Pinterest’s Next Steps For Ad Platform

Pinterest has updated its site to make it that much easier for consumers to explore specific interests. Now each category has a whole new selection of specialized interests to explore, a feature agency execs are already looking toward its potential advertising uses.

In the past Pinterest formated pins around broad categories like “Home Decor.” Now, however, when users click on these pins they’ll be able to find pins curated to interests as narrow as “industrial design” and “man caves.”

According to Digiday, Pinterest is under the process of introducing ads to its platform, however, a Pinterest spokesperson said there are no immediate plans to allow advertisers to target users based upon the interest pages they chose to follow. With this being said, Pinterest is a platform that relies solely on advertising for revenue, so it’s safe to say that if interest pages become popular with users, ads will be sold against them.

“All we’re trying to do is go deeper based upon targeting people on interest. The ability to hit them in that context makes a lot of sense,”  said Jordan Bitterman, chief strategy officer at media agency Mindshare.

According to Jill Sherman, group director of social and content strategy at Digitas, the 32 categories on Pinterest (such as “Education,” “Gardening,” and “Technology”) were too broad to serve specific ads.  Agency execs tend to describe Pinterest as a visual search engine and adding interest collections can only enhance that database.

“It was basically a collection of boards. Now it’s much more: a very deep directory of interest,” said Razorfish’s global vice president of social media, Chris Bowler.

Pinterest plans to utilize these interest pages and broaden its appeal. Providing more pinpointed collections could attract even more users

“This is where the entire social world is going; niche communities that have much higher receptivity than your broad-based Facebook and Twitter platforms,” Bowler said. “This is Pinterest’s way of serving a community of rock climbers versus someone creating another online community around rock climbing.”

This tool caters to people’s interests and makes Pinterest more appealing to consumers, and more alluring to ad buyers, which, in return will surely result in an increase of time spent on the app by its users.

Harmonix’s Up And Down Year

Harmonix, the studio best known for Rock Band, has had quite a busy year. The development studio has been hard at work on numerous projects, including Disney’s Fantasia: Music Evolved and a new Dance Central game for Microsoft, which will debut on Xbox One in September.

Inbetween these two projects, the team managed to launch a KickStarter campaign to bring back a classic title released for the PlayStation 2 years before, a music/rhythm game called Amplitude.

However, the news hasn’t been entirely good for Harmonix, as the studio faced recent layoffs in the wake of news surrounding Microsoft’s decision to make an Xbox One system bundle without the inclusion of the Kinect motion-reading device – something that’s required for both of the company’s forthcoming titles.

Harmonix staffers, namely former director of publishing and PR John Drake and publicist Nick Chester, responded negatively to the news with simple “Oh, great, super great” and “Oh, good” Twitter responses to the news. However, Alex Rigopulos, the chairman and CCO of Harmonix, explained that Microsoft’s decision wasn’t as harmful as the studio believed.

“No,” he stated. “We’ve worked with Microsoft for years, and we had some awareness of the plan. So it wasn’t a surprise actually.”

The developer plans to keep its goals focused on experiences that involve the Kinect, despite the decision. “Look,” Rigopulos replies. “I basically view it as our responsibility to make games that are sufficiently compelling for players to be motivated to pick up the hardware they need to play them. If you look back to the last generation, the original Kinect was not bundled with the 360. It was independent, and still millions of people bought the Kinect so they could play Dance Central, among others. Our hope is that Dance Central Spotlight and Fantasia: Music Evolved will be good enough to sell the hardware. We’ll be trying to make the games that make that worthwhile.”

Harmonix also faced some critiques in regards to needing to launch a KickStarter campaign for Amplitude, to which Rigopulos was quick to respond. “One of the things that we really underestimated was how polarized the Kickstarter community has become following events like the Facebook acquisition of Oculus, for example,” he says. “A lot of people felt betrayed by that. Something that we didn’t expect, but that turned out to be a significant factor, was that a lot of that audience felt almost insulted that a company like Harmonix would be turning to Kickstarter.

“People have the image of us as this company sitting on big piles of Rock Band money, and that we don’t need crowdfunding for our games. But it’s just not the truth. The fact is that our hit games were years ago, and we’re just like any other independent studio – we need to find ways to fund our games.”

We certainly wish the developer the best of luck. Fantasia and Dance Central will release later this year, with Amplitude following sometime in 2015.

