Posted by: Sami Salmenkivi | May 16, 2012

My new book, Meatspace, is out!

Mobile is the next big thing, no news there for most of us. While we are using our mobile services, we are more often connected to the real world, real places, real people and real physical products. New mobile services are bridging the gap between the digital world and our real physical world. And, I wrote a book about this.

This is the sales pitch: The new digital reality is going to change the way we live, behave, shop, and do business. And this is all happening at a disruptive speed because of our context and location-aware mobile devices. This revolution is going to be culturally as transforming as the invention of the Internet itself. This book is about the services and technologies that bridge the gap between the real and the digital, and the implications of the new digital meatspace. The book provides background, facts, and implications for much-hyped services and phenomena, and introduces a few not known to the masses.

And, what about the name, Meatspace, you may wonder?
“The name of the book, meatspace, relates to a division between the digital world and the real world. Some of the nerdier of us might refer to the physical world as “the meatspace”. While chatting online, for example, one might reply to a request to meet up later that night with: “You mean in meatspace?”

Interested? You can order the book from Talentumshop.fi.

Also, find the Meatspace Facebook page.

Posted by: Sami Salmenkivi | November 28, 2011

Password Strength

Passwords have been a hot topic lately in Finland, after someone revealed Finnish emails and passwords by the thousands. Now, specialists of all kinds are rushing to give good advice on how to keep our private online properties private. Time after time these specialists keeps telling us to use numbers and special characters in addition to normal letters – and at the same time admit that these passwords are very hard to remember.

The latests example was from today’s Taloussanomat, where online security company Tectia’s founder and CEO Tatu Ylönen told the journal (freely translated): “a good password is at least 8 characters, and consists of as many capital and normal letters, as well as one or two special characters. The password shouldn’t be a known word.” Mixing capital and non-capital letters with special characters in an order that is not a word is indeed very hard to remember, especially if you keep changing it periodically. To make things worse 8-10 character passwords are also relatively easy to break.

What to do then? As a solution, the specialists are saying we should use external sources in addition to passwords, for example SMS or key word sheets. I say this is good for online banking, but way too complicated for daily email use, not to mention social media services.

But wait, there is an easier solution – lets make passwords considerably longer yet easier to remember (click to enlarge):

I especially like the end quote of the cartoon: “Through 20 years of effort, we’ve successfully trained everyone to use passwords that are hard for humans to remember, but easy for computers to guess.”

Posted by: Sami Salmenkivi | August 30, 2011

Restless in Tracksuits

We’ve all seen the images from Libya and London – people on the streets fighting the establishment – carrying arms in Libya, televisions in London. In both countries the restlessness is happening in tracksuits, hoodies and t-shirts. What strikes me is the fact that everyone in Libya is wearing Adidas, while in London, most are sporting Nike.

The Three Stripes Revolution.

The Swoosh Riots.

Obviously, the brands gearing up for the 2012 Olympics don’t want any association with these images, yet it’s an interesting topic from many perspectives. Why Adidas in Libya? My guess is that Adidas has done such a good job in connecting the brand with football (soccer) that the North-African male population, big into the sport, are prone to go for the stripes. In the west, Nike has established a strong relation to basketball and aimed to become the street wear of choice in the UK. Quite ironically, they even ran a campaign titled “Nike – Claim Your Streets” last year. Not surprisingly, I checked, all the videos for Claim Your Streets campaign have now been taken down from YouTube.

EDIT: @DaGood made a good point on Twitter that not too many people in London are interested in basketball, football is king. And, that Nike has done a great job with Nikefootball in the UK.

(the original notion of Libyan rebels wearing Adidas from Helsingin Sanomat newspaper.)

Posted by: Sami Salmenkivi | August 10, 2011

Algorithms ruling the stock exhange

“Greed and fear fought a tough battle in the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. At first, greed was winning as investors bought stocks after Monday’s price collapse, hence the share prices had risen 2 to 3 per cent by noon. Then fear took over the market – more sellers than buyers appeared and the indexes plummeted to negative”, stated the main article on the first page of Helsingin Sanomat, the largest newspaper in the Nordics, painting a picture of human reactions, greed and fear, dictating the current stock market ups and down. When in reality, the truth may be alltogether different – the human reactions, the individual traders, us share owners, we may just be riders on the waves.

Stock markets have always been used as indicators of current market situations, business cycles, recessions and booms – and rightly so, because the general indexes have given an overview on how companies are doing, based on how desirable their shares are. Although, it holds true today as well – in the long term – we have to be careful of not making assumptions based on the hourly or intraday ups and downs. Why? Because, it’s no longer about desirability of shares, or greed and fear for that matter, it is about computer algorithms.

Kevin Slavin gives a very interesting perspective to the stock exchange and algorithms ruling many things in today’s world. Even if you’re not familiar with the subject, or overly interested, you should watch it. Trust me.

