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04 Jul 12:17

Want to Start a Real Company Without Any Startup Costs? This Story Shows a Great Example

by Bill Murphy Jr.
Meet the guy behind a bootstrapped company with almost no overhead and a giant following in New York City.
18 Jun 09:50

Social Branding: What It Is, Why You Should Care, and How to Rock at It

by SmartKai

Where can you reach about 70 percent of all Americans?

If you answered social media, you would be correct. 👏👏👏

The sheer rapid growth of these platforms and their current prevalence in our world is unparalleled.

Considering that the leader of the social platforms, Facebook, was born in 2004 (just short 13 years ago), it is astounding how quickly social media has permeated our culture and how we interact with each other.

Social Branding | SmartKai

Social media has become central to communicating with customers, addressing customer services issues, as well as promoting the brand and services.

In this blog post, we will talk about social branding.

The idea of social branding is one, that all brands should consider – and optimize for – if they want to be taken seriously be customers.

Especially, startups and small business!

What is social branding, though? And how can brands establish themselves to compete in this increasingly saturated online world?

And how can brands establish themselves to compete in this increasingly saturated online world?

Let’s look at these questions in some detail…

What is social branding?

Social branding means building the brand’s reputation, following, and awareness through social media.

Today, social media plays an important role in the brand’s growth.

Social media is the world’s water cooler.

It is where people meet to discuss their likes, dislikes, and needs.

Social brands understand how to engage with people on these platforms and share their stories.

Stories – that are memorable. Stories – that not only reflect the brand but utilize the social platform’s unique DNA.

Businesses that are successful with social branding use the power of the online platforms to drive their organizations forward.

Why is social branding important?

Sure, it would be nice to be immensely popular on social media, but do those platforms really impact the bottom line? A popular misconception is that the customers do not really make purchases directly off social media.

Actually, it does matter.

Social media branding might not directly impact the bottom of the sales funnel, but it will impact the top. Eighty percent of customers say that they are more likely to evaluate the solutions put forward by brands that they follow on the various social media channels.

In other words…

…the brand recognition you gain from a strong social presence impacts how many people even consider your company in the first place. Sixty seven percent of people also report that they are more likely to buy from brands that they follow on Twitter.

One of the hidden treasures of social media value, however, is that 79 percent of customers say they will recommend brands that they follow.

Recommendations from friends or family are considered one of the most trustworthy forms of advertising. The recommendations you receive through social media offer incredible return for your organization.

Finally, a strong social brand presence will generally increase exposure and drive people towards your website.

Say someone mentions you in a Facebook posting or gives you a shout out on Twitter. Suddenly your company name is in front of countless new people who did not follow you before. Your site traffic will receive a boost.

How do I do social branding right?

Ok…

…now that we see the importance of social media branding, the question becomes how can we embrace this potential and put it to work for us. Social branding requires far more effort than just creating profiles on the different relevant platforms and then putting up the occasional post about the latest in your company. Here are a few golden rules for you to follow.

Social branding requires far more effort than just creating profiles on the different relevant platforms and then putting up the occasional post about the latest in your company. Here are a few golden rules for you to follow.

Here are a few golden rules for you to follow.

Speed is your friend.

People today, in general, have short attention spans (thanks, technology!) and they also expect brands to answer them quickly. If they post a problem or a question, you want to be right there to answer them or address their concerns. Delays just give potentially negative stories more ammunition– your lack of response screams to consumers that you do not care.

If they post a problem or a question, you want to be right there to answer them or address their concerns. Delays just give potentially negative stories more ammunition– your lack of response screams to consumers that you do not care.

Delays just give potentially negative stories more ammunition– your lack of response screams to consumers that you do not care.

Consistency is key

Although each platform has its own voice and culture, your brand should still be recognizable regardless of where customers find you. Use consistent branding, including messaging, colors, and offers.

Use consistent branding, including messaging, colors, and offers.

Be unique!

