Friday, 30 January 2009

Starbucks does CRM

eConsultancy has recently praised Starbucks for their social feedback site.
They say;

"Starbucks recently launched its own crowd-sourcing site, My Starbucks Idea to get customers to
discuss ideas and vote on them. Powered through Salesforce, Starbucks has made use of a
powerful business application and applied it to the consumer market.
The site allows customers to submit their ideas about how to improve Starbucks‘ products and
services, and ideas are then voted on by the community."

The page offers four main points of interation;

When you click on "vote" you see a list of all comments, with opportunity to click either thumbs up, or thumbs down. With the addition of posting comment.

This is a really beautiful piece of web, it engages me, I read through the comments, I look at what StarBucks' reaction. This is great and of course a clever tool for building faith and following among consumers. Especially for a brand which some people see as no different than McDonalds.

This sort of feedback area would work equally well for smaller companies - it would just require a fair bit of admin to keep it going.

Which is not happy with Confused, GoCompare and co

Which has just published a report which sends a warning to car and home insurance comparison sites such as Confused, GoCompare and MoneySuperMarket.

It reads;

"Which? also said most price comparison sites require consumers to specify how much of any claim they would be willing to pay, before the insurer steps in."

Which also advices customers to check more than one site before they make their mind up.
Nothing revolutionary - but interesting how they focus on car and home insurance comparisons.

Brand Republic have given their tweet the headline "Price comparison sites can not be relied on..."

Wonder if the user perceptions on car insurance providers and their offers are changing as more of these sort of reports hit the media.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Monitoring brand / blog reputation

My lovely colleague Verity forwarded me this link today.
It's a 10 step article which demonstrates how you can best monitor your blog or company's reputation.

I like the article as it written very clearly in a straight-forward language. To the point, concise and all that.

Have so far tried Google Reader (not too keen, didn't really like the interface but I need to give it more time), Technorati and Backtype. Technorati has long been one of those "I know it's scary but also useful so must at some point investigate" type of sites which I've shun away from. Maybe it's because it's a very busy site - scared me a bit. But no more!

Today's task - get to grips with Technorati. So far, got this blog claimed.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Online companies and TV ads

The first batch of price comparison TV ads focused on message (PriceRunner's running man, CompareTheMarket's falling cars, MoneySuperMarket's happy couple,) - keywords such as "compares the market in seconds". If you didn't know about these brands and what they do (if there was no .com in ad) - and if your TV was on mute - there would be no clues that these company services are online. The promotions surrounded the message and concept - not the online environment or online product.

Fast forward to the latest ad which abandons the "this could be about anything" take. This is the biggest representation of an online service on TV at the moment. It doesn't mean that I necessarily like it, but it's still fairly ground breaking.

To fully understand this ad, users need to be familiar with;
*YouTube (the home video recordings)
*The concept of applying for something online
*Online forms

I'm not sure of the percentage of TV ad viewers who are familiar with and recognize these three points above. But because TV targeting is not as advanced as online targeting, online companies may as well follow Confused's online visuals to engage the online embracing TV audience.

The only other TV ad for an online company which incorporates online elements (in this case a call to action button) is Dating Direct.

Wonder who will follow?

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The funniest thing I read today

The funniest customer complaint letter ever - he got a call from Richard Branson!

Playing with food

The thought of crafty sites took control and created an orangeman

Why I love Spotify

I love Spotify. So much.

For those who haven't used it, it will change your life. No need for iPod at work, no need for creating playlists in iTunes to do your yoga to, well... more or less no need to download or rip CDs to your Music folder. Spotify allows you to search the major labels (deals already in place with Sony BMG, EMI, Universal, Warner Music etc) back catalogues and stream any music as you please. This beats YouTube (as I'm interested in listening to music at work, not watching the videos which also affects network performance) and HypeM in my opinion. HypeM is great for discovering new bands, but not ideal for streaming 10+ songs.

The look of Spotify reminds me of iTunes but is easier to work with. Again, I love it.

All you need to do is download the app and get a login.

I'm (so far) on the free version of Spotify, which almost works like a radio station - ad every 15 - 20 minutes. If you get tired of ads, you can pay £10 a month for no interference.

