Wednesday, March 30, 2011

MySpace May Die by End of 2011

A few days ago, we published a blog about MySpace titled "The Hyperdestruction of a Brand" detailing the woes faced by the one-time king of social media sites. Today we came across this update from Digital Life, saying MySpace may not survive the year.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Hyperdestruction of a Brand

MySpace launched in 2003 and became the most popular social networking site on the Internet by 2006. It topped out at around 100 million users and led Facebook through 2007 and much of 2008. Since then, the company's steady decline has become a raging trip over Niagra Falls - losing an astounding 10 million users in just the first month of 2011.

This story brings to mind a quote from Allen Adamson, who wrote in his book, BrandDigital, in 2008 that "the digital space is rife with the components for triggering the hyperdevelopment of brands." Unfortunately, Adamson continued, "it is also capable of triggering the hyperdestruction of brands...".

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

5 Practical Travel Apps

Here's a good article that reviews 5 practical travel apps every traveller should consider. These apps help you do everything from find good food in a strange city to making and changing flights to keeping up with news back home. Check it out!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Likes Versus Tweets

On Wednesday, we published an article titled How to Get the Most From Facebook in which we outlined why we think Facebook is such a powerful medium and worthy of our client’s efforts to grow and nurture engaged “Likers” there. Today, we can offer you additional info from a new study reported by Mashable.

“If event registration site Eventbrite’s experience is any indication, social media marketers looking for monetary returns on their efforts might get more value from Facebook than Twitter,” Mashable says. “The company announced Wednesday that an average tweet about an event drove 80 cents in ticket sales during the past six months, whereas an average Facebook Like drove $1.34.”

According to Mashable, in addition to each individual Facebook Like driving more sales than an individual tweet, the study also revealed cumulative activity on Facebook was greater than activity on Twitter for Eventbrite. People shared Eventbrite events on Facebook almost four times as often as they did on Twitter. The company attributes this disparity to Facebook’s wider reach and greater emphasis on real-world ties.

If you’d like to read the whole story, here’s the article on Mashable.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Why a Turtle?

People often ask us why we chose a sea turtle to represent Compass Media, and we are delighted to answer. “Sea turtles are master navigators,” says J. Gary Ellis, CEO of Compass Media. Their instincts allow hatchlings to navigate across the sand to the water, and adult females to migrate across thousands of miles to return to the exact beach they were born on to lay their eggs. “It’s like a built-in compass,” Ellis says. Likewise, Compass Media's business is helping clients navigate their way through the currents of challenging waters of tourism marketing.

But the sea turtle represents a much bigger picture of Compass Media's philosophy and practices and is iconic of the company's passion for sustainable business and tourism. 

For many years, Compass Media has encouraged sustainable business and tourism practices, and participated in a variety of green initiatives in partnership with clients, companies, and tourists in the region.
In 2002, Compass Media was instrumental in the planning and execution of the Summit on Sustainable Tourism, an event that educated and informed industry partners on best practices in sustainable tourism. In fact, Compass Media was delighted to receive The 2003 Environmental Stewardship Award from the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Alabama Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce as a result of the summit's success.

"And yes," said, Ellis, "those of us at Compass work to save the endangered sea turtles, too." Compass Media is a sponsor of the 'Share the Beach' sea turtle protection program. Each year, from May through October, Compass Media associates along with hundreds of other volunteers, including both residents and visitors from all over the United States, help locate and mark sea turtle nesting sites, and then work around the clock in shifts to watch the nests as hatch-time approaches. “When those little hatchlings come out of the sand, we guard them from crabs, birds, and other predators until they can make it into the water,” says Ellis. Over a 5-year period, Share the Beach estimates that over 17,000 hatchlings safely entered into the Gulf of Mexico.
Visit the Compass Media website for more about us.

How to Get the Most From Facebook

How do you get the most from Facebook? For more than 3 years now, my team and I at Compass Media have been telling clients they need to stop “testing the waters” in Facebook and wade in - with both feet, up to their chests. Why?

