New Concepts

blur Group Case Study: Simply Social – Starting and Growing a Business using only Social Channels [GUEST POST]

Posted on December 29, 2010. Filed under: Contribution, guestpost, New Concepts, Social Media | Tags: , , , |

social media blur group

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This is how blur Group has build a business only using the Social Web:

Businesses now see social media as an important channel but at blur Group it has been the only channel – for everything from staff recruitment to revenue generation. Showing the power of Social Media, Adictos Social Media, one of our first Crowd members, is now sharing this story at its event in Valencia.

When blur Group introduced the idea of Agency 3.0 it would have been easy to avoid practising what was being preached. Launch a Crowdsourced agency, demand social engagement, but promote and build using old media techniques. Many businesses have played safe and kept both lines well and truly open. Web 2.0 companies run by Web 1.0 people, using pre-Web selling.

The particular challenge that a Crowdsourced agency faces is that it has two audiences to entice. Any business needs customers and staff. Most early stage businesses recruit according to a fairly rigid model of planned growth, revenues, expectations, per capita returns. Customer acquisition determines the rate of the staff growth.

With blur Group the Crowd is the staff. It had to be built first. Without the Crowd, the model didn’t exist. Not just a skeleton startup team but, well, a Crowd. Step back a bit further. The Crowd had to have an office.

The office was a super-social managed platform. The intranet of a level of sophistication which a company could only dream about. Where the content is user generated, and the users are user generated, able to engage, discuss, share easily, gaining from each other’s expertise to strengthen their own crowd offering. A platform tailored to appeal to the type of Crowd member: subtly different options depending on the nature of the Crowd. The designers had to have a very visual platform, marketers want to show their specific skills through discussion groups. A truly social, if very virtual, office.

So how to recruit these Crowds? Blogs are the social media lynchpin. They start to tell the story that can then sail around the social networks.  They give some words to be used in word of mouth. At the early stages, as with most social media campaigns, it had to be about educating. Then engagement followed. Sometimes directly through 1:1 messages on networks like LinkedIn. More often as outreach with strong messages about what Crowd membership could deliver. As people started to ‘get’ Crowdsourcing, they wanted to be in the Crowd. A simple video explaining What is Crowdsourcing explained everything for the early community. Lesson: tell a story in as many ways as possible. Twitter, YouTube, WordPress are today’s fireside: the tale develops with each telling.

Part one of the mission accomplished: a large number of members of each of the Crowds. Or Crowdies as blur Group termed them.

To customers. blur Group needs them. The Crowd needs them. This is the point when many businesses would draw breath, mutter about social, but start a heavy duty marketing and sales effort to start to win business. Not blur Group. Holding to social principles we started to tell people what we were doing and created a simple method whereby they could use our services. The 1,2,3 of briefing and project delivery. Again, blogs to educate then engage potential clients. Encourage marketing directors, agencies, anyone with a need to run a campaign according to their rules, not those of a traditional agency, to come to blur Group and brief us. Promotion through Twitter and Facebook. Using good SEO techniques and small sums on AdWords. No resort to any other methods: if a potential client could see 8,000 people waiting to help them, then they couldn’t resist trying the process. Web only: no phone numbers are on the site. Submit a brief and then discover more.

Part two accomplished. The clients started submitting briefs; the Crowd could respond; blur Group and the Crowd started to win business and revenues. The additional managed Crowd approach that blur Group provided made it more valuable to clients and Crowd members than the free for all approach of the ‘designalogo’ sites. Today blur Group receives more than one new client brief a day, including from some of the worlds largest corporations.

Don’t think this wholly social approach was synonymous with a rapid startup. It took planning, took time and took effort. Three lessons there for those who believe that social is the cheap, fast alternative. It’s a different approach but needs the same disciplines as any other business growth plan. Belief being one of them. Flexibility is another: where do you need to plug more activity? What needs changing? When all the channels are social, it’s easier to adapt.

