Avenue A | Razorfish Unveils Top 10 Digital Brands

In a previous blog post, I mentioned that my Avenue A | Razorfish colleague Joe Crump was going to discuss “Digital Darwinism” at the Cannes International Advertising Festival on June 21. Today I’m making available to you his final presentation courtesy of SlideShare. Make sure you check out the top 10 digital brands, which Joe unveiled at Cannes using the Avenue A | Razorfish proprietary Brand Genes Scoreboard:

1. Google

2. Apple

3. YouTube

4. Flickr

5. Netflix

6. Nike

6. eBay

8. IKEA

9. Coca-Cola

10. Mercedes

These brands scored the highest when we measured them against atributes like immersion (how easy it is for a consumer to become engaged with your digital home), social (whether a consumer finds your brand worth sharing), and adaptive (how well a brand responds to a consumer’s digital environment), among other qualities. By contrast, the Interbrand top brands are as follows:

1. Coca-Cola

2. Mercedes

3. General Electric

4. Nokia

5. Microsoft

6. IBM

7. Disney

8. McDonald’s

9. Toyota

10. Intel

Coca-Cola and Mercedes are the only two Interbrand top brands that make the Avenue A | Razorfish top 10 list. So . . . do you agree or disagree with Avenue A | Razorfish? For more reading on Digital Darwinism, go here.

Avenue A | Razorfish Unveils Top 10 Digital Brands

In a previous blog post, I mentioned that my Avenue A | Razorfish colleague Joe Crump was going to discuss “Digital Darwinism” at the Cannes International Advertising Festival on June 21. Today I’m making available to you his final presentation courtesy of SlideShare. Make sure you check out the top 10 digital brands, which Joe unveiled at Cannes using the Avenue A | Razorfish proprietary Brand Genes Scoreboard:

1. Google

2. Apple

3. YouTube

4. Flickr

5. Netflix

6. Nike

6. eBay

8. IKEA

9. Coca-Cola

10. Mercedes

These brands scored the highest when we measured them against atributes like immersion (how easy it is for a consumer to become engaged with your digital home), social (whether a consumer finds your brand worth sharing), and adaptive (how well a brand responds to a consumer’s digital environment), among other qualities. By contrast, the Interbrand top brands are as follows:

1. Coca-Cola

2. Mercedes

3. General Electric

4. Nokia

5. Microsoft

6. IBM

7. Disney

8. McDonald’s

9. Toyota

10. Intel

Coca-Cola and Mercedes are the only two Interbrand top brands that make the Avenue A | Razorfish top 10 list. So . . . do you agree or disagree with Avenue A | Razorfish? For more reading on Digital Darwinism, go here.

Best Buy launches Summer Hub

How does a retailer like Best Buy build build awareness in the digital world for consumer products like cameras and GPS devices? It’s not like you can test a camera on a website.

Enter the Best Buy Summer Hub.

Built with my employer, Avenue A | Razorfish, the Best Buy Summer Hub employs rich media, snappy graphics, and a Facebook application to help consumers learn how consumer electronics devices can make summer more fun. The hub provide vacation tips relevant to six primary categories that people enjoy during summer: the beach, hiking and camping, the backyard, travel, sports and activities, and the road trip.

For example, in the “backyard” section, a brief video clip explains how you can create an outdoor theater in your backyard by using a bedsheet for a screen and a video projector with a built-in DVD player. I like how the tip is shared, too. A member of the iconic Best Buy “blue shirt nation” team quickly shares the tip accompanied by an image of the type of projector that would work best. She doesn’t perform a hard sell, either — she suggests you can borrow this equipment from your office, not just buy it.

(One suggestion: I realize it’s probably too expensive to do, but I’d love to hear some authentic songs of summer playing in the background as I visit the site, like “Soak up the Sun” by Sheryl Crow or the classic “Summer” by War.)

