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Chief Marketer recently named my agency, The Marketing Arm, promo agency of the year for 2012. In this month’s issue of Chief Marketers Promo Magazine, they break down the top 100 promo agencies in the US as well as a two page article about TMA and why we were chosen as this years recipient. The article also includes a key reference to our upcoming Flockstar beta launch. Here is a link to the full article.
Flockstar is the first of our new crowdsourcing service offerings that I have worked intensely on over the past 6 months. More news to come as we get closer to the public launch but if you are a creative, strategist, planner, etc… then there is still time to join the private beta at http://www.flockstar.co
Hmm.. the gentlemen to the far right looks oddly familiar…
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The article is an in-depth review of how innovative campaigns from American Airlines, Red Bull, Tiffany’s, Ford & Nike are using visual imagery to evoke emotional responses and to further humanize the brands.
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Today I was a contributor to a Fortune Magazine article Brands are learning to “Say Cheese”
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The roll-out of Facebook Timeline for brands on leap day proved to be a showcase for brands that were a part of the private beta prior to the roll-out. One of the clear winners out of the gate was Red Bull. Not only has the brand done a great job of seeding milestone content since it’s founding, they launched an incredibly compelling scavenger hunt that spans the history of the company and integrates brand milestones in a seamless manner with the hunt.
By pinning the contest, Red Bull is highlighting the campaign for 7 days and ensures that any user that drops onto their timeline is met with an inviting opportunity to join the hunt. Terms and conditions are linked to an app that houses the rules of the contest.
Here is the app housing the terms & conditions. Note that canvas apps now have a width of 810 px.
Step 1 – The initial clue called for a user to go back to the 1st Red Bull ever sold. The next step was to identify the date on the bottom of the can for the next clue.
Step 2 – By applying an Instagram type filter and a clue to “look outside the box” the next date was revealed as part of the image frame.
Step 3 – Next, Red Bull pulled in a Spotify play-list image to unlock the next clue.
Step 4 – This clue took a moment as the border states this is a clue. Pull up the image and step back and “clear your mind” and the next date is revealed.
Step 5 – This clue took the longest for me to work through. Driven by a clue by Red Bull in the comments RE: CAPS, I took the first capped letters in the message to unveil the phrase “Find the Timecodes”. This referenced the 4 images below and the time in the YouTube video where they appear to reveal the next date.
Step 6 – This clues photo was tagged with “Anna Graham” and the comment clue was “a rag man” or anagram. Which is simply a puzzle to unscramble the words to form a new phrase. By taking the clues I was able to unlock the final clue.
Step 7 – The final step proved to be the most difficult of the 7 as it was based on clues using prime numbers combined with the final clue of 2=a & 3=x to decipher the final location of the Timeline Timewarp web-site along with the password to complete the scavenger hunt.
The answer to the final question was to take the letters that matched the prime numbers of the final clue. This revealed the secret URL that took you to the final stage.
Once you decipher the last riddle you are taken to a “secret” landing page for one final challenge ;)
Yes, I won a prize!!!
Here is the confirmation response from Red Bull’s media department.
The level of complexity associated with the hunt and the true integration into elements of timeline made the experience fun and engaging, but I question the duration of engagement for the average consumer to stay engaged throughout. I would love to see the level of fall-off at each given stage of the promotion.
You can tell some people really enjoyed the challenge
Regardless, it is the first example of a compelling brand promotion leveraging Timeline.
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The article is an in-depth review of innovative campaigns from Jeep, Doritos, Oakley, Hyundai & Coca-Cola as well as quotes & commentary from Chris Erb, VP Brand Marketing for EA Sports.
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This is a repost of my iMedia Connection Cover Story.
With the combination of 40 million users in a little over 88 days and a 68% share of the search market, Google is positioned to fully maximize social engagement with Google+. The initial launch strategy was primarily consumer focused and any branded solutions were put on hold. With the recent release of Google+ pages, now is the time to define your brands strategy when it comes to fully maximizing the benefits of Google+ both short & long term.
There has been a lot of discussion about how Google+ compares to Facebook and the ideal ways to leverage the platforms. It is important to note that even though there are many similarities, the fact remains that both platforms have some major differences and strategy around maximizing resource allocation will be key moving forward.
