Being Beta

Exercises in the higher banter with One of 26. Elsewhere called 'poet of adland'. By a whipple-squeezer. Find out why being beta is the new alpha: betarish at googlemail dot com

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Commercial: Of brand ambassadors and universes

Some collected thoughts on the wibly world of web 2.0 branding, as evidenced over the last week or so:

1) You can thrive as a brand without necessarily having to rush to embrace web 2.0 type paraphanalia. This was brought home by spending a mesmeric half hour last Sunday night watching Liz Earle of the eponymous cosmetic firm on QVC (Yeah, I know, but I had time to kill before the Superbowl.)

At first I thought it was some kind of gag; having been introduced to Earle's products in the last few months (including one of the shaving goods that was featured on screen), I had placed the brand as very upscale, ethically friendly, and thus highly unlikely to appear on what I assumed to be a downmarket retail channel. A little watching and research disabused me of that. QVC's gentle, exhortative style was a perfect fit for the achiveable, green perfection that Earle sells, and it was heartwarming to discover that it was through QVC that Earle first launched. I hadn't expected such loyalty to be displayed.

It also helps tremendously that Liz herself is such a great ambassador for her brand: beautiful, calming, intelligent - clearly an aspirational figure for her target market.

So: the right channel, and the right person can be substitutes for web 2.0. (That said, I'm not sure as to why they still call their first shop, on the Isle of Wight 'Union', whereas the London store is 'Liz Earle'. Consistency here shouldn't be such a problem, surely?)

2) Yahoo! has launched a tool which will help brands consolidate their own web presence, while drawing on relevant user egenrated content. Yahoo is informally calling them 'brand universes', and TechCrunch provides a good overview of the aims and the way that they work.

First up is the Nintendo Wii, and it's busy if not particularly attractive. Interestingly, TC claim that Yahoo! is not working with brand owners at the moment, which will surely change, as a savvy brand manager will take the opportunity to tweak which of the Yahoo content brands, eg Flickr, Answers, delicious, they want to major on.

From a more personal perspective, Yahoo! also soft launched Pipes this week, a direct nod to the UNIX past, which will allow people to consolidate and aggregate various types of feeds in one place. It looks to be a simple drag and drop interface, and implies that the 'Daily Me' is getting ever closer.

3) Just in case you thought the Superbowl last weekend was an advertising opportunity locked out to the many start ups and small firms that can't afford astronomical ad rates, a series of web 2.0 start ups on You Tube would like to show you diffeerently. Players include Meebo and Plaxo.

New corporate media strategies ahoy!



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