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Notes from the EDGE

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?

Oh $#!+, I Lost My Phone (among other things'?¦)

Confession: I'm attached to my mobile phone.  I don't just mean that I carry it all the time, I mean I'm so emotionally connected to it that I feel naked, confused, lost and anxiety-stricken if I forget it or can't find it. I have some theories as to why this is, and I also recognize that my symptoms have only worsened since my move to a city five months ago, but my prediction is that it will only get worse. It's a no-brainer that mobile phones have become so much more than a device to make calls to other phone numbers. The capabilities they now provide are endless from texting, emailing, taking and sending photos and videos, accessing the internet, checking sports scores and updates, navigating to a location, and the list goes on and on. These devices are doing more and more each day, proving us with more options and capabilities, and ultimately, making us users more dependent on them. As we move towards the future, here are some cool things that mobile 'phones'? can do and will be doing before we know it. Mobile Ticketing As Cassie Shaine shared a couple weeks ago, companies are beginning to offer electronic tickets that can be sent to your phone via text-to-web technology. This sort of technology allows consumers to access an event or board a plane without the need of a paper ticket. Mobile Payments I was in an Apple Store the other day, and one of the sales associates helped me check out using an iPhone with a case that could scan the item's barcode, swipe my credit card, email and/or print a receipt. Square is an example of another organization that uses similar technology. It offers a free application for iPhone, iPad and Android-powered devices that comes with a free card reader which is easily inserted into the headphone jack on your device leaving users with the option to have their card swiped or entered manually as payment. Starbucks launched a program this week allowing customers to pay using their recently-designed iPhone app which projects a 2D barcode to be scanned at the register. With further development of Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology, mobile devices may soon replace credit cards and metro cards. The technology would charge users as their device is passed near a NFC reader at checkout stations or transit gates. And who knows! With the progression of technology, someday you may be able to pay back your pal for last night's pizza run by simply 'bumping'? the edges of your mobile devices together! Remote Control With GM's new electric car, the Volt, you can start, lock, unlock, and even honk your horn all through its iPhone app. This technology has also been used with Zipcar as users can also lock, unlock, and sound the horn throughout their reservation using their free iPhone app. A number of remote controlled apps for computers have become available, but one that has had a lot of popularity recently is the Remote app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. This allows the user to control his or her Mac or Apple TV right from the handset. Identification AMOLED is a display technology for use in mobile devices and televisions, and is included in all of Samsung's recent Android-powered Galaxy S devices. The company has been researching future uses for the technology, including incorporation into ID cards in several ways. If Samsung has experimented with AMOLED ID cards or licenses, you can bet that someone has envisioned carrying valid identification within a mobile device. Imagine going out to a bar and using your phone as a proof-of-age! Significance So what does this mean for us as marketers? Someday consumers may not carry a wallet anymore. Mobile devices have the capacity to take over our pockets and replace credit cards, licenses, keys, and almost anything else. Tangible gift cards and rewards cards could become obsolete, as the significance of location-based apps and brand-specific apps emerges. Mobile devices have the potential to become the single most important item a consumer owns, with an abundance of information on the user's identity and assets. While this idea spells a victory for convenience, it could mean a nightmare in the case of a lost mobile device, costing time, money, and who knows what else. Consumers will likely be more involved in determining their next mobile device purchase, and security is sure to be a concern.

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