My Tribute to Steve Jobs

My favorite Apple ad. Used to fantasized about that meeting where Steve all excited approved this TV copy. As a tribute to Steve, I wanted to share this and add him to the list of ‘the people that are crazy enough to change the world’. Continue reading “My Tribute to Steve Jobs”

Android vs. iPhone: How is Android taking over?

While doing some research on “what phone to get next?” (yes, I don’t think I can wait until G-d knows when to get the iPhone5), I bumped into this interesting infographics about the growth of Android. Apparently, the app store is the big winner for iPhone, but with the exponential growth in penetration of Android devices across all segments, it is not crazy to think the apps developers will be soon as interested or more interested in building apps for Android, making the Android App Market as exciting, fun and competitive as Apple’s app store. Continue reading “Android vs. iPhone: How is Android taking over?”

Google vis-a-vis Facebook

This graph summarizes some key highlights of the business evolution of Facebook compared to Google. Now, with this in mind, can you imagine how would a Google + Facebook alliance look like? What will they be able to do with all the information they have? What better services they can offer to users?… Continue reading “Google vis-a-vis Facebook”

TEDxChange: What Global Health Advocates Can Learn From Coca-Cola?

Waking up earlier than usual today paid off. I was part of the TEDxChange talk, where most of the discussion went around how to apply lessons from the business world into global health and the fight against poverty. For folks like me, folks that have spend years in the for-profit massive consumption industry, and that at the same time feel passionate about having a positive impact in developing nations, this conference brought a lot of “food for thought”.

Melinda Gates started her talk referring to the world-class for-profit company Coca-Cola as an example of a model that works in developing nations. Coca-Cola is in every country in the world. Melinda’s teaser question was, if you can find Coca-Cola in every developing country, why not condoms and vaccines? Then, what can we learn from Coca-Cola’s business model to improve quality of life?

These are the Coca-Cola lessons I extracted from Melinda Gates’ talk and my personal takeaways on those lessons:

Coke lesson 1: Measure and use real time data.

Yes, this is the ultimate business truth: you get what you measure. And chances to succeed are even higher if you measure as you go. Tracking is learning and learning is the only way to make sure you are on the path to success. Tracking, scorecards, color coding and KPI are all associate to the corporate world where you measure things such as market share, penetration, sales, etc. Let’s put it this way, if for Coca-Cola it is so vital to measure their how many more bottles of Coke they sold today vs. last month; isn’t it even more important to measure how many less kids died today due to malaria vs. last month? Now, can you spell out the KPIs of your organization?

Coke lesson #2: leverage on local entrepreneurial talent.

Very frequently I hear the saying “think globally, act locally”. I invite both for-profits and non-profits to go the extra mile: Become local. Especially in the global health field, many of the causes of illness and death are related to local habits. Those habits do not come obvious in focus groups or one-day guided field trips. Give yourself the chance to live under your target’s reality, insights will come naturally.

Coke lesson #3: Marketing. People want a Coca-Cola. It’s aspirational. They associate the brand to the kind of life they want.

So why can Coca-Cola achieve such great distribution in countries where drinking soda is not necessarily a priority? Why can’t we achieve the same distribution for vaccines, condoms, books, water purification kits, etc.? For any company, distribution plans are costly, especially in remote rural areas. You can invest millions in ‘pushing’ your products to be on the shelf. However, what I call “sustainable distribution” only happens when your product or brand is addressing a consumer unmet need, when people want your product. Question now is, do people in developing countries want condoms, vaccines and books as much as they want Coke? How can we make people want all this things? How do condoms, vaccines and books stand for ‘better life’? Not only in people’s mind but also hearts. Coca-Cola purchase drivers are not in people’s minds, they are in people’s hearts. As we used to say in P&G Beauty Care: “we don’t want to be in the business of I NEED, we want to be in the business of I WANT”.

