Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Moss factor

By Viv Groskop
6:00 AM Friday Mar 25, 2011

As always, intentionally or not, she chose the perfect moment – it was No Smoking Day. Her appearance also coincided with a British Government announcement that in all shops from April 2012 “tobacco products must be kept in places where they can’t be seen”. Most importantly, though, from her point of view, at the end of another season of fashion shows, a woman who “retired” from the catwalk seven years ago stole the limelight.

Moss has the knack of associating herself with illicit pleasures without incurring any damage, it seems – physically or professionally. After all, her face hardly has the admonitory effect of Keith Richards’. Instead, she is the 1960s vision of the ultimate fashion model, all bed hair and long legs, living out the fantasy of the rockstar lifestyle with no discernible side effects.

Some newspapers like to pretend that she’s not getting away with it. “Want to stub out smoking? Put Kate’s raddled mug on every packet”, shouted one. But everyone can take a bad picture. Yes, even Moss. And, frankly, if only we could all look that raddled.

Indeed, Moss’ marriage to all things bad girl has been the making of her. Hard partying has not wrecked her in the slightest and her critics know it. If anything it gives the illusion of making her a little bit more real – which only makes her even more attractive.

Now 37 and able to pick and choose her work (she doesn’t usually do catwalk shows because she doesn’t need to), it seems unlikely that Moss will ever lose that allure. She epitomises that old line: “Men want to be with her. Women want to be her.”

Her detractors can argue that she’s thin, shapeless, a bad role model or, as the “I Hate Kate Moss Society” puts it on Facebook, that “she isn’t even pretty”. In reality she continues to sell magazines, shift high-end products and is hailed universally as a style icon, floating above fashion itself.

We’ll no doubt see even more of Moss this year, thanks to speculation surrounding her wedding to Jamie Hince, lead singer of the Kills, scheduled for July 2. If the fashion industry’s rumour mill about Kate Middleton’s dress already seems half-crazed with over-excitement, just wait until they start on the Other Kate.

At London Fashion Week last month, Vivienne Westwood appeared to hint that Moss would be designing her own dress. Then Moss herself let slip that John Galliano was the chosen one. But that was before Galliano’s career went into freefall as he headed for rehab. The saga will continue, although there is hardly likely to be a Hello!-style denouement. In fact, it will be surprising if any wedding photographs of her surface at all.

This mystique is the real secret to her success. Moss does not court publicity, she tolerates it. It helps that there is something of the accidental fairy tale about her story (or fairy tale gone wrong, if you want to follow the “bad role model” narrative). Moss is able to give the impression that she stumbled into this whole adventure and is just along for the ride.

Much is made of her “Croydon Kate” background (barmaid mother, travel agent father). But when she was spotted by Storm’s Sarah Doukas at the age of 14 in 1988, it was at New York’s JFK airport on the way home from a holiday in the Bahamas.

Since she first appeared on the cover of The Face two years later, her career has never really dipped. The alleged “cocaine scandal” of 2005, when some very grainy photographs appeared of Moss at a Babyshambles recording session, made little difference.

At the time she lost contracts with Burberry, Chanel and H&M but within a year she was back working on campaigns for 18 fashion houses. Forbes estimates that her earnings actually soared around this time, from US$5 million ($6.95 million) in 2005 to US$8 million in 2006. In 2007 she scooped up a reported £3 million ($6.7 million) fee to launch her first Topshop range.

Five years on and Moss’ selling potential is stronger than ever, although she has scaled back her commitments. Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman describes her as “uniquely mesmerising” and has said that there is no other model like her. Although you can’t buy her clothes in Topshop any more, she is currently involved in carefully cherry-picked campaigns for Longchamp, Dior and Balmain. The appearance at Louis Vuitton indicates that she might be up for widening her reach again. Although you can equally imagine her thinking: “You know what? I can’t be bothered.”

If Moss’ popularity is strange in any way, it’s because we really know very little about her as a person.

Where others have constantly to reinvent themselves and give away tidbits of their emotional lives to remain interesting, she has kept the same look for years and told us nothing about herself. It’s like Katie Price in reverse.

Despite this, she remains visually fascinating to people: she never wears an outfit which is considered a “mistake” by the fashion press and yet is never considered boring by them either.

It’s all pure image, though: there are no words or ideas to go with the picture. Moss is rarely interviewed in print or for broadcast. She is one of the few celebrities whose voice you would not recognise because you’ve probably never heard it. (It’s a flat south London-ish drawl.)

