Friday, 30 July 2010

Facebook Credits – is currency a step too far for the Social Network site?

As most people will have probably read, the social network platform Facebook is aiming for a full launch of its virtual currency Facebook Credits in September. It’s a move that could lead to it becoming the default online currency rivalling leaders such as PayPal.
All of this comes on the heels of the debate about whether the site should stay true to it’s purpose, resisting the temptation to carry too much external advertising, however attractive the proposition might be to an audience of over 400 million active users. So maybe the step into virtual currency isn’t such a leap of faith after all. When you look at the statistics, it’s not difficult to see why - 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day. Each Facebook user has, on average, 130 friends and users spend over 500 billion minutes per month on the site. Where do they find the time?

So, here’s the skinny – credits will be aimed at virtual goods like games but will eventually let consumers buy anything, including physical goods. Accounts will be topped up with any credit card and charge a merchant 30% commission.

A Facebook spokeswoman has commented “We are continuing to look at ways to extend our virtual currency via a test with several developers. The test started in May 2009 and is exploring ways for people to use their Facebook Credits with third-party applications and games on Facebook.”

Other industry observers have commented, “The real opportunity is within Facebook Connect. If it can integrate with that, it will mean a much broader network of sites can implement the currency. Another opportunity is for advertisers to incentivise people to engage by offering Credits in return for interacting with branded content or ‘liking’ the brand within Facebook”.

Since Facebook first announced that it would be implementing Facebook Credits last year, many app developers have been unhappy about the proposed 30% that it plans to charge for each transaction. So, the concerns are very much part of the Reputation Management challenge.

Facebook needs to be very clear about it’s focus. Its responsibility (and it is just that) is to provide 100’s of millions of disconnected people around the world a safe, secure and intuitive environment for them to connect and share. Now, arguably the largest online community anywhere is being asked to believe in that environment becoming a commercial melting pot.

Sounds a little too hot to dip the social networking toe into. Or is Facebook about to become an anti-social network? Watch this space…

Posted by Simon Johnson 

Credit to NMA for comments used.

Monday, 19 July 2010

The importance of Self – or, why we need to keep social networking in perspective

Remember how we all used to value ‘me-time’? How we craved a long, leisurely soak in the bath, with the door locked and, for company, all we had were our personal concerns for the effects of Aloe Vera salts on our skin. Remember the last time you said, “Tonight, I’m going to catch up on my correspondence!”

Oh, how the pendulum has swung the other way. Social networking has become de rigueur – and if you are unsure what that means, just hook up to Wikipedia, the social encyclopaedia, where it says "necessary according to etiquette, common sense, protocol or fashion." In other words, if you’re not on, you’re out!

Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Bebo, Blogger, Google Buzz, Linkedin, and Windows Messenger – the list is seemingly endless. The drain on our personal time and the gain to our self-importance knows no end. So, what do we do in the mornings, when we wake up and consider the potential for the new day? Do we go and brew a refreshing mug of mint tea and stare wistfully at the dawn, the miracle of each morning? Do we sit in the garden and make a list of the projects, the possibilities for the next stage of our personal journey?

No! We log on.

We measure our personal value by how many ‘friends’ have posted messages on our wall overnight. We bask in the glow of forgotten school friends emerging from the mists of time to request space in our unique white noise laden universe. And with every message, each reminder of our past glories, or invitation to name a friends new pet iguana, our regard for our personal reputation ramps up another notch. Again, with the benefit of Wikipedia’s ill regulated, knowledge for the masses platform, it’s easy to access the marker – Self Importance: Excessively high regard for one's own importance or station; conceit.

So there it is; the final word on the matter. Conceit. It’s all we have as a measure for our personally engineered self-image. An image framed by the number of friends we can claim, the amount of photographs that we are ‘tagged’ in, the number of secrets we have blatantly trumpeted to the best friend of our son’s third, and now ex-girlfriends’, family’s Latvian relative who recently spent 3 days in London having been diverted to Stanstead when a cheap flight to Riga was cancelled due to fog! How did they get my name? Who cares? We’re happy to share!

So, it’s time to get some perspective. Time to kick out against the cult of the individual. Time to rediscover all the things that time ‘spent on-line’ have consigned to the list of “if I’ve got time’ – like actually talking to people and rekindling relationships and taking in the joys of the setting sun rather than staring at a screen saver.

But let’s not over react – social networking does have a place. It’s great to have conversations with daughters who long ago moved overseas, so staying in touch tends to be expensive and intermittent. It’s good to keep in contact with people you might not want to spend an evening with, but happy to keep at arms length through the magic of the internet.

But is it really the indicator of our own self-engineered status. I suspect not. If you want to find out, switch off a few of your ‘must-have’ accounts. Several interesting things will happen. The sun will still shine. The birds will still sing. And people will still try to get in touch with you.

If they don’t, were they worthy of taking up a valuable part of your day in the first place?

Now, that’s self-importance!

Posted by Simon Dover 

Friday, 9 July 2010

Flickr Friday

It's that time again at Flickr's Idealogy Photostream.

Simple - multiple website campaigns.
Mettler Toledo - Direct Marketing for the Pharmacy Industry.
Lifetime - New poster campaigns.
Gum Clear - New brochure roll-out.

Demand. Created. Next please...

Posted by Idealogy

Thursday, 8 July 2010

YOUTUBE – Broadcast channel creates demand for Idealogy ‘moving pictures’

Over 30 TV ads, digital video and viral productions. A creative mix of ‘talking heads’, CGI, animation, studio and outside production. Subjects ranging from fitness to kettles and from make-up to squid!

Idealogy’s presence on the world’s most popular self-broadcast site is gathering momentum. Having now been ‘on-air’ for almost 18 months, Idealogy can claim almost 8500 views of campaign productions created for many of our key accounts – names like Fitness First, Lifetime, KENWOOD, Simple, ABB and METTLER TOLEDO. All of who get the additional exposure generated from this exciting channel.

So keep watching this space – to quote from The Carpenters, “We’ve only just begun!”

Posted by Idealogy

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The Industry is changing, and so must we!

From Selling Ideas, to Idealogy, to The Idealogy Group. Our business has been forged from 20 years of change. And change is the only constant when you work in a service industry with a real personality crisis.

Beginning life as a creative shop, growing up through brand and marketing, to a place where business change and digital consultancy was our ‘facial hair’ moment! Our history is peppered with our own cultural and skills-based changes – let alone those of our clients. Stand still long enough and the world moves past you. If you snooze, you lose!

Now in our 21st year, Idealogy has decided to face the next phase with a new set of Shareholders, Directors and Managers. The current team has grown to 6 with the inclusion of Simon Johnson as Digital Director and Darryl Akerman as Design Director. Both are long-term Idealogy stalwarts and they will take on clearly defined management and Board responsibilities, in support of Paul Wright, James Surridge, Charlotte Blake and Simon Dover, the Directors and decision makers of the last 4 years.

The strategy? To continue to evolve the business - building growth and profitability in the key areas of digital services and brand and business consultancy. At the same time, creative output is always high on the agenda, as Idealogy continues on it’s path to being World Class – a claim underpinned by the growing levels of international business the group is now involved in.

So, the world is changing. Our industry is changing. And we’ve added key people to the top of the business to reflect the success we are having in Customer experience.

The next generation Idealogy is now set for new challenges – and there’s the other constant… whatever our view of the future we know the questions will be different from those we are being asked today.

But we’re ready!

Posted by Simon Dover