SoLoMoing our way into better mobile experiences

Finally… my SoLoMo post. Since I named my blog by this emerging media buzzword, it’s only fitting that I dedicate my last entry to ‘social-location-mobile,’ or SoLoMo for short.

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This term stemmed from “hyperlocal search” in which results were be displayed based on a person’s location. But now with the so many smartphones and tablets serving as the primary search method AND with the integration of GPS and social media platforms, industry experts now call this mobile-centric trend “SoLoMo”… or LoMoSo… or MoSoLo… or MoSoLo… or…

Specifically, John Doerr, Bing Gordon, and chi-Hua Chien coined the phrase in 2011 as a way to summarize the three hot trends. “We thought what we should really do is try to put an inclusive concept around these three megatrends that seem to be driving a lot of new value, and point out that it is at the integration of these three megatrends that a lot of products and services are being created,” Chien said in 2013 Mashable article.

The 2014 HBO hit show Silicon Valley parodied this buzzword, as well as a few other clichéd terms in this fun clip.

What does this mean for emerging media?
Though the term is incredibly overused and the source of many parodies, the sentiment is still strong. Foursquare is a good example of this – gamification using mobile phones to perform social ‘check-ins’ based on location. Location accuracy on mobile devices, plus the ability to incorporate social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow for highly targeted and highly relevant content. Brands engaging in a mobile-first strategy must consider the implications of layering geo-location and social networks to increase awareness.

Is this term here to stay?
The term SoLoMo may bite the dust (and many people hope that it does), but the concept will definitely stick around. With emerging media under continual iteration and with technology improving day-after-day, I expect social-location-mobile relevancy to expand to provide users with better results and brands with better engagement.

Unplugged or socially connected: Couples choose how to celebrate their day

I attended an incredible wedding last weekend – perfect couple, perfect setting, perfect fall weather. Great photographer – and great guest photographers using an Instagram hashtag.

The couple encouraged their guests to take pictures with their smartphones and upload them to Instagram using a specific wedding hashtag. The collage of images is amazing! Guests were able to capture so man more scenes than the single [paid] photographer. Whereas a wedding photographer may focus on what the bride and groom observe, guest photography may bring out special human connections from a loved one’s point of view.

Before smartphones and Instagram, some couples distributed disposable cameras at each table to capture special moments. Remember that?

However, not all couples appreciate the social posting. Celebrities have enforced an Internet blackout (Michael Jordan and Kim Kardashian) and the trend continues. Many couples have requested wedding guests to be in-the-moment and device-free. There’s even a Pinterest board dedicated to the unplugged wedding trend with ideas on how to creatively pull this off.

What does this mean for emerging media?
As emerging mediums become mainstream and lose their novelty, people are self-selecting their usage. With so many platforms and brands not adopting a sound strategy, social media usage is declining and people are unplugging for special events, like weddings. “We wanted our guests to be present with us in this special moment in our lives, and to just put their phones and cameras down and enjoy it,” one bride said in this New York Daily News article. It’s all about choice – to unplug or maximize sharing – it’s the neo-emerging media phenomenon.

I wish Instagram had existed a few years ago when we got married…

Making the most of mobile moments

How many times a day do you reach for your smartphone to find information? …where to eat, how far to the gas station, where’s a drycleaners… Just today, I’m sure I used my smartphone numerous times, to check the weather, locate a restaurant, and find a map of the many time zones in Antarctica. These instances, when smartphone users turn to smartphones or tablets, are mobile moments – and brands need to tap into these moments in order to best serve their customers.

Forrester Research describes mobile moments in this video playlist and highlight brands that capitalize on mobile moments to provide customers with a streamlined experinces on mobile devices.


