Start Up Blog

I’m in love with Shwood

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on August 10, 2011

I saw this video below and fell in love with all of it. Every single P. Of the 4P’s that is…

The Product: So cool. Who doesn’t want something hand made, that has a story, that looks uber cool, and is recycled?

The Price: I almost don’t care, so long as it wasn’t more than what I would expect to pay for this product, then it is fine. Really. In fact, I’d probably pay a little more.

The Place: I hate shopping. I like ordering over the web and not have to go find a car park, pay for parking, deal with condescending retail worker fashionistas. In fact, I’m not even sure how these will look on my head. But I figure because they are so cool, I’ll feel cool and they’ll automatically look cool on me. (hey, I’m not pretending sunglasses are not a fashion accessory)

The Promotion: Well let’s put it this way. All I have ever seen is the video below. No one has ever spoken to me about this brand or product. In fact it is my first exposure to it. I loved the film, the light and most of all the story. It was beautiful to watch. I have already placed an order over the web. I found out via a tweet that someone sent. (By the way over 10 million tweets a day are about brands). That was all it took.

And now I’m in, part of the brand and spreading the word. This is how startups gain traction. Making cool stuff and embracing new methods to go to market.

twitter-follow-me13

New rules of media

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on August 4, 2011

The new rules of media are pretty simple. The only type of messages pretty much anyone is interested in these days are:

Anticipated, personal and relevant messages.

Anything else is just noise, or maybe even SPAM. It’s also easy to conclude that this is only relevant in new media. Not true.  These changes in the landscape have modified our worldview to the point that all media must now abide by the rules in bold above.

So next time we talk to our audience, we should ask ourselves if we abiding by the rules of the new world, or damaging our brand by living in the past.

twitter-follow-me13

Pop culture knowledge

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on June 24, 2011

Pop culture knowledge used to be about knowing who was atop of the leader board:

  1. the top of the billboard chart
  2. the number 1 movie
  3. the best selling pair of jeans
  4. the best selling athletic shoe
  5. the best picture at the Academy awards
  6. the most popular celebrity endorser
  7. … popularity contest X

This knowledge was a quick reference asset. It was worth keeping tabs on.

Pop culture has changed.

Now it’s about knowing what’s coming next. Knowing who’s already here is of little value. Anyone can find that out in a moments notice, it’s public and omnipresent on the web. Knowing who or what will be hot 6 months from now is where the currency is.  And that takes constant assessment and curation of the content. That is an art in itself.

twitter-follow-me13

Loyalty Schemes Vs Gamification

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on June 1, 2011

In many ways Gamification is an evolution of the long lived Loyalty Scheme. But so much better, and the evidence exists even at the simplest level – the words themselves.

Loyalty Scheme: Firstly the word loyalty seems very one way. It was / is as if the company expects us to be loyal to them. And although one might argue that loyalty is a two way street, the second word of the phrase is the giveaway – ‘Scheme’. Yep, sounds like some kind of a trick to me. A scheme to make us believe we are getting a good deal, when in truth we are just a number on some kind of cost / benefit analysis spreadsheet. Intuitively, schemes feel like there is a winner and a loser.

Gamificiation: Games are fun. We spend most of our childhood playing them and find as many excuses as possible to play them as adults. ‘Who wants to come to the football this Friday night?’ A game needs at least two willing parties or organisations to play. Sometimes we can collaborate and form teams and clubs and divisions and theme songs and have awards nights and weekend getaways. We can celebrate wins together and lament the losses, either way we like to return to the game and try and win, or even better our own score, although it’s collaborative, it’s also personal. The game is the ‘thing’, not the result of it. Games contrive all of the important human emotions that make our hearts beat.

Play is human. Great games even turn into industries.

Yep, it feels to me that gamification facilitated via Moore’s law is here to stay.

twitter-follow-me13

Digital doodles

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on April 21, 2011

Some doodling from a digital day yesterday. Some nice ideas popped up yesterday if you read the words closely. Thought it was worth sharing here.

twitter-follow-me13

Good stuff is not enough

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on March 1, 2011

Making really good stuff is not enough. We’ve got to be good as well. Good people. We’ve got to have a DNA encoded into our business which shows we stand for something that is wider than what we sell. I’m not talking about any of that Corporate Social Responsibility crap, or even triple bottom line reporting. I’m talking about caring enough to leave good things behind us in our trail. For the things we touch to be the same or better after we’ve been there.  And most of all, we need to make sure our trail is going to be good, before we carve the path that takes us forward.

twitter-follow-me13

Super Bowl Advertising – Tor Myhren

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on February 14, 2011

I’ve been a big advocate for the web changing communications and advertising forever. I’ve been heard to say that TV is in irreversible decline in terms of broadcasting. I believe it’s future is one of narrow casting.  But before we close on the Super Bowl for another year, I wanted to share this interview with Tor Myhren, Grey NY explaining what the hype is really all about:

