Fresh Out of the SYZYGY Lab: GOAB. A TV Experience Concept

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GOAB. A TV Experience Concept from Syzygy on Vimeo.

nice job friends! And one can see that you had fun working on it!


Altimeter: How to Prioritize Social Business Budgets

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Reinventing the Automobile

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Automakers are making great profits again.

Who would have thought that two to three years ago. Back then consumer spending was down, economic crisis a global headline and automakers were piling up cars they could not sell.
What happened in between? Well to cut it short, the economy found back on track, automakers learned from their mistakes and focused more on what customers really need instead of selling them illusions which could only be sold thanks to massive marketing efforts. The result: smaller, more green vehicles which more and more are built on interchangeable platforms and which share parts with a large number of cars.

Yet some fundamental problems remain.
Other than 30 years ago auto brands have moved closer together in terms of product quality. This is due to technologial advances but also to the consolidation among suppliers. Today you barely find a „bad“ car which has the reputation of spending more time in the shop than on the street (old Mini Cooper legend).

What counts today is price, efficiency, how green the car is and of course its design. And increasingly another virtue is developing: interaction.

It may not be critical yet, but in the future, autos will continue to become more similar. Already today you can buy almost identical cars which are offered by three different brands. How shall a consumer decide which of the three to buy? In such a case what it boils down to is brand. Or some small features which make one of the three unique, more customizable, more entertaining.

This points to an interesting phenomenon.
Basically cars have a transportation function, second they are fun to drive or provide roles or an image (such as a Porsche as a symbol of success, reward for hard work) you can transfer to yourself.
The brand facet „sporty“ today is closely connected to efficiency. This is something even Porsche has discovered and it proves to be good for the brand. Technological excellence no longer means to get the most power out of a certain engine size but rather to get more power out of the car while at the same time reducing emissions and gas consumption.

What consumers in the future will be calling for is more interaction with the car. More possibilities to customize the car (trend towards individualism). This may no longer mean body work such as in the 90s when tuning your car was the big thing. We are less extroverted today. What counts is the inner values. This can also be oberved with luxury goods. Excessive consumption is considered stupid and unsophisticated. Luxury today is more complicated and less superficial. Sense and context matter.
In terms of cars you can see this trend by the fact that we no longer care about RDS Radio but rather on the need for an AUX interface so we can connect our iPod with our very own, individual taste of music with the car. In the future customization will much more take place on the inside than on the outside of the car.

This tendency can also be oberved in other fields of technology. Mobile phones are not only bought because of the design (let’s not discuss the iPhone now, yes it does look okay) but because of what you can do with them. Today the number of available apps plays a major role in the purchase decision for a mobile phone. Or rather which OS to choose. Windows, Symbian or Android. Manufacturers who opted for Android are highly successful today. Altough 80% per cent of the apps may be crap, it does not matter. There is something for everyone. It is not about what you have but about what you do with it. Finding the best apps to reach your customer needs is a characteristic of cleverness.

I have mentioned this in a previous article, digital to some extent replaces the automobile today. In short, less and less people in Germany and the US have a driver’s license and the automobile is constantly losing its importance. What can be done? Well how about the auto becoming more digital? This may of course not collide with safety on the road and the basic transportation function. But if you today have two similar cars – say an Audi A4 and a 3-series BMW, two of the best cars out there, and one offers entertaining and helpful additional digital features – the tough decision of which one to buy all of a sudden become totally easy!

