Wednesday, March 31, 2010

State of the Mobile App Market

The mobile applications market is growing. According to a joint survey by DM2PRO and Quattro Wireless, 65% of publishers and marketers in North America plan to invest in mobile apps in 2010. “There are now numerous mobile apps that fill utilitarian needs, serving up informative tips and educational bits, plenty that offer pure entertainment and others that hover in between,”says eMarketer's Toby Elkin.The right kinds of mobile apps tethered to social media can move consumer products marketers closer to their goals.”

The Yankee Group predicts that the US app market will pull in $1.6 billion worth of revenues this year, and that by 2014, revenues will be six times as high at $11 billion. Gartner expects over 4.5 billion applications will be downloaded worldwide this year, garnering $6.8 billion in revenues. By 2013, the number of mobile applications downloaded is expected to grow to nearly 22 billion, bringing in $29.5 billion in revenues. Gartner also predicts that 8 out of 10 applications downloaded will be free, and by 2013, nearly 9 out of every 10 applications will be free.

“Growth in smartphone sales will not necessarily mean that consumers will spend more money, but it will widen the addressable market for an offering that will be advertising-funded,” Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner.

The mobile apps trend is expected to hit emerging markets as well. By 2014, approximately 2.6 billion people in Brazil, Russia, India, and China will have access to the mobile Internet. In 2010 alone, there will be more mobile Internet users in China than the entire population of the United States.

With such a staggering concentration of mobile phone subscribers accessing the Internet and downloading apps, the possibilities are endless. Smart brands, particularly global ones, should take advantage of the platform to provide value, engage their audience, and tie mobile into their overall social media and marketing strategy.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Viv Mag Creates Interactive Spread for iPad

Viv Magazine, a digital magazine aimed primarily at women, recently released a demo of their interactive cover. The demo, a collaboration with VIV, visual artists Cory Strassburger and Ming Hsuing, and Alexx Henry Photography, explores the potential that the iPad, smart phones, and tablets provide for publishers. According to Andrew Gant, the Studio Manager for Alexx Henry Photography, these new outlets are unique because "as photographers, we can put motion into print where we weren't able to before."

VIV's demo includes a "living cover" and 40's style presentation of a feature article, bringing an element of movement to VIV's content. "It's really exciting because we're going to be able to capture the energy of a still-life fashion shoot with the motion of a blockbuster," says Angela Giglia, Photo Editor for VIV.

For more information on VIV's demo, check out the behind the scenes video below:

VIV Mag Featurette: A Digital Magazine Motion Cover and Feature for the iPad from Alexx Henry on Vimeo.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Interview with Helen Brown, Director of Catwalk Genius

I recently interviewed Helen Brown, Director of Catwalk Genius, an online store where consumers can buy directly from designers and invest in emerging designers' new collections. The Dublin-based site has already made quite an impression- Catwalk Genius has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and British Vogue, and Helen was named one of the Online Fashion 100.

What was the inspiration behind Catwalk Genius?

I studied Psychology and have always been interested in consumer behaviour. When our team decided to set up a business, we researched a variety of interactive tech ideas across different sectors. We settled on Catwalk Genius because fashion seemed to have the most opportunity; standard retail online is still pretty passive and we thought we could make it more exciting.

Catwalk Genius has a few interesting elements that make it stand out from other sites that promote new designers. What features do you think make Catwalk Genius unique?
It's still pretty rare to be able to buy direct from design labels and converse with them, but our unique feature is our Back a Designer scheme. If you love a brand, you can buy a share in their next collection. Once a target number of shares have sold, they produce the clothing and everyone takes an equal share in the revenues. Supporters can also get perks in return for their help - so everyone benefits.

How do you select your designers?
We work with Sarah Bunter, an amazing Creative Consultant who puts us in touch with strong UK design brands. She looks for strong design, wearable clothes and very high quality production. At the same time designers come to us directly by submitting product adverts every day. Then, we're still looking for high quality products as well as good quality imagery and appropriate pricing.

