Prophesee: Engaging consumers online

PropheSee: New ways to engage consumers online After nearly three years managing the social media and healthcare practices at the Lab, Raquel Krouse recently joined the Initiative Media team as SVP, Director for Prophesee social solutions, the agency’s social media unit. We sat down to talk about her new role, and how Prophesee aims to give brands better ways to listen and engage consumers online.

Q: You’ve done exciting work in social media over the past few years; how does Prophesee fit into the social media narrative?

A: When talking about developing a social media strategy, I’ve always stressed listening as an essential first step.  But it’s really about active listening. Prophesee not only provides solutions to monitor online chatter, but also provides the services to help brands understand and effectively act upon online buzz.

Q: What’s different about Prophesee, and why now? Continue reading “Prophesee: Engaging consumers online”

Super Bowl ROI, more social than ever

Super Bowl more social than ever (Flickr via Modenadude)For years, the Super Bowl has become the essence of TV advertising – the one day of the year that we celebrate commercials. Conversations around the ads drive as much interest as the game itself. Increasingly some of the most exciting content is happening in social spaces where interest swells, buzz surges and opinions proliferate. There’s even an opportunity for buzz around network rejected ads. This week, GoDaddy invited consumers to view their banned ad on their site, while the attention and reach for the rejected ad for the gay dating site may garner even more attention than if it had aired (without the hefty three million dollar price tag).

Although some large brands such as Pepsi have opted to skip Super Bowl ads in favor on online campaigns this year–a move which has probably earned Pepsi as much or more attention than if they had participated–others have opted to best take advantage of the surge in online consumer interest in their ads. Social media users can share, forward, discuss, critique, rate and review the ads at live chats, twitter games, You Tube’s Ad Blitz, USA Today’s Ad Meter, and many other sites. Continue reading “Super Bowl ROI, more social than ever”

Top hi-tech gadgets for pets

Jake the dog (Raquel Krouse)We live in a digital world, so it makes sense that our pets would have some cool gadgets of their own. And, for the holidays, new media solutions for pets make good gifts for the pet lovers in your life. From pet social networks and dating sites, to digital camera collars, pet mobile phones and GPS systems, the pet-tech field keeps bringing pets and their owners new toys to play with. Here are some cool, albeit strange, digital innovations for pets:

There is no longer a need to guess whether or not Fido is happy or sad. Digital translators, Mewolingual and Bowlingual, interpret your dog or cats thoughts and feelings into words you can understand. The technology places a meow or bark into one of six standardized emotional categories and announces a phrase to represent the emotion. Sadly, the translators are currently only available in Japanese. Continue reading “Top hi-tech gadgets for pets”

Holiday shopping gets social

blackfridayFacebookRetailers and sellers looking for innovative ways to reach their customers this holiday season are looking towards social media as an emerging marketing and business tool.  According to a study by, almost half of retailers surveyed said they would increase their use of social media this holiday season. So it’s no surprise that to kick off the season, retailers from Best Buy to Barney’s used social networking sites on Black Friday to tell eager shoppers about bargains, discuss purchases, and help solve customer service issues.

Retailers continue to use contests and sweepstakes to help drum up holiday shopping excitement. Sears held a Facebook sweepstakes for lucky customers to win gift cards and buy items at Black Friday prices early. Continue reading “Holiday shopping gets social”

Social searching is trusted searching

Bing and Google integrate Twitter into Search Social search, that is, search aided by our friends or online connections, suggests that being able to search your friends’ opinions, interests, and actions would create a better search experience. We already look to our friends for recommendations on movies, restaurants, and vacation spots, so doesn’t it make sense that our favorite search engines would be aided by content from our social connections?