Now blur Group is moving to the next stage of growth and scaling faster. But it continues to adhere to its social standpoint. It may do more of it, the AdWords budget may increase, the Facebook pages may get a bit glossier and its PR beyond the digital domain and blogger community. We’ll even be attending some live events and organising some of our own to show our faces. But social will drive everything that blur Group does as it engages and grows both its Crowd Community and its Client Community. Community, Content and Collaboration are the Cs that make up most social marketing: blur Group adds Crowd to this mix and makes for a social business built and grown using social techniques.

What say you?

Attribution: blur Group

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Building a Social Web Framework

Posted on December 8, 2010. Filed under: New Concepts, Social Media, social networking, Strategy, Tactics | Tags: , , , , |

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Question: How can you build a stronger and effective Social Media ecosystem?

Answer: Designing a Social Media Framework.

Have you ever thought in your social media framework?

Due to the rapid adoption of social media, I’ve come up with a new Social Media Framework aimed to empower Business and Communities beyond Social Media. It’s based essentially on Human Business Interactions.

To me, the social media framework aids comprehension of workflow experiences by describing their components, it also optimizes my social media workflow in an easier way since a framework may include components that are applicable to them all.

Why do you have to care about? because badly designed processes lead to slow and inefficient response of your audience, ineffective communication, wasted time, disappointing experiences and poor degree of engagement. Not to mention driving yourself to nowhere.

Social Media Framework

This is how I’d do it – Actually, it’s how I do it –

Social Media Marketing Framework by Isra García

  • Optimize and manage your time in Social Media, designing a Social Media Workflow (link to the complete function model)
  • Did I mention the word sharing? Share news resourcestoolsbest practices, tips and guides through social bookmarking platforms.
  • Rock with Twitter: Use it heavily for different purposes such as, RT useful linksWOM, spread the news, share insights with professionals, learn what is hot, real-time conversations, gain more affluence on your social networking platforms, support interesting initiatives, building a reputation on the field I work on, promote your blog, look for trend topics , getting ideas and enlightening tips from brilliant people.
  • Your effort and sacrifice deserves be known and shared for the benefit of others: Posting papers, concepts, frameworks, reports, projects, strategies, marketing plans or campaigns I’ve developed, so people can get insights from it.
  • Knowledge don’t belong to you nor me, but the universe: Spread what you know, share what others shared with you, teach what you’re good at, learn from everybody, write about how you put in practice these campaigns, or explain how you reached this conclusion that made you point a success and so on. Don’t forget, quote your resources and tell the attributions!
  • Fall in love in “long-term relationships” with LinkedIn: Use it insistently for giving and receiving feedback, reading interesting posts, commenting on them, find your key connections and engage with them, share ideas in the groups discussions, also participating in Q&A (either giving advice or receiving it). Should increase your visibility, it will improve the chances of being contacted. Connect and be connected!
  • Have a break and have some fun on Facebook: Aim it to talk and engage with your friends. Create lists to giving different degree of permissions to your crowd and segmenting the information according to the content you usually share with them. Forget the Social Media Buzz and take a breath – if you wish –
  • Don’t make waves, ride them: Use Google Wave for a collaborative tasks, develop projects, exchange ideas, brainstorming, conceptualize campaigns and seeing how others can enhance your work.
  • Grease the hub of your timing belt: Your blog, Do you love it? No? You must, because it’s the place where all your efforts, time, money and even romantic relationships are going to end up. All you do on Social Media has being meaningful to your blog. If not, I suggest you may want to reconsider your strategy. Give a personality, a sense of humor, a purpose, a regularity,  a bottle of Möet if he wants it and you’ll have your reason to give the very best of yourself in this URL. I always say that your blog is the extension fo your personality. Agree?
  • Managing and optimizing:  As I explained in the post social media resolutions for 2010, it’s essential define your strategy, set your goals and  monitoring your results but, it’s vital not being overwhelmed by its magnitudes. Hence, write down every procedure, pattern or system you follow to implement your social media workflow and start developing a schedule with all the tasks you performs every day, together with the time spent, the activities, the allowance, restrictions, and of course, deviations.
  • Make efficient use of Social Media through the available Social Web tools that best meets your needs: I Use tools as TweetDeck, Posterous, TwitterSearch, GetSocial, ShareThis, bit.ly, tagthe, DropBox, Postling, Storify, Skypecurated.by and many others…
  • Boost your Social Media initiatives with productivity tools as: Mindjet Manager, OmniGraffle, WorkFlowy, evernote, Silverlight and Docs
  • Take care of you – and your people: Monitor, track and follow all what’s being said about the brand (are you the brand? Yes you are!) Not to mention, the thought-provoking ROI. Here you have a few I use: Socialmention, Radian6, Trackur, FlowTown, FollowEye, ChartBeat, Google Alerts.
  • Plan for failure: If it doesn’t work, try changing and adjusting things to your needs. I know how it works to me, for you instead it can be slightly different. Be aware that you need to have hundred of bad ideas to have 1 or 2 great ideas. Do you get the idea?