On the surface the two networks are eerily similar. Status updates (Newsfeeds & Streams), photo sharing, social games & external activators (“Like” Button & +1). Further, both enable 3rd party development, integration with mobile & a desire to connect & share. But the fundamental difference is that Facebook is a true social network — and has been from day one — and that is the true strength of the platform. Google+ which appears to be a social network but is actually a representation of the evolution of user behavior tied to relevant content, search, discoverability and connection.
Thus, when it comes to maximizing your Facebook strategy, be it acquisition, engagement or advocacy, it is fairly self contained within Facebook’s walled garden, with the ability to aggregate content to third party locations and a limited contextual impact on topical search results. That being said, one of the key points of differentiation is how Google+ content is directly relevant to search results, and how that will potentially drive business value around the +1 as it is pervasive beyond Google+.
This statement was just reaffirmed by an e-mail I received from Google this morning: “Your +1’s reach not only the 40 million users of Google+, but all users who come to Google every day.”
Here are 10 potential strategic advantages & benefits for brands to incorporate Google+ into their 2012 social and search strategies.
Potential Brand Benefits of Google+ Brand Pages/Entities
1 ) Integration with Google Search – Google currently owns 68% of search market share. The fact that the Google +1 icon is now a part of every Google search result shows a glimpse of the level of integration Google has in store for users & brands alike. A user can directly recommend a link from their search results, and that recommendation is simultaneously shared on the users Google+ +1 profile section. By combining paid search and incenting +1 behaviors, you can begin to see the potential of this level of integration as the user may not be actively engaged on Google+, but the ability to drive a user to engage by recommending content with the click of a single button is appealing.
Now, you can also automatically add Google+ pages to your circles from Google Search.
The +1 is then aggregated into my Google+ profile under +1’s
2 ) Google +1 – Similar to the Facebook Like button, the Google +1 button has the opportunity to truly transcend the platform by driving significant 3rd party integration. In fact the Google +1 button overtook the Twitter tweet button on most major websites with a 33 percent spike in integration recently. Granted, it is still far behind the Like button in terms of saturation but the fact that both Facebook & Google+ drive engagement to a central destination — as opposed to simply being a conduit to various destinations such as Twitter — shows the potential of 3rd party integrations to drive engagement.
According to Google, “People can now recommend your brand, not just your individual ads or sites, helping your +1’s add up faster”.
The +1’s value goes beyond Google+ and really speaks to the longer-term goal of Google, which is true integration and relevance across social & search content. This is an incredibly smart move by Google. What will really win the day for Google is the ability to connect social, search & self-service profiling. This will further enable brand sites more so than Facebook’s internalized approach. Further, with the addition of the +1 to image searches as well as integration with YouTube, it is possible to drive additional +1’s from multiple points.
3) Direct Connect – Now, you can also automatically add Google+ pages to your circles from Google Search. By adding +BrandName as part of your search query, you will be taken directly to the brands Google+ page and have the ability to add to your circles. This is not immediately available and certain steps have to be taken in order to enable this process, but the potential benefits are significant.
4 ) Circles & User Segmentation – Allowing brands to potentially segment fans is a big win. One of the issues with brand management on Facebook is tied to messaging across audience segments. By allowing brands to potentially seamlessly categorize fans, it allows the style of engagement to change dramatically. Imagine if you are driving engagement with 13-17 year old segments as well as 18-24 year olds. The brand & social persona’s associated with content could shift to further driving engagement based on audience segment vs. a one size fits all approach.
One important note about “circles” for pages is that the brand page cannot add a person to it’s circles until that user has already added the page to one of their circles. This is primarily based on messaging to users and having to opt-in by adding the brand into their circles first. Another major change from the user profiles is that all content is set to public.
When it comes to driving acquisition strategy within Google+ as a brand, it is initially inherently more valuable for a user to add you to a circle as opposed to giving you a +1. Think of it this way: The addition to a user circle is equivalent to a Facebook “like” in terms of impact to the stream and ability to interact directly with users.
