Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Spotify’.

iMedia Agency Summit: Day Three

by Simon Kemp in News

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The final day of the 2013 iMedia Agency Summit packed in a host of useful sessions; here are some of the highlights.

Sunita Kaur, Spotify
Sunita stirred the audience with a glorious statistic: “Family and music are the two things people around the world can’t live without. In Europe, research shows that people value music more than they value sex.”

Ant Hearne, Outbrain
Ant began by asserting that content is the glue that brings the internet together, and shared some of his favourite examples of content marketing, including American Express’s OPEN Forum, General Electric’s collaboration with The Economist, and Red Bull Stratos. He went on to assert that 8 out of 10 people will take action on behalf of brands they admire, noting (with some help from Edelman) that content can play a big part in driving this admiration and connection, especially amongst youth audiences:

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source: Edelman 8095 Exchange v2.0

However, Ant stressed the need to make sure people understood what was authentic content and what was merely camouflaged ‘brand propaganda’. He added that the brands that will win in a content age will plan around influence, and not interruption. Ant concluded with his 5 pillars of Effective Content Marketing:

  • Trust
  • Transparency
  • Engagement
  • Community
  • Audience Value

Client Marketer Panel
One of the richest sessions of the day was a panel featuring Laura Ashton, Vice President, Head of Marketing at Philips Lighting; Frederique ‘Freddie’ Covington, CMO Lead, Asia Pacific at Microsoft, Neil Gardner, CMO, APAC at AIG, and hosted by Yean Cheong of IPG Mediabrands.

Laura began by asserting that agencies need to put themselves in their clients’ shoes more often, and spend more time thinking about what will add value to their businesses, not just the agency’s awards submissions. However, she balanced this by saying that it was often difficult for marketers to choose the best route, citing the “tyranny of quarterly results” as one of the toughest parts of the client-side job.

Neil Gardner shared his belief that technology and tools are “eating up” a large part of the media industry’s offering, and that disintermediation appears to be accelerating. Freddie affirmed this, stating that Microsoft is increasingly looking to build agency skillsets in-house, and as a result, the agency’s role needs to evolve into a value-add “creator and curator of opportunities”.

However, all acknowledged that there’s a distinct ‘digital divide’ amongst client-side marketers, separating those who have already embraced all things digital, and those who continue to be scared and skeptical. One way to tackle this is to bring digital into the planning process much earlier so that digital elements can be woven into the broader value offering, rather than continuing to be a last-minute bolt-on [sadly, many of the delegates still feel that this is the way many brands operate, even after 15 years of digital marketing].

Another big step will be to make sure that data plays a more integral part in planning; “Advertising isn’t just about Don Draper anymore,” Freddie said; “we need the Chief Data Officer too. That’s not to say that the creative isn’t vital of course; it’s just that data can help the creativity work a lot harder.” Laura added that Big Ideas are all very well, but agencies must demonstrate how they’re adding to the P&L. “Big Ideas need to be accountable, not just creative,” she concluded.

This means agencies need to hire new kinds of people too: “Agencies can’t rely on the Fine Arts grads anymore,” Laura observed; “you’re going to need tech and data experts too.”

However, the panelists went on to say that staff consistency is key to building enduring client relationships, and agencies are struggling to keep their best digital talent for long enough. Freddie highlighted that part of this may be down to staff review processes: “The ‘annual review’ is totally out of date. Digital pioneers tend to be younger, and they’re hungry and ambitious. They’re not going to wait 12 months for a review; we need to be guiding them and mentoring them at least every 3 months.

We need more training for senior marketers too. Understanding the tools and the tech is one thing, but Neil also thinks it’s a matter of softer skills. “Young people today don’t think and behave like they did 30 years ago [when most senior marketers were that age].” We need to cater to today’s needs and wants, not to our past dreams.

Freddie also asserted that, when it comes to making better use of digital, we need to stop trying to adapt existing paradigms, formats and approaches: “Stop making analogies to old-school marketing, and focus on today’s ROI and results.

Vikas Gulati, Vserv
Vikas made the superb point that “many Asians have only ever experienced the web on mobile, so we need to (re)design experiences specifically for them, instead of trying to adapt legacy approaches and structures.” He went on to add that the ’3Rs’ - reason, relevance and richness – are key to engaging with people in mobile, and that brands need to deliver a more wholly integrated experience. He also noted that local language and cultural aspects are critical, especially in emerging markets where fluency in English is often very limited.

Vikas also highlighted that diversity of technology is a critical factor around Asia, with more than 2,000 smartphone models currently on sale in Asia’s emerging markets alone. Because of this, brands need to be platform agnostic; today’s marketers need to think less about native apps, and more about the fluidity offered by technologies such as HTML5.

He concluded by noting that analysing mobile data doesn’t just mean collecting media data; marketers need to get a better understanding of actual usage behaviour too, and find ways to innovate and disrupt for the audience’s benefit. By collaborating with partners across the mobile ecosystem, brands and agencies have a better chance of delivering lasting, meaningful results.

Meera Chopra, Vuclip
Meera noted that in emerging markets, many people are still sharing links to content via SMS. On Her company’s platform, 20% of all video sharing takes place via text message, which has even more significance when combined with the fact that 60% of women in India use their mobile phone as their primary source of entertainment.

Revolutionising The Agency Of Tomorrow
The Summit concluded with two presentations on how agencies can innovate structures and approaches to be better suited to the opportunities of tomorrow.

Mike De Souza of Mobext began by challenging delegates with a stark observation:

Mike went on to qualify that the reason the old model is broken is that traditional agencies have become too big; ”we’re huge multinational hierarchies. We’re risk averse, and we’re too focused on content rather than audience utility.

One reason we’re failing to deliver more utility is that agencies are still too focused on outbound marketing, rather than looking at a more holistic approach to adding value across our clients’ businesses. Mike remarked that ”creativity shouldn’t just be about producing a narrative; it should be about the innovation of systems and value delivery too. We’ve got to move away from the reassuring safety of our traditional templates and formats; we need to stop thinking about making people want things, and shift our approach to making things people really want.

Mike went on to say that collaboration will be key to future success, whether that involves working with different client teams to create new kinds of value, or it’s about collaboration between specialist agencies that can offer new, distinct value. His advice is to search for “people with similar enthusiasm but diverse skills.

