Nintendo DSi: The Future of Augmented Reality?

To start off, check out this video:


This here, ladies and gentlemen, is the next step into the world of augmented reality (AR).

I was fortunate this Christmas to have received a DSi. Unlike someone much younger than me, I didn’t immediately think of which games I wanted to get for it. I thought about its value in relation to the iPhone, Smart phones, and the like.
After toying around with the camera and its really cool features, I realized that its potential for augmented reality is great.
The above video is the first that I’ve heard about AR games for the DSi. And I’m pretty excited about it.

Now, how much further will (or rather, should) Nintendo take this?
Imagine the possibilities, especially with the new dual cameras and WiFi capabilities.

Take the Urbanspoon restaurant-locating iPhone app as an example.
This app creates an overlay when you point your iPhone at the horizon. It locates restaurants near you. The bigger the circle, the closer you are to the restaurant. And let’s not forget the ratings system involved.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata described the DSi as being a more personal and individualized item, rather than a shared system like the past two generations of the DS. Iwata also claims the DSi is not meant to compete with mobile phones, the iPod, or Sony’s PSP, yet they now have an opportunity to wade into new waters. They have a huge potential for pushing the lines of mobile technology.

By creating new apps in the DSi Store for purchase, the DSi can fulfill its personalized nature by becoming more than just a gaming system. It could become a personal organizer, a GPS system, and who knows what else.

So I leave this with you:
Should Nintendo invest in more AR programs and apps? Would this increase their appeal to a wider market, or is this placing them in a market they’d rather not touch?

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Spamming for a Cause

Late last month, news broke out that the St. Louis archdiocese contributed $10,000 to prevent Maine’s gay marriage bill from passing. This resulted in protests every Sunday throughout December by angered pro-marriage equality St. Louisans.
(You may read the StLToday.com article here)

This is when it all began for me.
I got my first invitation via Facebook to attend the protest.
And then another invitation…to the same thing.
And another.

Then, within days, three gay men were attacked outside a nightclub. The attack, they claimed, was related to their sexual orientation. St. Louisans decided to hold a benefit event to raise money to cover the victims’ medical bills.
(You may read the StLToday.com article here)

Suddenly, multiple invitations. To the same benefit fundraiser.

Between both events, both of which I was unable to attend, I was spammed with nearly daily messages. They flooded my inbox, prompting me to simply click those all-too-convenient “Select All” and “Delete” buttons.

I have a great appreciation and respect for the St. Louis gay community. They are an impassioned group of people who strive to get their name out by holding in-your-face protests. They not only want equality, they demand it.

Yet when it comes down to it, only those who lead the protests have so much passion as to read all those messages. For people like me, the willing and interested who have higher priorities to attend to, receiving the same message multiple times throughout a day or week gets not only annoying, it diminishes my interest and passion for protesting for their cause.

A successful cause is one that knows when to say, “This is too much.”

Outside my interest in marriage equality, I also subscribe to the ONE Campaign, a global campaign to “make poverty history.” They have chapters all over the world, including at my university, which ranked Number 7 in the country last year for raising awareness.

What I like about this cause is that they, like the St. Louis gay community, are impassioned and proud of what they stand for.

However, I only get an e-mail every two or three weeks. They are clear and concise, containing a great message and links to updates on global crises and relief efforts. No e-mail is the same, and it leaves my reading options open for me rather than cramming them into one long, annoying message.

All in all, the most important duty of a campaign or cause is to keep the interest alive.
Overworking your audience’s brains causes confusion and overwhelms them.
Yet keeping the distribution of information to a short, concise, and unique message will continue to build that interest, and keep your constituents impassioned and ready to fight for their beliefs.

Why Customer Service Marketing is a Good Idea

I just went to Jiffy Lube today to get my oil changed.
I expected the all-too-familiar process with every other car repair place in St. Louis: walk in, get some smug looks, somebody unenthusiastically gets you checked in, then you wait an hour just to get your oil changed.
Today, however, it was not the case.

I pulled my car up to the garage doors, and I was greeted by a worker who took my keys and opened the door to the waiting room for me. Not two minutes later, I was escorted into the shop so I could (a) pick which oil I wanted, and (b) look at the car itself while they explained to me the small things that need to be fixed. In addition to the services I was paying for, they also vacuumed my floor boards, washed my windows, and topped off all my fluids.
In ten minutes, they had finished, and escorted me to my car and opened my door for me.

This was the first time I have ever walked away from a car repair place with an uncontrollable smile plastered across my face.

All companies should take into consideration using their marketing budget on improving customer service. With the increasing demand for individualized, personalized products, the services realm needs to transform as well.

One perfect–not to mention successful–company investing their marketing budget on customer service is Zappos.
We discussed in class one situation with a Zappos customer who also happened to be a well-known blogger. She had just purchased a pair of shoes for her ailing mother, but before they could get delivered, her mother had passed away. She called their customer service line to ask for a refund, and not only did she get that refund, but she also got a bouquet of flowers from the Zappos company, sending their condolences.

