Posts Tagged ‘ Annette Muller ’

The Facebook Effect

I cannot believe it is almost the middle of 2012 and I have not written a single blog post this year. So much has happened I would not even know where to start. I guess when you start a new business you do not have all the time you used to have as a freelance consultant. So for those wondering what I have been up to, check out DOTNXT FACEBOOK PAGE

So this post has been sitting in my ” potential blog posts ” folder for almost 6 months, and with the listing of Facebook this past week and all the buzz around it, I felt it was a relevant time to finally post it. The Facebook Effect is a presentation I put together for a talk I did towards the end of last year. I am always interested in reviewing presentations I did months ago, to see how much is still relevant.

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Secondly, I always enjoy a business / financial angle when looking at the various different social media and other technology phenomenon’s shaping the business world of today. Technology has been my world for the last 5 years, and I am slowly making up my 10 000 hours of analysis. Some interesting facts to note for today:

1. In the Global BrandZ Report done by Millward Brown – technology companies ( including telcoms)  now form more than 70% of the top 10 brands, with McDonalds being the only non tech brand in the Top5. No surprize Apple is number 1 ofcourse.

Locally in South Africa, the picture is painted with a couple of different colours, with Telcoms, Banking and Retail still leading the way.

Read more about the above here: MOST VALUABLE SOUTH AFRICAN BRANDS 2012

2. FACEBOOK IPO: Is the company overvalued? And when will the social bubble burst, if ever? These are questions I cannot answer. According to Reuters debates continue over what Facebook is really worth. With the company valued at about $85 billion at the market close Tuesday, and a P/E of 60 for expected 2012 results, who knows. But one thing will always remain true, the Finance will fail, not the technology. As a very smart lecturer once told me, after the .com bubble burst, the Internet did not go away, in fact the opposite happened, it kept evolving and growing into a key ingredient in all of our lives. The finance of the companies merely enabled by the Internet burst. No difference with the new wave of Social Technologies.

I found the below article ( by the NYT, The Facebook Offering: How It Compares)  really insightful and thought relevant to share here. CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE

3. Lastly, what does all of this mean for me?

As I always say,

I think we often get so wrapped up in the marketing and technology side of things, and more recently the focus on ” Human Capital ” that the only real missing link for me is ” THE FINANCE ” . We need more Digital Business Analysts. We need more finance people in the technology / marketing industry in South Africa.

Last night on the plane to JHB I read an article about Roelof Botha, and it made me want to find the Sequoia Capital of South Africa. I realize our financial eco system is very different here in South Africa, but to me that poses more opportunity than anything else.

Time to try something new.

A space to innovate, collaborate and close the gap between finance, technology, marketing and people. This new world of DOTNXT where I find myself living in these days.

Till next time,


Apple iPad2, a whole new dose of magic!

I literally had to consciously stop myself from reading to eventually start writing.

The whole of the digital universe is buzzing with iPad2, comments, reviews, thoughts, notes, and I am sure tomorrow it will be all over traditional news in every state of America, and all over the world.

I could not help but ask myself why?

I remember the day the iPad ever so glamorously appeared on coffee tables in homes and in the hands of family, children, dads, executives, small business owners, artists, teenagers, grandparents, models, geeks, teachers, tennis coaches, priests, pretty much the whole world got a taste of the magic.

And now, the magic potion just got stronger. More universal. Wrapped in beautiful design, to help us share information, experiences and entertainment in a sleek simple manner.

A 33% thinner, lighter, black or white iPad2 features the world’s most advanced mobile operating system – iOS 4.3. Several new extra’s such as 2 x cameras (front and back), HDMI output, a sexy smart magnetic cover (iPad must have realized the amount of money made off covers for the iPad1 – and definitely the most talked about new feature of the iPad2), phonebooth, garage band, imovie and more applications now available on the iPad and a surprisingly early launch date next Friday the 11th of March 2011 in USA and 25th in 26 more countries world wide.  All for just $499.