There is something that sets you and your brand apart from the competition. Let this aspect of your brand shine through. Offer value to your customers and let them see what you uniquely have to offer.

Let this aspect of your brand shine through. Offer value to your customers and let them see what you uniquely have to offer.

Promote conversations– not a soapbox!

We can’t emphasize this enough.

You want to actively engage your followers and use them to spread your brand.

Invite them to participate in contests or post using fun hashtags. Ask open-ended questions and start conversations on your pages.

Remember that social media is about relationships

If you remember nothing else, remember this:

social media is about relationships.

It is about posting content that is interesting for your followers and letting them know that you care about them personally.

Your postings should be authentic and trustworthy.

These traits matter considerably for customers: 80 percent of customers say that content authenticity matters to them when they consider what brands to follow.

Your postings should also include more than just self-promotion. No one wants a social media feed filled with just ads, and 45 percent of people will unfollow a brand for excessive self-promotion.

Follow the 80/20 rules. Make 80 percent of your posts about interesting information for customers, even if it is from another site, and 20 percent of your content about yourself directly.

What companies have done social branding correctly?

There are some companies who have completely nailed this social branding idea. They created campaigns that boosted their reputation and engaged people, and we can look to their examples for some inspiration.

Always and their #LikeAGirl campaign.

Sometimes it can be valuable to take a stand on an important issue, in this case it was gender equality and what women are capable of accomplishing. The stance really resonated with their core audience– women– and it caught on like fire. If you use this strategy, thorough market research should be done on your important issue to make sure it is not divisive or will not damage your brand reputation.

GrubHub

GrubHub knows how much people like to take and share pictures of their appetizing food, so they make art out of some delicious entrees. It makes you hungry, and it gets people to click.

Charmin and their #TweetFromTheSeat campaign

Some brands might feel stumped about creating successful social media campaigns over something mundane, but Charmin did not let this stop them. With engaging, humorous posts and campaigns like their #tweetfromtheseat, they encourage people to have fun with social media and their brand, boosting their reputation and creating positive associations.

Denny’s

Denny’s is a popular diner, but they do not restrict themselves to postings about food, sales, or specials. They go the humor route, casting themselves as a fun brand to follow for some laughs during the day.

Your customers today are on social media, and they are using the platforms as their means of connecting and engaging with those across the digital ecosystem. If you want your company to find a place in this conversation, you need to put social branding to work for you.

The post Social Branding: What It Is, Why You Should Care, and How to Rock at It appeared first on SmartKai Blog.

14 Jun 11:30

Girls With Slingshots - GWS Chaser #591

by tech@thehiveworks.com

New comic!

Today's News:

Jamie's always under budget.

http://www.girlswithslingshots.com//comic/gws591">Here's the original strip!

14 Jun 11:25

My Beauty Uniform: Jordan Rebello

by Megan Cahn

My Beauty Uniform: Jordan Rebello

Jordan Rebello is the beautiful face of some of our favorite brands, like Dôen and Glossier. She and her partner, John, live in Los Angeles with their four-year-old daughter, Poppy, where they spend their free time eating guacamole at the beach.… Read more

The post My Beauty Uniform: Jordan Rebello appeared first on A Cup of Jo.

14 Jun 10:59

Philips Azur Iron

by Freddy


The unique performance of Philips irons and steamers is demonstrated by the Art of Ironing. The classical Dutch paintings are re-created on a plain piece of white tissue with Philips ironing aids.

Agency: DDB, Moscow, Russia
Creative Director: Anna Denisova
Art Director: Ivan Davydov
Director: Anton Groves
Production: Yarche, Carioca Studio
Published: September 2012

14 Jun 08:38

10 Father’s Day Gifts Guaranteed to Entertain Your Dad

by Dan Price
fathers-day-gifts

If you were planning to buy your old man a “World’s Greatest Dad” mug for Father’s Day, stop right now. You can do much better than that, especially with a little help from MakeUseOf.

If your dad is into technology, there’s a whole world of potential gift ideas out there. And don’t worry, you can buy most of them without breaking the bank.