Does it works for you? How would you enhance it? What would you add? Do you have your own social media framework? I’d like to know your thoughts…

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Time to Go Social!

Posted on November 5, 2010. Filed under: Insights, New Concepts, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , |

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empowering business and communities

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Go Social

You know that there’s something beyond social media, do you? We’re on the gates to a new marketing and com world, and the funny thing is that no one can predict how it will be! It’s time to move our business from a passive social media attitude to  a more active one!

Now, we have more power than ever and yes! We can make a difference through social media, we can change the way our business communicate and starts taking advantage of this new world of opportunities. Now it’s the time when you want to stop playing and get serious, it’s time to go social!

Why?

Let me be clear, I use the term Go Social for empowering business and communities through human interactions beyond social media. It’s actually what I’m doing, and honestly I love it!

How?

How can we go social? Well we can go primarily by developing and implementing social media strategies for maximizing the reach, building influence and harnessing the power of global communications through human relationships within an engagement approach.

Let’s see how it changes:

  • Go Social is here because noise is dead, we talk about conversations.
  • There’s a 2 way conversation, authentic conversations are happening due to go social
  • Go Social gives them: Their voice is what really matter – I’m talking about audience’s voice, not your, what did you think?
  • Go Social is about listening – truly – Listen what they have to say and acting so
  • We’re living in an environment where content in the king and Go social makes it possible.
  • Give and get feedback, Go social is Being a learner as much as you’re a teacher
  • You guessed, at the end Go Social is all about Human Interactions

Conclusion

Go Social is achieving an effective and long-lasting communication between our public, through an authentic and genuine based human relationships.

Go Social inside Social Media, makes possible empowering businesses and communitites developing relationships and leveraging the audience.

You see, it’s all about human relationships and people, not platforms and tools.

With me?

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Social Media Workflow – Optimizing and Managing your Time in Social Media

Posted on September 23, 2010. Filed under: New Concepts, Social Media, Strategy | Tags: , , , , |

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optimize your time in SMSocial media can be – well, is- truly time-consuming. So, in order to optimise and manage your time, I strongly recommend defining your workflow. That is to say, identifying all the key tasks you do throughout the day and place them into a structure divided into blocks of time. This will allow you to have clear goals for each task and set up milestones.

The Social Media workflow is designed to optimise and best manage your time in Social Media, as well as help you become more efficient and achieve better results.

Here is an example of a Social Media Workflow, which I designed for a Social Media project with the Government some months ago:

Optimizing and managing your time in Social Media

First, we planned the Social Media Strategy- what I call the “philosophical stage.” Once planned, we moved to a more complex scenario where we developed, integrated and implemented the Social Media Strategy.

Secondly, we built a Social Media Framework to fit in all the tactics and actions.

Finally, we worked on the Social Media workflow. We took the results of the Social Media Framework we defined by job description within the flow chart and identified a social media process to follow. This was dependent on the possibilities, goals, requirements and resources of the brand we were working with.

