Does Health = Wealth?

Does Health = Wealth?

This was the overarching question recently put to an advisory board serving the World Economic Forum – the Swiss-based organization behind the high-octane annual conference in Davos, with an ambition of nothing less than improving the state of the world.   I’ve had the privilege of representing Ketchum on this board for a few years now, and it now includes experts from the worlds of business (e.g., Accenture, Dell, and Beckton –Dickinson), academia (Harvard School of Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), and international organizations interested in global health (Gates Foundation, World Bank, and World Health Organization) among others.

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Facebook Groups and New Privacy Features

Facebook Groups and New Privacy Features

What was announced? Facebook made three announcements this past Wednesday, but one of them was more important than the others by leaps and bounds. The latest game changer is the launch of a revised version of Facebook “Groups”. Facebook Groups allows you to build a space for important groups of people in your life – and share information with only them. You can now interact amongst your various groups of friends – family, work, clients, fantasy football league – and keep the conversation focused on the topics that group usually talks about. The new Facebook Groups will also allow you to post photos, chat with members, and use the group to send targeted e-mails. By default, all groups are closed (searchable but the group administrator needs to approve all members), but you can choose to make them secret (non-searchable) as well as open (fully public / anyone can freely join).

What are the business and client opportunities?

The fringe benefit of Facebook Groups is that it strengthens Facebook as a business platform. Facebook Groups now provides companies and organizations with the ability to facilitate the sharing of information with groups of individuals both internally and externally.

Mark Zuckerberg said yesterday: “‘For brands, we have Pages.” He added, “Going forward, there is nothing stopping them [brands] from making a group,” but, “Pages are much better for you to build a massive open ended community.” However, you will see companies create private, customer only groups, and use the platform as a way to share information with this group. This tool will also surely be used by companies as a way to privately share information internally.

A handful of concepts come to mind on how Groups can be leveraged for our clients and business:

Customer Loyalty Groups – Create a private Group for your most loyal brand advocates; i.e. Customer Loyalty Groups. Empower your brand advocates to meet each other and share information and opinion about your brand in a setting controlled by the brand. By doing this, brands can create an enhanced sense of community as well as a forum for idea generation and sharing amongst customers that are most familiar with their brand.Customer Focus Groups & Feedback – Leverage Groups for obtaining feedback when a brand is launching a new product or service by creating a closed customer Facebook Group and inviting loyal customers to share their feedback. Loyal customers will be see that the brand takes their feedback and ideas very seriously.Employee Community / Intranet Enhancement – Empower employees to share information within a company by creating a private Group. Companies as a whole, departments and internal committees can all create a Group that focuses on their particular agenda. Other services like Yammer and Chatter offer these services but since Facebook has such a massive user base, the employee will likely not have to sign-up to a new service. Furthermore, this group can be utilized as an enhancement to a company’s Intranet to keep employees in the loop on company information. Your employees may not remember to visit your Intranet every day, but a well-placed, well-timed update to the Facebook Group can be sufficient to win awareness. Internal Customer Service Group – A Group dedicated to logging customer service issues could assist in making sure that any issues that arise from Facebook be posted within the group. This way, the issues can be logged for follow up and will keep managers in the loop; making sure all issues are dealt with. This concept would also provide a rich archive of past issues that can be updated regularly to track recurring issues.Live Chat – As part of the Groups launch, Facebook is also now offering chat functionality that could make for opportunities to instantly crowdsource opinion from consumers as well as brainstorm with employees from branches across the world. No matter the use, chats will create further engagement within Facebook itself.

Facebook Groups can be created by going here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/

Facebook’s other announcements from Wednesday, 10/6:

Download Your Profile’s Data – You can now quickly download to your computer everything you’ve ever posted on Facebook and all your correspondences with friends: your messages, Wall posts, photos, status updates and profile information. This feature offers the ability to back-up and have a record of the entire life you’ve shared online.

Access Hub to How Applications Access Your Personal Data – Facebook launched a new dashboard to give you visibility into how applications use your data to personalize your experience. In your Facebook privacy settings, you will have a single view of all the applications you’ve authorized, and you’ll be able to change the settings for an application to make less information available to it, or you can even remove it completely.

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Content is King—And AOL Just Bought a Kingmaker

Content is King—And AOL Just Bought a Kingmaker

When GigaOm first reported the rumors earlier this week that AOL was buying TechCrunch, I thought for sure it couldn’t be true. While AOL owns a number of blogs like Engadget (tech) and Joystiq (video games) already, I just couldn’t wrap my head around why Michael Arrington, the owner, would sell.

“The truth is I was tired. But I wasn’t tired of writing, or speaking at events. I was tired of our endless tech problems, our inability to find enough talented engineers who wanted to work, ultimately, on blog and CrunchBase software.” – Michael Arrington, on why he sold.

