Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Where do you go for fresh stuff? Welcome to the remix culture. By reaching across genres, disciplines and time periods, people are combining ideas and imagery to form something new. Culture builds upon culture to break through to something fresh. Better yet, if the user has a hand in the remix.
Check out Nonsek. A new creative entrepreneurial venture, it allows you to select various images from artists' portfolios and combine them on a T-shirt of your own design. With the press of a button your T-shirt is configured, printed and shipped. Ostensibly, no two designs will be alike. Wholly unique, wonderfully fused, and very RenGen.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Now more than ever it’s important to be practical. Take a deep breath. Then tick through the following list of real-world features that are common to successful sponsorship campaigns. If there are things on the list that are missing in your organization, address them.
Spend your time gearing up, not freaking out. The post-advertising age is scary, yes, but many of the tenets of sponsorship—connection to communities of consumers, powerful emotional context for brands, product infusion into settings to seed trends and engage users—are objectives at the top of any brand manager’s To-Do list.
The Reality Check, checklist:
1. Think about your organization’s reach. Do you have an established marketing effort in place so that your organization keeps in touch with its constituents through e-mail, a Web site, events, newsletters, conferences, town hall meetings, television, radio or print advertising, or parties or celebrations?
2. What do you know about your organization’s demographics? Have you collected recent information on who participates and why? Where they live? How far they drive to participate? Whether they are repeat users? Whether they are young families, empty-nesters, or teens? Your demographics dictate the sponsor categories on which you should focus your efforts and the ones you shouldn’t waste time and energy on.
3. Have you worked with sponsors before? Do you have any testimonials from a corporate executive about the value of your organization to its community of users? Do you feature those in press kits and other marketing materials for the organization?
4. What is the competitive environment like? Look around. Are other organizations of your organization’s type and in its region getting sponsorships?
5. Do you know your prospect base? To gauge the effort involved in reaching sponsors and meeting face-to-face, create a list of companies headquartered in your area. What do they produce, and to whom do they sell? Are there cross-promotions you can work up that will help them sell to one of your existing sponsors or team up with an existing sponsor?
6. Are you a member of civic organizations made up of businesspeople, so that you can gain insight and entrée into the business community? Relationships trump cold calling, period.
7. Is there an entrepreneurial spirit in your organization? Are new ideas welcomed, and do they receive thoughtful consideration? Have other commercial or revenue-generating initiatives been realized over the last five years?
Friday, July 24, 2009
The special value she's talking about derives from a sense of community.
Community gets created when people interact. The humble punch card is an interactive tool. Better yet, it's lovely analogue if handled creatively. As Guy Kawasaki preaches, never underestimate the power of good analogue! The emotional payoff is a sense of belonging.
We've just completed a field study on young creatives. The sense of belonging, it turns out, is more powerful than the value of rugged individualism. Self-reliance is still important, but not at the expense of community. That's a shift from Gen X creatives who wanted to stand out more than fit in.
The photo above is a shot of the punch card system at Tina, We Salute You coffee bar in London. Loyal customers tally their purchases on the wall. It not only creates a cool visual, it kicks the sense of belonging up a couple of notches. Patrons can see and be seen on the wall. Powerful.
So, what's your idea for creating community through your organization? Will we "belong" to brands? Or will brands be left behind if they can't instill a sense of community.
It begins with the interactive solution: getting people to leave their mark on the experience. The coffee shop in London is on to something.
Hat tip to Nina Simon.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
photo by Jnthynhys
Monday, July 20, 2009
Having just completed a major study on Millenials and emerging media, it's clear to me that we are moving out of decline and into the renaissance powered by people who want to more purposefully create the world they want to see. Where to begin is by looking around. Finding something to start, get behind, or advocate. Or perhaps it's finding a sponsor, as Mr. Tapp did, who can share your commitment to a project that makes a difference.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Pitchfork opens Friday and the line up features more established indie-rock bands such as Jesus Lizard and Tortoise. What's fresh is the "Write the Night" feature that was added this year. It allowed fans to vote for the play list for each band in the line up. I'm puckered up with anticipation to see how this participation feature works in real time. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
The Post sent out a flier, which was exposed by Politico.com, to a health care lobbyist inviting him to an exclusive “salon” July 21 at Weymouth’s house. The asking price from a corporate sponsor for a single gathering is $25,000 (the newspaper hoped to have two sponsors each session) with “annual series sponsorship of 11 Salons offered at $250,000.”
