Wikipedia Goes Offline to Help Rural Students in Peru

Internet access is still considered a rare privilege in some developing countries of Latin America. However, the lack of available technology is nowadays often mistaken for a failure in education or cultural activity. If children are days away from internet access, their education faces major obstacles.

Samuel Klein with an 'XO' laptop viewing Wikipedia.
Samuel Klein with an 'XO' laptop viewing Wikipedia.
But surprisingly enough, many developing countries in Latin America are known to have maintained an optimal level of education in primary schools. With scarce resources, the educational system has managed to face technological flaws creatively. For instance, take what rural Peruvian schools are doing with an offline version of Wikipedia.

One of the main features of Wikipedia is that it's "alive." It's constantly growing and improving its content with the help of thousands of online volunteers from around the world. So does it even make any sense at all to imagine an offline version of Wikipedia? According to Samuel Klein, one of the speakers at the fifth-annual Wikimania event held last week in Buenos Aires, it definitely does.

Mr. Klein is an activist for universal access to knowledge. He's director of content and head of community development for One Laptop per Child. The nonprofit organization distributes special low-power notebooks to children in developing countries.

One of the countries that has joined the OLPC initiative is Peru. There are 55,000 children in rural Peruvian primary schools who use solar-powered XO laptops, which cost about $200 each. Since these children live from three to six days away from internet access, computers include an offline version of Wikipedia. Children can access a great portion of the Wiki encyclopedia, which works as a digital library.

The Wikipedia content lives inside the laptops' memory using software that's been specifically designed for them. Kids are able to distinguish between two different kinds of links -- blue and green -- that indicate whether the content is or isn't available offline.

Uruguay is another South American country that is working with the OLPC program. In fact, it was the first one to participate in the region where the government adopted the program as part of its national politics, known as the "Ceibal Plan." About 315,000 Uruguayan children are using the laptops now. Brazil, Paraguay, Mexico and Colombia are other examples of countries where this initiative is working successfully.

Mr. Klein said most of the truly offline schools get updates every semester or two, and they get new software of all kinds after about a year. When they get new software, they also receive new activities and updates from Wikipedia. Mr. Klein said the program is supported by a number of technology and media groups, not by brands. Governments buy the laptops, and some of the costs are covered by sponsors, which include companies such as Google and News Corp.

Snacks merchandising and smart branding

Cup noodles always been and always will be

about convenience and consumer ability to lock his instant

hunger or craving for hot spicy full meal on weird

times of the day. Smart branding is about fulfilling needs and expectations profitably and engaging with users among highest NEED time.


By Carol Chapman, Principal & Co-founder of The Brand Ascension Group

Have you been wondering how Twitter, a free social networking service (www.twitter.com), can help you build brand awareness for your company? I must admit, I was a bit skeptical at first, but after encouragement from a business associate, I decided to give it a whirl and a whirl it has been so far. After just a few months of investigative use of the tool, I am now a firm believer that Twitter can definitely build tremendous awareness for any brand.

To date, no one really knows how many users are registered on Twitter. Some say as much as 5 million; others say as much as 10 million or more worldwide. When I heard these numbers, I thought, ‘Now that’s a huge opportunity for exponential brand exposure – with no hard costs!’
One thing we do know is that Twitter has grown in popularity at an extraordinary rate. So many people are using Twitter from all walks of life to expand their reach and express their brand—whether business or personal. This includes individuals, businesses, professionals, celebrities, and politicians—from all over the world.
What is Twitter?

1. Specifically, Twitter is a micro-blogging and instant messaging tool for your company. You can literally Tweet what you want all day long just so long as you stay within the 140 character or less limit per message.

2. It’s a mass-communication tool to leverage your business message to the world. Some businesses are even dedicating staff to manage their Twitter accounts. And best of all it’s free to join – what a great brand awareness tool!

What are Some Basics in Getting Started with Twitter?

1. When you register your account, create a complete profile on your business. Make sure you fill out all requested areas to include a graphic (visual) of your brand’s logo, your website URL, and a bio of your business. Your bio is very important as it is one of the first things people check out when they go to your Twitter page. They want to find out more about you. In your bio, be specific and to the point, as you are limited in the number of characters – 160. I am constantly referring to other’s bios to determine whether I want to follow the person/company or not as it’s important to connect with those who have a mutual interest in what The Brand Ascension Group does in the area of internal brand definition, creation, strategy and management.
Also, your website URL in your company profile is important. People who check you out see this as well and they can click on it to get to your website. I check out everyone who has a website URL as that provides a lot more information on who they are and what they do and helps me determine if I want to follow them and their Tweets.

