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Meaning Making Machines
brands, marketing, market research, and consumer behaviour
Curated by Jason Morelyle
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Spurious Correlations | via Tyler Vigen

Spurious Correlations | via Tyler Vigen | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

For your Friday morning enjoyment, Spurious Correlations. Tyler Vigen has been collecting examples of data that correlate closely but most likely completely unrelated. My favourites are how the number of swimming-pool drownings correlate with the number of films Nicolas Cage appeared in, how worldwide non-commercial space launches correlate to number of sociology doctorates, and how the divorce rate in Maine correlates with the per capita consumption of margarine in the US. I always suspected margarine was at the root of social decay. Remember folks, correlation does not imply causation!!

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Chipotle Cups Will Now Feature Stories by Jonathan Safran Foer, George Saunders, Toni Morrison, and Other Authors

Chipotle Cups Will Now Feature Stories by Jonathan Safran Foer, George Saunders, Toni Morrison, and Other Authors | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

Writer Jonathan Safran Foer was sitting at a Chipotle when he realized that he had nothing to read over his lunch. He had neglected to bring a book or magazine, and he didn’t yet own a smartphone. And then Foer had an idea: What if there were something truly interesting to read on his Chipotle cup? Or the bag? Foer had met Steve Ells, Chipotle’s C.E.O., at some point so he decided to write the executive an e-mail: “I bet a shitload of people go into your restaurants every day, and I bet some of them have very similar experiences, and even if they didn’t have that negative experience, they could have a positive experience if they had access to some kind of interesting text ... Wouldn’t it be cool to just put some interesting stuff on it? Get really high-quality writers of different kinds, creating texts of different kinds that you just give to your customers as a service."

 

And voila. I think I spent almost every morning of my youth reading the box of Cheerios or Alphabits - same idea. Just kicks it up a notch. 

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The Eight Phases of Brand Love | via HBR

The Eight Phases of Brand Love | via HBR | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

Insightful points raised by HBR. From first blush to first crush and on into make-up or breakup, the relationships and connections we have with brands are not unlike the relationships and connections we have with people... 

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The 18th Annual Customer Loyalty Engagement Index | via Forbes

The 18th Annual Customer Loyalty Engagement Index | via Forbes | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

If you didn't see the recent release, the “Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index” (CLEI) ranks the top-10 brands who are best at meeting customer expectations and having the most loyal customers. Notably, Passikoff writes that, “a few years ago we found customers were looking for “delight” from their brands. But that was then, and tomorrow has arrived. This year’s survey found that meeting customer expectations is the secret going forth for how brands can guarantee loyalty, engagement, and profits. Of course, the first step is actually knowing what customers expect.” As Mr Gretzky so memorably said (and Steve Jobs loved to quote): "A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be." For a brand, it's not only meeting expectations that is key to loyalty and engagement, but even knowing what those expectations are before they have them.

 

 

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Helvetica The Perfume™ | via Guts & Glory

Helvetica The Perfume™ | via Guts & Glory | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

The scent of nothing. Slip into something more transparent. Modernism distilled. The answer for every unanswered question. It's then and now and the future. At last - a font with its own scent. We can all name at least half a dozen half-assed celebrities with their own perfume ... so why can't a font have one? And what font better deserving than Helvetica?  The "perfume" - which is distilled water - is a concept created by the firm Guts and Glory ( http://gutsandgloryand.us/ ;) the perfect gift for that person in your life who "dares to be the same." More of a deviously ironic commentary on our culture's obsession with appearance over substance and transparency over solidity. In their copy, Guts & Glory says Helvetica was first created as a "highly legible and completely neutral expression of the Modernist design movement," a typeface with "no intrinsic meaning, allowing the content to convey the message." It is in this spirit, they say, that the "ultimate Modernist perfume" was created, "a scent distilled down to only the purest and most essential elements to allow you, the content, to convey your message with the utmost clarity." Nicely put. We are the content, the scent of nothing. Slip into something more transparent. Somewhere, McLuhan is laughing.

Also for fun, see Helvetica the film http://www.helveticafilm.com/ ;

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A Supercut Of Black Friday Shopping Chaos | via Digg

A Supercut Of Black Friday Shopping Chaos | via Digg | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

Unbelievable footage from Black Friday in the US. A frightening display of greed, fear, and violence - because nothing says "America" and American values like scrapping over a blender and strangling your neighbour over a DVD at Walmart. In the words of Sam Walton, founder of Walmart: "Each Walmart store should reflect the values of its customers and support the vision they hold for their community." Indeed. 

