Sunday, December 02, 2012

Nielson Names Toyota As 2012 Green Marketer Of The Year

It’s official. Toyota conducted a poll asking a simple question: what should the plural form of Prius be? After 1.8 million people cast their votes, a clear winner was chosen. So what exactly do you call more than one Prius (choices ranged from Priuses to Prium)? The answer is “Prii”(pronounced Pree-Eye).

Nielsen Awards Toyota As 2012 Automotive Green Marketer Of The Year

According to a recent Nielsen analysis of consumer awareness, TV advertising response, and social media buzz, Toyota Motor Corporation is the greenest auto marketer of 2012.

The automaker brought home the third annual Nielsen Automotive Green Marketer of the Year Award, which was presented this week (November 29, 2012) at the Los Angeles International Auto Show Press Days.

Toyota won by leveraging their effective Prius family ad campaigns as well as their social media events to vault to the top. More than half (53%) of respondents were aware of Toyota’s green marketing initiatives. In addition, Toyota’s campaigns helped cultivate their strong green enthusiast base which drove the most positive online sentiment among the nominees, surpassing the Auto Average by 64%.

Awareness graph. Image Credit: The Nielsen Company
The Nielsen Automotive Green Marketer of the Year Award recognizes the automotive manufacturing brand that made the greatest strides in gaining consumer awareness and positively shifting consumer perceptions for the automotive industry’s environmentally friendly marketing initiatives. Other finalists for the award included Ford, Honda, Chevrolet and Nissan.


In order to determine the finalists and winner, Nielsen leveraged three research studies to incorporate awareness levels and perceptions across media types. The studies included:
  • A custom survey of nearly 2,600 consumers’ cross-media awareness and perceptions of environmental messages by automotive brand
  • Response data from 6 million viewers of national television advertising collected by Nielsen’s ad effectiveness measurements service, focusing on green automotive ads
  • Measuring social media “buzz” sentiment within green-related discussion threads, based on over 115,000 social media messages
Auto manufacturers that ran any national TV ads with green themes between October 2011 and September 2012 were eligible for consideration.

** Article first published as Nielsen Awards Toyota as 2012 Automotive Green Marketer of the Year on Technorati **

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

General Motors Stockholders Vote To Change CEO Nov. 6, 2012

Mitt Romney at the North American Auto Show in 2008. Image Credit: - Bryan Mitchell/Getty Images

General Motors Stockholders Vote To Change CEO Nov. 6, 2012

In an age of government takeovers and crony-capitalism, the citizens of the United States are uniquely connected as partners in business.

Today, a poor earnings/profit report was released just six days before a national election is scheduled to take place - the election for President of the United States.

The poor earnings/profit report was released by General Motors, which was taken through bankruptcy in a process that greatly damaged trust throughout the investor and business community ... a Federal Government takeover.

This action changed the ownership of one of the largest manufacturing enterprises in the world from one based on free enterprise to Government and organized employee Union ownership. General Motors reported a drop in profit of 12% and in most business environments this would be a great cause for concern.

As forced stock holders, every American citizen owns a piece of the company and the de facto CEO of the company is the President of the United States.  

This excerpted and edited from Businessweek -

GM 3Q profit falls 12 pct
By Tom Krisher - AP - October 31, 2012

A turnaround in South America and a rosier outlook in Europe helped push General Motors shares up in premarket trading Wednesday, even though the company's third-quarter net profit fell 12 percent.  

GM said it earned $1.5 billion from July through September, down from $1.7 billion a year earlier, as European pretax losses widened and North American profits fell.  

But South America swung to a big profit and GM posted better-than-expected results internationally outside of China.
[Reference Here]

This Associate Press release reprinted in Businessweek, however rosy, hides the fact that if we, as stockholders, are dis-satisfied with the direction of earnings and profit at General Motors, we can change the CEO November 6, 2012.

We can keep a community organizer, lawyer, law school lecturer (not teacher or professor), and current 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama as the CEO of General Motors ...

 ... or we can vote for an incredibly successful businessman and turn-around specialist who was born into the family of CEO of American Motors - George Romney, CEO, 2002 Winter Olympics Organizing Committee - Salt Lake City Olympics, and the 70th Governor of Massachusetts ... Mitt Romney as CEO of General Motors.

