Archive for the ‘Rahaf Harfoush’ Category

Well Played: Ikea Facebook Campaign

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

I recently saw this video of a Facebook campaign created around the launch of a new store in Malmo, Sweden in late 2009.  What Ikea did was very simple, easy, and smart. They created a Facebook photo album with 12 showroom pictures. Whoever tagged the product first got to keep it. The campaign quickly went viral as the online enthusiasm spread to users’ facebook profiles and newsfeeds.

Watch them explain the campaign in their own words:

Why I love this campaign:

1) Use what you have:

There was no need to develop a fancy application or create a complicated web presence. They used two existing features that most users were already familiar with: tagging pictures and the sharing functionality.

2) Clear strategic objectives:

They knew what they wanted to accomplish: get people talking about the launch of the store and spread the news to their online network. The entry barrier to participate was very low. Anyone could easily and quickly be a part of the campaign.

3) A realistic campaign life cycle:

They set a clear deadline (12 days) and the end point for the campaign was clearly communicated to all  members. As more organizations execute social media strategies our attention spans will continue to shrink. I think many organizations have a misguided notion that they have to build a long lasting community of people who will remain engaged with the brand for months.

I can see where this perspective comes from considering building an online community of active members take a lot of time and effort and companies want to see some bang for their buck. However, as Ikea proves you can have an effective campaign with a shorter life cycle that is just as effective in getting the job done. I do want to point out that I am referring to specifically branded campaigns and not Ikea’s overall web presence.

4) They incented the right actions:

It really makes me laugh. People love getting things for free. Whatever it is, if it’s free someone will happily take it. AND they’ll tell their friends about it. Ikea was able to move the online discussion beyond the boundaries of one photo album and into the digital common space by counting on the fact that people will gloat about their free loot. And it worked like a charm.Whether it was announcing that they won something, or encouraging their friends to take part it made sense for people to talk about the campaign.

Well done Ikea!!

Many thanks to my friend Kimmo Kuortti, Director of International Relations at the University of Oulu in Finland for sharing this wonderful video with me!

How to conquer your social media fears and avoid common mistakes

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Dan Schawbel’s Personal Branding Blog about business strategies for social media and my book “Yes We Did.”  I also speak about the common mistakes businesses make when it comes to their digital strategy and how to conquer your fear when evaluating these tools.

A small highlight:

In your opinion, what are the most common mistakes businesses and organizations make when it comes to social media and branding?

The most common mistake I see are businesses who think they need to be doing every new thing. They are all over the place simply because they feel like they should be without necessarily considering how much value it’s adding to their overall strategic objectives.

Your best bet is to really sit down and think your strategy through. Where are your consumers naturally congregating online? What are they doing there? How would you like to engage with them?

These thoughts have to be carefully considered before entering this space, otherwise you end up wasting valuable time and money, not to mention potentially irritating potential customers as well.

You can read the rest of the interview here.

The Canadian Business Leadership Forum

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

An interview with Canadian Business about corporate social media strategies.

Good Reads: Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel (Part 2)

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Mitch JoelA long, long time ago (October 2009) I attempted to turn my endless hours on planes into something more productive: Kindle Book Reviews!

My first Foushy Read was my friend Mitch Joel’s book “Six Pixels of Separation,” that I reviewed in Part 1.

After finishing it, I had quite a few questions and Mitch was kind enough to answer them for me. So, despite the, obnoxious, long delay, I’m happy to finally be able to share this interview!

On how personal brands impact businesses:

Q: Your book chronicles the rising importance of the personal brand as a way of establishing a unique value proposition. What are some of the fundamental changes that are going to occur for businesses as we move towards a more individual-centric brand landscape?

The changes are going to be radical. When individuals have audiences that rival those of some of the biggest corporations, you can just imagine how this is going to change communications and marketing – both internally and externally. That’s the real shift because of Social Media that few people really do focus on.

