Brands in Public and Google Sidewiki – Transparency coming to get you!

September 30th, 2009

We are being watched! By us!!

Since we started giving presentations on social media in 2007, we’ve been saying get transparent, or transparency will come to get you.

Brands in Public and Google Sidewiki are two ways that this transparency is actively coming to get brands.

Brands in Public brings together everything people are saying about a brand across the social web. Similar to Twitter search, but across other social networks as well. Similar to an internal monitoring solution like Dialogix or Radian6, but public.

Google Sidewiki, meanwhile, lets people comment on your website (or any website), whether you have commenting facility or not.

Brands in Public has already been criticised as potential blackmail, while Google Sidewiki has been called game-changing.

I think Sidewiki will be game-changing in the long term. But it’s not a new idea. Feedly and Friendfeed have allowed people to see what others have said about a site for over a year now (at least it feels like that long). But both of those products are fairly niche, and even though Sidewiki is from Google, it will probably be niche to start off with as well.

That’s great news! It means you – and I – have time to prepare for a genuinely transparent web, where the conversation about our brand is everywhere.

It’s no longer about achieving total control. Instead, it’s how to embrace the risk, and let go sensibly.

What are you struggling with in the area of transparency? Are you in a large organisation where it’s a major cultural hurdle, or are you a one-person business engaging in social networking, and not sure where the line is on personal vs. business voice?

Love to hear your experience.

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The HTC Magic – NZ’s first Google Phone

June 25th, 2009

Vodafone loaned us the brand new HTC Magic for a couple of weeks. It’s the first handset in NZ to feature Google’s Android operating system. What does this mean? Find out.

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For a more in-depth (ie: techie) review: see NZBen’s review.

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Get a sneak peek of the Marketing Now Conference

April 8th, 2009

It’s just a week until the Marketing Now conference in Wellington, and if you need a little nudge to register, we have some sneak previews from two of the speakers.

International online marketing strategist Sharon Crost will run an interactive, enthusiastic session about unleashing your inner super hero:

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And Melbourne-based social media specialist Stephen Johnson from DraftFCB will be addressing best practices in building brand advocates:

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We’ll be putting up part 2 of our interview with Stephen over the long weekend. Subscribe to iJumpTV to make sure you see it!

Other speakers include Chris Brogan and David Meerman Scott , both legends in the small world that is social media, and ‘Google guru’ Jim Stewart .

The conference starts on Wednesday, 15 April, at Te Papa in Wellington. I hope to see you there!

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What Google streetview means for NZ retail, tourism and Education

December 2nd, 2008

Google Streetview in action
It’s now possible to see a 3D view of just about any New Zealand street, with the arrival of Google Streetview .

It’s revolutionised the way you give people directions, and it has big implications for business, too.

Yesterday I attended a top secret briefing (well, it was pretty informal, but really exciting) along with some other new media junkies to see just what you can do with Google streetview.

If you’re in retail and/or tourism, here’s what it means:

  1. It’s easier to find you now, and to get a deeper impression of what your place of business is like.
  2. If you haven’t already listed your business on Google maps or Finda (the service that provides Google its business listings), get on there. It’s free, and it’s arguably more important now than the Yellow Pages. If you’re a restaurant or cafe, make sure you see what’s being said about you on sites like menumania as well. You can’t control the conversation but you can participate.
  3. Claim your listing. Google maps acts as a kind of directory, and by claiming your business you can enhance your listing with photos and even YouTube video. (More tips on online video here )

Okay, so these points aren’t specifically to do with Google Street View, but they are important developments. Just have a look at what comes up when you search for cafes in the Auckland CBD :

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Now, more than ever before, those businesses have the option to give someone a taste of their location. Whether it’s a YouTube video you add, or the streetview image Google captured on its way through, your customers now have more information to go on.

You don’t really need a website any more . But it doesn’t hurt to have one, and the handy embed feature means you can embed a streetview-enabled map on your website, to make sure you’re easy to find.

For education:

  1. Orientation doesn’t just have to be a euphemism for the high jinks of O week. You can give potential students a virtual tour of your campus. One university in Australia did this, and offered a great service to its students. It’s something you’ll have to ask Google to do, since for privacy reasons they normally only photograph public roads. But definitely worth it for your students if they can arrive on their first day, actually knowing where to go.

These suggestions are just scratching the surface of the possibilities. From Google’s press pack, here are some suggestions how any business or organisation can use Google maps:

1.   Help overseas and domestic tourists plan itineraries by showing them famous landmarks and lesser known secrets.

2.   Promote your business by embedding a street view image on your website and make it easier for customers to find you.

3.   Scout for new office locations from the comfort of your chair.

4.   Check the location of customer and supplier offices before leaving your desk.

5.   Evaluate locations for marketing campaigns, film shoots or product launches.

6.   Help new employees by showing them your office location, where to park, or the nearest bus or train stop.

7.   Architects and local councils can get a feel for the style of particular areas to help with town planning.

8.   News publishers can embed street view images on their websites to show the location of news events.

9.   Emergency services personnel – fire, police, ambulance – can view exact locations before arriving.

10.  Schools can incorporate street view into geography or history lessons.

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