Tag Archives: Innovation

Seven Lessons from a 2-Year Old Startup

Been a minute since my last post. For the past couple of years I’ve been heads-down building KITE from pre-seed to viable business. Today is our second-anniversarytwo from incorporating, so I thought it might be helpful to share some learnings for fellow entrepreneurs and those pursuing innovation in their businesses. Continue reading

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Apple by the Numbers According to Jobs

In today’s Apple event announcing new product news around an entirely revamped iPod product line, re-formed AppleTV and other innovations, Steve Jobs shared some performance numbers across a variety of devices, platforms and markets. More than the features, the numbers interested me. Probably the biggest one is 160 million user accounts with 1-click buying ability. Here’s a run-down of those numbers:

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Real World Partners with Virtual

We took a briefing by Dave Sanguinetti, CEO of RealGifts, one of the 20 technology start-ups invited to present at Pepsico10. This start-up recognition early in their lifecycle by delivering real world version of Facebook virtual wall gifts. Their solution created quite a buzz at Facebook’s F8 conference and later when they entered and won the second-round FB-Fund award. This exposure paved the path to what was their most prized reward: a relationship with Facebook powering their gift area.

There are many changes in the Facebook strategy and socialgraph populating activites, and there an equal volume of broken links to the storefront and other pages on Facebook related to RealGifts. Hard to say what the future holds for them. Their challenge, it seems, is to continue to grow their value outside of Facebook while hoping to continue leveraging their strategic relationships at the SocialNet to grow and provide proof of  adoption.

Our interview follows:

Barriers to entry? Real-Gifts has a network of developers, partners and complexity of building out the equivalent of a mini-amazon ecommerce site. They solved some of the problems around not having a physical address by offering a proxy system that allows the recipient to direct the gift to the address of their choosing without revealing it to a broader socialgraph.

How do brands get involved? (4:30) Mrs. Fields Cookies, FTD, Fandango, etc.—found people really like the real world versions of gifts.

Pepsico10 impressions? (6:45) Comparable with Facebook FB Fund Competition. Unique for a big brand like Pepsi to engage start-ups in this way. Sense of excitement and camaraderie with participating start-ups as well.

Radiohead Recognition for Art, Innovation

Radiohead has received a lot of attention and press as a result of their forward-thinking approach to consumer engagement, marketing and sales in the digital channel and age. Last year, the band gave away their music for a limited time with mixed results based on who you heard it from. Clearly these guys aren’t one-hit-wonders in music or in marketing innovation. In a “make tech cool in a popular culture sense” move, Radiohead and Google are partnering on data visualizationas you can see in the House of Cards video below. Data geeks can download the inputs, create their own versions and post to the Radiohead YouTube site. The partnership also includes an iGoogle homepage themeand embeddable gadget for the video. Pretty simple, but effective stuff, especially when backed by the distribution of Google. This video has already earned over 2mm views as of this posting.

How can this approach work for digital marketers in other product categories? Consider the ways innovation can create a halo effect for your brand and seek out those innovations that tie closest to your brand values. Many brands require repositioning or reappraisal, and your marketing message and approach can be as talkable as any singular message crafted. In this case, the marketing is the message.

Share your thoughts or ways you’ve used marketing innovation to earn reconsideration below.

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A Real Brand Can Stand Parody, Flattery

A great idea usually inspires other great ideas, even if in reaction to them. You see a fair amount of parody, imitation and adoration when searching brand terms on YouTube, Flickr, etc. That’s merchandising for Real Brands and can be an opportunity to listen, respond, stunt (IMHO, Marvel’s Cease & Desist to Techblogger Arrington re: Iron Man screening was just that) and maybe even innovate. The mega-benefit of posting + parody + commenting + rating + @replying + blogging + sharing is trust for consumers and the search algorithms that crawl all this activity. In terms of the latter, that means better organic placement.

So, if you see something out there about your brand that you don’t like, consider all your options for response and remember that your customer is smart enough to tell the parody from what’s real, even in your actions. A Real Brand can stand parody and even benefit from it. Who knows, you might even have your next big seller, as in this video for an innovation-on-innovation violation (consider watching with sound on mute if in shared office or if potentially offended by lyrics):