Check out: – which literally launched minutes after the event.

Apple shares advanced after Jobs appeared, climbing as much as $4.63 to $353.94 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares were up $1.77 at $351.08 at 2:04 p.m. New York time. Which was less than with the launch of the iPad1. The iPad 2 will account for at least 20 million tablet computer sales in the U.S. this year, with the global tablet market projected to surpass 200 million units in 2014, if true the iPad may eventually generate $60 billion to $100 billion in sales for Apple, compared with Apple’s total revenue of $65.2 billion in fiscal 2010 ( via ( read full article here ) It is evident that Apple had to make something happen as new competitors quickly entered the market hoping to take some market share of the projected 200million strong global tablet market. The iPad2 and its early launch makes perfect strategic sense, as they continue to innovate with the user experience at the core of everything and unique to the iPad a featured up and priced down positioning over competitors. It will be very interesting to see how the market responds to yet another Steve Jobs moment of, I was going to say ” one more thing ”

But one thing that DID NOT happen when Steve Jobs appeared on stage –

So what was it exactly that gives the iPad such a universal appeal?

For many years before the iPad launched, the technical side of technology and software always out-weighed the mass appeal. Think of online gaming, gambling, blogging, fancy high tech devices even a gps and iPhone4, it was never for everyone, and it never felt so strangely normal, natural and easy using it.

But here we have a device that literally appeals to every person using it for the first time. The Internet was designed to share experiences, information and content. Today I tried to read the Elle magazine, and I kept finding myself tapping the page trying to click through. And it made me realize, the iPad was designed to take this sharing of online and any offline experiences, information and content – with those around us, anywhere, anytime in a beautiful, magical  but most importantly – natural manner.  But even more, it goes beyond sharing, as the iPad2 enters the world of creation. The iPad2 enables users to not only share, but create experiences, information, content, entertainment and I am sure it is this new theme that will get every brand, company and application developer excited to review their current iPad application strategy.

I am sure the critics will point out the flaws tomorrow, but for today I am happy to safely say, I cannot wait to own one. Even if it is just for a short while before I trade it in for the iTable…

So in conclusion, the iPad2 delights me to the point where I can only share what is probably going to be one of the best devices to be launched this year 🙂

Lastly, definitely an article worth reading and right up my ally – – Definitely Read it!


Real Branding – as i like to refer to it – Is really what my mind has been occupied with. Today I found a new man that I will probably keep an eye out for online:


twitter is such a magical platform to milk the minds of those you find interesting, without the negative connotations usually associated with being an information junkie – such as constant questioning, waiting for answers and explanations, or simple story telling of experience. I now find my answers in real time without bothering anyone on my phone.   # i am a trend and social media shopaholic.
So in my shopping bag today, I have a few random links I would like to keep in my snap store. Perhaps I have not yet connected the dots between them – but I think often the lines of relevance and interdependence comes during the exploration phase. If you look closely enough, everything is related, or at least in my 25 years of exploring various elements of the world as a whole, I have noticed – PEOPLE. BRANDS. TRENDS.  – WE. IT. THEY. – all connected.

Firstly, I just have to touch on Google Wave – just because I haven’t yet, and I think it will be silly to leave it off the list, as it fits so perfectly into the maze of connecting the dots.  This video is really what got me excited:

Secondly, I mentioned Paul Isakson earlier, and this presentation is  what made me realize that REAL branding, is not just a word I came up with (refer to some of my earlier posts) – it is a reality and hopefully –  we will be able to see local brands adopt the mindset, sooner rather than later.

I always find it most enlightening when what has been rolling around in my head, gets summarized and set out coherently by someone else, so that I can pass it on to the world in a less upside down manner.