The choice seems pretty easy ... what say you?    

** Article first published as General Motors Stockholder's Vote To Change CEO Nov. 6, 2012 on Technorati **  

Monday, September 03, 2012

Power To The Online People

Internet Buzz Words: Micro Blogging, Web 2.0, Technology, Connectivity, Social Networks, facebook, twitter, Marketing, Media. Image Credit:

 Power To The Online People

Where were you when news of the tsunami hit Japan in 2011?

 How about when Michael Jackson died?

Probably online, according to many experts who claim that social media has become the main media source for hundreds of millions of people. Not just in the U.S., either; Facebook alone has more than 900 million users spread across the globe as of 2012.

Other social media giants like Twitter have facilitated revolution against unjust leaders and warned people of impending natural disaster. In fact, so many people regularly interact online that if the Internet were a nation, it would exceed the Americas, Europe and the Middle East combined in population.

No wonder more than 13 million members of the online community used Reddit and other media platforms to protest SOPA, a proposed Internet censorship bill. Keep this graphic in mind next time you log on, because knowledge is power — and a little knowledge goes a long way in the Internet Age.

Power to all the people who communicate and become informed ... ONLINE!

Power To The Online People
[ht: graphic created by -]

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Can A Race Car Simulator Give One A Real Race Car Experience?

Award winning writer Thomas Stahler takes his turn at the wheel while at Seat Time’s Media Challenge. Here Tom negotiates past turn #3 along the short chute to turn #4 at the famed Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

Can A Race Car Simulator Give One A Real Race Car Experience?

Seat Time is Southern California’s premier simulator center. This environment offers a unique, immersive racing experience utilizing state of the art professional-grade training simulators in the heart of West Los Angeles, at the Santa Monica Airport.

Elliott Skeer is an up and coming driver involved in the Mazda driver development ladder series racing for CJ Wilson Racing in the 2012 Playboy MX5 Cup racing series. In this video, we see him laying down marker laps in order to post a time for writers and photographers who join in the MPG/Mazda MX5 Cup Media Challenge. The drive of for the challenge took place August 5, 2012 beginning at 1:00pm PT. The marker time Elliott posted was 1:42.904.

Elliott did not mention this, but he won the 2012 Race #1 Playboy MX-5 Cup at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca held May. 11, 2012 after qualifying in P2. Elliott’s fastest lap time during the 27 lap race at MRLS was recorded as 1:42.324.

Mazda Media Challenge lap time as posted before the competition on Saturday, August 5, 2012. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)
This excerpted and edited from STUART ROWLANDS PR press reports of  the SEAT TIME MEDIA CHALLENGE RACE -

For two weeks of grueling qualifying runs, media members sweating, straining, sawing at steering wheels, systematically stabbing at brakes, and braving the infamous “Corkscrew” once a lap are now history.
From July 15th through the 31st media members from all over the map made their way out to SEAT TIME in Santa Monica, California to test their formidable driving skills against each other … all sim-driving the same exact, identical Spec Mazdas on the rolling hills and steep drops of Mazda Raceway in Laguna Seca, all the while in the comfort of a club-like salon setting at the very aptly-named e-motorsports establishment.
For the moment the (simulated) tire smoke has cleared and the fantastically realistic CXC racing simulators are getting a well-deserved cooling off period before they are fired up again at 2PM on Saturday afternoon August 4 for the first ever SEAT TIME MEDIA CHALLENGE RACE.  
The event will be a flat-out, 30-minute timed race that pits the four fastest qualifiers directly against each other on the justifiably famous race track for all the marbles.And here they are:  Top qualifier: Jason Isley, from Sports Car/Racer Magazine who turned in a quick lap of 1:44.862.  In a close second: Kurt Niebhur from with a 1:45.330. Third and not  far behind (hey it’s a long race): Preston Lerner from Automobile Magazine who’s best lap was 1:46.349. And … starting from the coveted “south pole” position:’s own Mark Takahashi whose 1:48.837 got him in the big show.