I think the digital trip journal is pretty cool, too:

Just click on the icon running at the top of the Summer Hub screen, and you are taken to Facebook, where you can load this application on your profile. From there, you can create a customized journal of a vacation and invite your fellow Facebook friends to keep track of your experience.

Of course, you can upload digital photos, too, which sounds like standard operating procedure at first blush. But think about it for a moment: instead of trying to sell you a digital camera, Best Buy creates a fun reason for you to want to own one and use it.

I actually just started a digital journal. Trust me: if I can do it, anyone can.

So why should you care about the Summer Hub? Because it’s one example of where marketing is headed: not pushing a message or a product at consumers but providing a captivating experience, usually one with emotional appeal.

We live in a world where consumers suffer from a massive case of ADD. We skim content briefly all over the digital world, snacking on small morsels of information and entertainment from digital video, blogs, websites, and portals. And we multi-task, too. (In fact, I’m toggling between email and a video while I write this bog.) How can even the most smartly crafted 30-second message reach us anymore? So ironically marketers are going in the opposite direction by creating entertaining and fun destinations where we won’t mind spending time with their brands.

That’s where experiences like the Summer Hub come into play: they’re not about overt messaging. The company branding is more subtle. Best Buy is banking on the chance that we’ll be engaged enough to spend some serious dwell time with the Best Buy brand and eventually buy a product online or in-store. Sure beats getting beat over the head with a loud banner ad.

Best Buy launches Summer Hub

How does a retailer like Best Buy build build awareness in the digital world for consumer products like cameras and GPS devices? It’s not like you can test a camera on a website.

Enter the Best Buy Summer Hub.

Built with my employer, Avenue A | Razorfish, the Best Buy Summer Hub employs rich media, snappy graphics, and a Facebook application to help consumers learn how consumer electronics devices can make summer more fun. The hub provide vacation tips relevant to six primary categories that people enjoy during summer: the beach, hiking and camping, the backyard, travel, sports and activities, and the road trip.

For example, in the “backyard” section, a brief video clip explains how you can create an outdoor theater in your backyard by using a bedsheet for a screen and a video projector with a built-in DVD player. I like how the tip is shared, too. A member of the iconic Best Buy “blue shirt nation” team quickly shares the tip accompanied by an image of the type of projector that would work best. She doesn’t perform a hard sell, either — she suggests you can borrow this equipment from your office, not just buy it.

(One suggestion: I realize it’s probably too expensive to do, but I’d love to hear some authentic songs of summer playing in the background as I visit the site, like “Soak up the Sun” by Sheryl Crow or the classic “Summer” by War.)

I think the digital trip journal is pretty cool, too:

Just click on the icon running at the top of the Summer Hub screen, and you are taken to Facebook, where you can load this application on your profile. From there, you can create a customized journal of a vacation and invite your fellow Facebook friends to keep track of your experience.

Of course, you can upload digital photos, too, which sounds like standard operating procedure at first blush. But think about it for a moment: instead of trying to sell you a digital camera, Best Buy creates a fun reason for you to want to own one and use it.

I actually just started a digital journal. Trust me: if I can do it, anyone can.

So why should you care about the Summer Hub? Because it’s one example of where marketing is headed: not pushing a message or a product at consumers but providing a captivating experience, usually one with emotional appeal.

We live in a world where consumers suffer from a massive case of ADD. We skim content briefly all over the digital world, snacking on small morsels of information and entertainment from digital video, blogs, websites, and portals. And we multi-task, too. (In fact, I’m toggling between email and a video while I write this bog.) How can even the most smartly crafted 30-second message reach us anymore? So ironically marketers are going in the opposite direction by creating entertaining and fun destinations where we won’t mind spending time with their brands.

That’s where experiences like the Summer Hub come into play: they’re not about overt messaging. The company branding is more subtle. Best Buy is banking on the chance that we’ll be engaged enough to spend some serious dwell time with the Best Buy brand and eventually buy a product online or in-store. Sure beats getting beat over the head with a loud banner ad.