Source: GamesIndustry International

Microsoft Closes Xbox Entertainment Studios

It looks like Microsoft’s grand experiment in original video programming is being scaled back, as Xbox head Phil Spencer confirms the the Santa Monica-based Xbox Entertainment Studios are closing.

“As part of the planned reduction to our overall workforce announced today and in light of our organization’s mission, we plan to streamline a handful of portfolio and engineering development efforts across Xbox. One such plan is that, in the coming months, we expect to close Xbox Entertainment Studios,” Spencer said in a memo to the Xbox team.

“I am pleased that Nancy [Tellem], Jordan [Levin] and members of the XES team remain committed to new, original programming already in production like the upcoming documentary series Signal to Noise whose first installment takes on the rise and fall of gaming icon Atari and of course, the upcoming game franchise series Halo: Nightfall, and the Halo television series which will continue as planned with 343 Industries. Xbox will continue to support and deliver interactive sports content like NFL on Xbox, and we will continue to enhance our entertainment offering on console by innovating the TV experience through the monthly console updates.”

The studio has around 200 employees, and was built up in order to provide a slate of original video programming that would help encourage people to pick up an Xbox One or an Xbox 360. Additionally, many of the titles were planned to have interactive features that would set them apart from plain old video programming.

Despite the decision to close Xbox Entertainment Studios, work on Remedy Entertainment’s hybrid game/video IP Quantum Break will continue as normal. In a note sent to Polygon, Microsoft confirmed that Quantum Break “will be released next year and the game and show both remain on track.” Remedy’s bold concept blends both game and TV show with the story arc playing out across both media. So far, further details have been relatively thin on the ground, but Remedy has pledged to reveal more at Gamescom in August.

Source: GamesIndustry International

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic Finds Online Success

How do you get the attention of the music industry By doing something bold and unique – and not to mention hilarious.

“Weird Al” Yankovic, who has been making waves in the music industry since the 80’s with such lampooning songs as “Eat It” and “Amish Paradise,” made a triumphant return this week, just in time for the launch of his new album Mandatory Fun, which arrived last Tuesday.

Over the past eight days, “Weird Al” has managed to launch a new video a day, featuring a song from his Mandatory Fun album. Most noteworthy was the first release, “Tacky,” which debuted last Monday. The song, which parodies Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” features an oddly dressed Yankovic having a ball with bad fashion choices. Other popular stars joined him, including Aisha Tyler and Jack Black.

Other videos focused on similar themes, partnered through the likes of College Humor, Yahoo! and other sites. These included a song devoted to typical sports themes, a dialogue-driven take on Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” under the new name “Word Crimes,” and a humorous approach to repair work, under the name “Handy.”

The move has been an essential one for Yankovic, and a popular one at that. Hundreds of thousands of fans have been taking to Twitter and Facebook to share the links, assuring that his popularity is still surging – especially with spot-on parodies as he normally does.

Of course, all of this effort hasn’t been just to tweak musical artists. It’s been an excellent promotion for Yankovic, with the staging being an important part. Releasing these videos one after another has helped build the buzz, and amplified the story both on social media and mass media. It’s a master class in promotion and marketing as well as being a hell of a lot of fun.

You can see all the videos at this link. Prepare for laughs.

Source: Weird Al Official


NPD: At Retail, Hardware’s Strong, Software’s Weak

While the latest generation of consoles continues to sell, a lack of new launches in June left retail sales of video game software down 3 percent — and if you counted PC retail software sales in that, sales were down five percent over June 2013. Certainly some of that is due to increased sales of full digital downloads of console software, which according to Electronic Arts is ranging around 10 percent of their total sales for a given title. However, it’s also true that we’re seeing fewer new releases from the major publishers, as they strive to make each title published as big a success as possible. Meanwhile, DLC for old titles is coming out on a regular basis, and again that’s mostly not tracked in retail sales numbers.

“Nine out of the last ten months saw year-over-year growth in new physical video game sales,” said NPD’s Liam Callahan. Of course, he’s lumping in hardware revenue with the software revenue. “While the new hardware launches were a major factor in overall new physical video game growth, the start of this year-over-year growth began in September 2013, two months before the November 2013 launches of Xbox One and PS4. September and October 2013 year-over-year growth for overall new physical video game sales were driven by software increases.” Again, that’s tied to strong new releases.