 

The stock markets and computer algorithm driven exchange may very well be already too complicated for us to understand: secret algorithms reacting to other secret algorithms, which make the selling and purchasing decisions. Can it get out of hand? Is it possible that the human traders have lost control? Can automated trading based on other trader’s automated trading shatter the system? As mentioned on Kevin Slavin’s speech, a year ago on May 6ththe biggest one-day point decline, 9 per cent, on an intraday basis in Dow Jones Industrial Average history took place, only to recover in matter of minutes. And, nobody knows why. Greed? Fear? Algorithms?

I’m not trying to make any a bigger conclusions on algo trading. I’m trying to make a point, that we shouldn’t make first page headlines, market condition postulations, or conclusions on the state of the economy based on hourly or intraday ups and downs.

(I used to work at the FX & MM Trading, at Nordea Markets trading floor before becoming a researcher and later a digital marketing being.)

Posted by: Sami Salmenkivi | May 4, 2011

Marketing as a Service (MaaS)

Even thought the digital domain is still growing fast, the size of the market is going to be shrinking for a considerable amount of digital agencies. This is a prediction of mine and let me elaborate on it. I believe that there are two winners in the digital agency field in the future – those who concentrate on a niche and can sell bulk solutions for a very cheap price, and those who provide very high value unique and tailor made solutions for clients. The agencies that are now concentrating on the middle-market, not cheap nor very unique are going to be in trouble.

Companies creating general digital assets – namely websites, eCommerce sites, and apps – are going face harsh competition from the cheap bulk producers, which I will call Marketing as a Service (MaaS) companies. Similarly as the Software as a Service (SaaS) producers, they provide marketing communication oriented solutions over the web, in contrast to traditional solutions you buy to “own” and run on your own servers.

These MaaS companies can offer you a dozens of Facebook apps for $29/month, amazing looking websites for $66/year, a fully functioning eCommerce presence for 99$/month, or a custom iPhone apps in matter of minutes. How do you compete with these offers? You can’t unless you go high end, tailor-made, and start adding incremental value.

Here are some MaaS brands to get acquainted with:

North Social:

North Social provides a myriad of Facebook apps for a fixed monthly fee, starting from 19 dollars. I built a sweetstakes app for Skyr FMCG brand in an afternoon with little more than Photoshop skills and gathered 2000 more fans in no time – cost $29 a month.

AppMakr:

You can create apps for mobile phones in no time with AppMakr. Add tabs, such as RSS feeds, photos, geo locations and then customize the look and feel. When making iPhones apps you have to remember that Apple needs to approve your app for it to appear in the App Store, so when sending the publication request remember to highlight benefits to user and the size of the potential audience.


BandPages by RootMusic:

Take a look at the BandPage app of VETO on Facebook or Redrama’s equivalent. Nice, right? And, completely free – these Fb apps are free for all artists, only a plus version with additional features costs (an unbearable) $1.99 a month. Here’s an introduction video from the company RootMusic:


Shopify:

Fully functioning eCommerce store fronts for under a hundred dollars a month from Shopify.


Cargo:

I built a website with Cargo. It requires no skills and no money, unless you want to have it on your own URL or use advanced CSS, then $66/year. There are so many nice and varied designs that soon it is impossible to think of how we used to pay tons of money for general websites. It took me a total of 4 hours to compile a website. Cargo works great if you have visual content photos or videos. Currently, you have to apply to get an invite.

Posted by: Sami Salmenkivi | April 11, 2011

Short films for marketing purposes

Online video sites allow us to produce longer bits of marketing content for no extra media cost, yet at the same time, we know that people tend to favor shorter clips unless they are really interesting or relevant, and of course it costs money to create the extra minutes. So, is it feasible to produce short films to promote your brand?

Here are two branded short films from France – one which I think is spectacular and promotes the products extremely well – and another that is purely waste of money.

Yves Saint Laurent has hired the French actor Vincent Cassel and the director of Black Swan Darren Aronofsky to make film for La Nuit de L’Homme. Both men are extraordinarily good at what they do, yet the film for YSL manages to be boring, traditional, and not as seductive as they probably wanted it to be. But above all, it’s waste of money in my opinion, because the product isn’t in the story, if you don’t count the 5 second packshot at the end. Why produce over two minutes of candle lit halls when you could have the same results with 60 seconds?

The other film, created by Duffy Higgins and John Jaxheimer for women’s surf brand Pret-a-Surf, gets it all right. Creative and fresh approach, executed to the perfection, and most importantly products have the center stage without rubbing it in our faces. Repetition creates drama, well done.