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Wage Star Wars In Your Kitchen With Death Star Linoleum | via FastCoDesign

Wage Star Wars In Your Kitchen With Death Star Linoleum | via FastCoDesign | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

Incredible product from the mad geniuses at Tom Spina Designs - based on the original Industrial Light & Magic three dimensional tiles they designed for filming close-ups of the Death Star in Star Wars, Spina Designs has reproduced them as linoleum tiles. I'm thinking my entire kitchen is going to be a staging area for an X-wing trench run.

 

For more, see the Tom Spina site: http://www.tomspinadesigns.com/custom-themed-furniture-star-wars-death-star-home-theater.html ;

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Top 6 Reasons This Infographic is Just Wrong Enough to Sound Convincing | via Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

Top 6 Reasons This Infographic is Just Wrong Enough to Sound Convincing | via Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

The folks at Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal poke fun at infographics and dataviz with a self-referencing graphic that gives us 6 reasons why each graphic is useful. The lesson here is that it's not so much the "size of the data" as it is the utter non-information shown as something worth knowing. Point #5 is my favourite. Fun stuff.

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Branding everything: Putting a new spin on language, culture, politics | via CBC - The Sunday Edition

Branding everything: Putting a new spin on language, culture, politics | via CBC - The Sunday Edition | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

Fascinating documentary run this past Sunday on CBC's The Sunday Edition from journalist Ira Basen. Brands are quickly taking on a whole new range of meanings in our brave new world, and it's an evolution that will have huge implications for all of us, be you researcher, marketer, or consumer. At one point, he writes that yes, digital media encourages us to think of ourselves as brands, but, he argues, there’s a danger when person-to-person interactions get replaced by my brand talking to yours, or when we start to think of consumer brands as our “friends.” Humanize a brand, anyone?

 

Audio documentary runs just short of an hour. Enjoy!

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BlackBerry Is A Failed State | via BuzzFeed

BlackBerry Is A Failed State | via BuzzFeed | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

Wonderful piece from John Herman at BuzzFeed on the state of BlackBerry. "What happens now that BlackBerry appears to be doomed? Just think of it as a country. Welcome to BlackBerria. Don't drink the water." We've all heard the stories, seen the reports. BlackBerry is over. This time next year it will be unrecognizable. Herman's take on the situation is Swiftian - priceless. Enjoy.

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The 39 stats: Alfred Hitchcock's obsessions in numbers | via TheGuardian

The 39 stats: Alfred Hitchcock's obsessions in numbers | via TheGuardian | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

Absolutely gorgeous series of infographics on Alfred Hitchcock's films in numbers - from character deaths and the longest journeys to "one bad mother" and 50 ways to kill a character. Produced by The Guardian in celebration of Hitchcock's birthday earlier this week. Enjoy. 

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NASA Visualizes 130 Years of Climate Change in 30 Seconds | via FastCompany

NASA Visualizes 130 Years of Climate Change in 30 Seconds | via FastCompany | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

In an astounding short little video, NASA has collected the data of surface temperature records from more than 1,000 weather stations dating back to 1880 - in essence a visualization of 130 years of climate change in 26 seconds. This is data heat mapping taken to the next level. Frightening and sobering stuff really. FastCompany linked it from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day site (http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130731.html) - and as they note, Stanford scientists recently warned that climate change is expected to hasten at a rate 10 times faster than any shifts that have occurred within the last 65 million years. By the end of the 21st century they predict, temperatures could rise 5 to 6 degrees Celsius. By then - well - the map above will be all hues of red.

