Archives for posts with tag: app


10+ years ago everybody tried to build portals. “Stickiness” ruled the digital marketing world.

5+ years ago everybody started to build microsite. The intention was to capture a single-minded idea in one destination. Brand sites had become too complex and hard for people to navigate.

Some of the microsites worked well: If you were in the market for a specific car, the microsite provides you with the most relevant information to get your task done.

While some sites worked, the web quickly became a dump for bad executions, wasting billions of client dollars with nothing to show for. Microsites transformed into ugly hybrids of brand and single-minded idea sites, adding more content and clutter.

3+ years ago everybody started to dislike microsites. Nobody clicked on banners, traffic was too small to justify further investment and suddenly brands wanted to be where everybody else was: MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and all the others platforms with tons of traffic. Microsites became an afterthought. Marketers looked at the dump of failed microsites, shaking their heads and muttering: “Microsites don’t work.” aka “It’s you, not me.”

It was always me and not you.

Well-executed microsites still work and will work for a long time to come. They’re just as hard to find as a fan of Frank McCourt.

2+ years ago marketers fell in love with apps. They revolutionized the way we shared content with an audience, replaced the typical catalog website with a more interactive and innovative medium. Just like the microsite a few years ago. Each app has a single-minded idea and functionality. And, most importantly, functionality.

That was always the biggest problem with microsites: The only purpose was to convey an abstract message or to aspire to be some kind of cultural phenomenon/expression of technology prowess. “We hired the best flash developer.”

The end of microsites seems to be near. I still think they can survive and not be swallowed by the App Monster that’s taking over our media engagement time. They just have to serve a purpose, an extension of the product/brand, they should serve as a value add for the brand offering.

Maybe I should rewrite the headline to: “Long live the microsite.”

What do you think?

The future of apps: Easy, uncluttered, focused. And, well designed.

Worth your $1.99.


I’m a bit of an app-aholic.

You recommend a cool new app and I’ll download it.

If it’s free, I download it without thinking.

If it’s $0.99, it might take me a nanosecond.

If it’s more, I might read the reviews.

One app that I love is TuneIn.

It lets me listen to 50,000 radio stations all over the world.

I know, streaming audio is nothing special anymore but this app makes it so much easier for me to access content I desire.

Why I really love this app

It feels like I’m in some weird time machine.

Look, I moved to Los Angeles 15 years ago.

There was a whole lifetime before my current life.

I listened to radio in Hamburg.

I listened to radio in Honolulu.

I listened to radio in Bocholt.



Within a minute, I can be transported back to a time and place where I was a different person.

Where I had different emotions and feelings.

It’s really stunning to listen to the same host/disc jockey you connected with 20 years ago.

He’s still a full-of-himself-jerk.

But he reminds me of a place in time.

And, it’s even better when I have choices now where I can turn that jerk off.

So, whenever I feel homesick (whatever home that might be), I can go back in time.

It’s good to hear serious German news.

It’s lovely to get engaged with Hawaiian college football talk.

It’s brilliant to connect to your frame of reference

Radio Hamburg: good times in Hamburg

KLSX: first discovery of Howard Stern and my first year in Los Angeles.

Frames of reference are emotions you attach to certain points in time.

No matter how sucky the Dodgers are, they still remind me of the first days of immigrating to the US.

Successful brands need to create frames of reference

When Starbucks entered the US market, there was no coffee culture.

They had to create one.

They developed the third room idea.

But they also developed products that speak more to the Red Bull crowd: chilled coffee drinks at your supermarket.

A fallacy in Europe.

A good idea in the US.

Coffee suddenly became cool.

Associated with energy and performance.

Turning the US into a caffeine-addicted society.

Nothing wrong with that.

Sure, Starbucks rode a wave, used innovative marketing tactics and there were multiple factors that transformed into a global powerhouse.

But understanding the frame of reference helped them to develop a creative and effective solution to not only exist in a category.

They own it.

They still do.

What’s your frame of reference you’re focusing on?