This unknown quality is the biggest part of her allure. She’s like the silent movie star whose career was not killed by the talkies. Everyone still wants their close-up with her.

If she does speak, it’s to defend herself. Talking about why she was plucked from obscurity and promoted as the anti-supermodel: “It was just my time. It was a swing from buxom girls like Cindy Crawford and people were shocked to see what they called a ‘waif’. How many times can you say, ‘I’m not anorexic’?”

The obsession with her (then) boyish figure has receded since she had a child (8-year-old Lila Grace, whose father is editor and journalist Jefferson Hack).

Instead the new charge is that she’s irresponsible, decadent, hedonistic. As if these were qualities unusual in a fashion model who dates rock stars. Perhaps Moss is attacked more now that she is a mother and is older.

As fashion commentator Hilary Alexander tweeted: “Anyone else notice Kate Moss vilified for fag-break at Louis Vuitton, but nobody took blind bit of notice of [Lady] Gaga smoking on Mugler catwalk?”

Marc Jacobs says he chose Moss for the Louis Vuitton show because “the women in this show were all characters, not just anonymous girls”.

This is the real crux of her appeal now. Suddenly Moss – the “waif” once reviled for looking like a little boy – is a woman in an industry full of girls. Unlike the blinking, stumbling fawns shown in fly-on-the-wall show The Model Agency, she is a grown-up. And, as that documentary painfully depicts, this is extremely unusual in fashion: many of the girls don’t survive in the industry past their late teens.

If Moss were able to build on her appeal as an “older woman”, she could one day even see herself rebranded as a (mysteriously silent) feminist icon.

In a way no other model has achieved, she has created a celebrity brand from image alone.

She has a face, like Marilyn Monroe’s, which is instantly recognisable and familiar. And yet it’s a face on to which you can project whatever you like.

Perhaps most significantly, in a world which runs on spin and hype, she seems to have done all this unintentionally, as if she couldn’t care less about any of it. Which is what makes her enduringly “cool”. So cool that she can even voluntarily take a kicking. In a recent Comic Relief video she is seen lampooning herself, forcing lager and champagne on Misery Bear, with Nouvelle Vague’s version of Teenage Kicks in the background. Of course, we don’t hear her speak. But she looks great. (She communicates with the bear via written signs. “You are very pretty.” “You are very handsome.”)

Now her name has been linked with The X Factor, adding to rumours last year that she would be making an appearance on the show as a stylist. There were reports that Simon Cowell is considering her as a judge. You wish, Simon.

– OBSERVER

By Viv Groskop

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Inamori: ‘Hebzucht oorzaak van crisis’

| 22 mrt 2011 | Peter Boerman |

De onbegrensde menselijke hebzucht is de belangrijkste oorzaak van de financiële crisis. Dat zegt Kazuo Inamori, de bekendste Japanse ondernemer ooit, oprichter van Kyocera en KDDI, en nu, op 77-jarige leeftijd, onbezoldigd ceo van de noodlijdende vliegtuigmaatschappij JAL.

Volgens Inamori zouden bedrijven niet op hun eigen winst moeten focussen, maar op wat goed is voor de samenleving als geheel. Hij gelooft in de principes van ‘genoeg is genoeg’ en dat de hebzucht aan banden moet worden gelegd. Volgens hem is altruïsme een veel betere winstgenerator op lange termijn dan hebzucht: bescheidenheid levert meer op dan arrogantie. ‘De correcte manier om een bedrijf te leiden is een stevige financiële onderbouwing, die in staat is ook zware economische tijden te doorstaan’, zei hij recent tegen USA Today.

Filantroop
Inamori, niet alleen een van de rijkste Japanners, maar ook een van de grootste filantropen van het land, waarschuwt voor verdere groei van het ongebreideld kapitalisme. ‘Het voedsel en de energie op deze planeet zijn beperkt. Het zou voor iedereen duidelijk moeten zijn dat een onbeperkte welvaart en comfortabele levensstijl onmogelijk is vol te houden, in het licht van de beperking van de bronnen van de aarde. De tijd is gekomen om fundamenteel te heroverwegen hoe de mens en de natuur kunnen samenleven binnen de beperkte ruimte van onze planeet.

