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Archive for the ‘Ideas’ Category

Smart People / Smart Ideas April 2009

In Ideas, Innovation, Insight on May 4, 2009 at 12:08 pm

It’s that time once again when recap some of the best and brightest in Social Media.  Here’s the Smart People / Smart Ideas Round Up for April:

Smart People / Smart Ideas #141 @equalman says: Everyone is Twittering, But is Anyone Listening?

Smart People / Smart Ideas #142 @lizstrauss wonders: Do Leaders Wear Jeans? If so, what kind?

Smart People / Smart Ideas #143 @scobleizer has a private note to PR people

Smart People / Smart Ideas #144 @faris reminds us that listening is the first step:

Smart People / Smart Ideas #145 @thebetsy asks: Does Social Value = [Social + Media ( X stuff)], as X ⇒ ∞

Smart People / Smart Ideas #146 @JohnLoGioco continues the talk about authenticity and #fiestamovement

Smart People / Smart Ideas #147 @joelcomm asks: What What do Twitter and donuts have to do with each other?

Smart People / Smart Ideas #148 @mikearauz dissects the spectrum of online friendship

Smart People / Smart Ideas #149 @dmullen on the mistakes PR pros (keep) making:

#Fridayfollow: @aaronstrout – His 45in45 series is must reading too: Smart People / Smart Ideas #150 –

Smart People / Smart Ideas #151 @sernovitz. on blogs and trust. [hat tip @gturpin]

Smart People / Smart Ideas #152 @onefloorup: 4 Essential ppl of a Great Design Team [hat tip @michaelSurtees]

Smart People / Smart Ideas #153 @narciso17 on How to avoid Jumping the Shark

Smart People / Smart Ideas #154 @asmartbear on “Why U Have 2 Engage in SocMed, Even if U Don’t Want 2” – ht @spikejones

I may have to retire “Smart People / Smart Ideas” and just call it: What @arauz wrote today: [SP/SI #155]

You can follow Smart Ideas / Smart People via my Twitter feed.


Is your company the Kentucky Derby, Preakness or Belmont Stakes?

In Ideas on May 4, 2009 at 9:09 am

Mine That Bird - Rob Carr/Associated Press via NY Times

Rob Carr/Associated Press via NY Times Online

The Kentucky Derby was held this weekend, the first of three races (along with the Preakness and the Belmont) that together make up the Triple Crown of horse racing. While the races are tied together by the Triple Crown, they all face unique marketing challenges.

The Kentucky Derby – The Favorite

By far the most popular, and famous, of the three races, the Kentucky Derby is established as the one race to watch if you are only going to watch one race. “The Run for the Roses,” at iconic Chuchill Downs, has a lot going for it. But despite it’s ‘market dominance’ the Derby is vulnerable and has inherent weaknesses:

  • With so much emphasis put on winning the Triple Crown, some people may wait to tune in, watching the second race (Preakness) to see if the Derby winner also wins this race.
  • There isn’t yet a focus or strong story line for the Kentucky Derby for the casual fan. Which horse should I root for out of the 15 – 20 that are in the race?

What can the Derby do to keep its position as the race?

  • Expand your fan base: There is tremendous drama in horse racing and the Derby is probably the only race that can take advantage. A live, general audience reality show to crown a Miss Kentucky Derby could be interesting. Or even a fictional drama revolving around Churchill Downs – a primetime soap opera – could be compelling.

The Preakness Stakes – The Contender

The Preakness, in my opinion, may be in the best position. Every year the race matters (except when the Derby winner doesn’t participate) and the casual fan, anxious to see a Triple Crown winner, has an automatic rooting interest. And yet:

  • Ultimately, like a middle child, they are easily forgotten. Not as popular as the Derby, nor as potentially important as the Belmont.
  • Lack of identity. When does the race happen? Where is it? What type of flowers does the winner get?

What can the Preakness do to stop playing second fiddle to the Derby?

