Today, Twitter announced the launch of a new music app – #music, found at https://music.twitter.com.
How does it work?
It detects the most popular tracks from the people you follow, while also highlighting emerging artists. The app will play a preview snippet of the song feeding from Apple iTunes, and can play full tracks for premium subscribers of Spotify and Rdio.
There are pages on the app to show:
- Popular – new music trending on Twitter
- Emerging – hidden talent found in Tweets
- Suggested – recommends songs you’d like based on artists you follow
- Now Playing – songs shared by people you follow
The Pro’s and Con’s
- Adds another layer to Twitter to share music and discover artists via trending and suggested music
- Allows brands to target users based on music preferences
- Users can purchase and stream full songs via Spotify and Rdio
- Does not offer direct streaming, purchasing and storage of songs while these features are available in many other music apps
- The app is currently only available on iPhone or iPad despite Android smartphones outselling iPhones, and having a large share in tablet market as well
- App is also limited to US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand
Why have they launched?
Over the past two years, Facebook has developed itself in the multimedia space for users to share books, music and movies. Facebook’s recent update of their news feed and open graph search makes it even easier for users to see what their friends are listening/reading/watching, attracting a lot more attention from entertainment industry.
Twitter’s move aims to catch up with their rival to position the site as a hub for entertainment with more focus towards mobile and tablet.
What’s also interesting is that unlike Facebook whose music search is integrated into their main feed, Twitter has separated music trending into a standalone app to purely focus on features that give a better user experience rather than cramming too much into a single app. However, by doing this, they are loosing the connections that could be coming from the main Twitter app and will also have to compete with pure music-driven apps like Spotify, Shazam, SoundHound and Google Play Music that offer the same if not better features.
More brain juice
China is fast becoming one of the top markets for the fashion and luxury industries, but many of us are unaware of the scale and the rate at which the market is actually growing. Holding 27% of the market share (May 2011), China has the second-largest consumption of luxury goods (ChinaDaily). While the markets in USA (14%) and Europe (18%) are on the decline, China’s luxury demand is growing rapidly and is expected to replace Japan (currently at 29%) as the world’s top consumer of luxury goods in 2012.
So why has the Chinese luxury market grown so much in the last century? What is driving the Chinese consumer demand for luxury goods? And challenges do brands entering the Chinese market need to be aware of?
Growing demand for luxury goods in China
More and more, Chinese consumers are becoming wealthier and more accepting of Western brands and retail formats. According to a study by KPMG and Monash University, “while the emerging middle class will continue to save heavily, China’s younger generation show less of the caution of the parents and are far more inclined to spend than save.”
“The luxury market is particularly interesting as it represents the consumptions at its most hedonistic and seemingly irrational – purchasing for the personal pleasure it provides despite the financial cost. Consumers turn towards luxury goods as a means of rewarding themselves for their success or as a token advertising their wealth,” suggests the report.
The Chinese luxury consumer
For the Chinese luxury consumer, their image is one of the most crucial factors in the purchase decision. “In public, they show off. In private, they pinch pennies,” says The Economist. The Chinese consumer will use “Apple earphones for the cheap Chinese mobile phone in her pocket so it looks as if she owns an iPhone. But she will hesitate to spend much on interior decoration, because only her family sees the inside of her flat.”
They are also very sophisticated shoppers with emphasis on quality and innovation. Despite widespread concerns of counterfeiting in the country, luxury consumers are shunning knockoffs. “Consumers are looking for the real thing, and they are increasingly willing and able to afford it.”
With China’s increasing consumer spending power and the loosening of government restrictions, foreign luxury brands face pressure to strengthen their commitment to the market or risk loosing ground to their rivals.
Factors for succeeding in China
According to writer and chinese luxury market specialist Tim Coghlan of MaoSuit, LVMH, H&M, Hermes and Zara are four of the most prominent fashion brands in China. “These four fashion brands already have such strong brand value in China that they can draw large crowds of consumers to any mall where they are present,” says Tim.
