Friday, September 28, 2012

Digital Culture Trends and Tremors: September 28

Will the Future Like You?
Discover how the adolescent brain works from Sarah-Jayne Blakemore's TED talk. She studies the social brain, and argues that teens make decisions from a completely different part of the brain. It's an essential insight for marketers aiming to inspire young Millennials.

Heads up! If you sell to cultural consumers - books, art, technology or entertainment experiences - you'll want to see how their decisions are influenced by the digital culture. Presented by Kelly Gallagher this week at the Digital Book World Discoverability and Marketing Conference, the market research reveals essential insights about how referrals occur, and why people buy.

Digital Culture
Catalytic personalities and the RenGen:
In any renaissance, creative leaders are like yeast. I thrill to witness how brand making in the digital culture inspires others to innovate. This week, Brian Eno launched a new recording using a clever propagation strategy.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Money Can’t Buy You Love? How to Get Tons of Ethical Facebook “Likes”

When it comes to social media marketing, there is a growing philosophy that more is more. That’s why some brands are cutting corners by advertising or buying likes to increase traffic. But is it an ethical marketing practice?

Recently, the spritely minds over at Simply Zesty took on the matter of ethical Facebook likes. Their campaign post-mortem shows how they converted a popular blog post into a mountain of likes, global reach, and instant revenue. It’s a tidy package of insights like these:

How to make money from irrelevant Facebook likes
“I am sitting on an absolute ton of traffic that is not very relevant to us and not knowing what to do with it. I started by slapping some ads on the page as aggressively as I possibly could, seeing as none of our normal readers would ever be visiting that page and the ads wouldn’t annoy them. Those ads on that one single page drive between €1,000-4,000 in Google Adsense per month (enough to pay somebody to write full-time on the blog).”

Facebook Return on Investment (ROI) for Small Business Brands
Are you just dipping your toes in the waters of social media? Wondering if you’ll see a return on investment? Consider this:

“For an agency to be able to push their brand out to 22 million friends of friends on Facebook for free all the time, it’s useful no matter what way you look at it. We get queries for our services now from all over the world as a result and have clients in 10+ countries. Not all because of this, but it certainly helps.”

Read the full post.

Friday, September 21, 2012

How to Resign and Win Respect

Many of us have pictured resigning. From our jobs or other commitments, the temptation is great to make either too much or too little of it. This week, I received a letter from Elizabeth Coleman, resigning her presidency of Bennington College. I was neither surprised nor saddened. I felt proud for her. That should be the goal of any resignation: make people feel proud to have been along for the ride.

For years I admired Elizabeth Coleman. She turned around a vital institution on the brink of extinction and suffered all manner of sniping for it. But she triumphed in the end.

I feel blessed in my life to have encountered women like Elizabeth Coleman and Judith Krug. Fearless women, I always thought. Anyone who doubts how difficult it is for women to take up unpopular causes, simply consult world news to see how fiercely the status quo drives back young women from their quests to make change.

(Full disclosure: my son went to Bennington College during Coleman’s tenure.)

For any of you wondering what to say when you resign, I include her letter verbatim.

Dear members of the Bennington College community:

I write to inform you of my decision to retire from the presidency of Bennington College at the conclusion of this academic year. Not surprisingly, I do so with deeply mixed emotions. It has been a remarkable 25 years in which to be a part of the Bennington story—but then the next 25 promise to be even more remarkable.

When I became president in 1987 I said: “I accept and greet this charge with something resembling the alacrity and high expectations with which, to butcher Shakespeare, the young bridegroom ‘leaps to his death.’ Those of you unfamiliar with the wondrous meanings of Elizabethan English are cordially invited to come to Bennington College to discover them.”

This suggested an excess of confidence, and ebullience, a soaring order of expectation that verged on madness. But it turned out I was right. Presiding over Bennington has been more than I had dared to dream—exhilarating, tumultuous, challenging, heady—and always, always about things that mattered, things that mattered a lot, and about people of immense dignity, grace, intelligence, and courage.

Amongst the rich array of experiences that have defined this time, for me the most vivid and most treasured was participating in the reanimation of Bennington’s most powerful originating ideas—the teacher as practitioner; the student as shaper no less than as recipient of an education; and the ever-increasing commitment to assuring a rich and complex dynamic between the College and the world. 

Bennington’s maturity as an institution was achieved, in short, not by abandoning or softening its most radical principles, but by embracing and revitalizing them.

The Board of Trustees has already embarked on initiating the search for a new president and will contact you in the near future to assure your participation in that process. At the request of the Board of Trustees, as part of the transition I will serve as the first director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Action for two years upon the completion of this academic year.

I look forward to the many occasions we will have over the coming months to celebrate this college, to talk, to remember, and to imagine its future.