Mike concluded with a sage piece of advice from Seth Godin:

“As we get more experienced, we get better, more competent, more able to do our thing.

And it’s easy to fall in love with that competence, to appreciate it and protect it. The pitfall? We close ourselves off from possibility.

Possibility, innovation, art–these are endeavors that not only bring the whiff of failure, they also require us to do something we’re not proven to be good at. After all, if we were so good at it that the outcome was assured, there’d be no sense of possibility.

We often stop surprising ourselves (and the market) not because we’re no good anymore, but because we are good. So good that we avoid opportunities that bring possibility.”

Ben Poole of MEC wrapped things up by challenging agencies to rethink the way they structure themselves and their teams. He asserted that ‘big agency bureaucracy’ was the greatest threat to the survival of our industry, and that we desperately need to innovate and disrupt our traditional ways of thinking and doing.

A big part of this, Ben contends, involves rethinking the way we reward people. He questions whether financial incentives are really the best way to motivate creative people, especially when it comes to newer, more innovative disciplines like Creative Technologists.

However, the most important challenge is for agencies to help their clients to change. We’ll need to make marketers more uncomfortable, he says, and find better ways to help them deliver new value. Relationships and trust will still be critical of course, but if we’re to survive as an industry, Ben believes we need to be far more provocative.

I’ll leave you with a great diagram from Mike De Souza that may help to inspire some provocations of your own. Until next year…

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Five Friday Facts #73

by Laura Picard in News

In US and Europe, more tweets come from mobile than PC
The increasing adoption of mobile web has continued to have a significant impact on the online behaviour of internet users. Using a study conducted by Strategy Analytics, TheNextWeb proves that this has clearly remained a trend amongst Twitter users as well. The survey compared how 6,500 Twitter users in the US and Europe used the platform between March and October of 2012. The findings showed that mobile users increased from 56% to 71% during the period. Of these users, mobile phone users increased from 53% to 64%, while tablet users doubled from 9% to 18% of the respondents. Meanwhile, users who tweeted through desktop or laptop computers declined considerably, from 77% down to 64%. TheNextWeb notes that this trend may continue to unfold given the sharp drop in PC sales in the last year.

Urban netizens in China have a vast appetite for digital content
A recent report by eMarketer suggests that a vast majority of netizens in metro China are keen on digital content consumption. Based on a survey by KPMG, the findings indicate that social networking and streamed music constitute the highest share of digital activities, each claiming a response rate of  72%. These activities are followed by downloaded music (68%), streamed online films (67%) and accessed news (61%).

In fact, internet users in metro China surpassed those in other metropolitan areas across the globe when it came to music and international news. The highest number of respondents indicated they had accessed music content in urban China (77%), followed close behind by metro Brazil (75%). While 69% of internet users in urban China accessed international news through digital media, Singapore came second–this time at a considerable margin of 58%.

Spotify launches in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong
According to TechInAsia, Spotify has launched in three markets across Asia: Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. As these are the first steps into the region for the music streaming giant, many questions were abound regarding the decision to come into these Asian markets.  After all, the platform already claims 24 million active users across 23 different markets, with a whopping total of one billion playlists created. Spotify’s Sriram Krishnan indicated that Asia had actually been in sight all along–it only took a while to launch in the region because they had to tune it correctly “for this part of the world.” Although Spotify will face a local competitor called KKBOX, TechInAsia notes that Chinese-language music constitute the majority amongst the songs offered by the Taiwanese platform.

Smartphones help drive users to Facebook in US
A recent study conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC) has illustrated how smartphones are encouraging Facebook users to visit the platform more often than before. As noted by eMarketer, the findings suggest that 74% of the respondents in the 18-24 age bracket used their smartphones immediately upon waking up in the morning. A whopping 89% of the participants claimed to use their smartphones within the first 15 minutes of their day. The overall results amongst all of the respondents show that the numbers did decrease but only slightly.  Even amongst the 18-44 age bracket, 62% of the participants reported using their smartphones immediately, with 79% of smartphone users taking to their devices within 15 minutes of waking.

IDC also found that amongst these smartphone users, Facebook usage through mobile constitutes an average daily engagement time of 32.5 minutes overall. Over half of these minutes are spent checking their newsfeeds (16.4), while 9.5 minutes are spent messaging and 6.6 minutes are spent on photos or photo statuses every day. The total number of sessions averaged 13.8, with Newsfeed claiming the top spot again with an average of 7 sessions. Messaging similarly came in second with 4.1 sessions, while photo/photo status averaged 2.7 sessions per day.

Sina Weibo enters Thailand, aims to reach 1.6M users by year end
TechInAsia recently reported that Chinese microblogging platform Sina Weibo has made strides toward entering the Thai market. To this end, Sina Weibo has partnered up with Jiaranai Entertainment, a local company, and set some lofty goals for their expansion into Thailand. In particular, Sina Weibo aims to earn $1 million in revenue, and acquire 1.6 million active users by the end of their first year in the market. On one hand, Thailand is a popular destination amongst Chinese tourists; as TechInAsia notes, however, this hardly supports the venture on its own, not to mention the ambitious goals set forth within the short span of a year. Given Twitter’s presence in Thailand, as well as the increasing reach of (and possible displacement by) chat apps, Sina Weibo may be facing an uphill battle–one that is much steeper than they had anticipated.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #66

by Karen Wee in News

Social Media Week kicks off in Singapore 
Social Media Week Singapore is back from 18 to 22 February 2013. The global conference held biannually in various cities aims to connect social media enthusiasts, practitioners and C-level executives seeking to collaborate and share ideas in a swiftly evolving social media world. We tracked the buzz on the first day. 877 tweets were recorded by 300 users within an 8 hour period. This activity resulted in 2.4 million estimated impressions on Twitter. The key theme for the day was “Adding value as opposed to advertising your brand.” Covered by Damien Cummings during his keynote address, he explained that “Conversations, consistency and a true relatable voice are key when talking to your audience.”

