What is the Future of Virtual Reality Communications?

What is the future of communication via technology? What will be the next gadget of social interaction? I can’t predict the future, but I am curious about how two worlds – social media and virtual reality will be incorporated together.

 

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Photo Credit – TED Conference

Few days ago, Facebook bought Oculus, a virtual reality company for $2 billion. My question is what is Facebook’s strategy by acquiring the virtual company and how the company is planning to incorporate three-dimensional reality into social media. Facebook bought a company’s virtual reality Rift headset.  For both companies the press speech is that this is the new way of communications and the future for tech developers.

Prior to this acquisition, Facebook purchased companies that developed app technology. This is the first time that the company is getting involved with a hardware product. The bright side of the deal is that Facebook and Oculus together will have the talent and the financial funds to develop high quality virtual reality products. On the other hand this deal was upsetting to crowdfunders of Oculus, some video games developers and even virtual reality game players.

Mark Zuckerberg announced in a Facebook post: “After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home.”

It is exciting to see the development of technology. This seems like the ultimate way of new communications. One of their plans is to develop live media platforms for education and other group interactions.  For the game and technology lovers out there, this tool may be exciting, but for some it will replace the face-to-face real-time of communications. This partnership will create new experiment of communications. This is a beginning to a sharable virtual space that can be shared for different purposes. This can be a new way of communications to follow and research. This relationship will definitely has an outcome on the gaming industry, but my interest is how it will affect social media marketing.

In one of my previous blogs, I wrote about wearable technology. Now there is a new turn from wearable technology to wearable virtual reality. If you’re interested in similar news about technology and communications, join me and follow my blog…

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Another Country Blocks Social Media – A Challenge to International Social Media Marketing?

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Photo Credit

Social media is truly an amazing tool for marketers to reach the worldwide audience. You can get the message out to the whole world in a matter of minutes. Well, not always. More and more countries today block social media sites. Sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter – the most popular social media sites in most of the world.

Last Thursday, March 27th Turkey banned YouTube, just few days after they banned Twitter. As the local elections are coming up, Turkish prime minister decided to block sources of information stream that can be harmful politically. The red flag for the Turkish government was a video leak of government officials discussing war attempts against Syria. Turkey is blaming Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as sites that distribute false information.

Prior to Turkey, few other countries decided to block social media:

China blocked Facebook in 2009, after the deadly Uighur riots. The government discovered that the activists were using Facebook and took over the control on the Internet.

North Korea restricts social media and provides very limited access to the Internet. It is not surprising due to Kim Jong-un’s dictatorial isolation of the country form the rest of the world.

Iran – Banned Facebook, Twitter, YouTube in 2009 also due to a political matter of opposing governmental groups.

Vietnam – In 2009 Vietnamese Facebook users reported that the site is not accessible.

Facebook was also banned from Pakistan, Syria, and Eritrea, while partial restrictions appeared in Egypt and Cuba.

Some of those countries may share restricted governmental principles, but the fact is that restrictions on social media are expanding globally. When you are thinking to spread the world on social media internationally, it’s good to research the political norms of this country and predict the direction of their regulations upon social media. Which country will be the next to block social media? Please share your thoughts in comments…

Surprise me with Humor and Interactive Creativity – Great Guerrilla Marketing Ads

When one is struck by an element of surprise, this moment stays in the memory for a long time. Guerrilla marketing ads must be unique and with a taste of imagination. It is clear that people are tired from traditional advertising and being talked at. Social media marketing becomes handy today because it encourages conversation. Guerrilla marketing also operates on a personal, social manner. An unexpected activity leaves a stronger impression and deepens the roots between a company and a potential consumer. Jay Conrad Levinson defined Guerrilla Marketing in his book in 1984 and more guerrilla marketing definitions are available on his website.

The main principle of this marketing technique is to yield the maximum results at the lowest cost possible. That is why this marketing technique was designed for small businesses with small budget. Big companies also adapted the guerrilla marketing and some companies do a brilliant job. Since people are tired from traditional advertising, creative and personalized marketing works well for the big sharks. Guerrilla marketing can leave a more positive impression than  social media marketing for the large companies. Nobody pays attention to large company’s advertisement on the side of their Facebook page. It works for businesses that target consumers demographically or geographically.

Here are few examples of how large companies create ROI from guerrilla marketing in fun ways:

3331504998_c345310c4e_o1 – Large graphic print for Frontline – a flea medicine.

From above this huge print of an itching lab creates an imaginary view that the people walking on the ad look like fleas. That is a great ad from the perspective of the image and a good joke always stays in the memory.

 

 

 

2 – IKEA – Billy shelf in Bondi Beach Australia

For the 30th anniversary of the Billy shelf – IKEA’s top selling item, IKEA set up a display of the largest Billy shelf on the beach in 2010. The random setting, the red color on the sand and books available for grab from the shelf created a buzz about this ad as one of the most creative guerrilla marketing campaigns.

 

 

3 – Coke’s dancing vending machine

Coca-Cola is known to be one of the entertainers when it comes to guerrilla marketing. Their actions evolve games, dancing competitions that come as a surprise, while customers purchase drinks at Coke’s vending machines. The following video from 2012 of a dancing vending machine at a Korean shopping mall created huge excitement from the youngsters and rewarded them with a free drink. Click here to see the video!