Wie?
Ongetwijfeld de bekendste Japanse ondernemer, filantroop en Zen-boeddhistisch priester onder de naam Daiwa (‘grote harmonie’). In 1959, op 27-jarige leeftijd richtte hij Kyoto Ceramic Co op, de voorloper van het huidige hightechconglomeraat Kyocera, dat nu 66.000 mensen in dienst heeft. In 1984 volgde DDI, wat nu als KDDI Japans op één na grootste telecommunicatiebedrijf is. In 2009 werd Inamori door de Japanse overheid gevraagd om op 77-jarige leeftijd (!) ceo te worden van het noodlijdende Japan AirLines. Hij schreef vele boeken over zijn managementfilosofie, waarin de klant en het lot van de mensheid centraal staat, en won tal van Awards, met name in de Verenigde Staten. In 1984 richtte hij naast DDI ook de Inamori Foundation op, die sindsdien voor een belangrijk deel de Kyoto-prijzen betaalt en bepaalt. Die prijzen, ter grootte van zo’n 400.000 euro, zijn gaan gelden als een soort alternatieve Nobelprijs voor drie gebieden die die prijs niet bestrijkt: Geavanceerde Technologie, Elementaire Wetenschappen, en Schone kunsten en Filosofie.

Bekend van
Veel dingen: de naar hem genoemde Foundation, de oprichting en het jarenlange werk voor hightechconglomeraat Kyocera en in 1984 de oprichting van DDI. Maar vooral ook van zijn vele lezingen en boeken over zijn inzichten, zoals Amoeba Management, A Compass to Fulfillment, Life – The Most Important Thing as a Human, A Passion for Succes, Kazuo Inamori’s Pragmatic Studies: Management and Accounting en The Philosophy of Kazuo Inamori. Hij is ook voorzitter van Seiwajyuku, een privaat opleidingsinstituut voor business leaders, die doceert op 62 locaties,waarvan 9 buiten Japan. Sinds januari 2010 is daar een nieuwe rol bijgekomen, toen Japan Airlines zo goed als failliet ging en Inamori gevraagd werd het bedrijf door de herstructurering heen te loodsen. Inamori, sinds zijn pensionering officieel gewijd als Zen-priester, zei ja, zodat hij zich nu weer ceo mag noemen. Zonder salaris, want dat heeft hij geweigerd.

Theorie
Nog steeds is op elke Kyocera-website de missie van het bedrijf te lezen, zoals neergelegd door Inamori: “Onze hoogste roeping als mensen is om voor het grotere belang van de mensheid en de samenleving te werken.” Vooral zijn ideeën over ‘Amoebe management’ zijn bekend geworden. Het is een filosofie die veel wegheeft van die van onze eigen Eckart Wintzens celfilosofie. Inamori gelooft erin zijn bedrijven op te delen in kleine units, ‘amoebes’ genaamd. Die units worden geleid door mensen die vanuit het eigen bedrijf doorstromen, zodat er veel mensen managementervaring opdoen. In iedere amoebe kunnen leden hun kennis en kunde inbrengen om de eigen doelen te bereiken. Hierdoor ontstaat in Inamori’s woorden: ‘management by all’. Zeker ook omdat hij er een boekhoudmanier bij verzon, die echte transparantie van de amoebes afdwong, zodat iedereen de stand van zaken kan doorzien. Volgens Inamori moet de boekhouding eruit zien als het instrumentenpaneel van een piloot: alle informatie moet kloppen, omdat hierop gevlogen wordt naar de gewenste bestemming. Hij zegt zelf gelukkig te zijn dat hij nooit iets geleerd heeft van accounting: daardoor kon hij de vragen stellen die nodig waren om elke keer ‘het goede’ te doen.

Quote
‘Te veel mensen denken alleen aan eigen gewin. Maar businesskansen kloppen zelden op de deur van egocentrische mensen. Geen klant gaat ooit naar een winkel alleen om de winkelier een plezier te doen.’

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Garth Brooks Goes to Las Vegas

Oprah.com | November 24, 2010
With 26 number one records and 128 million albums sold, Garth Brooks is the top-selling solo artist in American history. But in 2001, at the peak of his career, the king of country radio retired from live performances.

Then, in 2009, Garth dusted off his hat, tuned his guitar and headed to Las Vegas. His intimate, sold-out shows at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel are the hottest tickets on the planet.

Garth says his reason for coming out of retirement can be explained in two words. “Steve Wynn,” he says.

When looking for financial backing for his charity work, Garth says he thought of Steve, billionaire developer of some of the hottest hotel-casinos in Las Vegas. “That same day I got a message from my manager saying, ‘Steve Wynn’s looking for you.’ And I thought, ‘It has to be,'” Garth says. “Now the plan was that I would bait him in, because he’d want me to play at his place. I would go along for a little while, then say: ‘I’m still in retirement. I’m fine. But I need money from you for the charity.'”

