Emerging Culture Composite Index v.1.3


The Big Idea

Mobilityness. It’s an intriguing concept that I’d define as “a set of principles, traits and behaviors that exemplify the expectations of the modern citizen.” In short, it’s something that brands (and marketers) need to understand.  It’s a term coined by Thom Kennon, Y&R New York’s SVP, Director of Strategy. You can read the background on the concept here and here on Thom’s excellent blog, Big Evidence, as well as my take on the concept here. It’s undeniable that this notion of freedom – of content, people and ideas – is changing our behaviors, and yes, our culture. I think brands can display this trait, mobilityness, as well. This week Hulu announced that it was getting into the original content business in a big way. Hulu was able to understand cultural trends in a way that say, Blockbuster wasn’t. Not surprisingly, Netflix and Google also have plans in the original content arena. Content is mobile, from the screen you watch it on (TV, tablet, computer, phone) to the entity that delivers it (Google, Microsoft, NBC, Netflix, Starz, Funny or Die…). Even the physical location where you watch it (home, plane, work, outdoors…). Consumers no longer care to distinguish between these, they only have two criteria: 1) Is it good? 2) Can I watch it when I want, where I want, on whatever platform I want?  If your content (your brand, really) doesn’t have mobilityness built into it, well, I know a guy who can get you a cheap lease on a former Blockbuster video store location.

Red Team FTW in MapAttack! NYC

Of course at the heart of mobilityness is mobility.  I had the opportunity to participate in an intriguing mobile experience this week.  As part of the WebVisions conference, Geoloqi hosted a session of their game, MapAttack! The game combines social and mobile elements by putting participants on a virtual treasure hunt.  Here’s a look at the “gameboard” that shows how players on the Red and Blue teams ‘captured’ virtual spots in Central Park. Each spot had a point value ranging from 10 to 50 points. So, how could a brand use such a technology? A hotel chain could assign guests to a team, and put spots around the property (gym, pool, restaurant, bar, business center, etc.). While each guest would be playing as an individual, they’d also be playing as part of a larger team. The team with the most points each week wins, and the members of the winning team get a 10% discount on their next stay. Business travel can be a solitary experience, MapAttack! can make your stay more social. This could also be interesting technology for a cruise line,  national car dealership network or cellular network.


This Week’s Emerging Culture Composite Index

Must Tweet TV
What’s the future for the broadcast networks? Sports and Awards shows. That fact was made evident once again this week as the only shows from ABC, CBS, NBC or FOX to make the Top 10 on SocialGuide’s rankings were the Golden Globes, the People’s Choice Awards and the Miss America pageant. Everything else came from the world of cable. Those three shows generated 1.3 million comments from nearly half a million people. Diving a bit deeper into the numbers, it’s interesting to see who is engaging in this sort of behavior.  SocialGuide’s data shows that people with lots of followers tend to be more likely to talk about shows in general, and awards shows in particular. The Golden Globes pre-show and the Critic’s Choice Movie Awards led the pack with an average followers/unique of 862 and 799 respectively. This compares to a general average follower count of less than 100.  An engagement strategy that targets consumers not just on social media channels, but during these key programming opportunities could either be a great enhancement to more traditional marketing activation, or a great way to reach a proactive audience if the brand doesn’t have the resources for a Super Bowl or Oscar telecast :30 second spot.

New Stars, New Content
An interesting trend over at Hollywood Stock Exchange this week. The top traded stars on the virtual stock exchange were: Michael Nyqvist, Paula Patton, Toby Jones, Robin Wright, Brad Bird, Goran Visnjic, David Thewlis, Emily Watson, Rooney Mara and Nick Frost. Not exactly Clooney, Pitt, Roberts or Jolie. Are we on the cusp of seeing a new and different breed of Hollywood star, or is this just a temporary vacuum being filled?  Also interesting to note, was a lack of retread material in HSX’s movie stocks. In the Top 10 were only two properties – Fantastic Four Reborn and Hancock 2 – that we’ve already seen on the big screen. The rest were a mix of eagerly awaited novel adaptations (Hunger Games) or original screenplays (Arbitrage, This Means War). Has Hollywood, and the movie-goer, grown tired of franchises?

Science, Hold The Fiction
While the graphic novel genre has been dominated of late by The Walking Dead (3 of the Top 10), and interesting entry caught my eye this week. Feynman is a biography of the physicist Richard Feynman in graphic novel form. It’s a great remindeof the breadth of subjects that can be explored through this graphic novels, and the equally broad audience that makes up fans of the medium.

The most funded project on Kickstarter right now is the TikTok+LunaTik Multitouch Watch Kit. This clever little bit of

Nearly $1million in pledges

design turns an iPod nano into a multitouch wristwatch. More than 13,000 people pledged a total of nearly $1 million to support this project. This is a fantastic example of how brands and people can be co-creators, but it also speaks to something more. The pledge goal to make this product a reality was set at $15,00. They raised roughly 62 times that amount! How did they get such a great response? Because LunaTik gets it right. They, just like Apple, understand the importance of design. They also treat their community right, offering them the products at a nice discount for pledging their monetary support. This is what happens when the right product at the right price finds the right tribe.


NPR without the Pledge Drives?

Sounds too good to be true right? Well, here’s the secret – download your favorite shows, like This American Life, WNYC’s RadioLab, Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, Fresh Air and more from iTunes. Not only are these shows available, they are all in the Top 10 podcast downloads. In 2012 the idea of a podcast may seem a little dated, but clearly there’s a specific audience (fans of soothing voices, tote bags and/or Schweddy Balls) that are heavy users of the genre. Does your brand attract a similar audience?

This week I saw a lot of content or ideas or even products finding new homes. This too is a facet of mobilityness. How are you designing campaigns or spots or even ideas so they have a certain mobilityness to them? I think that’s an interesting question to ask as it’s clearly something the people that brands are trying to reach now expect.

For those following along, yes the Emerging Culture Composite Index continues to evolve with each issue. Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, is credited with the following saying: “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” Sometimes in order to know what you’ve got (or don’t got), you have to push it out there. After each issue I’m learning more about what works and what doesn’t, but I’d also like to hear from you, so please continue to give me feedback. Thanks.