Tencent’s WeChat tests ‘Custom Menu’ feature for brands 
WeChat’s 300 million users (and counting!) may soon be able to execute transactions within the app. A recent report stated that the highly popular social messaging app is testing a new feature that allows brands to customize menus, offering consumers access to a suite of options allowing them to get in touch or transact with the organization. In the screenshot below, a beauty provider has customized the menu to offer users quick access to the official website. There is a button to call for appointments and a button to get details of the closest shops based on the user’s location. Though WeChat doesn’t have a mobile payments feature yet, its parent company Tencent has one called Tenpay. With more changes to brand accounts being rolled out for the rest of the year, industry watchers expect in-app purchases to be available soon with WeChat taking a cut of every transaction.

Brad Pitt banned on Sina Weibo too?
Slightly over a month since Brad Pitt joined Sina Weibo, it seems his account has been deactivated. Users trying to access his profile are shown the following error message instead.

Though it is unclear if the actor chose to remove his account on his own accord or he was dropped by Sina Weibo, it is widely speculated that the ban on him in China has extended to the virtual world. In case you’re wondering what the ban is about, Brad Pitt’s role in the 1997 movie “Seven Years in Tibet” has incensed the Chinese government to the extent that he has been barred from entry into the country.

LA Lakers Kobe Bryant joins Sina Weibo
Brad Pitt may be off Sina Weibo but another Western celebrity has joined the growing ranks of international stars on the network. LA Lakers’ star basketball player Kobe Bryant started his verified account on Valentine’s Day and amassed close to 200,000 fans within a day. Kobe hasn’t posted anything yet but his fans have been posting messages in English and Chinese with some enthusiastic fan groups offering to translate messages. Tech in Asia’s correspondent, C. Custer, opines that while Weibo is where cool stars are flocking to these days, the really cool ones can be found on WeChat. What’s your view?

Korean KakaoTalk launches digital publishing platform
Social messaging apps seem to be the way to go judging by how quickly they seem to be rolling out new features and accumulating users. 70 million user-strong KakaoTalk has launched Kakao Page, a media and content publishing platform for companies. Though it seems similar to WeChat’s customer-relation management function, Kakao Page seems to incorporate more features and is aimed at specific publishing and monetization. Only available in Korean at the moment, the app targets content creators and charges for the published material. This is widely viewed as competition to magazine subscriptions at Apple’s NewsStand or Google Play. This latest feature has strengthened the chat app’s offering, which also includes social gaming (currently only available in South Korea and Japan).

Good use of social media linked with brand perception and purchase intent
The J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Social Media Benchmark Study, released last week, has recorded a link between good use of social media and a number of factors affecting businesses’ bottom lines. The study of over 23,200 online customers found that of those who were considered ‘highly satisfied’, with satisfaction judged via a number of factors on a 1,000 point scale, 87% indicated that their social interaction with the company had strengthened purchase intent. Among those who were ‘less satisfied’, one in ten stated a negative impact on their likelihood to purchase from the company.

Consumers worldwide getting social with brands
The extent to which consumers interact socially with brands varies globally, according to research by Ipsos OTX and Ipsos Global @dvisor. In India, 40% of internet users agreed strongly that they were likely to check brand pages regularly, followed by 39% in Brazil and 35% in Indonesia. European figures can be seen in the graph below:

Social network popularity varies across different US demographics
The popularity of different social networks amongst US Internet users varies by demographic, according to research by the Pew Research Center. 26% of black users claimed to use Twitter, in comparison with 19% of Hispanic users and 14% white. A similar trend was apparent on Instagram, with each demographic displaying 23%, 18% and 11% respectively. The whitest social network is Pinterest, where the 18% of white users survey outweigh the Hispanic 10% and black 8%. Twitter is also shown to be more popular in urban areas, whilst Pinterest is most popular amongst those who earn between $50,000 and $74,999.

Mobile Twitter use in the UK
Twitter have released a set of figures about UK mobile usage of the network. The overall figures are impressive: 80% of Twitter users access the platform via a mobile, with 66% using it in front of the TV, 50% before bed and 1 in 3 during their commute. The network is truly social in an offline sense too, with a third of users accessing the platform whilst in social situations, such as interacting with friends. Finally, the news is good for brands; 67% of mobile users follow brands on Twitter, 45% are likely to recommend the brand to someone they know and 25% follow more than ten brands.

More women are using social around meal planning
US women are increasingly using social media as a tool for meal planning. Not only did nearly half admit to using their smartphone more while shopping, but particular social networks like Pinterest are providing sources of culinary inspiration: 30% reported using Pinterest at least once a week, with 75% of those stating that it provided aid with trying new dishes. In fact, Pinterest was one of the top five recipe sources amongst US mum Internet users, even more popular than finding ideas through friends.

Facebook looking to movies, TV, books and fitness as sharable content
Facebook’s VP of partnerships, Dan Rose, has been discussing what content he thinks will be big for sharing on the network in the upcoming year. He stated:

 

2013, we think, is going to be the year of movies, books and fitness.

 

It is fairly straightforward to see how this could work for film and fitness, with Facebookers already regularly sharing the films they watch on Netflix, or whenever they’ve completed a run with various sports apps. Apps like Goodreads have been mentioned as ways to share the books one has read, though it would perhaps be more prudent to look into automatic sharing with e-readers to promote the desired behaviours. Rose added that the platform is in talks with the likes of Dish Network and Comcast to create a social TV programming guide.

Facebook introduces ‘buy tickets’ button for events
Facebook have introduced a new feature for events: a button that reads “buy tickets”, linking to an off site location for users to complete a transaction. Whilst those planning an event were previously able to include a link for the same purpose, the new button adds emphasis, highlighting the option to those visiting the event page. It is worth noting that it is still necessary to leave the page in order to go through with the order, though. The new feature, currently available only to pages, will look as below:

Eventbrite have announced seamless integration with the feature, allowing users to take advantage of it simply by clicking ‘Publish to Facebook’ from within the Eventbrite page. They have also announced that, once the button is rolled out to all users, they will extend their service to mirror this.

Facebook push ‘Gifts’ feature on Valentine’s Day
For last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts, it’s hard to beat petrol station flowers. That stellar romantic advice aside, an alternative was offered this year by Facebook, who pushed their ‘Gifts’ feature by promoting limited edition $1 Valentine’s Day presents at the top of Newsfeed. Those who have listed themselves as ‘in a relationship’ received messages like the below, mentioning their partner by name and encouraging them to purchase a gift, whilst more generic messages were sent to others.

