I think there are specific stages to a members interaction with a online social network. They are as such
Stage 1: Lighting the fire
The initial introduction to the site, Members are hooked by the fact that you can catch up with all you weak ties in a indirect easy way. A lot of the communication is based around this ‘Oh, I can’t believe you are on here as well (facebook), how have you been? We should catch up for a beer/coffee soon’
Stage 2: Stoking the fire
Is where the initial looking for friends has either reached its capacity within that social network or you a complementing your offline interaction. This communication is based around your offline interaction acting as an extension of your offline self. This communication is filled with ‘Great catching up with you today, what was the name of that shop you said I would like’ or my favourite ‘You were so drunk last night’.
Stage 3: ???????
There is an overlap of the stages, I still find myself in Stage 2 finding weak ties and saying ‘Haven’t seen you for ages, lets catch up’ but I would say most of the communication is around this extension of my offline social behaviour.
Warning the Burn out stage:
However like my account on Account Plan.ning, I lost interest because I could not reach Stage 2. I was not seeing anyone from the online social network, offline. However I have found a new use for the Ning and that is using the forum to utilize the combined knowledge of the active users to help mould my thinking.
Follow the conversation that is also being had at the Account Planning Ning
Skin care, clothing, health, accessories, dining, and the arts are many ways the discerning metrosexual spends their money. It becomes hard to distinguish a 20 year old from a 30 year old as skin care technology allows males to cover up their age more effectively, organisations such as Biotherm are able to capitalize on this market by offering a range of skin care products especially catered to males. Biotherm even offer a detox solution for males that spend a lot of time in smoke filled environments or have had large nights on the town.
Nivea also offer a large male skin care range that competes directly with the l’oreal range, both have very similar attributes, however Nivea have a greater affinity with males through the earlier introduction of other male orientated products prior to the skin care range. This includes shaving creams, lotions and deodorants.
Hugo Boss, a luxury brand that targets mostly male and female 25-30 year olds continues to grow with menswear sales going up by 12% in 2005 (Worldwide, Datamonitor, 2006), partially due to the full implementation of Hugo Boss Orange label being released in Australia. The new range consists of younger styles and utilizes a lot of denim, males seem to be purchasing designer wear over cheaper clothing brands such as Jay Jays everyday.
Health services such as gyms and mens health spas (one being proposed by 4 prominent young St Kilda players) are increasing in numbers, men are acting and feeling younger through these products and services.
So guys and gals if you’re approaching 30 don’t worry, 30 is after all the new 20.
Consumers going from cheap unleaded to premium, from 6 cyclinder fuel injected cars to hybrid, from environmentally mean to environmentally green.
Political forces in the macro environment with nations such as Singapore are forcing cleaner productivity through legislation. Within Australia, recently the Howard Government has acknowledged the issue at hand and though have said little about what they are going to do about it, will hopefully propose a plan for a cleaner Australia.
Environmentally safe market activities are now essential for organisations to become competitively sound. The days of when Mr. Burns like entrepreneurs who would annihilate entire forests in the name of progress are now coming to an end.
BP and Rio Tinto are currently becomming the favoured children of the raw materials and petroleum industry with the push for cleaner energy, namely a project which emphasises the conversion of fossil fuels into carbon dioxide and hydrogen to reduce the environmental impact on depleted gas fields and in doing so reducing greenhouse gases (more complex than it sounds).
Musicians are also acknowledging the problem and have come together for the well advertised Live Earth concert which is going to be held in Sydney, in addition to New York, Hamburg and Tokyo to name a few cities.
Partners of Live Earth include Pepsi, MSN and Smart. Their Slogan is SOS - Save Our Selves, hopefully all the worlds large and small organisations will follow suit and become environmentally sound.
A machine with a doll face mimics images on television screen in search of a satisfactory visage. Doll Face presents a visual account of desires misplaced and identities fractured by our technological extension into the future.
One of the biggest marketing banes is the infamous negative word-of mouth. Like a virus it spreads 3x as fast as good word of mouth and can imensely effect a companies performance. For example, Orbitz (US Travel Company) received a plethora of hate-mail and booking cancellations following an article by a controversial writer known as Maddox (www.maddox.xmission.com) and Kull's world(http://kullsworld.typepad.com/kulls_world/2005/02/why_orbitz_suck.html).
Like this, Optus is also receiving a bad reputation, mostly for its poor customer service relating to long waits on the telephone, ranging from 10 minutes to 3 hours.
As well as this, it's poor retention of customers by offering deals that cater ONLY to new customers for Business Broadband (free router deal) and cheaper line rental.
It's no wonder that Optus are back where they started, it is well known it costs alot more to attract new customers than to retain old ones. A customer retention strategy for Business as well as Consumer needs to be re-thought and put into action. As retention strategies from companies such as Telstra and AAPT go unanswered, Optus loses more ground. SingTel cannot blame their loss ONLY on the saturated Indonesian Markets - they must also look @ the changing Australian market and the lack of response from their child-company.
Optus must also reconsider their Optus Zoo strategy, and offer more interactive benefits to the customer other than the 'basic' must have benefits that GPRS offers its customers. They will find that this will assist in creating new advertising opportunities and overall discover new-to-Optus facets of the telecommunications market to attract.
"Juniper Research projects that the global mobile commerce market, comprising mobile entertainment downloads, ticket purchases and POS transactions, will grow to $88 billion by 2009, largely on the back of micropayments. The research firm predicts that on average, Western Europeans will conduct around 28 transactions per year using their mobile phones by 2009, with each transaction valued at an average of approximately $3.00." - eMarketer, February 1, 2005.
It reminds me of the Sony kissing ad
Nice viral for the Spider-Man 3 movie launch: download this layer (KMZ file) and give New York and the different movie locations a virtual visit. Apparently Spider-Man sits somewhere on one of the 3D buildings. If you are yet to install Google Earth then get it here. With the 3D buildings moving in I reckon we’ll see this sort of viral more and more in the near future. It has been coined as mapvertising.
Video of 3-D mouse in use