Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Five Thoughts on the Future of Journalism

Last night, a Twitter conversation between David Armano (SVP of Edelman Digital), Brian Morrissey (digital editor at AdWeek) and me about the disparity between mainstream media and the social web got me thinking about the future of journalism. Our conversation was sparked by a recent report conducted by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (via this blog post).

The report itself is a good one, however, there was one point that stuck in my craw a little bit (and I think David's as well):

While social media players espouse a different agenda than the mainstream media, blogs still heavily rely on the traditional press -- and primarily just a few outlets within that -- for their information. More than 99% of the stories linked to in blogs came from legacy outlets such as newspapers and broadcast networks. And just four -- the BBC, CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post accounted for fully 80% of all links.
While I don't disagree at all with the concept that social media relies heavily on the same four legacy outlets for source material, this doesn't mean that social/new media can't or won't survive without these traditional media outlets. 

What I will concede is that IF traditional media were to die -- something I don't think will ever happen -- we would fair just fine. The biggest shift in my mind would be a need for better filters that would help us collectively sort through the wheat and chaff. This likely is some combination of human curation and a variety of technologies relying on collaborative filtering and natural language search.

With that as a backdrop, here are my five thoughts on the future of journalism.

  1. As traditional advertising dollars continue to shrink, so too will budgets that support traditional advertising. Hopefully this means that rags like the New York Post go away and that gems like NPR and the Christian Science Monitor rise to the top via user support and innovative new sponsorship opportunties.
  2. Following up on an earlier thought, as social media news sources grow and traditional ones shrink, there will be an ever increasing need for curation and technology to help us find and filter. Think Alltop.com with less Guy Kawasaki.
  3. Traditional outlets will do themselves a favor by keeping an eye on the likes of The Austin Statesmen (h/t to Rob Quigley for the work he's leading there),  AdWeek's AdFreak co-created by Mr. Morrissey and Boston.com with its clever use of hashtagged content, regularly updated blogs and complementary video footage.
  4. The need for PR firms and departments to brief/pitch top podcasters, bloggers, video bloggers and micro bloggers will continue to increase. Not saying this is a real "aha" but as a the reliance on the top news bloggers as primary source of information grows bigger, so too will a need to keep these influencers in the loop.
  5. Only a few select organizations will ever be able to charge for their content irrespective of whether or not micropayments ever catch on.
I'm quite sure I'm missing a bunch of hot topics here but this should get some of the creative juices flowing. Where do you see the future of journalism headed? Join the conversation in the comments below.

Resuscitated iPhones and Blogger Ethics

I'm not vain enough to think that any of you give a crap that I have an iPhone or better yet that it was spared "brick" status thanks to it's semi-waterproof SaFPWR case/charger when it went for a swim last weekend. Instead, I want to make this into a bigger story about what I choose to blog about and what I don't and how I try and keep my morals and integrity in tact while doing so.

So let me start with the story of my revived iPhone to help set the stage. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine, Mike Merrill, sent me a direct message on Twitter asking me if I'd like a free SaFPWR iPhone battery case/charger. Given the fact that I am a heavy iPhone user and am constantly seeking outlets to charge my insufficient battery, I said sure. Now to give this story a little more context, I had actually purchased a smaller auxiliary batter charger before SXSW for the reason I just mentioned. What I've found about this charger -- the Kensington Mini Battery Extender -- is that it's adequate but has several shortcomings including the way it awkwardly hangs off the end of your phone when it's charging.

Photo Credit: Kenard Consulting

Following my reception of my new SaFPWR charger/case, I received a nice note from Mike saying that "if I chose to blog about it, I could offer my readers a 15% discount" (more on that in a minute). I told him that I would likely blog about the charger but that I wanted to try it out for a few days first before I decided on anything. Little did I know that five days later, that very case would save me $199 for a replacement iPhone and the hassle of rebuilding my phone. The short version of the story is that because the case is also a charger (and made out of hard rubber), it plugs up the charging slot at the bottom of the phone. This combined with the fact that:
  1. I didn't try and turn my phone on
  2. Immediately brought it to the Apple store so they could inspect/dry it out
  3. Inserted it into a bag of rice for four whole days
essentially saved my phone. You have no idea how delighted I was when I returned from my business trip to see the battery charging light come on when I plugged it in.