While many other markets are flat or shrinking, luxury goods are booming in China. “The access to an explosion of information on the internet, an increasing penchant for overseas travel, and first-hand experience purchasing and consuming luxury goods are contributing to a substantial rise in sophistication among luxury consumers in China,” shows research by McKinsey Insights China.
Yuval Atsmon, a principal in research firm McKinsey, says brands aiming for success in the Chinese market have several areas to look at. “First, delivering exceptional service in stores is critical,” says Yuval. “The Internet has also rapidly become the second-most-important consumer touch point for luxury categories such as fashion. Marketers will need increasingly sophisticated Web strategies,” he says to monitor conversations and educate Chinese consumers about the brand.
“Finally, much of luxury’s allure comes from the opportunity to share in the rich cultural heritage associated with a brand.” Brands need to ensure that they are actively promoting their history and craftsmanship to the Chinese consumers.
Challenges of the Chinese luxury market
But entering into the Chinese luxury market isn’t without its pitfalls. Many brands face challenges in understanding the Chinese consumers’ unique internal needs for luxury products and integration with traditional Chinese culture.
Principal of Technomic Asia, Michael Zakkour, says that “China is not a market where foreign companies can apply techniques or even product lines that are successful in other markets.” China’s various regions and cities often have consumer needs that differ from each other. “What these markets require is a methodological, perhaps even a phased approach to expanding into China,” says Michael.
Dealing with the political climate in China also presents its own unique challenges warns James McGregor, a former head of the American Chamber of Commerce in China in The Economist. “Everything is political. This is a government that lets foreign companies build market share when it needs them. Its longer-term goal is to learn enough from foreigners so it can build its own national champions.” It is not uncommon for the government to push foreign companies into unhappy partnerships with Chinese state-owned firms.
Despite all this, China’s fast-growing luxury market is a promising and lucrative road for many brands. One size certainly does not fit all in a market as vast and varied as China. Although there are many risks in selling consumer goods in China, seemingly, there is an even bigger risk in the opportunity cost of staying away.
What do you think? Are you aware of any victories or tragic failures of companies trying to enter China? How do you think western consumers will be affected by China’s growing economic dominance and consumerism?
I did a media pitch recently for an agency on ‘Why companies should use social media in their PR’. Wasn’t too bad a case so I thought I’d share it with you all. Read on for more!
Social media has been around for a long time and companies are jumping on the bandwagon and finding creative ways to reap its benefits. By being involved in social media, it’s not only proven that it can help you increase your bottom line but it will also help you remain more relevant in the marketplace and build closer relationships with your customers.
To convince of this truth, I’m going to:
- First give you a quick overview why social media has become so popular
- I will talk about what you can use social media for with some relevant case studies to demonstrate its effects
- And I will close off by running through some action items you can implement to kick your social media strategy into gear.
Social media is word-of-mouth powered by technology
Social media in essence is word-of-mouth powered by technology. The basis of it has always existed and with the availability of new technology, it’s provided a new platform for people to connect, discover and share information with an global audience.
Now it’s one of the largest and widely used platforms that brands can directly interact with the consumers, partners and employees in a deeper and more meaningful level and you simply cannot afford not to be using it in your PR.
Social media use is on the rise
It is proven that social networks are now where the majority of internet users communicate and find information. And all types of social networks exist – video, document sharing, wikis, blogging, microblogging, picture sharing, social bookmarks – the list goes on.
Sixty-five percent of online adults use one or more of these social media channels; and almost 25% of their time online is being spent on social media networks and blogs.
It’s a very active community. Every minute…
And if that wasn’t enough, to give you an idea of how active these communities are, every minute:
- 24 hours of video are being uploaded to YouTube
- 3000 images are being uploaded to Flickr
- Over 695,000+ Facebook status updates are being made, and
- Over 98,000+ tweets being made by consumers.
