Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for May 9th, 2011

Smarter Consumers, Smarter Commerce

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Happy Belated Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there around the world!

Here’s hoping you enjoyed the one day of the year you’re officially recognized for all the other days you do so much for your children, your husbands, your families, and your communities.

Here in Austin, it was a nice, not-too-terribly-hot weekend, although you can feel summer’s advent quickly creeping on.  And still hardly any rain to show for our otherwise delightful spring (although we’re hoping that will change this week!)

There won’t be any escaping the heat in the info tech IPO market.

Reuters is reporting this morning that LinkedIn, the business social network, is looking at floating nearly 8 million shares in the $32-35 range, which would net nearly $150M U.S. in its offering.

At that price, LinkedIn’s valuation would come in at around $3 billion, ahead of Facebook’s own IPO. LinkedIn earned $15.4M in 2010, against net revenue of $243M, but when you consider the more upscale, white collar audience LinkedIn largely serves, one has to wonder if there’s not more utility and upside just waiting to be tapped in all those B2B connections.

Maybe they should hire someone to make a movie about them?

No celluloid will be needed for Apple, Google, and IBM, which finished first, second, and third in this year’s BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, billed as “the most comprehensive annual ranking of brand value.”

You can download the report for the full skinny, but the headlines that jumped out at me are mostly macroeconomical in nature.

Hey, anywhere we can get some good news, right?

First, most sectors in the report “grew in value” compared with 2008, pre-recession levels.

The Top 100 brands increased 24 percent during that period, “demonstrating the resilience of leading brands and suggesting the economy has shifted from recovery into real growth.” In fact, the report goes on to note, the Top 100 brands have added $500B in value since 2008.

The report also notes changing consumer behaviors, perceptions and values.  “Brands will continue to feel the impact of the recession-accelerated shift to considered — rather than conspicuous — consumption.”

It goes on to note that “consumers emerged from the recession more skeptical and savvy and more empowered by digital technology to search for the best prices and most trusted reviews…These developments influenced the ways brands communicated with consumers, increasing investment in social media, as ‘engaging’ replaced ‘targeting’ in the marketing lexicon.”

So, this new world reveals a more empowered, engaged, and considered consumer…what’s a poor brand to do?

I’d suggest you get on over to the part of our Web site that talks about the idea of “smarter commerce.”

As the smarter commerce site suggests, customers increasingly approach a sale empowered by technology and transparency.  They have more extensive information from more sources than ever before. They expect to engage with companies when and how they want, in person, online, and on the go.

And they want these methods to tie together seamlessly.

On the smarter commerce site, you’ll find a video overview explaining the concept, as well as several case studies and a presentation from the recent Impact conference to help you learn how IBM is helping its own clients adjust to these new realities.

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