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Windows 7 Beta Announcement Draws Attention To a New Type of Impulse Behavior

For millions of people buying a new car or purchasing a new house are much more expensive but much less threatening than changing an operating system on their PC.

The reason is simple: Cars and houses are much more standardized and reliable than operating systems.

What are the chances of your GPS system not working with the new car or the fridge not operating in the new apartment? And what are the chances of a house or a car being unstable, crashing themselves, turning slow or refusing to operate a new component?

Latest 1st2c study of the online response to the release of Windows 7 Beta in early January 2009 suggests that Social Media fosters a new or at least less acknowledged form of decision making behavior – “Attitude-Forming Impulse Behavior”.

Unlike traditional decision making behavior, Attitude Forming Impulse behavior is not aimed at an imminent purchase but at the forming of a (socially driven) attitude. And unlike despite entailing significant perceived “risk”, this behavior is notably impulsive and refrains from addressing alternatives.

The underlining psychology of “Attitude-Forming Impulse Behavior” offers interesting leverages for marketers in competitive markets. 

 

Windows Beta beats the Oscars

In his keynote on January 8 2008 at the Las-Vegas 2009 CES, Steve Ballmer announced the release of Windows 7 Beta 64-bit version.

Actual sales are said to start only late 2009. The Beta version was addressed primarily at “Registered Microsoft beta peeps”. But that did not prevent huge media coverage and huge surge in online mind sharing.

Actually, as 1st2c monitor shows, the release of Windows 7 Beta version drove at day of announcement more mind-sharing traffic than the last Oscar ceremony.

 1st2c-windows-7-article-slide-12

 

 1st2c-windows-7-article-slide-2

 

Interestingly, the buzz on Windows 7 even at this pre-marketing Beta phase does not come exclusively from “Techie” communities. Technology fans and mavens do dominate the discussion (and viewership) but do so in a wide variety of social destinations. These include gaming communities, mobile communication communities, motorcycle and car fan communities, investor communities, etc.

 

What “Attitude Forming Impulse Behavior” looks like

1st2c identifies three key indicators of consumer engagement in the Social Media space:

·         Search

·         Talk

·         Mobilization

 At this early stage in the introduction of new technology the first two come into play.

A quick look at Google search trends for the top 5 operating systems reveals a basic characteristic of impulse behavior – immediate and sharp response.

As image 3 shows, share of search for Windows 7 almost instantly more than quadrupled in reaction to the Windows 7 Beta announcement.

  1st2c-windows-7-article-slide-3

 

 

Interestingly, this surge happened despite the fact that information about the imminent announcement was resonating on the market at least two weeks before the announcement and probably accounts for the visible increase in search before the big surge.

It is also noteworthy that besides some increase in search for Windows 7 the predecessor – Vista, interest in all other operating systems remained flat throughout.

 

1st2c-windows-7-article-slide-4

 

 

One the Talk front, in the Social Media space, consumer response seemed at first glance to be almost identical but does show some significant differences:

·         Talk responded to the announcement far more sharply than search

·         In Talk (unlike Search) Windows 7 clearly topped the discussion

·         While this graph depicts “Mind Sharing” (i.e. volume of posts) traffic in the Social Media space has another critical layer and these are the readers – people who flocked in to read the reviews and discussions but did not author posts or responses themselves.

These and other indicators suggest that Social Media facilitated a second and critical ripple of influence after Corporate Media.

But perhaps more interesting is that behavior on Social Media featured a unique version of impulse behavior – “Attitude-Forming Impulse Behavior”.

This behavior was triggered my marketing, leveraged by mavens and engaged by excited information-hungry users. The uniqueness of this phenomenon is that the massive and instant response was directed at a product that is not “for sale” and has been ignoring alternatives. Massive crowds behaved impulsively… about attitude forming.

In the value-chain of influence, Social Media was the facilitator of “Attitude-Forming Impulse Behavior” playing a critical role in forming the market’s first impression – in this case Windows 7.

 

 

Leveraging “Attitude Forming Impulse”

Marketers love to have consumers excited about products that are not even yet on sale. At the same time marketers are also concerned about “wasting ammunition” and creating frustration by exciting consumers about products that are not yet on sale.

In the networked marketplace, internet conditions consumers to shop for information and Social Media conditions them to shop for opinion before shopping for the actual products or services. This behavior seems to contradict impulse shopping.

The Windows 7 Beta case suggests that information and opinion gathering may stand between interest and decision but can also be impulse driven!

Furthermore, Attitude Forming Impulse behavior may be harnessed as a pre-sale tool and may be an effective blocker of competition.

The idea of pepping consumers to learn and talk about a product before it is actually “on the shelves” offers exciting opportunities for marketers is competitive markers. It can actually redefine the whole idea of “Pre-Sale”.

Digital space, both marketer media and social media, offers natural and cost-effective platforms to for such initiatives.

 

1st2c in a nutshell

1st2c (www.1st2c.com) is the home of Online Strategizing Research©.

