Archive for the ‘Brand’ Category

Gmail Rolling Out 30 New Inbox Themes

November 20, 2008

From the Official Gmail blog:

Gmail is rolling out new inbox themes to everyone over the next few days.

Selecting a new theme for your Gmail Inbox takes three steps.

To customize your Gmail inbox, first go to the Themes tab under Settings.

Gmail Settings Theme Tab

Gmail Settings Theme Tab

Next click on themes to view Gmail’s new custom inbox themes.

30 New Gmail Themes

30 New Gmail Themes

Then click on the Inbox theme you prefer most.

Summer Ocean Gmail Theme

Summer Ocean Gmail Theme

Your Gmail Inbox will then automagically get a new look and feel.

By offering Gmail users theme options like “Summer Ocean”, Google is giving its account holders 30 more reasons to continue using Google’s free email service  – Gmail.

Could Google offer brands the ability to customize their email inbox like they have with iGoogle themes?

Will Google one day make it possible for their Gmail user’s personal photos to be uploaded to create personalized Gmail Inbox themes?

Only time will tell.

While Google’s at it – how about a real time clock for a Gmail theme?

Or an iGoogle real time clock theme for that matter?

Oh well, time to go.

Linkedin Plus Twitter Equals Who Knows What?

November 1, 2008

I just added my Twitter account into my Linkedin account profile after noticing Owen Frager had added it to his “what he is working on” Linkedin updates.

Twitter TimCohn

Twitter TimCohn

Pretty cool Owen…

Linkedin TimCohn

Linkedin TimCohn

I had been meaning for some time to write about the importance of “owning and controlling your brand” whether personal or corporate in the most promising emerging social platforms for both offensive and defensive purposes

Appropriately, I first became acquainted with Owen after having posted on Domain King Rick Schwartz’ blog

Name.com

Name.com

about how I missed the first offensive opportunity to control “my personal brand” – albeit my not so unique name – on that newfangled social platform called the world wide web way back in 1996.

Tim Cohn

Tim Cohn

Granted, its hard to gauge in advance which social platforms will have the largest audience and reach after filtering out all their noise.

However, not registering your “brand” in their databases early on can lead to remorse later on.

If you haven’t done so already, register your own brandname.com / companyname.com and create accounts for the same names in MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr – if you can…

The same holds true for individuals.

Sign up for a Linkedin account under your personal brand: your name.

Don’t be disappointed though if you can’t. If yours is a common name – it surely has long since been registered.

Registering your brands with these sites may not make you any money in the short term, but if and when social media platforms ever figure out how to make money for themselves let alone for their advertisers and users, wouldn’t it be better for you to control your brand name(s) on the most successful social media sites instead of someone else?

Search Advertising Geo Targeting Options

October 3, 2008

If targeting local and mobile search advertising is the future growth drivers for search advertising providers, then Google and its Adwords geo-targeting features are in the driver’s seat when compared to its three closest search advertising rivals Yahoo, Microsoft and Ask.com.

Below I outline each providers’ offerings not according to their search advertising market share but instead according to their level of geotargeted advertising product development.

Google’s advertising product and its geo-targeting capabilities have one distinct yet obvious feature the other’s lack:

An actual map for geo-targeting the location of your ads and where they will be shown!

Google Search Advertising Country Geotargeting

Google Search Advertising Country Geotargeting

With Google Adwords, advertisers can target their ads one country at a time through Google’s Country Geotargeting tab, or choose to bundle their ads for display in multiple countries at once with Adwords Bundle Geotargeting feature.

Google Search Advertising Bundle Geotargeting

Google Search Advertising Bundle Geotargeting

Google Search Advertising Bundle Geotargeting

Google Search Advertising Metro Geotargeting

Google Search Advertising Metro Geotargeting

Google Adwords advertisers who advertise in specific markets nationally or regionally can target their ads by metropolitan area or by city.

Although not referenced, Google’s metropolitan area targeting looks slightly similar to the Designated Market Area system developed by Nielsen Media Research which incorporates Nielsen’s broadcast media markets and distribution scheme.

For its City geotargeting option, Google surrounds the target city with a square.

Google Search Advertising Custom Geotargeting

Google Search Advertising Custom Geotargeting

Google custom geotargeting by far provides the highest level of geotargeting available from any search advertising provider.

Custom geotargeting lets advertisers create their own custom advertising distribution area within any market.

Google search advertisers can simply point and click three or more points on their advertising map and Google does the rest for them – creating a custom advertising distribution area through latitude and longitude coordinates.

How do the other search advertising providers’ geo-targeting features stack up compared with Google’s?

Yahoo and Ask both offer advertising geo-targeting options but both to a lesser degree.

Yahoo Search Advertising Geotargeting

Yahoo Search Advertising Geotargeting

Yahoo offers geotargeting to it advertisers by account market area and specific regions. Account market area is established by the advertising account holder when the open their account. Both account market area and specific region areas are organized by country, state, province or territory.