Can you talk about the “back a designer” scheme?
As I mentioned, it's about investing in a fashion collection in return for the opportunity for profits and perks. We're about to introduce a flexible funding target, which the designer will choose. You can switch or withdraw shares at any point up until the designer reaches their target and we're also adding a community where you can exchange messages with your favourite designers and other supporters. We've got a really exciting designer collaboration lined up to launch these extra features, so check back in mid-April to see what's going on.

What are your favorite pieces for Spring/Summer?
I've got a lot of weddings to go to this year, so Deibe Rondon's grown-up glamour has definitely caught my eye. Minna always produces the most lovely feminine pieces. All of her work is responsibly produced and she was named as one of the highlights of London Fashion Week's Esthetica exhibition last month. Shorts are still working over tights and I love the check on these, just in from pitchouguina.

How have you been promoting the site? Which social media tools do you use to spread the word about Catwalk Genius?
Social media's big for us because it involves the same kind of interaction that Catwalk Genius is all about. We do like Facebook and have the obligatory fan page, but I have the most fun with the folk who we follow on Twitter. Fashion tweeters are a fascinating and funny demographic!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Paycheck Fairness Act: Interview with Lisa Maatz

I just interviewed Lisa Maatz, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations for the American Association of University Women (AAUW) about the Paycheck Fairness Act. This morning, the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a hearding on the Paycheck Fairness Act, an update of the Equal Pay Act that was signed into law by President Kennedy in 1963. The Paycheck Fairness Act, which has 36 co-sponsors and was already approved by the House, would help create a climate in which wage discrimination is not tolerated. Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that women earn, on average, only 77 cents for each dollar earned by their male counterparts (even when they have same major and occupation).

What is the Paycheck Fairness Act and how does it differ from the Equal Pay Act?
The Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) is a much needed update that amends the Equal Pay Act. It offers legislation that provides an update to a bill that was signed in 1963. Things have changed and we’ve learned a lot since then about discrimination, the ways to deter it, what works and what doesn’t. The PFA is an extension of that knowledge.

Why is the Paycheck Fairness Act so important, particularly now in light of the recession?
When it comes to the recession- and it was true before but even more so now- women’s wages are an important way to make ends meet. Especially in a recession, when one of the key components to recovery is consumer spending, fair wages for women is essential. Two-thirds of women are either the primary or co-breadwinner for their households. Pay equity is not just a social issue; it has an economic impact.

The Equal Pay Act was signed by JFK in 1963- almost 50 years ago. Why does pay discrimination still exist? What do you believe are the main causes of pay discrimination?
Still exists bc there has been revolutionary change in women’s roles but not revolutionary change in stereotypes of women. Job segregation- certain jobs appropriate for men and certain for women. When you have the vast majority of women in lower paid occupations, is it really that those jobs are not that valuable or that we’re not valuing women as much as well.

I was following the hearing on AAUW’s live blog, and I believe it was Senator Enzi who said that the pay gap is due more to women’s choices than to discrimination. How would you respond to that?
Are they really their choices? Yes, women’s choices factor into that but I would ask if they are truly free choices.With more women being the breadwinners, or the only breadwinners, they are going to be concerned about taking any legal action that could jeopardize their current position or affect their ability to get a new job.
That is why the PFA is so important. It is structured to do a lot more from the front end, by encouraging employers to do more. The current sanctions are so light for employers who fail to pay men and women equally. The PFA will create incentives for businesses, as well as women, to have frank discussions upfront, and provisions to help women better negotiate salary. It will also tighten the sanctions against employers who fail to comply.

The AAUW is promoting this bill in many ways. What social media tools are you using to spread the word? 
We are using several tools to promote the bill. We had a live blog during the Senate hearing this morning, and have been sharing information via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other channels. We also created Web stickers that can be embedded on blogs and social networks in different sizes and codes that are appropriate for those kinds of vehicles. 

How can we help?