How a little branding can do good to your community…

Brand Harvest : How a little branding can do good to your community…

Bringing New Hope, Through Branding

Many of us believe that good design can change the world. Hussein Alazaat and Ali Almsari are in that camp, having applying their experience in branding and crafting corporate identities to a unique kind of creative philanthropy. Read more on the original site


App Makes Selling Stuff Online As Easy As Buying It



Buying stuff online has become so ridiculously easy that I’m more likely to impulse-purchase a book on my Kindle than borrow it for free from my local library. But what about selling stuff online? For many of us, it’s a daunting pain in the butt. Taking the right photos, writing the description, choosing the marketplace, choosing the right price, boxing the damn thing up when someone buys it–ugh. Sold, a new iOS app created by a team of MIT Media Lab graduates, aims to kill that feeling by literally doing almost everything about online selling for you. “If you’ve never experienced what having a personal assistant devoted to selling your stuff is like, now you can,” Sold cofounder Tony DeVincenzi tells Co.Design.

So is Sold a replacement for Craigslist and eBay? “Absolutely not,” DeVincenzi says. Like Simple for personal banking or Uber for hailing taxis, Sold is a “service layer” on top of online marketplaces that already exist. When you list an item with Sold, the app acts like a concierge that “automates a lot of the manual stuff that goes into selling something online,” says cofounder and product lead Matt Blackshaw. “We wanted to make selling as easy as one-click buying.”

According to Blackshaw, Sold uses data-mining and statistical analysis of online markets to “generate a price curve” and determine the optimal price to sell any item you feed it. The catch is that Sold won’t sell just anything: It’s limited to “items of value” such as phones, laptops, cameras, and certain fashion items like handbags. Restricting itself to these kinds of products lets Sold build up what Blackshaw calls “an ontology” of item-specific knowledge, which leads to more effective automatic selling.

“Most people don’t know that if you’re selling your iPhone on eBay, you need to take a photo of it with the screen on or else it’ll sell for less money,” he explains. “For certain types of handbags, you need to take a photo of a tiny label inside with a number on it. We’re using all this information to make sure we ask you the right questions up front in a way that is seamless and that can also extract the most value for you. We take these answers into account when setting a price for your item.”

Not surprisingly, this system isn’t totally automated yet, Blackshaw says, “but we would like to work towards that.” Currently, Sold uses crowdsourced human intelligence (Blackshaw wasn’t willing to go into details about their methods yet) to augment its algorithms. “Every item in the system has at least one human look at it,” he says. “To call it this massively intelligent thing right now would be overselling it, but it’s a seed. We’re pretty optimized for selling most homogenous goods in tech, and we’re pretty optimized for selling fashion as well. But if we see a lot of people wanting to sell Beanie Babies on Sold, we’ll add another node to our ontology and become experts in that, too.”

But the real point of Sold, the founders assert, is that you don’t have to know or care about the techno-wizardry working on your behalf. What good is a sales concierge who bothers you with details? “There are no features or dials we put in front of the user, like “adjust the price and see if it sells faster,'” DeVincenzi says. “Our North Star is keeping the experience as simple and seamless as possible, and we think that means creating as few touch points as possible–being bothered as few times as possible.” You still have to ship your item to the buyer that Sold finds for it, but Sold sends you a pre-labeled box and lets you schedule a UPS pickup with just a tap (operations and pricing analytics are managed out of Boston by Sold’s third cofounder, Dávid Lakatos). And when the buyer pays, Sold drops the dough right into your bank account. No fuss, no muss.

As with Simple and Uber, Sold is part of a trend of apps that create value not by reinventing broken products and services, but by simply creating a better “interface layer” on top of them so that using them doesn’t suck anymore. “Selling your valuable stuff online doesn’t have to be a heavy, dark, daunting thing,” DeVincenzi says. “Especially if someone else does the work for you. That’s what we’re offering. An important piece of the service experience is feeling like we’ve got your back.”


Original article :

Bored of FB and Youtube teens run to

Facebook Fatigue Among Teens Should Freak Out Marketers


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Uh oh. Teens are growing tired of Facebook (FB) andYouTube (GOOG), new research (pdf) shows, a falling-out that has the potential to trigger a wide-ranging effect on retail, fashion, gaming, and other youth-oriented industries.

According to Piper Jaffray (PJC), while Facebook and YouTube are still considered the most important social media destination for teens, their popularity among this fickle demographic has fallen precipitously since this time last year, as the chart below indicates. (The cold-shoulder treatment may be because so many parents and grannies seem, creepily, to be all over Facebook these days.)

Why is this a big deal? Teens make up an $819 billion consumer segment, and the social media chatter about brands—positive or negative—is an increasingly large influence on their purchasing decisions. Just over half of all teens polled for the research (53 percent for female teens and 52 percent for teenage males) said social media affects their overall purchasing decisions, a trend that has gained strength in recent quarters.

For teen-targeting marketers, then, keeping pace with taste-shifting teens and their social networking preferences could make or break a sales quarter. Just askAbercrombie & Fitch (ANF) and Best Buy (BBY), two retailers that, according to the Piper Jaffray polling data, made teens’ top 10 roundup of favorite e-commerce sites a year ago but this year vanished from the list. They areon the outs in the offline world, too.

For the so-called youth brands, increasing their presence on the cool and relevant social channels of tomorrow—not so cool that they wouldn’t allow advertisers, mind you—is becoming an increasingly vital part of a digital marketing strategy.

And what are the new hot teen channels in social? According to Piper Jaffray, they are Reddit and Twitter, plus Snapchat, Vine, and 4chan. That ranking is sure to change again soon. Stay tuned.


Original article:

Bradford academics win contract to create innovative culture in Ukraine and Belarus – Bradford University School of Management


Bradford University School of Management has won a £700,000 (€850,000) project – funded by European Union Tempus – to help two former communist countries, Ukraine and Belarus, create innovative cultures and accelerate economic growth.

The business school, ranked among the world’s elite, is working with three universities, a business incubator unit and the Ministry for Education in Ukraine, two universities in Belarus, and a university in each of Estonia and Greece.

The project will focus on helping students to understand and apply innovation in a business context and academics to build relationships with businesses to encourage more innovation.

Christos Kalantaridis, professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at Bradford University School of Management, said: “Belarus and Ukraine are dominated by heavy industries which have relied on their internal markets for sales. Their business models are based around cheap labour and traditional products.

“These countries are waking up to the need for better quality products but, despite having strong academic universities, there is no culture of working with universities to innovate.

“Our goal is eventually to help create a culture of open innovation, which is recognised as one of the fastest ways for a country to speed up its economic growth.”

The Tempus project was launched in November 2012 at Uzhgorod National University in western Ukraine and visits are planned to Greece and Estonia in April and to the UK in May next year. The Bradford team are helping the Ukraine and Belarus universities to set up a network of Innovation Laboratories.

Bradford University School of Management set up an Innovation Club for businesses large and small to learn from each other and academics. In May, academics visiting from the project will be invited to take part in Innovation Club activities and identify ideas for their own countries.

The project is funded with support from the European Union Tempus Programme.