It didn’t quite work out that way, though. “He hasn’t given me a dime for charity, and now I’m working for him,” Garth says.
Garth’s Las Vegas show is an unusually intimate way to see one of the biggest stars alive. Every night he walks into the Wynn Las Vegas’ Encore Theater with no set list, no script and no time limit. Instead, Garth takes questions from his devoted fans and plays their requests for hours. “It’s about my life and the music that influenced the music that became mine,” he says.

In addition to his own country radio anthems, Garth plays covers from his idols, including James Taylor, Jim Croce and Harry Chapin. When his biggest hits start, the rollicking crowd sings along to every word.

The show isn’t over until everyone’s had their fill, he says. “Hours will go by and I’ll still be onstage and people will still be singing,” he says. “It’s a wonderful place to be.”

Garth performs his 1990 hit “The Dance” for Oprah and her audience.
When Garth retired nine years ago, he says he devoted himself to his wife, country star Trisha Yearwood, and his three daughters, ages 18, 16 and 14. “Every day as a dad gets better,” he says. “I didn’t expect that to go into the teen years, but it actually did. I have three wonderful friends that I call my daughters, but they do know that they have a dad if they need it.”

After realizing his Las Vegas show had him on the road for 139 days of the year, Garth says he rearranged his schedule to spend more time at home. “I still have two more children at the house, and I owe them what the oldest sister got of staying home and focusing there,” he says. “The truth is, I would love to [perform and be a dad]. But if one of them has to go, I know which one has to go, and I don’t want that. I’m really happy right now.”
In addition to his show at the Wynn Las Vegas, Garth’s 1990 song “Unanswered Prayers”—about the mix of emotions felt after running into an old girlfriend at a high school football game—has been made into a movie for the Lifetime channel.

Garth says while other producers have wanted to make movies based on his songs, this was the first time he agreed to a project. “Tanya Lopez at Lifetime came to me and said, ‘Look, we don’t want to mess with the song,'” he says. “‘We just want to make a movie about the song. We feel like it touches people.'”

After seeing the final version, Garth says he was moved to tears. “I cry at commercials, so that’s not a glum review,” he says. “I liked it. They stayed true to the song.”

When Oprah arrived at her home in California recently, she found a room full of flowers sent by Garth. “Why did you do that?” Oprah asks. “I’m like, is this the real Garth Brooks that sent this?”

Garth explains that he was thanking Oprah for letting his friend Kent Blazy’s wife, who was battling brain tumors, be in the audience for a taping of The Oprah Show. “She came back and told me it was the highlight of her life,” Garth says. “You have a gift that lets people think and believe with all that they should that anything is possible.”
Not only is Kansas tax attorney Laci an Oprah Show Ultimate Viewer, she’s also one of the biggest Garth fans around. She and her husband, Ryan, played his hit “Friends in Low Places” at their wedding.

When Ryan wrote in about his wife’s love for Garth, The Oprah Show—with a little help from Laci’s co-worker Danielle—cooked up a surprise she will never forget.

Watch what happened.

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Apple’s IPad a Great Example of Divergent Thinking

Marketers Should Ask, ‘What Can We Do Without?’

By Al Ries

Published: December 06, 2010

What’s the difference between an iPad and a tablet computer? Well, you might be thinking, an iPad is a tablet computer.
Not exactly. If I remember correctly, a tablet computer was a laptop computer with a screen that doubled as an electronic notepad.

You could use a stylus to write directly on the screen or you could type on the keyboard. You could save your handwriting as a visual file or you could convert it into typed text.

The launch was a big deal
Earlier in the decade, the launch of the tablet computer was a big deal. Microsoft invested a reported $400 million developing the operating system and companion handwriting-recognition tools. Fourteen computer makers signed up to produce tablet computers including Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba, Hitachi, Fujitsu, NEC and Acer.

“It’s the ultimate evolution of the laptop,” said Bill Gates. “Within five years,” he predicted, “it will be the most popular form of PC sold in America.”

It never happened.
The original tablet computer and today’s version couldn’t be more different. The two products illustrate an important conceptual idea.
The tablet computer of 2002 was a convergence product. It combined the functions of a pen computer with the functions of a standard laptop computer.

The tablet computer of 2010 is a divergence product. It’s as if Apple took a laptop computer and cut off the keyboard and threw it away, then put a handful of the laptop’s more important components into the screen itself.

What remained was a new type of computing device. Lighter, easier to use and almost totally focused on the visual functions of a conventional laptop.