Those companies successfully launched those campaigns with yield ROI because they all followed the elements of guerrilla marketing. They were set up in surprising locations in an interactive way with the audience. Those ads encouraged positive response from the audience based on humor and playful atmosphere. Those creative ways of advertisement will stay in someone’s memory and will be transferred as a story to their friends. Creativity and fun interaction with the audience is a key in modern guerrilla marketing and in social media marketing practices.

What funny guerrilla marketing did you see recently? Please share in comments…

Tahoe PaddleBoarding – Lifestyle and Adventure!

Today I want to talk about branding products as lifestyle. Companies that sell lifestyle products target an audience with a need of identity and belonging to a cultural group. We can see lifestyle purchases in technology, luxury cars, fashion and designer products, and sport equipment. Companies that market lifestyle product often relate to that consumer identity.  We can see that relation in outdoor products where both the customer and the founding innovators live an active, healthy and extreme lifestyle.

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 Tahoe defiantly is a center to an outdoor cultural lifestyle. Skiing and snowboarding take place in the winter, camping and kayaking in the summer, but my favorite outdoor sports is paddle boarding. The feeling of cruising on top of various shades of blue of Lake Tahoe is truly magical. Stand up paddle surfing (SUP) started taking off in 2005 and standup paddle boarding for flat-water developed in Tahoe in 2009. It’s a sport of fitness, fun and adventure that fits for all family members – kids, adults and even dog lovers can cruise with their four-legged friend.

My favorite local brand is the Lake Shore PaddleBoard Company, which is an innovator company of that sport and lifestyle. Their boards designed for flat-water lakes, rivers and the open ocean water. With a sharp vertical shape, those boards designed for better balance and gliding with speed. Standup paddle boarding became the most popular sport in Tahoe during the summer. Racing events take place all over the lake.  A good spot to see paddle-boarding lifestyle in action Race the Lake of the Sky in South Lake Tahoe, coming up ion the end of June.

lakeshore 5What makes paddle-boarding a catchy lifestyle is that it fits all ages that live in outdoorsy areas and it’s family friendliness. On the other hand it is a competitive sport for advanced athletes.  It’s a satisfying sport because you can get from one destination to another while enjoying the sun, water and the view. That is a win-win situation when nature, fun and fitness are combined. Follow my blog if you’re interested to hear more about fun product, interesting people and events. Looking forward for the summer!

Reno Startup Row – Community Spirit that Leads to Success

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The energy and the excitement in Reno Collective’s Entrepreneurship Press Conference was at peak. .  The conversation was about the startup community and collaboration. Everybody was talking about adding new jobs, boosting the local economy and the quality of life in downtown Reno.  There is a special family spirit on First Street that is being supportive by the Governor, EDAWN and Reno’s business community.

“We have all the ingredients here. We have the people. We have the energy. We have the university. We have local government and state government that going to support all this. I think that all of that coming together will make northern NV, Reno a very special place, where people would want to come work, live and play.”  Governor Sandoval

The opportunity is there – Reno Startup Row has the people, location, talent and collaboration to build a startup ecosystem. Now entrepreneurship in downtown Reno is officially recognized. The key ingredient to startup hub on First Street is an existence of a collaborative work place for entrepreneurs – The Reno Collective. Thanks to the energy of Colin Loretz – the founder Reno Collective, the collective team and the location next to Truckee River, startup community has a place to share ideas and enjoy the quality of workspace.

Mike Kazmierski from EDAWN is super supportive of the Startup Row and local entrepreneurship to change the business reputation of Reno. He talked about keeping companies in Reno for better economy, not just by dragging companies form other places, but helping local companies grow. Those Startups will yield jobs in the future. We also have the university and future talent. With those key ingredients, all we  need is funding. Joe Salesky from UsTyme , who assisted in funding of multiple companies in Silicon Valley also believes that the collective in Reno has a great opportunity for success. He commits to bring capital for startup development and incorporate UNR’s talent into the startup community:

“We just joined the advisory board at UNR in the Computer Science department. We are working with the department to evolve the curriculum to make both great engineers and great business people that can help build the economy of Reno.” Joe Salesky said.

It was interesting to see how the founders of local startups dedicated to collaboration in the same area of Reno. Nate Pearson the co-founder of Trainer Road talked about the benefits of working at the collective. Sharing ideas with some experts and designers creates a competitive spirit and pushes harder working. Due to the company growth they had to move out of the collective, but just two blocks away to be be part of the ecosystem.

Eric Jennings from Pinoccio is proud to operate in Reno. He encouraged Colin to move the space of Reno Collective to the current location and was the first to join the co-working space. He told that Pinoccio raised venture from out of town and that some of their employees are from out of Reno because it is a virtual company, but they plan hire 10 to 20 local employees.

Jim Elste form Inqiri, a startup company that focuses on improving business decisions making process is also proud to be part of Reno. Inqiri was founded in Reno and intend to stay in Reno. Jim explains what it means to be part of a startup community: “When you work with entrepreneurs, you work with people in the startup, you are working with smart, creative innovators. People that are passionate about what they’re doing, who are committed to what they’re doing in hard work. They are making great sacrifices to pursue their dreams.”

DSC00354 - Version 3Reno Startup Row has a good start, but there is still a lot of work to be done, said Colin Loretz. Reno Collective is located in a building that everybody can see. Banners with the collective logo will be hanged on First and Arlington streets. That way people from SF, Portland and other cities will know that there are startups in the area. The event ended by all companies and the Governor signing one of the Reno Collective banners. Reno has potential to be a nationally recognized entrepreneurial ecosystem. Follow my blog and discover what’s happening in Reno’s innovative world…