So now that I've told you this story, I'll tell you how I'm relating it to the bigger picture of "blogger ethics." To begin with, this is somewhat new territory for me. Even though I've been blogging for four plus years, it's only been over the last 6-9 months where I've started to get pitched by companies and PR shops to cover their products and services. I suspect this may equal parts to do with my weekly Quick'n'Dirty podcast show (my co-host blogs at ZDNet and we've had some pretty kick ass guests) and the company I work for, Powered, moving squarely into the limelight post purchase of three other social media boutiques.

As someone that's been critical of bloggers that take stuff for free, I've had to do a lot of soul searching now that I now have the opportunity to get the same schwag. However, where I draw the line is this... For starters, the product or service CANNOT cause any conflict with my job i.e. I wouldn't accept free tickets or gifts from a potential vendor that I wasn't already doing business with under any circumstance. This doesn't mean I can't have dinner with them or attend a ballgame to talk business but I don't want my judgement clouded or pressure exerted because of an unspoken quid pro quo. I also never promise to write a blog post about anything I receive and if I do agree to do a post, there is a 100% chance that I may write something negative if your product or service sucks. If I am underwhelmed or net neutral on your offering, chances are I won't write anything at all. For some examples of a few companies that have directly or indirectly invoked some blog coverage, you can check out my I See You post for details.

Getting back to my man, Mike Merrill and the free SaFPWR iPhone case/charger, I've gotta give them major props because not only does their product work (I've used it for a few weeks now and it's not only a great solution but it also adds about 4-6 hours of life to my iPhone. What Mike and SaFPWR didn't know is that by saving my iPhone from drowning, they've made me the best spokesperson they could ever imagine. And to avoid any impropriety on my front, I'm going to go out and purchase one of these cases for my wife who has a related "swimming iPhone" story of her own. Oh, and if you'd like to buy one of these phones, go to their site and use the discount code "blogger" to get 15% off. In the spirite of full transparency, I get ZERO for pimping their product or giving you a code.

Do you have a great story of a game changing product? Or maybe some thoughts on blogger ethics (feel free to call me out if you think I'm being hypocritical).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Quick'n'Dirty Episode 45: Facebook Privacy Anyone?

As we close in on putting a year of Quick'n'dirty podcasts under our belts, my co-host, Jennifer Leggio and I are always looking for ways to bring added value to our listeners/readers' lives. We'd like to think that we continued that streak this week with social app, Mobile Roadie, Twitterer of the week, Greg Narain aka @Gregarious and special guest, Alex Plant, of NetApp. Oh yeah, we also managed to squeeze in a few minutes at the end to talk about Facebook privacy. Maybe you've heard that there is a little brewhaha about their latest moves?
First up was our social app of the week. I first discovered Mobile Roadie at a recent SMASH Summit in San Francisco during the social media lightning demos. You know when someone can convince you in five minutes that there is some "there" there, that the company is on the right path. In this case, the "there" was a DIY platform for the iPhone and and Android apps (iPad and more coming this summer). While I haven't had a chance to play with the app-builder yet, they have already helped create mobile presences for several Fortune500 Companies and entertainment moguls like Taylor Swift and Ashton Kutcher. While I'm sure the resulting apps aren't necessarily going to win any awards for innovation and style, they are a great for speed to market.

Next, we talked about our featured Twitterer of the week, Greg Narain. While I've known Greg for a while, I've only recently learned more about his social media product expertise (he's the VP of product for Klout and co-founder at LilGrams.com). Greg is of course funny in addition to being smart but he's also well connected and in constant search of "what's next." If you don't follow him already, I'd strongly recommend that you do.

Out of order and all (Alex had a little telephony trouble), our featured guest was Alex Plant, head of social media for B2B tech giant, NetApp. During the show, Jennifer and I dug down on how social media was different in a B2B2B environment. We also peppered him a little bit on using social for customer service and even had a little fun with him asking him why (at the time) he had the Twitter n00b badge up for his avatar picture (for those that don't know what this is, it's when someone leaves the default image of the Twitter bird up for their Twitter profile pic). Fortunately, Alex was a good sport and fielded our questions fearlessly and elegantly.

Last but not least, Jennifer and I spent a few minutes on the latest hot topic du jour namely, Facebook and privacy. While we didn't have as much time as we would have liked to do this topic justice, we did cover off on some of the overarching points of what we think Facebook is trying to do and what it really means for businesses and consumers alike.