Facebook allowing you to promote friends’ posts
In a further attempt at monetisation, Facebook are allowing users with fewer than 5,000 friends or subscribers to promote and share their friends’ posts. The post will then appear in Newsfeeds, with a reference to who sponsored it. The platform are continuing to experiment with the cost of promotion, but InsideFacebook have identified $7 as a rough average.

Posterous to shut down on 30th April
Since being acquired by Twitter, blogging platform Posterous has decided to shut down for good, with staff set to concentrate on their partnership with the microblogging website. They have released details of how to download all of your posts, along with recommendations for the importer tools of WordPress and Squarespace in aid of those who wish to continue blogging.

Improved Twitter synchronisation from American Express
American Express have upgraded their save-by-tweet service, which allowed users to save deals by tweeting a certain hashtag, into a pay-by-tweet equivalent, which allows items to be purchased through exactly the same mechanism. Firstly, users sync their AmEx card to Twitter. Then, when they use one of the offer/product hashtags, they tweet it to claim whatever may be stored with it. All they then have to do is confirm the payment. The simple process is explained further in the below video.

Over 100,000 Vines posted to Twitter last weekend
Twitter users posted 113,897 Vines to the platform during the weekend of the 9th-10th February, an average of 3,324 per hour. These high figures, in part a result of a busy weekend that included New York Fashion Week, the Grammy Awards and a hurricane hitting the Northeastern US, display a swift initial uptake of the app. Whilst the figures might not quite match the 1.3 million photos uploaded to Instagram during Hurricane Sandy, they amount to a tenth of that number – certainly impressive for what is still a very new app. It will be interesting to see if Vine can continue to grow at the same rate; if so, it may well end up being a very valuable asset for Twitter.

The use of Vine at New York Fashion Week
A large amount of the Vine activity this week came through New York Fashion Week, with large institutions such as the Wall Street Journal making use of the video-sharing application. The newspaper curated content from a variety of social platforms, including Instagram and Twitter, into a page that included the videos. A similar piece of activity came from designer, Matthew Williamson, who used the app for sharing content live from the catwalk, enlisting the help of photographer Sean Cunningham to ensure a professional finish. The content, starting with the introduction below, can be found through the hashtag #MatthewMagnified or at the @MWWorld account.

Grammy Awards encourage fast work from brands
Hot on the heels of the Superbowl, when Oreo were lauded for their quick work in producing a tweet about the blackout, the Grammy Awards have seen similar action from brands. This time, Oreo produced a cute picture of one of their biscuits in formal attire, but were outdone in the reaction stakes by the likes of Mastercard and Spotify:

  

Heineken helping find reservations with #tweetforatable Heineken USA decided to help out Valentine’s Day stragglers by booking tables for them at “cool, man of the world” restaurants. By tweeting with the hashtag #tweetforatable, Twitter users are entered for the chance to win a reservation at a top restaurant. Even before Valentine’s Day, Heineken were claiming to have received 1,000 entries, with reservations still available on the day.

GE run #IWantToInvent campaign for Inventors’ Day
Inventors’ Day is designed to celebrate those who come up with the out-of-this-world ideas that have shaped the course of human history. To celebrate, GE gave Twitter users the opportunity to be an inventor for a day; of tweets that came in with the hashtag #IWantToInvent, the best were chosen and sketched by a professional illustrator. They hashtag was used 2,600 times and GE themselves received 1,400 interactions, including tweets from other brands like Trident, Tropicana and Ritz. An example of the images can be seen below, whilst GE have collected all the sketches into a Facebook album.  

KLM produce personalised ‘Must See Map’ through social
Dutch airline KLM have created a campaign that collects tips and recommendations from your friends via social media to produce a personalised ‘Must See Map’, which you can use when visiting your destination. A nice example of how to combine social and print.  

Skittles building a rainbow from sweets, streaming activity online
Confectionery brand Skittles are creating a rainbow online, to be made out of batches of sweets that will be added in innovative ways every ten minutes. The activity will be live streamed via a number of webcams, with the resultant video added to YouTube. In addition, 100,000 fans will be able to claim their own sweet within the rainbow, which they can personalise by adding a message.

Lipton targeting younger audience with Instagram competition
Tea brand Lipton have created a four-week Instagram competition, which encourages the submission of photos that celebrate a different one of Lipton’s core values each week, such as #LiptonBrightness. There will be weekly prizes up for grabs, as well as a grand prize of an all-expenses-paid safari for two in Kenya. The campaign is running across 11 countries, aimed at engaging 22-30 year olds, as opposed to Lipton’s current older demographic.

We Are Social produce Plus Size campaign for F&F
In conjunction with British Plus Size Fashion Weekend, We Are Social have created a campaign for F&F clothing with the tag line ‘Feel Fabulous with F&F’. The activity was introduced by inviting three bloggers to become reporters for BPSFW and providing them with an F&F outfit to wear during the event. These bloggers will then write posts about the experience, as well as selecting top fashion picks to be seen by F&F Facebook fans. This is to be supported by Twitter activity, in which the clothing brand will encourage users to tweet using the hasthag #FeelFabulous in order to receive a £25 voucher.

BMW bring child’s drawing to life
Lots of kids draw. Lots of kids love cars. Not many kids get their drawings turned into a state-of-the-art design by a car manufacturer. However, BMW have changed that for one lucky child, whose drawing was turned into a full prototype for a seriously futuristic looking car, complete with the four-year-old’s chosen specifications. They then posted the image to their Facebook page, with the following message:

Eli, we think you might be onto something. Our marketing department worked a little photoshop magic to bring your dream to life. We’ll be sure to pass this on to our product designers. Thanks for sharing your idea and for being a BMW fan.

Tesla Motors and NY Times clash via social media
A slightly less charming automotive story now, as Tesla Motors and the NY Times clashed via social media. The newspaper had reported problems with Tesla’s new Model S, which the car manufacturer then responded to in a long, frank blog post, full to the brim with irrevocable data in defence of their vehicle. Tesla then posted their blog to Facebook and Twitter, encouraging and engaging in discussion with a fairly neutral tone. Their founder, Elon Musk was more partisan, taking to Twitter to vehemently argue against the claims. As a result of all this, CNN got involved and found no problems with the car, which goes to show how a quick and full response to criticism can create a shift from negative to positive.