Automakers will have to find ways to make cars more interesting, more capable to provide answers to consumer problems we usually do not associate with the car. Cars have to become more entertaining, more customizable, loaded with additional features that provide additional sources of utility.
Another thought would be to enable the car to communicate. Here is one: More and more people today are single. Many would like to have an animal to reduce the feeling of loneliness but do not have the time for it. Wouldn’t it be nice to somehow communicate with your car? To constantly check how it is doing, to get notifications from the car directly to your phone? If the car would enable us to serve as an avatar, but not in the digital but the real world. If the car enabled us to get in touch with other drivers? Think back that a car offers an image or a role. Thus dricing the same car could imply that two people share the same value set, world view, political view, etc. What if the roads out there were a social network which enable you to stay in touch with friends, find people with similar interests. What if the car would provide you with information about the area that is specifically designed for you? What if the car becomes a means to transport electricity from A to B? What if you could already from the office or the couch configure which music to be played when you enter the car?
What if your car is always reborn with new software updates and thus new features you can explore? Thus you would have a car you are familiar with and that keeps surprising you with new features – it would never get boring. Sounds like a really good human friend, doesn‘ it?

There is so much the car of the future can do for us. And the better it understands our needs or problems the more we value the car and the more desirable it becomes. And the more loyal we become.

How do you make sure people stick to one software or operating system?
Updates, features, applications, relevance,.. It is so simple.

How do you change the game?
With a new operating system that simply rocks, grows fast, and allows your own developements (open source)…

Sounds familiar?

CTRs no longer decreasing

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CTRs or Click-Through Rates are one of the most commonly used measuring methods to analyze how efficient your online advertisement is. It delivers the exact percentage of users who upon having possibly seen your ad (impressions or also the total number of times the ad has been displayed) and the actual number of users who have in fact clicked on your ad.
For quite a time this this KPI has been declining and on average lay somewhere around 0.09%. That means of a thousand times your ad has been displayed only 0.9 people clicked it. Or in other words, in order to get one click on your ad, you have to display it 10,000 times.
According to a recent study by Media Mind called Standard Banners – Non-Standard Results, the CTR is no longer decreasing but has remained constant at 0.09 %. This is quite a good sign as online display advertising suffers the same phenomenon as advertisement in general does: the more ads we are being confronted with the less time we have for each and thus the less well we perceive them or in this case click on them. Let’s wait and see if 0.09 becomes a golden rule or if there is even room for more.

Here is a graphic from above mentioned study published by emarketer – one of the #1 sources on the web:

Here is the link to above mentioned study: link

Autohäuser 2010: Service oft nicht gleich Service

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Heute beim Sonntagsfrühstück bin ich mal wieder über ein VW Prospekt eines regionalen Händlers gestolpert.
Man ist innovativ und preist Intervallservice Angebote und Jahresinspektionen an. Gleichzeitig der Hinweis „Warum wo anders mehr bezahlen“ und „bis zu 20%!“ sparen. Sogar auf Leistungssteigerung bei MTM gibt es im November „10% Nachlass“.

Und dann entdecke ich auf dem selben Prospekt, den Hinweis auf ein „Werkstattersatzfahrzeug ab 10 €/Tag“. Also wie jetzt? Hier 10% sparen und dort 10€ wieder drauf? Und das wahrscheinlich für einen nackten 70 PS Polo V…

Wieso sollte ich denn für ein Auto auch noch was zahlen, wenn es schon in die Werkstatt muss? Und wieso nutzen Hersteller den heutzutage seltenen Moment dass der Kunde tatsächlich mal wieder im Autohaus vorbeischaut nicht um ihm neue Produkte und AfterSales Angebote anzupreisen? Durch die verlängerten Wartungsintervalle distanzieren sich Autohaus und Kunde immer weiter voneinander. Gleichzeitig steigt die Bedeutung von CRM-Maßnahmen um den Kontakt zum Autohaus und letztlich der Marke nicht völligst abbrechen zu lassen. Deswegen sollte man dem Fahrer eines 5er BMW beim unfreiwilligen Werkstattbesuch nicht gegen Entgelt einen Mini (immer mindestens selbe Fahrzeugklasse) anbieten sondern ihm freiwillig das aktuelle Modell in seiner Wunschaustattung zur Verfügung stellen (soweit verfügbar). So kann der Kunde ohne aufwändigen Probefahrttermin am Wochende vereinbaren zu müssen (das Wochenende gehört der Familie) das neue Modell im Alltag testen (Wochenende ist nicht gleich Alltag). So entsteht bem Konsumenten nach kurzer Zeit das Begehren nach den Annehmlichkeiten des neuen Modells und er spürt die Wertschätzung als Kunde. Bei frisch auf den Markt gekommenen Produkten trägt das Werkstattersatzfahrzeug sogar dazu bei, dass das neue Modell sich im Stadtbild zügig etabliert. Ob eine Aufschrift des Autohauses nun eher vorteilhaft für das Autohaus oder negativ für den Fahrer (man sieht sofort, dass der Fahrer nicht Eigentümer des Autos ist sondern das Autohaus) ist, kann man sich streiten.