With all good wishes,

Elizabeth Coleman


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Choosing the Right Influencers to Adopt Your Idea

Photo by Ed Yourdon
What’s more valuable to your campaign — recruiting influencers or cultivating ordinary people with networks? Most marketers have an opinion. Here’s mine: both. In this post, I’ll shed light on the topic using an actual campaign experience and share some simple tips.

Influencers come in all sizes and stripes. Some of them can rock your world while others can poison your well. It’s important to know who is which based on both the business objective and the psychographics of your likeliest early adopters. Mega-influencers deliver eyeballs and retweets. Brands with an upbeat lifestyle message can gain some traction with a mega-influencer. Guy Kawasaki can use your camera and push out Instagram snaps, and you’ll sell more units. But if you are hoping to persuade people to adopt a new mindset, or learn something new — it’s important to choose an influencer with gravitas who’s considered an original thinker by your target audience.

Read how at MENG Blend: Choosing the Right Influencers to Adopt Your Idea

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rebel Librarians Show Their Stripes

Read more about Michelle's tattoo
Tattooed librarians are pretty awesome, but librarians with librarian tattoos are badass. Mentalfloss picked 11 of their favorites to share with the world.

Having just returned from the R-Squared Conference, I can verify that there is an amazing movement of rebel librarians, both inked and un-inked, who are changing the image of libraries and librarians. I can't wait to share more of the conversations I had there. The future of libraries will blow your mind more than any card catalog sleeve.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Social Networking: The Best Times to Post

Just like in traditional media, there's a time of day when more of your audience is engaged in social networking sites. This handy infographic from Social Caffeine maps out the best and worst times to post.

What I found interesting is how much of the social network's personality came out in this one piece of data. LinkedIn's business-focused go-getters are most engaged just before and just after business hours, but they avoid deadline-heavy Mondays and Fridays. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest get the most activity during mid-afternoon, when office workers take a break post-lunch to check in on their personal lives. Coincidentally, this is also a great time to send email campaigns.

Useful information if you know your target audience well. Are you offering a welcome distraction to feed afternoon daydreams, or are you offering a life-changing business opportunity? Choosing the right network at the right time can help your message get to the right eyes.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Illuminating this week: Sept 3-7

Will the Future Like You?
Money can’t buy you love, right? Culturally, Gen Y remains resistant to conspicuous consumption. Here’s a revealing quote from Julia Goldin, new CMO at Revlon. She comes from Coca-Cola. In her new role, she’ll woo a younger generation to fall in love with a classic cosmetics brand.

“In the current world, money is not everything and size is not everything. It's really about the quality of the connections you make with consumers, the way you bring the brand to life.”
Got a presentation coming up? Need a groovy little sketch to capture a big idea? Try this handy tool from the folks at Odo.

Digital Culture
Affectiva is an emotional sensing technology that got our attention this week. It was incubated at the MIT Media Lab. We’re exploring ways it can help us measure the human connection between brands and people.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Travel: Heading West to Witness a Reboot

Later this week, I’m packing up and heading to Telluride, CO. Never been there. Truth is, my fear of heights means I’m not really a mountain person. I’m a water person. My love affair with Lake Michigan binds me to the fresh coast despite the monotony of the prairie flatlands.

I’ll be staying at this ruggedly luscious lodge, mainly because the official hotel for the conference I’m covering had overflow. Lucky me.

I’ll post from the event as I witness passionate, rebel librarians (yes, they exist) collectively conceive a new future for their profession. This fascinates me. Watching the classic culture (libraries) find new relevance amid the rising digital culture. Looking forward to the conversation to see what gets shed and what gets a reboot.

NB: Dust off cowboy boots.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cities: Mayors ARE the Brand

Photo by Patricia Martin
It was the last Saturday evening of the summer. A breeze off the lake cooled the crowd gathered in Millennium Park's Pritzker Pavilion to bid farewell to the summer. A former dancer turned politician, Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced the Chicago Dancing Festival. He radiated pride as he welcomed his electorate to a night of world-class dance where all the seats were cheap, in fact.

I jostled my way to the front to get this snap. Noting my presence, Emanuel turned and made eye contact with my camera lens, smiling serenely. For a guy noted for his intensity, it was a subtly commanding gesture.

Pundits wonder whether Emanuel can fill the shoes of the passionate, straight-talking Mayor Daley. Time will tell. But on one account, he's already delivering in spades--he IS the brand. Hard-working, hard-charging and wielding a reliable contempt for phonies, Rahm embodies Chicago's brand.

Civic marketing is helping cities tap the economic benefits of expressing a brand identity. Art and technology are key assets in that equation, as I discovered while undertaking an ethnographic study of Houston's creative economy. In an age of social media and 24/7 news cycles, big cities need big personalities to break through the clutter.

Excerpted from the full article at The Huffington Post: Business