Erg monkey's Blog
It's All In The Mind

Jan
30

How many times have you heard a song on the radio when you are listening to your phone on the bus or are sitting behind your laptop with the radio on in the background and wished you could bookmark the song so you don’t have to scramble for a pen and paper to jot down the song details?  Sound familiar?

With Bauer Media enabling consumers to tag music items from a selection of their radio stations (Kiss, Magic) to be bookmarked for downloading  by the listeners at a later date has opened an alternative platform for consumer consumption.

This is an innovative idea as it is based around the targets current behavioural habits and generates an alternative solution based around existing behavioural patterns.

As the function adds a dimension of greater convenience, above that of the current behaviour, should help to aid with the diffusion and rate of adoption of the platform as the consumer does not have to drastically change their lifestyle habits or learn too many further skills.

There is already functions on DAB radio that list song information. However, the intergration of bookmarking, downloading and synchronizing the process offers a differentiating beneficial factor to the target through convergence of the holistic downloading and search process.

What will be interesting to monitor is the comparison of bookmarking to whether consumers continue to the next stage of downloading products or if it is just a matter of ‘wish list’ compilation like Amazon Wish Lists, to where products are only desired but not purchased. So does this concept work as a business model or just a facilitator for the concept of audience play?

Secondly, the intergration of the technology into more media touchpoint areas of consumer markets. An example would be the car, as there is a massive potential commuter market that as data and research indicates to us are high radio listeners. Could the bookmarking technology be linked up to the new car DAB radios with buttons on the steering wheel to bookmark your favourite tracks.

 Or alternatively, integrate an Application into the Smartphone technology so consumers can not only listen to the music on their Iphone via radio features, but can bookmark it, purchase it (using internet functions) and then replay it (using music players). This would create complete brand synergy and integration as consumers could use many aspects of the Apple brand portfolio to achieve a desired outcome… Download a track that they heard on the radio.

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Jan
29

Since the invention of the Wii Game a new experience has been brought to the world of gaming.

But does this add a new dimension to the world of gaming or is it just another method of involving yourself with the game play and narrative?

What does this mean? Well conventional games have focussed on the static involvement of gamers so they engage with the game on a cognitive and emotional basis with the content and the subsequent outcome of reactions in gaming. The Wii console has integrated the physical aspect of gaming and play into the experience to support the narrative experience of the gamer.

We must be careful not to make the assumption  that this enhances the interaction of the game play. Although it offers another channel to experience the media through, this may not intensify the attention the player gives to the game.

If we look at this through the concept of play we can see that the Wii gaming offers an alternative experience to game play. As consumers and gamers are searching for a level of challenge, difference and an alternative experience (to conventional/ routine outcomes). This addition of a new physical experience channel offers difference from the conventional consoles and adds a new level of challenge through new gaming principles. The act of learning the controls and developing new gaming skills will add challenge, believed by the user to increase appeal and desire through an element of challenge.

What can we learn from this? As consumers are seeking the 3 principles stated above as a form of escapism from the routine everyday lifestyle we must consider whether our brand offers any of these dynamics or stimulates play through communications to the TA. This does not have to be through the physical sense of play or the traditional games but more from a perspective of how does my brand offer an enjoyable but stimulating experience to my consumers.

Jan
18

So we are told that Amazon is created to make or shopping habits easier and more convenient to suit or busy on the go lifestyles. But have we stopped and considered that this may not always be the case.

If we take a look into the additional functions surrounding the site we could challenge the foundations of this statement. Take the wish list for example. Does this help make your shopping experience streamlined and dynamic? No! If anything it enables the user to digress from the objective and purpose of their site visit to customise a fantasy list of desired goods. So instead of purchasing that text-book we required we now have a plasma tv, gold watch and latest smartphone handset in the virtual desire bank!

More importantly why do people do this? To this we have to look into consumer behaviour and the state of play. As many high street brands are becoming homogenized and all produce generic goods offer very little consumer stimulation. As for many shoppers one of the key components is the experiential act of shopping and not that of purchasing means that this lack of variation dulls the process on the high street shopping. So, the consumer looks to the internet to that experience of browsing and customisation tat can no longer be achieved through conventional shopping activities.

The act of browsing or customisation of lists/desires on sites such as Amazon give a form of escapism or pleasure that the consumer lacks through the normative channels. Although this does not result in sale of products other benefits can be viewed. These are audience interaction and sustained exposure of the brand without obtrusive tactical executions and engagement with online content at the consumers leisure, thus optimising the level of engagement.

 To improve this experience it must be understood how audiences navigate around the physical website but also to whether they experience levels of flow from the experience.

Dec
07
Dec
07

Dec
01

We often hear of new words and phrases being created or recycled to create new meaning. Whether this be for a new behaviour or to describe a new one.

If we take a look we can see that these can often be associated or connected to new media activities or actions.

Take the gaming community. When a gamer beats a component they win. This can be considered as ownage. A concept to represent domination of skill and supremacy against other players.

