Archive for “May, 2012”

New Start-Up Aimed at Selling Goods Socially


Lindsay Stanford is a Director of Client Engagement, Content and Community at Social Media Group. Follow @lindsaystanford

Have you ever created a song or digital art that you thought might be worth something, but were so discouraged with complex e-commerce sites to even think about selling it? Well you can rejoice because a new startup has come to save you from that fate! Gumroad, a social-centric site makes selling your stuff online super simple, much cheaper than competitive sites and lets you share links of your goods through your social platforms.

Sahil Lavingia, the 19-year-old brain child behind Gumroad and former Pinterest employee, dropped out of college to pursue his dreams of running his own company and creating a service that allows people to sell anything they can share. Gumroad even has a cool feature that allows the buyer to pay what they think the product is worth, love that idea!

I think Gumroad will be extremely successful. They have taken away the complication and created a space where in a matter of minutes an item can be uploaded, shared and bought. I’m not the only one who believes it will take off. Monday it was announced that Gumroad received 7 million in funding. For a company who only takes a 5% cut of sales plus $0.25 per transaction, it is just a matter of time before they are making a profit and possibly forcing the competition to lower their rates.

Check out the video below and if you’re not the creative type pass along Gumroad to those who are. You never know, you could end up buying something from one of them.

Adding animated GIFs to your content toolbox

Brandon Oliver Smith is Research and Insights Analyst at Social Media Group.

Last July, I reviewed a new iOS app called Loopcam. Loopcam made it easy for users to capture GIF images and publish them to a variety of social networks including Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Since then, the animated image space has seemingly exploded with a handful of new apps like GifBoom and Gifture, format spin-offs called Cinemagrams and a couple kick-butt examples of how the animated GIF format can be a valuable addition to a brand’s content toolbox.

Opening Ceremony - Pixel Geometry

Opening Ceremony – Pixel Geometry

Not surprisingly, fashion brands have been some of the first to adopt the alternative image format. Movement within images allow shoppers to get a more realistic sense of how wearable items are. Traditionally, this sense of realism is communicated using video which while becoming increasingly commonplace, still suffers from some accessibility, portability and sharability challenges.

Burberry - London Fashion Week 2012

Burberry – London Fashion Week 2012

The small footprint of the GIF format allows it to circumvent some of the challenges encountered with video. GIF files are typically small in size and like standard images, theyß can be saved to the desktop with a simple right click save as.

The popularity of GIF blogs have already shown a strong demand for the cheeky format on sites like Tumblr. Taking the audience demographics of Tumblr into consideration, it only makes sense that brands should showcase products using a content format that’s already popular with the target audience.

General Electric Innovation

General Electric Innovation

Animated GIFs are also proving to be valuable content assets for industries far removed from the fashion world. The iconic General Electric recently showed off the epic scale of their manufacturing and design process with GIFs, doing so also cast a light on the company’s ingenuity and dedication to push the boundaries of technology.

The 25-year-old image format is now in the midst of a renaissance. Its endearing qualities are catching the eye of a totally new generation of web user and exploration of it’s applications as a branded content asset are just beginning.


RIM Taking It To The Streets

 

Patrick Gladney is Director, Research & Insights at Social Media Group. Follow @pgladney.

In Canada, we take pride in companies that that challenge our traditional description of “hewers of wood and drawers of water.”   Over the past decade, we’ve been particularly fascinated by Research In Motion.  Unfortunately of late, our fascination with RIM has been more like watching a car crash.

Domestic market share is being dramatically eroded by Apple and Android.  The Playbook has yet to get a foothold in the tablet market. The Blackberry App World languishes in relative obscurity. Co-founders and CEO’s Mike Lazardis and Jim Balsillie are pushed out as the company seeks to alter its trajectory.  Tough times indeed.

But sometimes, desperate times call for dramatic measures.  As proof, witness the marketing stunt pulled by RIM in Sydney last week.  The company simulated a protest outside an Apple store imploring customers inside to “Wake Up.”    There just so happened to be a popular tech-blogger onsite there to record the protest:

It wasn’t abundantly clear at the time who was doing the waking, or what people were being instructed to wake up to.  But the mystery was successful in generating interest and awareness of the event as people speculated who might be responsible for staging such an event. The first suspect was Apple’s most formidable competitor Samsung, who not too long ago created a commercial of their own where characters were lured out of a line up outside of an Apple store in favour of one of their Galaxy phones.

Unwilling to cede credit, RIM finally owned up to the rally.  And then the claws came out.  Bloggers, followed by the traditional media roundly criticized RIM for orchestrating a stunt that “smacks of desperation” and suggested that “insulting the customer base that you’re trying to woo might not be the best marketing strategy.”

In my view, as shared with the Toronto Star, the RIM rally was a success.  The goal for this tactic was nothing more than to create awareness by leveraging  a market leader’s brand equity.  With half a million YouTube views in a week, I’d say not bad.  While the style of execution may seem inelegant to some, RIM clearly needs to disrupt the market inertia that currently plagues Blackberry.  The weakness to this execution is that there was nothing new that RIM could hold up as tangible evidence for consumers to reconsider their products.  It would have been better if this event could have been supported by substantive news like the release of the new operating system (BB10) that’s been in development since the acquisition of QNX in 2010.

What do you think of RIM’s latest gambit?