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Internet Week New York Is Around the Corner

Internet Week New York 2014 Design Within Reach1 Cropped“People ultimately want homes that work, and they don’t want to think about repairs. In the future, with smart homes and the ‘Internet of Things’, your home will take care of you”. Those comments were made by design specialists during a recent Internet Week New York preview panel. Manhattan’s Hudson Yards development, slated to open starting in 2017, serves as an example of high-tech, low- maintenance homes.

While residential projects like these are farther away on the horizon, Internet Week New York is only a month from now. The weeklong citywide festival showcasing the impact of technology on business, entertainment and culture will take place starting May 19. While 250  events will be held around town, Internet Week HQ is Metropolitan Pavilion, a spacious venue conveniently located in Chelsea.

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The Multifaceted Asian Consumer Market

Uniqlo Store SoHo Mannequins1 Cropped“Overall Asia is a market in flux, with radical changes and an influx of tech and global brands. It creates a society where consumers are being pulled in different directions”, said Bernd Schmitt. Not only are there distinctions between developed and emerging Asian countries, but he noted it’s also important not to generalize or stereotype Asian consumer and cultural trends.

Schmitt’s perspective is based on extensive experience living, working and traveling throughout Asia. He’s a visiting professor at Singapore’s Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI) and professor at New York’s Columbia Business School. He recently spoke at an event in New York about his latest book, The Changing Face of the Asian Consumer. Joining him were panelists Colin Mitchell, Ogilvy & Mather’s worldwide head of planning, and Brian Buchwald, CEO/co-founder of Bomoda, a marketplace for Chinese consumers to purchase premium global brands.

The main takeaways focus on the interplay of economic, cultural, brand and market factors.

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Brand Moves: Audi Snaps Into Action and E*TRADE Scraps the Cheeky Baby

Audi Snapchat Dog Courtesy of HUGEBeing a brand that’s witty, irreverent or challenges convention isn’t so easy, especially since those companies set the bar high and their customers come to expect unique, creative ads and social communications. Two such brands, Audi and E*TRADE, shared their stories at Ad Age’s Digital Conference this week in New York. Audi detailed their use of Snapchat during the Super Bowl game, and E*TRADE discussed their decision to end their popular baby ad campaign.

Audi picks up the pace: “Being a challenger brand gives us an edge”, said Anna Russell, Audi’s general manager of brand marketing. She outlined the car brand’s core messages: they’re “champions of progress”, using LED lighting, they “challenge convention”, particularly with their Quattro system, and they’re a “brand of action” and frequent sports sponsor.

Still, as Aaron Shapiro, CEO of their agency, HUGE, noted, with the Oreo effect, “now every brand is piling on no matter how relevant or not” in real-time marketing during events. He said Audi didn’t want to use a “me-too strategy”. (Plus, they needed to be careful since they were involved in a 2010 Super Bowl campaign controversy).

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More Online Fashion Brands Eyeing Retail Stores as Core to their Business Models

Warby Parker Store UES Window Final“We’re trying to blend both worlds so they complement each other”, said Tim Riley, director of online experience at eyewear brand Warby Parker. He spoke on a panel recently about web-based fashion companies at FIAF (French Institute/Alliance Francaise). Warby Parker is one of a number of fashion brands in the post-startup phase that’s ventured into retail space. Another panelist, Mollie Chen, editorial director of Birchbox, said the beauty products packager is planning to open its first store in SoHo.

Digital-only brands have long been perceived as more cost-effective since they don’t need to pay steep expenses for designing and maintaining posh locales and sales staff. But internet-based companies have found that online-only doesn’t work for all categories. The in-person experience also adds a valuable dimension, forming a holistic customer relationship.

These two brands tested the waters first before investing in retail locations.

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Analyze This: The Latest Digital and Consumer Intel from ARF’s RE:THINK Conference

Do Not Disturb Sign Final CroppedComing to terms with issues surrounding big data and digital’s vast terrain seems like running on an endless treadmill. But at ARF’s RE:THINK 2014 conference in New York this week, attendees found some answers to dilemmas like online consumer privacy, what drives contagious content and defining digital metrics. A research survey, mnemonic device and reference guide all contained clues, and below are key takeaways.

Consumers’ reaction to online privacy incursions: Do not disturb.
“The creepy part of privacy invasion is when they get it right”, said Communispace‘s chairman, Diane Hessan. Her firm collaborated with Pew Research Center, conducting research among 50 global communities, to understand tradeoffs between online privacy and personalization.

