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On Tuesday, we attended the annual Ad Club EDGE Conference at Royale. Per usual, it was an awesome showcase of some great 40 mg levitra thinking, inspirational speakers, and a taste of things to come for the next 12 months in marketing innovation, and technology. And it was by far the classiest collection of folks that have ever stepped foot inside the old Roxy at the same time. The day started off with a quick application demonstration from DJ Patil (@dpatil) and Andre Charoo (@acharoo) of @color. Color was the official app of EDGE, and though it's still not out for Android (I felt slightly left out), it was very cool to see all of the photos come together from the event as the day progressed. If you don't know Color yet, check it (and the $41million they raised a few months back) out here: http://www.color.com/press. After the Color demonstration, the day was split into 3 sessions, STORY TELLING, TOOLS, and GAMES. Since it was a long day, and people love sound bites, I'll be brief with the recap and give you just that. STORY TELLING Every brand has a story, and being able to clearly articulate your brand story is paramount when trying to get consumers interested in it. One of the best stories of the day was from Johnny Earle from Johnny Cupcakes. He went from hustling candy bars in school to hustling t-shirts at worldwide locations simply by living by the mantra: reinvent yourself constantly, take risks, don't sell out. Boom, sound bite. Up next, Deb Roy from Bluefin Labs scared the pants off of privacy advocates everywhere when he showcased their latest project which maps and links conversations going on throughout the social space to various media channels. I couldn't do their technology justice, but you have to check it out here: http://bluefinlabs.com/. When discussing Timberland's brand story, Jim Davey opined: 'Brands are becoming more and more like media companies and the best stories win.'? Just think about the opportunity that YouTube alone offers brands who want to disseminate content. Social media and the internet as a whole offers brands the opportunity to take marketing content from a traditional ad and build upon it through multiple media sources quickly and cheaply. Though it wasn't necessarily a marketing story, Sean Carasso, from Falling Whistles told us all a remarkably inspirational story of resilience and hope. Check their story out here: http://www.fallingwhistles.com/main/. TOOLS The Tools session focused on both tool developers and brands who are using existing technology to create improved brand interactions. Companies like Smarterer (way cool, check it out: http://smarterer.com/), and Locately (http://www.locately.com/) are developing solutions while brands like Harley Davidson, The Boston Globe, and Boston's own Taranta Restaurant are using current technology in new ways to improve their consumer's brand experience. To see what they're doing, check these out: Harley Davidson: http://www.harley-davidson.com/en_US/Content/Pages/HOG/HOG.html Taranta Restaurant: http://www.marketinglagniappe.com/blog/2011/05/15/qr-codes-utilized-by-taranta-as-a-marketing-lagniappe/ The Boston Globe: sorry no visuals for those not in attendance, but those who were did receive a sneak preview of the new BostonGlobe.com (this could be big) GAMES It wasn't all fun and games during the games section of the conference. It was also educational and thought provoking. Amy Jo Kim (@amyjokim) from Shufflebrain led off the session with some sound advice, 'don't automatically think of badges and points, think of user experience.'? And when exploring game development, she encouraged the audience to map out the desires of consumers based on the social engagement axis ' is the desired behavior tied to expression, exploration, competition or collaboration? Map that out, and then start game design. Additionally, brands like Zipcar and Perkstreet Financial shared how they've applied gaming mechanics to their business to drive consumer engagement and sales. At Zipcar, gaming is a core part of their experiential marketing efforts, while Perkstreet is redefining how the financial industry offers rewards (and that's saying a lot since the financial industry wrote the book on loyalty programs and rewards points). We're excited to apply all of the learnings from this year's EDGE conference and are already looking ahead to next year. What do you think will be on the Edge in 2012?
You may have noticed the abundance of QR Codes lately ' it seems you can't go shopping, open a catalogue, or even eat a box of cereal without the square, black checkered box begging you to scan it. While many big brands are starting to incorporate these everywhere, they can also be created by individuals for personal or professional use. I've seen them on resumes that link to an online profile of the candidate, and I've also seen them on my local Mom and Pop takeout menu providing a web address to order online, but I was pleasantly shocked to find that one of my restaurant neighbors in Boston's North End has started incorporating QR Codes on plates. Chef Jose Duarte at Taranta learned about the technique five years ago while in Japan, and since then chefs have been using the technique all over Asia and certain European countries. It appears as though Duarte is using it to help diners learn more about their meals. 'Imagine being invited to a sustainable seafood dinner where each plate had a QR code made with calamari ink. The codes could link to websites that educated the diners about the origins of the food they were eating.'? (Quote taken from BostInnovation article) It's a pretty great concept with endless possibilities. Restaurants started incorporating QR codes on menus last year to enhance the dining experience by adding detail to menu items, like how a dish is prepared or where a certain bottle of wine is from, but this has been the first time I have seen the chefs themselves actually incorporating the technology in the their dishes. Most chefs, while adventurous in their own separate ways, will not take many outlandish steps to compromise the integrity of their plates, taking full ownership for what they present. That said, I can imagine a chef like Wylie Dufresne placing a QR code to show which molecular gastronomy techniques were employed, or Jamie Oliver linking to the health benefits of an ingredient, or even one of my favorite zany chefs Martin Picard showing a video of the butchering process for what you're about to consume. While I am excited about these new advances, it is certain to raise some issues within the 'foodie'? community. A restaurant is supposed to be a relaxing atmosphere where diners are distracted only by their taste buds, not by the screens of their cell phones. I can imagine my father saying, 'Can't you take a few minutes to turn that thing off and enjoy your meal?'? It is inarguable that this interesting new technological integration has the potential to revolutionize the dining experience, but whether or not it's a good idea is up to you.