2. Create a custom background on your Twitter page that is highly appealing and has the same look and feel of your brand based on your unique Brand DNA. See http://www.brandascension.com/Brand_DNA_Process.html for more information on defining your unique Brand DNA. This is extremely important. Your Twitter page should mirror the look and feel of your website, and emulate your distinctive brand attributes (Values, Style, Differentiators and Standards), which are the foundational elements of your Brand DNA. This creates consistency every time when others engage with you on Twitter, not to mention how essential it is to define and build your brand, and catapult your business growth. Notice how ours is highly relevant to our unique look and feel of our visual brand dress. Check out www.twitter.com/CarolChapman, www.twitter.com/SuzTulien, or www.twitter.com/brandascension (which we just set up).

How Can I Build Brand Awareness on Twitter?
1. If you want to gain maximum exposure, keep yourself on the “public timeline” so everyone sees your tweets. To do so, leave the “Protect Your Updates” box in the Settings area unchecked. If you check this, then your Tweet updates will become private and you’ll have to approve who can follow you every time. It will also keep your updates out of search results within Twitter and you don’t want that to occur as this dramatically reduces the ability of others to find your company.
2. Use the ‘Find Other People’ or ‘Search’ tool on Twitter. Just type a name or particular concept such as branding, culture, marketing, etc. This can be huge if you type in people in your industry and then find others that are following them. It opens up your reach significantly within your targeted industry or area of interest.
3. Post Tweet updates (messages) regularly (i.e., several times daily but don’t bombard your followers). Share your knowledge and resources (remember 140 characters or less) on something of interest and that will help others such as case studies, business events, key ideas, etc. Don’t forget to provide any links to the information.
4. Make your Tweets understandable, inviting, compelling and informative. You want to attract the right Tweeters as followers and you’ll want to follow those that have a common interest in what your business brand has to offer. So, make sure the information you Tweet is useful.
5. Use hashtags by using the hash symbol (#) before a subject (e.g., #brand) in your update. This allows the search engines and others in the ‘Twitterverse’ to find your updates on the subject.
6. Use Twitter to make connections, identify prospective customers and point others to your company’s website or others’ website for resources. This is a huge opportunity, as you build followership, to share your knowledge, communicate information on what you are doing, create a mini-press release, share info on your products and services, new product or service launches, or other resources (e.g., white papers, research, etc.) you may want to point others to.
7. Create multiple accounts to exponentially expand your company’s (brand) exposure.
8. Leverage powerful tools to manage your accounts and the exposure of your brand. Go to http://adecon101.blogspot.com/2009/03/100-twitter-tools-to-help-you-achieve.html for 101 resources you can use. In the meantime, here’s a few tools I’ve checked out recently and am using that you may want to consider:

  • TweetDeck.com allows you to stay in touch with what’s happening at any given point in time, and connect you with your contacts on Twitter in a single concise view.
  • TweetLater.com– enables you to create and schedule Tweet messages in advance and manage these activities so as to increase your productivity.
  • TweetScan.com – allows you to find out information that is being Tweeted about your company and brand keeping up real-time with what is being said about you.

HAPPY TWITTERING! Feel free to respond to this article as it will be posted on our blog at http://feeds.feedburner.com/BusinessBrandingTips. We’d invite you to share your experiences in the use of Twitter with us and others who read our blog.
To understand more about Brand DNA, go to http://www.brandascension.com/Brand_DNA_Process.html before you get too far using Twitter—as it will only ensure consistency, relevance and distinctiveness in how your brand shows up on Twitter.
And….stay tuned for future additions to this article as The Brand Ascension Group expands its knowledge, expertise and success in using Twitter and other social media tools to build brand awareness and grow our business.
About the Author
Carol Chapman is Principal & co-founder of The Brand Ascension Group, an experiential consulting firm that helps businesses build memorable brand experiences. She is an engaging speaker, consultant certified trainer and coach. She is author of an ebook – Getting Your Employees on the Brand Wagon: Learn the secrets of highly successful brands and how they engage the hearts and minds of their employees to deliver consistent and distinctive brand experiences. She is also co-authoring a soon to be released book entitled Brand DNA: What every small business entrepreneur needs to know to define and build a GREAT brand, and sustain it for years to come.
Carol can be contacted at carol@brandascension.com. Website: www.BrandAscension.com Blog: http://brandascension.com/Blog/

Guerilla Event Marketing—A Mob in a Flash

Guerilla Event Marketing—A Mob in a Flash

The choreographed dance, not surprisingly, was captured on film.

Spontaneous shimmying spurred on by commuting ennui? Not quite. The event was a brand-orchestrated flash mob, a gathering (usually precipitated by an elaborate set of e-mail instructions) of large numbers of people in a public place, where some preplanned event takes place to entertain, amuse or generate buzz and publicity for a well-known brand (in this case, T-Mobile). The mobile-phone company pulled off a similar Trafalgar Square sing-along three months later, attracting nearly 14,000 people.

