December 28, 2002

As you can tell ..... I'm making major changes here. Bare with me for a few days while things get fixed up. Thanks!

December 23, 2002


Chris Locke: (with a shake of sarcasim) "Unlike the mindless "content" offerings of television, the World Wide Web -- especially via the hot new phenomenon called "weblogging," "blogging" ... has proven a much more thoughtful, intellectually penetrating medium."

Locke has a new blog on Corante called Ad Hominem.

December 09, 2002

Should Small Businesses Brand?

Being that much of what I do for a living is online strategies for small/local business, this article really piqued my interest. Not many small businesses think branding is worthwhile. They don't have big budgets. Their owners work day and night to operate their business. They're advertising budgets are focused on things that drive business directly to their bottom line, not things like "branding."

But Branding is much more expansive than most people realize. I'd venture to guess that most small businesses brand without even knowing it. Brand Channel's latest issue takes up the issue:

So, the good news for small businesses is that the brand is already there. It lies in the staff, their expertise and conduct; in the product and its qualities; in the name, the logo, the marketing. It is just a question of finding its essence and letting that guide future decisions.

The even better news is that this doesn't have to cost the earth. "I'd be lying if I said we never thought about branding," said innocent drinks’ Dan Germain -- who admits his brand manager job title is as much tongue in cheek as a description of his work -- "but our major focus, at the beginning and always, is on getting the product right. If you get the product right it makes branding easier. We never sat down, had a meeting and said, 'So, what about branding?' "

Yet innocent drinks certainly has a strong brand. The UK company, founded in 1998, makes pure, fresh fruit juices and smoothies. "Being innocent informs everything we are trying to do," said Germain. "We wanted everything to be innocent -- paper from sustainable resources, a fresh tone on our labels, vans painted like cows, staff games in the park, going into the country to help pick elderflowers for our juice."

December 08, 2002

The Art of Blogging

There's nothing groundbreaking here, but George Siemens very simply and eloquently lays out all the nuggets of wisdom on the benefits and implications of blogging. (via Doc).

December 02, 2002

City Blogs

John Hiler has come up with one of the coolest, most bad-ass blog business ideas I've seen to date. Tagged, "City Blogs," John has combined city guides and blogs into one. John's inspiration came about after he moved to New York and was in search of local events. Searching through traditional city guides left John feeling like he was missing something. There was no personal perspective from people who were interested in the same thing he was interested in. John explains more:

What I really wanted was someone to find the most interesting events and tell me which ones to go to. I wanted that someone to be an expert in their field. And I wanted that someone to cover niche categories that just weren't in the local event listings: jazz jam sessions in the Village, kickboxing matches in Queens, or Haitian dance classes near Union Square.

In short, I wanted a local events blog. And so, was born.
This is very Gonzo. And I think it further exemplifies the power of the first person perspective in new media.

Shane Bowman and Chris Willis at Hypergene Media Blog add some good ideas on how to make City Blogs work:

Get collaborative: Hiler will need a cartel expert bloggers that he can depend upon to really make this work. He should consider making each blog — cinema, books, talks, etc. — run by about 3-5 bloggers. In a city like New York, there's now way any one person can effectively cover a given scene. Hiler should also consider dedicating a blogger to fact-checking, which is critical to events guides.

Allow comments: Currently the NYC blogs do not allow for comments. It doesn't matter how expert you are on any niche scene, there's always room for others thoughts, tips and opinions.

Provide listing feeds: Since you probably won't have a decent marketing budget, you'll want to use all the viral tools in the box. RSS feeds will allow other blogs and sites showcase your event recommendations on their sites. (We never really understood why the excellent Corante blogs, such as Blogging News and Idea Flow don't have RSS feeds. What's up John?)

Make the content open source: As noted in a previous post, you could increase the exposure of your content, by allowing others to repurpose and distribute the content.

Personality needs a face: None of the blogs on this site are currently designed so that it is clearly apparent who the author is. For example, on the cinema blog, there is nothing to suggest that John Hiler is the author. The items just say, posted by John. Personality, as Hiler suggests, is critical to the success of this blog. But personality needs an explicit face. Put more information about the blogger in the "About this Blog" section.
The surface is just being scratched here, and if John can bring in some solid traffic I can't think of a way he couldn't make some cash off this blog idea.