What I’m thinking about this morning:

1. Print your food!
2. Get the most out of six seconds.
3. Rich pins.
4. Nutella doesn’t get it.

1. Can the 3D printer become our next food source? Have you been reading about the 3D printers? I’m not 100% sure I understand how they work yet but the concept is pretty incredible. My concern is the impact it could have on business as  products can be created in your own home. Will companies have to rethink the way they sell products, now selling the materials/cartridges v. the actual product itself?

Well what if you could ‘print’ food? The best article I’ve read about this concept compares it to the replicator in Star Trek: TNG. (Here’s a YouTube montage of Captain Picard ordering his earl grey.)It’s an amazing concept really – imagine, people consuming nutritionally-appropriate meals synthesized one layer at a time, from cartridges of powder and oils they buy at the corner grocery store. (I think it might be fun to watch it try and make Jell-O.) Is the 3D printer our future microwave? Is this the future of food? Or is this?

2. When six seconds matters. You know I couldn’t get let a week go by without one Vine mention. Today’s comes from Mashable, featuring 12 ways to make your Vines stand out. While people spent the first three – four years of twitter’s existence trying to convince people to use it and figuring out the best way to use it, people are quickly accepting Vine. Part of me thinks it’s because it’s so visual – people are able to understand something they see. I also think the impact of only having six seconds to say something is creating a unique and fun challenge. And setting your brain to Vine mode, as the article suggests, isn’t as hard as you would think. In fact, it’s right in line with how most of us are communicating today (140 characters, text messages, Snapchat, etc.). Check out the article and let me know what you think – what are some tips you have for getting the most out of a Vine?

3 Pinterest introduces Rich Pins. Finally, Pinterest has come out with a pin that helps businesses by putting users in a position to purchase what they’re pinning. According to this great article on Social Fresh, by Nick Cicero, there are three types of rich pins:

  1. Product – includes real time pricing, availability
  2. Recipes – ingredients, cook time, nutrition facts
  3. Movies – all the basics, including start times, cast info. And as Nick points out in his article, being able to purchase the tickets directly can’t be too far away.

This is such a smart move for Pinterest – it’s narrowing the connection from the brand’s product to the actual purchase. This has been a hot topic of late – how can brands rely on Pinterest to convert those sales. For me, it’s going to be interesting to see where Pinterest actually falls in. Will it ultimately compete as an alternative to Amazon? Rich pins seem to indicate that maybe that’s not too far away (where the consumer buys directly from the retailer). Or will Facebook buy it and use it as a way to offer fully integrated consumer data to brands – and consumers a chance to interact and purchase through Facebook? Could you imagine? Facebook would become the Walmart of social media.The possibilities are pretty wild to think about. Regardless, ‘Rich’ is an appropriate term.

4. What the hell, Nutella? Imagine a super fan creating an event for your product, celebrating it through inspired songs, artwork, movies, food. This fan organized all of this themselves and united fans across the world who share that passion. As a result you have access to thousands of brand ambassadors who are going to do nothing but talk favorably about your product for a whole day. For free. What would you do? If you guessed send a cease and desist order for potential trademark infringement, you’d be right. That’s exactly what Nutella did in response to a fan who organized World Nutella Day. (The event is seven-years-old.) The fan had to take down her website, social channels – everything. All those connections to your fans…all that goodwill…gone.Nutella has since rescinded the cease and desist order, claiming it was standard procedure and issued a statement thanking the fans for their commitment to their product. You might remember a few weeks ago when we talked about Trey Lewous and Skittles…and how Skittles ‘gets it’  because they embraced a fan’s quirky (awesome) tribute to their product. And as I said that day, brands have to change their approach to consumers. It’s no longer about brands engaging consumers – we engage them. The brands that get this embrace crowdsourcing in product development, fans modeling their clothes and being part of their campaigns. Skittles and Nutella are to the extreme – you’re not always going to get that opportunity. But you need to be ready to embrace it when it does happen. And more importantly, brands need to be in a position to welcome / create that opportunity.

Nutella might be late in getting it…but I think they do get it now. Thousands of fans, celebrating your product, across the world, on all of their personal social channels – yea, I think there’s something there to work with.