Posted 2009 at by & in category Retail Marketing.

One of my girlfriends is headed to NYC in a couple of weeks and is thrilled about the prospect of finding this season’s new fake Prada bag. I pretended to be excited for her sake. Today I read an article, “Why Do Consumers Buy Counterfeit Luxury Brands?” by Keith Wilcox, Hyeong Min Kim and Sankar Sen, which actually makes me feel better as a consumer because I wonder why women go nuts to buy these worthless copies. The article sites a recent study that explains this behavior.

Researchers did one experiment focused on buyer attitudes that serve two distinct “social functions” – the “social-adjustive” (this will help me fit in) and the “value-expressive”(this will help me stand out). The researchers showed two different images of a “fake” Louis Vuitton handbag to two randomly chosen groups of women. One group saw the bag with a conspicuous logo, and the other saw the bag without it. The women then answered a questionnaire that classified their attitudes and their willingness to buy the fake.

Results showed that those subjects classified as “social-adjustive” were the most likely to buy the fake bag, especially when it had a conspicuous logo. The appeal of seeming to fit in with an elite group was strong enough to make these shoppers risk buying the flashy fake. The researchers’ doled out this advice to luxury goods manufacturers: tout the in-crowd status of owning the real luxury item and depict the shame of being discovered with a knockoff.

I just wonder if my girlfriend would have participated in the study if she’d still be up all night googling street corners in NYC.

Posted 2009 at by & in category Social Media.

Social media optimization (SMO) is a set of methods for generating publicity through social media, online communities and community websites. Methods of SMO include adding RSS feeds, social news buttons, blogging, and incorporating third-party community functionalities like images and videos. Social media optimization is related to search engine marketing, but differs in several ways, primarily the focus on driving traffic for sources other than search engines, though improved search ranking is also a benefit of successful SMO.

Social media optimization is in many ways connected as a technique to viral marketing where word of mouth is created not through friends or family but through the use of networking in social bookmarking, video and photo sharing websites. In a similar way the engagement with blogs achieves the same by sharing content through the use of RSS in the blogsphere and special blog search engines.

Social Media optimization is considered an integral part of an online reputation management (ORM) or Search Engine Reputation Management (SERM) strategy for organizations or individuals who care about their online presence.

Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video. Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP, to name a few. Examples of social media applications are Google Groups (reference, social networking), Wikipedia (reference), MySpace (social networking), (product reviews), Youmeo (social networking) Facebook (personal music), YouTube (social networking and video sharing), Avatars United (social networking), Second Life (virtual reality), Flickr (photo sharing). Twitter (social networking and microblogging), and other microblogs such as Jaiku. Many of these social media services can be integrated via social network aggregation platforms like Mybloglog and Plaxo.

Examples of social media software applications include:

* Blogs: Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, WordPress, Vox

* Internet forums: vBulletin, phpBB

* Micro-blogging / Presence applications: Twitter, Plurk, Jaiku

* Social networking: Bebo, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Orkut, Skyrock, Hi5

* Social network aggregation: FriendFeed, Youmeo

* Events: Upcoming, Eventful,

Posted 2009 at by & in category Marketing Musings.

So. We’re officially part of the blogosphere. Finally.

After having worked on launching our new blog for what seems like an eternity we have finally put the shoes on the cobbler’s son. In being nominated to make our prolific first post, I wondered where to start. For nearly a week I struggled with the content and what I wanted any and all readers to come away with. And then it hit me – what do I say in any new business presentation where we’re in front of a group of people who know nothing about us?
Well, we’re Sharp. (Yes, I was born with an incredible last name for a girl who has wanted to be in advertising since I saw my first commercial at the ripe old age of 18 months.) But it’s true – we are sharp-minded folks who truly do love creating solutions for clients.

I’ll spare you all the marketing hoo-hah verbiage now. If you want to read ALL about our capabilities and what we can do for you, please visit the “Services” section.

This blog is all about sharing the latest, greatest, craziest, quickest, smartest and coolest stuff in the marketing and advertising world with you. Oh, and if you like wacky TV commercials, we love posting the domestic and international ones we find in our personal favorite blogs and RSS feeds.

We’ll be blogging about great ideas we find that are appropriate for our customers, latest marketing trends, tons of social marketing information and other things that make us go “huh?” You’ll meet some of our customers along the way – theirs are the stories that people relate to most. Seriously, how do you tell sweet little grandmothers they can only register for a contest one time at a client garden party?

Most of all, we want to hear from you. Leave comments anytime and all the time. Tell us if you’re looking for something in particular. Your feedback is appreciated and encouraged. We may be the ones posting, but this blog is really for you. We’re glad to have you on board.