GO NORTH!

It’s been a while since I last blogged and so much has happened. In fact as I type this I am off to more action in my new hometown of Denver New York (yes there is indeed a Denver NY).

Current political climates spelled disaster for the International Education Industry where I was working as a Global Integrated Marketer. While things were heating up in the political world, my husband and I were shaking things up at home with the purchase of a mountain house in the glorious Catskills of NY. This purchase dared us to imagine a different sort of life with a focus on LIFE and not just work – which is the curse of all city dwellers.

This week I had the pleasure of attending some phenomenal business events in my new home region. This inspired me to put my digital marketing and social media know-how to work for the business around me. I will be dusting off this blog and my consulting business and reaching out to help the amazing business owners here step up their marketing efforts.

So much more to come – including weekly email newsletters, seminars and more so stay tuned!

The new “Standards”

I was updating my Instagram this morning after my old account got deleted somehow (don’t ask) and had to include some of my favorite art pieces. It’s a clever series of He-Man character portraits and quotes on how they have aged, see:

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Anyway, it got me thinking about ALL OF the rad films from my youth that are getting remade. (include Masters of the Universe) And with this the deluge of ranting about why people have to remake old things. “Why can’t the come up with their own ideas?” or “A Ghostbusters post Ramis – NO THANK YOU”

I admit I get riled up at the thought of some of my most beloved characters, no matter how cheesy, being redone by some Lindsey Lohan wannabe. But this is not a new phenomena people.

What is that theory –  there are truly only 4 types of stories and 5 types of characters? (it’s actually 7 but who’s counting?) How many different ways have we heard “Hallelujah” or “Chatanooga Choo Choo” or any other of the hundreds of standards from the good old days of big band music. It was de rigueur in the early days of recorded music to remake the same song with your own spin.

If the new version of a “standard” is blade runner, goonies, jem and the holograms and the marvel/DC universe -this geek girl is just fine with that! So bring it on you hollywood rewriters, thieves and misfits, let’s see what ya got*.

between you and me though – I still prefer this:

to this:

*Note Mad Max Fury Road doesn’t count as it was made by the same folks that made the original awesomesauce and is so incredible amazing i shaved my head #JustSayin #FuriosaForever

It’s all in a GAME

Many years ago I read this incredible book by Jane McGonigal. It was all about the theory of games. Not how to win at D&D or Frogger but the breadth of the concept of gaming and how it has the power to transform.

Fast forward to today while watching TODAY and a realization that many of the traditional media programs I watch have some form of game component. From local news to prime-time schedules to Kathie Lee & Hoda, television is overflowing with gaming.

Some people attribute this to folks like Jimmy Fallon and Ellen Degeneres who have included games as core to their show format. But I think it’s something else. I think our culture is shifting just as Ms. McGonigal predicted. I think we are a more participatory collective now – we need to be PART of the story and while we may not be playing along on the shows, we FEEL more engaged as if we were.

If this trend continues, becoming a total gaming culture that spends hours on and offline “playing” – could our collective gaming solve REAL WORLD problems? Either way, it’s pretty rad when you see prediction from folks you admire coming to fruition!

Ms. McGonigal explains further:

Here’s a video from SXSW 4 yrs ago where I had the honor of joining an esteemed PSFK panel to discuss mobile which diverged into gaming along the way :

youth in revolt ?

Since we moved back to NY from CLE the roles have been reversed with my husband working and me being out of work. Having been on the early wave of integrated marketers leveraging social media for brands, I normally have headhunters knocking down my linkedin door. But this time it’s different.

The world is now saturated with “social media experts” and companies are equating youth with “getting it”. There was a time (like a few years ago) when 90% of the ad world were 40+ men. That means most tampon ad, every Lee jeans, every Maybelline ad was likely drafted and concepted by some old man. I know I know “what about Peggy Olson“. But for real – our industry was founded on people getting in the mindset of other people.

But the new world seems to be craving 20somethings as their thought leaders. “How do we relate to millennials if we aren’t millennials” I actually heard a planner say. I’m loving the show HAPPYish but also loathing it as it perfectly illustrates this scenario. (if you haven’t seen it GET TO IT)

Let’s all take a beat – get back to reality and realize we are PROFESSIONALS. We have data, creativity, social media focus groups and yes even some millennials on our staff.  At the end of the day shouldn’t we consider the big damn picture and hire people for the totality of who they are? Not just the juxtaposition of words on their resume or the cut of their interview suit. or their age.

Shouldn’t we also focus on building engaged, creative, cross-functional teams? As the lines of communications/marketing/PR and Advertising continue to blur, shouldn’t our teams reflect that? I’ve launched AMAZING campaigns that were the idea of a receptionist! Companies should just hire RAD people, right?