This proves that thousands of conversations are happening around the clock and by engaging customers through social media, you can become part of that conversation.
Social media is good for brands
But how will social media help your brand’s bottom line? Research has proven that:
- 75% of people likely to share content they like online with friends
- 77% of consumers interact with brands on Facebook
- 56% of consumers say they are more likely to recommend a brand to a friend after becoming a fan on Facebook
- 51% of consumers said they are more likely to buy a product since becoming a fan on Facebook
It is proven that companies that use social media to promote their business are achieving higher profits and market share. So, considering all this, why wouldn’t you want a part of the action?
What can you achieve with social media?
So, what exactly can you achieve with social media that makes it so different from traditional media?
Through social media, you build more personal relationships with your customers and stakeholders. Brands can start conversations, build relationships with their top advocates, and build a community among loyal customers and even skeptics.
Social media is a low-cost way to drive publicity. Companies can use social media to reach millions of users in a clear and immediate path. It is a perfect outlet to manage message distribution and compete with larger organisations.
Social media can build your brand’s authenticity, credibility and transparency and give fans an opportunity to see environment that you work in.
Social media is a great listening platform for brands, you can hear and respond to what people are saying and enhance your appearance by keeping in the loop.
NB: I was presenting to a tech agency so all these examples are from the technology sector. But there are heaps of fashion, beauty and luxe brands that are doing fabulously! MAC, DKNY, Topshop, LVMH, Estee Lauder – to name a few!
Dell is one of the companies that have gone above and beyond to make sure that their customers can reach them in whatever platform they prefer. They built an integrated cross platform community with multiple Twitter accounts, a network of blogs, and a very active Facebook page. Because of their social media efforts, Dell achieved a ROI of $3 million in 2009 which more than doubled to $6.3 million in 2010.
BlendTec is perfect example of a simple idea that has produced great results. Their YouTube video series of “Will it Blend?” where their CEO attempts to blend objects in their blenders became a viral hit and led to a “five-fold increase in sales”. You can have a look at their YouTube channel here.
Vodafone used social media recently as a tactic to improve their brand image of having poor customer service. By listening, analyzing and responding to customers in social media, Vodafone was able to overturn their bad public image and now is the second-most-talked-about telephone operator in UK.
There’s a quote I like by the founder of Socialnomics Erik Qualman. He says:
“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media. The question is how well we do it.”
And this is very true. Social media is so intertwined with our lives today, that companies have no choice but to join in and pay attention.
Ways to become more social media savvy
So what are some strategies you can undertake to engage customers through social media? You can:
- Develop a social media strategy with key objectives
- Engage your staff to share their expertise
- Use video to share knowledge and showcase your products
- Facebook pages and applications to interact with customers
- Mobile and Tablet applications for people on the go
- Blog for thought leadership
- Invest in analytics and reporting services to track progress
For further reading, here are some useful websites you can visit:
- Socialnomics.net (YouTube channel also useful)
- PR Daily Social Media Section
- Lewis PR Blog - (see also their whitepaper on Global Challenges of Social Media)
If you want to stay relevant in today’s market, it is absolutely critical that you use social media in your PR. There’s no two ways about it.
Thank you for your time.
Social media is a great channel for companies to drive publicity. But make sure you have a goal and a plan. It can be a never-ending pit hole if you have no direction and no way of measuring your progress.
Check out this interesting link – What’s The Real Cost Of Social Media?
What do you think? Have you interacted with brands on social media? How do interact with them? What brand content has managed to catch your attention?
After days of tweeking, I’ve finally finished refreshing the look of Teacup. Very happy with the new theme which has a lot more functionality. Also got myself a Twitter account
You can follow me at @charm_w – yey, come be my friend! As for my blog, here are a quick look at the before and after:
Hope you like it! Comment me your thoughts and don’t forget to add me on Twitter at @charm_w! Happy weekend!