Natürlich muss man hierbei aber auch die Situation der Autohäuser sehen. Knappe Margen, hoher Kostendruck,.. lassen vielen Autohäusern nicht viel Spielraum für großartigen Service. Doch genau das spürt der Kunde, wenn bspw. keine Probefahrtfahrzeuge verfügbar sind, eine Probefahrt auf wenige Stunden begrenzt ist, oder eben ein Werkstattersatzfahrzeug auch noch was kosten soll. Will ich bei so einem Autohaus Kunde sein und Fahrer einer solchen Marke sein? Und ist das die Art und Weise, wie ich als Kunde behandelt werden möchte? Sicherlich nicht.

In Zeiten, in denen die Quailtät der etablierten Marken sich immer mehr annähert (Wissen sie in wie vielen Fahrzeugen ihr aktueller Motor verbaut ist?) und gleichzeitig andere Faktoren wie Design, Markenimage oder Preis eine immer wichtigere Rolle bei der Kaufentscheidung sprechen, steigt auch die Bedeutung der Loyalisierung. Deswegen sollte man seine bestehenden Kunden entsprechend betreuen und ihnen in jeder Kontaktsituation das Gefühl geben sie seien etwas Besonderes. Es gibt nicht umsonst einen Markenwechselbonus für die Verkäufer, denen es gelingt einen Fahrer einer Konkurrenzmarke für die eigene zu gewinnen. Dieser finanzielle Spielraum wird dann gerne auch mal ein Stück weit an den Kunden weitergegeben.

Dem Kunden das Gefühl zu geben, dass er wichtig ist, dass die Marke sich immer besser auf ihn einstellen möchte, sind zentrale Elemente von Social Media Strategien. Der (potentielle) Kunde wird ernst genommen, nach seiner Meinung gefragt, und eingeladen mit der Marke zu interagieren. Die Hersteller erhoffen sich hierdurch vieles. Eine stärkere Kundenbindung, wertvolle Consumer Insights und die Marke persönlich erlebbar zu machen – auf Arten die früher undenkbar waren.

Deutschland ist nicht umsonst der härteste Automobilmarkt auf der Welt. Wer hier dominieren will muss in allen Facetten gut aufgestellt sein. Das gilt nicht nur für die Produktqualität sondern auch für den Service.

Wenn mir heute jemand erzählt, er hatte seinen 3 Jahre alten Mittelklassewagen in der Werkstatt und musste für das Ersatzfahrzeug etwas zahlen, so würde ich klar sagen: „Wechsel die Werkstatt oder gleich auch die Marke!“ Und teile deine negative Erfahrung anderen mit.

TNS research project reveals: major changes in online behavior

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WPP press release:

Global Digital Life research project reveals major changes in online behaviour
10 October, 2010

Website showcases data from largest ever online research project covering 46 countries and 90% of world’s online population

Launched on ‘digital day’, first survey reveals major differences in online attitudes and behaviour:

– Online is now the media of choice
– Mature markets being left behind online as emerging markets become more active
– Increase in mobile use as consumers seek greater access to social networking on the go

LONDON — The largest ever global research project into people’s online activities and behaviour – Digital Life – was launched today, ‚digital day‘ by TNS, the world’s biggest custom research company. Covering nearly 90 per cent of the world‟s online population through 50,000 interviews with consumers in 46 countries, the study reveals major changes in the world‟s online behaviour.

