Welcome back to Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding, the top stories in branding and digital marketing that caught our eye from the past week.
#1 – “Agony and Ecstasy: Steve Ballmer’s Years At Microsoft” – via ReadWrite.com
Premise: Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer announced that he will be retiring within the next 12 months on Friday, sending the stock price up a few dollars. This write-up takes a look back at his tenure at the tech giant, listing out the successes (company restructuring and killing off failed projects) and failures (Xbox One’s original rollout and the Surface tablet).
Thoughts: Upon Ballmer’s announcement, the stock surged 10% or so and finished the day up over 7%. I’m not sure how I would feel about that if I were Ballmer. Of course, with that increase he increased his personal wealth millions of dollars over (he reportedly owns over 300 million shares in the company), so I doubt he takes it to heart. There was no announcement as to who would be replacing Ballmer when he retires, so expect the search to create a lot of news in the coming weeks and months.
Microsoft is well behind Apple and Google in mobile right now and it will be important for the next leader to put heavy focus and investment in this arena. The Surface tablet has been a colossal failure thus far. While Xbox had been a gold star for Microsoft and Ballmer, their original plans for Xbox One were panned.
Who do you think will take over at Microsoft? Will Bill Gates return? Will they steal someone from Google (or Apple)?
#2 – “Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman Does Not Fear Foursquare” – via AdWeek.com
Premise: Yelp’s CEO sat down with AdWeek for an interview, discussing past/present successes being achieved in the company and his growth plans for the future (Latin America and Asia expansion). Stoppelman makes it a point to call out how and why his business is better/stronger than one of its closest competitors, Foursquare.
Thoughts: Since going public in March 2012, Yelp has been on a roll. While I have not been an avid user of the site, my wife swears by it. Their shift in focus towards mobile was an obvious decision to make and will likely continue to help grow the company’s numbers in the coming months.
(Just a reminder to vote on the poll on the page for your favorite location-based app. We will be shutting down the poll shortly after the Labor Day holiday and the leading vote-getter will be the focus of a future blog entry. Can anyone overtake Foursquare?)
#3 – “LinkedIn Drops Minimum Age to 14 in US with ‘University Pages’” – via blogs.wsj.com
Premise: Early this week, LinkedIn announced its latest expansion news with a new product/service called University Pages. This will allow high-school students to join the site and start to interact with others from colleges and universities. As a starting point, LinkedIn has launched this initiative with 200 schools around the US.
Thoughts: While this is a natural next step for the site, I believe this is a huge next step. LinkedIn continues down the path of significant growth and relevance. As the author points out, University Pages look very similar to Company Pages; there could have been some additional work here to make them more different in my opinion.
#4 – “NFL’s Sunday Ticket could be coming to YouTube” – via NYPost.com
Premise: The NFL’s exclusive agreement with DirecTV is set to expire after the 2014 season and Larry Page (Google CEO) met with Roger Goodell (NFL Commissioner) to potentially discuss bringing the Sunday Ticket to YouTube.
Thoughts: As soon as I saw this article on Wednesday, I knew it would be part of Sunday Musings. I really, really hope the NFL doesn’t re-up with DirecTV as the exclusive provider of the Sunday Ticket. Bringing in a digital element, specifically through YouTube would be a phenomenal add to the NFL’s fan base. The last piece that came to mind – Chromecast orders would spike/skyrocket!
#5 – “Four examples of brands rocking Instagram video” – via eConsultancy.com
Premise: Instagram video has caught on to the growing number of users of its app/product. Several brands have been using the video feature to shoot small campaigns with hashtags, including Ford and T-Mobile. The author points out a couple of other feeds that are working Instagram video into their digital marketing plans.
Thoughts: To be perfectly honest, I do not use Instagram, but I want to be sure to provide links like this when they appear for the service. We have obviously spent a lot of time talking about micro-video branding, and in particular Vine – including a similar article to this one for winners on Vine, and want to provide similar stories for Instagram.
For those of you using the app/service, what brands have caught your attention on Instagram?
Those are the top stories that caught our eye this week in branding and digital marketing. What caught your attention?