Kurt Niebuhr from went into the lead directly from his outside front row starting spot and handily lead all 30 minutes of the inaugural SEAT TIME Media Challenge yesterday afternoon at the unique Santa Monica sim-racing establishment. Winner Niebuhr had decided to run a conservative race “… No spins, clean driving,” he said in post-race interviews. His win was a popular one and his name will forever be enshrined as the first of what is sure to become a long-standing annual event.
The Saturday afternoon showdown event was the culmination of a two week (plus) qualifying period that saw members of the motoring media stopping by SEAT TIME and laying down a fast lap time on the twisting-snaking race course at Mazda Raceway in Monterey, California.
Sim-driving identical Spec Mazda Miatas, the four fastest media types on the west coast ran a head-to-head final event at SEAT TIME in each piloting their own individual super high-tech CXC Motion-Pro II racing simulator.

Preston Lerner from Automobile Magazine was second in the race.  Lerner was new to sim-racing but has been a successful club sports car racer for many years now.  He was there to have fun but he got down to being very serious about lines and lap times when the green flag dropped.  Lerner ran hard but just could not quite catch the almost flawless Niebuhr.

Another staffer, Mark Takahashi, was running well up when the track just somehow sort of tightened up on him causing him to loop his Mazda at the top of the course; he finished third.

Chris Considine, CXC’s major-domo and the chief designer/brains behind the company’s phenomenal products and matching success, was on hand to cheer the media-types on.  Considine was taking a break from overseeing CXC’s weekend move from their now-outgrown design and manufacturing facilities in Marina del Rey, California to spacious new headquarters on Imperial Highway right at LAX.  

“This is exactly what we envisioned from the start at CXC,” Considine told us.  “We designed and build our machines for the realistic possible racing experience you can have short  of driving the real thing.  It never gets old for me to see a group like this getting so very serious about competition … It’s always cool to be a part of.”
Fastest qualifier, and a prohibitive favorite going in based on his prior racing exploits, SportsCar/Racer Magazine’s Jason Isley had an uncharacteristically bad day on the raceway, looping his little Miata a couple of times and finally retiring in the pits a few laps before the end of the 30 minutes championship runoff.

The highly-experienced racer Isley had words for it: “This is much harder than the real thing,” he quipped good naturedly as he accepted his 4th place trophy and parting gifts from MazdaSpeed’s peripatetic PR-pro Dean Case.

“Mazda’s participation in this first event was of enormous benefit,” said Chas Lawrence.  “They are very serious about young drivers and bringing them along not only as competitors, but as representatives of their company.  Their participation here at SEAT TIME puts us in some very good company.”

At the end of the 30 minute race, and even though they were all competing in a very comfortably air-conditioned salon atmosphere, all four drivers were soaked in sweat.  “That’s a diving simulator AND an exercise machine, Takahashi quipped as he chugged a cold bottle of water.

Young Mazda pro driving champ Elliott Skeer drove up from his home in Vista, California to be on hand to coach any of the contestants who needed a bit of help.  Two weeks earlier, Skeer had stopped by SEAT TIME and set the “official” bogey time (1.42.904). Note: his time was not eclipsed (at least at this event) by this group of hard chargers.  After the race the 17-year old put on an impromptu driving clinic for the media and fans effortlessly running near-record time laps at Mazda Raceway at the “keyboard” of the CXC machine.

Everyone in attendance agreed that the event needs to be an annual happening and SEAT TIME founder/operator Lawrence agreed.  “We really want to thank all the members of the media who took part in this new event … I know that all of them had a great time, and they’re all invited back for Media Challenge II!”
The winner’s podium (L to R) Winner Kurt Niebhur, SEAT TIME owner Chas Lawrence, Jason Isely 4th, Mark Takahashi 3rd, and Preston Lerner. 2nd. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