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A Scots App Tae Ye

The last time I laughed at something in the Financial Times was . . . well, it probably goes back to those giddy days before the global financial crisis smackdown.   But that was my reaction to Lucy Kellaway’s brilliant “Business Life” column last week, in which she cited Apple as a brand that understands language can be “beautiful and easy to use. Words can be fun to read. They can look elegant. They can make you laugh.”  Case in point — the set of guidelines for apps sold at its App Store. Instead of endless pages of legalese in two-point type, Apple’s language is, as Kellaway put it, “funny, clear” and something anyone can read “effortlessly.”   There’s a lesson here.

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The Culturalist

The Culturalist

The Scoop: www.nytimes.com/thescoop/, the New York Times’ “Inside Guide” to NYC, and a nifty iPhone app, has just introduced “The Filter,” a column by Oliver Strand that shines a spotlight on notable coffee shops and cafes. Additionally, a new Home Furnishing section of the The Scoop features home shopping recommendations from Times reporters and editors. For the Culturalist’s unique take on food, fashion, technology and entertainment, check out these highlights, lowlights and headlights: www.ketchum.com/Culturalist_issue_68.

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Minds on Fire

Minds on Fire

Days when my synapses have decided to fire on all cylinders are the happy, creatively productive days, while “synapses on strike” days leave me feeling desperate and drained. The solution, I’m convinced, is the increasingly popular open innovation sites that give creative people a safe haven to kick-start those neurons.   That’s why my agency, Ketchum, just launched its own crowdsourcing site we named Mindfire (following a crowdsourcing competition to name it, in full disclosure). We wanted to create a mutually rewarding, low-pressure, high-octane online environment where enthusiastic and imaginative university students could congregate to help us come up with great ideas. We’re offering them some rewards for participating, and treating every challenge as a little competition.  

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Twitter Upgrades Its Nest

Twitter just announced it’s making a major overhaul to its user interface, which it will roll out over the next few weeks. The most important change is that multimedia will be integrated into users’ streams on Twitter.com so they can view images, links, videos, and more directly on Twitter.com. You can take a look at how this is going to work in this video released by Twitter to illustrate the changes:        Why is Twitter making this change?Twitter wants users to stay on Twitter.com so they don’t leave the site whenever they click on a link. If people spend more time on Twitter.com, the site can offer a better value proposition to advertisers as they continue to develop their monetization model. Facebook handles linked content in a very similar manner, but the typical user spends 32 minutes per day on Facebook, versus eight minutes on Twitter’s site. By taking steps to close that gap, Twitter will stand a better chance of catching up to the recognized social media juggernaut.

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Playboy and the Art of Listening

Earlier this month, in response to reading that Playboy magazine was holding a social-media-based campaign to find “Miss Social,” I published a tweet that read, “Playboy looking for the hottest women in Social Media. Because women haven’t mastered anything until Playboy photographs them doing it naked” (140 characters exactly!). The tweet was picked up and probably retweeted about 25 times — in the big picture of Twitter, hardly a phenomenon.   About a week later — the same day that Playboy announced that Krystal Harlow, a 19-year-old college student from North Carolina, won the “Miss Social” competition, blogger AV Flox wrote a post using my tweet as a catalyst that made it to the front page of BlogHer.com. Included in Flox’s post was also a comment from Paul Lee, Playboy’s managing director of digital ventures. I was surprised to find my tweet highlighted in this story, but I was even more surprised when Paul Lee reached out to me directly — on Twitter, of course.

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Till Facebook Do Us Part?

Till Facebook Do Us Part?

By now we’ve all heard the news that Facebook gained its 500 millionth user this summer. And next month, Columbia Pictures is set to release The Social Network, a movie about the founding of Facebook. Clearly, social networking is here, and here to stay. Thanks to Facebook, I now know more about the people that I went to high school with than I did when I was actually in high school, my parents have friended me, and I recently overheard a woman at the mall twice my age talk about Facebooking and FarmVille. But this past weekend, I was at a wedding and was struck by just how deeply Facebook has seeped into our culture.   Sure, the wedding was lovely, and the bride and groom couldn’t have been happier. But as a marketer and media strategist, I was decidedly impacted by some of the officiant’s dialogue during the actual ceremony. He explained that he enjoyed getting to know the bride and groom as a couple. He already knew the groom and said that he enjoyed getting to know the bride, and he noted that he particularly liked getting to know her “on the Facebook.”

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Watch Out for These Shortcuts

In the rush to make yet one more deadline and fit in ever more in our busy schedules, using shortcuts in our writing can be tempting, and once they gain traction, their use can spread like wildfire.  But not so fast. Many shortcuts can be questionable, poorly thought out or just plain wrong. Before you jump on the bandwagon and begin using, for example, “intel” as an abbreviation for “intelligence,” check this usage in a reputable resource. Even though an abbreviation may be commonly used, if it’s not listed in a guide like a dictionary or stylebook, it’s usually too early to start using this term in formal writing, or its use is considered erroneous by the broader language community.    In my role as editor, I frequently come across problems related to these terms, and below are some abbreviations, misnomers and slang words that I have seen come up in the news lately along with some oldies but goodies that remain rampant in the world of marketing and communication. Do you use any of the ones below in your writing?

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