History repeats itself
The first computer was a mainframe. Then the mainframe computer diverged into dozens of difference categories including mid-range computers, servers, desktop computers, laptop computers and today’s tablet computer.

Almost every product category follows a similar path. Early on, an inventor develops a unique idea and creates an entirely new category — the incandescent light bulb, for example, invented by Thomas Edison.

As time goes on, the category diverges. And today we have a host of different types of lighting: fluorescent, neon, halogen, LED, OLED and laser, among other types. No convergence in lighting, only divergence.

Some divergence products, of course, are failures, including the original pen computer, although it’s likely that someday someone will solve the difficult problem of handwriting recognition and develop a practical pen computer.

Without a keyboard, of course.

What can we do without?
That’s one of the secrets to creating a successful divergence product.

To create the iPhone, Apple eliminated the keyboard used on other smartphones. That doubled the area available for a screen, making the iPhone much more useful as an internet device. (To compensate for the lack of a keyboard, Apple uses a touchscreen. But this was not a new idea, since touchscreen technology was developed in the early 1970s, around the time of the introduction of the first personal computer.)
And unlike what some industry experts have predicted, the iPhone and other smartphones are not replacing the personal computer. Worldwide PC shipments, for example, were up 10.3% in the latest quarter.

I must admit, I didn’t think the iPhone would be successful because I initially viewed it as a convergence product, a combination cellphone/computer.

In reality, the iPhone and other smartphones are “divergence” devices. We used to have one type of mobile phone and now we have two types: cellphones and smartphones.

Will the smartphone replace the cellphone? Highly unlikely, since the two types are at opposite ends of the spectrum. A cellphone is a relatively inexpensive device for making phone calls. A smartphone is a relatively expensive device for surfing the internet and sending emails, along with a secondary function of making phone calls. (Many iPhone owners also own cellphones for making calls.)

Study other revolutionary developments and you’ll usually find they were initiated by asking the question, “What can we do without?”

King Kullen and the supermarket
Take the supermarket industry, pioneered by Michael Cullen. His King Kullen chain on Long Island in New York eliminated one of the most expensive services of a typical grocery store: the clerks who fetched the products from the shelves at the request of consumers.

But the self-service feature was only his first step. Without the clerks, it made sense to have much larger stores that were more efficient and allowed even lower prices.
King Kullen’s slogan: “Pile it high. Sell it low.”

It might seem illogical, but the original supermarket chains carried even fewer items than a grocery store. King Kullen, for example, carried only 1,200 items.

A grocery store felt obligated to carry everything a customer might ask for. With self-service, consumers made choices from what they saw on the shelves. In a way, those early supermarkets were more like Costco (some 4,000 stock-keeping units) instead of today’s typical supermarket (with 30,000 to 40,000 SKUs).

Today, the supermarket industry is in trouble. It’s getting hammered at the low end by Walmart and at the high end by Whole Foods.

When was the last time a supermarket operator asked, “What can we do without?” Instead, the typical operator seems driven by the opposite question: What can we add to serve our customers better?

A delicatessen, a bank, a pharmacy, a bakery — you name it. Typical convergence thinking.

What ‘s a company in business for?
To marry its customers and take care of their every need … to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health?

It sounds so obvious and so logical that it’s a shame to say convergence doesn’t work.

Take Kroger, the nation’s largest pure supermarket chain, although Walmart has overtaken it in grocery sales.

The numbers tell the story. In the past 10 years, Kroger had sales of $610.7 billion and net profits after taxes of $7.9 billion, or a net profit margin of only 1.3%.

Whole Foods had twice the profit margin of Kroger. On sales of $53.9 billion, the company had profits of $1.4 billion, or a profit margin of 2.6%.

Walmart is even doing better than that. On sales of $3,063.2 billion, the company had profits of $103.8 billion, or a profit margin of 3.4%.

Ask not what more you can do for your customers. Ask what less you can do for them. What can you eliminate that will help you build a narrowly focused, more profitable brand?

Oddly enough, Walmart, the supermarket industry’s nemesis, is also making the same mistake. The chain is repeating what happened to Sears Roebuck years ago. Sears had exactly the same “low cost” position as Walmart before beginning an expansion program that included insurance, real estate and stock brokerage, among other things. “From socks to stocks” was the battle cry.

“From socks to soup,” in my opinion, is going to eventually undermine the Walmart brand.

What Apple didn’t do
Apple didn’t take care of the millions of consumers who were using conventional MP3 players. Instead it focused the iPod on the high end, a thousand songs in your pocket at a much higher price.

