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Matt Rainone

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Why Your Brand Needs Stipple

Take Back Your Brand's Photos Most brands have hundreds, if not thousands, of product images on their websites. And those images get reused, re-blogged, re-tweeted and re-posted by hundreds of other sites and users around the internet every day. So that's good, right? Well, not really. While it's great for awareness around a product, tracking those photos becomes extremely difficult, not to mention the fact that carefully crafted marketing messages that live on a brand's site are nowhere to be found when those images find themselves elsewhere. That's where Stipple comes in. [caption id="attachment_8679" align="aligncenter" width="650" caption="Stipple Allows Brands to Share Interactive Images.                                                                     Image source: Stipple.com"][/caption]  Tag, Share, Track, Repeat Stipple believes they have solved that issue by allowing everyone from brands and merchants to bloggers and photographers to place interactive, trackable tags on all of their imagery. Now, when those images are pulled onto other sites (social sites included), they will be embedded with everything from videos to e-commerce tags to make purchases directly. For more on Stipple, check out the video below.  Game Changer? Will "smarter" photos have the ability to make imagery the future of social commerce? Is Stipple the solution that marketers have been looking for when  trying to measure the effectiveness of their content sharing? We'd love to hear your take. Sound off in the comment section below.

How to Deal with a Bad Review

If you're reading this, chances are you've gotten a bad review or are just planning for the day it happens. Heck, it happened to us - seriously, check out our results on Google maps. Clear as day, one user just wouldn't recommend us. That's fine, people are certainly entitled to their opinions (even if that one appears to be a fake account). But what if it's a genuine, real person who has a legitimate gripe? Here are a few ways to deal with it. And, you need to deal with it. Every unanswered bad review is the equivalent of someone writing "this place sucks" on your business' front door and not doing anything about it. custom essay writing Be Yourself However you respond, just make sure it reflects the rest of your brand or social voice. If you are Old Spice, it should be irreverent and probably mention something about a crazy Minotaur getting loose in the Old Spice factory and tainting that batch of body wash. If you're a boutique clothing shop, chances of you taking the same approach will be slim. Kill With Kindness... To a Point Not everyone's going to like you. The faster you realize that, the better. Even Apple, who every brand on Earth wants to be like, has millions of people out there that hate their products or services. Without question, your first response should be polite, sincere and apologetic. It should never be dismissive, argumentative or disrespectful. In many cases, a simple declaration of error and an apology will do enough to not only appease the reviewer, but also to put your best foot forward to a potential new customer looking for reviews. Give Them Something, Anything There's this old business school thing that I think someone just made up about it costing 5-6 times as much to get a new customer as it does to retain an existing one. Let's assume that's accurate and do a little equation. A person has a bad experience at your restaurant. If you were to apologize and offer them a free appetizer the next time they came in, the worst case is that you're out eight mozzarella sticks. A much worse scenario is that you lose that customer and have to try to win a new one with forty mozzarella sticks. That math may seem fuzzy and I'm not certain it's the best example, but I know two things: the first is that small gestures like this can go a long way and the second is that I kind of want some mozzarella sticks now, like forty of them. Don't Feed the Trolls Ah, this age-old internet cliché. As I mentioned in the previous point, there are some people that cannot be appeased or choose not to and you can only kill with kindness to a point. For these people, you simply have to agree to disagree and drop it. They may get the last word in, but other users will see that you made a concerted effort to try to appease them, and sometimes that's the best you can do. Or, you can just ignore all of this advice and do what this guy did. Tell us what you think. What are some ways you've dealt with bad reviews? Write some of your own tips in the comment section.

Why Twitter Is Like a 7 Year Old Human

This week Twitter turns 7 years old. So let's use PBS's child development tracker to see how the social giant compares to an actual 7 year old human.  'Seven-year-olds enjoy having the opportunity to share their knowledge with others.'? I'm not sure if there's a more dead-on accurate description of what Twitter is than that.   'They display a longer attention span'?¦'? Obviously one of Twitter's most compelling features is its bite-sized content focus. However, over the past few years Twitter's increased integration of photos (sorry Instagram) and expandable links directly into the news feed has certainly increased its ability to showcase more content while still remaining true to its 140 character beginnings.   'Seven-year-olds enjoy having and making friends." While this may not exactly speak directly to the growth and development of Twitter, it sure does speak to the over 200 million active users. One of the things that has always driven the popularity of Twitter is the ease of connecting with others and building your following.   '[They] typically develop several close friendships that are mutual.'? Over the past 6 months, Twitter has made a few strategic "friendships" (read: acquisitions) that have helped improve how users share content (Vine), how the overall platform performs (Crashlytics) and how Twitter can monetize the millions of conversations generated around TV events (BlueFin Labs).   'They may imitate the actions of friends in an effort to feel sense of security and belonging.'? Let's go back to the monetization discussion again. We can all agree that Facebook is far from perfect when it comes to making money, but Twitter might even be more behind. Here's a great article that discusses the 'Facebookification of Twitter'? and how Twitter is becoming a bit more like Facebook with certain features. And on the user front, I can't quite think of a better way to imitate the actions of friends and peers than a well-timed RT.   So what do you think? Is Twitter making good strides in its development? Should we look at this 7 year old as a future, well-adjusted adult? Or, are there signs that this little darling will be every parent's nightmare and someday turn into an out-of-control rebellious tween? Only time will tell.