The NPD figures don’t break out individual console sales, but it does give us an overall picture. ‘The 106 percent increase in hardware sales (vs. June 2013) was lifted entirely by console hardware sales, which were up by over 200 percent,” Callahan noted. “The strong sales performance of console hardware helped to offset the declines seen in portable hardware. Combined sales of Xbox One and PS4 are over 80 percent higher than the combined totals for Xbox 360 and PS3 — an indication of the strength of the start of this new console generation.”

In a separate statement, Microsoft noted that sales of the Xbox One for June more than doubled the previous month, but no numbers were provided. Sony just declared that the PS4 continued to be the first-place seller, which makes sense; otherwise you can bet Microsoft would have touted the Xbox One’s status as the number one selling console. The Wii U continues to be a distant third, as the enthusiasm over Mario Kart 8 wears off. Still, Nintendo noted in a release that Mario Kart 8 sold over 885,000 copies in the US during its first five weeks, and that Wii U sales were up 48 percent in June over June 2013’s Wii U numbers.

“In terms of software titles, many of the top games in June 2014 mirrored those of May 2014, with six of the same games ranking in the top ten,” said Callahan. “Three of these top ten games were also new launches from May 2014 (Watch Dogs, Mario Kart 8, and Wolfenstein: The New Order), indicating the weakness of new launches in June.”

Callahan noted some differences in the performance on new releases versus the same period last year. “While unit sales of launch titles in June 2014 declined 67 percent when compared to June 2013 launch title sales, there was a 47 percent increase in unit sales for games that launched across the second quarter of 2014 (April — June) when compared to the same time period in 2013,” Callahan said. “Sales of launch titles in June 2014 did not compare favorably to those launched in June 2013, which included the PS3 exclusive The Last of Us, along with Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and a retail version of Minecraft for the Xbox 360.”

“Console software increased by 6 percent, with portable software driving overall video game software declines,” Callahan said, rather ominously from the 3DS and PS Vita points of view.

June 2014 Top 10 Games (New Physical Retail only; across all platforms incl. PC)
1. Watch Dogs (PS4, 360, XBO, PS3, PC)** Ubisoft
2. Mario Kart 8 (NWU) Nintendo
3. Minecraft (360, PS3) Microsoft / Sony
4. UFC (PS4, XBO) Electronic Arts
5. FIFA 14 (PS4, 360, XBO, PS3, PSV) Electronic Arts
6. NBA 2K14 (360, PS3, PS4, XBO, PC)** Take 2 Interactive
7. Wolfenstein: The New Order (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3, PC) Bethesda Softworks
8. Call Of Duty: Ghosts (360, PS4, PS3, XBO, NWU, PC)** Activision Blizzard
9. Tomodachi Life (3DS) Nintendo
10. Grand Theft Auto V (360, PS3)** Take 2 Interactive
**(includes CE, GOTY editions, bundles, etc. but not those bundled with hardware)

Casual Connect SF 2014 Preview

The Casual Connect show comes to San Francisco next week on July 22 through July 24, and its three days are packed with multiple tracks of programming covering everything from game design to casino games to marketing to being an indie developer. The show is anything but casual in its comprehensive coverage of the games industry, and as a direct consequence the show is well-attended by the industry. Ostensibly it’s all about casual games, but somehow more intense games have managed to sneak into the tent, too.

Since there’s such a crowded schedule of events, the [a]list daily provides a look at some of the presentations that sound likely to be more interesting or educational. It’s also true that you can glean some information about the state of the industry and the important trends merely by contemplating the event schedule.

Interestingly, Amazon leads off prior to the show with an Amazon Developer Day on Monday. The event is billed as “the place for game developers to learn about building for Amazon’s latest devices, including Fire phone and Fire TV.” This shows Amazon is serious about developing a good set of apps for this hardware, and realizes that games are a key part of the business. This is a good way to see how serious a company is about building an audience for its game-playing hardware: Do they have a strong presence at industry events where developers can be influenced.

Another interesting thing to note about this year’s Casual Connect is the growing number of sessions devoted to eSports. As the sector continues to grow, so do the number of sessions. People realize it’s worth paying attention to eSports, particularly when major brands like Coca-Cola and American Express are jumping in as sponsors, streaming providers like Twitch and Azubu get millions of eSports viewers each month, and multiple companies like Riot, Wargaming and Valve are raking in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues from games with strong eSports followings. Games are now being specifically designed for eSports, and games which could have an eSports component are getting a fresh look from companies eager to get a piece of this popular action.