Maybe I’m just disgruntled but in reality I am concerned about the current wave in our industry. Maybe I need to go back to school and become a teacher. Maybe this is all God’s plan as the perfect job is out there on the horizon. Or maybe God just likes to make me eat ramen noodles.

Either way, if you’re a super rad company looking for an authentic, diverse and almost 40 creative professional – call me (well email me)

and here is a nugget from some guy

from the 20’s to the twenties

I’ve been watching a bunch of old movies. Like silent 1920’s films. It’s uncanny how much communication goes on sans words. A look, an eyebrow raise, a sneer, a flit of the hip.

I was one of those old Gen X fogeys thinking that perhaps  in our modern day real-time, always on, tweet/snap/meerkat world we are losing something. When I sat next to a guy making gifs at my local café last week – It occurred to me that we’re actually following the same format from days of old. He was taking snippets of this week’s VEEP and making them into quick glances, momentary moving images with a quote that could basically tell you precisely what is going on in that scene and episode in 10 seconds.

Ive spent the last couple of years feeling sorry for millennials and post millennials (teens and twenty somethings). Fearing they lack a sense of story, that shortened content and miniscule attention spans diminish the bliss of willing suspension of disbelief and imagination.

I have been wrong. There IS still story. There are still those uncanny momentary story lines that express the full emotion in a flash…just like Louise Brooks or Charlie Chaplin or any number of passionate storytellers did in very simple, very powerful ways in the past. Not only that but now WE the everyday folks with a mobile device in our pockets (or on our wrists) can make our own stories, explore our own creativity and put it out easily in the ether!

Whether it’s the nickelodeon of days past or a fast fading snapchat video – the emotion, meaning and power is not lost on this newest media consuming generation (as much as I hate to admit it).

Here’s a little avant garde 1920’s classic in celebration of the old and the new:

From the Bro-Blog: LET’S DUMP AN ICE BUCKET ON “GOING VIRAL.”

originally posted Aug. 22nd 2014 on the BROKAW BLOG

In case you’ve been hiding under a large pile of boulders the past few weeks, there’s a viral phenomenon sweeping across the interwebs right now—the ALS #IceBucketChallenge. Besides increasing awareness for a terminal illness that affects close to 30,000 Americans, the #IBC has raised $42 million in donations over the last three weeks. That’s compared to $1.9 million donated during the same time period last year.

Pretty amazing, huh? Maybe we should all try and harness the power of social media and create a viral campaign just like this one, right?

WRONG!

Excuse the Brokaw Broken Record here, but you simply can’t plan for “going viral.” This ice bucket challenge started completely organically, with special thanks to former Boston College baseball star, Pete Frates. It took off like wildfire by surprise, not by design. Like a dumb, duct-taped Browns jersey. (Sorry.)

However, there are a few basic lessons we can all learn from the success of the #IceBucketChallenge.

Build a strong, passionate network focusing on quality, not quantity. The #IBC worked because there are people passionate about the cause who have social networks which include influencers, celebs, and this guy. How can you build such a network for your brand?

Create engaging, simple, and unique methods of entry. Just about everyone on social media has easy access to a video recording device, a bucket, some ice, and some water. So simple, right? Remember, an idea is strengthened by everything that is REMOVED from its execution, not ADDED to it.

Leverage the network. Call it FOMO, peer pressure, chain reaction, or whatever…just make sure you are pushing for folks to share your content with their personal network (think audience network = audience net worth).

In summary, focus more on creating fresh, simple, rewarding content and less on “going viral.” Now if you’ll please excuse us, we have some ice trays to fill.

From the Bro-Blog: “It’s Not Your Fault.” Social Media and Mourning

Originally Posted Aug. 15th 2014 on the Brokaw Blog

The world was rocked by the death of one of the funniest men ever to walk the Earth earlier this week.

We instantly became a global community of mourners sharing our favorite quotes, movie stills, and personal connections to the hero/anti-hero. Perhaps the most powerful messages are those of hope and support to those who may suffer from depression.You can’t help but wonder at the power of social media to provide a platform for connectivity. However, for many, it becomes a somewhat morbid play for attention: whether it’s a goal to create the most shareable tribute and “viral” message or the disgusting acts of trolls trying to make waves.

Is social media making us more compassionate or more morose? We don’t have the answers, but we do have a suggestion for brands. Keep it authentic and if in doubt, don’t post it. Even the most touching tributes could backfire.

As for Brokaw – we’ll just say Nanu Nanu and carry on…

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the facebook algorithm conundrum AKA “to pay or not to pay”

I’m finding that often I will tweet an idea and it comes of rather flippant or cryptic in the Twitter space and feel compelled to come here and provide more context to my point. It’s actually a great motivator to update my blog which is you scroll through you will notice is pretty random and disparate.

