Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Help them, help you

What happens to brands when the sun never sets online? How can they possibly manage an audience that comes on and offline with the turn of the earth? The Gap Logo 'event' unfolded over four days, but with Brits, New Yorkers and West Coasters all waking up and weighing in every 6 hours, there could be no respite, no time for Gap to gather their thoughts and work out what to do. Exhausted and defeated, they wound up retracting and apologizing - letting more people down than if they'd come back fighting.

By the same token, Foursquare had an unfortunate outage which no doubt gave Facebook Places an unprecedented boost and marked the end of the era when we were happy just to show up someplace without broadcasting it.

Maybe, however, check-in services will be the salvation for brands. As people check into emotions and feelings as well as places, events, products and services, brands will be able to get a hold on what's really going on out there. People feeling angry after lunch in Manchester? Say something funny or wait till 6pm. Everyone jumped up in Austin - give them somewhere to let off some steam.

Powerful global brands of the future will be able to monitor their worldwide audience in real-time via a range of new techniques and advanced date visualization. Brands will discover a broad visibility which allows them to respond and react to their customers on a minute to minute, nation to nation, moving world basis. Big Brother really is watching you now.

Friday, October 01, 2010

The long journey

So, I'm back in San Francisco with Moving Brands. I'm here doing strategy work for our new US clients, as well as to attend the launch of a new brand we created the identity for. You can see their new website here.

This is my 7th week in SF for 2010 - it's great to have the opportunity to really get inside a city and lose the tourist feeling. The MB studio is based in SOMA - a Shoreditch type area downtown of the main city centre. From the studio you can see the Bay on one side and West SF on the other. The famous fog literally rolls in and out depending on the wind direction - either plunging the city into clouds, or revealing that crisp Californian sunshine.

Gertrude Stein apparently said that "Wherever you go, you meet yourself" and, though in many ways she is quite right, getting away from it all also gives you the space to come to terms with the big changes and mentally grow into the 'you' you have become.

When I was growing up my Dad spent many months away on location. To me, his trips only represented the tan and presents he returned home with. Now, I know what he experienced - the exhilaration of travel and working abroad but also the jet lag and the boring nights in with room service. I wouldn't change these experiences for anything and feel like I have worked hard to get these opportunities. My Dad had a family to get back to - but apart from friends, I am gloriously free to skip town and try something new for a while.

One of my friends from the London studio arrives tomorrow and I can't wait to show him around and have a pal to enjoy the city with. From the buzzy, hippy Mission district to posh shops on Fillmore, San Francisco is a fabulous, fabulous place to be. I just hope I can get back to Stokey by Christmas!!