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May 23 13

101 Best Restaurants around Los Angeles

by ic

View Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants on

May 16 11

Bottle Opener that Invites Friends Over

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Social Media Concept

Wireless bottle opener connects to facebook when used to crack open a beer, posts status invite to friends.  Whomever has the most friends RSVP wins a case of beer!

May 13 11

Barry Salzberg on Leadership and Teams

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Smart companies throw command-and-control leadership systems and hierarchical management structures out the window, says Deloitte CEO Barry Salzberg. “No longer is leadership about a few exceptional leaders at the top of the organization,” Salzberg says. “Rather, the future is about exceptional teams and the leaders within those teams who can out-maneuver, out-manage and out-innovate their competition.

Published by Wharton – Read Full Story Here.

May 12 11

Boredom Can Drive Innovation

by ic

Sometimes the best way to come up with creative ideas is to disconnect from the whirlwind of office life and simply let the world wash over you, writes Scott Anthony. If you find yourself forced to wait for a meeting or a transport connection, embrace your boredom and use the time to observe those around you and look for ideas that could help your business. “Make a regular habit of just standing and watching. You may be surprised by what you see,” Anthony writes.

Harvard Business ReviewRead the Full Story Here.

May 12 11

Hookup Device for Smokers

by ic

Electronic cigarette maker develops a social networking gimmick to gain market share.

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Blu Cigs are develpoing and testing the “Smart Pack,” a first-of-its-kind e-cigarette pack which features unique ID technology that detects nearby e-smokers.  The device charges the cigarettes and will vibrate and flash when it comes within 50 feet of another “Smart Pack.”  Both people are notified allowing for social interaction.

The device can be set to exchange information about their owners, like contact information and Facebook profiles.  ”You can set whatever parameters you’d like,” says company president Jason Healy. “It could range from leave me alone to I’m single to I want a drinking buddy all the way to please date me.”

Healy claims his company did $30 million in online sales last year.  Marketers think people want more devices to link to each other. More than 105 million adult Americans have at least two types of connected devices, and 37 million have five or more, according to Forrester Research.

May 11 11

10 Laws of Customer Relationships

by ic

By Jerry Acuff

There are ten fundamental laws that determine whether a customer will want to have a long-term relationship with you.

  • 1 ) Your customer wants to feel important.
  • 2 ) Your customer craves being appreciated.
  • 3 ) Your customer is NOT interested in you.
  • 4 ) Your customer seeks success and happiness.
  • 5 ) Your customer wants you to listen and understand.
  • 6 ) Your customer must feel valued before buying.
  • 7 ) Your customer buys emotionally but defends logically.
  • 8 ) Your customer’s average attention span is short.
  • 9) Your customer wants you to show true interest.
  • 10 ) Your customer wants to teach you something.
  • May 11 11

    Rebranding High Fructose Corn Syrup

    by ic

    It all started in 1985 when, in an effort to save money, Coca-Cola stopped using real cane sugar and reformulated the iconic drink to be made with High Fructose Corn Syrup. Coca-cola with sugar is standard throughout Europe and in other parts of the world. However, if you want it with sugar in the USA you need to purchase "Mexican Coke" in the glass bottles.

    The Western Sugar Cooperative recently filed suit against sugar refiners for misleading consumers in calling High Fructose Corn Syrup corn sugar.  The lawsuit names as defendants Archer Daniels Midland Co., Cargill Inc., and other major corn syrup processors as well as the Corn Refiners Association.

    This suit is about false advertising, pure and simple,” said Inder Mathur, president and CEO of Western Sugar Cooperative, the grower group that filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court along with the Michigan Sugar Co. and C&H Sugar Co. Inc. “If consumers are concerned about your product, then you should improve it or explain its benefits, not try to deceive people about its name or distort scientific facts.”

    Corn Refiners Petition to Be Called Corn Sugar

    The Corn Refiner’s Association lobbied hard for the name change because more and more people are refusing to buy products containing High Fructose Corn Syrup. As a result, many food manufacturers have stopped using High Fructose Corn Syrup and, instead, have replaced it with sugar. The sky rocketing price of corn, which has shot up nearly 50 percent in the past couple of months, has also been a factor.

