I’m often asked what are the best books on branding and marketing for small businesses. Now, if you don’t know me you might not know that I’m a voracious reader and over the past 16 years as a brand practitioner I have a amassed vast library of business books, audio books and ebooks. Picking favorites is a difficult task, but here’s where I would start:
There are 3 people who, in my opinion, have consistently created thought-provoking material:
Al Reis (he has partnered with both Jack Trout and his daughter, Laura Reis to publish a series of great books)
If you run a larger company, I would add David Aaker to the list who has published some great books on brand portfolio management and maintaining equity.
Start with Why by Simon Sinek
Anything by David Ogilvy
Igor International’s blog
Again, this is just scraping the surface – it’s killing me not to turn this into a 2,000 word post ;) So, do you have a favorite I haven’t listed? If so, what would you add?
Photo via ciro@tokyo
What does Google+ Ripples mean for small business?
Visualized data - We understand what we see well before what we read. This is part of what makes Ripples so powerful – a way to very quickly visualize complex data.
Potential Influencers – With this visual tool, you can quickly identify users who have compelled other people to share your information (one indicator of potential influence). Arrows within Ripples show the direction of resharing and circles within circles represent the resharing sequence, so large circles indicate heavy resharing.
Post shelf-life – Ripples can help you understand the lifespan of a post’s shares. Does your post die out after a day? Or does it have shares spread over a few days? These types of insights could indicate whether your content is time- or event-sensitive, novel or sustainable. Note: Ripples only shows data for the previous 53 days.
Time-lapsed insights – By clicking on the play button, you can view how often the post was shared and by whom, sequentially, over time.
Niche communities – Not only can you identify potential influencers based on the size of circles, but you can begin to identify how people are related to one another. Are they connected, purposefully or not, based on shared likes, interests and beliefs? Uncovering these insights can lead you to niche communities that exist within and (potentially) outside of Google+.
Experimentation – The power of understanding these analytics is the ability to experiment, like test posting factors such as time of day, day of week, titles, visuals, etc to understand how they impact shares.
To witness a Ripple, simply click on the right arrow on the top right of a public post and select “view ripples”. See below for a demonstration of the feature.
An important note: as Google states on their support site, “While Ripples displays a lot of cool information, you’re not actually seeing all the action that’s taken place. For starters, Ripples only uses public shares, so there may be a discrepancy between the number of shares that you see on a post in the stream and the number of shares that Ripples displays.”
And, Google has been very clear that Ripples is categorized as an experiment – meaning that they may evolve or dismantle the tool over time.
The short answer is only if you’re using Google+ as a part of your communications strategy (and most are not). That said, new ideas in the technology space are rapidly replicated. Although Facebook already has their own visualization tool called Touchgraph, it pales in comparison – if Ripples is a success, I wouldn’t be surprised to see something similar in other social media sites.
The second key issue is that, based on privacy rules, we will only ever be able to track public posts and shares. This significantly affects the intent behind sharing content and, ultimately, true data collection.
So, what do you think – is Ripples an exciting advancement in analytics? Will you be using this tool?