Or take txt talk. Phrases such as LOL (laugh out loud), BRB (be right back) or CBA (can’t be arsed) are widely understood by the younger mobile messaging community.

These phrases were not commonly used outside of this media but have been adopted as a representation of expression by certain users to signify emotion. What do i mean. Well take LOL, most users will actually not laugh out loud when reading the message but will use the phrase to show that they found a comment funny!

 The medium of mobiles with its increased understanding by users of the technology and its ease of use will enhance the diffusion of its adoption and frequency of use (linked to the diffusion of innovation). This could provide an indication as to why certain expressions and phrases have become popular by the media they are communicated within as the medium is used and interacted with more by its users.

What this indirectly suggests is that it is not entirely down to the phrase and its meaning but the media platform that it is communicated on, supporting the theory of the media is the message.

So when creating a new concept/phrase we must look at the relevance of the media platform and the interaction that the user has with the medium to enhance its likelyhood of adoption and use.

Nov
24

So we hear that Tv is becoming a dying medium and that it is all doom and gloom for the square box.

Well not really. If we take a look at the overall viewing figures we can see that they are relatively unchanged over  time. What we can see though is that companies such as ITV have viewing issues that in turn is affecting their revenue. What this could highlight is that viewers are not prepared to sit through ads anymore while they watch Tv. This poses the issue for ITV as they require revenue from brands wanting to advertise but if the viewers aren’t watching the brands aren’t paying. The VOD technology is not helping as this not only changes social viewing patterns but provides the users with less overt advertising than conventional commercial Tv channels.

Secondly, if Tv was dead why is that every time you walk into a retail tech store such as Currys lets say there is a wall of Tv’s in all shapes and sizes on display? Surely if this medium was in trouble they wouldn’t be stocking millions of the things in their stores.

Nov
17

So we find ourselves surrounded by all those little problems in day-to-day life that we have a little mumble and groan about. But what happens when we get a ‘bigger’ problem like your mobile phone resets itself or decides that it no longer wants to accept your pin that you have had for the last decade!

What i find amongst people i have met is that they will often spend a greater period of time complaining to their friends than calling the corporate help line to sort the issue out.

Why is it that complainers feel complaining to friends will help the situation, when in reality it is only providing self-satisfaction for venting frustration. These actions highlight a  trend towards a culture of resistance to organisations customer care.

What is key for marketers is to determine why this occurs to help tailor their comms and actions to combat this behaviour.

Nov
15

So navigation is always used as a buzz word when designing websites. But what is it all about?

Well before we consider the aesthetics of the interface lets take a step back and look at the typology of users and taxonomy of their usage. In other words by looking at who uses the site and what they use it for. By discovering these aspects will help us to develop a useful interface for the consumers and not just sticking a barrage of useless tabs on the top of the webpage.

The best way to analyse this is to take a website and take a look. Take the BBC’s homepage.

There are users who go onto browse the BBC content as the homepage acts as an integration of all the various BBC product offerings through thematic characterising the categories such as Sport, News, Food etc. These people use the site as a leisure site where they can dip in and out of different content.

The site is a complex content management system but the homepage is layed out with all the different products they have on their portfolio. This shows the new viewers all the offerings from the BBC. The problem that the BBC has is that it has so many products to represent all at once. The key consideration the BBC has to tackle is making users aware of all the different aspects to the brand and not just the ones that they are already familiar with. However, you could argue that users do not want to use all the functions and aspects that the BBC has to offer. 

Regular users could  just want a collation of their favourite sections such as Sport. For some users this can be taken further by defining that they only require a certain type of Sport such as Football. More so the exact football team they support. The current website does not offer this to its users. This hinders their usage as they have to click through to micro-subsites to access the information they require.

This can cause two outcomes. Loyal users will save the micro-subsite to their URL favourites to save them trawling through all the links. This way they are not engaging with the rest of the BBC content. But is this important?  What it does show is that the BBC homepage is not serving a particular need for a section of its users. An improvement needed perhaps? Secondly, the users will simple stop using the site as too much fragmentation in ‘flow’ is caused by the click through.

Also another favourite term that makes a lot of brand mangers go frothy at the mouth is user-generated content. To be discussed further.

Relevance is another consideration that a brand must recognise. Take Doritos crisps. They have spent thousands on developing their singing and dancing website with user-generated content and interactive content but just stop and think. Who wants to engage with the packet of crisps they eat? Secondly, if there was a niche of the market that did,  it would have been better to take the brand to them. In this case, selecting a media channel relevant to the typology of user and not just trying to drive traffic to the brand site. Why force the user to go outside of their habits. It’s much likely to be successful to work into the user’s behaviour.

Nov
08

If banks are now concerned with having a marketing strategy inline with being consumer relationship focussed. Why are they reducing the amount of time you can access them face to face? Surely this is the foundations of relationship marketing. Granted they have online banking and automated machines that you can engage with but is this just not CRM (consumer relationship management) tools.