    The Corn Refiners have just petitioned the FDA to be allowed to use the name “corn sugar” to apply to both glucose/dextrose and high-fructose corn syrup. But the existing definition seems to exclude High Fructose Corn Syrup. While High Fructose Corn Syrup is about half glucose, it is also about half fructose, and its manufacture from corn starch requires one more enzyme.

    But even still, High Fructose Corn Syrup has been using the name in its new advertising push, which is no small campaign. Corn Refiners spent nearly $30 million on advertising in 2008.

    High Fructose Corn Syrup goes through highly unnatural processing. The process starts off with corn kernels. The corn is spun at a high velocity and combined with three other enzymes: alpha-amylase, glucoamylase, and xylose isomerase, so that it forms a thick syrup that’s way sweeter than sugar.

    Each group wants to increase market share and as public perception of these ingredients evolves, so too does the name by which each group would like to be referred.

    May 11 11

    Downtown LA 2030

    by Francis Mohajerin

    Reorganize downtown Los Angeles – Architecture students thesis project by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo architecture students Sarah Fleming, Tam Thien Tran, and Toon Virochpoka supported by Gensler.

    May 11 11

    Rich Folks Motivations Differ From General Population

    by ic

    The rich are different, and not just because they have more money, according to an Affluence Collaborative survey. While regular Web users engage with brands primarily to receive discounts and promotions, affluent users care more about staying on top of trends and maintaining a pre-existing affinity for a given brand, the survey finds. Luxury brands should steer clear of promotional gimmicks and focus on consistent brand messaging that fuels advocacy, according to this article:

    Why Do Affluent Consumers Connect with Brands on Social Networks?

    Wealthy internet users connect with brands on social networks for significantly different reasons than the general population. The social networks they use to do so are different, too.

    Among the general population, the main reason cited for connecting with brands on social networks was to receive deals and discounts.

    According to Affluence Collaborative,  their top reasons for following brands were due to a preexisting affinity for and a desire to be kept informed about the brand. The least-cited reason mentioned by all groups surveyed was to be entertained, suggesting that social media marketers still need to provide fans with value, even if it isn’t directly in the form of a coupon or sale.

    These findings coincide with earlier research from ExactTarget, which showed that a huge component of liking a brand on Facebook was due not just to an affinity, but as a means of self-expression for others to see. This promotional desire was more pronounced in Facebook users than Twitter followers or email subscribers. Affluents then, in their “love of the brands” they connect with, are largely acting as brand ambassadors.

    On the surface, a November 2010 L2 Think Tank survey might appear to contradict these findings. Affluent members of Gen Y (ages 19 to 33) cited promotions and offers as the main reason for engaging with brands on social media. Women were more likely than men to engage with brands in general and to want to receive offers. However, the survey included those who were “projected to earn $100,000 in the next two years”—meaning the respondents were more aspiring than actually affluent. The second biggest motivator was still an affinity for the brand.

    Data from the Affluence Collaborative study also reveals that the affluent aren’t using the same social networks as the general population. Facebook was the No. 1 social network used by all groups surveyed, but LinkedIn and Twitter attracted affluent internet users at nearly double the rate of the general population.

    Any marketer targeting affluent consumers needs to know not only where to reach that audience, but what appeals to them. For wealthy internet users, connecting with a brand is largely about the brand itself, not gimmicks and offers. Affluents need to see a consistent message that makes following a brand meaningful for self-expression, just like when buying a brand in real life. Watering down the brand in order to gain a large social following may drive away the very people trying to be reached.

    May 10 11

    R/GA Grows and Expands Services

    by ic

    By Stuart ElliottThe New York Times

    To Grow, an Agency Breaks Down Walls

    Bob Greenberg, chairman and chief executive of R/GA. Photo by Doug Goodman

    A?LEADING digital agency is expanding its portfolio of services as part of efforts to help wean marketers and other agencies — and perhaps reporters, too — off the notion that agencies still need to be labeled “digital” or “traditional.”

    The agency, R/GA, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, is adding a unit that will specialize in event marketing, to be led by executives hired from agencies like Crispin Porter & Bogusky and the Lime Public Relations and Promotion division of Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners, both owned by MDC Partners.

