Polaroid is dead! Long live Polaroid!

You’ve no doubt heard that this year, Polaroid will be selling it’s final stock of instant-photo goodness this year?

polaroid

But did you hear that Polaroid film is coming back?

The Impossible Project is an idea by Polanoid.net‘s very own Florian Kaps. Kaps has recently signed a 10-year lease on the original Polaroid factory in the Netherlands, and plans to start producing polaroid film again as soon as the old stuff runs out.

Visit the wesbite and you’ll see more. And with the thousands of fans of Polaroid, I think Kaps could be onto a good thing. But he was quoted as saying that “The project is more than a business plan; it’s a fight against the idea that everything has to die when it doesn’t create turnover.”. 

Hoorah to that.

(Photo Credit :: Grant Hamilton)

Greener Apples, but are they good enough?

Back in January I wrote about Greenpeace’s amazing campaign to make Apple go green, which encouraged Apple users to work together to persuade the company to improve it’s nasty environmental record.

Now, it seems, they are listening. Steve Jobs has announced that Apple will be removing toxic chemicals and introducing recycling programs (in the US anyway). From his announcement:

It is generally not Apple’s policy to trumpet our plans for the future; we tend to talk about the things we have just accomplished. Unfortunately this policy has left our customers, shareholders, employees and the industry in the dark about Apple’s desires and plans to become greener. Our stakeholders deserve and expect more from us, and they’re right to do so. They want us to be a leader in this area, just as we are in the other areas of our business. So today we’re changing our policy.

This certainly is good news. Apple have shown that they do listen to their customers, and are willing to become a more environmentally friendly company.

But is this enough? I don’t think so.

We are entering a new marketing era. The truly excellent green marketers will be environmentally pro-active, designing and manufacturing products and services that are green to the core. Not just because their consumers ask for it, but because really, it is the only choice. Apple’s decision to go green may be a step in the right direction – but it’s still a reactive move.

We’re going to see some amazing new companies that are hugely successful by launching products that are irresistible and green (yes, the two can exist together). Doing anything else just wont cut it anymore.

10 step guide to social media marketing

Gary Reid has written a great post on the 10 steps to social media marketing. They are:

  1. Who is the story for?
  2. What is the story?
  3. Where are the key knowledge pools/information hubs?
  4. Who are the key user producers?
  5. How will we reward users?
  6. How will we collaborate with users?
  7. How will we measure distribution?
  8. How will we measure ‘actions’?
  9. How will we control the message?
  10. How will we measure success?

I think that as social media marketers, the first step needs should be to make sure that there are no skeletons in the brand's closet. Social media marketing can really only work with brands that are 100% socially responsible.

Social media campaigns will backfire on brands that are hiding something, or doing something bad. Take the recent Chevy Tahoe campaign. One of the (many) reasons why this campaign failed is because SUVs are environmentally irresponsible. As a result, green bloggers came out in droves to create anti-ads on the Tahoe site.

Social marketing makes it very easy to culture-jam these days. There's simply no place in the new media world for brands that aren't 100% 'good'.

(Thanks to Pandora Squared for the link)

Henri : Fun over form

henry.jpgMeet Henry. Henry is a vacuum cleaner, and a popular one here in the UK.

The thing I like about Henry is that he's simple, and happy. He gets the job done without taking himself too seriously. You'll notice I'm talking about him as if he were human.

Compare Henry vacuums to Dyson vacuums. Dyson are the most stylish, high-end vacuum cleaners that you can get. They're a design icon. A serious vacuum cleaner. A true innovation. The only problem is, I'm not sure I'm looking for all this in a vacuum cleaner.

You may disagree, but I choose Henry over Dyson. I can relate to Henry. He solves my minor vacuuming needs as well. Besides, it's always nice to have a smiling face around.

To be online and offline

Back during the hazy days of Internet 1.0, offline retailers rushed their brands online to get involved in the action. flickercam.jpg

Before too long, we'll start seeing Internet 2.0 brands go offline. Imagine, if you will, flickr branded digital cameras, last.fm branded wifi stereos, Goowy branded PDAs. And as internet ubiquity emerges, the lines will blur.

Sites like Stylehive are taking brand-building to the next step. Stylehive, the social-shopping site, have even tried their hand at promoting their brand in Second Life, the fascinating-but-massively-weird metaverse. As well as having a virtual Headquarters in Second Life, they've cleverly hosted a fasion-show there as well.
High fives to Emily Chang and her team for jumping in head first.

Are the Apples falling off the tree? Or jumping a shark?

It pains me to say it, but does anyone else feel that Apple are on their way to jumping the shark?

There has been plenty of talk about bad customer service from Apple. And talk of "no blogging" policies, arrogance, television advertising. What's going on?

The whole "windows in a mac" strategy is not about looking after your uber-loyal customer base. It's about converting PC-users. It's not a passion or authenticity. It's a growth strategy. A market share strategy. Short term growth. For the Shareholders.

I think Steve Jobs has sold out. He wants to take Apple over the tipping point. Perhaps we should have realized this when they dragged U2 out.

And now Shea Gunther tells us that Apple shareholders have voted "no" to "a proposal by environmental advocates to study how Apple could improve its recycling program".

This is a sad day for geeks everywhere. It doesn't mean that you or I won't continue to buy Apple. God knows how much I want that MacBook Pro.

But Jobs and Apple had better be careful. No one has unlimited Lovemark equity.

Standing Out :: Whenever, Wherever

Standing Out :: Whenever, Wherever

Spending thousands on billboards, print ads and the like is just not the way to get noticed anymore. Traditional advertising is ineffective, expensive and so 1996. But this doesn't mean that you can't stand out anymore. There are plenty of creative, cheap ideas out there that can help you get you and your brand noticed. You just need to remember to maximise every single exposure that your customer has with your brand.

innocent.jpgTake Innocent drinks as an example. Rather than delivering their drinks in boring old vans, they have an excellent fleet of cars like the one pictured here. This van is powered entirely by electricity and covered completely in grass. It sure stands out on a busy street.

magma.jpg

Or how about this gift certificate from my favourite bookstore, Magma? Rather than just selling small, lifeless gift certificates, Magma is standing out in gift certificate giving. Their certificate is beautifully designed and about 30cm x 40cm. It's like a gift itself – I got one for Christmas and found it very difficult to part with.

fortunecard.jpgOr why not get noticed by your business cards? Companies like Ideo have come up with some very innovative business card concepts, like this fortune cookie example – so you can Stand out when you Hand out.

And finally – below is a picture of an ad agency car-park I walked past the other day used. This great driveway picture (It says, "Client who hated ideas") is a sure fire way to get your brand noticed, before and after your clients have visited.

ideas1.jpg

These are just a few inspiring ideas to stand out. I'm sure you can think of some more. Here are a few others off the top of my head:

  • Your office – Why not do something completely unique within your own walls? Decorate your front door, your reception areas, even your toilet in the name of standing out.
  • Your stationery – Make every impact count with letterheads, invoices and all of your other stationery. You can have ever lasting impact by making the most boring things look different.
  • Your staff – There are plenty of ideas you could use to make your staff get noticed. Unique uniforms and memorable job titles are just two.

Your mission : Do not sleep until every nook and cranny of your business stands out. Get noticed wherever, whenever and however you can.