5 ) Google Advertising Programs – Google+ will inherently “increase the performance of your ads: +1’s surface recommendations in search and display ads”. (Or so the email from Google referenced.) Looking at tightly coupled integration with social content, relevance associated with interests within Sparks and Google’s Display Network, Google AdWords and Double Click advertising products, and how robust Google Analytics can be in comparison to Facebook Insights, it is easy to see the strategic benefit to a brand to take advantage of this level of integration.
6 ) Sparks & Recommendation Engine – One of the most impactful elements of Google+ for brands is potentially Sparks. Brands could focus advertising dollars on Sparks programs that are relevant to their brand & product offerings. Taking it a step further, creation of a recommended or +1 relevance based on a users & circles sparks/interests that is then socially shared could be very compelling. This would be very similar to Facebook’s sponsored stories.
7 ) YouTube, Hangouts & Google TV Integration – With YouTube a part of the Google family, Google+ integration was sure to be a part of the strategy. The inherent social nature of YouTube translates well in terms of integration of +1 — embedding video and further integrating the YouTube & Google+ experience to make sharing and recommending content even easier. From a brand perspective, being able to distribute unique, consumer-generated content that is relevant to the brand while driving +1’s back to a brand page is very appealing. One of the interesting additions was also the decision to integrate Hangouts with YouTube’s sharing options.
Now a brand can post video content and possibly give a product preview to VIP’s or influencers. This takes the traditional webinar and flips it into a more engaging way to drive F2F discussions.
One area that really intrigues me is how Google TV may integrate with Google+ to create a truly social entertainment experience. I envision further integration between Google TV, YouTube, Hulu & Android to drive truly integrated entertainment experiences across screens. From a media perspective, you could truly bridge the gap between traditional & digital placement by incorporating a relevant ad placement via information collected from Sparks & Google Search. This to me is the future of enhanced television.
8) Google+ & Social Gaming – Google invested 100 million dollars into Zynga in 2010, and recently rolled out Google+ Games. With over 50% of Facebooks 700 million engaged daily with Facebook social games, it is a key motivator for brands to monitor the Google Games offering. Keep an eye out for how Zynga and others align with Google+ to further drive engagement, creation of options to add users into brand circles, and how game engagement will translate to the Google adwords program.
The success of recent brand integrations on Facebook with Farmville, including Frito-Lays recent world record for driving “Likes”, has given notice to brand managers of the power of Social Games & strategic partnerships with the game providers. With the additional layers of integration found with Google+ it will be interesting to see who can quickly capitalize.
9 ) 3rd Party Development Platform – One of the keys to successful Facebook engagement has been the enablement of third- party developers to create an application ecosystem within the platform. As with the recent rollout of Google+ Games, Google+ will enable developers access to relevant API’s, as it has done in the past, and the ability to extend the platform. This is crucial to creating opportunities to engage and differentiate on the platform.
Take a look at Google’s Robust API’s (click to enlarge):
Other areas of focus & interest will be how international or localized regions are supported in terms of aggregating brand +1’s, and how the Google+ commerce & currency platform strategies will unfold.
Brands will need to evaluate the true reach and amplification of the +1 from an earned media perspective. Be sure to note the differences in what shows up individually in your streams versus what is tied to content. Wiht Facebook, one of the secrets outside of edgerank is the level of detail that is shown by interaction.
Regardless, there is enough evidence of the potential benefit of Google+ brand pages to dedicate time & ample resources to develop a platform-related digital strategy heading into 2012.
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The article reviews Google+ from launch through the recent roll-out of Brand pages as well as 10 strategic benefits of using Google+ Brand pages both short & long term.
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Recently we, Red Urban Dallas, completed an amazing collaboration with our sister agency Red Urban Toronto. They work very closely with the Volkswagen brand in Canada and are responsible for very innovative and compelling campaigns.
The initiative started as they always do… with an idea. The idea of a crowdsourced VolksAd came from the very highly regarded Creative Director of Red Urban Toronto, Christina Yu.
Red Urban Toronto had completed serialized ads for the Volkswagen Golf GTI and wanted to extend the campaign from the two current TV spots to incorporate Facebook & YouTube.
Ad 1 – Drive Until: Courage (Chapter 1)
Ad 2 – Drive Until: Time (Chapter 2)
This is where I joined the project. Working closely with the Red Urban Toronto team, I was the strategic advisor for the execution across social channels.
