In its infancy, advertising was an interruption. Ads were part of the price of watching TV or flipping through a magazine. More recently, brands have experimented with ways to make their messages desirable in their own right, via social engagement and branded content. But at a Social Media Week event at the Time-Life Building in New York City this month, Gabe Zichermann argued that in the future, brands will use game mechanics to go beyond just getting a customer’s attention. Instead, they will make themselves a part of the rhythm of their customers’ lives. Games are “a process, not a destination,” Zichermann argued. Zichermann said he defines “gamification” as the use of game mechanics and game-based thinking to solve problems and create user engagement. But more broadly, he explains, a solid game-based marketing program is really just the final incarnation of the loyalty programs businesses have been using for almost 200 years. In the first phase of loyalty programs, customers were given free merchandise for buying a set amount of product. Think of those cards that promise you a free pizza after you buy nine pizzas at the regular price. These are still the most common form of loyalty program, he says, but they’re not the most effective. They tend to offer incentives

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Logo of Campbell's Soup Company[/caption]
In an industry as competitive as retail, companies are forced to do all they can to set themselves apart in order to maintain market share. It is a day-to-day battle, and as an organization, you need to go into battle armed with the right information and tactics. At Summit’s Track E: “Winning at Retail: How to Compete Successfully” breakout sessions, you’ll hear how a few well-known companies have managed to stay one step ahead of the curve in this ever-challenging market. Featured speakers will include: * Cara Bernosky, president and co-founder for IMC Licensing: Cara will address creative approaches restaurants have taken

This post was written by SmartBrief technology editor Susan Rush. If you think social TV is only for young, hip viewers, you are mistaken. Live televised events or TV series that have loyal fan bases are perfect candidates to add social TV elements — that was one of the takeaways from the “Social Television — . Where will social TV work? To open the session, panel moderator Richard Sussman of The Nielsen Co., pointed to the success the 2010 Oscars had with Facebook, noting that “Facebook was the winner of the Oscars.” Shows like the

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="160" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Quel ricco sfondato di Mark Zuckerberg, founde...[/caption]
Don’t you hate it when facts interfere with a good story? That must be the way Facebook feels today. Scoop is, somebody cared enough about where their money was going to take a hard look at the effectiveness of Facebook ads. A dedicated Facebook user’s response just might be “Ads? They have ads on Facebook?”. (Yup, those clusters of 20 words or so that clutter the right hand side of the page – sometimes with microscopic images attached.) And, that’s exactly the problem. We now learn that the clickthrough rate on Facebook ads is .051%. (Here is a summary of the study by Webtrends.) To be clear, that’s 5 one-hundredths of a percent. Or, one click through for every 2000 times your ad is displayed. Heck, maybe this rate is pretty good since your ad is probably only noticed once out of every 1999 times it’s seen. But it is scary that this clickthrough rate is DOWN. That’s right, the click-through rate was an astronomical .063% in 2009. And, there’s one more key concern. Facebook ads should be highly

In Monday’s post, Jay Baer and Amber Naslund explained how to use social networks to respond to a full-blown communications crisis. They offered some great advice for handling a PR nightmare on a social channel. But how can you keep it from getting to that point? How do you diffuse conflicts before they turn into all-hands situations? Having a social media presence means you will have social media fights. If you seek attention, some of your buzz will inevitably be negative. No brand is immune.  But you can take steps to minimize conflict — and even turn a negative comment into a golden moment that wins your brand positive attention. Here’s how:
  • Hurry, don’t rush. It’s been drilled into our heads that speed matters in social communications. You don’t have two days to respond to a crisis. You probably don’t have two hours — depending on when the situation develops. But that doesn’t mean you

Aspect Ratio
Image by schani via Flickr
Wayne Friedman noted in a recent article in MediaPost that advertisers have been slow to embrace HD for their TV ads. And that got me thinking. I love HD programming – gorgeous, beautiful, watchable. And, good for many sports because they tend to operate horizontally. But there’s nothing about HD that makes messages more powerful for advertising. I’m sure that aficionado’s would argue with me – claim that pixel densities deliver more information, etc, etc. What I’ve found first hand is that’s meaningless. There’s some value in layering more things on-screen — as a DRTV practitioner we can use more type more to emphasize points so details are clear. But our results weren’t suffering before and the measurable impact of these advantages is negligible – probably so small it’s not detectable. So HD doesn’t help us make messages clearer. There is, of course, an “anti-positive”. If a high tech company (for example) chose NOT to create their ads in HD, it would

Logo of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ...
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This post was written by SmartBrief’s Elizabeth Collins. The pharmaceutical companies that say they are waiting for the Food and Drug Administration to issue new guidance on how to handle drug promotion through social media are just using the FDA’s guidance delay as an “out,” or an excuse, said Glenn Byrd, MedImmune’s director of regulatory affairs, at the Marcus Evans “Social Media for Pharma” conference in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Some in the industry feel that when the FDA finally issues its social media guidance, answers to all their questions will suddenly become clear, he says. He doesn’t think that will be the case. He points to what we already know, however, which should be enough to get companies started. The FDA will regulate anything a pharmaceutical company does to generate interest in its products, and Byrd reminded the audience that the FDA has already made clear what its expectations are in regards to advertisements and promotions. “There’s already guidance