The Best $3 Million You Ever Spent

One commercial, 2.9 million bucks. Who buys this stuff? Crazy, outdated advertisers who haven’t been told that TV is dead? Or the smartest marketers on the planet, taking advantage of the biggest bargain in today’s scattered media environment? I say the latter. And here are three reasons why;

1. Pregame buzz – You’re not buying 30 seconds; you’re buying two weeks of pregame hype as well. And amid all this media madness, the advertisers get as much attention as the football players. The PR and buzz is unparalleled. Late night and morning show hosts, news anchors, magazine and newspaper writers, bloggers, and tweeters are all talking about who’s on the game and what to expect. Most importantly, this is all free media, consumed by people as editorial content rather than paid advertising. This is the kind of brand exposure that’s nearly impossible to buy. Last year the E*Trade baby was being talked about by Jon Stewart, ESPN, Good Morning America, The Colbert Show and The O’Reilly Factor—all before the Super Bowl even started.

2. Game time – 110 million viewers, all experiencing the exact same thing at the exact same time. The Super Bowl is America’s last campfire. It’s the only event left that we as a nation sit down and watch together. All those emotions you feel watching the game, and watching the ads, are being shared by 110 million other people at the same time. And shared experiences make for better stories. Period. More than one-third of all Americans watched the game last year, and more will watch this year. In this way, the Super Bowl is an anomaly in today’s fractured media landscape, which is why the actual 30 seconds you’re buying is worth its weight in gold. TV isn’t dead, but must-see TV is—with one exception: the Super Bowl.

3. Postgame echo – You’ve got a day or two of conventional media buzz to extend the life of the idea, but that dies pretty quickly after the USA Today poll and other news flurries. Postgame is where digital and viral take over, exponentially increasing the value of a Super Bowl ad with each additional view, comment, blog posting and Twitter comment. The firestorm a great Super Bowl ad can start is pretty awesome. Pop culture sites pick up the content, and news sites feature it. YouTube, Yahoo, AOL, Hulu and thousands of other popular sites all heave their Super Bowl ad contests that get not only massive viewership but also great two-way dialogue going on about the brand. And all of this doesn’t cost a dime. It’s part of the package—the nearly $3 million value package that we like to call a Super Bowl ad.

The Super Bowl is America’s last campfire. It’s when we all sit around and watch. And talk. And pass along our shared stories for days and weeks to come. It takes courage (and a boatload of coin) to play, but I, for one, believe the rewards outweigh the risks.

It all sounds like a pretty valid viewpoint to me – so long as the product and brand is already established, and it’s not a 30 second gamble on the company like it was in the late 90’s for many web startups.

twitter-follow-me13

Entropy & business

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on January 14, 2011

The scientifically minded readers of this blog will be more familiar with the law of entropy than the business minded. The law of entropy defined from a physics viewpoint is heavy in maths and description. But from a social perspective the concept of entropy is generally used as a metaphor for chaos, disorder. They way I’d describe it is like this:

Unless we attend to stuff and maintain it, it will naturally fall apart.

We see this every day with old houses and cars. Unless they are attended to frequently, they just fall apart. What we don’t do is take the analogy as deep as we should into the businesses we run. They too require constant attention just to maintain the status quo. To grow, requires extra attention above ‘maintenance levels’. The problem with startups is that we are so focused on gaining initial traction and momentum that we forget about the upkeep. We are so focused on the next win, improvement or iteration, that we forget to check the stuff we’ve already done, built or created. And so it can start to fall apart without us really noticing. In some ways the most important innovation we can make is maintenance.

Lesson: If we don’t maintain what we already have, then the new stuff we introduce will end up being zero sum game.

twitter-follow-me13

Brands that have fun – Toyota Prius

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on January 12, 2011

There’s something about brands that know how to have fun. I reckon the Toyota Prius fits in this category. Their recent advertisement asking the crowd to work out the plural version of the word Prius is very catchy. (I’m a long time jingle lover). It’s also a cool way to build some anticipation and awareness of the new range

Is your brand having fun?

twitter-follow-me13

 

What drives people

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on January 3, 2011

I had an interesting discussion with a child psychologist yesterday. He was telling me that one theory says there are three main motivators for all human behaviour. I am sure there are a zillion counter theories, but I really think this can be useful for anyone working in the ‘influence’ arena.

The three motivators are based around the desire for:

Power

Inclusion

Achievement

The theory states that 2 of the 3 will be very important to us, while 1 of them will be very low on impacting our behaviour. It also says that this operates at a very deep subconscious level. Without knowing too much about, I already think I could pick what motivates many people I deal with in business. It might also be worth thinking about next time you’re negotiating something or working on a project with others.

twitter-follow-me13

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,227 other followers