Makers Mark bows to Twitter pressure to not dilute bourbon
Bourbon manufacturer Makers Mark last week announced plans to reduce the alcohol content of their bourbon, in order to allow for a shortage caused by increased demand. However, they received such backlash on Twitter that they have been forced to backtrack, tweeting that they will retain the beverage’s original strength. This should act as a lesson in the power of Twitter for swaying the actions of brands, as shown by the graph below, depicting Twitter mentions of Makers Mark from the day before they announced the change:

Social media and US politics
Last week, President Obama’s ‘State of the Union’ address created a lot of excitement across social media, particularly in the realm of real-time Twitter advertising. First of all, a number of organisations purchased promoted tweets with the hashtag #SOTU in the time leading up to the event, with nonprofits including Chevron, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Bankrupting America, Heritage Foundation, the National Association of Manufacturers and Society for Human Resource Management looking to steer online conversation towards their interests. During the speech, the @BarackObama and @whitehouse accounts both live tweeted much of what the president said, including additional content where relevant or effective. The action on Twitter continued further after the event, with mockery of Republican Senator’s response to the speech, in which he hurriedly sipped at his water. However, his response managed to make a joke out of the issue and deflect criticism:

Poland Spring, too, released a humorous tweet about the incident. However, they did so a couple of days later, rather than in real-time and, as such, were largely criticised for a failure to understand social media. However, the fairness of this has been disputed, with arguments cited in their defence including ‘unrealistic expectations’ and the fact that this was not a crisis, so did not require immediate action. Despite all this, Twitter was not the only lively platform. In the following days, Obama hosted a Google+ hangout, called ‘Fireside Hangout’. For a feature that is sometimes derided, having such a high profile event displays that the potential that still remains.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #58

by Karen Wee in News

Indian & Indonesian users have easier access to Facebook Messenger
Last week, we mentioned that the rumour mill was buzzing about a possible acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook. Shortly after, Facebook announced that users in India, Indonesia, Australia, Venezuela and South Africa will be able to sign up for Facebook Messenger IM service with only their names and phone number. A departure from the usual requirement for users to have an email address, this development is a step in the right direction for Facebook as it seeks to woo users in countries where internet penetration is lower and users communicate regularly via text messages and Instant Messaging apps. Unfortunately, this step could be a little too late as Facebook Messenger IM app faces stiff competition from newer rivals like WeChat and an uphill battle to convert an entrenched BlackBerry Messenger userbase. The months ahead should be interesting as WhatsApp has denied rumours of an acquisition bid by Facebook.

Sina e-payments gets social with new name, WeiboPay
We mentioned 2 weeks ago about Tencent’s plans to implement an online payment service on its runaway success messaging platform, WeChat. It’s rival Sina looks set to join in the battle for the online consumer dollar with a rebranded PayPal-like platform, WeiboPay. Previously, the payment service was used to facilitate in-game purchases. The enhanced product now integrates with the newly revamped Sina Weibo platform, with possible developments to offer deals to its userbase of more than 400 million registered users.

The matrix starring China’s social networks
Much has been said of the pervasive influence of social networks in China. A recent TechInAsia report cherry picks key information from a study by IDG Capital Partners on the Chinese social network market. Presented in a matrix format, it illustrates the influence that each social network worth its salt wields in China; further segregated into user needs and interestingly, how open they are to strangers. The chart reveals Tencent’s dominance in China’s social networking scene with products like it’s older QQ IM app, new Weixin (aka WeChat) IM app, Qzone, Pengyou and Tencent Weibo occupying top spots serving different user needs.

China’s Kaixin social network launches baby photo diary app
Proud parents and baby pictures often translate into newsfeeds flooded with updates on almost every little aspect of the child’s development. Recognising the importance of these life events as its userbase matures, Kaixin is seeking to regain lost ground by launching a photo diary app named Kaixin Baby. One of China’s earliest social networks, Kaixin was superseded by larger networks such as Renren, Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo. Also available on iPhone, Kaixin Baby has a dedicated site which is integrated with the main Kaixin site and incorporates social elements such as inviting friends and family members to join or post from their own Kaixin account.

Nukkad, a virtual street corner in India’s SoLoMo world
Named after the Indian concept of street corner discussions on just about every topic ranging from sports to politics, the Nukkad app integrates chats, location-based socialisation, aggregates Twitter and Instagram content within the area and shopping deals. The app aggregates user generated reviews on products or stores in the area, thereby allowing other users to make educated decisions based on crowd-sourced information.

The majority of social media roles at brands are part time
A study entitled “Structuring a Social Media Team” has found that 65% of those working in social media for brands and charities do so on top of other duties. The research, whilst also found that social media budgets have not increased across most companies in 2012, displays the reluctance of many organisations to reassign resources from traditional communications to emerging media.

Facebook rumoured to be in talks to purchase ad serving platform Atlas
The social network is reportedly in talks to purchase ad server Atlas Solutions from Microsoft, potentially allowing them to close in on Google’s dominance over online advertising. The move would provide further access to user data and greater publisher connections, which could prove formidable. Most importantly, this would give Facebook a massive head start in creating an advertising network outside of their own social platform, targeted based on Facebook profile information. This comes at the same time as the news that over 2.5 million Facebook posts have been promoted, by over 300,000 Facebook pages, since the option to promote posts launched in June.

200,000 mobile apps now connected to Facebook
Facebook have released figures that display the strength of its Open Graph platform, which is now in use by 200k Android and iPhone apps. David Fisch, Director of Platform Partnerships at Facebook, discussed the numerous possibilities: “An iOS app can be a Facebook app. A mobile website can be a Facebook app. A console game can be a Facebook app. Your car, your shoes, your credit card or your toothbrush can be Facebook apps.” Whilst Facebook isn’t currently able to monetize these third-party apps, these provide a base on which the network may later look to build advertising revenue.

Facebook’s ‘subscribe’ feature set to change to ‘follow’
It’s been a big week for announcements from Facebook. One last bit of news: the ‘subscribe’ button is set to be changed to ‘follow’. The subscribe feature, which has been available to pages, or users who choose to enable it, allows ‘subscribers’ to view the activity of a page without becoming a ‘fan’ or ‘friend’. Whilst there is no planned change in functionality, the move is intended to provide an easier user interface between social networks, with users familiarised with ‘following’ others through Twitter.