As always, you can find archives of our show here. You can also read re-caps of the podcasts on Jennifer's ZDNet blog or my Stroutmeister blog.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Tale of Two CMO's: A Sudden Turn of Events (Part III)

Continuing on the blog series that I started a few weeks back titled, A Tale of Two CMO's: A Study in Contrasts, the focus of this week's installation was supposed to be on creating product "desire." However, we've had a little bit of a turn of events as we find that our old school CMO, James Hossenpfeifer, has been asked by the board of directors at his company to step down at the end of the year. While the official word from James and the company is that this was a mutual decision, I'm going to direct most of today's questions toward James and ask him to give us a little inside perspective on this turn of events.


James, this news of you stepping as CMO at the end of the year came as a little bit of a surprise. Can you give us a little more insight beyond what was in the initial press release?

James: Ha ha, well, you know that they say that the average tenure of a CMO is only 23 months. Given my run of 14 years, I'd say that I've done okay. With that said, I know I'm not "off the record" on your blog but I will share just a little bit more insight as to how this all went down. The bottom line is that the times are a changing. And while my leadership in the marketing world has helped us grow our company into what it is today, my CEO and our board has been pushing harder for our collective style of leadership to change. Between some of the work that John Chambers has accomplished as CEO at CISCO and what A.G. Lafley had done at P&G, the feeling was that our company should be more focused on open leadership and a flattening of the organization. There has also been a tremendous push to focus more on customer service and social media. Apparently, one of our board members read a book by your colleague, Joseph Jaffe, called Flip the Funnel and it's got him all hot and bothered about the potential of using social media to better communicate and collaborate with customers. While I don't disagree with this philosophy or direction, I am also in touch enough with my skills and capabilities to know that I was not the guy to lead us down this path. After a lot of discussion with my CEO and our board of directors, we decided that I would help us look for my successor during this transition.

Tessa: James, I guess I'm not sure whether or not to console you or congratulate you. While I applaud you for being self-aware enough to realize that you weren't the right fit as the future CMO of your company, it's sad to see someone with your skill set and knowledge base step down. This may sound a bit patronizing given how much more experience you have than me but I know a lot of people so let me know if you'd like some help finding your next opportunity.


What will you look for in your replacement?

James: If you don't mind, I'd like to respond to Tessa's comment first. Tessa, thank you for the kind words and in this case, you can congratulate me. After many years of working too many hours and getting on too many planes, I think I'm going to take some time off and spend it with my wife in our second home. My company has taken good care of me so I don't have to go back to work but I may think about writing a book or perhaps doing some consulting down the road. Who knows, I may even think about starting one of those blogs to share my experiences with some of the less experienced marketers out there. I know I can't teach them much about new media but I can talk about some of the fundamentals of marketing that many digital marketers may have missed as they cut their teeth during the dot com days.

Getting back to your question, Aaron, I think my replacement will end up looking a lot like Tessa. I probably shouldn't say that out loud because that will ruin any chance of me recruiting her but her new approach to marketing is exactly what our board is looking for. What I like about Tessa is that she hasn't thrown the baby out with the bath water in her approach to generating awareness and purchase and intent for her company. She's done a fantastic job in balancing traditional marketing tactics like direct marketing and advertising with some of the newer social techniques. By the way, I was really looking forward to what she was going to say about creating product desire in today's installment. I guess my news pushed that off for at least another week or so.

Tessa: James, I am humbled that you think so highly of my approach to marketing. At the risk of turning this post into a gush fest, I'll leave my response to that. I would, however, like to comment on something you said earlier. It's funny that you mentioned the book Flip the Funnel as I just received a copy of it in the mail about a month or two ago. It's sitting on my desk at work and I keep promising myself that I will read it on my next business trip. Aaron, I think it was someone from your office that sent it to me, wasn't it? Hopefully I'll check that one off the list soon.


Could you give us a little more detail on your answer to that last question?

James: Sorry, I guess I got distracted. In terms of what I'm looking for in my replacement, I have five high level criteria in mind:
1) 15-20 years of brand marketing experience at a B2C company
2) impeccable communications skills -- this is probably the most important item
3) a track record of creating successful marketing programs for a midsize to large company
4) an advanced understanding of how digital and social media work and can be applied to generate awareness, intent, desire and action aka purchase.
5) ideally, this person has experience working at a company that is extremely customer focused (like a Southwest Airlines).

