How about a cloud apps pack?

Microsoft often comes across as unlovable, but back in the early 90s they were a much more likeable company. In particular, Office bundled together a suite of applications that actually worked well together. This was a big deal, as before then you might have used Lotus 1-2-3 for spreadsheeting, Wordperfect for writing documents and Harvard for graphics – none of which were easily compatible.

Flash-forward to 2009 and there’s a new bundling need – this time in the Cloud. I’m a big fan of web-based services and have become a heavy user of:

I love these services. Recently, my five year old Powerbook appeared to die (it came back eventually) but restoring my data life was a hassle-free experience involving setting up a new profile on my wife’s machine and simply logging in to each of those services. Hey presto, everything’s there.

I like these services so much I feel I ought to pay (and I’d like the extra functionality). $10 a month or whatever is a good price, but $10 per month per service starts to add up. I wonder if there’s an opportunity for these services to get together and offer a Cloud Pack?

Will people pay for content? Wrong question

Far better to ask – will they pay for my brand?

Are you thinking hard enough about what you really provide to them – rationally and emotionally?

Is it really only news you sell, or is it reassurance? Or a signal for other people of your status? Is your magazine selling entertainment – or is it a way to pass the time? Or feel connected? Or feel good about yourself?

How can you take these underlying values and translate them into other product forms (guide books, insurance services etc)

I’ve previously written about my view that people will pay for content if you make it easy. But if they won’t pay for your brand, you really are in trouble

clinginess is the new spam

Quite rightly, forward-thinking brands are connecting with their audiences via facebook fan pages. It’s a readymade network of peer groups and allows saliency and reputation to be built. It’s a social database that can be accessed for commercial means – to announce a promotion, drive traffic to a site or augment another brand experience.

ITV’s X-Factor are doing this especially well. By crafting provocative, open-ended questions and posting them while the programme is on air, they are tapping into increasingly popular TV+laptop behaviour and creating real-time water cooler moments. I saw one thread about the twins have over 10,000 comments in it. That sort of engagement has never been possible until now.

Picture 1

Unlike email newsletters, publishing content onto fan pages can and should be done quite regularly – certainly at least once a day.

And this is where brands need to spot the danger. All new media bring new communication opportunities. You can speak to your fan base whenever you like. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Just as no-one wants to receive too many (any?) emails from you, over-communicating on facebook risks flipping the consumer’s mindset from “I love your brand!” to “hmmm… stop talking all the time. You are so needy.

Clinginess is the new spam