If you know you want to buy him something tech-based but you’re struggling for inspiration, relax. We’re here to help. Here are some gifts that are guaranteed to entertain your dad this Father’s Day.

1. Streaming Subscription

netflix web

With the explosion of streaming services in the last few years, there’s now more choice than ever in this category. That’s great news; you’ll be able to sign your dad up for something that precisely matches his tastes.

You could give him a subscription to one of the “big players” like Spotify ($9.99/mo), Netflix ($10.99/mo for the HD plan), Hulu ($7.99/mo), or Google Play Music ($9.99/mo).

Alternatively, you could get him something more personalized. For example, there are lots of niche music streaming services that help him discover new music genres. And if he’s a classical music fan, you should check out Primephonic.

There are also niche video-on-demand services that cater to a specific type of content. Check out providers like Acorn TV, Concert Vault, and RUSC to get a taste of what’s out there.

2. Vinyl Turntable

sony turntable

Depending on how old your dad is, it’s possible that he won’t appreciate the lack of digital media ownership that has come with the streaming generation.

Instead, he might enjoy a more old-school approach to music consumption. If he has been collecting vinyl and doesn’t want to listen to Justin Bieber and co., you may want to buy him a turntable instead.

But don’t be fooled. Turntable technology has progressed somewhat since the 1980s (or should that be 1950s?). These days, you can find turntables that can connect directly to your computer. It’s a feature to look out for if you’re buying a new vinyl turntable.

If you buy a USB turntable, your dad will be able to import all his music to his preferred desktop music manager. He could even use his computer speakers for the audio output.

There are lots of options on the market, but two possibilities that balance price with quality are the Sony PS-LX300USB and the Audio-Technica LP-60.

Audio-Technica AT-LP60-USB Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable (USB & Analog) Audio-Technica AT-LP60-USB Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable (USB & Analog) Buy Now At Amazon Too low to display

3. Bluetooth Speaker

dali katch bluetooth speaker

If your dad is a tech nerd and already has a subscription to Spotify or one of the other well-known music streaming services, perhaps you should consider buying him a Bluetooth speaker. It will let him easily listen to his music whether he’s pottering in his shed or putting up some shelves.

Again, there are lots of Bluetooth speakers to choose from. They vary drastically in quality and price. Much of your purchasing decision will come down to how much you’re willing to spend.

At one end of the scale, you could pick up a Dali Katch for around $500. If that’s too much, set your sights a bit lower and buy a water-resistant Creative Muvo 2c.

Dali Katch Bluetooth Speaker in Dark Shadow Dali Katch Bluetooth Speaker in Dark Shadow Buy Now At Amazon $499.00

4. Quality Pair of Headphones

oppo headphones

This is the last music-based idea on the list, but it’s also one of the best.

If your dad is an audiophile, he shouldn’t be without a quality pair of headphones. The difference in sound quality between a cheap pair of in-ear buds and a top-end pair of noise-canceling headphones for audiophiles set is vast.

It’s important to make sure you buy the best headphones for your budget. However, if you’re not sure where to start, you could consider the Oppo PM-3, the Sony MDR-ZX770BT, or the Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7.

Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7 GM (Gun-Metal Grey) High Resolution Audio Over-Ear Headphone (Japan Import) Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7 GM (Gun-Metal Grey) High Resolution Audio Over-Ear Headphone (Japan Import) Buy Now At Amazon $209.95

5. Chromecast, Roku Box, or Kodi Box

apple tv

Okay, let’s move on from music. What should you buy if your dad loves watching TV? Luckily, you have lots of options.

The first thing to consider is a set-top media box. Again, there are lots of choices, so make sure you ask yourself some important questions about the media player you want before hitting the shops.

Some are better than others, but when buying as a gift, you should base your purchase decision on two things. First, how technologically gifted is your dad? And secondly, what operating systems and hardware does he use on a day-to-day basis?