What does this mean for emerging media?
With smartphone use continuing to incline, it’s imperative that brands identify mobile moments and build an experience that provides a useful interaction with customers. Forrester Research identified a better way to think about mobile moments by using the IDEA cycle:

  1. Identify a problem that mobile can solve
  2. Design a way to solve for the problem
  3. Engineer the solution
  4. Analyze it for continual improvement

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 10.35.22 PM

This IDEA cycle (yes, a cycle – not a one-stop-shop) helps brands to improve their presence within daily mobile moments and provides engaging and useful content to customers’ mobile devices.

Extending content models across all digital experiences

Content marketing is all the buzz in the modern marketing world. Content, content, content! So how does one plan for this content on the web?

Creating a content model is an important strategy tool that allows web strategists and information architects to represent content (videos, reports, images, etc.) in a way that clearly shows intent to website stakeholders and shares user experience to designers and developers.

Rachel Lovingler, content strategy director at Razorfish, describes content models as an organization chart for a website; it’s a diagram that displays the types of content that live within pages, both how the content is laid out and how it can be accessed from different areas in the site. Here’s an example for how a song (the content) can be accessed by different areas of within a website:

What does this mean for emerging media?
Just as organizations use a content model as a plan for a website, extending the model would take into account emerging mediums to show how content needs to be accessed across channels, such as a blog or LinkedIn article. This omnichannel content approach shows what content is available across the digital experience and helps marketers to plan for content promotion and inventory management.

Crowdsourcing: The new outsourcing model

Emerging media allows for news to travel quickly and ideas to spread like wild fire.  And thanks to platforms like Flickr, YouTube, and Instagram, companies are benefiting from these quick moving ideas.  This rapid exchange of data and thinking helps companies to tap into the creative potential of their fan community.  This is the new outsourcing model of today.

Here’s how it works: a company posts an open call to people within their network to solicit ideas to solve a problem.  Then, community members post ideas back to the company for little or no reword.  The company mines the collective intelligence of the group to select the best idea.  No more needing to rely on employees or vendors to generate ideas, crowdsourcing allows for global participation.  May the best idea win!


Photo Credit: Flickr

Jeff Howe from WIRED magazine coined the term “crowdsourcing” in 2006 when writing the article The Rise of Crowdsourcing.  He said that crowdsourcing “represents the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call.”  Web strategist Henk van Ess has defined the term as “channeling the experts’ desire to solve a problem and then freely sharing the answer with everyone.”

While the idea of crowdsourcing has been around for centuries, today’s high-tech world of the internet and social media maximizes the speed and network capabilities of the sourcing activity.  Watch this video from to learn more about this concept, ways that crowdsourcing works, and what you can do with the results.

Native advertising is on the up-and-up.

Ever see an article or post that looks real and then realize that it was actually an advertisement?  This type of online ad placement is called native advertising and it’s designed to blend into the context of a website.  The format of the ad may look the same as regular content – text style, word count, photo placement, size, etc.  By making the ad less intrusive by flowing with a site’s standard user experience, the theory is that native advertising increases the likelihood that someone would see the ad, click through to the advertiser’s website.

Here’s an example from Yahoo’s homepage where advertisements appear as articles: hyperlinked title, body copy style and length.  A difference is that the native ads have the word “Sponsored” in the footer and an “AdChoices” logo in the upper right corner.


Although native advertising has been going on for years, the understanding of the tactic is not well understood.  Results from a 2013 survey, found that only 5% of respondents knew what “native advertising” was; 10% had heard of the concept, but didn’t know what it was; and 85% said they had never heard of native ads.  However, after the concept was explained, the percentage of people identifying this type of advertising jumped to over 80%.

What does this mean for emerging media?
Brand executives are noticing native ads offer a higher level of brand awareness and engagement over banner ads.  Some have even gone so far as to state that banner advertising is dead.  [“Dead” is maybe a strong word, but Forbes has stats to indicate, “dying” – they found that consumers look at native ads 53% more frequently than banner ads and click on native ads 4.1 times per session on average, versus 2.7 times for banners.]   More and more digital publishers are selling native ad placements and “81% of marketers are looking to increase audience engagement and promote brand visibility through native ads.”  Get ready to see more native ads!