Melinda Gates finished her inspiring presentation by sharing her vision of happiness, she said: “My vision of happiness is a mother holding a healthy baby in her arms”. My vision of happiness is to live in a world where every person feels they have a contribution to make and goes for it. My vision of happiness is that we all feel responsible for building a world where opportunities are equal for everyone, where your destiny is not determined by the place you are born.

Toni Del Rio

TEDxChange recorded webcast:

Don’t Invest Money In “Getting” More Facebook Fans

Interacting with clients that hire me to create a Social Media campaign for them, I often find myself explaining the hen-chicken dilemma. How is the hen-chicken thing related to Social Media? Well, companies and institutions usually approach me with the following challenge: “We want to use social media to interact with our consumers/clients/students/donors?”. Pretty fast, their request translates into “We want more Facebook fans. More Twitter followers”. Question is, what comes first? Chicken or hen? Fans or Branding?

Tactics recommended vary from client to client, from brand to brand; but this is my recommendation from a strategic standpoint: Don’t spend your marketing dollars on incentives or promotions to get more Facebook fans, more Twitter followers, just for the sake of it. Instead, invest your marketing efforts in creating a brand that is worth being a fan, that is worth following. Use your Social Media resources to create a social media community that lives up to the power of your brand, where your fans and followers interact with their favorite brand and strengthen their bond with your brand.

Social media is a just one of the components in your relationship with your consumers. If you have a healthy brand, healthy in business fundamentals (pricing, distribution, etc.) you can do magic with the social media. But it is unfair to expect a turn around in the business just by leveraging on a social media campaign, if your fundamentals are weak. Social media for an unhealthy brand is like having people over and serving the most delicious dinner in a table with only two legs. Go fix that table before you put anything on it. Otherwise, they won’t even get to try your food.

Having a Facebook fan page won’t itself make people become a fan of your brand. Fans of your brand however will find it cool to find their favorite brand on Social Media, and will find it rewarding if what is being offer to them in these platforms is as exciting as their favorite brand. That, generates word of mouth. That, generates business.

The Cash Behind Social Gaming: Farmville

Social gaming definitely opens the door to a new market. A few of days ago I ran into this article “Bing Quintupled Its Facebook Fan Base By Bribing People With FarmVille Cash” and it immediately came back to my mind while I was reading this post. In summary, the results of this Bing campaign are strong: 400,000 Bing Fans in Facebook in 24 hours, not bad right?

What are the possibilities of social media video gaming? How high is up? This is a prediction more than a fact. For perspective, taking a look at the Infographics of World of WordCraft, we can see that it took WoW several years to get approximately 11 million users whereas it only took Farmville two months to accomplish the same.

Continue reading “The Cash Behind Social Gaming: Farmville”

Would charging for Facebook/Twitter make it a sustainable business model?

All the following discussion is merely assumptions of what would happen…

Maybe for the people above 25, Generation X or Digital Inmigrants, it makes sense to pay a reasonable amount of money to continue having the service, because:

a) They are more adverse to change, and therefore, they are willing to avoid going through a new learning curve.

b) They are used to pay for content, magazines, books, music (CDs, Vinyl, etc).

However, these are not the people that would make any business model sustainable, if any Social Media platform is thinking of continue existing in the next 10 years, then they should engage the “Digital natives”. These, contrary to the digital inmigrants, won’t be willing to pay for any of this services because:

a) They are not afraid of change, they like trying new platforms.

b) They have grown absorbing free content, wikipedia (vs. encyclopedias), limewire (vs. CDs), youtube (vs. TV).

c) They are more capable of finding new platform to migrate and substitute current, and they will find them.

On this last bullet, I would like to expand. In order for the market to provide alternative free platforms, there should be an incentive for creators to develop a “new free facebooklike model”. What is that incentive? Shouldn’t the business model leverage on that incentive?

I think that incentive is the amount of information you freely provide to social media. If so, why the business model is not behind using this information to reach consumers more effectively. Maybe advertisers should migrating from buying TGRPs from TV broadcasters to buying “more targeted reach” from Social Media.

One final thought, aren’t we already paying Twitter and Facebook with the huge amount of information we give them for free?…