For example, if he’s not very tech-savvy, give Kodi boxes a wide berth. They require a lot of setting up and can be complicated to manage. If he’s an Apple user, get him an Apple TV, which isn’t as feature-packed as its competitors but will integrate beautifully with an existing setup.

And if he’s device agnostic? Consider a Chromecast, Roku Express, or Amazon Fire Stick.

Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote | Streaming Media Player Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote | Streaming Media Player Buy Now At Amazon $29.99

6. Plex Pass

plex pass

If he’s already got a set-top box and possesses a vast collection of locally-saved content, you need to buy him a Plex Pass.

In case you’re not aware, Plex is a home theater app that can stream video, music, and photo files to any computer or device in your house. With a bit of legwork, you can even set it up so you can access your content remotely when you’re away from home. As of June 2017, Plex also supports live television.

Plex Pass is the premium version of the app. It introduces a range of features beyond the free offering. They include the Live TV feature, a DVR, mobile sync, cloud sync, parental controls, and a whole lot more.

A three-month subscription costs $14.99, a yearly subscription will set you back $39.99, and a lifetime subscription is $119.99.

7. Blu-ray Box Sets

star trek dvd

What do The IT Crowd, Doctor Who, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Red Dwarf, and Mystery Science Theater 3000 all have in common? They’re all TV shows adored by geeks! They all also have multiple series, making them perfect box sets to buy for a geeky dad.

Contrary to popular belief, the DVD format is alive and well. Sure, sales might have declined in the last few years, but estimates suggest there are still more than 250 million discs sold annually in the U.S. alone.

If your dad is smart, he will be able to rip DVDs onto a computer, then add them to his Plex server. From there, he can stream his present around the house. So, look forward to listening to the Star Trek theme tune from Father’s Day until Christmas!

8. Amazon Kindle

amazon kindle

If your dad is more of a reader than a watcher or a listener, he needs an Amazon Kindle in his life. Just make sure you choose the right Kindle for his needs.

Not only are the Amazon e-readers portable and easy to use, but they can save you dad a ton of money. The average cost of a current bestseller on Kindle is $7 while the average cost of a paper version of the same book is well over $20.

Kindles are also a great way to find new books to read.

Amazon offers a range of different Kindle devices, each with different features and specifications, such as the luxurious Kindle Oasis.

Kindle Oasis E-reader - Graphite, 7" High-Resolution Display (300 ppi), Waterproof, Built-In Audible, 8 GB, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers Kindle Oasis E-reader - Graphite, 7" High-Resolution Display (300 ppi), Waterproof, Built-In Audible, 8 GB, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers Buy Now At Amazon $249.99

9. Amazon Prime Subscription

amazon prime box

What do you get for the dad who’s got everything? If your father is the type of person who’s constantly treating himself to little gifts throughout the year, it can be hard to stay on top of what he’s got, what he wants, and what he needs.

The solution? Buy him an Amazon Prime subscription. That way, he can just buy whatever he desires.

For $119/year or $12.99/mo, he will get free shipping (as little as two hours on certain items) and early access to the Amazon Lightning deals. Not to mention he will get access to Amazon Prime Video (packed with awesome shows to watch) and Prime Music.

10. Mug

OK. There’s a lot of ideas listed above, so you should be able to find something your dad will like, right?

What do you mean you can’t. Well, I’m sorry, but if nothing we’ve suggested has inspired you, you’re beyond help. So perhaps you should get him that “Best Dad Ever” mug after all!

Father's Day Gift Dad Gifts Fathers Day Best Dad Ever Mug Birthday Greatest New American Gift Step-Dad Funny Cool Super Amazing Funny Happy Great Gag Prime From Daughter Xmas Cheap Cool Mugs Father's Day Gift Dad Gifts Fathers Day Best Dad Ever Mug Birthday Greatest New American Gift Step-Dad Funny Cool Super Amazing Funny Happy Great Gag Prime From Daughter Xmas Cheap Cool Mugs Buy Now At Amazon $14.99

Keep Reading for More Ideas

Joking aside, if you’re still struggling for ideas, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve written about smart home gadgets that are perfect for any dad, created a list of “dad movies” that could make a perfect DVD gift, and introduced you to techy dad gifts for under $50.