Once we had achieved this, we split all the tasks we needed to do into three blocks of time (morning, noon and afternoon) based on a working day of 9 am to 6 pm. Then we organised the tasks by priority- not for ourselves, but for the audience:

  1. Reputation – Listening
  2. Updating
  3. Distribution
  4. Blogging
  5. Planning
  6. Research
  7. Content sharing
  8. Engagement

Basically, this model is aimed at Social Media and Community Managers. The main idea behind it is that by following and consistently tracking this type of model, you will be able to boost performance in less time, with the same resources. This will also lead to a more dynamic and efficient output. But hey! I developed this workflow according to the needs of my team- your mileage can vary and your version can work well too!

You?

What’s your take? Do you have a Social Media Workflow? How does it looks like?

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Social Media-Integration-Theory-Model

Posted on April 14, 2010. Filed under: New Concepts, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , |

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To one-to-many integration models works well when examining communications channels or online marketing implementation. However, the interactive Social Media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Del.ici.ous, Twitter, Youtube, Foursquare, Digg in…) have radically changed the communication paradigm.

In fact, the study by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies found that consumers are 67% more likely to buy from the brands they follow on Twitter, and 51% more likely to buy from a brand they follow on Facebook (mashable source), showing clearly, that the audience is highly influenced by the Social Media phenomena. What about the breathtaking amount of 3 millions of tweets/day? Another breaking fact is, that Facebook’s official company statistics outline that there’re 400 million active users all over the world and continues spreading at the light of speed (mashable’s source) Analyzing the impact of Social Media in our environment, give us an overall idea that something is happening in the way that communication used to happen.

Due to the rapid adoption of Social Media Marketing as a major communication integration medium, it’s necessary to consider how the social interaction has affected the communication process.

The exposure, feedback, engagement (connecting) and exchange (sharing) that Social Media platforms provides, it creates a major changes for the traditional communication understanding. Essentially, information flow is no longer considered “one-way street” in which audience received messages through the “I communicate – you receive” mantra. Rather, Social Media integration is seen as an interactive process that enables same-level information exchange among the audience and the brand, creating a long-lasting feedback communication process and giving to the brand a total engagement approach.

Social Media integration theory model

Basically the process works as it follows:

Social bookmarking sites place content (such as blogs or web pages)  into an active eco-system that allows social media interaction such as Twitter or Facebook. This content is then shared and spread virally through the connections made from interaction on the social media eco-system. This refers to people being linked to people through common groups, associations, interests etc.  Since this becomes the “six degrees” of separation this interaction causes the viral effect. This social media platform allows the interaction and the ability for the model to flow and become organic. Then, the social networking platforms enable the connection with the public through the engagement approach caused by the “two-way street” interaction process, linked to the social bookmarking sharing perspective. At the same time, while the driving forces of one side are acting and creating communication. The driving forces of the other side, such as social recommendation/reviews, measure the impact of the information canalizing the conversation created  by the outgoing network and turning it into a valuable feedback experience and exposure reach effect, which melts in the same process as the conceptualization of the blogging platforms, harnessing the power of its SEO and highly page rank properties to deliver the most effective exposure impact (giving feedback, engaging and sharing information all at once)

The Social Media Integration Model has an impact on the overall effectiveness for the Social Media platforms. For this reason we may want to consider all the elements when developing Social Media strategies.

Your Feedback

What is your take? Does this make sense to you? I’d like to hear your thoughts…

Acknowledgements to Kike Domingo for helping me out with the image.
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Neuromarketing: Predicting consumer’s behaviour

Posted on September 22, 2009. Filed under: approaches, Customer Behaviour, Marketing, Neuromarketing, New Concepts | Tags: , , , , , |

neuromarketingNEUROMARKETING??? It was three years ago since I heard this word for the very first time while I was in Marketing Research class doing my postgrade studies at Fundesem Business School, and itreally grabbed my attention. By then, lots of questions arose inside me…What it is Neuromarketing? a new kind of marketing discipline? a new tool for measure any sort of behaviour? Is this the step leadingo to manipulate customer’s likes? As any marketing terminology, I was very excited and eager to know more about it. Definitely, it was a unknown concept ready to explore.

