Android and Google and Branding

If you are a marketing person and you haven’t been following what Google is doing with Android, you should be because it’s fascinating stuff. Android is a mobile operating system that was developed by the company of the same name, acquired by Google, and is now an open source project developed by a The Open Handset Alliance, a multinational alliance of technology and mobile industry leaders including Google, Motorola, Samsung, Sprint, HTC and around 40 others.  The stated goal of the Alliance is to create “greater openness in the mobile ecosystem”, allowing the industry to “innovate more rapidly and respond better to consumers’ demands.” There are currently more than 20 different devices that run Android including the new flagship devices from Motorola and Samsung.  There is a Google-controlled Android Marketplace with over 10,000 applications that run on the OS.  Because the code is open source, handset manufacturers are free to extend it to support any hardware they like which means you can have phones with both touch screens and keyboards and screens with various resolutions.  Android also lets you have multiple applications running simultaneously (something Blackberries have done forever but iPhones cannot do).  On the surface, smart phones running Android offer compelling advantages over the iPhone and Blackberry where customers can get the best of both worlds in terms of a touch screen, a hard keyboard, a pile of interesting applications, a choice of carriers, etc. Oh but there are devilish details…… First of all, not all Android devices are created equal.  There are now 3 different releases of the OS installed on phones being sold today.  There are...

Do You Act Like Your Slogan?

I took my son to the Art Gallery of Ontario a few weeks back.  My son, being 3 years old and fairly full of beans, trotted around in circles in the waiting area while I sorted out tickets.  The staff made sure to remind me that my son shouldn’t touch anything.  Once inside, we were followed closely by nervous staff.  I didn’t blame them.  I would be nervous too if I saw an energetic boy skipping around my precious collection.  I’m pleased to report he didn’t touch a thing. The next time I went to the gallery I was with a friend.  Surprisingly, we got the same treatment.  Any time we leaned in for a closer look we were reminded by the staff that we shouldn’t touch the art.  The message was repeated no less than 4 times during our visit.  We were both wearing the “Members Matter” slickers that were given to us at the members desk yet the staff seemed certain we didn’t know the basic rules of gallery behavior. For marketers it’s important to remember that slogans like “members matter” or “customer focus” are meaningless if the product or customer experience fails to deliver as promised.  Sometimes that’s harder to do than you think.  It means you have to step outside the marketing department.  Product marketers in particular need to reach into other parts of the organization to make sure that the messages communicated are not simply what the customer would like to hear but actually reflect the reality of the product or customer experience.  Customers know when you’re lying. Subscribe to this blog or follow...

Beta Applies to Messaging Too: Rogers On Demand Online

I was invited to preview the new Rogers On Demand Online service this week and it got me thinking about beta programs and marketing (note for non-Canadian readers: Rogers is one of Canada’s leading providers of cable TV, high speed Internet access and wireless services.).  The event was a blogger sneak preview of the service which has just entered beta this week and is slated for general release on Nov. 30th.   The new service has lots of innovative features.  It gives Rogers subscribers online access to premium TV content, movies, sports and kids programs.  It lets you access that content anytime, anywhere (in Canada) and you can have multiple computers in your household accessing different content at the same time.  The event was held in a private screening room in a hotel which gave the Rogers folks the chance to show off the great work they’ve done on the very clean and intuitive UI.  Mobile support is coming in Q2 next year. For product marketers, the neat thing about holding an event like this in the age of Twitter is that not only do you get to see what people like and didn’t like about the features of the product, you also get to see how well the group understood your messaging by how they translate it down into 140 characters (and over the next few days in blog posts).  The other interesting thing is to watch the reaction from folks that aren’t in the room but are following the stream on Twitter.  I understand that one grumpy or happy person doesn’t prove that your messaging is or isn’t working...

I’m Donating Dinner to Wikipedia

Last week I won a catered holiday dinner for 8 people as part of my spoils from the AIPMM Blogger Battle.  The catch was that I would have to pick it up from the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose and I live in Toronto.  As much as I like the idea of flying to San Jose and inviting a random group of people to eat roast beef with me in my hotel room, I decided someone local could make better use of it than I could.  So I’m giving my dinner to The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that supports Wikipedia. My friend Sue Gardner is the executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation and before she took the job, even though I was a frequent Wikipedia user, I never really thought about who or what was keeping the lights on over there.  In case you didn’t know, The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports Wikipedia as well as the Wikimedia Commons, Wikinews, Wikibooks and a set of other projects all aimed at accomplishing their mission of the free and open sharing of knowledge. The Wikimedia Foundation depends entirely on donations.  They do not sell information, nor do they accept advertising. When Sue joined the Wikimedia Foundation in 2007, it was operating on a shoestring budget.  While they were certainly keeping the servers running, it did not have the resources it needed to pursue partnerships, oversee new projects and most importantly raise the funds needed to safeguard the work of hundreds of thousands of volunteers for the future. Since then, the Foundation has undergone a transformation that has...

I’m the #1 PM Blogger!

The Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM) held their educational conference this week and hosted a “Battle of the Product Management Bloggers” contest which I was happy to be asked to take part in.  At short notice my travel plans changed and when I let them know I couldn’t make it, they invited me to do my presentation remotely over Skype. Trying to be entertaining without being able to see or hear the audience is goofy!  People walking past my office would have seen me flapping my arms “presenting” at my computer and likely thought I’d done one too many revisions on that Powerpoint deck and finally lost my marbles. The competitors were clearly better than me so I decided to use my product marketing skills to come up with a winning strategy that did not depend on having a superior product. My strategy can be summed up as follows: Deliver silly presentation. Ask people to vote for me. Surprisingly, that worked. So I’m the #1 PM blogger!  The power! The glory! The prizes!  I won a bunch of cool stuff including a “top of Alltop” from Guy Kawasaki, an interview with The Brand Show, an interview with Wayne Hurlburt on Blog Talk Radio, a copy of the Product Management Office Professional from the 280 group, a copy of Morae from TechSmith, a lifetime membership with the AIPMM and some cool swag from MarketeersClub, Overtone, and probably some other stuff I’m forgetting. The last prize was a catered holiday dinner for 8 people from the Fairmont San Jose!  Woo Hoo!  I’ve got big plans for that one,...
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