In his greatest of games
He wrestled the ball
From the sad Edgerinn James
The Bears won that night
A miracle? Sure.
But we know they are
Who Denny thought they were — From “54, an Ode” by DaBearsBlog
54, an Ode | DA BEARS BLOG
Selling Argyle Uniforms -
I really like situations that help describe the fact that lots of factors ultimately go into the way you feel about a brand/design/marketing. I wrote a bit about how Jony Ive feels about it last week and I thought this was another interesting example from a very different place. In the early 90s a designer named Alexander Juilian was given the opportunity to redesign the UNC Tarheels basketball uniform. He was a huge Tarheels fan and thus felt a ton of pressure to deliver something amazing. Not wanting to leave things to chance, he looped Michael Jordan into the decision (Jordan, at the time, was just starting his ascent to the greatest player in the history of the NBA but he was already UNC royalty). Ultimately Julian sent all the designs to Jordan to let him sign off on his favorite:
“And guess what? As soon as Michael [Jordan] said that [the argyle design was his favorite], then the entire team also liked the argyle best. So we made the first uniform in Michael’s size, sent it to Chicago, he worked out in it, then we sent it down to Chapel Hill. There was near frenzy, I’m told, in the locker room as to who was going to be the first Carolina player to put it on after Michael because they wanted Michael’s mojo. Hubert Davis (photo, above right) won, he was the same size and he was the model. Now he’s a great sportscaster.
Thoughts on Tumblr/Yahoo! -
Starting Friday the tech world was abuzz with talk of Yahoo! buying Tumblr for $1.1 billion. At the time it seemed like just a rumor, but it quickly coalesced, ending with a press release this morning trumpeting Yahoo!’s “promise not to screw it up“.
We’ve been working with Tumblr since we started and have been one of Tumblr’s A-List partners since they introduced the program in November of last year. A number of our brands are quite active and successful on the platform including American Express OPEN Forum, Denny’s and GE.
Anyway, since everyone is discussing the news this morning I thought I’d share some of my thinking around what this means for Yahoo!, Tumblr and brands.
First off, there is one main and simple reason Y! is buying Tumblr: It’s an entree into social and one of only seven global social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and G+ being the others). With all consumer attention moving to social it would be impossible for Y! To compete without a car in the race.
With that said, there are a few specifics tumblr brings that are worth pointing out:
- Streams: The consumer expectation for content these days is best summarized by the “pull-to-refresh” action. Streams are the primary way people are consuming these days and to compete at the platform level (which Y! clearly wants), you need to own your own stream, not just have your content live in the other platforms’ streams.
- Mobile: One of my favorite quotes from David Karp was when he introduced Tumblr ads to the audience at the AdAge Digital Conference last year. What he said was, “You’ve already seen our ad unit,” it’s the post. This sort of content-as-ads is clearly the future of digital advertising, but not just because it works on the web in your dashboard/newsfeed/stream. It’s also the future because its the thing that works in mobile. While so many others are looking for silver bullet ad formats, the social platforms have recognized that promoted posts make the perfect leap to the small screen, something that’s clearly crucial to Y!’s future. Yahoo’s banner ad business just won’t work in mobile in its current form.
- Data: Marissa Mayer has talked a lot about personalization since taking the helm at Y! To do personalization successfully in the next era of the web is going to be about combining the implicit data of clicks and cookies with the explicit data of the interest graph and the content people are producing day-in-and-day-out across social (if you want more evidence of this look at Google’s huge investment in G+ to fill the hole for them). While this data will be used to make content recommendations, it’s ultimately most valuable to the platform as a way to infer what brands and products people are interested in before they have shown any intent to purchase them. This is about top of the funnel advertising, the creation of intent, and to compete successfully Y! needed a way to deliver this sort of consumer insight to brands.
- Always-On: One of the biggest challenges in modern marketing is moving beyond episodic, campaign-based thinking and into social content that is always-on. Like most traditional publishers, Yahoo! has the challenge that all banners are bought and sold around campaigns. With Tumblr, Yahoo! is now part of helping brands create an always-on content model.
Overall this is a big win for social and further proof that marketing is continuing to move towards real-time content creation at the intersection of brand voice and cultural relevance While everyone is focused (and concerned) that we’re going to start seeing Yahoo! ads on Tumblr, I actually think the opposite is much more likely. As more and more brands come onto Tumblr as organic content creators and pay to promote their content, Yahoo! will find a way for this original brand content to live in the context of the broader platform, giving marketers expanded reach and engagement.
Overall a big congrats to the Tumblr team. It’s awesome to see continued success for NYC startups. We’re excited to continue to work together and see what’s in store.
I was on WSJ TV this morning talking about the sale. Here’s the video:
from Blog @ Percolate http://bit.ly/12PeXVz
Evidence! Your fingers x your iPad x various tablet sorts of activities.
@Percolate’s love affair with @Sriratcha!
Unique Perception -
Ran across an interesting quote (reportedly) by Jony Ive about the difference between measurable (speed, hard drive size, etc.) attributes and the non-measurable ones:
But there are a lot of product attributes that don’t have those sorts of measures. Product attributes that are more emotive and less tangible. But they’re really important. There’s a lot of stuff that’s really important that you can’t distill down to a number. And I think one of the things with design is that when you look at an object you make many many decisions about it, not consciously, and I think one of the jobs of a designer is that you’re very sensitive to trying to understand what goes on between seeing something and filling out your perception of it. You know we all can look at the same object, but we will all perceive it in a very unique way. It means something different to each of us. Part of the job of a designer is to try to understand what happens between physically seeing something and interpreting it.
I think about this a lot. One of the things that inspired Brand Tags originally was a similar quote from my friend Martin Bihl’s 2002 AdWeek article: ”The way I look at it, a brand only exists in the consumer’s mind. That other product isn’t a brand yet because consumers don’t really know about it. It’s still a product.”
(via National Geographic Traveler Magazine: 2013 Photo Contest - The Big Picture - Boston.com)
This is pretty crazy: 3D website with WebGL
(via Minimal tQuery Page)
Thursday at the office
Building for States -
I’m playing around with publishing in a few different places these days. Trying out Medium for the first time where I wrote a piece on designing and building for states:
Although I may be bastardizing the term from an engineering point of view, when I talk about states I mean all the possible outcomes of a new feature: What happens when you press this button, or that button, or those buttons together, or we get this data back but not that data. Bugs, for the most part, are a matter of overlooked states. From a design perspective, states are about thinking through all the different ways the elements on the page might live and interact. This includes obvious ones like empty states and error messages as well as not-so-obvious ones like random button combinations or accidental page refreshes.