Some big brands are using Facebook’s global pages
Playstation, Burger King, Swatch and Clarins have all begun using Facebook’s global pages. Users are automatically directed to the regional version of the page, often providing relevant content in their own language. However, users can access any page through a drop down menu and all are linked by their ‘like’ and ‘people talking about this’ figures.

The end of an era for Twitter and Instagram
Things are changing between Twitter and Instagram. Once allies, battling it out against the Facebook behemoth, the two are now set to face off with one another in the photo sharing wars. Twitter announced that Instagram had disabled Twitter cards functionality, meaning that users would be unable to properly view Instagram photos on Twitter. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom stated the move’s intentions: “We’ve decided that right now, what makes sense, is to direct our users to the Instagram Web site”. He added that there would be no effect on Facebook, Tumblr and Foursquare. Poor Twitter.

Twitter gets (more) local
Some better news for Twitter. They’ve launched Trends in 100 more cities worldwide, including 12 in the UK. So for those of you in Belfast, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Portsmouth and Sheffield: now’s your chance to see what’s Trending in a city near you.

Snapseed for iOS, Android and Google+
And some worse news for Instagram. Soon after their acquisition by Google, photo editing/sharing app Snapseed has now launched on Android, at the same time as making their iOS version free. Throw in Google+ integration and it we could be looking at a potential rival to Instagram. Whilst the two are currently worlds apart in terms of size, Snapseed’s functionality is certainly impressive and this is seems like one to watch.

Google+ growing as fast as Facebook?
Google+ made an announcement this week about two things: growth and communities. The first includes some intriguing figures. More than 500 million people have upgraded to Google+, 235 million are active across Google and 135 million in just the stream. This last statistic means growth of 35 million in the last 2.5 months, figures that rival Facebook at a similar size. This comes as exciting news for the often ridiculed site and may start to restore some faith in its potential as a network. The second part of the announcement refers to ‘Google+ Communities’, a new feature that allows like minded individuals to create a network wherein they can discuss their mutual interests.

Foursquare is the third most used Mobile social app
A Nielsen report has stated that Foursquare has 10.4 million monthly users, putting it third behind Facebook and Twitter in terms of monthly mobile users. Adweek have reported the news, stating that this means 42% of the 25 million of those who have downloaded the app are using it regularly. This statistic may go some way to addressing questions about Foursquare’s performance.

Foursquare makes custom events available to Venue Managers
A big new benefit for venue managers on Foursquare: they can create their own custom events. Previously, the only event availability was to do with concerts, films and sport – all only available to a limited set of partners. This increased functionality could provide a great deal of opportunity for businesses, marketers and users and it will be worth watching how this develops.

A new look for YouTube
YouTube have redesigned their user interface, introducing a ‘Guide’ that users can fill with subscriptions, allowing them to easier organise their favourite content. Other changes include the video layout, integrating “the subscribe button, social actions and video information”, plus re-positioning playlists to allow easier scrolling whilst watching a video. They are looking for feedback and will be hosting both a Google+ hangout and a Reddit IAmA in the coming weeks.

Spotify is going social
Spotify is rolling out a whole set of new features, aimed at making the musical experience completely social. The principal changes are two new tabs: Follow and Discover. The former allows you to connect with other Spotify users, from friends to artists, allowing you to obtain content you want from where you want. This will also allow artists to share new releases and tour information with their fans quickly and easily. The Discover tab will display relevant content, be that artists or playlists, based on what is already in a user’s library.

SoundCloud’s new design available to all users
The new version of SoundCloud, the music sharing site that reaches 180m people per month, with 10 hours of audio uploaded every minute, has been slowly rolled out to users over the past year. Now, the new version is becoming the norm, with new features including updated search, discovery and recommendation features and increased connectivity with other social sites, such as Facebook.

Microsoft expanding image-sharing network Socl
Microsoft’s Pinterest-style social network is now available to anyone with a Microsoft or Facebook account, having been available only to a small audience since May. They claim that the network is not intended to compete with larger platforms like Facebook or Twitter, but may be linked to future Microsoft product launches; it will be interesting to see how this aim develops.

The father of SMS – 20 years on
Matti Makkonen is known as the ‘father of SMS’ due to his idea in the 1980s for a messaging service run via mobile phones. This week, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the platform, he gave a rare interview to the BBC via text message.

Nokia release ‘Tweetsender’ tool
Nokia have come up with a reason for their users to follow them on Twitter: Tweetsender. The new app allows Nokia users to receive direct messages via Twitter whenever new updates are released for their phone. Simply follow Nokia and you will receive a DM with instructions of how to set up the feature. Authorise the app and give it details of what phone you have and you’ll start receiving up to date product news that is relevant to you.

Heineken’s ‘Bottle of the Future’
To celebrate its 40th birthday, Heineken have launched a campaign that allows fans to produce the beer’s next limited edition bottle through a Facebook app. The idea looks to celebrate the company’s past, by offering the opportunity to view and remix old designs.

Mercedes-Benz use social video to thank 9 million fans
Mercedes-Benz have reached the milestone of 9 million Facebook fans. How to celebrate? Well, they’ve produced a social video as a thank you, which displays a set of lights painting over a CLS-class car, then spelling out “9,000,000″, “FANS” and “THANK YOU”. Aw, you’re welcome.

Lexus donating to boys’ and girls’ clubs
Another automotive giant, Lexus, is giving $10 per check in to boys’ and girls’ clubs in America no matter where the check in is. If they do choose to head to a Lexus dealership, the check in is worth a whopping $20. Brian Smith, Lexus vice president of marketing, said that they “want to create an opportunity for people to easily give back to a great cause”. It is certainly unexpected to see so large a donation offered for check ins anywhere and this is likely to see some good will heading in Lexus’s direction.

T-Mobile spreading Christmas cheer with US tour
T-Mobile and Carly Foulkes are touring the US, giving out prizes at every destination. They announce each stop on the tour with a Foursquare checkin, as well as by Facebook and Twitter. Then, the first customer to check in at each stop and show the judges wins a Samsung Galaxy Note II, a year of T-Mobile service and a MOGA game controller. The tour is set to spend the next few weeks circuiting the US, so may be at a town near you some time soon.