T-Mobile isn’t the only company to employ viral marketing using a colossal street cast and the Internet to build brand awareness. One hundred leotard-clad young women danced in Piccadilly Circus to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” for Trident Unwrapped. And sunglass giant Ray-Ban staged its own guerrilla-marketing ploy in Manhattan, with “street teams” (decked out in Ray-Ban shades, naturally) standing and gazing skyward at a huge Ray-Ban building wrap.

Some companies have even merged their performing plebes with some high-profile talent. SKY HDTV commissioned supermodel Gisele Bündchen to flip through the TV channels in an airport lounge while more than 1,000 cast members “brought the TV to life.” And a clothing store on California’s Sunset Boulevard was suddenly overrun by hundreds of dancers wearing gold parachute pants and cutting a rug to “You Can’t Touch This” (an A&E mobile-marketing ploy to attract attention to its Hammertime documentary about rapper MC Hammer).

This viral marketing is a form of guerrilla advertising that not only directly touches its participants and the spectators who witness the event live, but also the viewership that subsequently gets a chance to view the event via e-mail, text messaging, podcasts, blogs, forums, social networking sites and other Internet resources. You know the drill: Your brother sends you a link to some YouTube video or Facebook group, and voilà—instant brand awareness that spreads like a California wildfire.

There are even websites dedicated to helping brands track how well their viral campaigns are doing. Visible Measures, for instance, offers a Viral Reach Database that collects data from more than 150 video-sharing destinations. It then generates stats on not only how many people have seen a video campaign (and how many times), but also on how they’ve interacted with it via comments, ratings and their own video responses.

Married to the Mob
flash mob is said to have originated in 2003 with Bill Wasik, a senior editor at Harper’s Magazine. For his first successful flash-mob attempt, Wasik blasted out a detailed instructional e-mail to a bunch of people. More than 100 willing participants then converged on the rug department at the flagship Macy’s store in Manhattan, where they gathered around a carpet and informed the salespeople that they all lived together in a warehouse and needed to search for a “love rug” as a group. Just as weird as their arrival was their sudden departure—after a burst of synchronized clapping, all the participants ran out of the building.

“I really just did them as a sort of social experiment,” says Wasik, whose book And Then There’s This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture debuted in June. “I wanted to see what would happen—how far would the e-mail spread? How many people would come? I had seen e-mails and webpages go viral, and I was really interested to see if I could make something like that happen myself.”

The fact that companies have tapped into flash-mob types of viral marketing to promote their brands doesn’t surprise Wasik. “It’s an image that captures what people find so exciting about the current information age: a group of strangers using technology to come together instantaneously,” he says. “It makes technology seem like the cure for loneliness and alienation. Of course, the irony is that sometimes our technology has the opposite effect: It lets us connect with more people, but at the expense of the depth of connection.”

Charlie Todd, founder of Improv Everywhere (a comedic performance-art group that proudly states on its site that it “causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places”) and author of the recently penned Causing a Scene: Extraordinary Pranks in Ordinary Places with Improv Everywhere, isn’t surprised that some companies are using the flash-mob technique to promote their brands (Improv Everywhere itself doesn’t stage events that advertise specific brands).

“Anything that’s popular will eventually be co-opted by the advertising world,” Todd explains. “It’s usually just a matter of time. Brands see people getting excited about something, and their first thought is always, ‘How can we use this [phenomenon] to get people excited for our brand?’”

What Works, What Doesn’t
For such a public-event-driven campaign to work, you need to keep the element of surprise without alienating your audience—or your participants. “I think a mistake many brands make is not being transparent,” Todd says. “No one wants to show up to a flash-mob-type of event only to find out later on they were used as pawns in a marketing campaign. If you’re making a commercial for the Web, don’t kid yourself or anyone else involved that it’s anything else.”

Wasik agrees. “I suspect that flash-mob marketing will be more effective for [companies like] T-Mobile as an image in advertisements (where it gives that sense of instant togetherness) than it is as an actual viral campaign (i.e., creating mobs that try to market to participants),” he says. “People don’t want to feel like they’re shills in a corporate campaign, and once they realize that’s what you’re asking them to be, they won’t show up.”

Brands also have to weigh the risks in attracting participating players. “You look stupid if no one shows up,” Wasik explains. “But if you try to solve the problem by sweetening the deal somehow (book some attraction like a celebrity or band, for example, or give something free away), then you risk having people show up and cause problems. There have been almost no cases of ‘real’ flash mobs leading to violence or arrests, in part because the absurdity of the idea filters out the kinds of people who would start trouble.”

The psychology behind why flash mobs and viral campaigns work speaks to an individual’s inherent need to create—and connect. “I think people are excited about creating their own entertainment,” Todd says. And participating in an Improv Everywhere type of mission is an active form of entertainment: “You’re creating something with a group, rather than passively watching a movie, TV show, or sporting event,” Todd adds.