Core data from the study is being made publicly available via an interactive website –

“This study covers more than twice as many markets as any other research.” said TNS Chief Development Officer Matthew Froggatt. “It is the first truly global research into online activities, including all the key emerging markets of the BRICs and many of the „Next 11‟. We have also researched beyond basic behaviour to provide more detailed data into attitudes and emotional drivers of that behaviour.”

“We are confident that Digital Life will become the new benchmark for information on online consumer behaviour,” continued Froggatt. “Making a lot of this publicly available was an important first step for us and obviously we have a wealth of further information behind those basic statistics covering brands and companies which we will offer to clients.”

Among the key findings of the study are:

– Globally, people who have on-line access have digital sources as their number one media channel. 61% of online users use the internet daily against 54% for TV, 36% for Radio and 32% for Newspapers.

– Online consumers in rapid growth markets have overtaken mature markets in terms of engaging with digital activities. When looking at behaviour online, rapid growth markets such as Egypt (56%) and China (54%) have much higher levels of digital engagement than mature markets such as Japan (20%), Denmark (25%) or Finland (26%). This is despite mature markets usually having a more advanced internet infrastructure.

– Activities such as blogging and social networking are gaining momentum at huge speed in rapid growth markets. The research shows four out of five online users in China (88%) and over half of those in Brazil (51%) have written their own blog or forum entry, compared to only 32% in the US. The Internet has also become the default option for photo sharing among online users in rapid growth markets, particularly in Asia. The number of online consumers who have ever uploaded photos to social networks or photo sharing sites is 92% in Thailand, 88% in Malaysia and 87% in Vietnam, whilst developed markets are more conservative. Less than a third of online consumers in Japan (28%) and under half of those in Germany (48%) have uploaded photos to such sites.

– Growth in social networking has been fuelled by the transition from PC to mobile. Mobile users spend on average 3.1 hours per week on social networking sites compared to just 2.2 hours on email. The drive to mobile is driven by the increased need for instant gratification and the ability of social networks to offer multiple messaging formats, including the instant message or update function. When looking at how the digital landscape will change in the future, research shows that consumers expect their use of social networking on mobiles to increase more than use through PC. In the US, for example, a quarter (26%) of online consumers expect their use of social networking on a PC to increase in the next 12 months compared to over a third (36%) who will be looking to their mobile to increase usage. In Australia the figures are 26% and 44% respectively, and in Sweden they are 24% and 53%.

Goodbye email, hello social networking
One further finding of the study showed that online consumers are, on average, spending more time on social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn than on email, despite the former only becoming mainstream in many markets over the last few years. In rapid growth markets such as Latin America, the Middle East and China, the average time spent, per week, on social networking is 5.2 hours compared to only 4 hours on email. Online consumers in mature markets remain more reliant on email, spending 5.1 hours checking their inboxes compared to just 3.8 hours on social networking. The heaviest users of social networking are in Malaysia (9 hours per week), Russia (8.1 hours per week) and Turkey (7.7 hours per week).

When it comes to who has more friends, online consumers in Malaysia top the list with an average of 233 friends in their social network, closely followed by Brazilians with 231. The least social are the Japanese with just 29 friends and Tanzanians have, on average, 38 in their circle of friends. Surprisingly, Chinese consumers only have an average of 68 friends in their networks despite being heavy users of social networking sites, indicating a culture that embraces fewer but closer friendships.

Froggatt continued: “The Internet is a huge part of life in the 21st century but how it affects our lives varies depending upon where in the world you live. We‟ve seen that in mature markets where people have been online for years and where access is ubiquitous, the Internet has already become a commoditised item that consumers take for granted. However, in rapid growth markets that have seen recent, sustained investment in infrastructure, users are embracing these new channels in much more active ways. The digital world is transforming how they live, develop and interact and online consumers in these markets are leaving those in the developed world behind in terms of being active online and engaging in new forms of communications.”