A nice feature in Computer Arts this month for our working with Nottingham.
So, the big news that hit as we settle back from the Easter break was Facebook’s buyout of Instagram. The $1 billion deal launched thousands of tweets, memes and vows to cancel Instagram accounts. Reports say that as the app became available on Android last week, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook had realised that Instagram was in fact far more than a photo sharing website – it was a challenger social network with 30m users. The take-over of Instagram is just the latest indication of the massive growth and importance of visual networking in 2012.
One of the original key factors to the success of Facebook was photo sharing, tagging friends and browsing through photos. Recently, the introduction of Timeline has nodded towards a more visual identity with Cover Pictures that people are experimenting with, choosing images that represent them. As Instagram (and Pinterest) continue to grow, and remain connected to Facebook (and Twitter etc…), user’s profiles are set to become far more visual than ever before.
As Zuckerberg pointed out, Instagram’s point of difference from Facebook, is that it allows users to share “beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests”. This highlights two key features that are influencing the growing market of visual networking. Firstly, imagery that is more appealing than reality, and secondly, projecting your interests and character to a wider world. The growing appeal in communicating your identity, and networking though imagery, is perfectly represented through Pinterest, with it’s 17m users building aspirational images of their lives about subjects they are passionate about.
So what does this mean for marketeers? Brands have been using Instagram to add character and insight, building relationships with consumers with down to earth and attractive imagery. Names you might expect to see like Sharpie, as well as others you may not such as ABC News and Tiffany’s, have all used the platform to refresh their image and communicate to new markets. Similarly, Etsy was immediately one of the most followed Pinners on Pinterest. However, airline BMI, and Barney’s NY have also been making headway with campaigns aimed to appeal to users interests and aesthetic – that is the crucial point for brands wanting to get involved. In order to fit within user’s expectations of visual networking you must focus on your market’s interests and characters and apply them to your communication to be successful. If visual networking is where consumers are spending their time, make sure your brand looks the part.
Exciting news, after beginning work in 2011 (see release here) and launching at the end of the year, we’ve just moved the Guinness World Records site out of BETA!
As kids, we all remember the anticipation of getting our grubby little mitts on the latest annual, then spending hours reeling over the incredible (and often silly) feats. We would then endeavor to create our own ridiculous records in the school playground. This then, has been one of those projects that the entire (untitled) squad wanted a piece of!
So, along with the lovely bunch over at Guinness World Records, we set out to create an exciting and intuitive way of getting our virtual mitts on all those records that make you ‘oooh’ with admiration, shriek with horror, and more often than not go “oh my god, really? Surely thats not possible?” As Sam Fay, the Head of Global communications at Guinness World Records put it, “The aim of this digital reinvention is to bring that love of Guinness World Records and record-breaking to a new level, in new formats which integrates and engages in every possible way.”
The site focuses on both the devoted young readers of Guinness World Records as well the intrepid grown-ups that actually create the records. It’s pretty simple actually and we established quickly that the core visitors are there for one of two reasons – to set a record, or to check them out. We then worked with GWR to determine the four key categories that each record can be defined by – Size, Speed, Dedication and the Extraordinary. The new website also has a platform for setting your own records (soon to be overhauled) – giving you the opportunity to make that bonkers playground dream a reality from the comfort of your keyboard!
The site draws on the iconic brand of Guinness World Records, highlighting some amazing photos and videos that bring the records to life and make heroes out of our often brave record breakers. We added some playful elements and a good injection of social – with Facebook commenting and all the great sharing tools – even sneaking in a Google +1!
There’s a full HTML5 build, making the most of the new features to create a semantic and accessible site that everyone can enjoy, and we’ve also gone all out to make the user’s experience interactive as well as intuitive by implementing some magic jQuery touches around the site.
We’ve built the site on the Umbraco content management platform, which we’ve worked with for a number of years and are huge fans, plus a certified partner! It’s allowing the Guinness team to keep the content fresh and can handle the significant traffic and complex technical environment.
The new Guinness Book of World Records 2012 is out now! And this year there is even more of reason to run to the shops for your copy. Alongside our new website, our good friends over at Holler (@hollerlondon) have been working their magic and have created some neat augmented reality stuff – get your hands on the book and check it out! That’s not it though, there’s even more tasty stuff to come later in the year, including social gaming, mobile and apps.
We’ve had quite a bit of press coverage for the website – picked up by Design Week and in Web User Magazine, the UK highest circulation internet publication – scoring top marks as ‘Website of the Fortnight’ and being described as ‘as fresh as the world’s largest fresh-flower mural’ (that’ll be 1,869 square metres!) Even Vogue Italia is following our lead with their front cover featuring Stella Tennant in a look inspired by Guinness World Record Smallest Waist Holder Cathie Jung.
Whilst the website build was going on here at (untitled) there was a lot of debate around the office over what is the weirdest record. I’ve gotta say, it has to go to the lady with the longest tongue – just nuts! But at the same time you can’t deny the dedication it must have taken for Niek Vermeulen to collect 6,016 airline sickness bags!
Right, while you check out www.guinnessworldrecords.com we’re off out to the playground to break a record!