  • Take a risk. When you’re second, you’ve got to do something to get people’s attention. I would take a page from HBO Boxing and do a 24/7 behind the scenes type show around the Derby winner and his main competition. I was excited to see that the Preakness has a twitter feed. But they only have four updates the day after the Derby. They should be going non-stop from the second the Derby ends until the Preakness has a winner.

The Belmont Stakes – The Darkhorse

The Belmont is a high risk, high reward proposition.

  • If the same horse doesn’t win the Derby and the Preakness, the Belmont is meaningless to the casual fan.
  • It’s been so long since we’ve had a Triple Crown winner (the last was Affirmed in 1978) that nobody under 35 even knows what a Triple Crown winner is.

How can the Belmont close fast on the inside?

  • Forget the spectacle, focus on the race. With so much out of its control, I would drive home the concept that the Belmont is the single greatest test of the horse – the best actual race.  Emphasize the track, the conditions, the length, the pedigree of the previous winners. If the Belmont could own the concept of ‘best individual race’ people would consider watching even if a Triple Crown wasn’t possible.

Every brand has different benefits and challenges. Understanding your strengths, and knowing how to exploit them, is just as important as understanding your weaknesses and knowing how to minimize them.

Food From Home: Memories of Summer Pies

In Ideas on April 28, 2009 at 9:29 am

The Internet is surely the most powerful tool for human connection every conceived (possible exception: the hug). It’s often talked about it for its power to democratize communication. I also like it because it allows for communication between strangers just as much as between friends. Last week I stumbled upon the following via a link notification. This comes from the Dancing Deer Bakery’s Dancing Deer Blog

We’d like to know what food reminds you of home and hear your comfort food memories and recipes.

Tell us in a tweet or a blog post. And when you do, tag 7 friends as well.
Together we’ll use our tweets and blog posts to raise awareness about family homelessness, our company’s cause.

Now, we’re going to pass the torch to these people:
  1. Chris Perrin, @blogwelldone
  2. Karen Wise,, @wisekaren
  3. Bryan Person,, @bryanperson
  4. Beth Kanter,”>, @kanter,
  5. Rick Liebling,, @eyecube
  6. Steve Garfield,, @stevegarfield
  7.  Chris Brogan, @chrisbrogan

**And the rules**
Link your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
* Share what food reminds you of home
* Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
* Let them know that they’ve been tagged

Fresh fruit pie = home

Fresh fruit pie = home

Hmm, what food reminds me of home? Growing up, my family wasn’t much for cooking at home, so I don’t have any great stories of family dinners, etc. But, growing up in the San Fernando Valley, we did have several fruit trees in our backyard – apricot, plum, peach & nectarine. The trees were so full of fruit in the summer, it was ridiculous. You’d get up, walk into the backyard and just pick three or four pieces of ripe fruit for breakfast. They were so juicy and sweet. Well, we just couldn’t eat them all so my Dad started baking pies. After a while he got pretty good at it too. Fresh fruit pie, topped with vanilla ice cream, you just can’t beat that during the summer.

I can’t claim this as my Dad’s recipe, but here’s one for Peach-Apricot pie.

To keep this going, I’m tagging the following people:

1. Aaron Uhrmacher of Disruptology

2. David Mullen of Communications Catalyst

3. Joe Pulizzi of Junta42

4. Paull Young of Young PR

5. DJ Francis of Online Marketer Blog

6. Ryan McShane of FootPRints

7. David Teicher of Legends of Aerocles

*Please Copy and paste the description below:
Dancing Deer’s Sweet Home Initiative raises money for scholarships to help educate homeless women and end family homelessness. As a part oft his initiative, our CEO, Trish Karter, will be riding her bike 1,500 miles from Atlanta to Boston visiting family shelters in each city to raise awareness about this
cause (see:  ). She’ll also be recording stories from the women she meets along the way asking them about their experiences. One question she’ll ask them are what foods remind them of home.