The key finding: 86% of consumers would stop data tracking if they could. Only 14% would like to receive targeted offers based on purchase or browsing histories. Older consumers are more concerned with privacy, and younger ones are more open to offers. Online users want to avoid invaders like hackers or advertisers, finding targeted ads to be annoying, creepy and intrusive.

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Cute Celebrity Cats Call the Creative Shots on YouTube, and 10 Other Video Pointers

YouTube viewers love cat videos, but it’s not all fun and games for feline performers, according to Michael Fasciano, social content director at Digitas. At 2014’s Media Summit in New York last week, he spoke on a panel about YouTube, offering a behind-the-scenes account of negotiations for his client to sign Maru, a male cat living in Japan and worldwide YouTube sensation.

Maru has been a YouTube star for a few years, consistently drawing throngs of worldwide viewers, and his owner posts videos under the account name Mugumogu. When a Digitas client wanted to feature Maru, who “jumps into a lot of things”, Fasciano sprang into action. He tracked down the cat and owner, confirming the relationship with a contract. Then he made arrangements to bring an American production crew to Tokyo.

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Kate Spade’s CMO: ‘The Customer Has a Voice and So Do We’

Kate Spade Window FinalWhen kate spade looked to expand beyond its handbag business five years ago, its team went on a brand-and-soul-searching exercise. As CMO and SVP Mary Beech noted, they already knew the demos for their target audience, but those weren’t enlightening enough. After an extensive brand audit, they arrived at their current positioning: kate spade inspires you to lead a more interesting life.

On Tuesday, Beech spoke at the Brite ‘14 Conference, hosted by Columbia Business School’s Center for Global Brand Leadership in New York. She discussed how kate spade’s voice reflects its customers’ lifestyles and how it’s been integrated into digital platforms, employees’ mindsets and in-store experiences.

Brand voice and guidelines: For kate spade, becoming more familiar with their consumers meant a 360 degree understanding of their preferences, such as books and hotels, as well as celebrating customers’ sense of humor. They now define the ideal customer’s personality as culturally curious, quick, playful, spirited and chic.

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10 Tips for Surviving the SXSW Zombie Apocalypse

zombie

If you’re like us, then you’re slightly relieved that you won’t be in Austin for the South by Southwest “I liked Austin before it was cool” Festival.

If you’re not like us, then you’ll be there with automated, Twitter-ready, “wearable tech” bells on. Please send highlights!!

Today Jennifer L. Jacobson, founder of Silicon Valley firm Jacobson Communication, forwarded a helpful infographic for those of you brave enough to battle the undead tech hordes…and the heat.

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Metropolitan Museum’s Chief Digital Officer Shares His Artful Perspective on Social Media

Met Museum Roof Cloud City FinalWhat does New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art have in common with the Broadway musicals Kinky Boots and Jersey Boys, the Frick Collection and the Manhattan skyline? They’re all top five NYC attractions on TripAdvisor.

That’s what Sree Sreenivasan discovered when he checked the popular travel review site. He’s the Met Museum’s first chief digital officer, and formerly worked as Columbia University’s chief digital officer and professor at their journalism school. He spoke at The New York Times Travel Show on Friday about the museum’s digital initiatives.

The Met’s exhibits and collection ranges from modern sculpture (Cloud City 2012, above) to ancient objects (William the Hippo, below). The museum has long been active on digital fronts, like interactive video screens, digital photography and social media. The Met’s digital efforts are especially interesting given its global audience and high-profile art fans, like celebs Bono, Psy and Steve Martin.

Sreenivasan’s goal is to enhance and expand on the museum’s existing digital programs, leaving no masterpiece unturned. He outlined the Met ‘s current social media status and future plans. He also shared tips that can apply as examples beyond the art world.

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Terranea Resort Near L.A. Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Local Brand Influencers and Guests

Terranea Resort Courtesy of“A land unto itself” is how Terranea Resort, an uber-luxury oceanfront property set on a peninsula in southern California, is described on its website. For its guests Terranea serves as a relaxing escape from the hectic pace of Los Angeles, located just 30 miles away.

Yet the resort’s secluded setting was proving to be both a benefit and a challenge. Agnelo Fernandes, Terranea’s SVP of sales and marketing, said the property lacked awareness among SoCal residents. Speaking at HSMAI/Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International’s Digital Marketing Strategy Conference in New York on Tuesday, his case study outlined the social media programs the resort pursued to be more SoCal-local.

Before launching its new theme, “Discover a Land, Not Far Away”, the resort targeted the local community, especially lifestyle gurus active on social media. The goal was to offer entrée‎ to Terranea so they could share their experiences, and in the process grow the resort’s fan base.

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