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Nov 19th 2012

AOL's Vicki Draper Talks Mobile-First and Results From Award-Winning Research

There is no denying the growing importance of mobile devices these days – people of all ages, professions and locations are constantly on their phones for work and social purposes. What may not be as obvious is the "why". AOL's Vicki Draper, Senior Manager Consumer Analytics and Research, and Denise Brien, Director of Consumer Analytics and Research, partnered with BBDO to find out. Their study, "Seven Shades of Mobile," just received the annual EXPLOR award, and we thought it would be a perfect time to catch up with Vicki to chat about the study and learn a bit more about her. Here is what they uncovered...

"Having the consumer in mind and being able to engage and meet their needs is critical," says Draper. In her role, Draper conducts and coordinates research initiatives across the organization, which, in turn, helps to position AOL as a thought leader in the industry.

The study was conducted in order to learn more about the behavior of mobile users, specifically smartphone users. "To truly see the deeper motivations behind what people are doing in the mobile sphere. A lot of research is out there on this, but no one answered what we have found on this research," she explained.

Vicki was surprised by three results of this study in particular: "We found out that 68% of all smartphone use was in home - flying in the face of conventional wisdom. Also, we learned that it's not about utility; it's actually much more about 'Me Time' and people spending time on themselves. We found it very interesting that people have different, non–intuitive motivations and paths to get to apps and website in the mobile space. For instance, some people will visit shopping sites on their phones to buy things where others will use shopping sites and apps as a way to relax and get their 'me time'. This has huge implications for the way publishers and marketers program for mobile."

The study has proved to be a trailblazer in mobile research, earning the EXPLOR award last week, at The Market Research Event, for their innovation in technology, as applied to market research. There is only one winner each year for this award and Vicki along with the rest of the team earned this year's title. "Winning this award was my single proudest moment," Vicki said.

In January, Vicki will be presenting Seven Shades of Mobile and several other studies during Engadget's "Tablets of Change" forum at the globally recognized Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

What does Vicki do when she's not finding insights? When she's not in the office Vicki finds her enjoyment as a competitive Latin Ballroom dancer. In October, she won first place awards in cha cha, samba, rumba, paso doble and jive at the Paragon Open Dancesport Competition in New Jersey. She also enjoys going on wine tasting vacations and recently traveled with her husband to the Pfalz and Mosel wine regions in Germany.

For additional information on Seven Shades of Mobile click here. To see the full results from the study visit http://advertising.aol.com/research/research-reports/seven-shades-mobile

Mar 13th 2012

AOL's Rachel Gross Named Top Event Innovator

BizBash, leading trade media group for the events industry, just unveiled its second annual list of the 66 most innovative people in the business, and AOL's Rachel Gross made the list.

Rachel, who heads Corporate Events & Community Relations on the Brand, Marketing and Communications team, shares the honor with other event planners and designers described by BizBash as those "who stay ahead of the curve and move the industry forward" as "the drivers behind groundbreaking, purpose-driven concepts that shape the way we think about events today."

She was selected to be on the cover of the March/April issue of BizBash magazine, which publishes this week, along with eight other event innovators and Rachel is also featured in a video on the BizBash site talking about her pledge to make AOL's events green and sustainable, while still engaging guests.

A long-time AOLer, Rachel and her team manage AOL's strategic presence at several hundred events a year such as the Consumer Electronics Show, Advertising Week, Huffington Post Game Changers and other trade shows as well as internal events. The team is also responsible for AOL's community relations efforts, which include AOL's partnership with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Keep up with Rachel's adventures on Twitter by following her at @racheljgross.

Feb 17th 2012

The AOL Autos Team Recruits Students to Design New Award


The AOL Autos team met with 50 students yesterday at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit to kick off the Technology of the Year Award Design Challenge (http://autos.aol.com/award). CCS was selected as the exclusive partner by AOL Autos VP and General Manager, Chris Eschenburg. These students are tasked with creating the physical award that will be presented to the winner at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

This award will represent both the technology and automotive nature of the competition and should represent quality and expertise in auto technology, placing it easily into a position highly respected and referenced alongside other awards in the automotive field.

The students at CCS are made up of experts in several trades: pottery, glass blowing, fabrics, metals, woodworking and more. The AOL Autos team will be revisiting the students on March 15th to review initial designs, and then the real fun begins. Students will then be provided the supplies and tools they need to make the pieces come to life.

The students have participated in similar design competitions, including the 2009 Chrysler Supplier Pentastar Award, Ford's Model T Design Competition and the 2012 Auto Flow theme creative. We are anxious to see what impressive pieces they come up with!

Jan 12th 2012

Get the Latest CES 2012 News with Engadget Distro


Couldn't make it to CES? Don't worry, Engadget has you covered. Distro, a distilled version of the best feature content each week at Engadget, is launching a special edition covering everything you need to know about the Consumer Electronics Show.

Find out more here.

Jan 11th 2012

VivaKi and AOL "Tech-tails" at CES 2012


During this week's CES festivities, AOL was invited to participate in VivaKi's week of "Bright Lights, Big Ideas."

More than 200 VivaKi employees, clients and guests were treated to a packed content program. The evening was kicked off by Joshua Fruhlinger, editorial director for AOL Tech, who shared his perspectives on the first day of CES. From "LTE everything" to OLED to the age of superlatives: subtablets, superphones, and ultrabooks, Fruhlinger talked about the latest trends at the show. "Everything is mobile, everyone wants to show that what they have can run an app," he observed. "Angry Birds will be on everything from car dashboards to washing machines." Home networking will also be a big trend, as devices connect to the living room TV. For more of what's happening at the show, check out Engadget's complete CES coverage.

Next, Christian Kugel, AOL VP of Consumer Analytics and Research, took the stage. In anticipation of CES, Engadget identified ten trends – from inductive charging to electric motorcycles – that would impact 2012. Kugel's team then surveyed AOL Tech audiences to capture their interest and excitement of those trends. Readers ranked their top 3 game-changers as cloud computing, device convergence and the emergence of tablets as content creation devices. The audience roared at revelations that nearly half of AOL Tech readers would give up their pet rather than sacrifice their favorite gadget.

The evening concluded with lively conversation between Maurice Levy, Global CEO, Publicis Groupe, and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong. Praising Publicis Groupe as "the most game-changing holding company," Armstrong stated that no one else "took more of a risk" on digital media. Levy quipped: "Ah, we didn't know it was a risk." Levy agreed that convergence was one of the most important trends he was seeing at CES, and when Armstrong asked what advice he had for companies struggling with making the right decisions in a swiftly shifting business climate, Levy parried with a quick "Come see us!" They discussed how brands – not just products – need to be differentiators, and how the new digital landscape has the potential to be an "infinite world of possibility and creativity." Levy turned the tables on Armstrong and quizzed him on AOL's ultimate objectives – and where the company was in its journey. "AOL is about building content brands that matter, at scale," Armstrong responded. "I'd say we are in Inning Two on what we want to achieve."

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