Sunday, November 21, 2010

Urban Influencer 360 Panel Series: Community Installment

This week was non-stop with events after-work, and one of the more interesting panels was the Urban Influencer 360 panel on 11/16. The main topic was how brands could engage urban culture to affect change and deliver impactful cause/community marketing programs.

I don't have all of the names but representatives were in attendance from the following organizations:

3) The Rush Philanthropic Foundation
6) Egami Consulting

Moderator: Jeff Johnson -Jeff Johnson is a Washington, DC based award-winning journalist, social activist and political commentator.

This was a timely and relvant discussion, considering the Pepsi Refresh project and how they have used Cause Marketing as a strategy in their Marketing and Advertising. Cause Marketing is becoming a bigger topic and some interesting stats and trends were shared including the following:

1) 85% of brands that have a cause marketing strategy saw a 15% lift in sales
2) 92% of Americans would switch to a brand that because it has a cause marketing campaign and affiliation
3) the lack of a Cause Marketing Campaign can be a brand differentiators in a negative way if a brand doesn't have an association with a cause
4) Brands are harnessing the power of Social Media to engage Consumers in their Cause Marketing initiatives

Of course, the key points in the discussion was about relevancy and how social media has been used to generate success in cause marketing campaigns, particularly when using FB and Twitter.

For example, how do brands choose a cause that is relevant to them and how do they then engage the consumers to get involved? The brand reps overall seemed to insist that there needs to be a hook that gets consumers involved via social media platforms. One idea was to identify the brand's emotional and functional point of difference and the brand's assets. They think consumers engage with the brand's cause because they want to feel like they are making the difference-ie. Pepsi Refresh. Social Media allows consumers to show their support for the brand and also for the cause the brand is associated with among their social network. It shows what consumers stand for.

They also discussed tactics such as crowd-sourcing and how to use it as a tactic to engage consumers. The overall commentary was to use it carefully, but it is a good idea to think about how the online component will feed into the offline component.

Digital Flash Event: Fireside Chat with Saul Colt

I haven't heard that much about Digital Flash before, and I don't even know how I received the invitation to attend the event. I think I may have signed up to their group on

I must say they are a small operation, but apparently, they have produced some quality events around the city due to their access to knowledgeable experts in digital media.

The panel on Thursday was a chat with Saul Colt of and Sarah Prevette from , a website/community for small business entrepreneurs.

Saul is the self-professed, "Smartest Man in the World" and is an award winning Word of Mouth Marketer. He's also known as a Social Media Expert and is based in Canada. He started the "Smartest Man in the World" blog about 5 years ago and has been gaining notoriety as an expert in the Social Media business community.

The most interesting part of the evening was the debate between Saul and Sarah when they discussed the impact of community managers and their impact on the brands that they represent. For instance, as we discussed in class, they addressed the issues of 1) what happens when a community manager leaves the brand and 2) Can 1 person represent more than on 1 brand as a community manager.

Sarah's opinion was that when a community manager with a large following on FB/Twitter leaves, i.e for instance, the company impact could be negative. However, Saul countered by saying its not so much that the company will suffer, it's just that relationships with people that matters. He didn't think that a person leaving the company would affect the relationship with the brand, but the next person that takes the role must go in and continue to deliver the brand promise. I happen to agree. Your own personal brand is what is also established in these roles -and I think if a customer likes Jet Blue or Zappos-they wouldn't discard their affinity for the brands because of a Community Manager leaving the company.

Additionally, the point was raised as to whether or not a Community Manager could represent more than one brand. Sarah's expressed that if someone were to manage multiple brands at once as a commnity manager, then they lose all credibility. Sal's didn't feel that was the case -because people can be passionate about more than one brand-unless its a competitor-which is a no-brainer, he didn't truly see a problem in it.

Other highlights of the evening was Saul's philosophy of really creating unique experiences through offline events that are then discussed online. In Essence, the real value of WOM (Word Of Mouth Marketing) is to create those unique experiences first-and then drive the conversation about those experiences via social media. He provided a case study on -a manufacturer of invoices-and how they stood out in a genuine, authentic and crafty way as a trade show by designing their booth to be a replica of the Banana Stand on the TV show Arrested Development. The conversation happened after people saw the display. The difference in getting people to talk after is just being proactive and giving them the tools in advance to talk about it.