So what’s the point in investing your time and marketing budget towards customer service?

Zappos got lucky. When they sent the flowers to their customer, she made her many blog followers aware of what had happened. Word of mouth got out, and it built a stronger reputation for Zappos.
Going back on the point about the need for personalization and individualization, people are more likely to use a product or service if a source they know and trust recommends it. Their personal connection with that person then becomes a personal connection to the service, increasing the likelihood that they will give business to that trusted source.

As a future Public Relations practitioner, it is important to know the trends.
Though appealing to a niche audience is always important, addressing the customer as an individual, not a part of a group, is an increasing priority. That’s where customer service marketing comes into play.

Do you think that customer service marketing is increasing? Or should it be?

The United Church of Google: Time to Convert?

I came across a recent Forbes article on “When Google Runs Your Life.”

Let me just start off by saying, when an article leaves you thinking non-stop about a subject, you know that there’s something to it. Sometimes, it’s even life-changing.
Google may one day rule the world. They seem to always be the first to really know what’s new in technology–especially when they’re the ones to invent it.
The best part is, they obviously know their audience. They see what their constituents desire, and go for it almost immediately. I want to be on their PR team.
Google has managed to make itself such a wide presence that to not have heard of them would be considered sacrilegious. I mean, they’re so well known, their brand name has become a verb. That’s got to say something.
It wasn’t until today, when I finally received my invitation to Google Wave that I realized the impact they may soon have. The aforementioned Forbes article just pushed that further for me.
As of right now, a person can run entirely off of Google’s products. Quentin Harvey, the writer of this Forbes article, summed it up pretty well:

Your day begins with a wake-up call from your Google Android phone. As you run to the shower, you hit Google News and check headlines, then Gmail. Your first appointment of the day has been moved to a new location; Google Maps will direct you there. Quickly update your expense report–including the printout of that sales presentation using, say, Google Template–and shoot them to the back office in India (in Hindi, if you prefer, with Google Translate). Your boss wants to discuss your group’s contributions to some marketing documents? Lean on Google Groups. You’re not even out the door yet. You have the rest of the day to search for work-critical information on the Web while you’re at the office–to say nothing of snatching a few moments to download a game, check stock prices, organize your medical records, share photos and pick a restaurant and movie for the evening. How convenient.

The more I think about the convenience that Google provides me, with all its services combined into one interconnected system of awesomeness, I can’t help but wonder if I’m ready to switch over.

As a Public Relations student, I never heard the end of “keep up with social media” and “mobile technology is your future. You must keep up with it!” I cannot deny this fact.

If we don’t switch over, we may have to in the future.

So, my question for you is, are you ready to convert?

Getting Our Feet Wet: The Potential Intern’s Struggle

Several weeks ago, my school held an internship expo exclusively for School of Communications students.
This was my time to shine, to get my feet wet, to start the path that will hopefully blossom into an exciting job in the world of Public Relations.

The room was filled with potential employers, from agencies to not-for-profits to professional organizations.

After putting the moves (along with a fine-tuned resume and snazzy business card) on a few groups, I finally gathered up the courage to approach the one place for which I wanted to intern. And they paid.

I approached the table, and introduced myself. One of the recruiters recognized me immediately, based on connections we’ve made on Twitter. SCORE! Right?
After the initial interaction, I began to talk about my knowledge of the company and their recent campaigns they’d been working on.

Now, see, normally a conversation goes as follows:

  • Person A speaks, B listens.
  • B provides feedback while A listens.
  • A sends feedback again. Return to Step 1.

This is not the case. These recruiters were cold and distant, hardly making it seem like they cared about what I had to say.

Well, in the weeks following, I was privileged (ironically) to be chosen as a finalist for this agency.
At the same time, I was also offered an unpaid events/exhibits internship at one of my favorite places in the world, the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Immediately after I enthusiastically accepted this spot, I called this agency–as a good professional would– to respectfully decline the opportunity.

I did exactly as I had learned. I told them (genuinely, of course) that I appreciated the opportunity, but because of my new position, I’d like to leave the opportunity for an equally deserving candidate. And that I hope we can work together in the future.

Feedback? “Okay, thanks. Bye.”

I am a full-time student who also has to work part-time to pay for rent, outside of being highly involved on campus. With taking on this scary new responsibility of keeping track of internship interviews, the last thing I want to do is feel more intimidated by a potential employer.

The negativity was the #1 reason as to why I rejected an interview for a paid internship over an unpaid one. My interview at the Gardens went very well, being more conversational and welcoming. I was regarded as an adult.

I am speaking for all students looking to get their feet wet when I say that yeah, we are ready for this whole new level of responsibility, but the least you should do is make us feel welcome.

Paid through money or experience, internships are the first step into the wading pool before diving head-first into the real world. The more we we are addressed not as fellow professionals and adults, the less likely you are to get interested candidates.

We know the level of work you’ll give us in our positions, and we’re ready.
Just recruit, focusing less on the work, more on the work environment.
Let the intimidation take care of itself when our work begins.