Pop quiz time: What percentage of your customer base is multicultural? And what percentage of those consumers engage with you through your Web site and online advertising? If you shrugged and muttered "I have no freakin' clue" then consider yourself among the majority. Although companies spend bucket loads of time and money on analytics to understand and predict the behavior of their general customer base (both on and offline), very few put the same amount of money and effort into understanding their multicultural customers.
While the entertainment world's bigwigs still break out in cold sweats at the mere thought of the writers' strike, the industry is grappling with digital media channels and how to monetize online content. But like that barrel-throwing monkey Donkey Kong, one sector stands tall above all the rest: video games.
College may well be the only acceptable time in life to drink upside down with your head resting precariously atop a keg, acquire a sexually transmitted disease and spend upward of $300 on a book you'll only read once, if that. But alas, even Van Wilder showed up for finals, eventually.
Tinsley Mortimer, a svelte, shiny-haired Manhattan socialite, is used to traveling in style. Describing a recent outing to Colorado's Beaver Creek ski resort, she writes, "This trip has been so amazing! We honestly have been treated like royalty, which of course is the only way I like to travel!" Mortimer's "we" consists of 11 other high-profile members of asmallworld.net (an invitation-only social networking site that intends to have among its members no more than one percent of any city's inhabitants worldwide) who accompanied her on a free vacation. The ski weekend was sponsored by Vail Resorts in the hopes that …
In case you missed it back in March, a few people got their hands on a document that leaked out from Google. This document outlined the Quality Rating Guidelines for Google's army of search query "Quality Raters" and while it didn't yield any ohhhs and ahhhs about search-quality signals we didn't know, one piece in particular caught my eye because it ties in very nicely with the growing Online Reputation Management business.
Every game needs a hero. That's the central theme of Gatorade's "League of Clutch" campaign. Created by Chicago's Element 79 Partners, the effort portrays the brand's roster of all-star athletes - tennis star Maria Sharapova, soccer players Landon Donovan and Abby Wambach, baseball slugger Derek Jeter, basketball star Dwyane Wade and football's Peyton Manning among others - as heroes capable of coming through and making clutch plays when it matters most.
When the founding fathers crafted the Second Amendment, they could never have imagined a world of sub-machine guns and armor-piercing bullets - or so the old argument goes. Likewise, when they guaranteed the right to free speech, they probably weren't thinking of a global communications network that allowed anyone, anywhere to viciously - and anonymously - slander his fellow American.
When we attended a launch event for the news-skewering Web site 23/6 at the Upright Citizen's Brigade Theater in Manhattan, site editor Jason Reich deadpanned, "We think this Internet thing is really going to take off in a year or two, and we're happy to be getting in on the ground floor." The acts, all writers for 236.com, went on to tackle everything from Midwestern sleeper-cell bus drivers as covered by CNN to how to deal with an unwanted pregnancy, and The Daily Show's John Oliver hosted with his typical vicious wit.
Running promotions that involve consumer-generated content seems like a win-win. Users spend time engaging while creating the content and then, hey - free content. But the practice also poses challenges, because companies may be held liable for the actions of consumers, as well as their own actions. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce these risks.
The fledgling cable channel Current TV nabbed an Emmy last year for its novel use of viewer-created content, or VC² in the nomenclature of the youth-oriented news and culture outlet. Al Gore and partner Joel Hyatt have been the high-profile front men for the project, but beneath the gloss scores of staffers collaborate with amateur videographers to create almost a third of the short-form "pods" of nonfiction material during the programming week. Joshua Katz, president of marketing, explains how that collaborative structure informs both the content and the commercials.