Tessa: James, you might talk to Charlene Li from the Altimeter Group. She's written a second book titled, Open Leadership and I know she has met with a ton of CMOs and CEOs to talk about this very topic. You might also work with Aaron to get some time scheduled with Joe Jaffe. I hear the two of them are doing a series of private dinners with senior level marketers where Joe talks a little bit some of the theses from the book.


There have been several CMO changes just in the last few weeks with Jeff Hayzlett stepping down from Kodak, Joel Ewanick leaving Nissan to join GM among others?

James: Ironically, I think Jeff Hayzlett is leaving Kodak for the opposite reason that I'm stepping down. I know he's done some amazing things at Kodak over his last four years and you want to talk about a guy that gets digital and social. In fact, thanks for the reminder because I may have to give Mr. Hayzlett a call to see if he has any interest in my job. Although I've heard he's pretty darn busy with his new book so not sure if he's really looking for his next gig yet. But back to your question, I mentioned earlier that CMOs are one of the shortest tenured C-level positions in the business. To that end, now more than ever we are facing unusual challenges like budgets that got reduced anywhere between 10-20% in last years' downturn but with little to no reduction in our marketing outcomes. As CMOs, we are also being pushed to figure out alternatives to traditional marketing tactics as ad effectiveness continues to erode and the popularity of places like Facebook and Twitter continue to grow.

Tessa: Just to second what James is saying, it is a tough time to be a CMO. Not that I'm complaining because I love my job. For me, what seems to have helped me adapt to this ever changing world of marketing is to expand the network of people/companies that influence me. That doesn't mean I try and read more or attend more events but rather that I look for ideas outside of some of the traditional marketing publications and conferences. In fact, I'm thinking about skipping this years DMA Conference and instead attending Blog World Expo. I know that sounds like a crazy idea but there are so many smart people including more and more brand representatives that show up for these types of conferences. I know you're next question will be how the hell I know about Blog World Expo? Twitter of course.


Well, there we have it. While we didn't learn how James or Tessa generate product desire through new or traditional marketing means, we did find out a little more about what's required from the CMO of the future. Next week, I'll try and get our two CMOs back on track and perhaps wrap up the series with a combined focus on desire AND action. In the meantime, keep those questions coming. [Dwight, sorry I couldn't get to your question/comment from last week's post about brand driving sales. One way or another, we'll make sure to pin these two down].

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Tale of Two CMO's: Interest (Part II)

If you haven't read my blog in a little while (don't worry, I forgive you), you might have missed the fact that I'm working on a five part series titled, A Tale of Two CMO's: A Study in Contrasts. The goal of the series is to contrast the styles of an old school and new school CMO whose personas I've fleshed out in my original post. During last week's installment that focused on generating brand awareness, James' and Tessa's responses sounded more similar than different. This week, you will start to see a more noticeable divergence in their positions (a trend that will continue as we move down the marketing funnel).


What role does search play in fostering consumer interest?

James: For us, paid search (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) have become a major component of our day-to-day marketing efforts. To be honest, I can't think of a better way to "fish where the fish are." I just wish there were more relevant search queries to buy and page views to serve up. Right now, we max out our key search terms and as it turns out, we're still only spending 3-4% of our overall marketing budget on SEM and SEO. Obviously product ads on television, print and online also play a huge role in driving customer interest. I don't see this going away anytime soon.

Tessa: Yes, search is a great tool. And as James mentioned in his repsonse, our company also continues to use product specific advertising to drive consumer interest. However, we've been experimenting recently with our newly launched branded online community (four months old) and are starting to see some amazing results. In fact, where we are seeing the most traction is when we take a prospective customer from a paid search term to our branded online community (heavily threaded throughout our website). We've done a series of A/B testing using the same keyword and while the sample sizes are still small, the prospects we've surveyed post-community visit have shown a 3-5% increase in brand affinity and interest in a specific product vs. those that haven't visited our community.


Thoughts on a branded online community's role in helping foster brand interest?

James: I 
About nine months, our director of digital marketing tried to convince me pilot a branded online community. While I am not opposed to the idea, investing another $500,000 to a million dollars in something in which very few companies have shown demonstrable success just seems premature to me. I'd rather reinvest that money in paid search or perhaps think about testing out a small ad buy on Facebook where there is some critical mass in the two to three hundred million users.

