Creating Contagion: 5 Rule to Delivering Brand Success


Here’s the rub…against a backdrop of thousands of new brands appearing daily, you decide to take your destiny into your own hands and create a new online brand. Your friends call you crazy, after all, how can you be heard above all the noise in the marketplace, how can you think anyone will become an evangelist for your brand.

Rest easy, there are 5 rules to creating contagion. Follow these rules and you will be well on your way to getting a strong following and building brand success.

RULE 1: Embrace Messy
The real world isn’t a clean, ordered place. So why should your brand be? Embrace the messy bits, do things when you have yet to perfect them, release alpha. Get out there, push the edges.

RULE 2: Release Control
Don’t think of your brand as a fragile newborn that you need to hold onto tightly and nurture closely without giving it any room to grow unchecked. Instead look at your brand as a sprightly teenager that needs a level of freedom to go into the wide world, explore new avenues and grow in ways you never imagined. Give up some control in your brand to your users, let them evangelise for you and you will be pleasantly surprised at the results.

RULE 3: Back Fires
OK, you’ve got your site up and have regular users. Some of them are innovating on your site, but you’d also like to do some really big things on the site. Wisdom says rather pour small amounts of gasoline on the fires your users have already started, than pumping gallons onto large logs that no-one has tested. The analogy is that a fire with a small amount of gasoline on it will be boosted, whereas a log with gallons of gasoline will simply be a …wet log.

RULE 4: Scare Yourself
Look for issues that would take you way out of your comfort zone and tackle them. If you go right to the edge and really scare yourself, it’s easy to then deal with the smaller issues closer in to your comfort zone. Continually challenge yourself.

RULE 5: Solve Small
Give your users small problems to solve. This gets them used to working with you on building your brand. Once you have established a pattern of problem solving you can ratchet up the size of the problems you open up to your users.

Build these rules into your daily mantra and go build your brand!


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How To Shape Behavior Through Persuasive Design

Whether you are designing a school cafeteria menu to more healthily “shape” a group of obesity-prone schoolchildren or are formulating the strategy for a multinational, persuasive techniques and behavioral design can go a long way towards assisting you achieve optimal goals.

Here are two videos that are well worth watching on this fascinating area. The first, a TedX talk by Simon Sinek, focuses on the cognitive elements. The second, by Rob Girling, delves into the design side in more depth. Enjoy!




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Brand Caring: A Novel Idea? Or Key Differentiator!

Check out this trendwatching video and you decide – do brands care, really deep down care?


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Apple’s iPad: Changing Business Models from April 3rd…

This is a game changer:

If you haven’t factored this into your business yet, you’re already on the endangered list!

Globalizing Game Mechanics, Foursquare At A Time

At Seggr, we are both huge fans of game mechanics and the way in which Foursquare has embraced  their uncanny ability to tap into our deepest human needs and grow community. As the Foursquare user community explodes globally, so too are we finding that brands are starting to recognize Foursquare as a thought leader in bringing them deeper engagement via the use of funware.

Jennifer Van Grove has captured the essence of the way in which Foursquare is leading the charge in this arena. Her Mashable post is titled 5 Ways Foursquare is Changing the World, and in it she sets out how this location-based service is playing out in the real world.

The five key points that she makes are:

1. Social Media as Currency –  customer loyalty, as she points out, is stuck ina pre-digital plastic quagmire of cards and anachronistic point tallying. However, Forsquare’s check-in model is leading to social media being treated as a currency and we predict a major shake up of loyalty systems.

2.  Gaming social activity –  thanks to Foursquare, Twitters initial “what are you doing” has morphed into “who has the most interesting life“.  Foursquare mandates that you check into physical places, which means that your friends can be notified not only what you are doing, but also where you are doing it. Exponentially,  this maps out into significant benefits for those who participate as well as the economy as a whole and for individual businesses.

3.  Localized brand loyalty –  Jennifer points out that Foursquare is redefining what it means to be a regular:

…mayor-only rewards are cropping up everywhere Foursquare is played (which is now nearly everywhere) and they’re creating customer loyalty battles that are good for regulars and great for businesses…. Foursquare has found a way to make being a regular at your favorite pizza joint mean something tangible.

4. Personalizing place –  businesses are able to engage with their ” socially-active customers” at a much deeper level through services like Foursquare, while also using this engagement as a way to market themselves more widely. As Jennifer points out this two-way street builds community “on a whole new level”. Expect to see a healthy growth curve over the next 18 months in the number of people who can be defined as being socially-active. Consider as a benchmark where we were at in this respect circa mid 2007 and you’ll see how more social, more transparent people have already become.

5.   Verticalized game mechanics –  universities should all see themselves as ” more than classrooms and buildings…(as) an interconnected community of people, ideas and experiences, and (and should) actively (pursue) ways to enhance those connections.”

Jennifer is quoting (above) Perry Hewitt, Harvard University’s Director of Digital Communications. They have pulled a campus-based game based on Foursquare as a way to build connections between students, staff and other members of the broader Harvard community.

It looks like 2010 will be the year that game mechanics  is elevated beyond being seen as purely consumer-based gimmickry.

Social business design: Humanizing the company at every turn

Kara Swisher has done a fun interview with Ford’s social go to guy, Scott Monty, in which he does his impersonation of Bill Cosby’s cocaine skit:

Cosby: I said to a guy, “Tell me, what is it about cocaine that makes it so wonderful,” and he said, “Because it intensifies your personality.” I said, “Yes, but what if you’re an asshole?”

Scott’s message is that “social media is the cocaine of the communications industry“. If you have crappy products, if your company behaves like an ahole…people are going to find out about it way quicker through social media. The glass half full stance does point to the same holding true for great products and companies too.

It’s a memorable analogy, but the key take out for me from this interview is Scott’s comment that for Ford, “social media is absolutely key to everything we are doing“.

Take advertising, for example, Ford has moved to using 15 second spots with real people telling their stories. “Advertising is social mediaesque“.

Scott also essentially defined social business design: Its about humanizing the company at every turn, whether in HR, product development, customer service, PR or other areas.