MIMA event – Light up Your Brand: Building a Memorable Online Experience

The latest MIMA event was wonderful as usually.

I would classify the event as a mini-conference designed for a wide audience.

Lou Carbone’s presentation was spectacular!  I guess his book would be next on my reading list 🙂

Lou’s presentation emphasized the fundamental shift of our economy to the point where we need to think about experience management rather then concentrating on the product. With hilarious and clear examples, Lou urged us to concentrate on the customer – on value creation instead of “value extraction.”

Some of interesting ideas:

  • Focusing on the “best practices” may not allow finding the “next practices”
  • We live in the time of change: industrial age (concentration on the product), now (concentration on the experience). Change from “bus drivers” to “taxi drivers”
  • Corporate brand is a promise of the experience
  • While many companies try to discover how customers feel about companies, we should learn how customers feel about themselves while interacting with the brand.
  • Question: How do I want my customers to feel about themselves?
  • Thought: What is the effect I am trying to create, and what is the value of this effect to my customers?

Next, Jamey Tisdale briefly described marketing campaign promoting release of Halo 3. Though the particular tactics may not be useful for an average marketer (how many of us promote computer games? 🙂  ), the presentation had very interesting points:

  • Now, about 50% of Microsoft marketing spend goes to digital media (similar to SUN and probably other “one the edge” companies). Thought it may not be important in itself – the market is clearly moving closer to the interactive marketing
  • Microsoft has a very authentic and trusted blogger – a gaming enthusiast, who is now the company’s employee. The corporate blog is also functioning, but it might have a PR flavor comparing to the blog of this enthusiast.
  • Microsoft’s challenge in promoting the game – make it accessible to wider market without offending core customers
  • Marketing as a game…  encouraging enthusiasts to talk about the product

The last presenter, a representative of Frog Design was probably a treasure for any developer in the audience. However, he also raised very interesting marketing questions:

  • Software as a brand…. We have brand style guides, but we don’t have anything similar for the software. We should… 
  • The market needs more connection between design and development; designers should understand the development to make their prototypes feasible, and developers should understand design to better contribute to the process

At the end of the event Microsoft offered attendees a couple of demonstrations. The developers who made the presentations were so enthusiastic about their projects, that I started admiring Microsoft HR approaches 🙂 

We had a chance to look at Microsoft Silverlight and another interesting prototypes still under development.

Microsoft Silverlight I would characterize as probably more developer-friendly Flash with some additional SEO benefits. Though it also required downloading a plug-in (and it is not clear how many people have the plug-in now), any integration with IE would make the plug-in ubiquitous.

Some of the prototypes seemed to me “answers without the question…” I could not think about an additional value that they could give to the consumer.  It was probably innovation for the sake of innovation.  From another side, somebody has to do this fascinating research that may never have commercial application. Even if I don’t find voice-recognition practical in business environment, when somebody just says “Vista, channel 3” and computer obeys… it feels wonderful.  It feels we are entering the future. 

The food at the event was great!

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