It has been taken more time that I thought before I would be able to explain it from my own approach. I understand Neuromarketing as new research system As anecdotal origin and to understand better the scope of this methodology, we recall the famous “Pepsi Challenge” campaign in which participants were asked testing two sodas, for after say (without knowing what brand of coke they were testing), which preferred. Slightly more than half  of the participants chose Pepsi. But Pepsi was not the market leader. What’s was wrong? This attracted the attention of Read Montague, a specialist in neuroscience, who again repeated the experience in 2003 with 67 people, using tomographs and MRI scanners,  he found that both colas “activate” the brain’s reward system. The most remarkable about this was that, when they said to the participants what was the soda they were drinking, a different activity was detected in other brain areas. In this instance the 75% of participants said they preferred Coke. Weird? no, I wolud say rational. The brain area as “activation” was shown by MRI was the medium prefrontal cortex, responsible for the control of the higher thought.

Montague concluded that the brain reproduced images, and ideas generated by the brand, also that it exceeded the quality or taste of this product. Therefore, it is a further evidence of the enormous power of the brand.

It’s known that marketers can measure the results of taken actions, in terms of sales,brand awareness, likes,preferences, etc.. This is why we understand better the beginning and the end of the consumption process, but not the fundamental part in between. That is to say, what happens in the consumer’s mind, and this is what Neuromarketing is changing.

The Neurosciences detected the consumer’s difficulty or inability to express the emotional reasons that their consumption habits generated, and their reactions to different marketing stimuli. Also, we should remember and never forget that consumer decisions are based on subjective feelings, and these feelings are linked to sensory stimuli that are activated when consumption.

I admit that it has taken some time to me identifying this process, I’ve even learned a lot of technical words related to the topic, which is at the least rewarding, but let’s put it in simple words, Neuromarketing is the application of the neuroscience techniques to marketing stimuli, in order to understand how the brain “activates” to the marketing actions.

The techniques used by neuroscience are mainly psychophysics – just list them- reaction times / detection levels, images of MRI scanners, and magneto-encephalographic electroencephalographs-Honestly, I’ve a little idea about this…- All this goes hand in hand with the progress made in the recent years on understanding the brain function and evolution that allows the application of this progress is significant, considering that for a long time marketers have been using behavioral studies and psychology of the 70’s as a guide in our research.

Some companies have gone more deep  into this. Daimler-Chrysler has found that most sporting models activate the reward center in the brain and the face recognition area, which would explain the people’s tendency to anthropomorphize their cars.

Another interesting result was obtained by asking a group of people, they should watch  pictures of different brands and products, and make a ranking according to their preferences for each. Then, they repeated the test using a magnetic resonator. Finally, Montague found that there was a significant activity in the half of the prefrontal cortex. It’s the area linked to the sense of self. This serves to assess if there are the correlation between our brand and the person in question.

Conclusion Perhaps I may be wrong, but according to information I have gathered on the subject combined with my knowledge, I strongly believe that the best application of Neuromarketing is the prediction of consumer behavior, which is the biggest challenge facing marketing, the gap between the mind and behavior, which will allow to choose the  most appropiate media format, the development of notices/impulses that people remember more clearly, and basically how consumer behavior differs fromthe one in which the methods used today tell us.

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Assault Marketing

Posted on August 4, 2009. Filed under: approaches, Insights, Marketing, New Concepts, opinions, Strategy | Tags: , , , , |

3D_Chess_Board
Everyone knows that the term marketing is in fashion, so much that this term is applied to any business technique known as the weirdest and sophisticated names on the topic.  Certainly, there is talk of relationship marketing , health marketing, direct marketing, viral marketing and even guerrilla marketing. This unsual but increasingly common situation that has made me reflect and think that I, as a professional in this discipline also had to make my bit in this field.