Elliott Skeer is not the only professional race car driver to use Seat Time to gain some track experience. The following partial list have had multiple sessions at the Santa Monica location:
Patrick Long- ALMS GT, factory Porsche driver
Marco Holzer- ALMS GT, factory Porsche driver
Townsend Bell- ALMS GT, Indycar
Matt Halliday- FIA GT1, Australian V8 Supercars
David Heinemeier Hannson- ALMS P2
Michael Avenatti- ALMS GTC
Bob Faieta- ALMS GTC, Grand Am GT
Sean Johnston- IMSA GT3 Challenge (current points leader!)
Daniel “CJ” Calvert-Jones- IMSA GT3 Challenge, Grand Am GT
Fred Poordad- IMSA GT3 Challenge, Grand Am GT
Austin Dyne- NASCAR West Series
Harrison Geron- SCCA Spec Racer Ford
Brian Makse- NASA National Champion, MX5 Cup
Tommy Kendall-retired until last week! now, ALMS GT
Can a race car simulator give one a real race car experience? Judging by the emotional reaction of the automotive media gathered at the challenge, the list of names of accomplished drivers above, and the fact CXC Simulators just completed installing these type of machines at F1 team locations in Europe, one would have to come away with a resounding answer of … YES!
Whether one is an accomplished racer, aspire to become one, or are just an enthusiast looking for a unique experience, Seat Time is the place to come! Call 310.390.3580 or email (from the form at – today for more information or to reserve some … Seat Time.

… notes from The EDJE

** Article first published as Can a Race Car Simulator Give One a Real Race Car Experience? on Technorati **

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Automating QR (Quick Response) Code, Smart Phones, And You

Loyal customers, who are less likely to shop online, can be enticed by QR codes to come into the store after they have scanned a code and experienced rich videos, images, or in-store contests. Recently luxury retailer Ralph Lauren matched up with Red Fish Media to design a custom QR code placed in windows at various Ralph Lauren locations. Once scanned, the customer was enticed to enter the store for a chance to win tickets to the 2012 men’s US Open finals and a $3,000 Ralph Lauren wardrobe. Image Credit: Ralph Lauren

The Automating QR (Quick Response) Code, Smart Phones, And You

A cellphone with a camera isn’t a communications device with a way to capture pictures and share them with friends … rather, it’s a web enabled handheld data scanner with a display which automates the way to reach out, get information, be involved socially, and get things done.

In order to have one's phone behave more like a tool than a personalized toy, all one has to do is download a simple program into the cellphone and presto – the camera takes a picture (scans) of a symbol printed on a billboard, flyer, magazine, or TV/Computer display screen then decodes it and has the phone access a “(dot) mobi” webpage on the internet through a series of pre-scripted commands. Quick, Simple, and Easy.

Image Credit: Ralph Lauren

So why hasn’t this form of consumer automation taken off in the larger way it has in Japan and other countries? Hard to say, but get ready because the symbology revolution will be vying for your attention at a cellphone, real estate operation, bus stop, television screen, website, or specialty retail store around the corner from where you live, right now ... it's that weird square with squares in it.

There may be many codes (symbologies) offered by program automation developers, each with their own strengths and benefits, however, if your phone has limited memory space in which to store the software necessary to decode the symbology, then the one code program the cellphone should contain is the QR Code … the best code ever.

Image Credit: Ralph Lauren

This excerpted and edited from Multichannel Merchant Magazine -

R U Ready 4 QR Codes?
By Tim Parry, Multichannel Merchant

CONSIDERING MOBILE MARKETING? Then you should probably start thinking about quick response (QR) codes. These two-dimensional barcodes can provide a vital link between print or broadcast media and mobile commerce.
WHAT ARE THEY? QR codes store information — namely mobile Website URLs — that can be read by devices with cameras, like cell phones. A user with a Web-enabled camera phone equipped with the QR reader software can scan the image of the QR code; decoding software reads the information and prompts the phone's browser to go to a programmed URL.

WHAT'S THE BENEFIT TO YOU? Let's say you have a QR code printed on an advertisement or catalog. A customer could scan it with his cell phone to be directed to your mobile site — and hopefully start buying immediately.

IS ANYBODY USING THEM? Upscale apparel brand Ralph Lauren, for instance, burst onto the mobile commerce scene in August using the technology. The merchant put QR codes on print advertisements, store windows and mailers so that with one wave of a Web-enabled camera phone — with QR reader software — the user is whisked away to a landing page at

The mobile site was initially launched back in 2008 with a showcase of its limited edition U.S. Open Collection and other Ralph Lauren classics such as polo shirts, oxfords and chinos. Mobile users could also check out a Ralph Lauren style guide, watch tennis videos, and read articles about the U.S. Open in real time.