When it came time to execute the VolksAd, the goal was to crowdsource all aspects of the upcoming commercial. From users commenting & voting on storylines, the script, model of the car, the cast, the music & the edit. The Red Urban Toronto team did a great job of executing the campaign.
By spacing the voting activities over multiple weeks, the team was able to maintain engagement and kept fans interested even to the point of livestreaming all 14 hours of the making of the making of!
By incorporating the names of the individuals who contributed during the campaign into the credits of the final edit, there was a sense of ownership for each individual for the finished product.
The results of the campaign were impressive. Active users jumped 140%, Fans of the Volkswagen Canada brand page jumped to 364,097, there were 119,647,537 total media impressions and over 2,070,936 Facebook impressions.
Here is the full case study video
Here is the finished edit including everyone who contributed to the final product
Here is the official press release
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Pop Quiz… What is the one word that recently became ubiquitous throughout our online lives? Is it “Refudiate“, the word that Sarah Palin coined and won 2010 word of the year? Is it Slizzard? Thanks for that Far East Movement. No it is one simple four letter word…no not that word… this one… “Like”.
Now it seems that every brand wants your like. You as a consumer are willing to give it to them but why? And as a marketer how can I set realistic expectations around potential growth projections?
I was recently interviewed by Bob Garfield. Yes that Bob Garfield to discuss this exact topic. NOTE: When the video is posted in a few weeks I will post the full interview.
We discussed why is the “Like” relevant? Beyond relevance, I also want to address campaign expectations around benchmarks & growth thresholds.
When you have 663,951,400 million people commonly tied together sharing every aspect of their lives and allowing brands to directly interact with them it creates a marketing equivalent to a perfect storm.
To this point hopefully we all can agree that acquiring a “like” has become a rallying cry for everyone from brands to agencies to your favorite social strategist.
We all hear about the importance of the right mix of Paid, Owned & Earned. We scramble for the latest case studies striving to set the gold standard and create compelling programs that drive “Likes”.
We have heard from the likes (no pun intended) of Vitrue claiming that a “Like” is worth $3.60 of earned media. We talk about EdgeRank. We talk about true reach of social activity proliferating newsfeeds.
We execute programs that are designed to grow “Likes” in addition to simple engagement. Tactics such as exclusive content fan gating, Forced “Like” sweeps opt-in requirements, dual like campaigns, etc…
But when it comes to setting realistic expectations for “Like” growth and campaign KPI’s it becomes very nebulous in terms of how to actually benchmark growth and set realistic expectations both on the brand side and the agency side.
Many brands have very aggressive goals when it comes to growing “Likes”. Many hours are spent, strategic alliances are forged and millions of dollars are spent in the pursuit of growing the base while hopefully bringing relevant brand advocates along for the ride.
Looking at the raw numbers for a moment. I took the top 50 US Facebook pages and tracked and averaged their growth over a period of time and the resulting percentage of growth averaged across them was 5% “Like” growth per month.
Obviously when setting expectations around thresholds it is important to take into account many factors such as the brands objectives around acquisition including “Like” growth, competitive growth, programs executed, etc. but if you are just starting a program and have no basis for growth the 5% number is important as it does provide a baseline of top performing brand pages that you can then craft a realistic expectation of roughly 3-5% at the onset of your strategy.
There is so much more that we can talk about when it comes to “Likes” and it’s real value to campaigns and the Pros & Cons. But the reality is that brands want more and agencies are working hard to make it happen. And with the “Like” moving outside of Facebook over the past year it is going to become even more of a factor.
But one final point to consider is that the “Like” is not the be all/end all of social KPI’s. It is an important and high profile element but it is always important to look at your strategy and objectives holistically.
One final thought is to consider another four letter word that is just now beginning it’s climb towards relevance… “Send” with the recent roll out of the “Send” button now you can easily drive users from 3rd party and proprietary sites directly to engage and hopefully “Like” thus further perpetuating the cycle.
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For marketers working with child centric brands or simply have children of your own, it is important to understand certain trends that are quickly developing in how both parents and children’s behaviors are changing based on the rapid evolution of mobile devices. One of the side benefits is that technology is being passed down at an accelerated rate.