Paul perfectly illustrates how things are changing. Our new generation of marketers and brand builders who got taught with open source platforms, unlimited access to information and the downfall of traditional media – soon realized – it is time to put people back inside the world of Branding. Similar to Business – global awareness of “triple bottom line and increased focus on corporate governance and sustainable business development”, puts people back inside the world of Business. Think of the increased focus on organizational structures and corporate cultures, Google as a prime example, puts people back inside the world of occupation and careers. And as Tom Friedman illustrated in the World is Flat, COUNTRIES – to – COMPANIES – to – INDIVIDUALS.
We are all connected. And we are all human.
This is what brings me to my last bit of trend shopping for the day. Sixth Sense Technology. Not only did I watch this video about ten times, I simply couldn’t stop myself from trying to imagine it in my own life, and the resulting consequences and impact on the way we live our lives, simply by connecting the dots.

And Lastly, Just for fun:   ENJOY MILO!

Till next time, keep on connecting the dots…

Jeremy Gutsche vs Peter Sheahan


vs       ExploitingChaosLogo

In a world where we are becoming closer and closer to the people we look up to, I could not help but to think why is everyone not searching, exploring and infusing their minds with knowledge? Is the internet a daunting place to find real valuable information or has no one taking the time to teach us how?

My internet addiction is nothing more or less than my childhood addiction to books. It only looks way better and more colourful and is a hell of a lot faster. But I merely stumble upon my favourite things, and often discover the greatest knowledge through pure luck. I am still in two minds whether i prefer it that way or whether i am just lucky that I have somehow figured out how to find the most relevant content online.

Back to the real reason I am sneaking in this post – I have recently developed another love affair – this time not so much for social networks (even though that will never die, as everyday now i am working towards bridging the gap between on and offline social networks) – but rather for bright young minds – not just pretty goodlooking.

Jeremy Gutsche vs Peter Sheahan – authors of my two recent explorations – Exploiting Chaos & Flip. I have not come to any conclusions just yet, but it is always fun to throw the question out there into the universe and start analysing –

who is better looking?

Picture 4

Picture 6

Just kidding, most amazing insight from both of these young talented individuals – definitely worth checking out. Jeremy Interview on YouTube

Once i have heard what the experts have to say, combine it with what my ever twisted mind interprets and ask a couple of people who i have identified as opposites but valuable, i will post a verdict. Might only be in another lifetime, might be tomorrow. Lets see what happens.

Just something fun, rather embarrassing really that happened to me earlier this week: I decided to share my passion on twitter and this is what i got 🙂

My post on twitter

His Reply

Social media can most certainly be the best and worst at times…

Real Time Branding, for REAL South African Brands.

This is a bit of a quick post – but I know if I dont post it now, i never will. I just read this article about Real Time Branding Online – it is so relevant to what is currently happening in the industry that I couldnt help but to think – How do these insights impact OFFLINE Real-Time Branding.

Please have a quick read through this article – just so that we are on the same wavelength 🙂  – then see below – my ever twisted interpretation and adaptation of online principles to offline branding:

1. ” Audiences were happy to fall for the dream and not shout about the reality; but with the arrival of social media and the real time web we are seeing, these same audiences not only answer back but take control and engage in the brand experience itself on a minute-by-minute basis.
This directly affects the way you should manage, monitor and measure your online branding campaigns – in real time.” – BUT WHAT ABOUT OFFLINE?

I believe the same has to be applied to offline branding. People are no longer interested in anything that is not a REAL representation of the brand, accompanied by a means for them to interact – BUT – how do we measure offline campaigns in real time? Here is how,  whether it is through offline below the line activations, promotions, events where “REAL PEOPLE” are there to facilitate two-way chat or a redirection to some online platform for them to interact – SOMETHING has to be developed for everyone to CHAT.

