Callaway Hit The Links

When you are part of the “idea” business you spend a lot of time thinking, curating and throwing things (figuratively & sometimes literally) against the wall. Sometimes things stick, sometimes there are dead ends, but you are always in search of the slightest germ of an idea to spark creativity.

idea plant

This stream of thought reminded me of a quote from the movie Inception that has stuck with me. It is when Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) makes the following statement:

An idea is like a virus, resilient, highly contagious.

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Applying context to marketing, a good idea can be highly contagious. You begin to immediately see the “legs” of the idea and how it can potentially extend out. Whether it is tied to a larger brand campaign, branded content or even an activation, a good idea change the game for a brand.

I had an “Inception” moment when members of my team Brandon Stuart, Creative Director & Mike Chiavetta, Director of Social Strategy @ Fanscape/TMA, began discussing the concept & strategy associated with the Callaway activation that is outlined below. There are moments when the consumer + idea + channel + message = compelling consumer engagement program.

The Callaway Hit The Links activation was the result of a close partnership between Callaway and Linkedin to leverage their API’s and create a relevant connection with the target consumer and overlay a fun concept that is built to be shared.

When it came to developing the creative concept I asked Brandon Stuart, Creative Director at Fanscape to share his thoughts on the program.

Hit the Links is an example of the potency a concept can have when it is derived at the intersection of creative and strategic thinking.  We set out to create a consumer engagement experience that is truly first of its kind, yet still effective and personable in nature.  Since golf is often an organic dialogue between professionals, Hit the Links positions Callaway as a catalyst that sparks conversations on the biggest professional network in the world.  We are fishing not only where the fish are, but also where no other golf brand has fished.

Here is an overview of the program:

It all starts with a simple invite that comes from the native Linkedin messages feature. By connecting the message from a direct Linkedin connection, we are creating contextual relevance for the recipient, increasing the probability of taking action.

1 - Intro

Next you are sent to a visually appealing landing page that outlines the value proposition & call to action. This is the “why” you should engage.

2 - landing

Next is the authentication to connect your network with the program. This is a key point of enablement for the experience. By leveraging the authentication directly and by connecting the user to their network across both mobile & desktop allows us to provide as seamless an experience as possible.

3 - auth

Once connected, you then have the option to begin selecting your golf foursome. The benefit to the consumer is the opportunity to create the “ultimate golf business trip” for you and three of your connections. You pick your ideal foursome and sign up for a chance to win an advanced fitting experience and get a custom built set of clubs, a round of golf & test the new HEX Chrome+ all at Callaway’s headquarters.

4 - intro

The system will auto-generate a golf foursome, or allow you to pick your group from your network. At this point there is also an opportunity to opt-in and view the rules of the promotion.

5 - pick

Once you finalize your group, you are ready to finalize your entry for the day. It is possible to gain additional entries daily with different foursome combinations.

6 - picker

Once your group is finalized, you have the opportunity to let the members you selected know they have been selected and they have the opportunity to create their own entry as well. All messaging is delivered via the Linkedin native message functionality.

7 - notify

Also, there is a sampling initiative tied to the program as well. The first 1,000 participants can claim a box of HEX CHROME+ golf balls courtesy of Callaway to further drive a direct connection of product to the consumer.

8 - sampling

I am incredibly proud of the team for this concept & strategy. Key members of the creative team were:

Special thanks to Brad Alesi, Director, Digital Engagement @ The Marketing Arm for contributions to the Fanscape Callaway Team.

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Yahoo Weather, Email Mobile Apps Aim for Elegance

My commentary was recently included in a TechNewsWorld article discussing Yahoo’s new approach to weather & e-mail via mobile and how they are focused on visual storytelling and curation to create a richer experience.

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Google Glass The Future Is Now

Wearable technology, specifically head mounted displays have been a part of science fiction canon for a very long time. Fans of the 80’s anime series Dragon Ball were accustomed to seeing characters with their own version of “Google Glass” interfaces. This preexisting association can be both a positive and a negative when it comes to the potential mass adoption of Google Glass.

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The explosion of fitness related wearable technology with the Fit Bit, Nike Fuel Band & the recently launched Jawbone fitness band have led to a rise in mass appeal for wearable technology. The trend has been if the wearable technology provides relevance & utility as a natural extension of our daily lives we are willing to put our time & dollars towards supporting this type of product. For Google Glass, the goal is to further integrate the real world into the Google ecosystem thus creating a natural extension into your daily life, even if you look a bit like Geordi La Forge from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

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Google Glass has been the subject of a lot of hype over the past few months. From influencers wearing them at SXSW to recent sightings throughout NYC. What started as a project from Google X Labs is now on the verge of becoming a mainstream device. Whether this will go from Uber nerd category to mainstream essential is yet to be seen, but this will fundamentally impact the intersection of physical & digital moving forward.

Here I am testing Google Glass

Tom Edwards Google Glass

Google Glass, What are the specs and what should I expect from the UX?

The recent release of the Google Glass tech specs outline Google’s commitment to bring the product to market and attempt to redefine how we interact with the physical world. The specs include:

  • a high resolution display which is equivalent to a 25 inch HD TV from 8 feet away
  • 5 MP camera and 720P video
  • Bone condution audio transducer
  • Wi-fi & Bluetooth enabled
  • 12 GB of useable memory synced with Google cloud storage (16 GB total)
  • 1 full day of typical use

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Outside of the tech specs, I was really interested in diving into the Google Mirror developer API’s. This is where you can really begin to see how Google plans on allowing the developer ecosystem to support the product & experiences moving forward.

