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August 12, 2008

Mouths, berries and soda

ESPOO, Finland – Today I am a bit more thoughtful. The articles run the gamut of word-of-mouth (ugh, what a term), device preferences, and a Danish king in China.

As usual, I’m not doing the thinking alone here, and hope you can chip in some thoughts on all of these topics. So, keep reading and then leave your own comments at the end.

Mouths wagging

I don’t want to go into the huge changes in corporate marketing that are going on. Suffice it to say that one big change is the way corporations interact with customers. Nokia Conversations, here, is one method, posting topics folks are interested in and engaging in some sort of two-way conversation.

Another way corporations are getting themselves known out there is to interact with opinion formers. The opinion formers could be some well-read online independent journalist like Zach Esptein or Darla Mack Matthew Stevens, or could even be Uncle Phil, whose tech opinion you value. In any case, these are usually termed word-of-mouth, and corporations, Nokia include, have programs to engage in word-of-mouth opinion formers.

Zach Epstein and Darla Mack Matthew Stevens have brought up an interesting point regarding how Nokia might have handled word-of-mouth around the Nokia E71 and a competitor product, the Blackberry Bold. While Zach and Darla Matthew both agree that Nokia is at the forefront of word-of-mouth relationship building with online indie journalists (yay, toot our own horn!), Zach feels we could have done more to interact with the Blackberry writers.

Eh, we’re careful how we do our word-of-mouth. Indeed, I sometimes feel we are more cautious then we need to be. But that’s not so bad, since the folks on our Social Media Comms team, the S60 Ambassador folks, and the eMarketing team are doing a good job as it is. Balancing taste, aggressiveness, and respect is very hard and can rapidly turn nasty against us.

So, thanks Darla Matthew and Zach for the insight. We’ll think about it next time the opportunity arises.

And speaking of the Blackberry

Will from IntoMobile has a photo of the actress Lindsay Lohan with a Blackberry Bold. What the image triggered was not another thought about word-of-mouth, but an observation of device preferences of the glitterati.

The Danger Sidekick, famous for it’s keyboard and IM capabilities, was the darling of the glitterati as they lived their charmed club-hopping, name-dropping life. But the Sidekick is getting long in the tooth and there might be a chance for a new device to be massaged by those pretty thumbs.

Of course, Lindsay is toting a Blackberry Bold. But, could the Nokia E71 also slip into those hands?

The interesting thing is that operating system power and available applications and features are not of interest to folks like Lohan. They’ll be looking at style, speed of texting, and access to all their buddy lists and phone numbers. Will either the Bold or E71 topple the Sidekick in this space?

Did I say blackberries? How about blueberries and soda?

I heard that one possible origin for ancient Danish king Harald Gormson’s nick name, B├ątand’s (Blue Tooth) was from his predilection for blueberries, that colored his teeth blue. In any case, the wireless protocol Bluetooth was indeed named after him.

Coca Cola is running a large Bluetooth-based marketing campaign in China during the Olympics (oh, dang, another Olympic mention). They are placing thousands of hotspots in Beijing and Shanghai from where folks can download video commercials.

Hm. All that infrastructure solely to push ads. I couldn’t tell from the stuff I read, but I sure hope that there is something more to this. Also, Bluetooth is a bit persnickety when things get dense or when people try to use it.

I’m sure the marketing folks will be happy. But will the recipients be? Let’s see. What do you think?

Image from atul666