Image Credits: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

Read the full article: 10 Father’s Day Gifts Guaranteed to Entertain Your Dad

05 Jun 06:39

These WordPress Hacks Will Seriously Improve Your Productivity

by Joanne
We’ve compiled a list of the top productivity hacks for your WordPress site.
17 May 07:27

How Social Insights Can Inform Your Marketing Strategy

by Vanessa Williams
One of the key advantages social media has over other marketing channels is the ability to get feedback from consumers in real-time. For more traditional marketing channels, like television, print, etc., it can take weeks or months gather insights from a campaign and then even longer to implement. With social media, both quantitative and qualitative data can be gleaned from your audience and reported to other disciplines to inform overall marketing strategy.

Quantitative Social Insights

Quantitative social insights are established through measurement and goal-setting. Depending on your resources and your objectives, using the reporting dashboards built in to the channels natively might be enough. If your goals are around SOV, benchmarking against competitors, etc., you will likely need some third-party tools to pull this data. VW blog
The second piece is accurate goal-setting. In order to determine if something was good or bad we need to benchmark performance. Setting goals requires analyzing past performance and projecting a trend forward based on a strategy and understanding of the social space. It is important to remember that overall goals should ladder up to larger business objectives. Once we have those benchmarks, frequent reporting against them will help gather quantitative insights. Common KPIs to set goals for include: impressions, engagements, engagement rate, click-thru rate, advocacy actions, etc.
An example of this in action is one of our clients has a CPG product that makes up a smaller portion of sales than their hero product. However, when we feature this product on social, it continues to be a top performer in terms of the benchmarks we set. These insights are then relayed to the product team to show that there is a strong demand from our audience for this particular product.

Qualitative Social Insights

Quantitative insights are great; however, I believe that the qualitative insights that you can gather from your social audience can be even more valuable. The near immediate feedback you can get about a new or existing product or service from social is a gold mine. If you see a trend in the questions or comments from fans these insights can be used to inform social content, programs and potentially your overall marketing strategy. VW blog2
An example of this is that one of our clients posted a DIY water bottle hack to encourage people to drink more water. Fans loved the hack and expressed how much they would want to have that water bottle like this. Those comments were raised up the chain and the brand created a new water bottle based on the feedback.

How Quantitative & Qualitative Insights Come Together

Quantitative and qualitative insights are the most effective when they come together to make an informed decision. Here is a checklist of what is needed for that to happen:
  • Benchmarking & goal-setting for social
  • Frequent reporting on social performance with analysis
  • Community Manager who can identify questions and trends from fans
  • A nimble social team that can adapt to those insights
  • Social reports shared with larger marketing teams and executive decision makers

The post How Social Insights Can Inform Your Marketing Strategy appeared first on Ignite Social Media - The original social media agency.

15 Jul 07:15

This is How You Share Content in Social Media

by Douglas Karr

If you truly want to maximize your reach on Facebook and Google+ when you share content, look no further than our client, Angie’s List. Many folks (like us) push our content to social media utilizing a host of publishing applications like Hootsuite or Buffer.

The problem is that our articles are seen on Facebook and Google+ with minimal reach. Not too many shares, not too much dialog. We’re using a a third party to publish them so we know that Edgerank is already driving our visibility down. The posted articles look like this:
Click to view slideshow.

Now take a look at Angie’s List and how they publish their articles:
Click to view slideshow.

23 Shares, 32 Likes, and 9 comments on the topic, How to Choose the Right Shingle Color! Folks… that’s not exactly some amazingly fascinating topic the world was waiting on, was it?

The difference between our sharing method and theirs is that they provide a very nice photo and upload it with a short link to their article. This is a manual process and requires the additional time of developing the graphic and uploading it manually… but it’s getting hundreds, if not thousands more people seeing the article by doing so.