The Yahoo specific region feature geotargets its advertising through the Designated Market Areas system licensed from Nielsen Media Research.

Yahoo Search Advertising Geotargeting Mapview

Yahoo Search Advertising Geotargeting Mapview

Where is the Yahoo Search Advertising Geotargeting Map?

Yahoo offers a Map View tab of specific regions geotargeted by its advertisers yet I haven’t ever been able to view an actual Yahoo map showing where my advertising has been geo-targeted and placed.

I can’t imagine why Yahoo search marketing would place a “Map View” tab in their Campaign settings geo-targeting page yet not actually provide a map view.

Ask Search Advertising Geotargeting

Ask Search Advertising Geotargeting

Ask provides its advertisers with Location targeting which is also based on Nielsen’s Designated Market Area system.

Ask doesn’t provide a map showing advertisers locations of their geo-targeted advertising.

However, and to its credit – Ask does provide a geotargeting feature direct marketers like myself would like to see from other search advertising providers like Google Adwords – Postal Code targeting.

Postal Code Targeting or Zip Code targeting here in the US would allow direct marketers and brands alike another level of advertising targeting, delivery and thus control.
At this point you may be wondering why I chose to cover Microsoft’s adCenter search advertising geotargeting product last even though it has a larger share of the search market than Ask.

Why have I listed Microsoft’s advertising geotargeting product development last?

Because Microsoft’s search advertising product does not offer its advertisers geotargeting options let alone any other kind of geographic ad targeting.

Microsoft Search Advertising Geotargeting

Microsoft Search Advertising Geotargeting

Will Microsoft ever offer advertising geo-targeting features to its advertisers?

If not, why?

Tray Table Advertising: Will It Fly?

August 25, 2008

New York based Brand Connections has an exclusive license for selling ads on a patented tray table advertising system for passenger Airlines.

Imagine traveling with some brand’s message for 8 hours to Europe.

brand connections

brand connections

Tray Table Advertising gives new meaning to marketing to a “captive audience.”

Web Display and Search Advertising Combined; Their Sum Greater Than Parts

August 22, 2008

Gian Fulgoni chairman of comScore, recently wrote about his firm’s research on the impact online display and search advertising have on in-store retail sales.

How does comScore measure the impact online advertising has on retail offline sales? According to Fulgoni, “using the comScore panel, off line sales impact can be measured by linking panelists’ exposure to online ads with their in-store buying (through the use of retailers’ loyalty card data).’

Fulgoni draws two interesting conclusions from comScore’s
research:

1. “Search advertising provides higher sales lift than display advertising, but when combined, the synergy provides the highest lift…”

comScore Shoplocal.com Lift

comScore Shoplocal.com Lift

Search and Display Ads Lift

2. “While search advertising results in a higher sales lift than display advertising among the people exposed to the ads, the number of people reached by display advertising is typically markedly higher than the number of people reached by search advertising …

comscore shoplocal.com reach

comscore shoplocal.com reach

Online Advertising Reach

For media buyers planning to increase their brand message reach and lift consider the following;

1. An online display advertising campaign often reaches further than a search advertising campaign but online display ads will have less lift than search ads.

2. Search advertising will have more lift than online display ads but search ads may not reach as far as online display advertising.

Brand managers buying either online display advertising or search advertising but not both online display advertising and search advertising are likely diluting their brand’s message power – and along with it the ability to maximize their return on either form of online advertising they may have invested in.

Brand Lift through iGoogle Artists Themes

April 30, 2008

Google re-introduce an expanded roster of Artist Themes for iGoogle.

What if you could have your brand’s most loyal customers display your brand image alongside Google’s in your customer’s browser’s homepage?

Can you say Brand Lift?

Innovative earlier adopters like Dolce & Gabbana, Philippe Starck, Diane von Furstenberg (I guess Mr. Diller approves) the Beastie Boys and even Lance Armstrong have already taken the leap.

See for yourself in this YouTube video montage showcasing 68 original iGoogle themes by world-class artists:

Find more Google iGoogle Artist themes at Google.com

iGoogle Artist Theme

iGoogle Artist Themes

iGoogle Artists Themes

iGoogle Artist Themes

Microsoft & Yahoo Vs. Google: The Battle for Local Audience and Mobile Keystrokes

February 9, 2008

Let’s look at two areas where search will play a role in winning new audience and their keystrokes: Local and Mobile search.

Here are how Microsoft, Yahoo and Google web property’s search are performing today.

Its been reported nearly 50% of searches are local in nature. Let’s see how Microsoft’s Live handles a local brand search for Verizon Wireless in New York, NY.

Live is able to locate Verizon Wireless stores in New York and provides five viewing options: Road, Aerial, Hybrid, Bird’s Eye and Traffic. Are their results relevant? Yes. Could we make our way to Verizon Wireless store or reach them by phone with the information Live provides? Yes.

With the Bird’s Eye view we may even be able to see what our destination looks like. Pretty cool.