One of the core elements of the user experience is tied to the concept of Timeline Cards.  These cards display the top level content that users will see. There are essentially two levels of navigation, with a top level primary and a sub-timeline for easy organization. Timeline cards support text, rich HTML, images or video content. From a brand perspective, understanding the relationship between relevant content & how information is presented & consumed via Timeline cards will be a key area to focus on as launch approaches.

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Similar to how Facebook allows the usage of “action objects” to further drive content acceleration and discoverability through the social graph, the Google Mirror API allows the addition of action based interactivity into the app experience. For now commands such as “read aloud”, “reply by voice” and “navigate to” are inherent to the navigation, but this can extend “discover” or other action verbs. More importantly, it will be interesting to track how user actions are then reported back, or ultimately mapped to contextual or location based search. It is easy to see how actions could then be turned into opportunities to share both within the construct of Google & possibly overlays to the physical world via augmented reality tagging or proximity based recommendations.

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Subscriptions seem to be a key element to the Google Glass experience. Both from an engagement & tracking standpoint. Subscriptions tell you when users choose specific menu items or when they share to a contact. Once an action is taken, it will be possible to take a specific action, such as share a photo. This will allow branded experiences to see what is truly engaging to the end user.

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Location is going to be a key element of Google Glass. If the user opt’s-in and grants access it is possible to use the Google Mirror API to observe the user’s location in timeline items, request their last known location directly, and subscribe to periodic location updates. You can also deliver pre-rendered map images in timeline cards by giving the Mirror API the coordinates to draw. Basically, location is the key attribute to connect the user to their environment that can then be overlaid map data or even with augmented reality interfaces.

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The biggest brand opportunities will be tied to mapping users locations with digital overlays to take real-world actions. This is already coming to life through Google’s augmented reality massively multiplayer online game for Android Ingress. Ingress seems to be designed with Google Glass in mind. I will be going into deeper detail around the impact of Ingress and the potential for brands in a future post but brands such as Zipcar & Jamba Juice are already testing the impact that this type of engagement can provide.

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What is the potential for Google Glass over the next 3-5 years?

Interconnectivity – The intersection of technology and utility is going to be a key area of focus over the next 5 years. Interconnection between smart grid technology in our homes that intersect with mobile devices such as Google Glass will continue to gain traction. When it comes to wearable technology, the overlay of digital into our everyday lives via products such as Google Glass are just the tip of the iceberg on a new landscape of interaction both physically and socially. Changing the view of real world with digital overlays will continue to develop into a new form of communication and interaction.

Contextual Data – The trend digitally is a movement from mass social interaction towards contextual networks. This same concept will push through wearable technology. You look at the rise of the Nike Fuel band and the gamification and sharability of personal information. This trend will continue to expand beyond fitness into other facets of our lives. Data tied to fitness, work habits, leisure etc… will all begin to create different sets of data that can then be visualized, gamified and used to help us lead more efficient, effective lives.

This also maps to Google’s larger strategy tied to contextual & personalized search. If you watch what is happening from a search standpoint, one of the bigger trends is the move towards personalized & socially enabled search where results will differ by individual, and social weighting of content will be a key driver to determine what search results you see. This coincides with Google Glass, as the intersection of location, search & social are evident based on how the UX is being defined.

Google Search Plus Your World

Content anywhere – How we consume content has changed significantly over the last decade. Content ubiquity will become accelerated with Google Glass and similar products that provide HD display’s and voice activated controls allowing for access to streaming content on demand. This is just the beginning as paper thin displays and wearable technology continues to evolve. What was once thought to be science fiction is quickly becoming reality.

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Creating Effective Mobile Landing Pages

Recently, I was asked by DM Confidential to provide insights on best practices for creating mobile landing pages that work well on smartphones. Some of my commentary was included in the article that recently posted. Below is a recap of my thoughts on the topic beyond what was published.

Having a streamlined user experience across both desktop and mobile are absolutely critical with today’s users. Just as visual storytelling has taken over how brands leverage social platforms, having a clean, clear and concise mobile entry point into a branded experience is key to driving engagement & action by the user.

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Whether it’s driving brand awareness, showcasing products or benefits, or simply trying to drive leads, having a mobile landing experience that focuses on a very clear call to action, with clear and concise copy along with imagery or video that is core to driving the user through a pre-determined path is the key to maximizing the initial mobile experience.

Another core element to consider is the impact that responsive design can have for a brand vs. having a separate desktop and mobile experience, by leveraging responsive design during the build out of both desktop and mobile, you can maximize the user experience across platforms.

Here is a breakdown of simple Do’s & Dont’s to consider.

Do’s:

  • Incorporate visual elements while maximizing opportunities for engagement
  • Keep copy clear and concise
  • Be very specific as to the call to action and make sure that the it is incorporated into the design and kept above the fold
  • Do consider optimizing the content for load time
  • Do consider responsive design for both web & mobile to keep the experience consistent yet relevant across both desktop and mobile

Dont’s:

  • Do not just have your website as the default without mobile consideration (bad ux, too much content, difficult to navigate)
  • Avoid too much content
  • Avoid too many fields
  • Don’t just have a list of categories as the primary experience
  • Don’t overload the mobile experience to weigh down load times

Examples:

Good: Crowdsworth | Responsive Design

Here is the Responsive Design Desktop Version of the Crowdsworth site

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Here is the mobile version highlighting the sites responsive design

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Good: Nike | Clean UX & Clear Call to Action

Nike Mobile

Good: Red Bull | Strong use of visual and call to action that leads to deeper engagement as you scroll

RedBull Mobile

Bad: Chivas Whiskey | There is no mobile optimization present, essentially the site is the mobile landing page. At a minimum create a unique entry experience for the mobile user

Chivas Mobile

Some of my commentary was included in the article that recently posted.

How to Create Effective Mobile Landing Pages

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