The images are displayed at the full width of the stream – a huge difference compared to the small thumbnail accompanying other articles. As folks are scrolling through their streams on Facebook and Google+, they breeze by the text, may catch one or two article thumbnails, but their eyes can’t miss these large images! Google+ publishes them at almost full browser width!

You may want to think about developing some kind of template in Illustrator of Photoshop to easily build out these images to post… they really do work!


© 2013 DK New Media.

07 May 07:13

Here's A Rottweiler And His Deer Friend Playing

AKA the cutest 33-seconds you'll see today.

Source: youtube.com  /  via: tastefullyoffensive.com

07 May 04:10

How I Was Cured of Ever Wanting to Write Poetry Again

by Demian Farnworth

Crashing Plane

The ninth post in The Education of a Writer (TEW) series. A Monday feature. Next up: “I Thought I Was the Next Robert Collier.”

Call me lazy. I go where the jobs are. I go where the path offers least resistance. I go where the data indicates. That data being my feelings of wanting to land a job, and then get back to life …

To what I love (poetry). That was my attitude back then. Towards career. Towards life.

Here is how I left the job with the television evangelist: I asked a close friend to review my resume. I said I needed to find greener pastures. My last raise — after 18 months — was for 17 cents an hour. That’s like I earned less than a penny an hour for each month I was there. If I was going to provide for my family, I was going to need more than that.

My friend accepted the invitation to review my resume. Then he invited me out for dinner. At dinner he told me that he and his partner were doing quite well after five years of near poverty-level living. The real estate market had taken off … and their company with it. And to enjoy some of the fruits of their labor (and actually take a vacation), they were in a hiring spree. And they were looking for a writer. Was I interested?

Was I interested? The job was two miles down the road. I would be writing vast amounts … but a particular kind of writing. Direct response writing. I shrugged, “Yeah, baby, sign me up.”

“Then we need you to write us a sales letter — selling you.”

“Consider it done, baby,” I said, slamming my ice water down. “Consider it done.”

I got up and left.

When I got in my car, I nearly panicked. Up until this point I’d never written a sales letter. I wasn’t even sure what a sales letter was. So when I got home I jumped online and started to study. I immediately felt a little icky.

“Sales letter,” turns out, was another word for “infomercial.” At least that’s what I ran into online. Whatever. I wanted away from the 40-minute commute one way to the television evangelist, days of empty-handed production, and copy-cat product descriptions.

So I wrote the sales letter.

It wasn’t that great, but had potential. That’s what I was told when they hired me. I didn’t care. I’d learn how to be great.

My first day on the job I met my boss. He was a kind man, tall, studious in his glasses, but casual in his faded orange polo and cargo shorts. I was in love with his office … a bookshelf-lined room punctuated with giant windows.

I was thinking, “Excuse yourself and let me dig through those books, baby.”

We chatted, I shared my experiences, he shared his vision. And then he handed me a book.

THE book.

I turned it over in my hands. The book jacket was white with chunky blue and gold letters declaring the title and author. On the back I scrutinized the photo of the writer.

“How do you pronounce his name?”

He pronounced it. I winced.

“When you finish that book, I’ve got more from where that came from.”

“Okay. I look to read, baby. I look to read. I’ll be back.” I winked and zipped out of his office. When I reached my desk I set the book down and hovered over it. I curled my lip and my stomach churned.

“What a loutish, brain-boiled excuse for a book,” I snarled. “Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion … a tome for idiot-worshippers.”

But because I was a loyal and dedicated employee — and because I’d committed myself to being done soon — I sat down to read it. From page one I fell in love with it.

Who couldn’t love a  chapter called “Weapons of Influence”?

… and the opening story about a jewellery store owner (trying to unload a stubborn shipment of turquoise pieces) orders her sales lady (in a note) to “sell everything at 1/2″ then heads out for a short vacation …

Only to come back to learn the entire turquoise inventory sold out in a matter of days because, instead of discounting everything by half, the sales lady, misreading the note from her boss, doubles the prices.

