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Google have always come up with great promotional ideas,from the Google Search Stories to the Google Chrome ads, and last year’s interactive Arcade Fire video.
But recently they may have outdone themselves. They’ve found a way of achieving every marketer’s dream getting their consumers to make their advertising campaign for them, for free, and in a way that comes across as not only authentic but also pretty cool, and even appealing to any googlephobics (if such people exist) . It’s called Demo Slam.
Demo Slam is a place where boring tech demos become ‘gotta-show-my-friends awesome’, thanks to the creativity of Google users. You can watch the Slams and declare a Champ of the week. Then each week new featured slams will vie for your attention and a shot at demo glory.
The videos demonstrate how Google technology can be used to achieve both
great and silly things. In one example, a group of kids use Google Voice Search while their mouths are stuffed with marshmallows. Another shows teenagers creating a virtual parachute experience using a projector, bungee ropes and Google Earth. These videos take tech demos from mundane to mind-blowing, and encourage people who may never watch tech demos to watch and even share them with their friends. Making Demo Slam a truly ingenious form of viral advertising that is perfectly disguised as shared fun.
As much as I’d like to think I’m immune to even the most sophisticated marketing techniques, I can’t help but ask…is anyone up for making a Google Slam?
A spring wave has hit us here in London. The sun is shining, people are smiling, and Soho is filled with beauty.
Not content with heading out into the sun and eating lunch in Golden Square. The girls brought back a little summer joy today from a very sunny W1. The Cash Cows gave us 4 songs all around summer, work and living life well. For those of us not working on the pitch we have tomorrow, it has set us up for a big evening here in town. Sun glasses at the ready, Blue Posts here we come.
The wonders of social media and a conversation via twitter led me to be asked to write a regular column for the pharma leadership and change guys at eyeforPharma.com. This is the long version!
This focus of this column is pretty straightforward. It’s Apps – not just mobile apps, but also apps that live on social media platforms. It’s got to be healthcare, something in the wide realm of pharmaceuticals and medical services. It’s got to be targeting any one of the audiences we have in our world, whether that is internal, HCPs or patients. As most of us are marketeers, I am going to select those apps that interrupt the status quo, those that seek to change behaviour. What that means is no Angry Birds, no Mafia Wars, and no Shazam. Boring of me I know, but this is work. If you want to discuss any of the above apps email me. In fact scrap that – I want pitch invites from this baby!
This world isn’t complicated. If you are an online ostrich or you don’t have any app experience this isn’t for you (yet). Get your phone out, download a few from the relevant platform, play around and dive in. If you own a Blackberry, order a family bucket, sit down and talk to the kids (ideally your kids; “can I talk to you about what’s on your phone” – can come over as scary to strangers). Prepare yourselves to learn – these guys are the experts. It’s not worthwhile getting all ‘business’ until you have seen the fun side. Then consider your experiences and figure out how this new tactical channel fits into your work life. This is a channel you have to get comfortable with; it’s not an option to be hiding behind the regulations. It’s titanic time. The well mannered stayed behind, shiver and drown. You need to be pushing your way onto the boats.
When reviewing the dozens of apps for these columns four criteria were front and center. Firstly utility – it’s not difficult to plan an app. Third party developers are equipped with the minimum standards with which to make something function. Despite this it’s common to see crappy build quality and some shocking architecture. Secondly focus – confidence to concentrate on doing something properly, not pretending that adding a search engine and twitter client is useful. We don’t want apps that do everything – my phone’s got that covered and it’s just not the way we consume. We want dedication, defined remit and concentration. Thirdly comes insight – how does this app reflect one? Has it been built around an actionable audience requirement that’s taken a bit of rigor to get to? Will shortcutting a faxed form drive efficiency? Or is it lowest common denominator app strategy? Does it keep its customer front and center? Making sure that it’s going to add something beyond just a departmental requirement to get an app out there before the virology team does? These tools allow us to solve problems that we could never tackle in the past. We should be forcing our insight process to help feed them. And lastly, for this column Apples are not the only fruit. The App Store has stolen a march on the slow coaches at Google. But for me if it’s good enough, share the love across at least Android and if needed Facebook. Blackberries have been ignored here – thus far most of the healthcare apps for these devices have been missing key functionality, and the numbers are not big enough to warrant them being a destination. For similar reasons I am not going to be talking about Etch-A-Sketch as a platform either.
Enough of this. Thumbs at the ready lets start to dissect some of the recent offerings.
Imagine a world where the quality of a consultation depends on a physician’s ability to take a history. Where language and culture get in the way of the cornerstone of diagnosis. This app should make us sit up. Why didn’t we do it? It would have changed the space in which we could talk to prescribers. MediBabble is a robust history-taking and examination application designed to improve the safety, efficiency, and overall quality of care for non-English speaking patients. In a nutshell it’s a professional-grade medical translation tool containing an extensive database of clinical questions and instructions, ordered to fit within the typical consultation style. It’s written and reviewed by a panel of physicians, translated by professional medical translators and vetted by medical interpreters. What makes this a real killer app is that you, the physician, can tell them what you need to have amended – making it a genuinely organic resource. I gave it a go in two of its five languages (Mandarin and Russian) and it performed excellently, getting it right in both tone and content. What’s more it’s free, and currently works on the iPhone, with Android being an “exciting near term goal”.