Diesel heading back to the 90s
It’s no secret that a lot of people hark back to the days before the Internet. Diesel are taking advantage of this, relaunching a 1993 shoe with a ‘Pre-Internet’ campaign. They’re challenging people to win a pair of YUKs by giving up Facebook for 3 days, or Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for 2. The activity is supported by a set of humorous videos intended to point out how little these shoes care about tracking or wall posting.

Expedia on the hunt for Australia’s best bloggers
As part of a campaign set up by We Are Social in Sydney, Expedia are looking to find the best up-and-coming bloggers in Australia and New Zealand in five categories: Lifestyle, Food, Music, Travel and Family/Parenting. The winners, voted for on Facebook, will receive the trip of a lifetime and the status of official Expedia bloggers for 2013.

Allen Solly release Twitter powered billboard
Indian retailer Allen Solly are marking the launch of their new clothing range with a billboard powered by Twitter. The billboard shows 60 shirts, all obscuring the campaign graphic. With every tweet, a random shirt moves forward, until each one falls off, providing tweeters with a new shirt and everyone else with a view of the new collection.

Microsoft’s #DroidRage Fail
We’ve seen plenty of examples of Twitter Fails over the last year. Now, Microsoft seem to be the latest in a long list. Encouraging users to share their tales of frustration with Android phones via #DroidRage, they seem to have caused a backlash, as Android users have come to the defence of their phones, while #WindowsRage has gained some traction. Oh dear.

Homebase introduces YouTube channel aimed at driving social commerce
Homebase have produced a YouTube channel, aimed at driving sales. Videos will feature tagged products, which users can purchase by clicking on the video. The activity is being supported through integration with Facebook’s Open Graph, automatically sharing when a user has watched one of their videos.

UK’s HM Treasury’s report on Pinterest
The UK’s HM Treasury have produced a set of infographics about their Autumn Statement and uploaded them to their Pinterest account. Considering how complex budgetary data can be, this may be an intriguing way for governments to simplify and spread difficult data.

Your friendly neighbourhood social network
Finally, a markedly different use of Pinterest: law enforcement. ‘The Mercury’, a newspaper in the borough of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, has started pinning mugshots of those wanted for crimes throughout the local area. As a result, the police have seen a 50% increase in arrests.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #37

by Dhanuj Selvaraj in News

Sina Weibo launches Social TV
Sina Weibo expanded its Twitter-esque service by launching a Social TV last week. There is no known hardware partner with this service and hence, it is said to be entirely hosted on Weibo.com, tapping on the whole range of social features that Sina provides such as social gaming and a virtual currency. With over 300 million registered Weibo users, the social TV will attract other partners in the television industry to host their content in Weibo and it also gives ample scope for advertising revenue. The new service is bound to pose a new challenge to video streaming sites such as YoukuTudou and Baidu’s Qiyi where licensed TV serials and movies are hosted.

SlideShare is the latest western service to be restricted in China
LinkedIn owned SlideShare is the recent western service to be blocked in the Chinese web. Despite many of LinkedIn’s peers such as Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare being restricted in China, a number of popular services such as Instagram, Flipboard and Path operate unaffected. There has been no explanation given as to why SlideShare is made unavailable.

Viki partners with Renren
International video site, Viki explores opportunities in China by partnering with ‘the Facebook of China’, Renren. While there are many domestic video providers to host local content in China, Viki has differentiated itself with its international provision. Viki has more than a billion video views and has seen its users translating the wide content collection into close to 200 million words of subtitles across 150 different languages, via crowd sourcing. Together with Renren, Viki aims to create ‘Vikizone’ as a video content portal to be part of 56.com from August of this year. Alongside China, Viki is also looking into exploring opportunities in other Asian markets such as Indonesia.

Indonesia’s Qeon Interactive acquires location based Gaming platform
Qeon Interactive was launched two months ago with focus on bringing social gaming from Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan to the Indonesian market. With its long term goal to become Indonesia’s first social gaming platform, the company has acquired location based gaming platform, Bouncity. A number of location based services have targeted the Indonesian market such as check-in-services Yotomo and Koprol, though the latter was shut down earlier this month.

Police warn of dangers on Weixin
 The location based service which has over a 100 million users offers a friend-finding feature that allows you to view strangers who are also on Weixin in your vicinity. Despite this feature being turned off in the default mode, majority of Weixin users are said to have taken to using it. Users of Tencent’s messaging app, Weixin have been warned that criminals use the social networking site to stalk and victimise people. However, since Weixin has the set the feature to off by default, only users who opt to use it are exposing themselves to potential dangers. Hence, as long as users are aware of this, the friend-finding service could still be a cool way to make new friends.

Monkey does as monkey says
New research released by Ipsos has revealed that nearly one in four people say they would buy from a brand because a friend engages with the brand through social media. Even better news for our friends in Brazil as this number rises to 39% within the BRIC countries.

Twitter users have sore thumbs
Although it’s common knowledge that more and more people prefer to check their social networks whilst on the go, Ipsos Mori has revealed that in the UK Twitter is what you’ll most likely be checking when out and about.

82% of Twitter users own a smartphone and 22% own a tablet, perhaps reflecting the fact that they are likely to be more affluent. The research also highlights that Twitter is the youngest of all social networks, with two thirds of users aged under 35.

Timeline comes to your smartphone
Keen not to miss the ‘mobile boat’, Facebook has been working hard to implement its Timeline layout for brand pages to mobile. After experiencing a number of speed-related issues on its mobile applications, it’s good to see Facebook offering a more consistent experience. It’s worth noting that changes to the dimensions of the cover photos mean designs that integrate the profile image into the cover art may need to be amended. However, a larger ‘Like’ button in the new app provides a better call to action.

Facebook rolls out new posting options
Page owners can now tag their posts with location in the same way that has been available on personal profiles. As a result, a map of the location of a post will be included when a photo or link is not included, which could help text-based status updates get noticed in the News Feed – though no word yet on whether this improves EdgeRank.

More importantly, Facebook has added an option for pages to make “unpublished” posts. Aside from testing how a post might look before having to hitting publish, this will also open advertising opportunities. Previously, if a page-post ad was to be created, it would have to pull content that had already been published to a page. Now,page-post ads can be created to target new fans without having to post content on the page that current fans may already have seen.

