LivingSocial to Overtake Groupon?!

26 Mar

According to the article on Mashable by Sarah Kessler, “LivingSocial Says it Will Overtake Groupon in January 2012,” among all of the group couponing sites, none of them are serious competitors to Groupon except the up-and-coming LivingSocial site.

LivingSocial was launched in December 2009, and has a total of $232 million in funding — $175 million of it from Amazon. These numbers might seem miniscule when compared to Groupon’s $950 million, and $25 billion worth, but according to the U.S.-market revenue data for both sites, compiled by LivingSocial, it’s been enough to seriously challenge Groupon.


The statistics used to compare the two companies were compiled using variables such as daily publishing, the price of their deals and the number of deals they sell. LivingSocial’s market share has been steadily increasing since 2009. Currently, for every $10 of deals sold on either platform, $4 of them take place at LivingSocial.

LivingSocial has its Escapes deals unlike Groupon, which is their main competitive advantage. Deals on vacations are more appealing than receiving 50% at a restaurant, and LivingSocial has realized that. The company has also realized that it takes time for users to decide whether they want that vacation package or not, so the deadlines to purchase are longer than their daily deals.

If both companies continue to grow at their current rates, LivingSocial’s portion of sales will overtake Groupon’s in January 2012. Groupon’s decreasing market share does not  indicate decreasing sales, however, the change is more due to the fact that LivingSocial is growing at a faster rate than Groupon.

As the company starting with 100% market share in 2008, Groupon started the entire group buying market, but it wouldn’t take long before competitors jumped in to take a piece of the pie. Fortunately for both companies, the market is continuing to expand at rapid rates, and is expected to grow 138% to 2.7 billion this year.

Make All of Your Content Embeddable

20 Mar

According to an article on Mashable by Jennifer Van Grove, when surfing the web, most site visitors will stay on a page 250% longer when the site contains embedded media.

Sean Creeley, the founder of Y Combinator startup company Embedly, created a service that makes it easy for publishers and application developers to add embedded media to better engage their web users.
“The idea is to engage the user where they are,” says Creeley. “
We really want to get the user where they live, instead of making them try to jump through hoops to view multimedia content.” Embedly has the ability to take any URL or RSS feed and embed the important content onto a third party site. In fact, Embedly has created the consumer-facing Parrotfish — available as a Safari, Firefox or Chrome plugin — to bring the web’s media from more than 165 providers into the Twitter experience. Parrotfish enables Twitter to make all URLs and articles eligible within the Twitter website. On a daily basis, Embedly serves 5.5 million URLs to 1,100 sites.

Embedly powers the content embedding for a wide range of services (such as Yammer, Tweetdeck, Bit.ly, Bundles, Storify, Keepstream, and Reddit) so that URLs become live content you can see or hear on site. The Embedly customer can choose from a free plan with access to 250 providers or the paid plan that unlocks content associated with any URL or RSS feed. The paid premium service comes with daily, hourly and minute-by-minute breakdowns of the most popular URLs and domains, as well as Google Safe Browse security features to protect their site visitors against masked URL phishing tactics. Next week, Embedly plans to release an iOS library and Android library, which will let customers add embedded content into the mobile experience. Exciting stuff! Who’s interested?!

Starbucks’ 40th Anniversary

9 Mar

In honor of Starbucks’ 40th anniversary, the successful coffee company has introduced a few new items to the menu.

Along with their new logo on their cups and sleeves (remaining nameless), starting today, the Cocoa Cappuccino and Starbucks Petites are available to purchase in their shops.

According to FitPerez, the Cocoa Cappuccino combines fresh espresso, bittersweet mocha sauce, steamed milk and foam, and  a mocha drizzle.

The Petites are small sweets including Cake Pops (available in Birthday Cake, Rocky Road and Tiramisu flavors), Red Velvet Whoopie Pies, Mini Cupcakes (Carrot Cake and Peanut Butter) and Sweet Squares (Lemon and Salty Caramel).

Starbucks has finally realized that people are looking for small treats to go well with their coffee; all of their existing desserts are too filling (and high in calories). I noticed that Starbucks has made an effort in the store to display the calorie counts for all of their new items, which persuades consumers into buying a “petite” dessert because is not as harmful as one might think. The company has truly stole my heart with their rocky road cake pop…only 180 calories!! Yum!!!

Social Storytelling

3 Mar

Lisa Geddes, former VP of Marketing for the Rick Hansen Foundation, spoke and inspired my communications class about corporate and effective storytelling. She pointed out that storytelling has been the main communication channel since the beginning of time, referring to tribes, William Shakespeare, movies and music. Storytelling is truly the basis of everything we do. She feels that storytelling is “how we’re built to communicate,” which is why it is so effective in the corporate world. However, companies are having trouble communicating stories about their history to consumers, and are still focusing on quantitative values rather than personal values.