If you are one of the 50+ million Americans with a smartphone and you happen to have small children then you have most likely passed it to them to appease their little hands and minds in certain situations.
This phenomenon is now known as the pass-back effect. By passing your mobile device to your child you are actually participating in a new trend of further enhancing the learning and development of your child… or in real parenting terms you are providing an electronic play grenade that will entertain them for 15 minutes while you are waiting to be seated at a very busy restaurant.
Whether it is giving your two year old your iPhone during big brother’s basketball practice (try the Cars inspired matching game). Or your daughter is playing the latest dress-up or Cookie/Cake decorating game between appointments, the pass-back effect is very real. As many of you are keenly aware as nearly half (47%) of the top 100 apps sold are targeting Pre-school & elementary aged children.
There are many apps that are ideal for passing time when you need it. In 2010 alone app sales are estimated to clear 1.2 billion (insert Dr. Evil pinky reference here) dollars. There are matching, dress up, puzzle games, and A, B, Cs. Big $$ are being spent and made to ensure that our kids have a multitude of options to keep them entertained .
From a brand marketers perspective it is important to consider defining an application strategy that maps to a larger integrated digital strategy while also recognizing the opportunity to drive awareness and brand relevance through targeted mobile applications that provide benefit to parents while engaging and entertaining children.
Quick question, how many iPods do you currently have in your home? For that matter how many iPhones do you currently own? What are you going to do with your iPhone 3G, 3GS and iPhone 4 or Android by next fall when you inevitably upgrade to the next version?
Instead of trying your luck on eBay consider keeping the device for your kids. You may or may not know this but a non-activated iPhone functions as an iPod touch when not directly configured as a phone. Meaning your apps, web browsing via wi-fi, etc… are all possible.
As digital marketers we cannot ignore opportunities due to the accelerated adoption of technology.
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Today I was the host of the weekly Hashtagsocialmedia tweet chat. Our topic was integrating mobile with your social strategy with a focus on strategy, best practices and tactics.
Mobile is a hot topic and according to comscore with 234 million americans aged 13 & older using mobile devices in the US that trend is not changing anytime soon. Of that 234 million 49.1 million in the US now own smart phones. With the continued adoption of smart phones we are on the cusp of changing how mobile can impact a brand.
In today’s chat we discussed the following topics:
1) How would you integrate mobile with your social strategy
2) How do you maximize the mobile web?
3) What tactics & why? (Proximity, Geo-location, Augmented Reality, QR Codes, SMS)
All with the mindset of integrating and extending digital & social via mobile.
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Tomorrow at 12PM (EST) I will be hosting the latest Hashtag Social Media Tweet Chat. We will focus on integrating Mobile into your Social Strategy.
You can attend the event live at http://hashtagsocialmedia.com/live or you can follow via a Twitter search of #sm68.
See you tomorrow!
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From my initial entry during the original dot com boom with Fullmoon Interactive (full service interactive agency) to then moving on to become a co-founder of Smooth Fusion. SF provided the technical heavy lifting to enable campaigns for agencies in the Omnicom, WPP & Interpublic networks. The main constants were always digital + agencies.
For the last five years I have been on the forefront of the enterprise social media explosion thanks in part to my involvement initially with Telligent Systems (Community & Social Analytics driven platforms) then as the Chief Marketing Officer of INgage networks (Cloud computing based enterprise & gov 2.0 integrated social solutions).
During this time I had the privilege to partner and be a part of cutting edge usage of social media by a number of Fortune 1000 companies (Dell, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Starbucks, P&G, American Express to name a few) and now I look forward to enabling brands via my experience with social strategy definition (KPI’s, ROI) implementation (Community, Crowdsourcing, Mobile, Consumer Networks, Social CRM) and measurement & analysis (Online buzz monitoring, Social Analytics) officially from the agency side!
I recently joined an extremely talented team at Red Urban (Dallas, TX). Red Urban is an OMNICOM group agency that provides comprehensive digital solutions for our end-clients and agencies throughout the Omnicom network. Our primary focus is world class creative & digital (Rich Media, Web, Social) strategy with an emphasis and expertise in integrating social channels and best practices into a brands digital strategy.