Public Relations and Content Marketing

In Ideas on April 22, 2009 at 10:50 am

As I was headed in to work the other day, my thoughts focused on how Taylor, the agency I work, for is constantly evolving. We’re such a different company than we were a few years ago. Part of that  is due to some pretty forward thinking by the management, and some is due to external factors. The rise of consumer-generated media, distributed content and the ‘blink of an eye’ news cycle have all been influences.

I’m a big fan of Joe Pulizzi and his Junta42 group as well. They’re all about content marketing and I think Joe will be nodding his head and smiling at what I’m about to say:

PR agencies should think of themselves as content marketing agencies.

Whether it’s a press release, website, media tour, podcast or live event, what we, as marketing communications practitioners, are doing is marketing content. I believe looking at it this way reframes what it is we do for clients. It’s more of a mindset than a completely different skillset.

Content is King

Right now, and perhaps more than ever, content is king.  Two weeks ago the name Susan Boyle would have elicited blank stares.  50+ million YouTube views later and she’s an international talking point. Britain’s Got Talent, and YouTube’s Got Content.  Today, nothing is (or at least nothing should be) ‘one time usage.’ TV appearances live on the web, live events are Tweeted and your brand makes friends on Facebook. It’s all content. Everything your brand produces is content.

Now, rather than simply execute a PR campaign, agencies should be in the business of strategic content management.  That’s something brands simply can’t back away from. You can kill a stand-alone PR program, but to take a pass on leveraging and maximizing your brand’s content is to simply announce, “We’ve given up. Let us know when the early-90s come back.”

Content Marketing: Five Reasons You Should Be Doing It

1. Content marketing is constant

So often traditional PR relies on a “big launch” then it fades away. Strategic content marketing is ongoing, with a focus on keeping the consumers engaged beyond ‘opening weekend’ or the ‘Big Game.’

2. Content marketing is authentic

Content marketing isn’t about synergistically leveraging the best-in-class this, or the enterprise-wide, value-added that. It’s about providing consumers with information they want to share and engage with.

3. Content marketing is through-the-line

Audio, video, text, images – all of it can be repurposed to extend the life of the content across multiple platforms.  People don’t find news anymore, news finds them. The brands that break through are the ones that strategically leverage content by serving it up to consumers where, when and how they want it.

4. Content marketing is self-propogating

A traditional PR program involves hiring a celebrity spokesperson, setting up interviews and then recording audience figures. Content marketing involves repackaging the interviews, hosting them yourself across multiple platforms, but also encouraging others to host and publish additional content based on the original.  When your content generates related, original, organic content you win.

5. Content marketing is cost-effective

You’ve already hired the spokesperson, created the event or filmed the commercial. Your sunk costs are just that, so for a relatively minimal investment, put some additional muscle behind the initiative and extend the length of the program indefinitely. Or, if you can’t afford the $600,000 broadcast commercial, put a fraction of that money towards initiating and supporting direct consumer interaction via Social Media platforms (that’s content too).

The public relations agency is evolving rapidly and the lines are so blurry at this point that anyone can lay claim to authority if they are smart, nimble and can get the job done. I used to say that I think agencies needed to be in the Smart Idea business, now I think agencies need to be in the Strategic Content Marketing business.

Plus Two More Reasons

Speaking of Joe Pulizzi, here’s some additional thoughts from him on content marketing:

1. Content Marketing (at its best) wants to be shared.  Companies should measure each piece of content by how much they feel their customers will share and spread the ideas (this clears away the BS content about the company that no one wants to engage in).

2. Content Marketing is an asset that lives on forever through Google and other sites.  So often, in PR programs, it’s about renting time and attention.  Content marketing is about creating a long-term relationship, and also content that can be found by customers long after the initial buzz is gone.

For more on the conversion of Content Marketing and PR, check out this post from PR 20/20 and this from The Conversation Agent, Valeria Maltoni

You’re not wearing shoes today, are you?