What is Pheed? And Should You Care About It?

It seems like since they emerged, we've been vigilant to find the Facebook killer or the next Twitter, Tumblr or YouTube. While we have been introduced to countless promises of "the Instagram of video" the "Twitter of audio" or any other combination of "the ____ of ____," the truth is that many of these apps and platforms come and go and the Colors of the world far exceed the successes. That being said, let's get all excited over the next big thing before we realize that it doesn't have a business model, shall we? So what is the thing that everyone has been talking about? Pheed (of course it's spelled that way). And guess what; it has a business model, and a pretty interesting one at that. In a nutshell, Pheed creates A SUPER EASY way for users to share text, photos, videos, audio tracks, voice-notes and live broadcasts. Then it gives them the option to place all of that content behind a paywall ranging from $1.99 - $34.99 per view or per month. The application is free, and you don't have to charge for your content, but the thinking is that if you do charge a premium price, you will be forced to create premium content. That's slightly concerning because one thing that the Internet hates is paywalls and one thing that the Internet loves is creating way more awful content than "premium" content. Despite these two potential deal breakers, right now Pheed holds the #1 spot in the App Store's Social Networking category and is currently #17 on the Free Charts. And unlike the growth of Vine last month, Pheed's success doesn't appear to be from porn; at least we don't think so at the moment. In fact, the majority of its recent growth can be traced back to a few popular teens. What may be even more interesting to users is that in a world of encroaching privacy policies and debates over who owns the content posted on sites, Pheed makes it abundantly clear that all uploaded content "is owned by the user, Pheed retains no rights or ownership toward it." The app even gives you the options to copyright or watermark each of your posts. Those two very un-Facebook-like moves  should at the very least make Mark Zuckerberg and friends stop to think about the future of content sharing. Even if it's just for a second (which we all know is about a second longer than they actually will). So is it going to be the next Twitter or kill Facebook? Most likely not. However, our passion for creating and sharing content has never been hotter and any platform that looks great and allows people to do it easily has a chance. Fortunately for Pheed, it succeeds at both of those things. So what are others saying about Pheed? Here are some of the best recaps we've read: Huffington Post - "It's now the No. 1 free app in Apple's App Store under the Social Networking category" BostInno - "Once [college students] cope with the fact a group of teenagers beat them at making something 'cool,'? they'll likely jump on the Pheed bandwagon, too" Forbes - "its Twitter-with-a-business-model approach stands to seriously impact the social media game" So what do you think? Does Pheed stand a chance to make an impact on the social space? Or will a two-week media love fest followed by obscurity continue to be the norm with new social platforms?

The Harlem Shake: Why Is This a Thing?

Oh Internet, you never cease to amaze me. Just when I feel like we get each other, you come out with something so inherently ridiculous, I can only shake my head, smile and say, "you do you, Internet; you do you." The latest craze in a long line of plankings, lip dubs, Call Me Maybes, horse heads, and Gangnam Styles (if you want more of these, check out our posts on ROFLcon) is The Harlem Shake.  The TLDR overview of this new trend goes like this: Normal situation turns into a weird rave-y dance party with this song playing in the background. But I'm not here to talk about "what" it is. I'd rather discuss "why" it is. Why is some video that started in a dorm room inspiring everyone from frat bros to marketing agencies (see below) to go nuts for, quite literally, 15 seconds of Internet fame? The question may be as simple as "there was a huge blizzard in the Northeast this weekend and a ton of people were bored." However, my guess is that it has something to do with this statement: Never underestimate the human need to be a part of the cultural Zeitgeist. Seriously, we even did one. In our study, "The Psychology of Social" (click here to download), we express that social media placates certain inherent human needs to fit in and have a role within the larger group. In 10,000 BC, each member of a group of prehistoric humans had a role - be it hunter, gatherer, or mammoth stylist (those were things, right?). While human roles and needs have changed slightly over the past few thousand years,  the group mentality remains. We are, and always have been, a species built on sharing, connection-development, and esteem building. While we no longer have the need for mammoth stylists (I swear those existed), with our Internet/information-driven society, being the one in your group of friends to find these things, create them, or share them allows you to fulfill your role in the larger group. So, why did THIS catch on? It probably has something to do with the group that the creators of the original video has around them. Things spread more easily when the content gets into the hands of influencers. Mix that with the fact that that there is almost no barrier to participate (a camera phone, a song download, a laptop, some friends) add a little absurdity and a lot of fun, and you've got yourself a engagement-driving concoction of excellence.