Digital Darwinism at Cannes

Is there such a thing as a digital brand? Joe Crump certainly thinks so.

Joe is an executive in the strategy practice of Avenue A | Razorfish, my employer. On June 21 at the Cannes International Advertising Festival, Joe will unveil the top 10 digital brands based on a new scorecard (created by Avenue A | Razorfish) known as the Brand Gene Scoreboard.

Joe contends that brands need to view the digital world differently than the off-line world. In his view, digital is “ruthlessly Darwinian.” Consumers form impressions of your website in milliseconds. If they don’t like what they see, they can shut you out forever with one easy mouse click. Or tell their friends how boring you are you on blogs, review sites, and social hangouts like Facebook.

His view: brands must tap into the immersive and social nature of digital to survive. They have to be more fast moving than ever if they want to put digital at the core of their success. He’s decided to do something about it by developing the Brand Gene Scoreboard to help companies assess how digital their brands really are.

The scorecard identifies seven attributes such as immersion (how easy it is for a consumer to become engaged with your digital home), social (whether a consumer finds your brand worth sharing), and adaptive (how well a brand responds to a consumer’s digital environment), among other qualities. Flickr, Netflix, and Nike score well when measured by the scorecard. But some of the leading brands according to Interbrand, like GE and IBM, perform poorly when we apply the Brand Gene Scoreboard to measure their digital brand savvy.

Joe’s point of view is not without controversy. To the naysayers, there is no such thing as a digital brand anymore than there are digital people. You don’t need digital to make your brand “social” — good-old fashioned word of mouth occurs in the offline world all the time and will continue to do so. And brick-and-mortar stores like American Girl illustrate that you don’t need digital to be immersive.

And yet . . . digital is different. Yes, people have been marketing through word of mouth for a long time. But as Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff point out in The Groundswell, digital turbocharges inherently social behaviors and takes word of mouth — for better or worse — to a whole new level. What used to be a long, gradual process can now happen literally overnight because of social media tools like blogs. And there’s no question that a digital destination like shaveeverywhere can turn even the most mundane product demonstration into an engaging and fun experience that’s hard to convey in the offline world.

If you are at Cannes, you can see his talk Saturday, June 21, at 1 p.m., Debussy Theatre, Palais des Festivals. If not, you can hear a flavor of his ideas by viewing the presentation at the top of this blog post (this is a preview of the Cannes presentation, which Joe delivered at the Avenue A | Razorfish Client Summit in New York on May 14.) Check this out, too, for further reading, and let me know if you agree or disagree.

Digital Darwinism at Cannes

Is there such a thing as a digital brand? Joe Crump certainly thinks so.

Joe is an executive in the strategy practice of Avenue A | Razorfish, my employer. On June 21 at the Cannes International Advertising Festival, Joe will unveil the top 10 digital brands based on a new scorecard (created by Avenue A | Razorfish) known as the Brand Gene Scoreboard.

Joe contends that brands need to view the digital world differently than the off-line world. In his view, digital is “ruthlessly Darwinian.” Consumers form impressions of your website in milliseconds. If they don’t like what they see, they can shut you out forever with one easy mouse click. Or tell their friends how boring you are you on blogs, review sites, and social hangouts like Facebook.

His view: brands must tap into the immersive and social nature of digital to survive. They have to be more fast moving than ever if they want to put digital at the core of their success. He’s decided to do something about it by developing the Brand Gene Scoreboard to help companies assess how digital their brands really are.

The scorecard identifies seven attributes such as immersion (how easy it is for a consumer to become engaged with your digital home), social (whether a consumer finds your brand worth sharing), and adaptive (how well a brand responds to a consumer’s digital environment), among other qualities. Flickr, Netflix, and Nike score well when measured by the scorecard. But some of the leading brands according to Interbrand, like GE and IBM, perform poorly when we apply the Brand Gene Scoreboard to measure their digital brand savvy.