Buzzword?  No, I don’t think so.  Native advertising will continue to gain more momentum in the coming months/years and it will be interesting to watch this tactic develop.

Liquid Selfie

Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms have become a history book for some avid users.  What was I doing 3 years ago today?  Facebook could tell me.  With whom did I hang out last Fourth of July?  Instagram could tell me.

But, what if I don’t want my social footprint out there as permanent digital content?

“Rethinking permanence means rethinking this kind of social media profile, and it introduces the possibility of a profile not as a collection preserved behind glass but something more living, fluid, and always changing.”  – Nathan Jurgenson, Researcher

Users are moving away from a “unified self” – meaning you are the same across every social context and the concept of “liquid self” emerges.  Having a liquid social identity allows a person’s social interaction not to be branded in time, but lets it to live for an instant in time then vanish away.  A way to allow immediate engagement, yet be fluid and allow for change and growth.

What does this mean for emerging media?
New ­­applications are evolving that allow for a person’s fluid self to shine.  Snapchat allows users to send photos and videos to recipients and then these “snaps” disappear after a few seconds.  This app has replaced how many people exchange messages by allowing secret or embarrassing moments to vanish seconds after receiving [assuming your bestie didn’t record that silly video you just sent her].  As the largest social network’s users become less engaged and people desire individual connection rather than large-scale communication, more applications like Snapchat may arise and reshape how we interact in the socialsphere.

Hijacking trends = #trendjacking for results.

Topping the list of the hottest trends in emerging social media marketing trends this year is Trendjacking.

  • Trend – a general direction in which something is developing or changing
  • Trendjacking – brand boosting by capitalizing on an existing news trend

Trends used to mean fashion fads from Seventeen magazine.  Fast forward to today, trends are found online and the use of hashtags helps to identify trending topics around the world.  Brands are paying attention, jumping on the trend wagon, and amplifying their presence.

Snickers dove into the trendjacking action during this summer’s World Cup after Luis Suarez, the Uruguayan superstar bit an Italian player.  Staying true to their “Snickers Satisfies” campaign, the chocolate giant put out a tweet that was relevant, timely, and engaging.


 “Brands can demonstrate that they’re culturally relevant by tapping into the news agenda.  By riding on the hype of current affairs, brands can become part of the news.  For this tactic to work a rapid turnaround is obviously needed to communicate with audiences at high speed.  Creative advertising campaigns often take months to perfect, so haste can be a risky strategy.  However, in a world that demands instant gratification and with the immediacy of social media a sense of urgency is becoming the norm.”
– Luis Carranza, innovation director, Inferno creative agency

Is this buzzword going to stick?  I think so, but only brands that master the concept will see the intended awareness and engagement results.

Multitasking is out.  Supertasking is where it’s at.

Do you multitask?  I’m sure you do every day.  But, do you supertask?

Both a multitasker and a supertasker juggle more than one task at a time.  The difference is that a supertasker does it with ease, without stress, and mistake-free.


image credit: Flickr

Many people who multitask may think that it’s effective – and take pride in multitasking abilities, but as the New York Times reports, heavy multitaskers experience more stress and have more problems focusing and ignoring extraneous information than non-multitaskers.

So how is supertasking different?

David Strayer, a cognitive psychologist from the University of Utah, developed the word supertasker during a series of experiments he ran to better understand the effects of multitasking on the human brain.  What he found was that most of the study participants were unable to multitask effectively; however, a few participants multitasked extremely well and even improved their performance under divided attention.  Strayer found that approximately 2.5% of people have supertasker ability.  His theory is that a supertasker’s brain somehow overcomes the information-processing bottleneck that prevents the rest of us from effectively doing multiple things at once.

