growth-hacker-definitionLast night a great panel was hosted by MitchelLake Group, among the beer and the great minds gathered a solid discussion was had on growth hacking. Below is a summary of the event and some notes from the twitter-sphere on what went down.

” Some of the most successful startups of all time have used growth hacking techniques to grow products up to millions, 10s of millions, and in some cases 100M+ users, including Facebook, Dropbox, Zynga, Twitter, Pinterest and Quora.
But who are Growth Hackers, where do they hail from and who’s actually using them?
We’ve put together a panel of some of the leading Australian businesses who have already adopted this new (or not so new) practice for an interactive discussion. We will cover what it means to them, real life examples of how they are integrating the process into their businesses and Read More

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On Sunday the Steve Irwin set sail from Circular Quay, the Sea Shepherd’s skull and cross bones drawing the attention of tourists, hippies, grey nomads and yuppies alike. And it got me thinking about advertising activism, and how you successfully get public engagement on a Sunday.

Circular Quay is such a high visibility space, on a daily basis 36,000 visitors* pass through the quay itself with hundreds more looking on from the surrounding restaurants. In a space like this, social activism gets exposure to audiences that may never otherwise seek out information on the causes of the Sea Shepherd. While docking the Steve Irwin in the most famous international port of Australia certainly makes a visual splash, does it make the cause more accessible?

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This intended as a bit of a memes 101, originally written for a senior management man who wasn’t quite sure what all the fuss was about.  So this little article was born, because everyone deserves to understand our little meme friends.

A meme can be any idea that gains popularity, and it’s a slightly different take on what the traditional marketing guys may label as “buzz” or “hype” as it’s (usually) user-generated content that acts in a dialogue with the complex inter-textual network of a peer group or hyperlocal community. The most visible “memes” usually take form of appropriated images with captions: perhaps it’s to make a pithy comment on issues, express pet annoyances or just done for a laugh… some are quite layered and clever, others are not. There is not one main source for image memes. Anyone who has something (or nothing) to say can make one. And anything can become a “mainstream” meme.

image: meme - High Expectations Asian Father

High Expectations Asian Father

Most memes don’t explain themselves very well — you have to know how to read them, and you most likely have to look at several examples before you “get” the joke or the internal language. However, memes are increasingly entering mainstream dialogues and take many forms. Christina Xu and Christian Twang started ROFLCon in 2008, a deep dive conference into internet culture. They’re unofficially considered by many to be the official internet-meme mum and dad, the ones who started it all.  But, that’s the beauty of memes, they can’t really be owned by anyone.  They are live beasts that constantly evolve and by their nature are uncontrollable and roam free…. Read More

So a few weeks later I’ve managed to change jobs, book a wedding venue and reopen the Nike Case study series. With exams starting next week, I’m hoping for a prolific next 5 days with lots of writing and thinking and not much TV, couch or Fiancé (or as I like to call it, the Devil’s trinity of procrastination) I’ve managed to wrangle a week of study time between jobs and have dutifully set myself up in a suburban library, as far away from the Devil’s trinity as possible. So without further ado…

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When we’re looking at Nike’s developments over the past decade, innovation and consumer influence over the marketing mix and key product developments have changed dramatically. As Yoo et.al. (2009) point out, digital technology has radically reduced the communication cost for remote collaboration and coordination. While this has implications for all global companies, and how their international supply chains operate, it also changes the ball game for how consumers can interact with the company and what innovations are possible.

Stefan Olander, the company’s director of digital content notes, ‘‘In the past, the product was the end point of the consumer experience. Now it is the starting point.’’ The digital space has opened up infinite avenues for both continuous and dynamically continuous innovation, propelled by both consumer and the brand. A great example of Nike engaging in this space is the Nike + innovation.

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We all wonder about the internet, are too many catzburgerz overloading our brains with mortifying stupidty?  Are our kids going to be able to think for themselves, without Googling every question they have?

The old interweb allows us to take a bloody good idea and get friends, collegues and strangers to enjoy it, amplify it, correct it, as well as misunderstand and degrade it.

By far the best (short) (readble) (entertaining) article I’ve read on this topic is by Thomas Rogers. He’s penned a great interview with David Weinberger, a senior researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

We all love a bit of Havard to make us feel smart again, after way too many Lolz pics. Rogers and Weinberger take a look at the widening aperture of information, the rise of the networked fact and what Darwin would do with the intertubes.

A highly recommended read: http://www.salon.com/2012/01/01/are_we_on_information_overload/

image credit: PhotoHouse via Shutterstock

Nike is a fascinating company that has grabbed digital and non-traditional marketing strategy by its fragmented golly wobbles and given it a damn good shake.

So, in honour of my approaching exams (which may or may not be using Nike as a case study), we’re going all Consumer Behaviour on Nike’s digital strategy.  How has Nike successfully leveraged off the tenants of consumer behaviour?  What digital wins and fails can we take out of its story to date? And can I manage to cover all 11 core consumer behaviour topics before my exam on the 12th of June?  Only time will tell… (I’ll be trying to cover off: segmentation, consumer motivation,  personality and self-concept, perception and emotion, learning and memory, attitude formation and change, culture, social influences, diffusion of innovation, situation influences, consumer decision making.  Well, wish me luck.)

image credit: Wieden+Kennedy, London

We all love a company with a humble physical beginning that’s conquered hurdles to be roaring digital success, and Nike has that Hollywood-esque cliché down in spades.  Its first retail outlets were a 1960’s car boot and Phil Knight’s Dad’s basement; today it is the world’s leading sports apparel company.  In the 2011 fiscal year, its sales reached $20.6 billion[i] a full 30% bigger than its closest rival Adidas[ii].  Its digital mojo is huge, with its $100 million plus campaigns using online as the first (and arguably primary) touch point.  As Cendrowski notes “What’s all the more impressive is that Nike shouldn’t be good at this…biggest is rarely the best in the brand game, where niche players routinely run circles around lumbering giants, especially in the new digital world.”[iii]

To put it bluntly, Nike’s digital arse is a global mofo.  Once upon a time, the biggest audience Nike could reach on any one day was 200 million Super Bowl viewers, at absolute maximum, once a year.  Now, across all its digital touch points, it can hit that number any day of the year.  This digital, global audience is very valuable as 58% of Nike’s sales come from the (non-USA) international market[iv].  With such a culturally vast audience, understandings of local-level and global level segments are essential to keeping Nike on top of its game.

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In a great presentation at Web Directions South 11, Mike Kuniavsky explored the curious revolution of ubiquitous computing. Embedding powerful information processing technology into anything is becoming so cheap that it’s almost free and the implications of this are huge.

The cloud and uber portable computers (i.e. your phone) are just the tip of the iceberg. Kuniavsky:
“when something becomes cheap enough, when cost passes a certain tipping point, it quickly joins the toolkit of things we create our world with.”

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