Joe’s point of view is not without controversy. To the naysayers, there is no such thing as a digital brand anymore than there are digital people. You don’t need digital to make your brand “social” — good-old fashioned word of mouth occurs in the offline world all the time and will continue to do so. And brick-and-mortar stores like American Girl illustrate that you don’t need digital to be immersive.

And yet . . . digital is different. Yes, people have been marketing through word of mouth for a long time. But as Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff point out in The Groundswell, digital turbocharges inherently social behaviors and takes word of mouth — for better or worse — to a whole new level. What used to be a long, gradual process can now happen literally overnight because of social media tools like blogs. And there’s no question that a digital destination like shaveeverywhere can turn even the most mundane product demonstration into an engaging and fun experience that’s hard to convey in the offline world.

If you are at Cannes, you can see his talk Saturday, June 21, at 1 p.m., Debussy Theatre, Palais des Festivals. If not, you can hear a flavor of his ideas by viewing the presentation at the top of this blog post (this is a preview of the Cannes presentation, which Joe delivered at the Avenue A | Razorfish Client Summit in New York on May 14.) Check this out, too, for further reading, and let me know if you agree or disagree.

Smirnoff, Nike, and Lynx embrace Social Influence Marketing

What do a liquor company, sports brand, and a body deodorant have in common?

Smirnoff, Nike, and Lynx are all examples of brands in Asia/Pacific that are working with my employer Avenue A | Razorfish to embrace Social Influence Marketing, or employing social media and social influencers to achieve one’s marketing and business objectives. I recently gathered these and more examples for some research here at Avenue A | Razorfish. The experience opened my eyes to the international phenomenon of Social Influence Marketing. I hope these examples help you think more globally about marketing:

Smirnoff

The Avenue A | Razorfish Sydney office — known in Australia as Amnesia Group — is helping Smirnoff employ social media to build buzz for the Smirnoff Experience Secret Party. According to the Amnesia Group blog, Smirnoff is conducting a “treasure hunt to give away tickets to the Smirnoff Experience Secret Party 2008. Clues are released on a blog to tickets hidden across Australia. There is also a Facebook group which gives help and exclusive clues to ticket hunters. If that’s not enough cyber-fun, there’s also a GPS ticket tracker, which his switched on from time to time.” Want to read more? Check it out here.

Nike

The Avenue A | Razorfish Hong Kong office — known in China as e-Crusadeworked with Nike to create a mobile game that promotes the Nike Air Force One. You can experience more of that here. Two things stand out for me on this one: 1) use of mobile devices and 2) integration with offline.

Nike Women “This Is Love” Facebook Premiere Show Ticket Application

e-Crusade built this application to promote the Nike Women movie, Find Love. Facebookers were encouraged to send Premiere Show Tickets to their friends and show their love for them. The effective use of social media brought more than 4,000 Facebookers to watch the movie online. More details here.

Lynx

Lynx is the name in Australia for the Axe brand of male personal care products manufactured by Unilever. The target audience is the Gen Y male. If you know anything about the Axe/Lynx brand, you know that Unilever employs an in-your-face risqué approach to build brand with young men. Lynx is no exception. Basically the message is this: guys, Lynx will make you more attractive to women. I think this comes through in the Lynx MySpace page.

This is an example of linking Social Influence Marketing to other forms of branding. In addition to creating the MySpace page, Amnesia Group also designed the Lynx Effect, which won a Webby award a few weeks ago. Together the Lynx MySpace page and Lynx Effect website show how a firm can take advantage of the engaging nature of digital (and win a Webby for content that, if created for your personal use, would probably prompt a visit from HR).