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Caffeine Quantified: Your Favorite Coffee Chains Ranked, Weakest to Strongest | via FastCompany

Caffeine Quantified: Your Favorite Coffee Chains Ranked, Weakest to Strongest | via FastCompany | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

"Coffee is one of those things where the cure is the disease." Interesting infographic created by recommender blog Thrillist, we have a visual representation of the amount of caffeine in the coffee of several coffee chains. The amount of coffee is represented by a series of cups whose contents are converted to pie charts. The more caffeine the chain has, the larger the portion of the cup’s surface is rendered coffee-colored. For the Canadians among us, the first thing we notice is the absence of our revered Tim Horton's. I took the liberty of finding out: as it turns out, Tim's is close to the bottom of the heap at a weak 10 mg per fl oz - percolating just between McDonald's and Seattle's Best. Here's Tim's info for all my fellow Canadian caffeine junkies who may be interested: http://www.timhortons.com/ca/pdf/CAFFEINE_CONTENT_-_Canada_-_November2012.pdf

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A Japanese drink company is putting the first billboard on the moon | via The Verge

A Japanese drink company is putting the first billboard on the moon | via The Verge | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

One small step for man, one giant leap for capitalism run amok. A specially designed canister containing a shipment of Otsuka's Pocari "Sweat Powder," marks a disturbing new frontier for humanity: the first commercial product delivered to another world for marketing purposes.

Yes kids - Japanese beverage maker Otsuka revealed that it is sending a 1 kilogram titanium can filled with powdered sports drink to the moon. The canister will be delivered when the first planned private moon-landing mission takes place in October 2015. The ship that will be making the voyage, the Falcon 9, has already successfully made three supply runs to the International Space Station. Yes - the same Falcon 9 designed and built by SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk. Otsuka hopes that one day youth interested in space travel will live out their dreams, collect the "dream capsule" and drink the Pocari Sweat mixed with the water found on the moon," according to a press release about the mission.

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Fritz Kahn's Whimsical Infographics Turn People Into Contraptions | via io9

Fritz Kahn's Whimsical Infographics Turn People Into Contraptions | via io9 | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

One of the pioneers of infographics, Fritz Kahn (1888-1968), published more than 20 books with his artist friends and produced thousands of scientific illustrations. Kahn's appeal was in his use of startling visual metaphors that often took complex principles in nature and technology and made them comprehensible to the average person. His infographics attempt to take you inside the functioning of the human mind and body, by depicting people as steampunk-esque, whimsical contraptions. Here are his most amazing illustrations. Notably, Kahn admitted he was not a good artist, and often had others draw for him, under his direction. Enjoy!

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14 Must-Read Stats that Emphasize the 2014 Customer Experience Imperative | via @Parature

14 Must-Read Stats that Emphasize the 2014 Customer Experience Imperative | via @Parature | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

Great piece from Parature collecting a variety of excellent metrics - I thought points #6, #8, and #10 were especially telling. Omni-channels are definitely a realistic goal, and the more that brands start figuring out that all touchpoints along the entire experience-arc trumps everything else, the faster they will innovate to get there. 

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38 Ways Brands Generate “Badwill” | via Branding Strategy Insider

38 Ways Brands Generate “Badwill” | via Branding Strategy Insider | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

Small article from Mark Di Somma at BSI discussing the idea of brand "badwill." Riffing off Matt Haig's book, "Brand Failures," Di Somma discusses badwill from an investment analysis perspective - where it "plays out in the form of decreased revenue, loss of clients or suppliers, loss of market share” and links it to brand equity, where the disappointment of brand badwill emerges from a brand's behaviors or attitudes and expresses itself as lost revenues, lost clients, lost market share, etc. Brand badwill can - and does - have serious consequences for brands. Consider the trainwreck of Blackberry. Using Haig's "seven deadly sins of branding" (amnesia, ego, megalomania, deception, fatigue, paranoia, and irrelevance), Di Somma adds his own list of 38 brand sins / symptoms of brand badwill with the caveat, "badwill is not generated by the action itself, but by perceptions of the actions. And those actions are often as much the result of bad judgment calls as bad behaviors per se." Good points all. 

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The Wisdom of Calvin & Hobbes

The Wisdom of Calvin & Hobbes | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it
Jason Morelyle's insight:

... just sayin.

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Montserrat | via F. Lazzari

Stunning, gorgeous film - a tribute film to the Montserrat typeface. Music by Brian Eno and Black Planet. The text throughout is from a poem by the tremendous Jorge Luis Borges, "Break of Day." Watch. Enjoy. Repeat. 

