Letters: Of Foursuare and Vuvuzelas

Just sayin’…

HP Slate Hype Site Falls Flat

When I heard that the intro video for the HP Slate was out, I had to watch it. Then, just like the video said, I went to hp.com/slate to check it out. Then, when I woke up from the coma their boring ass site put me into, I started writing this post.

Seriously though people, look at the site. SO BORING.

Yes, that giant graphic is clickable, but does anything make you WANT to click it? Nope.

The boring text tells you the boring details about how you can get more info about the HP Slate. Email submission? Really?

Now, I’m not one to get all over a company for design aesthetics, but this page just made me thoroughly not excited about this product. If this is their idea of a page that is meant to drum up excitement about what quite honestly looks like it might be a great product, I think it fails.

Something like this lends itself perfectly to a great social media campaign prior to launch with videos (which they actually have, but they show up in a pop-up player only after you figure out the riddle of where to click) and great content/interaction. Instead, HP has a boring link to their general HP Twitter feed – no icon, nothing that makes you want to click.

I never try to criticize without offering suggestions and assistance, so here it goes:

  • Have a more-explicit call to action in the headline. Something like “Touch here to learn more about HP’s Slate”
  • Have a mouseover animation on the actual Slate where something changed to let the user know to actually click. As it is now, you can’t actually tell that’s a video launcher.
  • I’d also have the actual video play within the border of the Slate, so make it bigger and do that with options to go full screen, etc.
  • Also, lose that hand in the back, it looks weird. Why would someone touch the back of the device?
  • Loose the boring fonts, HP uses some cool, funky fonts. Use those.
  • Lose the boring e-mail submission fields
  • Use the space on the right to link out to social media sites (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter) by using icons, not a boring URL.
  • Make everything shareable – videos, the page, etc.

If HP wants to know more, they can contact me. I’m always willing to help out, but for now I see a potentially great product getting off to a lackluster start.

Are Businesses Today Learning from the Underpants Gnomes?

underpants-gnomes-get-wise

I love Southpark. I’ve loved it since the very first episode I saw, which was on VHS. My friend Kyle brought the VHS over and I’m pretty sure we watched “Cartman gets an anal probe” about 30 times.

OK, enough anal probing. The real topic for this post is how businesses are waking up to the reality that they can’t just sit back and throw messages out into the ether anymore aiming at their target audiences and hoping they get the point. They’re moving beyond the easy way of doing business with their snazzy “phase 1: collect underpants… phase 2: ?… phase 3: profit” business model and are figuring out what that second piece really is.

So, what is it? Social media.

Social media, in all its forms (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, YouTube, etc., etc., etc.) offers a real chance to connect and create two-way communication while living in the brand. What’s living in the brand? It’s having a space where lines are blurring between what’s marketing and what’s real social interaction. That’s where today’s decisions are being made.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that every company out there should be on MySpace and Twitter trying to create these situations… they have to ACTUALLY see the benefit in being in these situations, not creating an air of the situation, get it?

So, which companies do I think are doing this right? Here are a couple that you won’t find profiled on every social media blog:

Tatango
Get on Twitter and you’ll see these guys. Get on Facebook and you’ll see these guys. Young CEO Derek Johnson (@tatango) and his merry band of plugged-in cohorts (@tatango_alex, @adrianpike, @tatango_amiel, and @tatango_andrew) are out there, every day doing the social media legwork that’s bringing users and coverage to their product. They’re not pushy, they’re real and people can tell that. Check out their awesome tool for group text and voice messaging while you’re at it.

J & D’s Bacon Salt
While it’s not a hard sell to get me to buy something that can make everything taste like bacon, J & D’s Bacon Salt takes it to a new level. When you arrive on their homepage you kind of get this feeling that you know these guys from back in college or maybe even one of them was in your fraternity – that’s what it’s all about. You can connect with them and because of that you listen to what they have to say. Because you listen to what they have to say (on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) you live in a world where you can make your broccoli taste like bacon, man!

Who do you think is “getting it?” Let me know in the comments or hit me up on any of MY social networks.