Is Facebook Home a Failed App?

April 29, 2013

All the hype for the new Facebook Home release was a huge letdown. The many features of the app affected Android users negatively as it drained the battery life significantly and took over their mobile data allowance.

Facebook Home had potential. The option of having Facebook chat available on every screen is actually very convenient. It’s annoying having to go to the home page and open the Facebook app to then go to the chat section and then open up the conversation. Several steps would be eliminated with Facebook Home and chats would easily be opened. The ability to drag each chat’s bubble anywhere on the screen also allows you to continue what you’re doing in another app before you engage in the chat.

facebook chat

However, the main feature of Facebook Home was the transformation of the Android home screen. A constant newsfeed stream and slideshow of photos meant that the smartphone would constantly be using the web on its own rather than through a more user-interactive experience. It may be convenient to have this feature but it’s not practical to constantly use that much energy and data usage. Battery life and data usage are the two most important features of a smartphone. A dead phone can’t be used and ever since cell phone plans eliminated the unlimited data feature, data usage has been preserved as much as possible.

Taking over a home screen is also inconvenient as people do things other than engage with social media on their phones. By eliminating steps within Facebook, more steps are added in other functions of the phone such as regular texting and making phone calls. People would have to get out of the Facebook stream to use other apps on their phone. Is it worth it to make Facebook easier when everything else will become more difficult?

facebook home

Although Facebook has reached exponential popularity over the years, a smartphone is used for various reasons. With these issues Facebook Home is creating for the rest of an Android’s features, the app was rated one out of five stars from 52% of 14,100 free users.

According to a spokesperson for Facebook Australia, the release of Facebook Home was the “first step”, as they are “working on making improvements” for the app.

Advertising is Getting the Best of Us

April 26, 2013

We often let our emotions get the best of us and what does that lead to? INSECURITY. Advertisers often prey on things that affect our self-control including our emotions, leaving them to target audiences like women, who too often make choices based on how they “feel”.

By leaving our judgment based on something so easily affected or swayed, we are at a disadvantage and marketeers understand that. The female market is filled with products that make us seem like we’re not good enough without the product. Whether it is a surgical procedure and cosmetics, a machine that can do household work better or a book that tells us how to be the best girlfriend, women are constantly judging themselves from these advertisements. In turn, they purchase these product or services to better their lives but are they really better?

What makes great advertising is to increase the quality of life and/or prevent the end of something good. Why attack your audience and give them something to bounce back from when you can just give them something to just improve their lives overall? Advertisers should focus on marketing to help women empower themselves rather than prey on their insecurities.

Over the years, “Girl Power” has made its way through the advertising funnel as a new insight on women in today’s age. Although this is true, marketeers are still constantly putting the mindset that women just simply aren’t good enough so they fork up the money and give in to the ads.

It’s important for advertisers to understand the affect they have on the female community and to help rather than harm the already-sensitive lives at stake. What your brand stands for makes an impact and if you lead your audience in the direction for a better life, you company will gain a much more positive influence and reputation in the long run.

When You Give a Little, They Give a Lot Back

April 25, 2013

Sometimes when you give away something, the benefits you gain in return are far beyond what you’ve imagined. Rather than just sending ads of discounts and new products to their customers, Bare Escentuals decided to go a different route by offering a twist on their customer service loyalty program.

This non-traditional approach gives customers personalized gifts and invitations to insider events. Each member is also given a customized birthday gift and gets to pick a day throughout the year to receive 15% off their purchases. On top of these offers, Bare Escentuals also sends out unexpected personalized gifts to members at different times of the year.

The Friends and Benefits Loyalty program has been a hit for the company as 40% of online and in-store customers signed up for the program within the first three months. This is double the typical sign-up rate for customer loyalty programs for other companies. Most loyalty programs reward their customers with points towards discounts and offers based on their previous purchases. Unlike the others, Bare Escentuals went in a different route by giving customers things they don’t expect.

“We are using the gifts and community to build emotional bonds with our customers and prospective customers. We can harness that for sales growth,” said Nina Ciminelli, senior manager of relationship marketing at Bare Escentuals.

The core target of the loyalty program are women between the ages of 25 and 44. When customers receive surprise personalized gifts from the company, they are more inclined to advertise what they received to their friends and family via social media. The bigger surprise is that it isn’t necessary for these customers to even make a purchase. The only necessary requirement to join the program is to fill out a profile. People expect points and offers sent to them once they purchase a product from a site, but doing the unexpected is what really inclines people to participate in brand engagement.

In August of 2012, Bare Escentuals sent 100 Friends and Benefit Loyalist members a “soon-to-be-released” foundation sample in each individual’s skin shade to test out their new product.  In turn, these members tried the product, wrote reviews and also spread the word about the new foundation to their friends and family through multiple social media networks.

By personalizing gifts and sending unexpected rewards, the customer satisfaction towards Bare Escentuals has grown past their competitors extensively. The benefits given back to the company have also far exceeded the risks and costs to satisfy their customers in the long run, making this the most successful marketing route.