My role as the SVP, Digital Strategy will enable me to call upon every element of my experience in defining digital/social solutions while also keeping an eye to the future via emerging technology.
I definitely look forward to collaborating with our team and partners to deliver compelling digital campaigns that truly leverage the power of social as part of an overall digital strategy.
Just like people, no two organizations are exactly alike. Every enterprise has its own unique personality. When it comes to social strategy, there is no universal formula for driving ROI. Enterprise social media is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. The most successful social media initiatives occur when the strategy is aligned with the DNA of the brand itself. We don’t ask a wallflower to be the life of the party, nor do we expect a social butterfly to thrive without wings. No matter which of the following four personality types describes your brand, here’s how to start driving value from your social strategies.
1. Social Butterfly
You like to be where the action is, darting from one trendy application to the next. On the cutting edge, you were probably an early adopter of blogs and Twitter. Outwardly, you’ve created an impressive following and have led your organization through uncharted territories. But when the conversation turns to ROI, your attention is quickly diverted to a new tactic.
— The Risks: Every marketer understands the thrill of winning customer attention. But what comes next? One million fans are only important if you can effectively leverage those connections toward your goals as a business. Consumer networks come and go. Banking enterprise strategy on shaky ground, or scratching the surface of what should be deeper, does not promote sustainable value and results. Without focused commitment, you may disappoint your networks while failing to receive future executive support.
— The Opportunity: Activity is taking place on consumer networks, and it is essential to be where the interaction is happening. Consider ways to bridge your social interests with your enterprise. Open Authentication, for example, can inspire your fans to leverage existing credentials they have from Facebook or Twitter to join your community. And you’ll gain momentum if you keep those fans engaged from one campaign to the next.
Anchoring social media initiatives in an enterprise wide strategy will help you strengthen and deepen your connections. As trendy consumer networks disappear, your brand presence will remain. This engagement can benefit all aspects of your enterprise—sales, customer service…even product development.
Known for your crazy antics, those around you never know what to expect next. You’re the life of the party! You take risks, stir things up, and keep your name top-of-mind—at any cost. But you’re not in it for the long haul. When the excitement dwindles, you’re already off in pursuit of your next adventure.
— The Risks: You’re behind some of those social media initiatives that have the industry talking: social takeovers, controversial ad campaigns, contrarian blog posts, and viral videos. But when all is said and done, what have you ultimately accomplished?
Hiring and firing agencies, employee turnover, customer churn, and damage control all weigh heavily on the bottom line. One-off campaigns can be fun, but unless they are part of
a bigger strategy, they cannot help build the momentum that is needed to drive sustainable ROI.
— The Opportunity: You have what every marketer wants: the attention of a crowd. And you have followers waiting with bated breath for your next move. Extending your allure, capitalizing on the attention, and offering your networks something of more substance will further elevate your success.
Sure, you have no trouble filling an auditorium. But when you can provide ongoing value, meaningful relationships, and reciprocity—in addition to a good time—you’ll not only fill the auditorium…you’ll keep your audience members in their seats!
You embrace social media passively, remaining at the periphery of the action. You’re on a “listen mission,” monitoring discussions around your brand through various social
networks. You have yet to realize the full potential of social media.
— The Risks: Instead of fueling conversations, you’re merely eavesdropping on them. Consumers don’t hear a lot about you, nor do they hear from you. While
you’re playing it safe, your competitors are playing to win.
Without proactively developing relationships with consumers, you risk losing them—and the resulting revenue—to your competitors. It is proved that engaged customers not only spend more, but they can become your greatest advocates. If you aren’t engaging your customers, then who is?
— The Opportunity: Social media doesn’t change your business goals, just how you achieve them. Whatever your objectives—increased productivity, improved retention, reduced costs, or more sales—social media can effectively fuel them all, but not without your taking a proactive role by influencing the conversations around you.
Going social does not require a corporate180. At Neighborhood America, connecting our workforce through internal networks launched us into social strategies. Within 12 months, we experienced financial returns of $10,000 per employee. As we gained confidence, we expanded our reach beyond our walls.