When the guy in the mailroom can have 120,000 people following and engaging with him on platforms like Twitter, everything we know about hierarchy and speaking with “one, unified voice” not only goes out the window, but becomes fake to consumers. My hopes are that this new brand landscape will lead they way to more and more real interactions between real human beings, instead of corporate-speak and stock press release quotes.

On being heard in a sea of voices:

Q: With traditional media channels, there was a filtering process that allowed certain companies to be branded as “authorities” with the internet equalizing everyone, what happens to the prestige of the expert? How do you differentiate yourself in an industry filled with “experts”?

One of the trends everyone is talking about is filters and aggregators. It’s important to remember that as more and more people create the content they want in text, images, audio and video and publish them to the world, the more sceptical most people will become.

I think people are going to have their own, inner circle of experts that will trump what we have traditionally thought of “experts” (it turns out that individuals are great at aggregating and editing what’s important to them). Just think about how John Stewart always has those amazingly ridiculous (and funny) titles for all of his “journalist” and “correspondent”.

The days of ABC or CNN telling you who an expert really is may be coming to an end. It looks like each of us will have our own trusted advisors who will acts as our own, personal experts and the currency of their value will be dictated by the word of mouth referrals they receive.

On measuring our own success:

Q: We can’t all be Mitch Joel’s and Chris Brogan! Not everyone can write a book, publish a blog and start an agency, what does success look like for the rest of us?

I think that Social Media is still a great place to tell, share and talk about stories. I’m not so sure that Social Media can be the frontline of success. It’s not for me, and I don’t think it’s like that for Chris Brogan anymore. Much like anything else that is public, you still need the “back-end” where the “action” happens. I think a small few will tweet their way to success, but for the majority of us, it’s always just going to be a great platform to share and connect.

Nothing more, nothing less. Success, as always, will be dependant on how much passion, intelligence and hustle you bring to your game (whatever you game may be). Wow, I sound like Gary Vaynerchuk (I just finished reading his book, Crush It… maybe that’s why?).

On luring readers after a blogging haitus:

Q: I have been guilty of not updating my blog in a consistent basis. Shame! Once we’ve dropped the ball, what are some of the best ways to get readers back?

  1. Be curious.
  2. Read lots of different stuff (online, magazines, books,  newspapers).
  3. Constantly write – because you love to write (you do love to  write, don’t you?).
  4. Ask questions (and answer them on your Blog).
  5. Use it as a pressure gasket to clear your mind at the end of  the day (just be careful not to set off too many other people’s gaskets by  your comments ;)
  6. Keep a notebook or a document open on your desktop/mobile  device where you can jot down ideas for things to Blog about.

Thanks Mitch!

Stalk Mitch Online:

Learn more about Mitch’s work here.

RIP Josephine

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

My cat interrupts my 12 seconds video to say hi. on 12seconds.tv

Yesterday, our beloved cat Josephine had to be put down after her kidneys failed in a sudden and unexpected attack. Josephine had been my boyfriend’s cat for the last 18 years – he purchased her when he was 10 years old with his paper route money.

josephine-paw-on-me

I was devastated to come home from a weekend trip and find her in her  little cat bed, too weak to stand up on her own although she did try to get up and greet me. The vet informed me there was nothing they could do, and so we put her to sleep since she was suffering and in pain.

It was one of the saddest experiences of my life. I stroked her head and spoke to her to let her know that I was there. She lifted one of her little paws and laid it on my arm and looked right at me as the vet administered the shot. I am so upset that I wasn’t there for her when it happened. It kills me to think that she was scared and in pain and alone during those last few hours.

The house now seems so empty and much too quiet. Josephine’s favorite place to be was beside us on the couch and she would purr contentedly for hours. She loved lying on anything that belonged to us and I had become accustomed to finding her snoozing on our freshly folded laundry, coats that had been carelessly thrown on the bed and suitcases that were left open. I’m going to miss her crazy yowls and the chatty meows she would often insert into the middle of a conversation we were having. Most of all, I’m going to miss how she always seemed to know when I was sad or upset and would just curl up next to me.

