Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New! Cultural Trends Report 2013

It’s here! Our 2013 report focuses on cultural trends poised to break through in the coming year, and how to market accordingly. 
Our research team monitored the tremors and scoured the fringes to uncover social innovations ripe and ready to explode:
-The end of courtship and marriage as we know it. 
-Parents’ changing aspirations for their children.
-Shifting consumer expectations for the brands in a healthy planet.
-A changing face for business.
-What's next for Millenials.
On every page there’s a glimpse of the turning tides rising from a generation of digital natives. 
The report wraps up with seven clearly stated ways to use this information to market your brand. Our team packed all 15 pages with reverberating insights into the consumer zeitgeist. From all of us at LitLamp, we hope it lights your path forward.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sundance and Diageo's Content Sponsorship Deal and Cultural Branding

With a yo, ho, ho and a literal bottle of rum, Sundance Channel and Diageo, a multinational alcoholic beverages company, have partnered on a multi-platform content sponsorship deal launching at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Diageo’s Captain Morgan brand will be a major presence at Sundance Channel’s headquarters in Park City, UT during the Sundance Festival. The partnership involves a documentary film, a graphic novel, a history lesson, plus PR, on-site experiences, and scads of social media. Captain Morgan, it seems, is trading up; aiming for bright young cultural consumers, not party animals.

What's behind the Captain Morgan brand strategy is the desire to create cultural relevance. The documentary aims to formulate “a cultural impression of Morgan’s legacy in Panama today.” To achieve that goal, considerable intellectual firepower was brought to bear. And the Sundance Channel is proving its flexibility as an omni-media partner. It hired award-winning commercial director Michael Haussman to create The Unsinkable Henry Morgan. The documentary explores the myths and legends surrounding Captain Henry Morgan’s conquests in Panama. 
More swashbuckling will be had at the Filmmaker Lodge in Park City, with screenings and an after-party taking place at Sundance Channel HQ. 
The team of artists and experts who joined Haussman for the journey to Panama includes: 

  • The Historian – Stephan Talty is the New York Times bestselling author of Empire of Blue Water, an account of Captain Morgan’s army and the epic battle for the Americas. 
  • The Costume Designer – An Academy Award-winner and one of the most accomplished costume designers in Hollywood, Colleen Atwood designed a new rendition of Morgan’s  iconic red coat.
  • The Set Designers – Italian production designer Dante Ferretti, who has designed sets for well-known films including Gangs of New York, The Aviator and Hugo, and his apprentice, Carlos Aloisio, built an incredible 10-foot replica of Morgan’s flagship, The Satisfaction.
  • The Artists – Australian comic book artist Ben Templesmith, best known for Fell, 30 Days of Night, and The Nightmare Factory, teamed up with award-winning cartoonist Michael Bendis of Ultimate Comics Universe and Jinx, to create a one-of-a-kind graphic novel based on Henry Morgan’s adventures in Panama.

Ahoy, me hearties! This is one booty-filled content sponsorship deal. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

We Are What We Tweet: Rethinking Social Media in Our Daily Lives

January is unofficially “purge” month for many Americans. Holiday decorations are boxed up for hibernation. The long winter nights are perfect for conquering ugly tasks like cleaning out closets. 
After going on a post-holiday rampage through my closets, I turned my attention to my digital habitat. Let me tell you, it’s an overstuffed tangle of a walk-in closet that needs taming. 
Closet Before,  via Flickr.
The desire to bring order to my digital life led me to prioritize the social media that matter most to me, but also crimp my productivity. Twitter’s at the top of my list.
Using Social Oomph I was able to re-think how I want my Twitter network to work. I set new priorities for who needs to hear from me, and vice-versa. Social business expert Amber Naslund has some great tips if you’re itching to try this.