This Psychology Today article references three personas that are supertasking all-stars:

  • Joe Perota, live multicamera TV director
  • Keith Alvey, Red Cross relief operation director
  • Deena Brecher, clinical nurse specialist/outreach coordinator for a hospital emergency department

What does this mean for emerging media?
TVs, gaming systems, computers, tablets, mobile devices… multiple screens allow for more engagement across media at the same – any Fantasy players out there who watch TV and monitor their team on mobile/laptop at the same time?  While there’s an active debate if technology aids in advancing brain function or reducing it, Daphne Bavelier, a brain and cognitive scientist from the University of Geneva in Switzerland and the University of Rochester, has found that engaging with technology and multiple stimuli can strengthen focus and attention.  More research like that of Strayer and Bavelier will continue to explore how emerging media affects our brains and the ability process multiple streams of information at once.

Watch Bavelier’s TED talk to hear about how playing video games can train people to supertask.

So although I claim to multitask well [at times], I’m doubtful that I fall into the 2.5% of supertasking all-stars.  Do you think you’re a supertasker?  Take this online test to find out.

It’s hard to tell if “supertasker” a buzzword or if it’ll stick in our emerging vocabulary – more research is needed to explore this concept.  I think we’ll know “supertasker” is here to stay when someone lists it in their resume.

(A quick search on LinkedIn found four people have supertasker listed in their profile…)

Translation + Creation = Transcreation

A commonly accepted notion is that marketing content cannot be simply translated into other languages.  Doing so may result in unintended meanings, like these companies experienced in a few of my favorite foreign ad translation fails including:

Got Milk?The American Dairy Association

Original: “Got Milk?”

Translation in Mexico: “Are You Lactating?”


The Jolly Green GiantThe Jolly Green Giant

Original: “The Jolly Green Giant”

Translation in Arabic: “Intimidating Green Monster”



Original: “Come alive with Pepsi!”

Translation in Chinese: “Pepsi bring your ancestors back from the dead!”


Original: “Turn it loose”

Translation in Spanish: “Suffer from diarrhea”


So if translation isn’t enough, what can companies do to make their marketing efforts effective across the globe – or across the country or city?

Answer: Ensure that all marketing is culturally relevant.

“Transcreation” is the process of adapting messaging, both words (copy) and imagery, across language AND culture which keeping the original messaging style and intent.  Transcreated material should retain the same feeling and encourage the same outcome, but take into consideration context, insights, tradition, values, beliefs, and humor.


Where did the term transcreation come from?
According to this LinkedIn article, transcreations have been happening for thousands of years, as writings and stories were passed down from generation to generation, making them adaptable in each era.  The term became popular, however, in the 1960s when advertising agencies began marketing the service to clients.  In fact, one agency even registered the term as a UK trademark from 2000-2010.  Now, this is a common term is used across the marketing and advertising industry.

What’s an example of this concept in action?
In an article by Rebecca Ray and Nataly Kelly, the birth control prescription Mirena is displayed as an example of transcreation done well.  The company transcreated a campaign for both U.S.  English and U.S. Spanish population segments.  The campaign looked and felt the same, but the message was tweaked for the audiences: the English version focused on ‘convenience’ whereas the Spanish version focused on ‘choice’.  This messaging stemmed from consumer insights that determined the motivation around selecting a birth control option.


What does this mean for emerging media?
It’s important that companies and organizations consider transcreation when producing content and advertising in every channel, not just print or TV.  Websites, social, apps, and other emerging media must also be culturally relevant and evoke the intended response from all targeted segments.  However, emerging media has a challenge over traditional channels because of the speed at which content and messages may go out.  In traditional channels, a marketing deliverable may be developed over days, weeks, or months; in emerging channels, articles, posts, or tweets may need to go out within hours.

Do you see rapid-deployment transcreation a challenge?  What are ways that you suggest companies or organizations transcreate content quickly to ensure a timely presence in the market?

So is “transcreation” a buzzword?  Nope, I think this one is here to stay.