Snoozing in a suitcase I had left open

I’m sad to start 2010 without her.

Josephine

RIP Josephine

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

My cat interrupts my 12 seconds video to say hi. on 12seconds.tv

Yesterday, our beloved cat Josephine had to be put down after her kidneys failed in a sudden and unexpected attack. Josephine had been my boyfriend’s cat for the last 18 years – he purchased her when he was 10 years old with his paper route money.

josephine-paw-on-me

I was devastated to come home from a weekend trip and find her in her  little cat bed, too weak to stand up on her own although she did try to get up and greet me. The vet informed me there was nothing they could do, and so we put her to sleep since she was suffering and in pain.

It was one of the saddest experiences of my life. I stroked her head and spoke to her to let her know that I was there. She lifted one of her little paws and laid it on my arm and looked right at me as the vet administered the shot. I am so upset that I wasn’t there for her when it happened. It kills me to think that she was scared and in pain and alone during those last few hours.

The house now seems so empty and much too quiet. Josephine’s favorite place to be was beside us on the couch and she would purr contentedly for hours. She loved lying on anything that belonged to us and I had become accustomed to finding her snoozing on our freshly folded laundry, coats that had been carelessly thrown on the bed and suitcases that were left open. I’m going to miss her crazy yowls and the chatty meows she would often insert into the middle of a conversation we were having. Most of all, I’m going to miss how she always seemed to know when I was sad or upset and would just curl up next to me.

Snoozing in a suitcase I had left open

I’m sad to start 2010 without her.

Josephine

Haiti: The Role of Social Networks and Open Data in Crisis Response

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Last week, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti ravaging the country’s capital Port-au-Prince. The International Red Cross is estimating that at least three million people were impacted by the quake, with Haitian government officials citing that up to 200,000 people have been killed. Major infrastructure damage was also reported including the destruction of Parliament and the Presidential Palace.

The Internet community quickly rallied around this cause and provided an excellent case study of how social networks and open data can help in crisis response.

1) BREAKING NEWS: Up to the minute information flow

EARTHQUAKE HAITI

TWITTER:

Within hours of the quake, Haiti was a trending word on Twitter and users in Haiti provided live coverage of the earthquake including sending pictures, and information about damaged areas. In addition, some users are using their twitter feed to provide the names and conditions of survivors and coordinating rescue efforts in saving people who were still trapped in the rubble.

Facebook:

On Facebook, over 250,000 people have joined a group called Earthquake Haiti. Members are using the social network to post pictures of missing family members, as well as exchanging information on how to locate survivors, donate money and  offer words of comfort and support.

Wikipedia:

The Haiti 2010 Wikipedia Page was created within seconds after the quake and according the HuffPost, the page has received over 168,000 pages views and lists over 106 article sources. Smart Phones have also allowed Haitians to upload footage of the wreckage to sites such as Youtube, Vimeo and other video sharing sites. The day after the earthquake, over 4,000 Haiti related videos were uploaded to Youtube.

2) Coordinated Donation Efforts: Viral Advertising + Easy Call to Action

In addition to quickly disseminating information about the unfolding crisis, social media also provided a powerful platform to let people know how they could help. Users quickly shared information about fundraising campaigns and directed people to links where they could easily donate funds.

The American Red Cross launched an SMS  campaign enabling people to donate $10 right from their cell phones. The campaign proved immensely successful and raised a record $7 million within the first 24 hours.   In Canada, the Canadian Red Cross reported over $15.4 million in donations, with 85% of donations coming in online.

I don’t think it was just the increase of information available, but the fact that we were witnessing this disaster unfold through the eyes of those living it that made such an impact. The human element combined with an easy call to action made it simple and intuitive for those who wanted to help.

3) The Tech Community and Global Disaster Relief

Both Google and Facebook launched in Disaster Relief pages.

Facebook:

screen-shot-2010-01-18-at-115854-am

Facebook recently launched their Disaster Relief Page. According to the official Facebook blog this page is for:

“…the more than 350 million people on Facebook can educate themselves and find out how to help not only in Haiti but wherever disaster and misfortune may strike.