Tessa: As I mentioned in my last response, we are starting to see some real traction in our branded online community driving not only interest in our products but also creating a deeper level of brand engagement. It's also starting to move the needle ever so slightly on the NPS (Net Promoter Score) front. My only complaint with the community so far has been a lack of critical mass. We're starting to get there with over 150,000 members thanks largely to making the community more visible from all areas of our website and select Facebook ad buys. Ideally, I'll really start to pay attention when we get north of 500,000 members.


How about the greater social Web? Are you testing places like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn?

James: I know a probably seem like a dinosaur but I'm still not convinced that there is real upside to participating in the social web yet. Of course our HR department uses LinkedIn to recruit but beyond that, we haven't done a whole lot. Our corporate communications people have started a Twitter and a Facebook account but mainly use it to post press announcements. To me, I see what's happened with companies like Southwest Airlines, and Nestles and I think, "do I really want to open our company to that kind of criticism?" I'm sure we'll get there at some point, just not until the rewards outweigh the risks.

Tessa: We are testing various outposts on the social Web like Facebook and Twitter to see if we can do a better job at engaging our prospects and customers. I'm not sure I can look at our Facebook Fan page and say, "wow, look at all the consumer interest we're generating," because Facebook doesn't really work like that. With that said, if we can do a better job at providing valuable content to our prospects and customers while engaging them in meaningful dialogue, that looks like success to me. As for LinkedIn, that's been mostly a recruiting tool for our company but I do see promise based on some of the conversational capabilities they've added over the last 6-9 months.


As we can see, we're starting to see a little bit of a divergence between the way James and Tessa view social to drive traditional marketing outcomes. Next week, I have a few additional twists and turns up my sleeve so don't think we're done just yet. By the way, if you have any questions for our two CMOs -- trick or straightforward, let 'em fly in the comments!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Quick'n'Dirty Episode 43: We've Got a Producer!

As Jennifer and I close in on our year anniversary for the Quick'n'dirty podcast show (Our first show was June 3, 2009), we were particularly proud to announce that friend, Rich Harris of Seagate, had joined our team as the show's producer. During the last few minutes of the show (replacing our normal "point / counterpoint" discussion), we talked with Rich about some of the ways he'd be helping out with the Q'n'D crew. All I can tell you is that it's only been a little over a week and Rich has already paid for himself -- okay, he's volunteering for the job, but still.

As usual, we kicked the show off with our social app of the week. This time, it was old world bar codes meets new world social web, with innovative startup, Stickybits. The simple way to think about this is being able to connect offline posters, signs, etc. with the online world via a barcode stick on an an iPhone. Jennifer spent a little bit of time giving more detail on how this works but you can also see TechCrunch's write up on Stickybits here.
Next up was former "Twitterer of the week," and this week's special guest, Lon Cohen (@obilon on Twitter). In addition to being a writer, Lon is also the director of online and social media at the New York chapter of the ALS Association. Given the fact that we've spent a lot of time interviewing folks from big brands or for profit startups, it was nice to get the POV from a not-for-profit using social to advance their cause. During our talk, Lon discussed some of the challenges (and benefits) of doing social at a non-for-profit including small budgets but greater good will. Obviously, Lon's wisdom can benefit anyone who is trying to do social for an organization but other non/not-for-profits would do well to give his section of the show a listen.

Last up on the show was our featured Twitterer of the week ("we love your tweets" as Jennifer would say). This week's TOTW was none other than Lee Odden, CEO of Top Rank Marketing. While hardly a best kept secret, he's too smart of a guy and too much of a gentleman for only 20,000 people to be following him.

As always, you can find archives of our show here. You can also read re-caps of the podcasts on Jennifer's ZDNet blog or my Stroutmeister blog.

Co-opetition Anyone? An Agency Perspective

Below you'll find a post I contributed with friends, Todd Defren of SHIFT and Adam Cohen of Rosetta. The intro was penned by Mr. Cohen -- the write-ups on each of our respective companies were written by, well, us. You can find Todd and Adam's correlating posts here and here.

Changing markets cause change for those who serve them. As businesses adapt and figure out how social media will impact how they conduct day to day functions, service providers are adapting too. These days companies have a high probability of encountering any of the following providing social media services:
  • Sole prioprietor (independent contractor)
  • Social media agency (small, medium and increasingly larger)
  • PR agency (traditional, new media, all sizes)
  • Digital or interactive agency (all sizes)
  • Advertising agency (all sizes, but particularly the big dogs)
  • CRM consulting firm
  • Database marketing agency
Given the overlap in the "social" space, my friends and fellow agency movers-n-shakers, Todd Defren of SHIFT and Adam Cohen of Rosetta, have come together with me to create a brief description of what we do and how we do it to bring some clarity to the role each of our companies play in the space. We also talk about when we our companies might not be the best fit for a job (how's that for transparency?)