Coming to a Retail Location Near You: The Displays of CES

If you happen to be looking for a great recap of the best TVs to come out of CES, you're going to want to go here. If you weren't misled by this post title and you really are looking for displays that brands will be integrating into their retail and event environments over the next 6-18 months, you won't be disappointed. This year's International Consumer Electronics Show offered a number of new and slightly upgraded display technologies from years past. Here are just a few of them. Glasses-Less 3D This was a bit of a fledgling technology to come out last year. While everyone was spending massive real estate on their new 3D OLED TVs, a few companies showcased glasses-less 3D technology. They may take a few more generations of updates before they become viable consumer products, but just imagine being able to create amazing 3D displays for your product at retail without requiring shoppers to put on clunky 3D glasses. Transparent Screens Imagine you go into a convenient store for a 16 oz soft drink. Right as you reach for the refrigerator door to pick your usual beverage of choice, a high-definition display is activated right onto the transparent door glass. There were a number of brands which showcased transparent screens in multiple forms - some as big as a refrigerator door. Screenless Screen What if a display is no longer inhibited by the physical space you are in? The folks at Displair are answering that exact question by projecting video and imagery on a fine mist. We've seen this technology before, but it now has the ability to interact with user actions. Check out the video below for a demonstration. While a few of these are still a bit off in terms of becoming commercially viable, the possibilities for brands at retail and in the event space are almost limitless.

Early Thoughts from CES

It has been a great start to the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show - tons of cool devices, next generation everything and a nice look into what we'll see in the next 12 months of consumer electronics. As I sit here trying to sift through all of the 3Ds, LEDs, OLEDs,D-LEDs, and E-LEDs and ponder why the world doesn't look as quite as good in real life as it does in 4K, here are some key themes that have emerged after day 1. Connected Everything It's been an overarching theme the past few years, but this year has blown up in terms of connected items. In the time we were on the floor, we saw next-gen wifi scales, entire homes, cars, appliances, and even a fork. What's slightly different this year is the focus on mobile. In the past, the story has been that these things have been directly connected to the web. This year the story changed very apparently to them being seamlessly integrated into your mobile device. CE Manufacturers as Content Providers Samsung probably best displays this, but there is a growing trend that through Smart TVs, CE manufacturers will be able to completely oust cable providers and broker deals directly with the content creators. Evolution Not Innovation Two cool technologies that we saw last year were Leonar3Do and Dynamics Inc smart credit cards. While both were interesting, they relied on adapting a new piece of hardware (a complete system in the case of Leonar3Do and a new credit card in the case of Dynamics). This year, they have both adopted mobile versions which take away a bit of the barrier of entry. So while not new, they're definitely evolved. We were also seen the next generations of 3DTV, hi-definition (4k and even 8k resolution), and gesture/voice/NFC-based capabilities. Key takeaway is that in the past 5 years have seen the ubiquitous adoption of 2 completely new product segments (smartphones and tablets). The next 2-5 years will most likely not introduce a new device, but instead new ways of using, improving and integrating them into consumers' lives. 2nd Screen Advertising Platforms Samsung and Verizon (through a partnership with a company called Nantworks) both showcased a few cool advertising platforms which utilize tags on commercials which activate added content through a smartphone. As always, follow @AMP_Agency to get live updates from the show floor and the conference tracks and feel free to tweet at us to request details on anything you're interested in seeing. We'll do our best to be your eyes on the show floor.