4. Strong, Silent Type
You watch. You learn. Then you do it better. You are successful, but not boastful, letting your accomplishments speak for themselves. You welcome calculated risks that are approached strategically. You’ve witnessed social media transform your business, and seek to continue applying these strategies throughout your enterprise.
— The Risks: Whether you’re using Twitter for customer service or an online community for crowdsourcing ideas, social media is at the core of many of your
operations. But bringing it all together has proved overwhelming, if not impossible.
You run the risk of spreading too thin, unable to dedicate the resources needed to manage both content and data. You are ahead of the curve and need to proceed with caution.
Choosing the wrong provider(s) will only magnify this risk—avoid partnering with a vendor that will pull you back.
— The Opportunities: As more social initiatives are deployed, they must be consistently managed across the entire organization. Consolidation is critical to data aggregation and cross-functional teamwork.
The opportunity to launch a comprehensive social go-to-market strategy brings the ability to capitalize on the following:
- Power of consumer networks
- Flexibility of an SaaS-branded platform
- Value of the data created
- Increased value of existing systems when integrated with social (i.e., Social + CRM)
Aim for the ability to push and pull content from varying consumer networks using your own community solutions, and leverage them as one complete, integrated platform.
I authored an Op-Ed for iMedia that was published today.
– Social Butterflies gravitate toward the buzz-of-the-day
– Thrill-seekers take risks and stir things up
– Wallflowers remain cautious, while the strong and silent types focus on value and results
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Today I was referenced in Jeremiah Owyang’s people on the move in social media.
Today we officially announced that Intel Capital, Intel’s global investment organization, has made a $20 million dollar investment in Telligent. You can read the full press release here.
This is significant as Rob points out in his recent post as it will allow us to quickly scale our sales & marketing divisions as well as fund additional product development moving forward.
I am very excited by this obviously as I am responsible for both Sales & Marketing within Telligent. So the strategic plans that we have been devising for the past few months are now coming to fruition through strategic growth both domestically with a greater field presence as well as internationally.
I had recently hired our International Sales Director in London and he has been a phenomenal addition to the team. Our International sales headquarters has been based in London for the past few months now and while I am here we are finalizing our office space in central London and looking to aggressively grow our presence in EU and beyond.
Also, if you happen to be in the area, I will be speaking at AdTech London 2008 this Thursday at 3:10. Or just come by and see me at the Telligent booth we are in space #110.
This is a very exciting time to be a part of the Telligent team and I look forward to the next few years as we execute against our strategic plan and aggressively grow the business while maintaining the unique culture that is Telligent.
Last week was the official luncheon and awards ceremony to find out exactly where we placed in our category and overall. So, Rob, Jason, Scott & I went to represent the team. It was an interesting event as I definitely did not expect the turnout that was on hand. There was easily over 1000 people in attendance and each of the winners received a short introduction and a few tidbits about some of the interesting offerings that keep their employees happy.
In our category of small business we finished in the top 10 and Telligent finished 11th overall out of a record 270 companies that qualified for the award.
Telligent was also one of 12 companies featured in the recently published “Best Places to Work” supplement.
Looking back at the culture of Telligent that led to this award and the new leadership now guiding the company I highly doubt that this will be repeated anytime soon.
During GDC 2008 I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb of the Xbox Live team. Larry is the Director of Xbox Live Programming and is the author of one of the most popular gaming blogs on the web. Between posts, blogcasts and twitter Major keeps everyone up to date on the latest information on all things Xbox.
The focus of the interview was to get Larry’s thoughts on the keys to his success as well as his thoughts around social media and the future.
TheBlackFin: You have one of the highest trafficked blogs on the web today. What has been the key to your success?
Major Nelson: Since the beginning this has been about being a part of the conversation. With any blogging the ability to connect with the audience with relevant content is the key to success.
TheBlackFin: Describe some of the interesting trends that you have seen with your blog from the time you originally published it through today.
Major Nelson: The integration of the gamertag has been key since the beginning . The ability for gamers to publish their gamertag and tie in to the Xbox achievement system and publically display their gamerscore has been one of the most important elements to building community around Xbox gaming.
TheBlackFin: How do you think your blog has enhanced the Xbox Live brand?
Major Nelson: The blog has allowed us to have a conversation. As one of the highest trafficked gaming blogs doing podcasts and blogging it has enabled real time communication. As you know this audience is rabid about information and they want to consume it in almost real time.
