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?


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…


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.



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.


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?…

what’s your leash?

my dog likes to eat her leash — while we are walking

i want to be mad at her but i realized I’ve been chewing at my leash all my life

wouldn’t you tug at the leash that led you around?

moreover – why aren’t we the leader and the led? So often someone or something else leads us and we follow or try to — and like my adorable and conflicted dog we think we can run farther and faster than we can and that leash just forces us back into a line and path we didn’t necessarily agree to.

so I ask you dear reader (if there are any of you) – what is your leash?


photo by

so — I’ve been trying to figure out the path to simplifying and trying to understand how to balance all the little beings in me (artist/professional, southerner/new yorker, christian/anarchist, gypsy/girlfriend) and wondering do i need to kill one to allow the other to survive….or can you be all of these things in one being?

then I remembered this song and it seems about right…only I wonder via a blog or a painting rather than a rubber room.

Ophelia — coming to terms with dualities