1st2c specialized in the most comprehensive data-to-strategy methodology in the networked market.

1st2c monitors all major Social Media platforms and mines consumer dialog and interaction for actionable insights and opportunities.

1st2c works with Fortune 500 companies on adding new dimensions to overall marketing strategy and on monitoring and engaging the networked market.

 

Ofer Friedman

Chief Research & Client Officer

1st2c

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Too big to worry: Social Media As Panic-Control Mechanism In The Freddie Mac – Fannie Mae Crisis

                    

How Social Media facilitates socially-driven treat management dynamics

 

When the nation’s mortgage companies are “on the verge of collapse” [WSJ, July 13, 08]  that’s a big reason to get worried.

But while Social Media resonance on the crisis spiked tremendously (as one would expect) it doesn’t spell panic and doesn’t call for consumer emergency action (ignoring ongoing crisis-talk on the agenda-setting mass media).

1st2c monitored the consumer response to the crisis on Social Media, uncovering key insights on the dynamics of Social Media in facilitating threat management “by the people – for the people”.

 

12 Trillion reasons to worry

When the news hit the market the American publishes was pretty much pepped up to worry.

The media has been talking economic doom for a long time now.

Recession, depression, downturn, rocketing interest rates, hiking living costs, plummeting housing market are only few of the labels spelled out by news and commentaries.

It’s not surprising that these are hot topics in consumers dialog on Internet’s Social Media space.

 

But the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae crisis was supposed to take the threat a notch higher. After all, these giants touch more than half of the nation’s $12 Trillion mortgages!

According to publications these banks may default on their huge debt, government guarantees will effectively double the public debt, and that their difficulties may damage economies worldwide since the securities of Fannie and Freddie are held by numerous overseas financial institutions, central banks and investors.

 

But public confidence may be even more undermined by immediate implications on individual consumers.

If the two banks are unable to borrow, they will not be able to buy mortgages from commercial lenders. In turn, that would make it more expensive and difficult, if not impossible, for home buyers to obtain credit, freezing the United States housing market (NYTimes, July 11, 2008).

 

It was only natural for consumers to see the unfolding event in terms of crisis.

In the age of the networked market it was only natural for consumers to share “intelligence” and minds, to seek peer advice and support and perhaps also to mobilize to act upon the crisis.

 

As 1st2c tracking system shows, the event did trigger a surge in volume of consumer conversations across Social Media platforms.

But was it panic talk?

 

What me worry?

Analysis of online dialog about the mortgage giant crisis discovered interesting insights:

·         Most of the talk was on THEM (the banks, government, fed) and not on ME

·         Much of the talk came from interest groups rather than “concerned citizen”

          Political activists (mainly non-republicans…)

          Financial and technology investors

          Financial mavens

          And interestingly also automobile fan communities….

·         Talk tended to focus on the immediate problem rather than on the broad economic implications

·         Talk on imminent crisis was scarce

·         Call for action was scarce

 

Too big to worry

A Bloomberg TV commentary from Jul 11 2008 quoted congressional leads from both parties saying that Freddie Mach and Fannie Mae are “too big for the government to let them fail” (YouTube).

This assumption, though sometimes challenged (“… and too big to be bailed out”), is the underlying sentiment among the networked public.

In many respects, Social Media played a balancing role to the mass media, in shaping public understanding and reaction to the mortgage bank crisis.

Social media did not simply play along with corporate media.

When consumers talked to other consumers they essentially helped frame the crisis as “not on our turf”. Consumer dialog identified the threat not on a personal level but a systemic level. The magnitude of threat was discussed in terms of passing the threshold of uncertainty about the imminence government intervention.

So while the media continued to preoccupy with whom and what can curb the threat, Social Media already echoed with a clearer notion of “beyond the worry threshold”.

Social Media as the peoples’ threat management mechanism

Market dynamics may change and future developments might alter public response to the unfolding economic developments. But this situation analysis does provide deeper insights into how Social Media helps shape public perceptions and behavior.

The Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae case study highlights the fact that Social Media is a socially-driven platform for identifying and meeting of unmet needs.

 

In this case, the need was for threat relevance understanding as aspect of threat management.

Experience shows that the Social Media helps people “calibrate” mindsets on a disregard-involvement-action continuum based on 3 key parameters:

·         Relevance

·         Immediacy

·         Gravity

In this case, consumer used Social Media to balance and control rather than stir and demonize.

It would also be worthwhile for marketers to take note of the anthropological aspect of the dynamics of social influence to understand what social environments and mechanisms facilitate and energize the “Social ripple of influence”.

 

1st2c in a nutshell

1st2c (www.1st2c.com) is the home of Online Strategizing Research©.

1st2c specialized in the most comprehensive data-to-strategy methodology in the networked market.

1st2c monitors all major Social Media platforms and mines consumer dialog and interaction for actionable insights and opportunities.

1st2c works with Fortune 500 companies on adding new dimensions to overall marketing strategy and on monitoring and engaging the networked market.