ThingLink Brings Image Interactivity to Social Media

April 24, 2013

The saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but imagine how much a picture could be worth if it was embedded with content, links, videos and more! With the integration of ThingLink, an interactive image platform, and social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter, anything is easily accessible.

Tweets and Facebook status updates are now transformed from 180 characters of mere text to a portal of endless possibilities. What was once a tweet with a simple image of country artist, Joy Collins, is now an interactive portal to her official website, Facebook profile, Google+ profile, YouTube channel, Instagram and so much more! The difference is incredible and Facebook quickly jumped in with a ThingLink app as well.

“Images are becoming forums for conversation and discovery that include sharing, touching, commenting, and remixing rich media content created by others,” said Ulla Engeström, CEO of ThingLink. “ThingLink is now enabling a new kind of discovery experience on Facebook Timeline that evokes emotion and brings moments to life in ways that drive higher engagement.”

The ThingLink app now allows an engaging, interactive fan page for Facebook. With the ability to link to each person’s profile in one image along with many other links, static images are now discovery experiences. Every image contains a story and ThingLink allows people to tell that story in every way possible by embedding other sources of information. This interaction platform not only helps your audience, but it also builds a new level of analysis for your company as well! A myriad of social behaviors can now be explored with detailed statistics for you to analyze your audience. Click here to create your ThinkLink app for your Facebook page!

A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar.

April 22, 2013

No, this isn’t a post in tribute to Dashboard Confessional. This is a post to emphasize the purpose and necessity of a strong mission statement and tagline to market you and your company. It’s important to understand the impact these two things can do for you.

Define Your Mission. Treat your mission statement like your mantra. It should be the reason you get up in the morning, the reason why you do what you do at your job and most importantly, why your company even exists. According to Guy Kawasaki’s “The Art of the Start“, it doesn’t have to be difficult, but rather appropriate and heartfelt. This statement is for you. It may not be readily marketed or recognizable but it’s there to motivate your company and keep them aware of the why you are doing what you do. Kawasaki states, “Make meaning, not money.” This is of utmost importance as the greatest companies are built around these three meanings: increasing the quality of life, righting a wrong or preventing the end of something good.

Here are some popular examples:

    • Wendy’s – “Healthy fast food”
    • FedEx – “Peace of mind”
    • Nike – “Authentic athletic performance”

Know Your Audience. Your tagline, on the other hand, should be a familiar marketing phrase that emphasizes your mission statement to the masses. These specific group of words placed together should emphasize of what you are all about. When people see this combination of the english vocabulary, they should immediately think “Oh, that’s so-and-so” and directly relate it to you. When you saw the title of this post, did you think “Dashboard Confessional’s 2006 hit album featuring ‘Hands Down’?” If so, you get exactly what I mean. If not, maybe you’re just not correlated to the soft-core punk music genre of unenthusiastic melodramatic 17-year-olds in the 90s. It’s understandable that not everyone will get it as long as the group of people you are marketing to do.

Define Your Story. The story behind your company is much more important than the mere grouping of words that people relate to you. It is what gives meaning to those words and your company; what differentiates you from the rest. What are your aspirations and how can you encourage your audience to strive for them as well? A great tagline captures the entire story of what you’re all about in a phrase.

Finalize Your Message. Have a brainstorming session of key words and mixtures of them to see what clicks. It’s important to understand that a clear message is better than a clever one. Simplicity is key. By having puns, slang or a vague message, you are hindering your capability of conveying what you are about to the masses. Check to see if people with little to no knowledge of your company can translate your tagline successfully.

As a Silicon Valley author, speaker, advisor to Motorola and one of the Apple employees responsible for marketing the Macintosh in 1984, Guy Kawasaki presents “The Art of the Start.” This book and presentation is of mass construction at an entrepreneurial standpoint. Take a look at the video to get an insight of this entrepreneur evangelist.

Click to watch “The Art of the Start” by Guy Kawasaki Video

Advertising: Creativity vs. Data

April 19, 2013

What makes for great advertising? Is it the number of outreach and statistics or is it a unique approach of expression? Advertisers constantly struggle with what brings more value to their marketing approach. By analyzing numbers of followers and likes, you may grow a larger fan base but does quantity really compensate for quality? DBB’s creative director Amir Kassaei gives his thoughts on the situation.

Click here to watch the video!

In the “Data Alone Will Not Help You Improve the Creative Product” video, Kassaei explains how the beauty and craft of print advertising is being hindered by the multimedia technology of today. He also explains how advertisers need to bring new ideas to the table rather than depend on social media and technology to enhance it. As an artist, Kassaei emphasizes this need for strengthened creativity as art is changing over the decades. As technology and media shift ideas of art, it is important to preserve the essence and beauty of simple art itself and to translate it through the new works we have today.

United Through Tragedy of Boston Marathon

April 17, 2013

Through social media and the news, word was spread about the incident quickly and everyone was informed of the tragic event. With something as tragic as the Boston Marathon bombings, came the unity of a nation. We were able to come together even through things that place us against each other such as sports. Much is known about the rivalry between teams such as the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. However, due to the recent tragedy, pride and rivalries were pushed aside as prayers and love were expressed between the teams. The image below signifies the union of the two teams.