In both instances, Lynx sends the same message: our product is all about making you more attractive to women. But in the digital world, you can convey that message through an experience, as evidenced by the games, polls, videos, and other content on the site. What’s more, you can take the experience with you on your mobile phone and download content on to your desk top.

ninemsn

To build brand and usage for ninemsn, Amnesia Group launched the Prize Rush campaign, described again on the Amnesia Group blog: The approach: use a trivia game to generate Live Search queries. More than 4,000 Prize Rush members were recruited across MySpace, Facebook, and ninemsn spaces, creating more than 11,000 posts. More than 68 million search queries were generated in a time span of 8 weeks. I like this one because the campaign met objectives for both marketing (build buzz for ninemsn) and business (generate Live Search queries).

Down the road, I will post Social Influence Marketing examples from Europe. Meantime, I welcome your comments and questions.

Smirnoff, Nike, and Lynx embrace Social Influence Marketing

What do a liquor company, sports brand, and a body deodorant have in common?

Smirnoff, Nike, and Lynx are all examples of brands in Asia/Pacific that are working with my employer Avenue A | Razorfish to embrace Social Influence Marketing, or employing social media and social influencers to achieve one’s marketing and business objectives. I recently gathered these and more examples for some research here at Avenue A | Razorfish. The experience opened my eyes to the international phenomenon of Social Influence Marketing. I hope these examples help you think more globally about marketing:

Smirnoff

The Avenue A | Razorfish Sydney office — known in Australia as Amnesia Group — is helping Smirnoff employ social media to build buzz for the Smirnoff Experience Secret Party. According to the Amnesia Group blog, Smirnoff is conducting a “treasure hunt to give away tickets to the Smirnoff Experience Secret Party 2008. Clues are released on a blog to tickets hidden across Australia. There is also a Facebook group which gives help and exclusive clues to ticket hunters. If that’s not enough cyber-fun, there’s also a GPS ticket tracker, which his switched on from time to time.” Want to read more? Check it out here.

Nike

The Avenue A | Razorfish Hong Kong office — known in China as e-Crusadeworked with Nike to create a mobile game that promotes the Nike Air Force One. You can experience more of that here. Two things stand out for me on this one: 1) use of mobile devices and 2) integration with offline.

Nike Women “This Is Love” Facebook Premiere Show Ticket Application

e-Crusade built this application to promote the Nike Women movie, Find Love. Facebookers were encouraged to send Premiere Show Tickets to their friends and show their love for them. The effective use of social media brought more than 4,000 Facebookers to watch the movie online. More details here.

Lynx

Lynx is the name in Australia for the Axe brand of male personal care products manufactured by Unilever. The target audience is the Gen Y male. If you know anything about the Axe/Lynx brand, you know that Unilever employs an in-your-face risqué approach to build brand with young men. Lynx is no exception. Basically the message is this: guys, Lynx will make you more attractive to women. I think this comes through in the Lynx MySpace page.

This is an example of linking Social Influence Marketing to other forms of branding. In addition to creating the MySpace page, Amnesia Group also designed the Lynx Effect, which won a Webby award a few weeks ago. Together the Lynx MySpace page and Lynx Effect website show how a firm can take advantage of the engaging nature of digital (and win a Webby for content that, if created for your personal use, would probably prompt a visit from HR).

In both instances, Lynx sends the same message: our product is all about making you more attractive to women. But in the digital world, you can convey that message through an experience, as evidenced by the games, polls, videos, and other content on the site. What’s more, you can take the experience with you on your mobile phone and download content on to your desk top.

ninemsn

To build brand and usage for ninemsn, Amnesia Group launched the Prize Rush campaign, described again on the Amnesia Group blog: The approach: use a trivia game to generate Live Search queries. More than 4,000 Prize Rush members were recruited across MySpace, Facebook, and ninemsn spaces, creating more than 11,000 posts. More than 68 million search queries were generated in a time span of 8 weeks. I like this one because the campaign met objectives for both marketing (build buzz for ninemsn) and business (generate Live Search queries).

Down the road, I will post Social Influence Marketing examples from Europe. Meantime, I welcome your comments and questions.