Other popular topics at Casual Connect include the continuing search to find the right balance between gaming fun and selling things for free-to-play games, and the role of advertising in monetization. Just as popular a topic as free-to-play is how to increase retention and generate higher LTV’s, and many publishers seem to be heading towards harder core games to do that. While many sessions are devoted to various tools, statistics and analyses of how to tweak you key performance indicators, it’s nice to see some sessions devoted to game design as well, since ultimately that’s where the value resides. Tweaking metrics may be able to tease value out of its cave, but if there’s only a mouse-sized value in the game design cave you’ll never be able to turn it into elephantine profits.

Some of the sessions that look most interesting at Casual Connect:

Tuesday has a full lineup of interesting panels, beginning with the Mobile Game Publishing Executive Roundtable from 10:00 — 10:50. Panelists include Nick Malaperiman, Head of Publishing, Roadhouse Games; Giordano Contestabile, VP Product Management & Revenue,Tilting Point; Tim Harris, Founder & President,Industrial Toys; Walter Driver, Co-Founder & CEO, Scopely; and Barry Dorf, VP of Partnerships & Alliances, DeNA. The panel is moderated by Ian Atkinson, VP Product, Sleepy Giant.

After that, check out Dissecting League of Legends Monetization from 11:00 — 11:50; where Teut Weidemann, Senior Online Supervisor for Ubisoft Blue Byte analyzes the popular MOBA to discern some of the ways this game generates so much revenue.

After lunch on Tuesday, from 2:00 to 2:50 the session titled eSports: Opportunities for Brands and Game Companies should be revelatory. Panelists include Craig Levine, VP North America, ESL: Kevin Lin, COO, Twitch; Matt Wolf, Head of Global Gaming,The Coca-Cola Company; and it’s moderated by Peter Warman, the CEO of data firm Newzoo.

Concluding the great lineup of sessions for Tuesday is Honing the Power of the YouTube Influencer from 4:00 — 4:50, with Luke Stepleton, Co-founder, 3BlackDot; Tom Cassell, YouTube Personality, The Syndicate Project; Adam “Seananners” Montoya, YouTube Personality, SeaNanners Gaming Channel; Jimmy Yun, CEO, Section Studios; and Mitch Berman, Managing Partner, Zen Media Entertainment Group. It will interesting to see what these key people say about sponsored YouTube content.

Wednesday also has a strong lineup of sessions, with one of the highlights sure to be Messaging Apps: A New Frontier for Gaming Developers to Acquire and Engage Gamers from 2:00 — 2:50, with Jim Ying, VP Game Publishing, Tango; Josh Burns, Gaming Industry Consultant; and Dennis Yi, Business Development Manager, GAMEVIL USA, moderated by Chris Tanquary, Strategic Partnership Lead, Samsung Media Solutions Center America. Messaging apps like WeChat, Line and Kakao have become leading ways for mobile games to find customers in Asia. Will this happen elsewhere, and how do you get a piece of that action.

Also at the same time on Wednesday is a session for those developers trying to go their own way. Indie Entrepreneurship: Lessons from the Trenches is at 2:00 — 2:50, featuring Amy Dallas, Co-Founder, ClutchPlay Games; Robin Hunicke, Co-Founder, Funomena; Marguerite Dibble, President, gametheory; and Jenna Hoffstein, Founder, Little Worlds Interactive. The panel is moderated by Jason Della Rocca, Co-Founder, Execution Labs.

Finally, at the end of Wednesday there’s PC to Console to Mobile: The Proliferation of eSports from 4:00 — 4:50, with Anthony Jacobson, Head of Publisher Relations and Business Development, Skillz Inc.; Wim Stocks, EVP,Virgin Gaming; Marcus “djWHEAT” Graham, Director of Community & Education, Twitch; and Tim Harris, Founder & President,Industrial Toys. The moderator is Mike VORHAUS, President,Magid Advisors.