To date, we've heard and seen quite a few case studies of online driving to offline experiences-this was a refreshing twist and example of executing in the opposite by producing events/experiences first and then the discussion happening online post event. The premise is that really people are still interested in establishing meaningful connections offline and we should use this to our advantage when creating online communities.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

iPhone Apps, Part 1 (10/11/10)-Really do we need all these apps?

iPhone Apps, Part 1 (10/11/10)

Call me a minimalist I guess. For the life of me, I don't understand the need for all of these apps. I guess I haven't fully become ensconced in a techie lifestyle.

The link above is an article/interview with Jimmy Fallon and the bit he did on his show poking fun on apps, such as the Axl Rose Relaxation App and the Stach-ify app. It really is satire on some of the completely useless phone apps that are out there; however, Jimmy does admit to using his iphone and apps more than he uses his computer/laptop.

I can see how the apps are incorporated into our everyday lifestyle, but I honestly feel like I can function without most of them. I do think technology improvements and design will enhance the functionality of many apps so much so that the NEED to use them will be created-because these apps will simplify our lives. I'm not at the point yet..I still Google directions, names, locations and places-go figure. The use of the apps for Entertainment-hasn't quite caught my attention.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Social Media Will be ‘Part of Virtually Everything’ - Audience Development @

I agree. The article notes that " Social Media will essentially fade into the background, in that it will be a part of virtually everything in the next few years."

Essentially Web 2.0 is really all about Social Media. It's the new means of communication, and it is just as organic and pervasive as email has become in our everyday lives.

While I don't think traditional media will altogether disappear, I do believe that the vast amount of communication that occurs between markets and consumers will occur via social media platforms. Particularly, in the case of the millennial generation. For instance, in the Forrester Social Technographics study, Internet or online users are segmented into six major groups-consisting of Critics, Creators, Joiners, Consumers, Collectors, Spectators and Inactives, the majority of the population tend to be spectators.
This article suggests that we are moving away from being spectators, but actually Joiners and Creators.

In this new Social Media era, the preferred means of communication will be primarily by dialog and content that is created by consumers for consumers.

Gatorade Mission Control & its use of Social Media

This is a great example of how a PepsiCo brand-Gatorade is using Twitter and Facebook to increase engagement for their Mission Control and G-Series brands. What is interesting to me is the concept of being engaged 24 hours both from an internal standpoint and the use of their agency partners to help with continuous monitoring as well. This reinforces the position that Social Media within companies has to be a total division all on its own and must utilize staffers to be dedicated to engaging & monitoring consumers' and their conversations about the brand. What I don't understand is what their real objectives are? Is this a pure PR push? Is it branding awareness? What are they really offering to their customers? Also, it still seems as if engagement measurement has no real standard, and it is totally arbitrary based on how the brand perceives the interaction with consumers is increasing.

However, as a media sales professional, it is refreshing to see that the pure metrics of CPM, CPA, CTR, Impressions etc., are not as important considering how consumers are interacting with brands in the digital space due to the advent of social media. In particular, for a niche brand that has not had the scale to compete purely based on delivering volume, we have always sold the uniqueness of our content and how it relates to our audience and how they consume the content.

The manner in which brands are evaluating engagement now, substantiates the point we have been making to agencies all along-its engagement with the brand that matters, and high engagement drives purchase.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Twitter to Facebook: 5 Ways to Post to Both

Twitter to Facebook: 5 Ways to Post to Both

I'm a bit of a Twitter newbie so I found this information. I still don' think I have the hang of it yet; however, I don't know if I feel the need to update my status as often as Twitter updates. It would be great if the tweets maybe just posted to the wall instead.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Experience.

On 9/30 I attended the Social Media, Publicity & Marketing Networking Reception -Meet-up hosted by Christan. It hardly lived up to its name. After a full day of Ad Week events and networking functions...this event was completely lackluster in comparison. There were basically a lot of unemployed people looking for jobs. It really wasn't very beneficial at all.