SharedBook
 

SharedBook Takes “Word of Sight” Approach

Laura Blum, Adweek

Oct. 09, 2006 - NEW YORK
Word of Sight blends old-school media (photo albums) with digital technology to help consumers add a personal touch to their travel memoirs. The approach has ramifications for destination and hospitality marketers seeking to curry favor with visitors while simultaneously defining their brands.

Startup SharedBook built the business on the credo, "seeing is really believing," and it hopes to engage brand evangelists not by word of mouth alone. Two weeks ago, Delaware North Cos. launched a Word of Sight campaign for its operations in Yosemite National Park, providing participating guests with their own personal Yosemite scrapbook starting at $35.

Say you just scaled El Capitan and wanted to show your photos to loved ones back home. With Word of Sight, you embed the images in a digital template containing professional site photography.

"You have 'your' Yosemite book," said SharedBook CEO Caroline Vanderlip. "It's not one book sold to many, it's mass personalization—yet it's scalable." Yosemite is bringing together users "to share their experiences visually," Vanderlip noted. "Brands are looking for a way to become part of the conversation.

Word of mouth is terrific, but how do you become part of it?" She added, "Word of mouth either develops or it doesn't—but there's not a lot of control" a brand can exert. Word of Sight seeks to give marketers more sway in the world of consumer advocacy, plus a way to monetize the undertaking.

This June, Regent Seven Seas Cruises partnered with SharedBook to build customer loyalty and retention. Guests received a "professionally bound book of personal memories of the trip, templated with Regent context," explained Vanderlip. For the Regent scrapbooks, users uploaded individual and group photos to a common site that integrated cruise details such as ship stats and ports of call.

Seven to 10 days later, a hardcover book rolled out as a pre-paid $98 item in the Regent gift shop or gratis, as part of a package deal. "The Regent experience stays with the customer and impacts both loyalty and pass-along," she said. "When someone asks, 'How was your cruise?' Word of Sight lets you say, 'Here are all my memories embedded in a physical book.'"