If you’re still able to absorb information after two intense days, on Thursday it’s worth checking out User Acquisition Secrets from the Top Casino Games in the World from 11:00 — 11:50, to get a read on the growing market for social casino and real-money gaming. The panel includes Nick Talarico, Founder & CEO, 12 Gigs; Riz Virk, Co-Founder & CEO, Midverse Studios; Shmuel Tennenhaus, VP Marketing, Big Fish; and Louis Deering, Marketing Services Department Manager, Income Access Group. The moderator is John Gargiulo, SVP Business Development & Marketing, BlueStacks.

There are a host of other sessions as well, including a full series of sessions on design, art, audio, and development in general. Indies are also shown some serious love with a full track devoted to panels and sessions on every aspect of the indie experience, from funding to development to marketing. Whatever your specialty or interest in the game industry, there will be sessions or even whole tracks devoted to it at Casual Connect SF. Look for the [a]list daily’s reports from the show next week!

The Future Of Wearables In Entertainment At Wearable Tech LA

Yesterday, experts in the wearable technology industry graced the Pasadena Convention Center with innovative insights in Los Angeles’ biggest wearable event of the year, Wearable Tech LA.

Of the 20 keynotes at the event, there were two presentations whose message seemed particularly targeted to marketers. These were “The Future Of Wearable Entertainment And Hollywood” and “The Future Of Wearable Music”

Seven speakers*, tackled the topic of wearables in entertainment, with each advocating for a different field of wearable technology. The prevailing view of this group, as stated by Kayvan Mirza (CEO of Optinvent), is that, “What’s happening now is that technology is catching up with what entertainment’s vision of wearable technology has been.”

Moderator Ken Hertz, Sr. Partner at the Law Firm of Hertz and Lichtenstein LLP, challenged the panel with the generic question, “What impact will these devices have on entertainment.”

In his opinion, the answer might be, not so much. In fact, Hertz went on to tell [a]listdaily, “The only reason that there is this concept of wearable technology is not that were trying to figure out how not to carry our technology with us, but rather become [ourselves] part of the Internet of things. Wearable technologies are sort of a clumsy way of describing that we, in fact, will be connected devices.”

Attendees try on Muse's headband outfitted with brain sensors.Attendees try on Muse’s headband outfitted with brain sensors.

Naturally, the panelists, all of whom had developed or are pushing these types of products tended not to agree with this less-than-enthusiastic assessment. But as if to put an exclamation mark on his point of view, Hertz went on to say, “I think we have to be vigilant and pay attention to the things that take our humanity away. I think in the very near future we will laugh about this period of time when we strapped devices to ourselves.”

In the end, the one thing both sides agreed upon is that the wide adaptation of wearable technology will require branding these products in association with high profile individuals, much in the way Dr. Dre and Michael Jordan associated their names with their particular line of products.

Next on the agenda was the fun part — a live demo on how wearables are changing the music industry.

The panel consisted of speakers Ed Tang, Head of Global Marketing at Avegant; Nadeem Kassam, CEO of BioBeats; and David Plans, Co-Founder and VP of Product Science at BioBeats alongside moderator Chris Gore of G4TV and DJ Eric Sharp.

Kassam and Plans began the performance by showing off their piece of wearable technology, music that is dynamically generated from a user’s own unique heartbeat. They demonstrated this by hooking a cell phone up to the room’s sound system and running around stage. The tool in their device produced more up-beat music the more the demonstrator moved around, proving that the technology learns about the user from their biometric data and adapt to help them live a more engaging, healthier life.

Next, Tang dazzled the audience with his pair of “Smart Headphones.” This was basically a headset designed to turn the immersive experience of the Oculus Rift into something decidedly more mainstream. It looks like a hefty pair of black or white headphones, but it’s the display located on the headband that makes them so unique. The headphones harness a piece of technology known as Virtual Retinal Display, which is supposed to be similar to looking through a window.

“We’re trying to recreate your vision as closely as possible,” Tang said. “Look at how you naturally see. When you look around the room, your eyes don’t get tired. You can see 3D. And you don’t get nauseous or get headaches around the normal world.”

The product won first prize at CES for best mobile product and has raised over $1.5 million from a crowdfunding campaign earlier this year.

“We’re creating a product that is real and applicable for people, and that’s really cool,” Tang added.

In addition to the panel discussions, the convention center featured an exhibition area designated for curious attendees that was filled with innovative displays and demonstrations from almost every major wearable company in attendance.