Everything  started when I was reading Philip Kotler writings about marketing side, then I came to believe that I should give a new name to a practice that I and surely several people have done for a long time but is not yet baptized, the marketing of confrontation. A term that will give plenty of talk about their strong connotations in the success of the business world.
It takes time to identify the marketing strategy in a chess game where the board is the market and the rival in front of us is our competition. But I often question myself, do we know who really is our competition in this strategic game, whose objective is  increasing sales? When people ask who is their competition, for example, from McDonald`s, always get the same answer: Burger King, but … why do not we talk about Vips, Pans & Company, Knee, traditional restaurants, or even – I dare to  say our house-  when we go to eat? Because we must not forget that the competition does not have an exact appeareance, but it has many forms, which like a sheet of chess has to be moved in  different ways. This is assault marketing, knowing strategically all our planning moves in order to beat our rivals, because if we act impulsive, we just play a simple game of checkers.

Indeed, as the bestselling authors of  “Thinking Strategically” Pods K. Dixit and Barry J. Nolebuff the strategy is the art of overcoming the adversary knowing that he/she is trying to do the same with you.
Of similar criteria and working in parallel on this issue, I read about  Major Roberto consultando Ajedrez, creator of the concept of  “Chess in Business,” which changed my mind about the whole concept of chess and lead me to start on promoting the importance of this strategic stake in the world of business.
And here is where assault  marketing acquires its full meaning, since it is necessary checkmate the king to achieve our goal and position successfully in the business world, struggling permanently with the competition- not only directly- but global and examining closely all the movements of the board, ie the market- our field of action. Therefore, if we want to be really competitive, we  should learn to play chess or whatever it is,  do assault marketing, and bring into play our best strategy game. Surely, we will win the game ¡¡!

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WARKETING: The battle of Marketing

Posted on July 15, 2009. Filed under: approaches, Insights, Marketing, New Concepts, opinions, Strategy, Tactics | Tags: , , , , |

gears_of_war_250_248370g

I have been reading about this -marketing terminology (perhaps derivative?) for a while and I would like to  go more in depth with the blessing of all the readers and bloggers who care about it…

The arduous daily struggle faced by today’s executives requires them to think and act with initiative, to exploit any situation in a meditated way,  the ability of the commander and his people gives the value of a militant group.
It is believed that the way of thinking and acting of  East and West is completely different because of its history and its leaders, but we will see below that no matter where the thoughts and the rules that always teach us come from, all have the same goal
In the far east many years ago specifically 500 BC. Chinese strategist Sun Tzu wrote The Art of War established the foundations of the military strategy of the East, which relies on the concept that in order to win, it always requires good planning. Sun Tzu said that those who have real skills to battle may refer the army to engage the enemy without fighting.
While in the west the German General Carl von Clausewitz wrote On War the eighteenth century, which provided the basis for the west  military strategy, within which the essential idea is that in order to win you must fight the most important battle.
If  it’s interpreted correctly, both strategies can be very useful to a business strategy:
Clearly, in the preceding paragraph  Sun Tzu’s thought points to strategic busniess aims and Clausewitz provides the tactical aspect.
A good strategic planning with real results starts in acknowleding when ends the strategy and begins the tactics
To differentiate both we will add to our terminology, the word “Contact”, it is a word that suggests, perhaps like no other, the boundary between strategy and tactics.
In war, the strategy is stopped right on the border. And the tatcics starts when the contact is made with the enemy. So in business, it stops at the door in which a client will make a purchase decision. When an executive speaks with a client, the developed action action is a tactic. When the sales manager will plan to visit the client, the action is strategic.
In the company’s activity, irrespective of their category, the winning strategies are formulated before- I would add in a long term. And the tactics are  required to maximize the physical, intellectual and moral capabilities of the team (nothe the term Team, not staff) in achieving the busniess objectives  as a whole.
In the tactical field force is not just quantity, it must be added the capacity of each person who makes up the organization, courage, boldness and determination to success. Where and how many people started Microsoft?
Summarizing the above and giving a start to this marketing derivative, we have defined principles as for the strategy as for the tactics, these are:

Principles of the WARKETING  strategy
1. Surprise
2. Security
3. Offensive
4. Economy of forces
5. Media meeting
6. Freedom of action

Principles of Tactical WARKETING

1. Offensive Spirit
2. Capacity
3. Mobility
4. Creativity
5. Support

This post has been inspired by the original article: “Warketing” by Sergio Gajardo Ugás

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