2. Real time reputation – if only it was as easy as opening up a BrandsEye account to measure and control offline reputation. But it is not impossible. I like to call it “Modern Public Relations & Research” – What I mean by this is, is actual public relations, not media relations, but actual REAL interaction with the PUBLIC – people who use and love the brand. Hand in Hand with this goes – REAL research. Not just completing some survey in a controlled environment – but rather a CHAT getting real information from REAL people in REAL time. Once again it makes sense to make use of an online platform to facilitate this, think brand blogs, brand online communities, or non-brand specific think – ; BUT can also be done offline at below the line activations and events. Think – every single promoter in store, brand ambassador at an event, or any person representing a brand offline – equiped with a video phone, or which ever mechanic makes sense – getting real time information about people using their products, by having a simple CHAT. The world where the media controls peoples perceptions of brands are changing, PEOPLE control peoples perceptions. And OFF LINE campaigns have to make use of REAL PEOPLE. This takes us to point nr 3.

3. Brand ambassadors: no more them and us

” Establishing who a brand’s key online ambassadors are – that is to say those who are already advocating your brand – and being able to identify their influence amongst other potential brand advocates is now one of the key foundations to building a successful online brand campaign.”   – this is exactly the same offline. Establishing key offline ambassadors – well connected people who are already advocating your brand and being able to identify their influence. A company that i was very involved with called PHATSET – gets this right. Making use of a customer centric approach to product and campaign development is far more valuable than what the current adoption rate of this approach may show in South Africa. Having consumers (even though i hate calling them that) – PEOPLE OF THE BRAND – much better – involved in every step of the process, might be a little bit more time consuming, BUT the rewards and impact will far override the extra time spent. I suggest giving PHATSET a call now!- see image below 🙂

This brings us to nr 4



4. Are your employees your brand?

Similar to the online industry – where Janet talks about – “UK company recently who fired an employee for stating in her Facebook account that her job was ‘boring’, this is probably not the best way forward to enhance your brand image.”

This is the same offline, as mentioned before in one of my posts, i was privileged enough to be involved in the execution of the glaceau vitaminwater launch here in South Africa. It taught me a lot about living the brand, i will continue to live the vitaminwater brand – and not because they asked me to, but because i want to. More importantly though, it highlighted the importance of INTERNAL MARKETING

At university, this was a very important chapter, but in the REAL world, it seems to have been left behind. I managed to do a couple of degrees at university, where my indecisiveness seemed to have paid off in the long run, as i got to come across the very important alignment hidden in the chapters of my organizational psychology and my marketing textbooks. In the REAL world, i was pleasantly surprised to notice that these two departments do not work together all that much. Internal Marketing is somewhere between a staff party and internal training – but HOW MUCH DO EMPLOYEES REALLY LIVE THE BRAND? HOW MUCH DO THEY KNOW ABOUT CURRENT COMMUNICATION? DO THEY REPRESENT THE LIFESTYLE OF THE BRAND?

It is actually so logical, perhaps a bit ideal, but it makes perfect sense, job satisfaction and offline word of mouth must be correlated to some degree. People who form part of the brand lifestyle and experience must be far happier working for the brand than someone who falls without the lifestyle and the brand experience. I would love to perform a study on this, perhaps someone else has already. The point I am trying to make is that South African Brands spend so much time and money on their marketing campaigns, to a point where agency professionals know more about the brand than some people in the company. Some Sales People communicating and interacting with consumers everyday, exchanging valuable REAL TIME INFORMATION – it is almost CRUCIAL – for BRANDS to capitalize on these CHATS, whilst developing an organizational culture where information is shared and everyone feeling part of the brand and brand development. PEOPLE are connecting with other PEOPLE everyday, and BRANDS have to be pay more attention both online and offline – to ensure that REAL information is exchanged in REAL time everyday. Online Platforms facilitates this, Offline interaction has to as well. As she says in the article –

“Your brand is now open to the world and is defined by those who use it, interact with it and by how they view it on a second by second basis. Brands can no longer hide behind the advertising boards of the 20th century.”

SO lets just drop all the marketing jargon, and become REAL brands for REAL people in REAL time 🙂

Idea: – Videotorials – Combining the marketing and organisationl pshycology worlds through REALITY like TV shows / online videos – to provide both consumers and potential employees with REAL information in REAL time about REAL brands!!!