Maybe it’s an overstatement to say that we are what we tweet. But our digital networks are an extension of who we are. What we communicate within the walls of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn affects the flow of people, ideas and inspiration that shape our identities both on- and off-line. 
Research shows that when have an impact on smaller things—like our social media routine—we can have a big impact on our daily lives, which improves our overall outlook.
It's amazing how a few tweaks to our daily habits can become a catalyst for meaningful, positive change. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

America’s Top ArtPlaces 2013

Public art makes cities feel more alive. But what's more, art inspires us to imagine as a community—it’s brain juice for the collective unconscious. 

Having a city full of art urges our imaginations to stay curious. We need that if we are to collectively create new things.  

ArtPlace, led by the incomparable Carol Coletta, recently announced America’s Top Twelve ArtPlaces, all of which are communities. Winners combine art, artists and venues with independent businesses, retail shops and restaurants. The mix is eclectic by design, aimed at spurring a vibrant lifestyle where every citizen is a cultural consumer.

America’s Top 12 ArtPlaces for 2013 are:

Brooklyn, NY / The intersection of Downtown, Fort Greene, Gowanus, Park Slope and Prospect Heights
Dallas, TX / The Dallas Arts District, with parts of Deep Ellum and Exposition Park
Los Angeles, CA / Central Hollywood
Miami Beach, FL / South Beach
Milwaukee, WI / East Town and a portion of the Lower East Side
New York, NY / Manhattan Valley
Oakland, CA / Downtown, including Chinatown, Old Oakland and Jack London Square
Philadelphia, PA / Old City
Portland, OR / The Pearl District and a portion of Downtown
San Francisco, CA / The Mission District
Seattle, WA / The Pike-Pine Corridor
Washington, DC / The intersection of Adams Morgan, U Street, and Dupont Circle

Tags: art, innovation, cities, urban culture

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Midnight Lunch: The 4 Phases of Collaboration Success from Thomas Edison’s Lab

Sarah Miller Caldicott’s new book is about collaboration as invented by Thomas Edison. In her other books about Edison, the author has demonstrated her knack for making associations between innovation and team work. This has helped many business people re-think their corporate work styles. 
Just before sitting down to review Midnight Lunch, I came across my notes from another book I’ve been reading by Martin Seligman, a psychologist and expert on positivity. Seligman advises individuals to “[s]hape your life to fit who you have discovered you are.” Midnight Lunch invites the same transformation for business. It calls on us to shape our enterprises to fit what we discover is possible when “brilliant and creative people” learn to work in new ways. It’s a tall order. But thankfully, Caldicott offers a helpful road map for building a more collaborative culture.  She points to these four steps, which form the interlocking vertebrae of Edison’s approach:
Step 1: Capacity
Build diverse teams of two to eight people. Set them loose to discover new ways to think and problem-solve for the obstacle or opportunity.

Step 2: Context
Keep learning. Learn from mistakes; learn from experiments. Follow innovations occurring elsewhere in other disciplines. Question assumptions. Hold yourself responsible for probing beneath the surface for insights that will enrich your team. 

Step 3: Coherence
Many organizations can get it together to collaborate once or twice. Few can keep it together long term. Fits and starts not only break momentum, worse, they make cultures cynical about teamwork. The solution, Caldicott says, is to create coherent frameworks for decision making. Develop a process to guide progress. And find acceptable language for voicing divergent points of view. 

Step 4: Complexity
Complexity is kryptonite to collaborators. Think about every collaborative project you’ve ever worked on. Ask yourself: what made it difficult? I’m guessing it's complexity. Managing the myriad personalities, agendas, and massive data inputs can grind progress to a halt. Midnight Lunch offers practical ideas for managing complexity, from reskilling your people to leaving a footprint for others to follow once a successful project launches.  This year, my team is in search of the best way to use the cloud to better manage collaborative work and archive our process simultaneously.
Read all the lessons from Midnight Lunch at MENG Blend: Midnight Lunch: The 4 Phases of Team Collaboration Success from Thomas Edison’s Lab