This is my company...
One of the top-25 PR agencies in the U.S., with offices in NYC, San Francisco and Boston, SHIFT is an agency that helps organizations of all sizes better communicate with the people that matter to their business. Sometimes that’s “the media,” sometimes that’s “some loudmouth on Twitter.” Companies ranging from Quiznos to Club Med, from tiny start-ups to established tech companies, look to SHIFT for counsel and execution on both branded and earned media.

What we do…
SHIFT focuses on “on-going engagement” vs. “campaigns.” And because relationships change over time, our targets and tactics evolve as-needed. Thus the portfolio of services a client will tap into can include: Traditional Media Relations (coverage in NYTimes, TODAY Show, eWeek, etc.) + Social Media Relations (dialogue with relevant Facebook Group admins, Twitterati, etc.) + Content and App Development + Community Management (running a YouTube channel or Facebook Fanpage).

This is why you should call me (type of challenge or project)…
We are generally called on by large brands that need to act more like a start-up or by small companies that want to take things to the next level. If your company needs more overall visibility (“get ink!”); needs to better engage with consumers (“that Social Media stuff!”); or needs to brand or re-brand in the marketplace, it’s worth a conversation.

This is when you should call someone else…
While we bring plenty of creativity to the table, when it comes to execution portion of app development, videography, website development, advertising campaigns, media buying and SEO, SHIFT will turn to quality partners like Powered and Rosetta, among others.


This is my company...
Rosetta is the largest independent digital agency in the US. Using a patented approach to segmentation, called Personality® Segmentation (yep, it’s patented and a differentiator), which provides deep insights into the drivers of consumer behavior, Rosetta’s teams translate these insights into relevant marketing solutions to attract, retain and strengthen a brand’s most valuable customer relationships. With 720+ team members, Rosetta is headquartered in Princeton, NJ, with offices in NYC, Cleveland, Boston, Chicago, Denver and most recently Toronto.

What we do...
We help companies develop strategies and implement marketing tactics, combining the best of insight + technology – from eCommerce to Paid Search to Creative to Analytics to Relationship Marketing. With all the tools in a marketer’s toolbox, we strive to be a CMO’s most trusted partner. Our industry expertise includes Retail & Consumer Products; Healthcare; Financial Services; Communications, Media & Technology, and B2B.

This is why you should call me (type of challenge or project)...
We’re best when we bring to together marketing disciplines and industry acumen to provide measurable integrated solutions. We shine we get the opportunity to demonstrate business results across tactics – like integrating eCommerce with paid search/SEO, driving the best creative with analytics and measurement, or infusing CRM with Personality Segmentation.

This is when you should call someone else...
Traditional media outlets are outside of our sweet spot (TV, print, radio), along with traditional PR. Our social media practice is focused on infusing social into all of our marketing disciplines, but we are partnering with world-class agencies like SHIFT on outreach programs and Powered on designing the best approaches to engage and activate communities.


This is my company...
Powered is a dedicated social media agency that helps brands fully capitalize on their social initiatives. With 75 employees in four offices (Austin, New York City, Portland and San Francisco) we brings "best-in-class" expertise across the social spectrum to our clients by offering a combination of strategy, planning, activation and management for social presence and programs.

What we do...
Okay, I guess I answered this in the "this is my company" section but to add on, we help big brands with strategy and activation (getting their key stakeholders like customers, prospects, partners or employees) to do things that create value for their brand. Those activities might include evangelizing, contributing, participating or learning.

This is why you should call me (type of challenge or project)...
We're really at our best when we're helping big brands (mainly B2C) connect their social efforts to their marketing efforts. We start by fleshing out a cohesive strategy and then move toward the activation. In many cases, this includes focusing on things like influencer outreach, ambassador programs, Facebook Fanpages, applications and customer tabs and the building and managing of branded online communities.

This is when you should call someone else...
We're still not particularly good at media buying, custom web development (outside of Facebook and community building), SEM and general site SEO. We also don't do any traditional PR. For those activities, I'd strongly recommend talking to our friends at Rosetta and SHIFT, both of whom we partner/work with.

How did we do? Feedback here or on any of our posts is welcome.