Making the most of your mobile

Reuters has a piece this morning on the the success of mobile apps on touchscreen phones.  The article’s prediction of their growth in volume I’m sure is spot on:

Consumers can expect to see many more mobile apps in the coming months, as the sheer creativity of small, third-party software developers should keep the market buzzing for some time.

With our economy, and perhaps environmental, worries the replacement cycle of mobile phones is likley to get longer as today’s story from IT PRO , covering research released by Gartner, confirms:

According to Carolina Milanesi, research director for mobile devices at Gartner, the global economic downturn has “affected sales in both mature and emerging markets during the quarter. Replacement sales in particular were affected, while first time users continued to see the value of acquiring a mobile phone.”

I posted a couple of weeks back about Homedulgence and how people will be making the most of what they have at home during these financially tighter months.  The use of mobile phone apps is one of the best ways pimp your phone and make the most of what you’ve got.  Thankfully ownership of a touchscreen phone isn’t mandatory.

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What does EMI.com have in store?

I’ve been meaning to write a follow-up post to EMI says DRM free music boosts consumer engagementand today seemed as good a day as any.  Last night I took a wander to EMI.com to see if there were any clues as to what lay in store but alas no. 

Boosting engagement, for a brand that until recently hasn’t been consumer facing, is important if, as Doug Merrill says, EMI.com will become a place where bands can connect with fans and vice versa.  A modern day fan site if you will.

There are sites out there already that do connect bands with their fans and vice versa.  Sites like US based ReverbNation and former Edelman clients RAWRIP and Myspacehelp artists to connect with their fans, be discovered as well as market themselves using a comprehensive arsenal of tools and widgets.  In turn fans can gain access to the most up to date multimedia content, tour information, can contact artists ‘directly’ as well as show support for their band using some clever widgets.

I’m sure EMI will have a way of showcasing their artists but it will be interesting to see their manifestation of how bands can update and learn more about their fans and also how fans are able to interact with them.  Here are some of my favourite picks from the above:

  • Tunepaks from Reverbnation – a link which when clicked on releases a standalone player so the recipient can listen to the latest releases straight from the artist
  • Show schedule and Map from Reverbnation – a widget that can be embedded into any html page e.g. fan’s Myspace, aritsts’ official home page, that displays tour dates and route
  • Reverbnations’ Tunewidget is a widget that fans can spread and allows the artists to see where it goes, what songs were played most and contains music videos, ways for new fans to sign up to the artists mailing list etc
  • RAWRIP’s RAWSTORES are another portable widget that can be embedded in any html website.  One of RAWRIP’s USPs is that all songs sold through the site give artists 100% of the sale.  The RAWSTORE can be embedded on an artist or fan’s web page, blog or MySpace for example and fans can buy the tracks listed and the artist still receives 100% of the revenue.
  • Myspace celebrity members’ blogs keeping their fans (and media) up to date on their latest musings

One of the challenges that such sites have is the creation of compelling content that will bring users back again and again.  Reverbnation has a solution to this too (and a solution for pretty much everything else). Artists are able to claim 50% of the revenue gained from ads posted on the artist’s homepage.   

Whether any or all of these widgety bits will be deployed by EMI.com still remains to be seen.  Sign up for Beta at www.emi.com

Wii fit tops memorable brand launch (in the US)

Mintel has released the results of its 2008 ‘Most Memorable New Product Launch Survey’.  Now there’s a mouthful and funnily enough food and bev represented the majority of memorable brands in the top ten.

MarketingDaily caveats the results with some bad news:

This was a terrible year for brand-building. Terrible. Rising food and gasoline prices, unemployment, the mortgage meltdown, and the political campaigns took up most of the room in consumers’ cognitions. A full 69% of survey respondents could not remember a single new product launched this year, per Mintel. Only 22% of respondents remembered the most memorable new product of 2008, the Wii Fit. 

For me recongition doesn’t mean relevance (i.e. relevant enough to buy).  Rising prices, economic certainty and job losses are all relevant and of real concern to the consumer.  In an environment such as this, brands need to work out how to be relevant (nice example here, also on MarketingDaily from Zurich).  The Wii Fit marketing campaign was phenomenal based on great consumer insight which is why so many people decided Wii Would Like to Play

The Top 10 features an eclectic bunch including McDonald’s Southern Style Chicken Biscuit & Sandwich; Kraft Mac & Cheese Crackers; KY Yours + Mine Couples Lubricant; Gatorade G2, Yoplait Fiber One; MacBook Air and Rock Band.