Apple didn’t take care of the millions of consumers who were using their smartphones primarily as an email device. Instead it introduced the iPhone as a smartphone without a keyboard.

The only recent Apple launch that went nowhere is Apple TV. And guess what? Apple TV is a typical convergence product, the result of trying to marry the internet with the TV set.

For more than a decade, high-tech companies have been trying to put the two together, egged on by the media. “Is it tellynet or netelly” was the headline of an article in the Dec. 13, 1997, issue of The Economist. “If ever two media were meant to wed, they are television and the internet.”

Adding the function of one device to another device, of course, doesn’t mean the two devices are converging. Radio has not converged with the automobile in spite of the fact that most automobiles have radios. And even if every TV set is able to surf the internet, it doesn’t mean that any convergence has taken place.

The essence of convergence
It’s when two categories come together and become one category. For example, the personal computer and the TV set.

You might not remember when this was viewed as a distinct possibility, when dozens of companies were working on putting the two together.

As one prominent media pundit put it 15 years ago: “Don’t worry about the difference between the TV set and the PC, in the future there will be no distinction between the two.”

Oddly enough, that might well have happened except for another phenomenon. Over time, every category evolves as well as diverges. Today’s TV set isn’t the same as yesterday’s TV set.

Today’s TV sets are getting bigger and less portable. It’s not unusual to find 40, 50, 65, even 73-inch TV sets.

Today’s personal computer isn’t the same as yesterday’s personal computer, either. Desktops are disappearing and laptops are getting smaller and lighter.

Who wants to carry around a 73-inch combination TV set and laptop computer?

A decade of convergence hype
Early in the 1990s, the world witnessed an explosion of convergence hype. Following is a typical quote, from Fortune magazine (Nov. 29, 1993):

“Convergence will be the buzzword for the rest of the decade. This isn’t just about cable and telephone hopping into bed together. It’s about the cultures and corporations of major industries — telecommunications (including the long-distance companies), cable, computer, entertainment, consumers electronics, publishing, and even retailing — combining into one mega-industry.”
As the decade came to a close, Forbes ASAP, in an issue entitled “The Great Convergence,” (Oct. 4, 1999) editorialized as follows: “The emerging idea of our time is convergence. It is the governing metaphor of the turn of the millennium.”
I’m hoping the business media will set the record straight by designating the next 10 years as the decade of divergence, perhaps with a quote that goes something like this:

“The emerging idea of our time is divergence. It is the governing metaphor of the next decade. It is the reason why the world has witnessed an array of new categories and new brands: Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Amazon, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Red Box, Netflix, AOL, Yahoo, eBay, Zappos, Wikipedia, LinkedIn, Flickr, Craigslist, PayPay, Groupon, Zynga. With many more to come.”

I’m hoping, but I’m not holding my breath.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Al Ries is chairman of Ries & Ries, an Atlanta-based marketing strategy firm he runs with his daughter and partner Laura.

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Georganiseerde sport verliest marktaandeel

Sportbonden slagen er nauwelijks in om marktgerichter te werken

Hoewel sportbonden geacht worden steeds marktgerichter te werken, slagen zij daar nauwelijks in. Dat komt doordat zij hun marketingstrategie te veel op voorbeelden uit het bedrijfsleven baseren. Tot deze conclusie komt Marije van ’t Verlaat in haar proefschrift ‘Marktgerichte sportbonden: een paradox?’. Van ’t Verlaat promoveert op 5 november aan de Universiteit Utrecht.
Van ’t Verlaat baseert haar conclusies op onderzoek onder twintig verschillende sportbonden, uiteenlopend van de Wielrenunie tot de Atletiekunie en Biljartbond. Zij keek hierbij naar hun marketingplannen en wat daar de organisatorische consequenties van waren.

Druk om marktgericht te werken
Sportbonden staan onder grote druk om steeds marktgerichter te opereren. De koepelorganisatie NOC*NSF constateerde enkele jaren geleden dat de georganiseerde sport marktaandeel aan het verliezen was. Van ’t Verlaat: ‘Volgens NOC*NSF kwam dat doordat de bonden en verenigingen niet met de tijd meegingen. Met hulp van een gerenommeerd marketingbureau hebben vervolgens zestig sportbonden een marketingplan opgesteld om hun activiteitenaanbod te vernieuwen. De voorbeelden die daarbij gebruikt werden waren veelal afkomstig uit het bedrijfsleven.’