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Interactive Dataviz of the World's Biggest Data Breaches & Hacks | via Information Is Beautiful

Interactive Dataviz of the World's Biggest Data Breaches & Hacks | via Information Is Beautiful | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

Gorgeous - if not terrifying - interactive data visualization of the world's biggest data breaches, leaks and hacks. The creators call it an "interactive Balloon Race" and it's powered by the new VizSweet software suite of dataviz tools for generating interactive visualizations. The software is in pre-alpha now - can't wait to see more. Some fascinating breaches here: New York State Electric and Gas? Florida Dept of Juvenile Justice?! The hacks just keep getting bigger and more prevalent. Enjoy ... and tremble.

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Box | via Bot & Dolly

Incredible film from the labs at Bot & Dolly that captures a live performance of projection-mapping onto moving surfaces. Projection-mapping -- which some may call video-mapping or spatial augmented reality -- is projection technology used to turn objects into display surfaces for video projection. Although projection-mapping / spatial augmented reality is not new, this demonstration takes it to a whole new level: many of us have seen how the technique has often been used by artists & advertisers who add depth illusion, extra dimensions, and movement onto static objects, like buildings or walls; in this case, Bot & Dolly have taken the "single dimension" of the static object and transformed it into something else entirely. Have a look. 

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Old-School VW Microbus Will Finally End Production This Year | via Jalopnik.com

Old-School VW Microbus Will Finally End Production This Year | via Jalopnik.com | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

Sigh. Goodbye pal indeed. A sad, sad year for those of us who fell in love with the old-school VW microbus. A lovely testament and eulogy on Jalopnik.com from Jason Torchinsky. Shed a tear friends. Raise a glass. And know that those we have shared our lives with are with us forever in our hearts and memories.

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Hurricane Michelle Bachmann? The Climate Name Change Petition | via 350.org Action Fund

Hurricane Michelle Bachmann? The Climate Name Change Petition | via 350.org Action Fund | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

350.org Action Fund, a US-based environmental campaign group who aims to build a "global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis" has launched a new petition to urge the World Meteorlogical Organization to name hurricanes after climate "change deniers and obstructionists." As the petition says: 


"As scientific evidence shows that climate change is creating increasingly frequent and devastating storms, and with climate scientists declaring these extreme weather events as the new normal, we propose a new naming system. A system that names extreme storms caused by climate change, after the policy makers who deny climate change and obstruct climate policy."


A silly stunt? A fun, tongue-in-cheek way to poke fun at US policy makers and climate deniers? Absolutely. 350.org knows full well that a campaign like this has a snowball's chance in hell of going anywhere. However, as of this writing the petition has almost 60,000 names, more than doubling its target of 25,000.It lends weight to the idea that there are probably more climate *policy* deniers out there now than climate *change* deniers. It's a swift and targeted kick in the pants to US policy makers who still live in prehistoric times. As Phil Plait put it,"when politicians stick their heads so deeply into the sand that they can see the Earth’s core, something needs to be done. Public mockery isn’t the worst thing that can happen." http://goo.gl/URtTeu ;

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40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World | via TwistedSifter

40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World | via TwistedSifter | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

Excellent collection of maps that will surprise, delight, and dismay. Notably, compare map #2, "Countries that do not use the metric system" to #6, "Paid maternal leave around the world." Odd. Others I thought were interesting were #28 "World coffee consumption" (yay Canada!), #39, "Map of Europe showing literal Chinese translations for country names" ("Moral Land?!") and #12, "Visualizing global population density." Enjoy.

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5 emerging trends contributing to the consolidation of the advertising industry | via VisonCritical

5 emerging trends contributing to the consolidation of the advertising industry | via VisonCritical | Meaning Making Machines | Scoop.it

Excellent piece from Aaron Paquette at VC discussing the recent Publicis and Omnicom mergers - one of the biggest mergers in the advertising industry - and implications for the research world. As Paquette points out, the merger of these two will create the world’s largest advertising company with $23 billion in revenue, toppling current market leader WPP. A thoughtful and balanced view of the industry and where things are headed now. His point around personalized advertising and consumer feedback is a salient one I think, especially in how consumers will become more and more integral in crafting creative content. Smart companies, as he says, "... will inject consumer insights back into the research practice. Big data allows companies to measure behavioral and transactional data, but it doesn’t reveal attitudinal data. To deliver relevant ads that people will actually like, companies will need to better understand why people do what they do, and they can only achieve this by talking to their customers." So true - messaging, advertisements, creative, etc. will only resonate with your consumers if that messaging, advertising, and creative reflects a story and a narrative that resonates, is responsive and relevant, and - crucially - is relatable. 

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