First, Facebook has a massive user base (now well over 500 Million people worldwide, including over 71% of the U.S. web audience) and jaw dropping usage statistics. No matter what your business, you have customers on Facebook nearly every minute of every day. They love deals, and the love to share.
Our team has seen the power of social sharing first-hand, having built custom apps for Facebook that went insanely viral within minutes of launch. Twice, now, we’ve seen one of our custom apps get shared thousands of times per hour; driving traffic (and measurable ROI) far in excess of any advertising-driven campaigns. To date, one of these apps has garnered a client over 100,000 qualified, engaged “Likers” who have remained loyal fans and hunger for the next deal.
Traffic generated by social sharing, like other types of advertising, can also be extremely targeted. Our experience shows that people generally don’t spam their friends. If you give your customers something they deem worth sharing, they will share it with friends whom they think will like and appreciate it – in other words, your customers will share it with more people like themselves.
The second reason we are urging clients to continue to grow and nurture customers in Facebook is because of what is likely to come next from the company. In addition to innovations it may be developing on its own, Facebook now has the luxury of using the rest of the Web as its own personal laboratory.
Facebook can sit back, let others take on the risks and hard work of creating innovative tools for the social media space, and then cherry-pick the best ideas to launch on its own platform. This is already happening  (“Facebook Places” is based on the success of check-in services like Foursquare,  and “Facebook Deals,” borrows from the success of companies like Groupon).
The company is already experimenting with e-commerce. Once people can easily and safely buy goods and services through Facebook, how long can it be before we see “Facebook Travel,”  “Facebook Auctions,” “Facebook Music,” and a host of other tried and true online business models?
The next several years are going to bring a lot of change for business – much of it, we predict, driven by the enormous user base and social-sharing power of Facebook. On the day Facebook rolls out a game-changing tool that affects your business, do you want to have a couple hundred bored, lackadaisical “Likers” on your page, or would you rather have tens of thousands of excited, engaged ones?

How to Build and Maintain a Digital Brand

The answer to the question “Do you have a digital brand?” is yes. If you market anything -- be it a product, service or destination – you can bet someone is talking about it online. Hence, you have a digital brand.

Our interactive team at Compass Media spends a considerable amount of time staying abreast of the effect digital technologies have on brands and brand building. The bottom line is the digital space has not changed the basic principles of branding, but it has magnified those principles dramatically – and while the basic principles of branding still apply, the digital space has many more dimensions that affect your brand than you may realize. And each of these dimensions can help or hurt your brand in equal measure.

Brands in the digital world are affected by things such as the user experience on your website. You may have an excellent product, but if your website looks “cheap,” is hard to navigate, and your booking engine doesn’t work smoothly you’ve damaged your brand.

It’s no different than being a restaurateur with a dirty floor and bad waitresses. You may be serving good food, but the experience is not going to result in repeat business. Even worse, you’re going to rapidly receive negative reviews online in social networks and online review sites like Yelp and Zagat (which are now aggregated by Google and provided to users who search for your restaurant).

Another factor to consider is that digital technology allows people to quickly learn the differences between your brand and your competitors’ brands, and to spread news of their experience very rapidly (as with the restaurant example, above). Allen Adamson, author of BrandDigital (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) agrees, saying, “The digital space is rife with the components for triggering the hyperdevelopment of brands.” Unfortunately, it is also capable of triggering the hyperdestruction of brands because “if you don’t deliver on your brand’s promise, the magnifying factor of digital technology will cook your goose in about three seconds.”

Consider what happened when a disgruntled AT&T customer emailed complaints directly to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. Instead of responding to the customer, or at the very least directing someone else to respond and try to solve the customer’s issue, Stephenson had someone at AT&T call the customer and leave a voice mail threatening him with a cease and desist letter if he emailed the CEO again.

It didn’t work. The customer was not frightened by the threat and instead blogged and tweeted about it. He even uploaded a recording of the AT&T voice mail for all to hear. It went viral in a matter of hours and was shared thousands of times in blogs and the social networks. The story was soon picked up by WIRED, CNET, CNN, Forbes, and other national news outlets as well. AT&T was forced to publicly apologize and promised to address the customer’s concerns. Too late, though. The damage was done.

Building a successful digital brand strategy requires a deep and sophisticated understanding of digital technology, the way brands behave in the digital space, and how that influences consumers’ perception of brands. Today’s marketers need the objective third-party advice of digital marketing professionals to help identify both the tremendous opportunities and the significant risks of the new branding paradigm.