The Line

i have not posted a blog in so long, i have a back log of content and thoughts and now i dont know where to start. one thought that did come to mind first, especially now living in johannesburg where it seems to be a lot more prominent – is the line.

Above the line, below the line, through the line, “on the line” what is this line we live by communicating our products and services?
In a world where access to information is a simple click of a button, it is only a natural progression for brands to be more authentic. It is all about being real and honest in communication, so how does this influence the way we market? And how long does it take for a brand to forget about the line and talk to the consumer like a real person?
My favourite brand I have worked on so far is glaceu vitaminwater. I have been lucky enough to experience a global strategy that is sure to make headlines in all modern marketing text books.  Like with everything in life, each situation is unique and it does not necessarily mean that what works for a will work for b. But, what I did learn is that if you focus on communicating the true value of your product in a way that is best suited for both the brand and the person buying, then, purchasing becomes the natural next step. Further down the line, innovation will deliver continuous satisfaction and creative ways of providing more for less will sustain sales. Energy and belief in the product from all involved will make sure that everyone wants to be a friend. So in essence, it is really simple. The moment brands stop trying so hard and let the consumers be part of their lives is when the brand will really become part of their lives in return.

This leads me to think about this line, which I have not figured out just yet, but at the moment see as the life path of the brand. Similar to the life of a person, it is all about where you are along the path of life and your own personality that will determine what is best for you. I think our structured conventional way of categorizing communication based on a line, is becoming an obstacle in reaching the right people and providing them with an opportunity to purchase. Merely moving “below the line” because of budget cuts is like feeding a baby cereal because food is too expensive, it is a dangerous thing to do, in fact it may kill you.  But truly understanding where the baby is a long the path of life will eliminate wasting money on incorrect nutrition and expensive doctor bills.

It is no different with brands, if a little bit more time is spent on truly understanding the brand, where it is in life, and who it is really “hanging out” with, it will be a lot easier to provide the perfect mix of everything it needs in order to be a good friend to everyone, those already a friend and every new person a long the way.

I am so happy that we are moving into an era where it is no longer about influencing people to buy products they don’t need, but rather providing the right people with the right information to make better purchasing decisions. Like the shift from fixed marriage arrangements to online dating ☺

It will be interesting to see which brands make a concerted effort to be a little bit more honest and organic in the way they let the lives of their brands evolve, and to see the line for what it really is – a life rather than another man made marketing criteria.

Lets take all the marketing jargon, forget it and start over swapping the  “strategically thought out headline”  –  for a simple, honest chat.

Just for fun – my two favourite online newsletters worth checking out – & the cool hunter! – see, a simple chat 🙂 happy winter everyone.

personal branding

So often i have all these great ideas, and for a brief moment whilst sitting in traffic, or waiting in a que, or possibly most often the few minutes right before i fall asleep – i write. Not only a blogpost, but a novel. Only problem is that it hardly ever seems to escape the presence of my own mind. Inconsistency has delivered crazy experiences – but in the blogosphere, it is all about constant & relevent content.

In a world where EVERYTHING is online, a google cv seems to be more and more important everyday. I recently did my wealth dynamics profile, and for those who know me it might not come as a surprize that i fall within the Star profile. (check out wealth dynamics here – very very interesting) Following the natural pattern of how my mind works, finding immediate connections between topics in my life, it brought me to the realization that having an online presence may start without exercising any control over it. Organically every person develops an online presence, which may have detrimental consequences in the long run.

Personal branding online 101 – if the web shows it all, why not be transparent and put yourself in control of your online identity before someone else does it for you… Found this online somewhere – thought it might be worth sharing.

1. Buy the URL of your name.

Here are a list of sites that allow you to search for your URL and buy it:

Network Solutions
Go Daddy

2. Create a website

Here are a list of free website/hosting sites out there that are extremely useful.


3. Get Linkedin

4. Start a Blog

5. Make some comments

Another easy way to get your name out there is to comment on articles and blog posts.

