Categories
Business Festive Fun Media Social Media

Holidays are coming!

The title of this article is a reference to the historic Coca-Cola advert. Whilst I’m not sure I’d class it as the Christmas season yet, it’s pretty clear that retailers think it is.

Coca-Cola Christmas trucks
The Coca-Cola Christmas ad – what isn’t Christmassy about HGV’s driving through the countryside?

Here in the UK, many shops have had Christmas stock on sale for over a month now, only taking it down for a brief interlude to replace it with Halloween and bonfire night stock. In just over two weeks, it’s the infamous Black Friday, which is meant to be when the Christmas shopping rush really gets started.

One of the key moments in British Christmas is now when the main Christmas advertisements start showing. I’ve yet to see the iconic Coca-Cola ad, but last Friday saw the launch of the festive John Lewis ad.

Over the last decade, John Lewis’s Christmas adverts have become rather famous and somewhat of a seasonal event. Each year the public sceptically awaits the ad to see if it’s going to better last years. This year’s tells the heart-warming (as always!) story of a little girl and an elderly man who lives on the moon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuz2ILq4UeA

This years attracted the usual attention. #ManOnTheMoon was the number one trending topic in the UK for most of ads release day (last Friday) and it was instantly parodied. Here are some of my favourites.

Firstly a Royal Mail undeliverable note.

What about The Martian, Matt Damon?

Maybe if the little girl had seen the film Up…

So the real question is: is this excitement just retailers trying to encourage us to spend more money? I’m not sure many people would argue in favour of Black Friday being an event that spreads Christmas cheer, but is there anything wrong with a festive advert pulling at your heart strings?

Genuine happiness creation, or just a clever marking ploy?

P.S Next time you’re in a food retailer, why not ask an assistant if they have any Christmas spirit in stock!

Categories
Business Competitions Technology

Sponsored: Christmas is on TomTom this year!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of TomTom. To find out more about sponsored content on Technology Bloggers, please visit our Privacy Policy.

Navigation systems manufacturer TomTom has just launched a Christmas campaign entitled ‘TomTom Gives you More’. Most advertising campaigns usually have a flashy advertisement which costs a large chunk of the budget, but this year, TomTom are taking a different approach.

If you live in the UK, you may know that food retailer Waitrose has decided that instead of spending tens of thousands on a Christmas advert this year, they are going to have a simple, cheaper ad and donate more funds (funds from the advertising budget) to charity.

TomTom are doing something similar to this, they haven’t blown the entire marketing budget on advertising, so are spending the remainder of the funds on prizes!

Don’t believe me? Check out their attempt at making a viral online ad – with their very limited budget!

%CODEUMTC1%

Despite the limited budget, I really like the video. That said I am not sure that mashing together some of the greatest YouTube virals will make a new one… I guess we will have to wait and see!

I suppose you could say that TomTom are taking the role of Santa’s helper this Chrismas, giving everyone the chance to win some extra Christmas presents!

The ultimate prize is six unforgettable driving adventure experiences for four people. The locations of the driving experiences are: Ruta 40 (Argentina); the Garden Route (South Africa); the Grand Alpine Tour (Europe); the Malaysian Roundabout; the Australian Coastal Route; and the Pacific Coastal Highway (California).

The routes all sound amazing, and I know from personal experience that the Garden Route in South Africa is the trip of a lifetime! I went last summer and was taken aback by the amazing scenery and diverse wildlife. I really loved my time in South Africa, it was a great experience.

There are also thousands of other prizes to be won, including navigation smartphone apps, Nike sports watches, gift vouchers, and state of the art TomTom sat navs.

So, how do you go about winning your extra Christmas presents? Well, if you go to TomTom’s website you can visit the competition page, where you get the chance to ‘unwrap’ a continent from the world map, which is festively ‘wrapped up’.

Unwrap the world - TomTom
The world, wrapped up for TomTom’s Christmas competition!