Here, the app itself is free in Apple’s App Store, and if you like it you can pay a one-off fee to get unlimited access to the website too. The app provides a good amount of digital content to provide UK medical students with a rich media revision resource. As well as having over 1000 multiple-choice questions, 40 video exam guides and audio case files, it hosts a forum to discuss online performance with other medical students. This is far from an aesthetic app, with its content having pretty low production values. It could also do with some structuring and categorization. But for me this gives it a real world feel – a little chaotic, and authentic enough to learn from. A good app, using rich media right, helping those with 90-hour weeks to learn efficiently. Android users must stick to the old ways of revising I am afraid.
Quickly calculate units, keep on top of your drinking and get personalised feedback. It’s billed as
“a great iPhone app if you want to cut down on how much you drink.” The interface is clean and sensible, with the ability to select a drink using one of the four drink icons, then choose the strength, size and number of drinks. Mid session, tap on the ‘add drink’ button to calculate the number of units which is then automatically displayed. There is also a desktop version of the tracker, featuring a personal drinks diary and regular feedback.
You would have thought that a database of alcohol would have been within the app builder’s plan. At the very least, the flexibility to input varying strengths rather than be limited to a set of inflexible bands. It’s also not possible download your progress – to either share with an HCP, or keep offline. This is a big limitation.
With no fortified wines but alcopops galore, it looks like this is aimed at the younger app user – this feels strategically naïve. There doesn’t seem to be any understanding of what makes the user reduce their consumption, which is presumably the aim. Surely an awareness of consumed units is not the chief driver of a change of behaviour – especially in a young audience. When I contrast it against their quit smoking app, which has clear financial impact displayed, this seems to be devoid of any end benefit to reducing down your units. This smacks of an off-the-shelf database, and feels lazy. NHS drinks tracker has been primarily designed for the iPhone, but there is a broken down version for other smart phones.
If you are going to consider a behavioral change app your first port of call should be iBody. This market has been filled with dozens of little apps concentrating on specific sports, or diagnostic measures. It’s been crying out for a Swiss army knife of an app. iBody is one of the best health and fitness applications designed to help users get in shape and keep track of their progress. It doesn’t restrict itself to simple metrics like BMI, and basic exercise types. This app pushes it further, striving to be the whole dashboard of your health and fitness. Beyond BP, weight and exercise, it utilizes GPS functionality to calculate distance/calorie. Beyond this, the most impressive is the use of graphics to summarise progress, breaking down all the factors you are measuring into simple intuitive displays. It feels as if you have a real partner in your quest for perfection. Another lovely touch is an allowance of 4 password-protected accounts – healthy generosity from this very tidy app. All this is packaged up with exportable files, and regular updates including integration packages for various Bluetooth/Wi-Fi devices allowing everything ‘fitness’ to integrate. The one shame is the restriction in platforms with no plans to broaden this to Android. A German gem available in a load of supported languages.
I would welcome news of any app you love or one that you have developed to review in this column. Send it over and Beapart.
Last night saw Mike and the delights of www.findwine.co.uk come and visit. Every month or so we have an entrepreneur in for a session on hunches, business strategy and decision making. We kick off with a presentation on proposition, model and plans, and follow with us posing loads of questions.
These are fascinating sessions that we all get loads from. Delving into Findwine.co.uk’s price/style simplification concept, built on insights gained during the time Mike spent in the retail wine trade. Their plans to grow and expand into new areas through strategic partnerships, and international ventures proved a great opportunity for us to discuss, brands, ideas, and growth.
We were joined by more of the agency, when Mike stayed on for an evening helping us choose the wine for Hive over the next 12 months. We covering 3 styles of sparkling, white and red. The naive intention was to have a civilised evening, but what resulted was about 18 glasses of wine each and 10 of us seeing the night off in Hix for Oyster Ale galore. Our blurred choices for 2011 are;
For mid day effervescence - NV Giacoma Montresor Rose Royal Spumante Brut Pinot noir (Rich toasty aromas of bread, mingle with flower blossom, ripe apples and luscious cherries. Elegant and balanced palate, with some complexity. Jas; “tastes like Sherbet dip dabs”)
For more celebratory events that require Krug like refined bubbles - Zuccardi Alma 4 Chardonnay (Golden, rich well rounded & yeasty with citrus & biscuity notes & a lovely creamy finish. Jas; “tastes like custard”)
For white with attitude – 2009, Some Young Punks Monsters Attacked Riesling (An absolutely sublime Clare Riesling, crisp and limey with a dollop of residule sugar for easy drinking. Anna; “tastes like something I used to drink in the park – in a good way”)
For late night red – 2008 Cervoles from Costers Del Segre in Spain (a velvety, rich delight, filling the mouth with berries and summer fruits. Morgaine; ” I don’t really like alcohol”)
A lovely evening and huge thanks to Mike for opening up his mind for the entrepreneurs in the flesh session and for opening up the bottles and guiding us so amusingly for the remainder of the evening.
Needless to say we could recommend Mike and Findwines enough if you fancy brilliant, delicious and interesting wines, delivered with simplicity.