Microsoft (US) Brand Search: Verizon Wireless New York, NY

Microsoft Live Verizon Wireless NY Road Map

Microsoft Verizon Wireless NY Road

Microsoft Live Verizon Wireless NY Aerial Map
Microsoft Verizon Wireless NY Aerial

Microsoft Live Verizon Wireless NY Hybrid Map

Microsoft Verizon Wireless NY Hybrid

Microsoft Live Verizon Wireless NY Bird’s Eye Map

Microsoft Verizon Wireless NY Bird’s Eye

Microsoft Live Verizon Wireless NY Traffic Map

Microsoft Verizon Wireless NY Traffic

How does Live perform outside the United States? A search for HSBC in London yields similar results. This particular brand search result is for a location near Trafalgar Square. If you aren’t going to be able to stop by a bank branch in London today, you can still take in the sights.

Microsoft (UK) Brand Search: HSBC London, England

Microsoft HSBC London UK Bird’s Eye Map

Microsoft HSBC London Bird’s Eye

Now let’s try the same searches in Yahoo. Yahoo offers similar results. The look and feel isn’t too much different from those we received from Microsoft.

Initially though, I had difficulty locating the results I was hoping to find. Eventually I did find them – must have been my error.

Our options for connecting with one of the stores include: Getting directions, Save for later, Send to phone and Write a review.

Yahoo (US) Brand Search: Verizon Wireless, New York, NY

Yahoo Verizon Wireless NY “Find a Business”

Yahoo Verizon Wireless Find A Business

Yahoo Verizon Wireless New York

Yahoo Verizon Wireless New York

I can get the same type of UK map results from Yahoo however; I have to pull Yahoo’s UK web property up to get London results whereas with Microsoft I was able to get results from their US site.

Yahoo (UK) Brand Search: HSBC London, England

Yahoo HSBC UK Brand US Search

Yahoo HSBC UK US Search

Yahoo HSBC UK London UK Search

Yahoo (UK) Brand Search: HSBC London, England

Now, let’s run searches for the same terms in Google. Like Microsoft, Google returns five types of views albeit under different button terms: Map, Street, Traffic, Satellite and Terrain Views.

The look and feel of Google’s views seem more visually pleasing than both the Microsoft and Yahoo products, however my appraisal is subjective.

Microsoft’s search and map features seem to be evenly matched with Googles’ and beyond those of Yahoo’s. Microsoft’s “Bird’s Eye” view does appear to ahead of its counterpart – Google’s satellite view.

Google (US) Brand Search: Verizon Wireless New York, NY

Google Verizon Wireless NY Map View

Google Verizon Wireless Map View

Google Verizon Wireless NY Street View

Verizon Street View

Google Verizon Wireless Traffic View

Google Verizon NY Traffic View

Google Verizon Wireless NY Satellite View

Google Verizon Wireless Satellite View

Google Verizon Wireless Terrain View

Google Verizon NY Terrain View

Google offers only three viewing options in the UK at this time compared to Microsoft’s five, yet I can fetch the results from Google’s US property unlike with Yahoo.

Google (UK) Brand Search: HSBC, London England

Google US HSBC Brand Search London UK Map View

Google (UK) Brand Search: HSBC, London England

Overall Microsoft, Google and Yahoo each offer their version of both business and brand rich search results.

From what I can tell, businesses and brands have yet to scratch the surface so to speak when it comes to reaching their potential customers in this new geographically rich and fertile target marketing environment.

Sarasota Ritz Carlton Celebration

September 9, 2006

In the Ted Nicholas book Magic Words Will Bring You Riches, Ted lists a number of practical communication strategies for influencing people. I have tried and proven several of his strategies work and now practice them in my daily life. One strategy he recommends is to mention you are celebrating when making reservations.

My wife and I are are celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary over a four day weekend getaway at the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota, Florida.

My wife booked our trip and per Ted’s recommendation notified the reservations staff of our anniversary celebration plans.

When we got to our club level room, we were surprised to find rose petals spread in the shape of a heart on our bed. If I had only thought of doing this just once over the past sixteen years.

Her mention of our celebration plans have also seemingly been spread to all of the hotel staff. An incredible feat considering the scope and size of this property.

We celebrated our anniversary at the Ritz Carlton Members Beach Club. We were treated to a personalized photograph and frame which included the date of our anniversary. Not once in sixteen years have we ever received a complimentary photograph and frame of a dining experience.

On the second day of our trip, I noticed something which I believe has set our Ritz Carlton experience apart from nearly every other.

Every staff member wears a radio and headset. They communicate with other hotel staff members about our needs and movement throughout the property. They have even went so far as to have the valet bring our car around without our having to ask him to get it. Sounds pretty simple. Yet when you are on the receiving end of this level of personalized attention and service, you realize why the Ritz Carlton brand enjoys the reputation it does.

Isn’t this marketing and marketing communications at its purest? Identify and when possible even anticipate your customers needs and wants while also allocating the resources for their fulfillment.

Next time you are making hotel or dinner reservations let them know you will be celebrating and see if you too have a Ritz Carlton like experience.