Marketingtechnieken slecht toepasbaar
Marketingtechnieken, ontleend aan het bedrijfsleven, zijn voor sportbonden echter slecht toepasbaar gebleken. ‘Sportbonden zijn nu eenmaal geen innovatieve, bedrijfsmatig gerunde organisaties’, aldus de onderzoeker. ‘Zo zijn zij niet gewend te werken met investeringen vooraf, is belangenbehartiging van hun leden hun belangrijkste taak, worden hun verenigingen niet van bovenaf aangestuurd, en worden zij gekenmerkt door een democratische besluitvormingscultuur. Eigenschappen die zich slecht laten verenigen met een snelle, marktgerichte besluitvorming, waarbij inspringen op wensen en behoeften en een ruime blik op potentieel interessante doelgroepen een vereiste is.’

Dicht bij de eigen praktijk blijven
Bij het verruimen van hun aanbod kunnen sportbonden zich volgens de promovenda dan ook beter richten op initiatieven die dichter bij hun eigen praktijk staan en dichter bij hun traditionele achterban. Van ’t Verlaat: ‘Zo heeft de Korfbalbond de zogenaamde ‘Kangoeroe Klup’ ontwikkeld, met de bedoeling om de jongste familieleden van korfballers op een speelse manier met korfbal kennis te laten maken. Een concept dat wel zijn vruchten heeft afgeworpen.’ Een ander, belangrijk aspect waar sportbonden rekening mee moeten houden is de van oudsher democratische besluitvorming bij die sportbonden. Dat deze tot grote frustratie kan leiden bij sommige, meer innovatief ingestelde bondsmedewerkers die zo hun vernieuwende ideeën zien sneuvelen, is begrijpelijk. Maar het inperken van de macht van de achterban is volgens de promovenda geen oplossing voor dit probleem. Van ’t Verlaat: ‘Daarmee raak je immers aan het bestaansrecht van sportbonden, bestaande uit belangenbehartiging van en dienstverlening aan verenigingen.’

Promotie
Marije van ’t Verlaat (faculteit Recht, Economie, Bestuur en Organisatie) promoveert op 5 november om 14.30 uur in het Academiegebouw, Domplein 29 in Utrecht. Proefschrift: ‘Marktgerichte sportbonden: een paradox?’.

Meer informatie
Erzsó Alföldy, faculteit Recht, Economie, Bestuur en Organisatie, Universiteit Utrecht, (030) 253 7497, e.alfoldy@uu.nl.
B.g.g. Peter van der Wilt, Persvoorlichting Universiteit Utrecht, (030) 253 3705, p.m.vanderwilt@uu.nl.

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Ad Age Digital A-List: Buddy Media

Succeeding at Bringing Big Business to Big Brands via World’s Biggest Social Network, CEO Mike Lazerow Knows It’s Good to Be Facebook’s Buddy

By: Michael Learmonth Published: February 27, 2011

Back in 2007, when Facebook was only a few years removed from being called “The Facebook” and had a mere 20 million users to MySpace’s 150 million, Buddy Media CEO Mike Lazerow made what seemed a risky bet. Even though it appeared that there would be multiple winners — or at least multiple players — in social networking, Mr. Lazerow went long on the startup from Palo Alto.

