Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Myth versus reality

I picked up this book, World's End, today from one of my favourite haunts, Basement Books. It's a diary/recollection of Captain J.R Grey living in Fiji and Tahiti during the 1930s and 40s.

I've always been a big fan of Tiki pop culture and the idea of escaping suburbanism for exotic adventures, but of course that is exactly what Tiki is - a fantasy, an elaborate story.

This book, I hope, will shed some light on what it really was like to live in the South Pacific during such transformative years. I go into it holding in one hand the fantasy of Tiki and in the other the reality of European colonialism.

Should be a great read!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Integrating your loyalty program into your customers communities

So you're a retailer and you have a customer loyalty program, nothing new there, everyone does. But until now this has been a mostly one-to-one relationship. Maybe you're a forward thinking company like Sears and have built a community for your loyalty program or like Best Buy and built a youth community for a specific segment of your customers. Breaking the one-to-one mould and exposing loyal customers to each other, great.

This means big bikkies to create a community platform from scratch and one of the down sides of this is that your brand is essentially insulated within its own community boundaries. For smaller retailers there is an alternative that can generate exposure as well as community.

I originally got on this train of thought when I read a blog post by platform vendor Lithium and their integration of Foursquare into their platform. This was more of a comment on bringing outside community mentions into an enterprise community, but the concept of blending inside and outside communities is essentially the same.

And now I have come across Tasti D-lite, a US ice-cream chain that has really taken social media integration to the next level for small business.

You can read more about how Tasti D-lite have brought social media into their loyalty program here, but essentially what they have done is leverage the power of their customer's existing free and public networks to promote their own loyalty program.

For USD$10,000 Tasti D-lite integrated Twitter and Foursquare into their loyalty program and POS system so that when a transaction is made using the loyalty program card a Tweet is sent with how many points were awarded and a check-in is made in Foursquare for the customer.

Setting aside the mammoth amount of small business activity in Facebook, this example shows how for relatively small amounts of money small businesses can leverage the power of their customer's existing networks to build brand and loyalty together.

Monday, March 15, 2010

modern living

A house nearby recently had a syntheic lawn installed in the front yard (not the one pictured) and it made me contemplate how far, or how little, we have come in adapting to the realities of today's climate.

It would seem that in society today we are happy fantasize about green lawns through synthetic dreams in the vain hope saving precious drops of water.

One might be tempted to link this to notion that says Australians are not yet willing to drink potable recycled sewage.

How vain we must be that we would rather live in a synthetic dream than adapt to the realities of today.

In Victoria today we are building a de-salination plant to supplement our thirst for water which, if recycled, we would have in abundance. Houses across the nation are installing water tanks to 'do their part' in capturing rainfall for use on the garden.

It makes me wonder, what do Victorians treasure more, their vanity or their gardens? It would seem that if the we reject recycled water and prefer synthetic gardens then our vanity wins out.

(image credit: Aquafornia)