A lot of what I’m doing – and what I assume other people are doing – during the Sarasota International Design Summit is listening for great ideas and thinking about to adopt and adapt them in my own practice. Two of the summit’s late morning panelists today were great sources for inspiration in regards to Web 2.0-based business practices and how to engage consumers/community with social networks, blogs, interactivity, etc.
Josh Hallett of Voce Communications spoke about his firm’s experience creating social media-based marketing strategies for corporate clients including Sony. Some takeaways:
-If you’re going to have an interactive site like a social network or blog, you need the backend manpower to maintain it adequately, to reply to comments, provide feedback or service, etc. Hallett cited the Sony Playstation blog and described an employee whose job is to reply to comments (which can number in the hundreds per post).
-Content created in response to customer interactions and inquiries “resonates” with consumers and can have an even stronger emotional pull and loyalty trigger than the original product.
-The value of a personal referral (i.e., word-of-mouth marketing) trumps visual design; consumers will go to a place where they trust the content provider and have the power to give input over the place that’s sleekly designed. (This in response to an audience question regarding consumer skepticism about corporate blogs posing as grassroots efforts.)
Matt Jones of Dopplr spoke about his social networking site for frequent travelers:
-Dopplr visualizes members’ travel itineraries, offering timeline and map views for each member and enabling comparison and collaboration between travelers with complementary schedules. (E.g., if I see that you’ve just been to Helsinki and I’m going there next week, I could ask you for recommendations.)
-Integrates with users’ Flickr, Facebook and other social media; displays a carbon footprint meter for trips; translates member’s yearly travel into an average constant velocity and assigns member an animal icon based on speed. (The last feature intended to provoke a reaction of whimsical delight.)
-Each member acquires a custom iteration of the Dopplr logo (a band of color blocks), displayed on his page and as a browser favicon, based on his travel history; colors correspond to cities visited.