Michael Lazerow: ‘How do people vote? With their money and with their time.’
Why? Unlike MySpace, Facebook shared its source code with developers, meaning companies could build real businesses on the platform. What sealed the deal was when Facebook launched “Pages” in 2009, which allowed brands to have a presence on the network beyond individual apps.
“It was by no means a done deal that Facebook would emerge, but that opening would fundamentally change consumer relationships with each other and with brands,” Mr. Lazerow said.
Buddy stopped building apps altogether and started building software. It was a big shift — a “pivot” in startup parlance — but the idea that people would interact with branded apps was flawed. But with “Pages,” Facebook became a much friendlier place for brands.
What happened in the intervening years no one could have predicted: Facebook ballooned to 650 million users worldwide, including 150 million in the U.S. Today it accounts for 12% of all time spent online in the U.S., and a staggering 23% of all ad impressions, according to ComScore. It has become cliche to call it a “parallel internet”; rather, Mr. Lazerow argues, it’s a better internet, free of the anonymity, abuse, spam, comment trolls and viruses that plague the real web. Indeed, Facebook is the only major web property still in growth mode, and it’s happening at the expense of all others. “How do people vote? With their money and with their time,” Mr. Lazerow said. “If you look at the time, people are saying this is the better internet.”
In short, what looked like a narrow world in 2007 is starting to look like the game, or at least a big part of it. Just as no consumer brand would consider opting out of a web page, very few would consider opting out of Facebook, which is great for Buddy Media. Buddy isn’t an agency, and it doesn’t “manage” Facebook pages for brands. Rather, it licenses software so the brands can do it themselves. If Starwood Hotels wants to help 1,000 of its locations — whether it be the St. Regis, W, Meridien or Sheraton — have compatible pages (they do), Buddy licenses an app for that. Want each to have booking capability? A calendar of events? A shopping cart? Buddy’s already built it; its part of the stack.
Buddy is working with hundreds of brands and agencies, including eight of Ad Age’s top 10 brands. It has raised nearly $40 million, including $5 million from WPP, and has more than 130 employees. There are plenty of other tech enablers for brands on Facebook, such as ContextOptional, Involver and Vitrue (now featuring former Facebook sales chief Mike Murphy as an adviser) but none with Buddy’s client list — and none with as many Facebook fans (33,000). That’s a lot, as Mr. Lazerow said, for a brand that no consumer should care about (much less know anything about unless they happen to see one of Buddy’s ads at JFK).
Facebook doesn’t earn any money directly from Buddy Media, but all of Buddy’s clients end up Facebook advertisers to direct traffic to their well-honed “pages.” In that sense, Buddy — and other companies like it — is actually on-boarding advertising clients for Facebook, while helping them create something worth advertising about. EMarketer estimates Facebook brought in $1.86 billion in ad revenue in 2010, much of that ($1.12 billion) from small, self-serve clients, meaning big brands are spending pennies a year to reach Facebook’s 150 million U.S. users. Mr. Lazerow believes it is a matter of time before the marketing spending starts to better resemble usage.
“There is this clarity in the market about what marketers can do,” Mr. Lazerow said. “With Twitter, who knows? There is a lot of uncertainty out there, but with Facebook we know where everyone plays.”

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Ad Age Digital A-List: Kinect

Microsoft Invited Gamers to Drop Controller and Get off the Couch, but Interface Has Potential Use for Medicine, Education, Advertising and Beyond

By: Beth Snyder Bulik Published: February 27, 2011

Microsoft Kinect’s advertising lure of “You are the controller” appealed to many remote-weary households this holiday. About 8 million of them, in fact, in just the first 60 days after its November launch.
Of course, a $500 million launch budget with co-marketing brand partners such as Pepsi, Kellogg, and Burger King didn’t hurt either. But all said, it wasn’t the marketing blast that propelled Kinect to the Digital A List (Microsoft is no stranger to massive product launches; evidence the reported $500 million launch marketing budgets also for Vista and Windows Phone 7) but the personality of the product, along with its positioning and potential.
Kinect took the idea of motion-sensitive gaming, launched successfully by Nintendo with its Wii console in 2007 and advanced it, not only by adding more gaming “wow” but also by cultivating the potential to go beyond gaming. Reviewers couldn’t hide their delight at the ability to control game play with simple gestures and voice commands.
And that “natural user interface,” as Microsoft calls it, has been hacked and hailed for its possible uses beyond the gaming world, from medicine and education to advertising and e-commerce. Coming this spring is a Microsoft-sanctioned Kinect for Windows software developers’ kit for noncommercial use, allowing “academic researchers and enthusiasts” inside access to Kinect technology. (A commercial version is in the works for an undecided later release.)
As Steve Clayton, editor at Microsoft’s Next at Microsoft blog, wrote: “The possibilities are endless. Natural and intuitive technologies such as Kinect can be more than just a great platform for gaming and entertainment. They open up enormous opportunities across a wide variety of scenarios, including addressing societal issues.”
But just as important — for now, anyway — is that Kinect has revitalized the aging five-year-old Xbox 360 console. Not only does it give Xbox 360 owners an innovative way to play, but it gives potential gamers interested in the hands-free technology a reason to buy Xbox 360 consoles. Xbox 360 was the only console to see an increase in sales for year-over-year sales in December 2010, and it was a hefty 42%, according to Microsoft.
Kinect’s 8 million in consoles sold during the holidays is not only 5 million more than Microsoft’s initial prediction of 3 million, but also comparatively brisk when looking at other top-selling tech products’ first 60 days, such as Apple’s iPad (2 million) and iPhone (less than 1 million), and the motion-sensitive predecessor Wii, which sold more than 3 million during that time.
Of course, those are a bit apples-to-oranges comparisons — Kinect is an accessory, less expensive and not a brand-new product category with breakthrough hurdles to overcome like the others. However, it is still an undeniable out-of-the-gate success.

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