 

 

Ofer Friedman

Chief Research & Client Officer

1st2c

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McFEARsome’s XBox vigilantes: Anatomy of digital mobilization

 

What digital marketing can learn from a simple case of petty theft that turned to a Social Media driven mass mobilization                 

 

March 12, 2008. A young web developer returned from a convention to find out that his home was broken into and his Xbox, computer and TV have been stolen. He did notify the police about the theft but also decided to launch an investigation of his own using the internet to try track down the burglar and his property. Little did he expect that his choice of Social Media tools will mobilize massive social activism on an international scale, become a media story and, yes, help find the villain.

 

This is no anecdotal (digital) detective story.

 

Social mobilization is the essence of digital marketing. Viral mobilization is the El-Dorado. The immediacy and magnitude of social activism triggered in this incident suggest that it may be a case study for better understanding what drives successful viral consumer engagement. 

                      

Anatomy of a Social Media empowered mobilization

 

Just like the Toy Story movie hero Buzz Lightyear, McFEARsome (our hero’s Blogging name) set out to find his lost property with the help of Internet. 

 

Starting off as a lone range he used Google Maps to locate a pawn shop where a surveillance camera picked up a young man trying to sell a computer that matched the description of his.

 

Then, a few days later, his work friends pitched in and purchased him a new Xbox 360. As he logged into his Xbox live network he received a voice message demanding ransom in return for his stolen console.

 

Facing a “hostage situation”, McFEARsome turn to Social Media.

 

What started out as sharing misfortune on his personal blog, http://blog.mcfearsome.com, and posting it on one of the popular social news rating site Digg.com turned quickly to a viral social mobilization phenomena.   

 

Not only did McFEARsome’s blog register 363,779 visits and 610,457 page views In 5 days, but a massive ripple effect of online rich-media peer initiatives was triggered.

 

The following arsenal of Social Media tools employed provides a live blueprint of the dynamics of Social Media influence:

 

1. Personal blogs

It all started out from McFEARsome’s personal blog, and then rippled to other peer blogs. But what gave an extra boost to the virality of McFEARsome’s story was the resonance it got on website and user generated content (UGC) discovery and ranking applications like www.StumbleUpon.com 

         

McFEARsome’s blog                  The StumbleUpon Review
  

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

2. Micro Blogging

 The recently booming micro blogging platform, Twitter, was used as an ongoing “instant messaging style” updating and network maintenance tool.

 A Twitter dialog page used by McFEARsome

 

3. Social networks (Forums, message boards)

With the help of the more typically activist audiences (like bloggers), McFEARsome’s story also drove broad resonance and followership among wider publics. The story hit waves both in general forums and message-boards and in more issue-relevant niche communities like www.VideoGame2Play.com (see: stolen game console).

    References in a general forum         Reference in a gaming site

 

 4. Video sharing

A member of the online vigilante movement contacted the alleged perpetrator via VOIP, recorded the conversation and posted it on Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WC3LF3fvkuE&hl=en)

      Some of McFEARsome’s YouTube story videos

 

 5. Social News rating

The initial posting of McFEARsome’s story on Digg.com than spread to other popular news rating destinations like Reddit.com. Popular voting quickly had the story ranked high, causing an accelerated spread of the news and the social mobilization initiative. Much of the talk was not just descriptive but also framing of the situation as a sweeping movement and “factualizing” its success in an apparent aim to drive a Pygmalion (self-fulfilling prophecy) effect.

Sample Social New Ratings on the event

 

Lessons for Digital marketing

McFEARsome’s digital vigilante movement won him his Xbox back and the one given to him by his workmates he donates to children’s charity.

But this story is beyond anecdotal. It’s significance to digital marketing lies in “back engineering” the drivers and dynamics of consumer-driven (“organic”) digital mobilization.

Understanding of the determinants of spontaneous consumer mobilization may help define and refine the blueprint for a managed triggering of such mobilization.

Even without detailing the particular insight and opportunity leverages we mined from this specific case study, one can underline some core takeaways for digital marketing:  

  1. The appeal of a (social) cause theme
  2. The engagement of doing justice
  3. The power of good vs bad situation framing
  4. The traction of rolling updates (micro-blogging joins email and instant messaging)
  5. The power of an unfolding even script (over a single-shot message)
  6. The potency of multi-level outreach (combining general networking hubs with niche issue/sub-issue focused networks

 

1st2c in a nutshell

1st2c (www.1st2c.com) is the home of Online Strategizing Research© the most comprehensive data-to-action methodology in the networked market.

Online Strategizing Research© specializes in consumer-driven insight and opportunity exploration, and their translation to marketing and communications. 1st2c technology provides cross platform deep-web monitoring and advanced emotional engagement analysis.

1st2c is working with Fortune 500 companies, consulting companies, MarCom agencies to stay ahead of the networked market game.

 

Ofer Friedman

Chief Research & Client Officer, 1st2c

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