Every minute, people have been posting more than 1,500 status updates on Facebook that contained the word “Haiti.” People have contributed thousands of dollars through the Causes application on Facebook, and groups including the American Red Cross, Oxfam America and Partners in Health have mobilized supporters through their Facebook Pages and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in the last 24 hours alone.”

Currently, the group has over 100,000 members and the Causes features has raised over $95,000 to date.

Google:

The search engine giant has also created a Disaster Relief page that allows people to easily donate and stay up to speed on breaking events as they unfold. In addition to donating one million dollars to the cause they are also offering free phone calls to Haiti via Google Voice.

Most interestingly, they have released a new data layer for Google Earth that allows users to see satellite images of Haiti post-quake. They have made this feature available via plugin, which you can get here. Users are encouraged to upload any information, pictures or footage and tag it through their Google Map Maker feature.

4) The Need for Open Data

screen-shot-2010-01-18-at-121123-pm

Many news organizations have created “Peoplefinder” sites, a way to enable people to find information about missing family members. Boingboing published an open letter from Christopher Csikszentmihalyi, Director of the MIT Center for Future Civic Media, on how to make these initiatives more effective by opening their data:

“In the response to the earthquake in Haiti, many organizations worked to create sites where people could find one another, or least information about their loved ones. This excellent idea has been undermined by its success: within 24 hours it became clear that there were too many places where people were putting information, and each site is a silo.

We recognize that many newspapers have put precious resources into developing a people-finder system. We nonetheless urge them to make their data available to the Google project, and standardize on the Google widget. Doing so will greatly increase the number of successful reunions. Data from the google site is currently available as “dumps” in the standard PFIF format (on this page), and an API is being developed, and licensed through Creative Commons. I am not affiliated with Google — indeed, this is a volunteer initiative by some of their engineers — but this is one case where their reach and capacity can help the most people.”

Ultimately, creating data silos will not do anyone any good. We need to have open and transparent data that can be easily accessed and shared by various NGOs, governments and other interested parties who (like Google) can use it to create applications that can help and add value in a time of crisis. The New York Times has already indicated it would make it’s data available to Google and I hope more news organizations will follow suit.

While still in its infancy, I am happy to see that social media is creating opportunities for large groups of people to quickly share information and mobilize in support of those who are in need.

Davos 2010 – A quick hello from the mountains of Switzerland

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Hi everyone!

Just a quick update from Davos. It’s been a great annual meeting so far. More details to come after, but I thought I would share this brief cameo I made on a German news program discussing what the Forum’s Global Partnership to Assist Haiti’s Economic Development, a partnership we’ve launched with the Clinton Foundation and the UN.

Haiti: The Role of Social Networks and Open Data in Crisis Response

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Last week, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti ravaging the country’s capital Port-au-Prince. The International Red Cross is estimating that at least three million people were impacted by the quake, with Haitian government officials citing that up to 200,000 people have been killed. Major infrastructure damage was also reported including the destruction of Parliament and the Presidential Palace.

The Internet community quickly rallied around this cause and provided an excellent case study of how social networks and open data can help in crisis response.

1) BREAKING NEWS: Up to the minute information flow

EARTHQUAKE HAITI

TWITTER:

Within hours of the quake, Haiti was a trending word on Twitter and users in Haiti provided live coverage of the earthquake including sending pictures, and information about damaged areas. In addition, some users are using their twitter feed to provide the names and conditions of survivors and coordinating rescue efforts in saving people who were still trapped in the rubble.

Facebook:

On Facebook, over 250,000 people have joined a group called Earthquake Haiti. Members are using the social network to post pictures of missing family members, as well as exchanging information on how to locate survivors, donate money and  offer words of comfort and support.