Facebook and Spotify still going strong
Facebook and Spotify have publicly declared their love for each other once again this week after introducing a new level of integration. When visiting an artist’s fan page,fans can now search for a song by that artist and easily share it to their wall. This appears to be a gentle nudge to discourage fans to simply post a YouTube link to the latest song they can’t get out of their head. This can only be a good thing for artists, as it builds their Spotify playcount for which they receive an (albeit small) amount of money.

Promoted tweets not a problem
Twitter is loosening their paid ad requirements. Instead of insisting that a Promoted Tweet also be tweeted organically to followers, brands will be able to create stand-alone content that will only appear as a Promoted Tweet.

New Twitter applications fly onto mobile
Twitter released new versions of their ever-popular mobile applications this week. Despite no plans to increase their 140-character limit, Twitter continues to push ‘Expanded Tweets’, offering followers richer content directly from within the application. They have also worked hard to improve their search function in an effort to make finding people easier.

Can I see some ID please mate…
With so many young Twitter users, being a drinks brand on the platform has previously been problematic. Brands would have to message each new follower they acquired to ensure they were of legal drinking age. This looks all set to change now following a partnership between Twitter and Buddy Media, which allows Twitter to offer brands a much more elegant solution for checking the age of their followers.

Google+ comes to the iPad
Google+ has finally brought its gorgeous iOS app to the big screen with the release of an official iPad app this week. Perhaps they’re smartening up their tablet appearance ahead of the imminent release of the Google Nexus tablet…

LinkedIn pulls its socks up
After the end of the long-standing tweet syndication partnership with Twitter, LinkedIn has announced a raft of new changes to how users keep in touch with news within their network. These include being able to ‘like’ articles as well as seeing what articles are ‘trending’. Sound familiar?

Telefonica tries to reinvent the wheel…
After acquiring Spanish social network Tuenti in 2010 for $99m, Telefonica decided to launch its fledgling social network globally last week. Seemingly unhappy to entrust their social presence to an external social network, Telefonica’s long-term strategy seems to involve wishing to control every aspect of how their user base communicate.

Despite using the tagline ‘Social done simple’, the network seems to offer a convoluted mash-up of Facebook, Twitter and Skype. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this one.

The New York Times’ five guiding principles of social media
News organisations have been scattered across the board on how reporters should talk on social media … and whether they should even be using it at all. But The New York Times has shunned an official policy and instead opted for some delightfully common sense approaches for its journalists on social networks, though these can apply to a wide range of professions:

  1. Encourage our journalists to embrace social media, use it as a tool and be comfortable with it.
  2. Social media is free and journalists must be in their use of it. You cannot encourage journalists on one hand and then overly restrict them with rules and regulations on the other.
  3. Have experts on board who are there to guide and talk to staff and help new recruits as they get to grips with social.
  4. Be thoughtful. Use common sense. Social media is public and not private.
  5. As a journalist your reputation is on the line as well as that of your organisation. Respect both.

CNN get Facebook on board early on
In the buildup to coverage of the 2012 US presidential election, CNN has announced that it will be partnering with Facebook. CNN has released an Open Graph-enabled app, so that users will be able to publish which party they will be pledging their allegiance to and find out where their nearest voting booth is. More notably, the partnership means Facebook will provide CNN with metrics about the discussion of on each presidential candidate online.

NBC and Facebook team up for Olympics coverage
The 2012 Olympics have been branded the ‘Social Games’, and it’s amazing how far the bonds between social media, sport and TV have come since the last Games in 2008. Through a new partnership between NBC and Facebook, NBC’s fans can tell their Facebook friends what Olympics-related videos and articles they are watching and reading, which the two are hoping will spurn more views and shares. But it sounds like the most interesting part will be number crunching the conversations afterward to see who should win the gold for Most Discussed on Facebook.

The Washington Post taps Socialcam for Games collaboration
In another high-profile budding partnership, The Washington Post chose Socialcam as their video app to cover the Olympics. The project, cleverly called London Eyes, features selected user-generated content alongside videos from WaPo’s own reporters.

Wispa revels in ‘time well mis-spent’
What do you get when you take five of your family members and shove them in a taxi with a grandfather clock? I’m not quite sure, but Cadbury’s Wispa has launched a new Facebook app to celebrate crazy ideas like that and vows to make them reality. Fans can view a gallery of goofs or apply for their own ‘goofing off grant’. Sounds like a good way to mis-spend your lunch hour.

YSL wants fans to doll up with Facebook’s colour palette
The most dedicated fans can make their faces Facebook-coloured when Yves Saint Laurent releases new eyeshadow later this week. The colours and design proclaim YSL’s love for its fans … and for Facebook. Just 1,650 palettes will be available to buy on the YSL page for £39.

Travel facts could get you far
Dust off your geography books. Qatar Airlines wants to send a Twitter follower and one of their friends to one of 117 destinations around the world, just by tweeting facts about the destination to earn miles. The tweet-a-meet campaign is a clever way to make the competition viral, but we’re wondering how many of the tweets will just be pasted from Wikipedia.

Twitter users hijack hashtag to promote democracy in the Maldives
While the #sunnysideoflife hashtag was meant to encourage Twitter users who had visited the island country to share their experiences, it was quickly taken over by activists who wanted to shed light on the Maldives’ recent political troubles. And even though this one hasn’t spun out of control, it’s definitely one to watch.

Walmart’s Facebook fans want to ship a musician up north
Walmart may have underestimated the trolling power of its Facebook fans when it asked where popular (so I’m told) American rapper Pitbull should be sent to meet fans at their local Walmart store. The winning location at last count? The Kodiak market, in a small island town off the frigid Alaskan coast. At least it’s summertime?

Two tales of customer support on social
A number of things are hard to go without in the modern world, and money and mobile phones are pretty high up on that list. So when massive failures struck two giants in the banking and mobile phone industry over the last few weeks, it’s no surprise that Twitter was up in arms. After a computer glitch made payments impossible to process,NatWest was flooded with cries for help from their customers, but it did little to actively respond until much later in the crisis.

Compare that to O2′s Twitter response to customers during their outage last week, and similarly to NatWest, those tweets ranged from the good to the bad to the very, very ugly.  Although O2 was slow to reply at first, they eventually responded to every tweet, no matter how profanity laced, in a brilliantly non-corporate way that lightened the mood and took some of the edge off  the crisis.

When brands do battle
And a final chuckle for your day: Is there anything better than brands duking it out on Twitter?

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