Once you have unwrapped a continent, you can upload a file, telling TomTom why you should win! The file could be a video, a song, short story, poem or anything else you feel you could do to persuade TomTom you should win! If your entry is judged as original and fun, you could win one of the trips on offer!

The competition runs until the 15th of January 2013, so you have plenty of time to enter and be in with a chance of winning 🙂

If you decide to enter and play the TomTom Christmas game, you can get extra coins (in the game) if you enter this code: Bloggers_TomTom which is unique to Technology Bloggers!

Categories
Internet

Ads online – you have a choice

The internet is full of ads. There is no escaping that fact that despite it being a free web, the word ‘free’ probably means you will have to put up with an awful lot of adverts. People who work online have to make a living, and ads is one of the most popular ways to do so – fair enough.

Sometimes you have to accept that we need ads to help keep so many free services on the internet running; information on blogs, free emails, forums and search engines just to name a few.

Many people believe that the ads are there, and that is the way it is going to stay. Useless information will get in your way when you are looking for useful content, but that is not entirely correct.

Advertisers advertise, ultimately because they want to boost their or their business or organisations income. Advertisements may drive sales, increase donations, raise awareness, promote a brand, offer freebies, or do a whole number of other things.

Most consumers (that’s people like you and me) think that adverts are an inconvenience, but need they be?

Advertisers are now getting clever, cookies are being used to track what you look at online, and are then used to present you with ads that are relevant to you, which you might actually find interesting.

Many people may find that a daunting prospect. Advertisers are collecting information about me in order to try to ‘improve my ad experience’ and at the end of the day get me to spend more money. Is that right?

Enter AdChoices.

The AdChoices IconThe Digital Advertising Alliance have founded a site called Your AdChoices, which gives you information about the choices you have about the adverts that you see whilst browsing the internet.

Would you rather the ads that you see online were relevant to you, or random? Now, for the first time, you have the ability to choose.

Hundreds of advertising hosts now use AdChoices, to let you personalise the way you view the web. Google, AOL, Adobe, Disney, Kraft, Microsoft, News Corp and Yahoo are just some of the big names that participate in the AdChoices scheme.

Here is an extract from the AdChoices website:

“The Advertising Option Icon gives you transparency and control for
interest-based ads:

  • Find out when information about your online interests is being gathered or used to customize the Web ads you see.
  • Choose whether to continue to allow this type of advertising.”

Still not understanding the concept? See if watching this video helps.

So you have a choice. You can choose to receive personalised ads, which could potentially improve your browsing experience, or you could choose to opt out. Your choice.

For more information, or to opt out, head over to YourAdChoices.com.

Sometimes, Technology Bloggers writers will choose to display an AdSense Ad in there articles. These all have the AdChoices button on them. I rarely add one, but for your interest, look below. Can you see the ‘i’?


What will you do, opt out or stay in? Do you think it is good that we are now offered personalised ads, or is it an invasion of privacy?

With regard to personalised ads I am undecided, but am slowly warming to the idea.

Categories
Business How To Guides Internet Social Media

Business networking in the 21st century

Business networking in the 21st century remains a critical component of building and maintaining contacts with like-minded entrepreneurs and existing and potential clients.

Business Networking in the 21st Century
Networking in today's world can be a very different prospect to yester year. Technology has created a whole host of new platforms with which businesses can network effectively.

The internet and social media has made it easier than ever to communicate with people from relevant organisations and networks and share knowledge, attract new clients and recruit new employees.

The combination of new social media tricks of the trade with the traditional means of liaising with useful resources and forging new working relationships means business networking is multi-faceted in the 21st century.

Make use of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is arguably the largest business-related social networking site on the internet and consequently is a great platform to build and manage your professional identity. LinkedIn has over 10,000 groups that you can join and participate in discussions and debates whilst connecting with corporate blogs in an effort to engage with your professional network.

Shout about your expertise

Don’t be afraid to display your expertise to potential clients and fellow professionals. Use social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook to build a virtual contacts book and offer regular snippets of advice that add value to your followers’ day-to-day working lives. If you’ve got something more in-depth to say why not consider writing a personal blog that can be a great way of building contacts and trust in an informal manner.

