Mobile Publishing: Mygazines

In an increasingly mobile world, the need for content on Smart Phones and tablet devices can’t be ignored.  But how much should companies be investing to stay on the cutting edge?   With mobile applications still in their infancy and the cost of app development seemingly unmanageable for most small companies, the search for reasonable alternatives begins.   

Mygazines offers a great option for anyone from a freelance writer to a large publishing company looking to make their content mobile-ready, at a reasonable cost.  The service has some impressive marketing functionality as well, with options for content sharing, social media integration, built in RSS feeds and video integration.  The only catch is that the services requires a browser to launch; which takes most e-readers off the market.

Today, the need for app development may be dependent on a number of factors including; industry specific requirements, the types of content being displayed and the price customers are willing to pay to get what they want.   For everyone else, there’s solutions like Mygazines to meet customer needs without breaking the bank.

The Daily

On February 2nd, the Daily became available on Apple’s iPad app store with a mission to provide a unique online news experience specifically for the iPad.  For some time the publishing industry has struggled to monetize online news content because of the availability free information on the Internet, but the creators of the Daily appear to be taking a step in the right direction.

Below is an overview of the Daily and some of it’s unique functionalities:

Described as living news, the Daily “combines text, image, sound, video and movement to tell stories that come alive the more you touch, swipe, tap and expolore”.

3 Reasons It’s Different

  1. Much of the Daily’s content is opinion-based, differentiating it from free sources of information that focus primarily on “the facts”.
  2. The Daily has been built specifically for the iPad, offering a superior viewing experience to competing offerings.
  3. It’s customizable and interactive; customers can indicate preferences including local weater and their favourite sports teams.

Recognizing that potential customers may need to experience the Daily to understand it’s value, the product is available for free on a two week trial.  Regularly the Daily is sold for only $39.00 a year or $0.99 a day.  If you don’t yet see the value proposition, I suggest you give it a try.  If nothing else you’ll get a taste for the direction the publishing industry is heading and the new formats publishers are testing to enhance the value of their content.

Socialnomics 2.0

Have a look at how many times this video has been viewed since it was posted on YouTube earlier this week and you’ll get a feel for what the social media revolution really means, and a sense of exactly what Eric Qualman is getting at with his message.   It’s clear social media is not a fad, but as it is put within the video, a “fundamental shift in the way we communicate”.  As communicators, marketers can no longer overlook this medium as a way to reach customers.

Going Viral

What makes a video go ‘viral‘?

As defined on Wikipedia, a viral video is “one that becomes popular through the process of internet sharing”.  It is one thing to suggest your marketing department create a video, but a completely different story to expect it to gain mass popularity.  Commercials today are so easily spread through various online channels that the word viral really just means popular.

Understanding what will resonate with your customers, while still providing a clear link to what your brand is all about, can be difficult.  There’s really no secret formula to creating a video that will catch your customers’ eyes other than a strong understanding of brand identify and a creative way to communicate it. 

In the video below, Sony combined its two strengths, audio and video (using an array of vibrant colours), to create one of the most successful videos of all time.  Who wouldn’t want to see what it would look like to release thousands of bouncy balls down the streets of San Francisco?

What’s your favourite viral video?

New Nike Commercial: Tiger Woods

Nike has taken some heat for the way they’ve handled their sponsorship of Tiger Woods, for a couple of reasons:

 a) Many are of the opinion that Nike should have stopped supporting him when news broke of Tiger’s now infamous sex scandal.

b) For the controversial advertisement Nike aired with the voice of Tiger’s late father seemingly lecturing his son for his wrongdoings.

Few; however, have considered the publicity Nike has received as a result of their decisions. Tiger Woods appears to be at the top of his game despite a 6 month absence from competition, and professional golf going into this weekend’s Masters at Augusta National, has never been bigger.

While I’m not here to defend Tiger Wood’s actions as a person, I am here to defend Nike’s decisions as a company. If Tiger returns as the world’s top golfer once again, allegations against him will likely be forgotten within a year as focus turns back to his on-course performance.

 Instead of panicking, Nike has turned what could have been a PR disaster, into publicity for their own brand. Their recent advertisement does not ignore Tiger’s recent scandal, something Nike could have easily been criticized for. In fact, with the ad, Nike has taken to acknowledging Tiger’s mistakes, suggesting that sometimes reflection and change are required from even the best. Despite taking some criticism, the ad has been viewed by millions on YouTube and sets the brand up nicely for association with Tiger’s inevitable comeback story.

What do you think of Nike’s continued support of Tiger Woods?

Spreading Ideas

Many of you have probably seen the ‘free hugs’ video on numerous occasions, used to illustrate the power of the Internet and ease of communication through online channels.

Today, the online space represents endless opportunity for passionate people to spread their ideas and make a difference. The online support for Haiti is a great example of this. Sites like YouTube have become both a source for information on Haiti’s condition as well as a platform for people to show their support for the devastated country.

With the tools available to us today, with a good idea or passion for a cause, anyone can truly make a difference.

“Real” Social Networking

Seth Godin discusses his insights to social networking and the importance of building real, authentic relationships.

The benefit of social networking is not in the total number of people you can reach, but in the number of targeted customers you can connect to and share value with. As a business, what really matters is who you’re interacting with and how you’re able to show them what you have to offer.  As I’ve said in the past, it doesn’t matter how many people are introduced to the butcher if they’re all vegetarians.