Lisa emphasized the fact that stories should always have a protagonist to introduce the story, a crisis or event in the middle of the story, and a moral to conclude the meaning of the story. Generic, inhumane company background stories do not capture the attention or interest of consumers. According to Lisa, good stories must be in alignment with your company, and must be authentic. They should avoid emotional dissonance by starting fresh from where the company last left off. Stories should always explain “why” and have a good reason for telling the story in the first place. The audience is only going to be engaged if they can relate to the story, so companies should know their audience’s interests and lifestyles in and out. Good stories should be emotive, informative and entertaining, and must contain a central message, while providing context.

Companies are still failing to produce authentic, engaging stories about their background and values because they feel that consumers are already doing so by using social media. Little do they know, if they have a presence online and engage consumers with their own story, consumer input may change for the better, and more positive stories could be generated by consumers on a daily basis.

Lisa then went on to explain that in order to “change your culture, change your story.” She also mentioned the theory of opening a story or message with the line “let me tell you a story.” According to Lisa, it is proven that when this phrase is mentioned before telling the story, a part of the brain opens up and prepares itself to listen carefully. Lisa’s presentation was very inspirational and highlighted the power of storytelling, especially in the corporate world.

Social Media & Culture

24 Feb

Because I chose to focus on social media and its effects on communication for one of my class presentations, I was intrigued to find an interesting opinion article on Mashable by Josh Rose, which highlights how social media is positively impacting our culture.

Josh questions if social media channels make you feel closer or further away from people, and explores the effect of the internet on our humanity. He points out that the majority of people feel closer to people they are further away from, but further away from the people they are closest to. Josh explains that this confusing paradox where two conflicting realities exist side-by-side draw us nearer and distance us at the same time.

In the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik explores cultural truism in his article “How the Internet Gets Inside Us.” He categorizes three viewpoints: the Never-Betters, the Better-Nevers and the Ever-Wasers. Each group contains people that see the social media evolution as good, bad or normal.

According to Josh, “people are not giving up long-form reading, considered thinking or social interactions. They are just filling all the space between.” Josh goes on to explain that the interaction happening through the internet and social media is not like an interaction we have ever seen before. I found this very interesting as Dave Olson would beg to differ. Dave believes that social media purposes are almost identical to what we have been using all along (telegrams, scrapbooking, photo albums).

Josh compares this intriguing interaction to “an intertwining sine wave that touches in and out continuously.” He argues that the internet does not steal our humanity, it reflects it; it doesn’t get inside us, it shows what’s inside us. Ultimately, social media is a tool that is hard to define, and is destroyed only at great risk. Josh’s final point emphasizes the fact that people should stop discussing how technology is changing us and forcing us to refrain from social interaction; rather, we should take a look at the unbelievable things we are accomplishing by using it.

Here is the full article on Mashable that I encourage you to read!

BC’s Best Young Designer Contest

17 Feb

Recently, I saw an ad on the back page of the 24 advertising a contest to find BC’s Best Young Designer. The six candidates were chosen from a large number of applicants, and were required to film a short video explaining why they felt they should be selected to participate. Each selected candidate was given $10,000-$12,000 to design 1 or 2 bedroom apartments in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Morgan Crossing. There are plenty of amenities surrounding the apartments including fitness facilities, unbelievable shopping, and great restaurants opening up like no tomorrow. The contest allows anyone 18 or older to vote for their favourite design by visiting each apartment.Voters are automatically entered to win a draw for an iPad and a 46″ TV.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of seeing all six of the uniquely designed apartments and voting for my favourite design. Here are some pictures from each of the apartments. My favourite apartment was designed by the only male in the competition, Daniel Meloche. The colour scheme he used was refreshing and modern.

Penelope Sloan’s Dining Room

Jennifer Scott’s Master Bedroom

Britt McMaster’s Living Room

Karen Wong’s Master Bedroom

Joanna Kado’s Master Bedroom

The results of the contest will be announced on February 28, 2011. For more information, check out the contest website. I hope that either Daniel or Joanna win!

What Flavour Did She Make?

13 Feb

When I was initially given the task to create a vlog, I had absolutely no idea what to vlog on. But, after much thought and deliberation, I thought, why not record the Marble Slab process! Here is the video, can you guess what flavour she made? If you know me well enough, you don’t even have to watch! Comment with your guesses!!