In Ideas on April 16, 2009 at 6:34 am
One Day Without Shoes - April 16

One Day Without Shoes - April 16

How many Facebook requests do you get, asking you to join a Social Cause group? One of those “1 Million people to end hunger” groups. I’m not saying they don’t have their heart in the right place, but it’s kind of abstract. That group isn’t really accomplishing much more than generating awareness and you don’t have any real understanding of what it’s like to be hungry in that way.

That why I love TOMS shoes’ One Day Without Shoes Campaign. Check it out:

So, at some point today, take off your shoes and walk around a bit. Realize what you take for granted and what a simple things like a pair of shoes could mean to someone who doesn’t own even one pair. Here are some facts:

  • Fact #1: In some developing nations, children must walk for miles to food, clean water and to seek medical help.
  • Fact #2: Cuts and sores on feet can lead to serious infection.
  • Fact #3: Often, children cannot attend school barefoot.
  • Fact #4: In Ethiopia, approximately one million people are suffering from Podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring disease caused by walking barefoot in volcanic soil.
  • Fact #5: Podoconiosis is 100% preventable by wearing shoes.
  • If you are in New York, think about going to one of these cool events. Here are some others from around the country.

    What Marketers Can Learn from Susan Boyle

    In Ideas on April 15, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    By now you’ve probably heard of / seen Susan Boyle, Demi Moore’s favorite new singer. Boyle’s performance this past weekend on the UK’s Britain’s Got Talent has been burning up the Internet. If you haven’t seen it, here you go:

    That video has more than 8 million views – in four days! That’s the kind of instant critical mass that marketers dream of. That’s the kind of attention that make CMOs tell their agencies, “I want a viral video like that.” But of course, we know that’s not how it works.

    What all these shows – American Idol, Top Chef, Project Runway, etc. – do, and do well, is create a framework for opportunity.  Sure, we’ve all heard of Susan Boyle now, but can you name the other contestants who were on the show with her? No, of course not. Heck, you probably didn’t even know the show existed before you saw the clip on YouTube. But by creating a framework where authentic talent could florish, the people behind the show gave themselves the opportunity to catch lightning in a bottle.

    brit-got-talentThink about that the next time you launch a campaign. Are you relying on one slick, overly-produced video, or are you open to magic coming from some place unexpected? In 100 years, nobody would have picked Susan Boyle to be an Internet sensation, and that’s part of the reason she has become one.   

    Unexpected and unplanned is not something many marketers are comfortable with. That’s why when it happens, it explodes. Those few marketers willing to take the risk are greatful for the many marketers that would rather play it safe.

    Ford creates a Social Media Movement with Fiesta

    In Ideas, Innovation on April 8, 2009 at 9:12 am
    The Ford Fiesta, coming in 2010

    The Ford Fiesta, coming in 2010

    I’m not a “car guy” and I don’t follow the situation in Detroit super closely, but from a Social Media perspective at least, Ford seems to be doing things differently, taking risks and making a genuine effort to change the perception of the company by engaging consumers in new and innovative ways.

    Yesterday they kicked off what they call Fiesta Movement. In a nutshell, they are giving a Ford Fiesta (which will be available in the U.S. sometime in 2010) to 100 people so they can test drive it for six months. Ford is even throwing in the insurance and gas I believe.  That’s a massive program with some serious logistics involved.  The kickoff yesterday in New York involved test drives on the streets of Manhattan and an early evening Tweetup at Nero.

    Ford, to use a football term, was ‘flooding the zone’ on this one, with Scott Monty, Ford’s Social Media guy; Rohit Bhargava of Ogilvy PR; and the gang from Undercurrent (Julia Roy, Bud Caddell with additional support from Mike Arauz) all pushing this thing forward. That a lot of horsepower.