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So what the heck do I mean? Let’s act like DeeeLite and “Break it Down”

Splintered Social Media:

In the past 5 or so years Facebook has ruled the roost. It was the only social channel with true scale and ever-evolving targeting and reporting capabilities. EVERYONE is on it and if you want to be relevant and build relationships with your donors/consumers YOU TOO have to be on it. Which frankly was a pain in the ass for so many brands and organizations posing such dilemmas as “who should manage our page?”, “How do we get a million fans?”, “how often should we post?”, “What kind of apps/tabs do we need?” – not to mention the MILLIONS of dollars that brands were spending on building out robust Facebook pages only to have app usage drop off and at the end of the day not be able to track actual sales or business results from all of their efforts.

As a result of these pain points Facebook has moved to a strict advertising model. A year ago they encouraged brands to “strive for engagement” saying things like “The more likes, shares, comments you have the better your results.” Algorithms that once allowed a decent segment of your fanbase to see your content devolved over the last year to only allow 7% of your base to see any one piece of content – allowing Facebook to push you towards paying to “boost” posts.

so what is a brand to do?

to be continued….

What is ‘IT’?

I just tweeted this:

it’s not about 1:1 anymore it’s about story. it’s not about story anymore it’s about content. it’s not about content it’s about context.

and thought I would draft a post to go into more detail. One of the things that really gets my goat working in social media is how often people try to make it some mystical thing. Whether it’s a social media ‘expert’ trying to make it seem harder than it is or whether it’s a marketing manager who is afraid of it.

The reality is that social media is no different from anything you’ve been doing as a marketing or communications professional. (I know I’ve said this before but it warrants repeating)

Know this – if you’re social media campaign feels like an itchy coat that doesn’t quite fit your brand and leaves you scratching at your arm like a junky it’s probably a bad idea. Social media should be the comfy cardigan you stole from your ex boyfriend in the 90’s – something cooler than you probably are but that fits comfortably and goes with everything you normally wear.

I present a brief history of social media strategy as evidence:

1. in the beginning (like 2007ish) it was about getting buzz and acquiring legions of friends fans and followers

2. WHOOOPS it’s not about mass following and buzz but QUALITY friends, fans and followers! Damn!!! we’ve got a million followers but they aren’t our target audience, whatever will we do?

3. 1:1 (2009ish) – let’s build deep, meaningful relationships with our constituents, let’s pretend we’re having afternoon tea and crumpets and ask them how many tampons they use every month to hone our marketing and drive more engagement which will surely lead to more sales, right?

4. PUT A HASHTAG ON IT! (2011ish) – let’s link all of our new friends conversations with unique hashtags that highlight how cool we are. Now anyone can join the conversation and we’ll even tag our TV spots and print ads with it so we have what is called….INTEGRATED MARKETING! (yay)

5. STORYTELLING (2012) – Social media is not about reaching a mass audience, nor is it about developing intimate relationships with our consumers but rather about telling an inspiring cohesive story across our channels both traditional and social. Oh and mobile mobile mobile, video video video and #instagram it.

6. CONTENT (now) – I am no longer a social media expert, I am a content specialist.

wait a minute — isn’t that the same thing that our creative/copy/brand teams have been doing since the days of Don Draper and Darrin Stephens? I specifically recall an episode of Bewitched where Darrin talked about creating incredible content for Ajax and making it accessible to all of their target audiences through an integrated approach both in-store and in advertising or something .

The moral of the story folks is that ‘it’ is not about something new but rather something tried and true. The tools might get sexier and way more star treky but the concepts are the same. The brand messages may get shorter but the strategy and communications purpose remains true as ever — sell more things, get more donations, provide better service.

These guys lay it out perfectly (and in a tone that expresses my frustration) – Faith No More ‘Epic’, lyrics posted after the jump.

In closing – should you find yourself stuck with an itchy coat or not sure how to turn your tried and true marketing into a social media program, give me a ring.

Lyrics:

Can you feel it ,see it, hear it today?
If you can’t, then it doesn’t matter anyway
You will never understand it ’cause it happens too fast
And it feels so good, it’s like walking on glass
It’s so cool, it’s so hip, it’s alright
It’s so groovy, it’s outta sight
You can touch it, smell it, taste it so sweet
But it makes no difference ’cause it knocks you off your feet
You want it all but you can’t have it
It’s cryin’, bleedin’, lying on the floor
So you lay down on it and you do it some more
You’ve got to share it, so you dare it
Then you bare it and you tear it
You want it all but you can’t have it
It’s in your face but you can’t grab it
It’s alive, afraid, a lie, a sin
It’s magit, it’s tragic, it’s a loss, it’s a win
It’s dark, it’s moist, it’s a bitter pain
It’s sad it happened and it’s a shame
You want it all but you can’t have it
It’s in your face but you can’t grab it
What is it?
It’s it
What is it?…