“We see mobile as a key channel for marketing, advertising and commerce for all of our brands and retail concepts,” says Miki Berardelli, Ralph Lauren's vice president, global customer strategy and retail marketing. “QR codes are part of the strategy and they serve as a conduit, providing an easy way for people to access the mobile Web.”

Users can download the QR reader application for free from Ralph Lauren; the technology is also available from numerous other sources online.

David Harper, founder/CEO of Website development firm Engagelogic and mobile content management and social networking software company Winksite, hopes the Ralph Lauren launch will encourage others to incorporate QR codes in their mobile commerce campaigns. But the early adaptors like Ralph Lauren may need to do more to educate people about the technology.
Why aren't more using QR codes? Creating a basic QR code is easy enough: Multichannel Merchant generated the code that appears on this issue's cover in a matter on minutes on (Test it with your cell phone camera.)

Dave Sikora, CEO of m-commerce provider Digby, blames a lack of consumer awareness of the technology, and the inability of phones to accurately read the codes.
But Harper contends that adding a QR code reader application to a phone is no harder than downloading software to your personal computer. You can do a search for “QR code reader” on your mobile browser and find a site you want to download it from. Once installed, the reader application will show up in the applications folder, and its icon will appear on the screen.

And the QR reader does not have to point perfectly perpendicular for the QR code to be correctly translated by the mobile device, he adds. Even a wave over the code can bring the user to the correct mobile site.
Big in Japan

QR codes can be seen everywhere in Japan — no surprise, since Japanese firm Denso-Wave created the technology in 1994. Cell phone users in Japan can click a QR code printed on a poster at a movie theater and view its trailer.

It helps that QR code readers come as a standard feature on many smart cell phones.
“When a customer scans the barcode with their phone, it launches a mobile-ready product detail and ordering page,” says Nina Matthews, marketing coordinator for CBC America. “This enables the customer to grab the page for follow-up while on the go or for sharing with others.”
Once consumers embrace the technology, Harper envisions some merchants using QR codes on the covers of their catalogs. Eventually, they may generate individual codes to be used for each product offering.

Technology notwithstanding, Digby's Sikora wonders how some merchants would handle the creative elements of incorporating a QR code into their print advertising and catalogs.
[Reference Here]

Image Credit: Ralph Lauren

FAQ's from Ralph Lauren -

Frequently Asked Questions (very basic)

What is a mobile site?
A mobile site is simply a normal web site formatted to fit your mobile phone or device.

Is it necessary to download anything to shop the mobile site?
No. Just enter into your mobile phone browser and voila...

Can any phone access the mobile site?
Any phone equipped with a web browser can access

Will it cost me on my phone bill to use the mobile site?
This service is free from Ralph Lauren but charges from your carrier may apply. Be sure and double-check your plan.

Is it secure to shop from my phone?
Yes. Shopping via mobile device is just as safe as shopping from your home computer.
What is a QR code?
These are two-dimensional bar codes—just like you’d find at the grocery store—that direct you to a specific website when you scan them with your cell phone.

[Reference Here]

** Article first published as The Automating QR (Quick Response) Code, Smart Phones, And You at Technorati **

Saturday, February 18, 2012

New Media Communications Strategies For Small Business Awareness & Growth

From Facebook to Twitter, blogging, YouTube, LinkedIn, and more, discover the new principles of communication that apply across all networks and how these specific social networks work and their possible inherent uses for your organization. Caption & Image Credit: Saginaw Valley State University (

New Media Communications Strategies For Small Business Awareness & Growth

Ever since the advent of Microsoft Windows in the mid-nineties, which made the computer as a mode of communication more accessible to most everyone, people have been trying to figure out how to leverage its communicative power to have their business interests grow. In other words ... How can one use New Media communications to make money and have their businesses grow to meet the needs of more potential customers?

The next layer that has developed over these last one and a half decades are programs that help people to connect with additional ease to share interests, ideas, information, and just plain communicate on a broader field more quickly. This layer is called social media, and when used properly, social media can help a growing business boost brand awareness, improve customer relations, garner market research, even bolster sales. As the number of people who use social media rises, many marketing experts believe it’s essential for even the smallest of companies to consider developing a strategy to utilize this resource.

