underhill has focused on the female consumer and her demands and wishes in marketing and buying situation. The rise of the female consumer has been on the lips of marketers for over a decade now but recently, something happened that makes the influence of the female consumer even bigger. In one of his speeches, while launching the book, Mr Underhill says:

“In 2005 we crossed the line. The wealth of the world has always been concentrated at people who own it by heritage, up until 2005 that is. For the first time in history, most of the money are now in the hands of people who created them by themselves. And many of those are women“, also refering to the fact that for the first time, women under 30 had a higher average income that men in the US.

According to the research made by Mr Underhill, women differ from men in several ways in the shopping situation. Above all, there are three things female shoppers appreciate more than men; cleanliness, control, safety and considerateness. And a woman feeling even slightly let down by a male sales person are most likely lost as a customer. Neatness, such as clean toilets are mandatory, as well as restaurant and cafés at the mall, or any other “being-place” where you can rest tired legs and feet. Women trust women more and stores with female customers ought to have a major part of women in their sales force.
On the total, women´s more accentuated demands makes shopping better according to Mr Underhill:

“Creating a female-friendly retail environment does not make It less male-friendly, by walking the female path, you end up making things better for women and men.”o

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tweet the price down

Uniqlos new campaign allows consumers to influence the price by sreading the news of any product featured in the campaign. The more tweets, the more buzz, and the lower the price. A win-win!

Watch it here.o

Monday, September 6, 2010

China is moving up the ladder

Download it here.o

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Bankruptcy Watch: Eight Retailers in the Red

Read the story on RISNews here.o

Buy, and get a ride at the slide

Shoppertainment, the phenomenon that shopping has evolved beyond beeing a necessity into beeing a time associated with fun, pleasure and enjoyment has inspired several retailers during the last decade.

At Singapore Airport the, T3 Slide, travellers spending their money at the airport, get tokens for which they could take a ride at Singapores highest slide. For every $30 spent, two tokens are recieved as a "thank you"-gesture.

Watch sliders at Flickr here.

An take the ride here:


Australian men rescued from metrosexual lifestyles - the cure? Beer of course!

This ad is a follow up for the print campaign of last year.

Australian males seem to want to

Why innovation matters

Read Mark Earls great blog here.o

Target Stores To Be First Retailer Of Facebook Credits Gift Cards

Facebook Credits gift cards launch at Target stores nationwide on Sept. 5

While Facebook is free and always will be, Facebook Credits are an easy and convenient way for people to buy digital goods in more than 150 popular social games and applications offered by independent developers on Facebook. The newly-launched Facebook Credits gift cards will be an ideal gift this holiday season for those who enjoy playing social games on Facebook.

“At Target we strive to delight our guests with exciting, new products every day, so we’re thrilled to be the first retailer to sell Facebook Credits gift cards,” said Mark Schindele, senior vice president, merchandising, Target. “With social gaming becoming increasingly popular, Facebook Credits gift cards provide an easy and convenient option for Target guests to purchase virtual goods.”

Facebook Credits gift cards will be available at Target stores nationwide and on beginning Sept. 5, in increments of $15, $25 and $50. The $15 Facebook Credits gift card has been created exclusively for Target.

More than 200 million people play games on Facebook each month. Unlike most traditional games, social games on Facebook are free. Players can elect to purchase virtual goods or enhancements to their game experience. Facebook Credits are accepted by many of the leading games on Facebook, including Zynga’s FarmVille and Mafia Wars; CrowdStar’s Happy Aquarium; PopCap Games’ Bejeweled Blitz; Playdom’s City of Wonder; and EA SPORTS FIFA Superstars from Playfish.

“One of Facebook’s goals is to create a great place for games – both for people who love to play and the developers that create fun and engaging social experiences,” said Dan Rose, vice president of partnerships and platform marketing at Facebook. “Gift cards are easy to use and very popular. We’re looking forward to launching in Target stores and giving people the ability to purchase Facebook Credits for their own use or to give as gifts to their friends and family.”

According to Inside Network*, Americans will spend more than $1.6 billion in 2010 on virtual goods and social gaming. First offered in May 2009, Facebook Credits is a safe and easy to use virtual currency for games and applications available on Facebook.o

Consumer Influenced Labels

Consumer interaction and brand/consumer co-operation in order to achive increased loyalty is a major trend. Read an interesting article from Media Post here.o