    (L-R) Rohit Bhargava and Scott Monty at the Ford Fiesta Tweetup

    (L-R) Rohit Bhargava and Scott Monty at the Ford Fiesta Tweetup


    The results? PSFK was very positive in their review of the Fiesta, and The Wall Street Journal gave the campaign a lengthy write-up. The chatter on Twitter was overwhelmingly positive from what I saw.

    I’m intrigued to see how this goes, especially the content generated from the 100 ‘agents’ who have been given Fiestas. They’ll be posted videos to YouTube, using Flickr and blogs as well to tell their stories. 100 people for six months will generated a massive amount of content that will be (ideally) interesting to consumers, but should also yield incredibly valuable data for Ford.

    As Social Media platforms are adopted by more and more consumers (and brands) it will be more difficult for marketers to stand out. Ford is wisely hedging their bets by producing a massive amount of content. I’m sure they realize that some percentage of the 100 won’t produce compelling content, but if four or five do, that could be enough.  If the program is ultimately successful, I think you’ll see more companies adopt this ‘saturation bombing’ technique, and some won’t do it as well as Ford/Ogilvy/Undercurrent.

    March Marketing/SocMed Madness: The Final

    In Ideas on April 7, 2009 at 4:08 pm
    Not Noah Brier

    Not Noah Brier

    Ok, it wasn’t quite as big a blowout as UNC over Michigan St., but Noah Brier took care of Russell Davies to win the March Marketing / Social Media Madness competition.  It was fun, I hope you enjoyed it and congrats to Noah.

    Thanks again to Brian Solis for providing a copy of his book, Putting the Public Back in Public Relations as a prize.

    March Marketing/Social Media Madness Final

    In Ideas on April 6, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Two hardfought semi-finals this weekend saw Noah Brier take down Sarah Evans and Russell Davies best Jeremy ‘Shoemoney’ Schoemaker to advance to tonight’s Championship game.

    When this tournament started I offered a prize to whomever was closest to correctly picking the Final Four. Well, with all the upsets no one got close, so via random selection, the winner is…

    Rich Nadworny 

    I’m guessing that Rich will be rooting for Noah to win it all. After all, he’s got him in his blogroll.  What did Rich win? I’m glad you asked. Tell ’em what he’s won, Johnny…

    Rich will receive a copy of the recently published Putting the Public Back in Public Relations by Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge, which Brian so kindly donated. A big thank you to Brian. I’m looking forward to reading it soon and sharing my review with everyone. You can buy the book from Amazon here.

    Happy Birthday Eyecube

    In Ideas, Innovation, Insight on April 1, 2009 at 6:34 am
    Happy Birthday Mr. Eyecube

    Happy Birthday Mr. Eyecube

    Today marks the first anniversary of the Eyecube blog.  It’s been a year of tremendous learning, both from the act of creating the blog and also from the many people who have commented here, sharing their thoughts and adding to the conversation.

    It’s been thrilling and gratifying to see this blog climb the rankings of the AdAge Power 150 (today: 428) and Junta42 (today: 4).

    It’s also been exciting to see the growth in readership since the start of 2009. I’ve seen more traffic in the first three months of 2009 than I did in the nine months of 2008 that the site was up.

    If you’ve only recently found me, or if you missed some of my earlier posts, here’s a list of some of the most popular (or in my opinion best) posts of the first year:

    The Periodic Table of Social Media Elements

    Barack Obama: DINU Brand

    The Brand You is Dead. Long Live the Brand You Build.

    Burger King and the Politics of Social Media Transparency

    Eyecube Interview with Rob Walker

    Eyecube Interview with Grant McCracken

    Advice for Young PR Pros

    I hope this shows the variety of topics I’ve covered, and offers both useful and thoughtful information. Thank you again for being a reader, and if you haven’t already, you may want to consider scrolling to the bottom and adding this site to your Technorati, Bloglines or Feedburner feeds. Also, if you have a minute, swing over to Junta42 and give me a hitch!  Thanks