Some popular tables seemed to be Muse’s which fostered a brain sensing headband, Actonr’s rocket skates, and Optinvent’s smart glasses. Other notable keynotes included “The Future of Smart Footwear,” “Emerging Wearable 2.0 Health Platform,” and “The Wearable Economy: How To Create A Mass Market For Wearables.”

*Erick Miller, Founder & CEO of Epiphany Eyewear; Andy Grignon, CEO of Quake Labs; Ariel Garten, CEO of InteraXon; Takuro Yoshida, President of Logbar Co.; Janet Hansen, Founder & Chief Fashion Engineer of Enlightened Designs; Kayvan Mirza, CEO of Optinvent; Stuart Brazell, TV Host/Producer.

Sony Dropped Eight Million Flower Petals On A Costa Rican Village To Promote TV

In an effort to promote their new line of televisions, Sony dropped eight million vibrantly colored flower petals (three and a half tons) on a Costa Rican village in hopes to advocate for the quality, definition and representation of their new TVs, which promises four-times the detail of HD.

The epic photo shoot was captured by photographer Nick Meek and filmmaker Jaron Albertin, and organized by McCann. The idea for the promotion was to cover the area near the Irazú Volcano – located in central Costa Rica – with a flower petal for every pixel in Sony’s 4K Ultra HD TV.

According to Sony’s behind-the-scenes video, the crew hand-picked the most vibrant flowers they could find in the region to submerge the streets with color and then seized the breathtaking  spectacle with almost no digital manipulation.

Source: PSFK


Copyright Office Says Aereo Can’t Qualify As Cable Company

By Sahil Patel

Down and out, maybe: The US Copyright Office has rejected Aereo’s bid to obtain a compulsory license to retransmit broadcast signals via its over-the-top streaming service. In other words, the US Copyright Office is saying Aereo can’t qualify itself as a cable company — at least not at the moment.

Once the Supreme Court ruled against Aereo in its long-running battle with TV broadcasters, the OTT service started out on a new legal strategy, under which it would be reclassified as a cable company just like any traditional multi-channel provider. This would then allow Aereo to transmit local signals and continue operating its business, as long as it paid broadcasters royalty fees (something which it had been fighting not to do).

In a ruling by the US Copyright Office, the group said the 1976 Copyright Act, which SCOTUS cited when it said that Aereo was “substantially” similar to a cable company, does not cover internet-based transmissions. In a letter to Aereo, the office’s general counsel Jacqueline Charlesworth said that this compulsory license is meant to serve “localized” services that are “regulated as cable systems by the FCC.”

So what’s next for the company It needs the backing of a federal court ruling or for the FCC to review the matter. (The FCC has taken comments on a proposal to classify internet-based transmissions like a cable system, but it hasn’t made any rulings on it yet.) Until then, the Copyright Office said it would accept Aereo’s filing for royalty fees on a provisional basis, but won’t process the paperwork.

So it’s not completely over yet, but it’s getting close.

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

Drawing Followers In With Content Marketing

Content marketing can be an uphill struggle when it comes to outreach, particularly with business and consumer brands alike. However, it can be achieved, and beyond the usual “interruptive” advertising that most companies are prone to using.

This can be done through engagement apps, which provide a number of ways that consumers can create shareable brand-themed content with their fellow followers and even fans, if their page manages to be big enough. It’s just a matter of following a few basic tips, as reported by Mashable.

First off, allowing fans and followers to vote on what sort of advertising works best is a positive move, even if it’s as something as simple as a logo on a t-shirt, or which photo to use for a magazine cover. This allows users to provide input, without having questions forced upon them that require an answer before moving on.

A personalized brand experience also goes a long way. Such an example of this is clothing brand Jones NY, which leverages followers’ Linkedin profiles with a Style Creator campaign, which lets executive women select outfits based on suggestions from their profile.

Allowing fans and followers to contribute brand-related content is another smart move, as it would enable them to provide their own input without, again, feeling like it’s a forced decision. With photos, videos and other stories as a means for submitting, it can make it seem like its their own personal experience, while related to your brand.

Uncovering profile insights and challenging the knowledge of the social audience round out the five steps, allowing them to interact in unique ways that tie in with the brand itself. Microsoft provides an example of this with the Nametag Analyzer, which allows Linkedin users to see what a new job title would look like to them. As far as knowledge challenging, Visit Norway USA actually dared fans to answer questions about Norway itself, with a question per day for an entire month.

The full article can be found here.

Source: Mashable