So far, I've only got two playlists as I love searching and choosing as I go;
*Party (an embarrassing collection of early 90s europop songs mixed with more recent chart hits and Donna Summer's I Feel Love)
*Relaxing (for pulling out the yoga mat at home, slow Ministry of Sound remixes)

Fast streaming - (more or less) unlimited choice - low ad interference
Plus you can share playlists...

I have three invites left if anyone's interested :)

Crafty girls with goals

Tonight I was supposed to go to Stitch & Bitch meet-up but feel a bit tired... so think I'll just head home and do some craftiness online instead.

Came across the very snassy and inspiring CutOutAndKeep site last week.

The style of this site is in keeping with (90s rrriot) girl sites like Bust which frequently matches the use of photography and illustrations to promote craft making by smart independent girls.

You can browse projects (headphone resque project for example) and - this is where I think it gets really interesting - follow projects. You basically become a fan of another user's project and it seems pretty easy to set up your own project as well.

Conveniently enough, each project shows what type of material you need, budget, time to produce and difficulty level.

Love the layout, the colours, the obvious craft connotations and the dyi look. Ticks all the boxes of what you might expect from this type of site, but it's executed in such a lovely way!

(oh no the craftiness has already taken over! Two innocent little satsumas have now been transformed into a satsuma-man!)

Monday, 26 January 2009

Google GDrive

Came across this article on Guardian this evening, details on Google's cloud based service called "GDrive". Google's plan is to get users to move further and further away from storing and basing documents from one particular PC. By saving files online rather than your PC's harddrive, there is less need to back up files on external harddrive, less panic of computer failure, theft etc.

I already prefer backing up important files online rather than an external harddrive - emailing files to personal yahoo and hotmail addresses etc.

Except from Google's further step of taking over the world, I quite like the idea.

Bought my Sony laptop eight months ago. Figured I needed a laptop and my budget was initially £400. Ended up spending £750 (thanks PriceRunner, RRP £850) and in reality - except from better processor and so on, I didn't really need all that extra harddrive space which in part was what pushed up the price.

- Did my fair share of downloading to start with, but now, I only use Spotify. Except from the occasional adverts, I don't see why I would stick to my limited Music folder when I've got the world's leading labels trackrecord at my fingertips. I LOVE SPOTIFY.

- allows you to store something along the lines of 40MB of photos per month. Plus I get to automatically share them with friends and family.

- I save documents on my PC - but then realize I want to access them from work. What's the point of storing basic word docs on my PC when I want better access to them?

Will be interesting to see where Google (and users) take this...
It will be good as long as it works!

Madonna without the retouching

Shock horror - the non retouched photos of Madonna have leaked online. Some say this is a publicity stunt (you never know with Madonna) whilst some say it was done by some photography assistant. Either way, it's fascinating viewing.

More pictures

So, where to start...

Working as product manager for an online company based in Soho, London.
Previously worked within operations for a London based price comparison site. Before that, giving technical / customer support to one of the world's leading camera manufacturers.

In other words, love shopping, web and imaging.

I'll use this blog as a sandbox for pasting interesting links, comments, ideas, thoughts, etc.
A blog is also a good incentive for getting out of the comfort zone of browsing already familiar sites - I am a very loyal customer and site user :)

Sites I check every day;

Fool - personal finance (and employer)
Features comparison tables, social (Q&A, forum, article comments etc), articles..

Aftonbladet - Swedish tabloid paper, one of Europe's biggest publisher sites. When on earth will they revamp to catch up with 2.0?? Their use of video is on the up, but styling wize it's a complete nightmare.

Ebba Von Sydow's blog - Swedish fashion journalist / fashionista.
This is probably one of the first blogs I started following. Veckorevyn is a teenage celebrity / fashion publication which I don't particularly like but I enjoy reading Ebba's blog comments. It mixes "clothes of the day" very well with hot topics.

Guardian - what's a morning coffee without a skim of the Guardian's latest take on the world?

Techcrunch - a bit of everything of what's going on in the online world. Always something that catches my attention.

testing testing

... yes it works :)