The Hollywood Quandry

A great post from Jonathan Handle at Always On on the difficult position in which Hollywood finds itself.  As the consumption of traditional content, from films at theatres and on DVDs, newspapers, books and music, starts to plateau or decline the volume of digital content, legal or not, has rocketed.  Consumption has exceeded expectation and the rate of technological innovation has outpaced content owners, catching them with their proverbial pants down.  The great challenge now for the traditional content industries is to work out how to achieve close to the same levels of revenue:

As NBC Universal’s Jeff  Zucker lamented, the content industries are being forced to “trad[e] today’s analog dollars for digital pennies.”

See the full post here

EMI says DRM free music boosts consumer engagement

Bill Werde from Billboard had a nice suprise on his visit to meet EMI’s new recorded music CEO Elio Leoni-Sceti, getting three for the price of one when president of A&R for North America, the United Kingdom and Ireland Nick Gatfield and EMI’s worldwide president of digital Douglas Merrill joined the confab too.

Douglas Merrill, the former CIO at Google, talks about the impact of being the first major label to supply their music DRM free to iTunes.  Did this lead to an increase in piracy?  No.  According to Merrill it lead to increased consumer engagement:

“We didn’t see the needle move at all on [piracy]. But what we did see is consumers loved the product. It was good for consumers, it’s good for artists. It gets people engaged with the art in a whole new way by getting rid of artificial rules-like we don’t trust you, so I’m not going to give you this content. It just sort of set the wrong tone with our customers.”

Here, here.  To see the full Q&A with all three executives you can see it here on Billboard’s website.  Definitely worth a read.

The economy and Homedulgence

No surprises that the current financial situation in which we find ourselves is shaping a number of trends that are pipped to emerge in ’09.  ‘Homedulgence’, a term coined by Future Laboratory trend spotters, is my personal favourite.  Those most likely to feel the impact of this burgeoning stay-at-home-and-indulge culture are the consumer technology and entertainment industries for whom Homedulgence is likely to be a blessing or a curse.

 

Homedulgence is about getting full enjoyment out of what you’ve already got rather than just staying at home more.  You might start using or make more use of your laptop to enjoy downloaded films or catch up on TV via iPlayer or 4 OD.  To create an indulgent home experience I bought a projector to wire into my games console and hi-fi to create a nifty little home entertainment system.  My console is also synched up to my laptop so that I can play my music downloads through it.  I indulge in a new game every few months (I shall be mostly playing Lego Batman) and a LoveFilm DVD each week.    

 

As Homedulgence grows as a trend another appears to be shrinking: consumers escaping the realities of economic hard times at the cinema.  The LA Times has a great article – “Hollywood may not be recession proof this time” – which looks at how canny consumers are scrapping visits to the cinema and premium cable subscriptions in favour of easily accessible entertainment online.  Yesterday’s analysis from Reuters appears to confirm that the economic turmoil is taking its toll on Hollywood studios.

 

Until media companies can gain larger revenues from online content the industry that looks most stable is the video games industry.  Games do present good long-term enjoyment for the money (did I say I am mostly playing Lego Batman) and sales are up on last quarter.  However there is some concern that post Christmas the realities of reduced consumer spending will hit home here too.

 

Dark clouds are undoubtedly ahead.  I’m going to take shelter and partake in a little Homedulgence.

Twitter + PR

Really interesting post from DERT’s man in PA, Luke Pollard, on the rise of Twitter amongst the PR community:

North East web guru and ex-Edelman employee, Stephen Davies, or PRblogger.com fame is a regular poster on his Twitter feed and it has attracted a sizeable and influential following. He posted a few days ago on his blog a list of UK PR people on Twitter and in only a few days it has grown from a small number of PR pioneers to an increasingly comprehensive list of Twitter-ers from agencies across the land. If you’re just starting out on Twitter and want a step up you could do a lot worse than pressing follow on everyone on this list. Effectively you are downloading a ready made network of the best and the brightest in our industry.

I only started using Twittter a few days ago (like many, I took a while to really understand the benefits). Already its proving to be invaluable in keeping up-to-date with the thinking and observations of clever people/ colleagues/ journalists and friends (this list is not mutually exclusive…).

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