(…and, full screen recommended)

La Nuit de L’Homme Yves Saint Laurent – Le film

La Prochaine Fois (The Next Time)

Posted by: Sami Salmenkivi | December 22, 2010

Facebooze – TBWA/Helsinki’s christmas present

This Christmas TBWA/Helsinki gave it’s traditional Koskenkorva bottle to employees with a social media flavor. “Facebooze helps you disconnect from social media and share with the people in your life”. I like the the “like” / “unlike” glasses.

Posted by: Sami Salmenkivi | June 13, 2010

Value of a Facebook fan page

(picture: @PSFK)

There’s been so much talk about the Facebook fan pages, that it’s almost annoying to add an article to the lot. However, there’s substantial evidence that, at the moment, the pages are so valuable – considering that you have managed to lure in lots of fans – that one more article doesn’t hurt.

I recently stumbled upon a survey (PDF), in which Syncapse estimated the value of Facebook fans by quantifying how much more money fans spent on the brand versus money spent by people who are not Facebook fans of the brand in question. Not surprisingly, people who like brands on Facebook also like them in real life – and spent more money on them as well. They also compared recommendations et cetera of fans vs. non-fans. I like their take on the matter, but the correlation between fandom and real life actions doesn’t really put value on the Facebook pages, because these people would spend and recommend more in any case.

Easier way to quantify the value of a facebook page is to compare it to something we already do – display advertising.

Here’s a formula that calculates page impressions per year and then estimates the cost of those impressions if they would be purchased as banners.

The impression rate is a factor that estimates how many times a single post is seen. In Finland, impressions can be as much as 6 times higher than the amount of fans from the Facebook stats, meaning that a wall post for 50000 fans would accumulate 300000 impressions – therefore the Impression rate would be 6 in Finland. The impressions accumulate when people are very active on Facebook and use the service many times a day, running up those page impressions. The international average is lower, the impression rate is closer to 1 in the states for example. CPM  – cost per mille (thousand in latin) – prices for banners vary considerably, the international conservative value would be 5 dollars per 1000 impressions, however, they run all the way up to 30 dollars, depending on the placement and size of the banner. CPM 22€ for largest banner on MTV3.fi and CPM 35€ for HS.fi’s. So, that’s were you’ll have to use your judgement – how valuable is it to see the post on your wall versus seeing a banner on a site.

For example, a page where you post 5 wall posts a week, with impressions rate 6 and 50000 fans, calculated at CPM 10€, would be worth 826000€ in banner advertising prices.

Posted by: Sami Salmenkivi | May 27, 2010

Winners of Clio 2010 Television/Digital spots

The winners of Clio Awards have been published. I went thought the television/digital spot category and wanted to share the Grand Prize winner and some favorite Gold winners.

Grand: Pure Waters – James Boag’s Draught
Agency: Publicis Mojo, Walsh Bay

Gold: DJ Hero – Activision/Freestyle Games
Agency: Framestore, London

Gold: Going West – New Zealand Book Council
Agency: Colenso BBDO, Auckland

Gold: Closet – CANAL+
Agency: BETC Euro RSCG, Paris

Finland has been known for its designers in the past, and to be honest we’re still riding the fame of the Scandinavian design legends, such as Alvar Aalto, Eero Aarnio, Tapio Wirkkala, and Eero Saarinen.

Everyone has been waiting for a new wave of Finnish designers to come and continue the legacy. Yet, apart from maybe Harri Koskinen, we haven’t seen any big international breakthroughs, but perhaps we’ve been looking into a wrong direction. There’s now a new school of illustrators and graphic designers that are making a name for Finland internationally.

Interestingly, where Scandinavian products and furniture design was clean and simple, the new illustrator school goes all out with colors, shapes, and boldness of interpretation – and they haven’t gone unnoticed. Klaus Haapaniemi, Pietari Posti, Janine Rewell, Jesse Auersalo, Sanna Annukka are among the top illustrators in the world at the moment. Finland has a something to be proud of again.

Pietari Posti

Pietari Posti’s illustrations have recently decorated the pages of The New York Times, The Guardian, The Fortune, The New Scientist, The Washington post, and Wired. He’s also done illustrations for companies such as American Express, Nokia, and British Airways.

Klaus Haapaniemi

Klaus Haapaniemi was one of the first names of the new school to break through internationally. His resume is impressive: garment prints for Diesel, Levis, Marimekko, Dolce & Gabbana, and Cacharel. He produced illustrations for The Observer as well as Vogue newspaper. The international WGSN trend analysis service has called him as one of the most important rising stars in illustration and design.

Janine Rewell

Janine Rewell is a young up and coming talent, who’s already won a lion at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival 2009 and been recently nominated by Print Magazine as one of the twenty hottest new visual artists of 2010. Her work has been seen in several most prominent design magazines, and she’s done work for companies such as Nokia, Qatar Airways, and Marimekko.

Jesse Auersalo

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