Web 2.0: A reality check

[slideshare id=468792&doc=internetretailerfinal-1213563231913033-9&w=425]

Have you ever wanted to get grounded in some basic web 2.0 concepts but were afraid to ask? On June 10, my Avenue A | Razorfish colleague Dave Friedman provided some answers in his presentation “Web 2.0: A Reality Check” at the Internet Retailer 2008 Conference. I have posted his presentation for your benefit, and here are some highlights:

It’s not about the technology

Web 2.0 is not a technology. It’s a technology wedded to a culture of collaboration and creativity on the web. Most importantly, it’s about consumers using digital to collaborate with each other. (Dave actually cited the Wikipedia defintion of web 2.0. Although I enjoy Wikipedia, the defintion seemed verbose and vague.) Example: 84 percent of affluent consumers surveyed by the Luxury Institute use ratings and services before making a purchase.

The driving principle behind web 2.0 – collaboration among people – is not new. People have been relying on each other for information about products and services for as long as merchants have existed. But web 2.0 technologies have turbocharged that experience. (Fortunately Dave resisted the urge to say “Web 2.0 is collaboration on steroids” or else I would have heckled him.)

The web 2.0 tool that matters most to retailers

Retailers usually understand the collaboration part of web 2.0. But they are mystified by the proliferation of web 2.0 media and tools, all of which have quickly formed their own argot: blogs, wikis, widgets, and so on.

Rather than attempt an exhaustive overview of most web 2.0 tools, Dave then focused on the most powerful one for retailers to understand: ratings and reviews, which allow customers to rate products and services and share their ratings with others. Ratings and reviews are a central part of the shopping process now. According to Forrester Research, half of people who shop online first do product research on Amazon.com because of the availability of reviews posted by their peers. Implication: having a rating and review section is not optional. Your customers expect it.

Social shopping

Dave also discussed how web 2.0 has fueled the social shopping phenomenon, or people relying on others to help them shop. The web has always been an effective place to do “surgical shopping,” or using price-comparison and search tools to find the right place at the right time to find a particular product you have in mind. But the problem with surgical shopping is that it’s not fun. Although there will always be a place for surgical shopping, digital can make the process more of an engaging experience by giving consumers the ability to explore different brands and involve your peers in the decision-making process. For example, on Kaboodle.com, consumers can find other people with similar interest in a product or category and share their passion for (or disgust with) their experience.

How retailers can embrace web 2.0

Finally, Dave discussed four ways retailers can embrace web 2.0:

1. Support multi-dimensional product comparisons. Give your customers access to product reviews and ratings even if you sell them through another channel. But make it possible to compare product, features, and styles.

2. Build places to make it easy for customers to play. Make it possible for customers to connect with other people. For instance, the Behr online paint store addresses the typically collaborative process of home design. At behr.com, you can upload photos and create possible designs based on lifestyle and color palette. After you create the ideas, you can share them with friends and family.

3. Engage in the conversation. Customers do want to hear from you – but they want to have a conversation. For example, Overstock.com includes a user forum and product rating function. You can even tell Overstock.com when you find lower prices elsewhere – which gives Overstock.com valuable input from the marketplace in addition to providing a voice for consumers.

4. Give people the ability to take your content and use it in other places. Your customer does not wake up every morning with a burning desire to visit online retailing websites. So make it possible for them to share information about you with their friends via“share with a friend” features. Clothing retailer Karma Loop turns customers into representatives for its brand by making it possible for you to download and design your own widget and post on your Facebook page.

Dave’s concluding point: if you’re still not sure what to do next, use your own network of trusted colleagues to get ideas – in other words, apply a little web 2.0-style collaboration to learn. That’s how Dave wrote the presentation you see on this blog post.

Meantime, check out these reactions in the blogosphere:

Tim Parry, Multichannel Merchant

Phil Windley’s Technometria

I welcome your feedback, too.