Although companies have recognized the significance of using trusted contacts as filters and have approached this in various ways, so far, we haven’t realized the promise of social search. But recent announcements have made it clear that social media’s influence has made its mark with the big search players. In the past few weeks, both Bing and Google announced programs which will bring real-time updates from our social circle to search results, perhaps transforming search as we know it. Enter Bing Twitter Search and Google Social Search. Continue reading “Social searching is trusted searching”

Healthcare on-demand

Healthcare on-demand (iStock)Earlier this week, I attended the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco. While it may feel like the healthcare industry is still lacking inertia to evolve when it comes to technology, there is at least one emerging market that continues to innovate: Online Care.

The concept of connecting with the right physician for you from the comfort of your own home and, having an online consultation is already here thanks to new Web-based platforms such as American Well Systems. During a conference deep dive, CEO, Roy Schoenberg, provided an interesting peak into where Online Care (previously known as “in absentia healthcare) stands today, and where it’s going. Continue reading “Healthcare on-demand”

What will be heir to the Twitter throne?

What will be heir to the Twitter throne? (iStock/Twitter)(Originally published in iMedia Connection)

There is no easy answer to the question, What will be the next Twitter? Yesterday, it was Friendster and then MySpace; today we are hooked on YouTube, Facebook, and, undeniably, Twitter — our friendly neighborhood microblogging buzz juggernaut. So who has staying power and what is next on the horizon for big digital breakthroughs?

In the past, there was an apparent distinction between one-way media and collaborative media. Today, the lines have been blurred. Imagine complete communication with your social circle, no matter what website you are visiting, what project you are working on, what game you are playing, or which TV show you are watching. This is the true promise of social media.

There is a lot of innovation that will take place over the coming years, and we will see new tools enter the market that have the power to make individual viewing experiences social. In the meantime, no marketing campaign or engagement these days can be created and sustained without considering the potential of making a social connection.

At the IPG Emerging Media Lab, we have identified five players that we feel will truly carry the promise of social media forward. But first, a look at the platforms that are bringing social functionality into their core reason for being. Read more.

Marketing budgets must open to social

Social media's percent of marketing budgets (iStock) To remain successful, marketers MUST market in the social web. According to a May 2009 Anderson Analytics’ survey, 52% of social network users had become a fan or follower of a company or brand, while 46% had said something good about a brand or company on a social network. No matter the marketing goal, from customer service, branding, and lead generation to direct marketing and e-commerce, there is a place for social media in the marketing plan.

Although companies have begun to realize the importance of social media marketing in the near term, budgets have been slow to open up. While traditional media channels attract the largest percentage, online channels represent a growing portion of all marketing spend. But although social network interest, momentum and overall ad budgets are increasing, social network spending will remain a small percentage of total US online spending, remaining at 4.7% to 4.8% over the next few years (eMarketer). Still it’s important to recognize that resources directed to the social media space include time and effort and can be less concrete, and the key advantage of social media marketing is that you can get a lot of value for little investment. Continue reading “Marketing budgets must open to social”

Facebook marketing boot camp

Facebook marketing camp This month the Lab attended a kind of Facebook marketing boot camp, where members of the Facebook team guided us on best practices for integrating Facebook within brand marketing plans. The opportunity is much larger then capturing a portion of the 250 million Facebook users as customers; it’s also a prospect for new ways to be innovative in our marketing.

Most of the conversation of the day centered around two ways you can use Facebook to market your brand: engagement ads and Facebook pages. But the team did talk a bit about what’s new on the popular site. For instance, they are starting to put demographic and geographic targeting into action: Targeting keywords from status updates and users birthdays are new features.

Continue reading “Facebook marketing boot camp”

Microsoft’s new “decision” engine

Microsoft has launched “decision” engine Bing (currently in beta) as an agreeable new choice for Web searchers.  Claiming Bing was designed to help people find the right information that can help them in making decisions, Microsoft passed over the term “search engine” for “decision engine.” With an index of  five million pages (Google reports indexing over eight billion) and seemingly relevant results, searchers have given this much anticipated update to Microsoft LIVE Search a warm reception.
Continue reading “Microsoft’s new “decision” engine”