Who Am I ??

Sunday morning at breakfast with the family, sipping through my morning fix and admiring the view into the garden, my youngest suddenly announces – ” I ‘ve got one – let’s play Who am I”.  So begins the round of questions to determine which world leader, notable person or Harry Potter character my son has selected.  After what seemed like 5 episodes of University Challenge to determine the identity, my other son asks “do you have 4 million twitter followers? , did you just announce your new single on Twitter ? – I know who you are ! “, that it dawned on me !!!


It was only once the relevance of the notable person, from a social media perspective,  was determined did the true identity come to light. This made me think – “Who am I ?” – digitally not spiritually…. “What is my digital brand?, Does it matter?”

We now live in an age where our identity and stature in society is slowly being determined by our social media status, our digital brand.  Not so long ago all that was needed was a CV and maybe an award or 2 on the mantel.  Times have changed or rather they have evolved and it is important that we also evolve.

The importance of a digital brand cannot be measured in pounds and pence but is measured by the impact that our digital brand has on our community, how we wish to be known etc.  With the expanse of services available to us today such as Facebook, Twitter, About ME, Tumblr, LinkedIn etc. it is imperative that we choose the right one.  Kate Russell’s book Working the Cloud – The ultimate guide to making the Internet work for you and your business  provides a great insight into the tools available, how they are used and the impact they have on your brand or your businesses brand.


How we choose and use the tools will determine how we will be known as digitally – an Incubator, an influencer, a game changer, or a contributor – what we share to the world and the frequency with what we share provides an insight into who we are.

More so the impact that mobility and the devices that are now available to us has changed the way we use Social Media. We no longer have to wait till the end of the day to share our experiences of the world, we have the ability to be real time and instant,  giving rise to applications such as Vine, Instagram, Snapchat etc.

I recently met a professional that stated that Twitter has changed their lives. It has allowed them to share their passion for photography through their mobile phone over Twitter without impacting their professional status or brand.  This led me to another insight – Social Media now allows us to create multiple identities to suit our own needs, lifestyle and requirements.  Socially ( in the traditional sense ) who we are at work amongst work colleagues differs to who we are when amongst friends or at home……there is a fine line but nonetheless we are different.

A similar opportunity is now presented by Social Media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc. all present an opportunity for us to create our own multiple personalities in a digital world.  LinkedIn by far has grown to become the preferred tool for professionals – the ability to share information as a subject matter expert, inform the masses regarding a product or service to raise awareness or create a professional network for your next carrier move or seek credibility from our network has given rise to this tool being used on a daily basis.

Whereas Facebook – sharing the fun side of who we are, sharing holiday snaps, experiences, birthday wishes, anniversaries etc. – provides us with a social platform to be connected to those outside of our professional lives.  One again – a fine line exists here as well – there have been many stories of people sharing their Friday night out experiences and photos publically on Facebook for all to view – including the boss or even one of your professional contacts …and you thought you were cool extending a friend request to your boss or client…hmmmm !!!!!


How you manage who you are in the digital world is just as important as it is in the real world – one size does not fit all !!.  More and more HR professionals and recruitment companies have scanned candidate accounts on Facebook before LinkedIn to determine whether they should progress with the application or not !!

All these tools are meant to serve a purpose, however that purpose is determined by you and controlled by you.  A little groundwork, some filtering, profile setting and common-sense will ensure that you have a digital brand the truly expresses who you are or what you wish to be known as.  Taking the time to pay attention to what you truly wish to be known us is imperative as this information will be visible by all.

As well as the initial setting up of your digital profile being important, the constant attention to making relevant changes and updates to your profile is just as important.   You have control and flexibility in painting your picture, therefore it’s up to you to determine what is out there truly answers the question… Who am I ??


Social Media and Location…..



You have checked into the local cinema on Foursquare or the weekend retreat via Facebook places. You’ve tweeted your recent experience at restaurant and now with the aid of GPS you have shared your location. Was this truly the intent, did you really want to share your location to the world and have your private life so publically on display.

For many people this is something of a concern but for some Enterprises this is an opportunity, an opportunity to target an audience that is not necessarily a member of a loyalty an affiliation programme. The benefit of Social Media and Location Based Services to organisations is still in its infancy and if used effectively could prove extremely lucrative in the long term. At present organisations such as Ben & Jerry’s will willingly give the mayor of their local outlet a free scoop, or a regular registration on Foursquare could earn you 250 Starwood Preferred Guest points. It’s this early adoption of incentivizing members that is steadily leading the growth in Location Based Social Media or Location Based Social Networks.

But what value does this truly add to a business? For large businesses one would assume this is as an obvious decision, extending your reach to a wider community, promoting a new product or service to a community that is digital, a community that may not match your traditional target audience or demographic, a community that potentially has a low loyalty threshold, a mobile community presenting an opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors. For large organisations this is a tick in the box but for small organisations the same rules apply. More and more businesses ranging from large corporations to small local tertiary businesses are changing the way they market their brands to incorporate Social Media with many businesses focussing their entire marketing efforts to incorporate the various Social Media tools available.

Regardless of size businesses, all are looking to reach a community of users or looking to promote a service, product or an event and as such relying on an outdoor campaign, or 30 second TV or Radio slot is not enough. Social Media provides the perfect medium for 2 way communication and with the growth not only in mobile and tablet devices but the use of Social Media through these devices companies can truly measure the effectiveness of a brand campaign, event or promotion.

