News from around the watercooler: 18 April

CMO picks 5 of the most intriguing, insightful and entertaining stories for marketers from around the web

CMO’s regular round-up of controversial, thought-provoking or otherwise entertaining stories about marketers and marketing activities worldwide.

Female dominance

It’s a fact: more women are on social media platforms than men. According to a new posting by social media aggregation tools provider, HootSuite, social media is a major source of daily entertainment for the female population in North America, and many actually prefer socialising online over dating or spending time with their partner.

Hootsuite’s blog HootSource cited a recent online survey entitled Digital Women influencers, conducted by communications firm Weber Shandwick and KRC Research, which found 86 per cent of women have a social media account or profile, led by Facebook. In total, 75 per cent of women surveyed used social media, versus 63 per cent of men. The report also discovered the average time per week using social media was 12 hours, while the average number of social channel accounts women hold is 2.2.

The power and influence of women in social media

Bigger than Twitter and still anti-advertising

WhatsApp is one of the biggest smartphone app success stories of recent years and is now bigger than Twitter, its CEO, Jan Koum, told attendees at the D: Dive into Mobile event on 16 April. But despite having been embraced by hundreds of millions of users and processing 20 billion messages per day, don’t expect the company to open up to advertisers anytime soon.

In a report by All Things D, Koum reaffirmed WhatsApp’s anti-advertising stance, saying he was proud of its manifesto opposing advertising. There are plenty of successful businesses that don’t use advertising, he was quoted as saying, including gas and water. “Our monetisation strategy is simple: One dollar a year,” Koum said.


Branson: another kind of female

Richard Branson is well-known for his high-profile marketing stunts, but news he will dress up as a female flight attendant on Air Asia’s first flight between Perth and Kuala Lumpur has left some wondering if this could give his rival the upper leg.

The motivation to don tights and a neckerchief was a bet between Branson and Air Asia X boss, Tony Fernandes, over whose Formula 1 Racing team would finish higher in the 2010 season. Branson lost, and will now appear on the Air Asia flight on 12 May performing all the duties of a flight attendant – albeit with a charity donation too.

According to leadership coach, Noel Posus, both airlines could stand to gain kudos if the stunt id eons well. But LeadingCompany asks: could tapping into the old stereotype of a female flight attendant knock Branson’s status as a forward thinker?

Richard Branson to pose as female flight attendant on Air Asia flight

HBR’s managing creative people advice causes furore

A recent article on Harvard Business Review by personality profiling and psychometric testing expert, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, has met with furore after provocatively suggesting how managers can deal with creative types.

The article, whose headline was changed from ‘Seven rules for managing creative people’ to ‘Seven rules for managing creative but difficult people’ following the backlash, starts by suggesting managers ‘spoil them and let them fail’, before recommending you surround creative types with semi-boring people.

Check out Chamorro-Premuzic’s blog: Seven rules for managing creative but difficult peoplehere.

For Central Desktop’s critique on how the article has impacted <i>HBR’s</i> reputation, click here.

Crowdsourcing campaigning

Econsultancy group has looked into eight brands that crowdsourced marketing and product ideas to stellar effect.

The report was prompted by car brand Nissan’s new campaign, which uses social channels to allow fans to help customise and name a one-off version of the Juke Nismo. The idea is to use digital technology to help Nissan’s professional drivers improve their skills, while also allowing the brand’s social community to also get involved.

Other brand activities mentioned include Citreon’s Facebook app to design the new C1 city car, Boehringer Ingelheim’s partnership with Kaggle to use gamification to solve complex scientific problems relating to molecular development, and online travel company Expendia’s crowdsourced deals.

Eight brands that crowdsourced marketing and product ideas

Fancy more News from around the water cooler? Check out our previous report here. Or if you have a worthy submission, email the editor.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia or take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia.

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