Encourage word of mouth

One of the main benefits of social media networks is that they encourage effective word of mouth marketing for products and services. If the response is positive and it goes viral it can be a major coup for emerging businesses. Similarly, it can be a very damaging experience if businesses receive negative feedback. However, in the main it is great for brand exposure and for building trust with potential clientèle.

Show your face at events

In order to become a familiar figure to like-minded entrepreneurs and potential connections it is important to engage with local business networking organisations and show your face at as many events as possible.

Death of the business card? No way!

Although you could be forgiven for thinking business cards may be somewhat defunct in their purpose with the accessibility of the internet and social media, it is still a very successful tool for attracting leads and referrals in the 21st century. A business card still makes that all-important first impression of your business to potential customers and subsequently it should be eye-catching and memorable, whilst being a treasure trove of contact information without being mundane.

Be selective with new contacts

It is highly likely you will meet a multitude of names and faces when business networking in the 21st century. However, the likelihood of staying in contact with all your new connections is very slim. Consequently you should aim to be selective with the contacts you touch base with on a regular basis – ideally entrepreneurs and businesses that can offer you something extra.

Business networking remains a crucial skill for successful entrepreneurs and effective networking will certainly add an extra dimension to your businesses’ growth potential.

Categories
Blogging Media

The State of the Blogosphere

Technocrati.com have recently published their State of the Bolgosphere 2011 report and it raises some interesting questions. The report is based upon a survey of 4114 bloggers around the world, and presents various statistics in easily readable graph format explaining who blogs and their stated reasons why and purposes.
A chalkboard expression of what a blog might be
I am one of the 30% over 44 year olds, with the majority being considerably younger than me and much more experienced. A small percentage treat blogging as their job, make an income from their posts or run a blog for their own business or employer. The vast majority do it as a hobby, in the main to express their expertise or interests. A major sector say that they just blog in order to speak their mind freely.
I am most interested in the professional category, and I in fact find myself somewhere within that group. I am not however paid to promote something, but to provoke discussion about the ethical implications and responsibility issues brought about by technological development, and one of my tools is blogging. My employer is also a non-profit research foundation, so the aim of making money is out of the equation.

Blogging is generally perceived as a pier to pier action, and the report cited above demonstrates that people trust blogs and bloggers, in many cases more that they trust other publishers. But what if we find people publishing reviews about services or products that they have a vested interest in? If I am paid by a company to review or promote their products can I be really honest in my views? And what about the breech of trust implied?

In the US the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) made a ruling in 2009 determining that bloggers have to state if they are paid for posts by an interested third party. If a blogger in the US does not state that they either receive the product to keep or are paid by someone to write the review they risk an 11000 dollar fine. In the UK the Office of Fair Trading also has extensive blogging disclosure rules. All well and good, but the report above states however that only 60% of people that find themselves in this position actually adhere to the rules, and the statistics are very likely to be skewed, as when a person is asked if they have respected the rules that almost always say yes.

How could this problem be addressed? The Technology Bloggers site refuses to publish anything that may be deemed promotion, the author guidelines are clear. But would it be possible for all blogs make this statement and enforce it, and if it were possible would they do it? The implications for trust and the spreading of reliable information are obvious.

Another issue I wish to raise involves advertising. The report offers various statistics about how many blogs have advertisement placings, before going on to analyze the reasons given either for not carrying or carrying advertising, the issue of control over who advertises and the possible financial rewards.

Here again we step into the issue of trust. If a blog has a reputation as offering reliable and quality information this reflects upon the company advertising. The placing is a two way endorsement. If advertising is not offered (as some may feel that it affects independent status or may not reflect the blogger’s ideals), how can a blog not only make money (if that is the aim) or even cover its expenses? Most bloggers sink their own money into setting up and running their blog, and if you add up the time spent in maintenance (and the administrators are undoubtedly experts in their field) each blog should be seen as a real investment in terms of many different forms of capital. You pay $120 an hour for such expertise in other fields!