6. Be a critic

if you’ve read a book or two, bought a TV, played a game or traveled anywhere, write a review about it on a popular site (Amazon, Best Buy, Tripadvisor, etc.). It will get indexed for search.

7. Be shameless

By now I am sure you’ve heard of Twitter, the microblogging tool that’s taking the geek world by storm. What you’ll notice is that the folks who are really good at getting followers always post helpful links. Do the same. But every once in a while, post a link that goes to your website or blog. If you’ve got something interesting for people to read or see, they’ll follow you. You can also post your blog or web URL when you make comments. If it’s too long, just go to Tinyurl to shorten it. You will also want to ping search engines when you have a new post to your blog. Here are some popular tools:


8. Be consistent

Building your online brand isn’t tough, but it takes consistency to make sure it stays where you want it to be. If you follow all of the previous steps and drop them all a month later, rest assured your search rankings will fall into obscurity. Also, everything is time/date stamped by the search engines. If someone does a search on you and the most recent thing is from 5 years ago, what does that say about you, other than you’ve been living in a unibomber shack in the woods.

Thank you Rodger – I really find the above makes total sense, and would be interested to see if i can fight my inconsistency with a strong enough intention to successfully create my unique online personal brand.

Young Online Start Ups – recent insight

the revenue models associated with online social networks are undefined. i have been involved in the start up of an online community – well involved behind the scenes. which actually put me in quite an interesting position, where i was able to view the business as a whole objectively, whilst having direct access to all information and people running the is always a lot easier to look at something from the outside and give ideas, direction & strategic input, than when you are so involved in the day to day running or specifically to online, product development and content management, that more than often you lose sight of the broader vision, and why you are there in the first place.

through continuous observation i came across a couple of things i found left unattended, yet forms the platform of the business as whole. i can understand why this happens, especially in small start ups, where role definitions are unclear and one person is often assigned to several job descriptions.

during the start up of a business i do agree that the most important thing is about getting things done, implementing ideas – but without clear vision, business objectives, short and long term goals, and well defined brand image, how do you make decisions? and without research and market analysis how do you position yourself?, and without involving your consumers to some extent, how do you ensure desirable product development? And of course without systems and processes, even just really basic ones like regular meetings with updated status sheets, project management and timelines, how do you do any of the above?

Perhaps in the first week, everything is in order, but once the ball starts rolling the processes start becoming more difficult to sustain. So what is the solution – basic corporate governance from the start and organizing day to day business like a budget holiday – have fun and enjoy, but make sure everything is well planned,controlled and within budget to avoid getting stuck outside the most beautiful spot on earth with no money to go in:)

Back to online social networks – here it is even more complicated as you have members & clients & high levels of content management, hence the resources and time required to sustain the business is even more tied up. I am no expert, but one thing i have learned in a short period of time, is that with online social networks a clear differentiation needs to be made from the start between clients and consumers, with equal focus on both segments during product development, marketing strategy, brand building and ofcourse – REVENUE MODELS! This basically means that everything is twofold – sales to members, and sales to clients, marketing of product to members, marketing of product to clients and marketing the business/brand as a whole, it is quite a challenging balance to maintain, but without, simply impossible to be successful in operation, not even to mention about delivering a competitive advantage.

Recently i have had a lot of random thoughts about the revenue models associated with online social networks, and my final conclusion is that the only way, or rather one way, of actually making money is to bridge the gap between on and offline. Events ofcourse is one, but beyond that – taking the much loved online brand and delivering offline sustainable products or services under the same brand. I still dont know why i have not been to invited to a facebook fashion show, or own a google gps, or had a quick visit to an online clothing store, or what about a bizcommunity business lounge?? I also dont know why i have not come across an online shopping mall? I have not quite figured it out yet, but i have a feeling i am on the right track…

This post is getting a bit long and random. Oh the inconsistency of it all, the changing colours of the rainbow of life, the brave feeling of letting go and the crystal clear vision of life when you young!