TheBlackFin: In your opinion… What impact has social networking and community in general had on the gaming industry?
Major Nelson: Social Networking has had a phenomenal impact on the industry. What a lot of people don’t realize is that Xbox Live is a premier social network. Everyday hundreds of thousands of users log on to play with their friends, compare gamer scores and connect with other gamers. With the integration between the consoles and Xbox.com it extends the experience beyond the console. Also a lot of external applications are now picking up gaming data… you see different applications on MySpace and Facebook.
TheBlackFin: What publisher and game title has been successful in deploying a good social networking gaming experience?
Major Nelson: Without a doubt it would be Bungie and Halo. Online and offline what bungie has done to include the community has just been amazing.
TheBlackFin: What are your predictions around social networking trends and gaming in the next few years?
Major Nelson: I think we are going to see more of the game/web interaction like Bungie has done with Halo and Electronic Arts with Skate. Look at how they take in game data and spray it back to the web and allow users to collaborate with it. What Bungie has done is the tip of the iceberg. More and more publishers are recognizing the value of having a seamless experience between the game and the web.
Besides Madden Bowl XIV yesterday it was day two of assisting the Gridiron Greats cause. The morning brought a very moving press conference with 50 Gridiron Greats, 35 of which are Hall of Fame players. They gave moving testimony as Mike Ditka, Gale Sayers, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, and Michael Irvin all spoke about why this means so much to so many former players.
Later in the day brought the Gridiron Greats Golf event where the grand prize was a pair of Super Bowl XLII tickets. During the awards ceremony I had the priviledge to speak with Mike Ditka, Jim Marshall, and Jan Stenerud about their thoughts around the current situation facing those players left to fend for themselves.
This has been a great experience in that the passion that these men feel for this issue really comes through in their words. There are times when tears begin to gather and emotions start running high. These men, especially the older players paved the way and made the game what it is today. They gave their bodies and did not receive the generous salaries of today’s players. It is amazing how much this organization has accomplished in just one short year. It will be interesting to see where this goes.
Today kicked off a series of events here in Scottsdale, Arizona. I am here to support the Gridiron Greats throughout the week for various events. Tonight kicked off with Mike Ditka’s Dinner of Champions. With over 50 NFL legends in attendance this was one of the largest gatherings of NFL HOF players all to support a very worthy cause.
During the event I served as the blogging admin for http://blog.gridirongreats.org and assisted various NFL legends including Gale Sayers, Mel Renfro, and Tim Harris as well as other NFL players such as Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Andre Reed, and Kyle Turley discuss their thoughts about the current issues facing retired NFL players today.
This weekend was the first annual Community Server Developer Conference. With around 100 attendees from all over the world discussing development on the Community Server platform as well as sneak previews of upcoming Telligent products it comes as no surprise that there are live updates from the event.
Kevin Harder was keeping everyone not attending in person up-to-date via his blog. Here are the posts from Saturday morning session and afternoon and here is the post covering Sunday’s sessions. There was a lot of really good information around Community Server including dynamic skinning and theming, and many sessions highlighting items from the upcoming Community Server 2008 release including groups, widgets and the newly created CS web services stack. Other sessions highlighted our upcoming CMS Graffiti, and one of the items I am very excited about, Enterprise Reporting.
The sessions were recorded and will be available very soon.
It all began when I started receiving random friend requests via Xbox Live. I was suddenly hit with a flood of new requests from people I didn’t know. Then came the news that my gamertag TheBlackFin and blurb were included in the October #75 edition of the Official Xbox Magazine.
There is a section of the magazine called “Live Spaces” it is a page dedicated to highlighting a few of the Xbox Live community members (pg 95). You write in about the achievement you are the most proud of, games you are looking forward to playing and a little bit about yourself.
I am definitely the most proud of the 100% completion achievement (This is a single achievement in the game, not a 100% completion of all achievements) on Lego Star Wars II as it was me and my then 4 year old son Gavin playing co-op together almost every night. We searched every level as we built, smashed and jumped our way through the game. I really liked the fact that we can spend time together and have a lot of fun without worrying about the content of the game.