Along with the “United We Stand” banner, the New York Yankees honored Boston by playing Fenway Park’s traditional eighth-inning anthem “Sweet Caroline” after the third inning of Tuesday night’s game at Yankee Stadium. It’s a blessing to see rivalries pushed aside to recognize the importance of honoring those affected by the tragic event.

“I think it’s important that we recognize that we’re all behind the people in Boston,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “You think about that being a song that’s a tradition there, that’s special to Fenway Park and the people of Boston, and you put the baseball teams aside. We want to be there for them.”

However, New York wasn’t the only state that showed their support for Boston. Chicago showed their support during the aftermath of the Boston bombings as well. The Chicago Tribune’s sports front page on Tuesday presented an ad that showed signified the union of the cities through all sports networks.


It is incredible to see the hearts of other cities reach out to support Boston through this tragic event. The bond created across the nation through events as tragic as the Boston Marathon remind us what a great country we live in as we open our hearts out and pray for those affected. Open your hearts and show your support for Boston!

Flipboard 2.0: The Revolutionary Magazine

April 15, 2013

The next generation of Flipboard was released about 2 weeks ago and more than half a million magazines have already been created. Flipboard, a personal magazine app, gained massive popularity with 53 million users. This app allows people to collect and save articles, photos, and videos for one’s own use or to share with the public. With the ability to do all this in one app, anyone can become an editor and a reader. This personalized magazine gives people only the content they want to see instead of a public magazine intended to serve the public as a whole.


What makes great advertising is giving the people what they want. The more geared towards the audience a product or service is, the more likely it will become a hit. Flipboard gives people what they care about without any information they deem is unimportant. It also gives audiences the ability to organize and personalize their content as well. From current news to gossip to social media networks, Flipboard brings everything one would need together all in one place. By having things that matter to you, you are more inclined to be involved with an app such as Flipboard.

flipboard (1)

On top of the great service Flipboard provides people, the design of the app also paves a road for audiences to enjoy as well. The app is physically appealing as well as useful. With the structured minimalism, the navigational features of the app come easily to both editors and readers. The “flip” motion makes it easy for people to search through their self-made magazines and to search for content to fill their magazines. It is important for audiences to easily navigate through what you have to offer so they are more inclined to participate. The responsive design of the app allows people to easily use Flipboard on their computers, laptops, tablets, and even smartphones. The dynamic features of the app as well as the services offered from Flipboard make it a very successful app.

Advertising Errors: Big Macs and Mental Health

April 12, 2013

Are you addicted to Big Macs? Can you stop eating them anytime you want? Do you drown your emotional sorrows with this tasty burger? McDonald’s created a “Mental-Health parody” to advertise their widely-popular and beloved Big Macs.

The key to success is by taking a chance. This may be true in some cases but sometimes, these risks are taken a little too far. Although emotions get the best of people, this situation  was a step in the wrong direction. Mental-health is a very touchy subject, one that cannot be talked about comically. This ad was seen in a Boston train and was immediately reported.

It’s important to understand what kind of advertising can instigate your audience, and of course, in a positive manner. Some issues should be steered away from including mental-health. With this mistake made to the public, advertisers are more likely to double-check their advertisements to ensure a happier audience.

Holiday Inn Express: Bringing the Extraordinary Out of the Ordinary

April 10, 2013

What captures the attention of people is the impact an advertisement has on its audience.  Whether it affects people physically or emotionally, people need to want what the brand has to offer. By bringing a desirable and positive outlook on an average person’s life, Holiday Inn Express rose to the top of the charts with its “Stay Smart” campaign. These new ads follow a formula, where ordinary people are endowed with remarkable talents after a well-rested and life-changing stay at a Holiday Inn Express.

Watch the “Stay Smart: Acupuncture” Ad

This first ad features a delivery man who turns out to be a talented acupuncturist. The patient, unaware that a delivery man is performing the service for her, is surprisingly calm and much more relaxed. When the actual acupuncturist comes back from his lunch break, the patient is surprised yet confused about how the delivery man was able to relieve her stress.

Watch the “Stay Smart: Equation” Ad

This next ad shows a visiting parent of a dance major who becomes a secret genius mathematician. He solves an impossible (and in reality, non-existant) math problem and is praised by the math professor at the institution. Although the professor is confused as to how the parent was able to solve the equation once informed that he was a visiting parent, the fact that staying at a Holiday Inn Express seemed like the explanation for the miracle.

By giving these extraordinary skills to ordinary people, audiences feel like they can have a life-changing experience from staying at a Holiday Inn Express. These quirky, yet charming ads give people the experience of hope and excitement in their daily lives, emotions that give advertisers the upper hand with its audience. The mystery and wonder of what’s to come give a myriad of possibilities that are left to the audience’s imagination. The cliff-hangers in these ads that are only explained by “a stay at a Holiday Inn Express” give endless possibilities, making it the most successful as they are left to interpretation. By giving the power to the people, the brand gains unlimited power in the advertising world.