Wasik warns that brands can’t rely solely on these manufactured free-for-alls and their viral nature. “It speaks to our great dream about the Internet, and about technology in general—that it will cure our alienation and allow us to feel connected,” he says. “And sometimes it does. But other times it makes us just feel distracted and stretched thin—keeping up with 400 Facebook friends but never really feeling connected to them.”

In the end, even campaigns that thrive in the age of computers need to still rely on good old-fashioned human relationships. “It’s a matter of really thinking through what makes people press that ‘forward’ button,” Wasik says. “Jonah Peretti, a really smart thinker on viral phenomena who I profile in my book, says that things that go viral have a ‘social hook’—they speak to the specific relationships that we have with people in our lives. If you have friends you talk to about politics, you’ll send them viral media about politics; if you talk to them about dating, you’ll send them viral media about dating. We use these Internet memes as extensions of our conversations.”

Jennifer Gidman lives and works in New York.

Use AXE responsibly

Indomie donates to Adeoyo Hospital

Dufil Prima Foods Limited, manufacturer of indomie noodles, has donated some equipments to Adeoyo Maternity Hospital, Yemetu, Ibadan .

The programme, which kicked off last month and earmarked for 10 hospitals across the country, represented one activity that the noodles brand secured to carry out its social responsibility towards the society.

Some of the equipments donated include high-tech incubators, baby weighing scales, digital thermometers and sphygmomanometers, equipment for measuring arterial blood pressure.

Speaking last Wednesday while presenting the equipments, Tope Ashiwaju, PR Manager, DUFIL Prima Foods Plc, explained that his company donated the equipments to Ade-Oyo Maternity Hospital because of its unequalled reputation for caring for mothers and newborns in Ibadan city.

He emphasised that DUFIL Prima Foods would remain consistent in its support to governments’ efforts in General Hospitals where a good percentage of the population especially those in the lower class goes for medical attention.

“We want to bring Indomie brand closer in terms of health care to those who cannot genuinely afford medical bills and that’s the reason why the initiative is centred on General Hospitals rather than private hospitals.”

While receiving the equipments, the Chief Medical Director, represented by Dr. Adeyanju Olusoji, Consultant Gynaecologist, thanked the management of DUFIL Prima Foods for the people-centered initiative.

Indomie gives post-graduate award

As part of its efforts to bring to life its commitment to providing Nigerians with quality nutrition for healthy living, Dufil Prima Foods Plc, makers of Indomie Instant Noodles has announced the availability of N8 million in scholarship aid this year to Nigerian students studying Nutrition & Dietetics at Masters Degree level.

Mr Tope Ashiwaju, PR Manager, Dufil Prima Foods expressed, “It is our hope that over a period of time, this scholarship programme will produce a critical mass of trained nutritionists that will continue to sustainably chart and guide the way for optimum nutrition for all Nigerians.”

Ashiwaju noted that the scholarships would certainly ease the burden of rising school costs on beneficiaries.

He added that the scholarship was open to all Nigerian students qualified for admission into M.Sc. programme in Nutrition and Dietetics within the Nigerian university system and was open to students from every geo-political zone of the federation including the FCT.

He said qualified candidates were encouraged to apply in writing providing their full names; copy of admission letter into the programme or application for admission; credentials with details of educational history; and State of Origin obtained from the appropriate Local Government Area and duly signed by the chairman or secretary.

Instant noodles Ramadan Eftar

Indomie rations in Kano, Maiduguri, Abuja
Dufil Prima Foods Plc, manufacturers of Indomie instant noodles says it will be sharing the glorious occasion of Ramadan with the Muslim community in the country.

According to the company’s Area Marketing Manager, Abdulrasaq Lawal, Indomie would be served during Iftar at various mosques in four northern cities of Kano, Maiduguri, Kaduna and Abuja as well as the ancient city of Ibadan.

Lawal announced, “We have identified seven mosques each in Kano, Maiduguri, Kaduna, Abuja and Ibadan where freshly prepared Indomie will be freely served at the time of breaking the fast at each of these mosques on a cycle basis, as in one mosque per day and thus in a week, we cover the seven mosques of that city and the cycle continues”.

Lawal, who spoke last week in Lagos explained that the council of Imams in these locations had given their support to ensure the success of the exercise and the Imams of each mosque would hand out freshly prepared Indomie to everyone on a daily basis.

The exercise, according to him, was expected to last throughout the Ramadan season and plans were underway to extend the exercise to other cities.

7 Skills for a Post-Pandemic Marketer

The impact of Covid-19 has had a significant impact across the board with the marketing and advertising industry in 2020, but there is hope...