    R/GA is also starting a practice that will be focused on the growing field known as data visualization, which seeks to make today’s deluge of information more understandable by presenting it in visual forms like charts and graphs.

    Those new offerings will join R/GA services like brand development, mobile advertising, relationship marketing and social media, not to mention its digital ad work for clients like Nike and Wal-Mart. R/GA has 1,072 employees, the agency says, about 850 of whom work at the New York headquarters.

    As for describing R/GA as digital, “everything is digital” now, said Bob Greenberg, chairman, chief executive and global chief creative officer, and “disrupted by technology.”

    R/GA also provides services like those offered by so-called traditional agencies, Mr. Greenberg said, among them the creation and production of television commercials. For instance, there are 86 copywriters at the agency, he added.

    R/GA also plans to grow in other ways, Mr. Greenberg said, including by filling the 189 openings the agency has and starting additional offices to join the six now in Chicago, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, London, Singapore and São Paulo.

    Two more offices will be opened this year, he added, one of them possibly in Bucharest, Romania.

    “We’re not looking to just add more offerings,” Mr. Greenberg said in a wide-ranging, 45-minute phone interview. “The real reason we need to do it is to have a new model of an advertising agency for what clients need and what consumers will respond to.”

    That was seconded by Joe Phelps, chief of the Phelps Group in Santa Monica, Calif., and the author of a book, “Pyramids Are Tombs,” about how traditional corporate organizations need to change.

    “The organization’s design influences the people’s behavior,” Mr. Phelps said. “Anything other than being organized around the client is less than optimal.”

    “You have to think long term, not next quarter,” he added.

    R/GA had revenue last year of $190 million, according to the annual Agency Report compiled by the trade publication Advertising Age, up 46.2 percent from 2009 — the largest percentage gain for any unit of the 15 largest consolidated agency networks in the Ad Age rankings.

    By United States revenue last year, according to Ad Age, R/GA was 34th out of all agencies, up from 58 in the 2009 rankings. No other agencies among the 50 largest in that category rose that many spots.

    R/GA’s United States revenue of about $175 million enabled it to finish higher in those Ad Age rankings than well-known traditional agencies like Deutsch, the Richards Group, Campbell-Ewald and Crispin Porter.

    “I had great successes” at Crispin Porter, said Brian Schultz , who left the agency’s Boulder, Colo., office, where he had been executive producer of the OuterActive unit, which specializes in live events and other experiential marketing, to lead the new R/GA Live Events unit as group director.

    “After talking with Bob,” Mr. Schultz said, referring to Mr. Greenberg, he decided to join R/GA because of an opportunity to extend the concept of live events. “Events don’t necessarily have to happen in the physical world,” he added. “We can create emotional experiences online.”

    At OuterActive, Mr. Schultz said, he worked with marketers like Diageo, Kraft Foods, Microsoft and Volkswagen of America. He declined to identify the initial clients of R/GA Live Events because, he said, “we’re in a prelaunch embargo period.”

    Others who have joined R/GA Live Events, which has six employees to start, include Gabe Banner, executive producer, who came from Lime, and Elizabeth Valleau, creative director, who has worked at Mktg and Sean Combs’s Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group.

    As for the data visualization practice, which is starting with nine employees, it is being led by Andy Clark, a 10-year R/GA employee, as executive creative director. He will be joined by Tye Rattenbury, who takes the title of data scientist and comes from a post as a research scientist at the Intel Corporation.

    Data visualization is “a knockout offering,” said Mr. Greenberg, who also referred to it as “data viz” (rhymes with whiz) or visual analytics.

    An example of data visualization is a word cloud, which brings to life the frequency of words in an article, speech or other text.

    Another example is an application called Nike+ GPS, for devices like the iPhone, that R/GA developed with Nike. The app, which costs $1.99, includes features like a color-coded heat map of a run, displaying information like when peak speed was hit along the route.

    “You can see where you’ve slowed down or sped up,” Mr. Greenberg said. “Personal data is more important to runners than music.”

    Or, to paraphrase Shakespeare, if data be the food of love, visualize on.