What We're Looking Forward to at CES 2013

Next week, AMP will be heading back to Vegas to the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show. I hope that we find a ton of awesome technology to bring back to our clients and, on a personal level, that I consume much less Sbarro than last year. Here's a quick outlook of some of the things we're looking forward to: Who's Going to Step Up? 2012 marked Microsoft's last CES booth and keynote, and even though Windows 8 will be on a ton of devices, this is the first year they won't officially be there. So that begs the question; who's going to be this year's big dog? The Next Big Thing Tablets, Ultrabooks and 3DTV have been some of the biggest stars from the past few years. This year, there's a bit more mystery on what will be considered 'THE thing of CES.'? Will it be this?! It might be, but honestly, I have no idea what that even is. Eureka Park If I had one regret from last year, it's that I didn't get to visit the inaugural year of Eureka Park. It's where all the up-and-coming entrepreneurs will be sharing their big ideas, products and services. Last year, companies like Tactus and Kogeto made a splash. This year, the area has grown which makes me think there could be a few diamonds in the rough just waiting to be found. The Mobile Apps Showdown I'm cool with anything that makes use of an Applause-O-Meter. The basic idea is that developers have 2 minutes to demo their app and audience applause determines the winner. Not a thing you can hate about that. Last year had a few awesome ones, so we eagerly await the competition. BONUS! 3 Tips for Having an Awesome CES Wear comfortable shoes: There are roughly 35 football fields worth of exhibit space and hard, concrete floors. If you can't wear your new Jordan's, either invest in Dr. Scholl's or some post-conference foot massages. Pack a power strip to make friends: Assuming most people will be carrying somewhere between one and three devices (unless you're Steve Wozniak), that leaves the outlet-to-device ratio at the Las Vegas Convention Center somewhere around .00001:1. Pack a power strip and make someone's day when they're looking to charge up. Spend most of your time at the weird stuff: If you're going to CES to check out the TVs and tablets, you're better off spending a few hours on TechCrunch next week and saving yourself some time and money. The big items and brands are going to get covered on every tech site out there. If you're looking to get the most out of the week, make sure you don't overlook the corners of the exhibit space showcasing the truly bizarre stuff that is most likely years away from a viable market introduction. Feel free to follow #CES2013 throughout the week or stalk us via the usual channels (Twitter, Facebook, or this blog) to get live updates, photos and videos.  

Innovations for Donations

This past month, we've talked quite a bit about causes. Earlier this month, we discussed how Movember has added a twist to the traditional pledge-based charity, and also how social is becoming increasingly important to causes. With the plethora of charitable organizations out there, it's apparent that innovation will become an integral element to acquire funds for your cause. Let's check out some interesting examples: CauseCart CauseCart is a bit of a play on the traditional 'portion of the proceeds'? idea by creating a network of giving. It's simple for both brands and consumers. Users simply install the plugin into their Chrome or Firefox browser, and then CauseCart communicates with the online shop to direct them to give a small percentage of the purchase to a cause/charity of the user's choice. Though still in its infancy, CauseCart has already secured a number of big name commerce and charitable organizations in its network like Amazon.com and charity: water. LevelUp We've loved LevelUp at AMP since it first came out (it doesn't help that there are about a dozen spots within walking distance of our office that accept it for payment). It's a pretty simple concept. Download the app, link a credit card, scan a personalized QR Code at checkout as your payment, and receive rewards and discounts when you reach certain spending levels. It's a simple loyalty program that rewards you for going back to the places you like. What many people may not know about LevelUp is their charity platform. In the app's settings, there is a feature which allows you to assign a % of your savings towards a charity of your choice. CrowdTilt Crowd funding is by no means a new or novel concept; however, sites like Kickstarter and IndieGogo make it tough on charitable initiatives. While Kickstarter doesn't allow for charitable projects altogether IndieGogo doesn't offer tax-deductible donations ' both issues creating problems for causes looking to generate funds quickly, similar to what we recently saw with Hurricane Sandy efforts. In comes CrowdTilt. Earlier this month, they started offering tax-deductible options for non-profits which makes it the 'first crowdfunding site to fully support charity fundraising.'? Instead How many articles have you read that tell you how much you can save just by forgoing your daily latte? Instead takes that same idea but instead (get it?) of putting that money towards a new pair of Manolo Blahniks (those are a thing, right?), they donate that money to a worthy cause (not to say that your shoe 'hobby'? isn't worthy). According to its developers, Instead is a 'micro-donation app for non-profits that encourages people to live within or below their means in order to give.'? The app is pretty easy ' just pick something you want to give up (like a coffee for instance), pick how much you want to give (usually the price of that coffee), and then pick a non-profit to give it to. The app then takes you to a secure site where your donation is processed and you have the option to share your donation via your social channels so that your friends will know how swell of a person you are. So, what do these things all have in common? Ease. It's apparent that people are more than willing to donate to causes, but often they are overwhelmed with the process or the sheer number of options out there. If you can cut down any of those barriers, you're chances of succeeding will increase exponentially.

The Real Geo-Targeting, Insights Lab Episode 23

In the second episode of our mobile series, we turn to the expert, Walt Doyle, CEO, WHERE and GM, PayPal Media Network, to explain geo-targeting and geo-fencing and how brands can utilize this technology. Throughout the episode, Doyle provides marketers recommendations to leverage this technology to successfully reach the consumer.

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