The invitation read: “Bring your organization’s CEO or executive director literally to the table. Interact with key Obama Administration and Congressional leaders."
Traditional media has always been active in offering event sponsorships. But the line being crossed here is the involvement with the journalistic product. No one needs more evidence that the newspaper business is crashing down. It's stunning to witness the ethics go with it.
More on the story here...
Thursday, July 2, 2009
These three gentlemen stand at the pinnacle of thought leadership in American business. But as Chris Anderson points out in his latest book, the value of “authority” is rapidly eroding. I guess top-down paternalism ain't what it used to be. As seismic shifts transform our culture, part of what is needed, now more than ever in business, is perspective. While Seth, Malcom and Chris have plenty of insight, I'm not sure it lends fresh perspective. It's time for fresh voices. New faces. And dare I say it--a woman or two--to point a new way forward.
In March, I got the chance to sit down with Chris Anderson during the SXSW Interactive Conference. We talked about the concept of "free" in terms of broader social trends. I had read his manuscript on the plane and was impressed with his factual and dispassionate rendering of an otherwise crazy idea--namely, that you can make money giving things away.
I asked Chris if the style of the blogosphere, where writers pour their hearts out to their audiences, would eventually bleed into business writing. Will business writers ever unlace their wing tips? He sat erect and spat out a "No!" As he saw it, personal narrative is subjective, unreliable and, frankly, lazy. I see.
The posture and “voice” of authority remains resolutely unchanged, I remember thinking. It derives from a set of values dominated by a masculine, rational/technological orientation. Yet Anderson himself redefines business reality giving top-down authority has-been status. He plots out how "free" is changing everything. But not some things, I guess.
“Free” is a truly revolutionary concept. Anderson has balls for taking it on. But the book labors under the weight of a traditional approach to economics, marketing and business, influenced by a historical production-oriented bias. In such a realm, the tendency is to view “reality,” “information” or “knowledge” as concrete, absolute, real and immutable. In short, Anderson has taken on a bold idea, but the treatment of it stems from an absolutist position.
Meanwhile, the culture is adjusting to embrace a broader spectrum of values. Scratch the surface of the hopeful idealist of the rising RenGen--renaissance generation--whose job it is to detoxify a poisoned world and you’ll expose a deep cultural longing to feel connected. To join with something larger than themselves and to each other. It’s partly spiritual and partly social.
Connection, warmth, immediacy, humor, authenticity, intensity hold allure in the emerging culture. It's all about the intensity of experience—visceral, gritty, and emotional. In today's marketplace, facts and data remain on the B-list until they can cozy up to A-list types who tell self-effacing stories and reveal hard-won personal truths. So far, the masters of this style of communication have been female. (Although male bloggers are beginning to emulate them.)
The future of business will be forged by people emotionally in touch enough to realize that the customer wants to recover a lost sense of soulful connection. Be it through creative self-expression (blogging, Etsy ), forming social groups (Facebook, MySpace) or forging links to lifestyles that help people transition meaningfully between their digital and analogue worlds by establishing customs and rituals that transfer meaning (Apple, Starbucks).
Chris Anderson has written a brave book. It will be talked about. But will it change the fundamentals of business? Malcolm Gladwell thinks not. Why? Because there’s no there there in “free.” Seth Godin throws his hands up and says, "Hey, business is messy right now."
I say, if we are serious about addressing our world-wide problems and growing new enterprises, we must once and for all commit ourselves to alternative ideas, new voices and thought leaders whose experiences stretch beyond the Stanford Business School or the Ivys. Intriguing as it was to follow the wrestling match between the triumvirate this week, it made me long for an Oprah in the business community!