Mads Holmen from BeOn (formerly goviral) makes a valid argument regarding the impact of Social Media. “Social Media provides the only environment where a single share or like could lead to a 1000 followers….” He followed by stating that the effectiveness of a Brand experience shared for 18-34 yr. olds is 42% via social and 24% via email compared to 47-65 yr. olds 17% via social and 30% via email.

For brands the key concern in implementing a marketing strategy is cost. By adopting a comprehensive Social Media strategy through the various options available organisations are able to minimise cost and reach out to their targeted audience. At a recent digital event in London a marketing director of a large FMCG organisation stated “Do not think of Social Media as a mechanism to share photos or updates from your recent holiday. Think of Social Media as a locked door waiting to be opened to your service or product.” As a business one of the factors that remains key is knowing that you are targeting an audience that is going to impact your bottom line. No point reaching out to the masses if you are a local media company supporting Scotland and most of your followers are in Sydney.

This is where Location Based Social Media comes into its own. With many applications today, requesting users to register their location, there is an opportunity for organisations regardless of their size gain greater insight into their consumers and their behaviours.

Loyalty programs today provide brands with an understanding of their customers spend and purchase habits but if linking location based services to the stack allowed brands to gain insight as to where that purchase took place, how much was spent, what was purchased as well as sentiment then brands could become even more powerful at offering a personal service to their consumers.

Consider the following scenario: a customer checks into his local cafe and purchases a Latte, then visits the local deli to purchase a sandwich checking in and commenting on the freshly made lunch. With this information the café could offer there consumer an incentive for a further check-in with a money off voucher against a purchase of a coffee purchased with a sandwich. Win-Win for both retailer and consumer. This level of deep insight into the purchase alongside frequency of visits to the coffee outlet provides the retailer with valuable intel on intent. It also provides an opportunity for the retailer to tailor promotions targeted to the individual or focussing on those less popular items. Why subsidise your top selling brands when you can subsidise those shelf fillers that are gathering dust?

More and more applications now are requesting users to allow their location to be tracked or to share data with a Social Media service such as Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare. This extended use of Location Based Services is still in its infancy but if used effectively could provide brands with the level of data that was previously only achieved through extensive and costly marketing campaigns as well providing organisations to be closer to their consumers, enriching their purchasing experience and promoting loyalty.

A few months ago I was having a conversation with an energy company regarding the use of mapping for their business. During the conversation a question was asked whether they could integrate Twitter into Bing maps to provide them with some idea their brand awareness. Using a Twitter Map application created by a partner we were able to search for their brand and have the details populated on a map with some interesting results. The results ranged from feedback regarding their service not only from their region but also from individuals touched by their services whilst visiting a friend, customer, supplier etc. in their region. This level of data was compelling enough for them to start considering how they direct their marketing efforts to help them in re-evaluating how they communicate with their customers but also consider how they focus on the locations where they have had impact outside of their focus. The end result was the development of a Location Based Social Media strategy.

With the growth in consumer facing Location Based Social Media services still in its infancy we can clearly say that there is a potential for enterprise focused services in this area to be born and grow alongside the consumer applications. It also places Location Based Services such as Bing Maps, Nokia Maps and others in a different league…no longer just there to provide me the location of my local store but to also provide me with the value that I as a consumer can obtain from that store.

Case Study: “Aureus” a planning and placement tool using Bing Maps

Ricky's Microsoft Maps Blog

Kinetic is an out-of-home media planning and buying agency with 38 offices worldwide, including one in London in the United Kingdom (U.K.). Out of home is the industry term for outdoor advertising, a market worth billions. Formats for outdoor advertising include billboards and street furniture—and in many cases their location is a crucial factor when planning a media placement campaign. By placing advertisements in locations relevant to a brand’s targeted audience, Kinetic ensures that they’re seen by the right people at the right time—and as often as possible.

Kinetic wanted to enhance its media planning platform by upgrading its mapping technology. The outdoor media agency chose Bing Maps for its flexibility, breadth of coverage, and user-friendly visualization tools. The firm’s media planning tool Aureus incorporates Bing Maps, allowing Kinetic planners to show clients the relevance of their media placements across thousands of locations in minutes. The technology is supporting the…

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Impact of Social Media on Retail – Mashable Report

I recently read a report by Christine Erickson on Mashable highlighting how and why retailers have started to take advantage of Social Media to grow their market and compete online.   With the various Social Media sources out there the potential for growth in this area is tremendous over the coming years, providing a great opportunity for retailers to grow their footprint globally at a low-cost to entry into markets where previously setting up a retail presence would have been a no go.

The success of this would be dependent upon many factors – flexibility of the Social Media service, choosing the right service as a sales channel, how to display and enable search of content are just a few that come to mind.

This move of retailers or other business using Social Media sources could also potentially cause competition between the Social Media sites fighting and bidding for the brands !!!! – wouldn’t that be great.

What would be interesting to know, from the data below, is the geographical split of followers across each of the services, or what percentage of followers are true purchasers.  This would provide an interesting dimension as to how successful the retailers strategy has been since going social.

Questions should also be asked of the intent of the followers – are they followers because they are true purchasers or they just there to follow the retailer because they have an emotional attachment to the brand or is the retail brand actually a representation of the individuals brand.

What is also interesting is the distribution of retailers across the various Social Media services below.   Are we looking at a another form of demographic measurement ?  There been a number of articles regarding consumers who are dedicated on-line shoppers.  A Socially Conscious Consumer is described best by the Nielsen Wire.