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What The #Gravsum?

September 6, 2009

Last Monday I attended Gravity Summit Boston, not really sure what to expect. Needless to say, I was blown away. I could fill three posts with simply insight after insight that people like Todd Defren (SHIFT Communications), Troy Kelley (Arnold Worldwide), Gary Vaynerchuck,MC Hammer (entrepreneur’s and all around brilliant guys) and many others gave throughout the day (If you DO want just that, go to to see the days best tweets). But instead I want to give you the take aways on social media and the Web that impacted me the most while attending:

Flexibility: There is no “by the book” way to go about creating a social media campaign, developing an online presence, or responding to a crisis. Every approach to every situation is VERY different. Just because something has worked for you or someone you know, it most certainly has no bearing on whether it will work for you now. This was demonstrated by MC Hammer himself, who has created a whole new persona through his willingness to open himself through many social media outlets. This ideal also came through loud and clear for me just by watching the case studies. While they all used many of the same outlets (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, video, etc), none of them looked like a template that they took and added their own ingredients. They were all able to adapt mid-campaign to their consumer needs, which is why they were all so successful.

Trust: Rodney Rumford (one of the Gravity Summit founders) said it best during closing remarks, “you gain so much by releasing control.” Trying to control every aspect of what is posted online about you or your company will never pay off in the social space. If your brand is trying to do this, you are not breaking free of the ways of traditional media, and people will only resent you for it. When you are finally able to accept the fact that no brand has 100% approval from consumers, and that you can react and respond to criticism, your brand will be able to gain more loyalty and exposure.

Make it a Company Thing: Yes, having a very interesting Twitter account and interactive Facebook page is a great start for a big brand, but what insight into a company can the consumer really get from these streams alone? Not a whole lot. They will know any big news from the brand, any fun events or promotions they are doing, but they don’t learn about one of the most important parts of a company; the people. Southwest has mastered this completely, they really blew me away. Southwest Airlines thinks that their employees are what makes a great flight, and so they encourage their employees to be active online, especially Twitter. The policy…er…guidelines they have created are loose and well done, mainly identify yourself as Southwest employee and be responsible. Allowing good employees to have fun develops trust in the brand, and will help create loyalty through recognition with people.

PS Thanks to Dave Gerzof @davidgerzof (below with Alleigh Marre @alleighmarre and MC Hammer) for inviting me to this great event.

Gravity Summit with Hammer


3 Keys To [Social Media] Happiness

August 14, 2009

I have recently been thinking about what first got me into sharing and interacting regularly in the online social realm, and thought I would share a few revelations I had last night.

1. Build a Network Within a Network – While having a brief conversation on Twitter with @TaylorDobbs last night we touched on a few things, one of which was tangible metrics of Twitter (followers). We also decided that followers is becoming less tangible with the HUGE number of spammers out there now. What matters within each social network, is your personal network. What I mean by this is, the people you most often share ideas and comments with. This may be 5, or 500 depending on the person, but the number doesn’t matter, as long as you have that inner circle within each network that you find the most valuable and enjoyable to chat with.

2. Don’t Be Shy, Hand Out Compliments – People share their pictures, drawings, videos, thoughts, and everything else for a reason; they want people to like it! You are not going to like everything, but when you see, hear something you like, tell the creator, no matter how trivial the comment. Do this to make others feel good, but also to make yourself feel good because people always appreciate it, and will return the favor in the future when you share something.

3. Don’t Forget That To Be Social You Need To Have Something To Talk About – And I don’t mean have an opinion, because that’s a given, and everyone has an opinion. What I mean is that the social realm started with blogs of people talking about their everyday lives, so make sure to not forget about your off line life. Go out and do awesome stuff, because that’s why you joined, to talk about what you do offline. Too often people focus on talking about only the online world, and forget that a million things are going on outside their door (I would like to clarify that talking about the digital realm isn’t a bad thing, its just not the only thing).

Comcast + 7/11 Smart Ad (I am suprised too)

August 13, 2009


Saw this at 7/11 on my way to work this morning. It isn’t particularly interesting ads themselves, but I thought it was quite innovative placement. I had never seen something like this, ads on drinks in a cooler, but not for anything related to the store. 7/11 is known for accepting all kinds of crazy advertising ideas i nits store, but this one doesn’t even try to partner with anything store related!

This being said, I find it brilliant on the part of Comcast for two reasons; first, it is an unusual, but clearly eye catching ad, because anyone who saw it would wonder what it was about. But secondly, and more importantly, this 7/11 is located in downtown Boston, just off the commons, where thousands of college students go on a regular basis. Combine this with the clearly college targeted ad (offers a low 9 month cost, this is a very common length to rent an apartment because its about how long the school year is), and Comcast has found what I would imagine is a cheap, and well targeted in store campaign. Kudos to you Comcast, who seem to do little right besides have good Twitter customer service!

When is Texting (Or Tweeting) Unacceptable?