Wikipedia:

The Haiti 2010 Wikipedia Page was created within seconds after the quake and according the HuffPost, the page has received over 168,000 pages views and lists over 106 article sources. Smart Phones have also allowed Haitians to upload footage of the wreckage to sites such as Youtube, Vimeo and other video sharing sites. The day after the earthquake, over 4,000 Haiti related videos were uploaded to Youtube.

2) Coordinated Donation Efforts: Viral Advertising + Easy Call to Action

In addition to quickly disseminating information about the unfolding crisis, social media also provided a powerful platform to let people know how they could help. Users quickly shared information about fundraising campaigns and directed people to links where they could easily donate funds.

The American Red Cross launched an SMS  campaign enabling people to donate $10 right from their cell phones. The campaign proved immensely successful and raised a record $7 million within the first 24 hours.   In Canada, the Canadian Red Cross reported over $15.4 million in donations, with 85% of donations coming in online.

I don’t think it was just the increase of information available, but the fact that we were witnessing this disaster unfold through the eyes of those living it that made such an impact. The human element combined with an easy call to action made it simple and intuitive for those who wanted to help.

3) The Tech Community and Global Disaster Relief

Both Google and Facebook launched in Disaster Relief pages.

Facebook:

screen-shot-2010-01-18-at-115854-am

Facebook recently launched their Disaster Relief Page. According to the official Facebook blog this page is for:

“…the more than 350 million people on Facebook can educate themselves and find out how to help not only in Haiti but wherever disaster and misfortune may strike.

Every minute, people have been posting more than 1,500 status updates on Facebook that contained the word “Haiti.” People have contributed thousands of dollars through the Causes application on Facebook, and groups including the American Red Cross, Oxfam America and Partners in Health have mobilized supporters through their Facebook Pages and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in the last 24 hours alone.”

Currently, the group has over 100,000 members and the Causes features has raised over $95,000 to date.

Google:

The search engine giant has also created a Disaster Relief page that allows people to easily donate and stay up to speed on breaking events as they unfold. In addition to donating one million dollars to the cause they are also offering free phone calls to Haiti via Google Voice.

Most interestingly, they have released a new data layer for Google Earth that allows users to see satellite images of Haiti post-quake. They have made this feature available via plugin, which you can get here. Users are encouraged to upload any information, pictures or footage and tag it through their Google Map Maker feature.

4) The Need for Open Data

screen-shot-2010-01-18-at-121123-pm

Many news organizations have created “Peoplefinder” sites, a way to enable people to find information about missing family members. Boingboing published an open letter from Christopher Csikszentmihalyi, Director of the MIT Center for Future Civic Media, on how to make these initiatives more effective by opening their data:

“In the response to the earthquake in Haiti, many organizations worked to create sites where people could find one another, or least information about their loved ones. This excellent idea has been undermined by its success: within 24 hours it became clear that there were too many places where people were putting information, and each site is a silo.

We recognize that many newspapers have put precious resources into developing a people-finder system. We nonetheless urge them to make their data available to the Google project, and standardize on the Google widget. Doing so will greatly increase the number of successful reunions. Data from the google site is currently available as “dumps” in the standard PFIF format (on this page), and an API is being developed, and licensed through Creative Commons. I am not affiliated with Google — indeed, this is a volunteer initiative by some of their engineers — but this is one case where their reach and capacity can help the most people.”

Ultimately, creating data silos will not do anyone any good. We need to have open and transparent data that can be easily accessed and shared by various NGOs, governments and other interested parties who (like Google) can use it to create applications that can help and add value in a time of crisis. The New York Times has already indicated it would make it’s data available to Google and I hope more news organizations will follow suit.

While still in its infancy, I am happy to see that social media is creating opportunities for large groups of people to quickly share information and mobilize in support of those who are in need.

Davos 2010 – A quick hello from the mountains of Switzerland

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Hi everyone!

Just a quick update from Davos. It’s been a great annual meeting so far. More details to come after, but I thought I would share this brief cameo I made on a German news program discussing what the Forum’s Global Partnership to Assist Haiti’s Economic Development, a partnership we’ve launched with the Clinton Foundation and the UN.