Web 2.0: A reality check

[slideshare id=468792&doc=internetretailerfinal-1213563231913033-9&w=425]

Have you ever wanted to get grounded in some basic web 2.0 concepts but were afraid to ask? On June 10, my Avenue A | Razorfish colleague Dave Friedman provided some answers in his presentation “Web 2.0: A Reality Check” at the Internet Retailer 2008 Conference. I have posted his presentation for your benefit, and here are some highlights:

It’s not about the technology

Web 2.0 is not a technology. It’s a technology wedded to a culture of collaboration and creativity on the web. Most importantly, it’s about consumers using digital to collaborate with each other. (Dave actually cited the Wikipedia defintion of web 2.0. Although I enjoy Wikipedia, the defintion seemed verbose and vague.) Example: 84 percent of affluent consumers surveyed by the Luxury Institute use ratings and services before making a purchase.

The driving principle behind web 2.0 – collaboration among people – is not new. People have been relying on each other for information about products and services for as long as merchants have existed. But web 2.0 technologies have turbocharged that experience. (Fortunately Dave resisted the urge to say “Web 2.0 is collaboration on steroids” or else I would have heckled him.)

The web 2.0 tool that matters most to retailers

Retailers usually understand the collaboration part of web 2.0. But they are mystified by the proliferation of web 2.0 media and tools, all of which have quickly formed their own argot: blogs, wikis, widgets, and so on.

Rather than attempt an exhaustive overview of most web 2.0 tools, Dave then focused on the most powerful one for retailers to understand: ratings and reviews, which allow customers to rate products and services and share their ratings with others. Ratings and reviews are a central part of the shopping process now. According to Forrester Research, half of people who shop online first do product research on Amazon.com because of the availability of reviews posted by their peers. Implication: having a rating and review section is not optional. Your customers expect it.

Social shopping

Dave also discussed how web 2.0 has fueled the social shopping phenomenon, or people relying on others to help them shop. The web has always been an effective place to do “surgical shopping,” or using price-comparison and search tools to find the right place at the right time to find a particular product you have in mind. But the problem with surgical shopping is that it’s not fun. Although there will always be a place for surgical shopping, digital can make the process more of an engaging experience by giving consumers the ability to explore different brands and involve your peers in the decision-making process. For example, on Kaboodle.com, consumers can find other people with similar interest in a product or category and share their passion for (or disgust with) their experience.

How retailers can embrace web 2.0

Finally, Dave discussed four ways retailers can embrace web 2.0:

1. Support multi-dimensional product comparisons. Give your customers access to product reviews and ratings even if you sell them through another channel. But make it possible to compare product, features, and styles.

2. Build places to make it easy for customers to play. Make it possible for customers to connect with other people. For instance, the Behr online paint store addresses the typically collaborative process of home design. At behr.com, you can upload photos and create possible designs based on lifestyle and color palette. After you create the ideas, you can share them with friends and family.

3. Engage in the conversation. Customers do want to hear from you – but they want to have a conversation. For example, Overstock.com includes a user forum and product rating function. You can even tell Overstock.com when you find lower prices elsewhere – which gives Overstock.com valuable input from the marketplace in addition to providing a voice for consumers.

4. Give people the ability to take your content and use it in other places. Your customer does not wake up every morning with a burning desire to visit online retailing websites. So make it possible for them to share information about you with their friends via“share with a friend” features. Clothing retailer Karma Loop turns customers into representatives for its brand by making it possible for you to download and design your own widget and post on your Facebook page.

Dave’s concluding point: if you’re still not sure what to do next, use your own network of trusted colleagues to get ideas – in other words, apply a little web 2.0-style collaboration to learn. That’s how Dave wrote the presentation you see on this blog post.

Meantime, check out these reactions in the blogosphere:

Tim Parry, Multichannel Merchant

Phil Windley’s Technometria

I welcome your feedback, too.