Archive for category Social Media

Making couponing modern and sexy…

That’s right, digital enthusiasts & frugal-lites alike…I said couponing & sexy in the same sentence.

Today, Valassis officially announced the Facebook product I’ve been lucky enough to manage the last few months — a couponing app like nothing else out there. Sure, you’ve seen web based coupons before, but have you seen a Facebook app that enables the entire end-to-end couponing experience all within Facebook that ALSO allows you to…

  1. Add digital (paperless) coupons directly to your grocery store’s loyalty card in addition to enabling traditional coupon printing?
  2. Leverage an array of social capabilities beyond just sharing (Tweet it, Pin it, private message/email it, see what your friends are clipping, invite them to use the app, update, etc.)?
  3. See a timeline view of your savings goodness as well as a timeline view of your friends savings?
  4. Peruse your coupon shopping list by printed, clipped, & redeemed coupons?

Yup, RedPlum Social Savings does all that, and…

  1. It’s a white-label product — skinning & deploying a brand specific instance is a snap. By “snap” I mean being up and running in days vs months.
  2. It’s integrated the best of the Facebook platform with Open Graph. Since we quietly flipped the RedPlum skinned version of the beta app live in March, it’s organically grown  a user base of 25,000 users triggering 450,000 open graph impressions — just by  us pushing it live with no promotion what so ever (until today!).
  3. For the white label clients, they get the full suite of Facebook Insights analytics reports that they can run anytime to get an accurate pulse on the performance of their app.

All of that is stacked nicely on top of our incredibly mature couponing back-end & the Valassis powerhouse of major retailer relationships (side note:  the science of coupon security is fascinating — individual serial numbers, secret watermarks etc. — it’s just like currency)!

I’ve had the opportunity to demo many new web products in my career — many of those demos were rather hairy & drove me to drink heavily. Just kidding. Sort of. But really, the reaction of demoing this product to leading retailers, manufactures & CPGs has been consistently well-received — a true indicator that we’re filling a gap marketplace in a big way.

Props to Food Lion for snagging the first early adopter spot — we’re looking forward to launching their branded instance of the app soon!

Props to the team — Lea, Mandarin, Matt, Tom, Ana, Vinod, Jay, Duane, & Ian —  for designing and building an amazing app!

Props to the best interns ever for creating this video that tells the app’s story. Enjoy!


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Welcome to infographic mania! Now, where are the standards?

While the “rush thru everything” part of me does appreciate some “chart porn” (as Dan Frommer puts it), the lack of reporting standards by which many infographic creators are operating is beginning to be a major turn off.


Sure, infographics are shiny and alluring, but the data inaccuracy (or perceived inaccuracy due to missing information such as a date, data sources, etc.) diminishes their value. This is a real shame because infographics are an incredibly valuable format for delivering a high volume of data in a highly comprehensible manner.

As kids, we all learned basic reporting standards while being graded on the creation of countless book reports. Why should infographics be immune to basic reporting standards? Infographics creators go through the effort to create something that looks amazing, why not take a few minutes to validate it’s credibility with the following basic elements?

  • Date (freshness matters)
  • Author(s)
  • Data Source(s)
  • Advertisement disclaimer
  • Content license / distribution terms

This isn’t about hampering creativity. The graphics designers I know are real sticklers about leveraging standards. It more about reliability. These aren’t just pretty, traffic driving pictures — they have the potential to influence critical business decisions.

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[Poll] Does the new Twitter retweet feature annoy the crap out of you?

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Additional thoughts: “Integrating Community Into Corporate Websites”

Matt Zellmer has an excellent post titled “Integrating Community Into Corporate Websites“, where he summarizes a comparison study that he ran regarding six high tech sites (Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, and SAP).

Some thoughts:

I agree that one size does not fit all, but whatever the corporate community/social media user experience/information architecture is, it should be somewhat cohesive & at a minimum, there should be some cross-pollination in place by making the all inclusive community bits findable & easy to navigate between each other & the main company site.

With regards to community sites outside of the main site (or company domain), another example of when this is OK is for open source communities. But there again, there should be some cross-pollination (at least links from the main site to the external open source site(s)).

Two additional principles I would suggest are:

  1. A single set of guidelines/policy (including community moderation) for all community tools that are officially sanctioned/branded by the company. Again, open source communities that reside outside of the main site are an exception.
  2. A single search engine. When people are seeking community contributions centered around a particular topic/product, they should be able to do this via a single search query.

And what about globalization, localization & internationalization? 🙂 That’s one area that companies seem to have forgotten about in their over-all social media/community strategies.

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Buying Corporate Gripe Site Domains: Effective PR Defense Mechanism? has an interesting interview posted with Paula Berg, media manager at Southwest Airlines. She explains how Southwest buys domain names that may be used by hostile consumers to denounce the company or it’s execs — these kinds of sites are also known as “gripe sites”. Per Paula, “[For] $10 or $15, what’s the harm? It can prevent some PR crisis down the line.”

My take is this can become a slippery & expensive slope. The best way to quiet an angry mob is to listen, then promptly & efficiently react — I’ve found that more often than not, they’re right. Having a company engage in the discussion on the gripe site might actually be perceived as more credible since the conversation is happening on community turf. At best, buying gripe site domains might make the conversation slightly less findable.



Does your corporate social site inadvertently lock out compelling contributors?

To me, the primary objective of any company blog site should be to tear down all communication roadblocks (firewalls, difficult tools, overly rigid policy, etc.) that stand between employees & the world to enable free flowing human to human conversation. The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has done that with their blog site.

The content, in multiple formats (video, blog posts, etc.), as told through compelling stories by their employees is heartfelt — like this (they need a video embed feature).

Though the underlying recruiting objective of the site is obvious, the site’s design & functionality is super comprehensive & efficient to use — which is paramount considering the focus of the employees/medical practitioners is likely not blogging, editing HTML, etc.

When decision makers choose a new media platform for their employees, the employees’ skill set, work style & time available for blogging, is often not considered because the platform decision makers (usually in IT) are primarily focused on the technology — which can be just as important as considering the users capabilities to successfully utilize the tool. The level of effort involved with supporting less tech savvy, or time available individuals (CXOs, practitioners — as in doctors & nurses in this example, etc.) should not be under-estimated. Trust me on this one.

If the tool is too cumbersome & time-consuming to use (especially by the employees with the most compelling stories to tell), then what’s the point? And believe me, you want their contributions.


My New Virtual Mom

While in couch potato mode watching mind-numbing Kardashian episodes, an interesting Kleenex commercial came on promoting their new campaign:

I checked it out, took a brief quiz & found the best matched virtual mom for me is a nice lady named Magnolia. She had me at “There’s nothing that pie can’t cure, honey.” But that’s not all. Magnolia has her own Facebook fan page. I love that. I joined out of pure curiosity of seeing what Momma Magnolia will do next.

By the way, my real momma is a lot like Phyllis — extreme in-your-face mothering is her style. So, please don’t tell her about Magnolia, alright?

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