August 12, 2009

When I am with my friends, I never feel like it is inappropriate to pull out my phone to text/tweet/email, etc, even if we were out to a nice dinner. It probably isn’t weird because they doing it too, no one even thinks twice about it. Gen-Y and Gen-X have grown up as generations of multitaskers; we hardly even know how to do one thing at a time, it can be boring. BUT, as I have learned the hard way, through dirty looks from my parents, that there are times and places when some of the older generations still feel this is severely disrespectful. I completely understand where they are coming from, because it appears that I am not paying any attention to them when my face keeps turning down to my phone, but in fact I generally feel just as capable of listening to every word they say while doing this. Taking that into consideration I have come up with the following list of places NOT to be using any form of PDA:

Unacceptable List: (For Twitter #donttweetwhile)

While on a date
If with your parents + any of their friends
Family in general that is not Gen-Y or younger (especially grandparents)
*In an interview
During televised political speech (see above)
In class
In most work settings (depending on field and company)
In any meeting (*especially with boss)
In movie theater while movie is playing (been guilty of this, but obnoxious to others)
While operating heavy machinery
Crossing street in city (seriously, I have almost died)
(Insert your own in comment box below)

Thought Leader? Guru? Whats The Difference

August 11, 2009

First of all, this is a really awesome video, even though many of the numbers are a bit outdated because it was made in 2008. Many of the facts give me shivers just thinking about. The point I am trying to make though, is that “we live in exponential times,” and like technology, the way we describe things is changing just as fast as anything else. Since I have become active in the Web 2.0 world (that was the buzz term about a year ago), I have seen many marketing buzz words be used to savvy social network users. There was early adopters, influencers, pied pipers, and a host of others. My personal favorite was the “ninja” because well, who doesn’t want to be a ninja!?!

Then came the big controversial one, “guru.” This seemed to me to be where people started to have a bit of a problem with the often self assigned title. Guru is a heavy word to bestow even upon someone else, let alone yourself. It implies that you know just about all there is, and your word is just about law. And this word is what many people started to question, and anyone who titled them self social media guru was looked upon as extremely conceited.

So after guru was effectively vanquished, a new term emerged, “thought leader.” It certainly has a nice ring to it, it doesn’t imply that the person knows everything, but only that they are generally ahead of the game. Is this really any different than guru though, or is it just a less conceited way of saying a word now frowned upon? But this new term has set me to thinking, do we really even need to name a group of internet users, whos field changes more then daily? Can anyone be considered a thought leader, guru, or any of the other names people have been given when there is so much info that a completely new person to the Web could have some insight an “expert” doesn’t. And that is the beauty of this new Web world, you don’t have to go to grad school to know a thing or two.

But if we have to use a word, lets use the word I first really learned about from Paul Gillin, “Influencer.” It does not mean you know more then anyone else, only that your opinion influences others because people choose to respect what they say, and is not a self given title.

The Most Interesting Brand in The World

August 7, 2009


Ok, so maybe Dos Equis isn’t the MOST interesting brand in the world, but if I had to rank the most interesting overall ad campaigns recently, they would certainly be near the top. Their ads with “The most interesting man in the world” have made them one of very few beer brands to post a jump in sales this summer (which usually boasts high beer sales for everyone). But not only do they have some awesome ads (see below) FROM Euro RSCG Worldwide, but I have just their new site is awesome too. They pulled me into their site with a very impressive feat: They got me to click on a banner ad (in my last post I said I NEVER do this). They had a compelling ad about classes in their “academy” of how to become like the most interesting man in the world. I wish I had a screen shot of this ad that took up the whole side of Pandora.

Once I clicked, I was hooked on the site (screenshot of homepage above), they have survival in the modern era with Bear Grylls, rites of passage, the art of the bluff (something they say every good con man needs to know), and a few others. This is just a completely engaging site to its target, white collar men who wish they were certified badasses like the man in the Dos Equis ad. On this site they hardly even push the beer, which is what I love about the site, and the ads as well. They just deliver a really cool message, and let the branding take over. But don’t take my word for it, check the site out here.

Any ad campaign that actually makes me go out and buy the product, especially beer since I usually drink whats cheap, is a campaign I put in rarefied air.

Cutting Through the Noise to Reach Gen Y

August 4, 2009

Speaking from experience (I was born in 1988, right in the center on Gen Y), my generation is as likely to click on your banner ad as we are to not have a cell phone. We have grown up multitasking, and constantly surrounded by noise so we have learned to very easily drown it out. I ignore ads so much I don’t even notice paid advertising on Google anymore, it doesn’t even register. This has made it very difficult for marketers to get through to this very powerful segment of the population that is just about to start making more and more purchases for themselves for the first time.

But just because the traditional digital media doesn’t get the attention of Gen Y, doesn’t mean you can’t get to us. On the contrary we are ready and waiting for a brand to convince us to use them. We read review after review, we interact online constantly, so if a brand is able to get through the noise then they have very little competition. There is two major ways of doing this. One being have an absolutely kick ass brand/product. Apple has done this by having superior products as well as a very strong marketing campaign. The other way is actively engage us, key word being ACTIVELY. Any brand can have a one great viral video, or a sweet promotion that everyone talks about for a while, because just like a banner ad, you will be forgotten in a few days.

This is exactly why Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group and Wetpaint did a study of the brands using social media the best, and there two major categories were engagement and number of channels. Starbucks came up number one, and I can’t remember any videos they had with 10 million hits, or some insane online giveaway. They just place themselves everywhere on the Web, and constantly put themselves out there. Stiff ol’ Microsoft even sat solidly at number five, because of things like @microsoft_cares (blatant rip off @comcast_cares but besides the point) who answered an angry tweet I had about Windows within 10 minutes at about 9 at night. To me, that means ten times more to me then giving away then iphones by whatever that company was called a while ago (look I already forgot). Granted Starbucks and Microsoft are huge, but they have the right idea of sticking real people all over the place online to make sure every time they have an opportunity to make an impression on a Gen Y’er (or anyone else) they don’t miss out. And THAT is how you get noticed by someone as distracted as me.