The worst effort a small business can put forth in this arena is to enter the world of New Media communications without a focus or a plan upon which the small business can leverage its limited resources to take advantage of the many social media communications opportunities that exist. As always, a business desires to place in motion a plan that will have a great chance at success, otherwise, why bother ... just run an ad in the local paper which fewer people bother to purchase, let alone read.

Logging on to a computer just takes a few clicks to potentiality connect one with thousands of business contacts and customers ... in addition to setting up networking strategies, business owners can use social media to glean useful insights by reading comments made by customers, industry experts, even competitors.

THE BURGER WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING. Research shows that one cannot live on burgers alone. That's why we offer a wide selection of chicken sandwiches like the grilled or crispy Avocado Chicken Club. Think of it as a Smashburger's equally awesome partner in crime. Image Credit: Smashburger Master LLC

This excerpted and edited from the Tucson Citizen -

Small businesses use social media to grow
by Laura Petrecca on Feb. 16, 2012

Hamburger chain Smashburger has become a smash hit, growing from three Denver locations in 2007 to 150 outposts nationwide. And while its Angus-beef burgers and unique toppings have helped to propel its success, its secret sauce is social-media outreach.

Smashburger offers coupons and trivia contests for its 67,000 Facebook followers, replies to questions and complaints on its Twitter and Facebook profiles, and actively reaches out to bloggers who might write about the new Smashburger restaurants opening in their areas.

“The brand was really built on social media and PR strategies,” says Jeremy Morgan, senior vice president of marketing and consumer insights. “Social media is an opportunity for us to engage with consumers and have a conversation, which is different than paid media, when you’re just shouting through a bullhorn.”
“Everybody should take a look at it,” says Dan Galbraith, owner of marketing support company Solutionist and a National Small Business Association board member.

“Whether they chose to jump into social media or not is a question that only they can answer,” he says, but all firms should at least explore how social media could work for them. “There’s a lot of good information floating out there,” he says.
A time investment

It takes dedication to achieve social-media success.

“The common misconception about social media is that it’s free,” says Morgan. “Facebook and Twitter accounts are free, but for small business owners in particular, time comes at a premium.”

To keep from feeling overwhelmed, business owners should decide how much time they can dedicate to this burgeoning arena, says Galbraith. Some may need to hire social-media help.

Either way, business owners should first set goals, he says. For instance, an owner might want to increase store traffic by 20% by offering coupons via Facebook or another social-media site. Or a business-to-business company could plan to reconnect with 10 former clients and re-establish solid relationships in the next three months.

The goals should be clear-cut, but as many business owners have learned, the initial strategies might have to change.
Consistency counts

While marketing experts advocate joining the social-media conversation, most say that doing it poorly — such as combining personal and professional updates or not posting information consistently — is worse than not doing it at all.

“Consumers won’t stick around, and you won’t get much traction,” says Morgan.

There are some basic social media tenets to keep in mind, says Sabina Ptacin, co-founder of ‘Preneur, which provides tools and resources for small businesses.

She first suggests that business owners “baby step it out,” to see what feels comfortable to them and is do-able. Those who can’t contribute on a daily basis might want to hold off on creating a public profile.

“You can’t post once a week and think it’s going to make an impact,” she says. “You need to constantly be contributing, definitely every day.”
She counsels social-media users to think of it as circulating during a cocktail party.

“I always tell people to pretend that they’re at a party and (act) how they would behave,” she says. “No one wants to talk to the person who is always talking about themselves. … They want you to ask them questions and engage in conversations.”
[Reference Here]

A business should also understand that the communicative strata of social media is as varied as there are concepts and interests held by humans themselves. Most are aware of social platforms as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the like but many could gain from understanding other social communications platforms such as SodaHead, Pinterest, Google+, Stumble, as well as other syndicated message and image sharing environments.

A business must decide what niche(s) it speaks to, and can participate in upon which they can contribute so as to receive the benefits of engagement. A well placed pebble thrown into a pond sets up a communications wave that can reap incredible benefits ... social media environments are just well placed ponds for well placed communications pebbles.

** Article first published as New Media Communications Strategies For Small Business Awareness & Growth on Technorati **