Although crowdsourcing has been around since 2006, it’s only now that this trend is becoming more and more prominent and gaining momentum in the media. Companies are seeing the benefits that engaging their public can bring to their brand and finding ways to harness that power to improve business operations. But what has made this trend so popular? Are fashion and luxury brands taking advantage of it? And is it a viable way to access wider talent for the long-term without dire consequences on the workforce?
How did crowdsourcing come about?
The term ‘crowdsourcing’ was first used by journalist and writer Jeff Howe. He explains that technological advances have increased accessibility to electronics and software that is not only easy to use and affordable, but also allow consumers to produce high quality work. This has allowed the general public to embrace trades such as graphic design and videography that were generally left for specialists and has diminished the gap between professionals and amateurs.
In modern day, businesses would ‘crowdsource’ by taking a job that was once performed by a designated employee, and cast an open call to the public through the internet or other mediums.
How are companies using crowdsourcing?
The internet has made crowdsourcing all the more attractive to companies as it removes geographical barriers. Through the internet, businesses can create a virtual crowd of people who have a shared passion.
A key example of a fashion crowdsourcer is the ecommerce shop Threadless. Tshirt designs are submitted by the general public and ‘voted in’ to be produced. The model has proven to be innovative and effective for Threadless as by the time shirts are made, they almost always already have an immediate demand for the stock.
Crowdsourcing seems to really fit the fashion industry, says the Crowdsourcing Blog. “Not only do companies get a crowd of talented designers but also at the same time engage with a crowd and leveraging that to have products sold.”
According to writer Sarah Kessler for Mashable.com, “asking a pool of people to create something can also be faster, cheaper, and more accurate than putting a project in the hands of individuals.”
The person who you think is the best person to do it, isn’t always the right person for the job. By utilising crowdsourcing, companies can gather those who are most fit to perform tasks, solve complex problems and contribute with the most relevant and fresh ideas often without the barriers of geographical disparity.
Crowdsourcing may not always be the answer
Writer Cate Corcoran of WWD says that “in a fashion democracy that is already accelerating at an alarming rate, ultimately anyone could be a designer, creator or manufacturer, with profound implications for the structure of the fashion and retail worlds, as well as the overall economy.”
“Analysts estimate that crowd-sourced and customised products could eventually make up as much as 10 per cent of the total market for apparel, accessories and footwear.”
Scott Belsky, CEO of Behance, an online platform for creative professionals, says “the forces that enable crowdsourcing are being used to get thousands of people to do work for free, with a chance of getting paid only if their work is selected for use.”
“Although this is fine for hobbyists or friendly competitions offering a token prize, in a business context, it doesn’t pay for either party.”
“Likewise, companies have also reported mixed sentiments. Inundated with options—mostly unprofessional in quality —they were ultimately left unsure of the worth of the exercise,” said Belsky.
Industry watchdogs such as Nospec.com and Specwatch have accused companies of exploiting designers and devaluing the profession, writes Fiona Graham for BBC News.
“They claim that designers are producing work on a regular basis with no guarantee of payment, with the payment on offer far below market rate.”
“You wouldn’t go into a restaurant and ask for five different meals and only pay for the one you like. Why should it be okay to work with designers that way?” says Debbie Millman, president of the US association for professional design, the AIGA. “It’s an imbalance of power.”
Using crowdsourcing to build long-term relationships
“Crowdsourcing should spawn long-term relationships between clients and creatives rather than be a one-off experiment that leaves a bad taste,” says Belsky.
When used appropriately, crowdsourcing can offer endlesss opportunities for companies to access wider talent and grow customer loyalty. However, it is important for companies to do this in a meaningful way that fairly compensates the contributors and builds longer-term relationships with the organisation’s fan-base.
What do you think of crowdsourcing? Is it possible for companies to utilise crowdsourcing without devaluing industry specialists? Which companies have you seen using a crowdsourcing campaign that benefits all parties involved?