O my, I thought, what is this mysterious power that influences people to pay more for items they ignored at a lower price? What is going on here? I blew through that book in an afternoon. And then read it again.

A few days later I returned to my bosses office, handed the book back, and asked for another. He gave me Joe Sugarman’s Advertising Secrets of the Written Word. My reaction to the book was less violent than before, but I could still feel the book snob was still alive in me.

Wounded, but still alive.

After Sugarman I read The Robert Collier’s Letter Book, Ogilvy on Advertising, Tested Advertising Methods by Caples.

I then read the books, sales letters, and blogs of living copy legends like Dan Kennedy (The Ultimate Sales Letter), John Carlton (Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel), and Gary Halbert (the “most valuable website on the internet“).

I then dove into the ancient works of dead legends. The guy who made Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People a best seller in the 1930s (Victor Schwab). The father of scientific advertising and ceaseless promoter of “reason why” copy (Claude Hopkins, circa 1904). And the copywriter who Rodale press supposedly paid $54,000 for four hours of work in the 1950s, and … has the most stolen book from the library (Eugene Schwartz).

The impact on my own writing was massive.

Over time I learned how to write clearly. No more obscure meaning, clunky sentence structure, or dense copy. No more flowery detail or five-syllable words. Out with the conflicted, constipated, meandering professor … in with the relaxed, liberated, gun-slinging outlaw.

A few months went by and, by chance, I looked at my old poems. The ones I was so proud of. I furrowed my brow, flipped them to the side, and shook my head. I stared at the volumes of Wallace Stevens and Ezra Pound on the bookshelf. It was obvious: I could no longer write like that … I could no longer depend on being obscure, ambiguous, or circular … making the reader work for the meaning … earning the right to read me … a languid genius the world didn’t deserve …

What happened was I finally left that cave, walked down the mountain, and into the village below to join the rank and file. To live amongst their sweat, their dirt. The carts spilling corn cobs as it wobbles down the road, the sulphur odor spilling from the smith shop, the shouting of the leather merchants, the gossip of the cotton seamstresses, the swarthy taste of figs and pork dishes.

I drank coffee with the accountants, the electricians, the veterinarians. I hung out in Las Vegas with soldiers and real estate developers. I grilled coders and dentists in Miami. I watched screaming children play in a fire hydrant gushing water. Jobless youths smoke and skateboard. The elderly sneeze and break their hips on the edge of a table.

I wanted to be plain spoken. Simple. And persuasive as all get out. Then it happened.

After several months at the new job I swore that I would never return to poetry. To complexity for complexity’s sake. I couldn’t see how it could happen. I’d been awakened to a realm of writing that demanded clarity and potency. That forced me to look at people and figure out their hopes, dreams, and fears. I would board up that old place. Allow it to grow over with weeds. And hitch a ride to new spaces full of people and warm-blooded relationships.

If only it was that easy.

If you love what you just read, then subscribe to CopyBot. And follow me on Twitter or Google+.

Image source: Four-Color Process

20 Apr 15:53

The 10 Best Things To Do On The Internet This Weekend

Athonestim

Cool stuff!

20 Apr 15:49

My Starbucks Idea: 5 Years Of Inspiring Ideas

by Igor Beuker

My Starbucks Idea exists 5 years and they have turned 275 of consumer generated ideas into reality. What can CMOs learn from open brand innovation at Starbucks?

Starbucks1 500x384 My Starbucks Idea: 5 Years Of Inspiring Ideas

We discovered My Starbucks Idea back in 2008. And I decided to cover it as “amazing potential” here on ViralBlog. Why the love?

Ausdauer or Mechanism with Mileage?

Already in 2008 I had the gut feeling that this Starbucks program could be leading towards something special: An ongoing movement or a mechanism with mileage.

The Germans would call such a long term program “ausdauer“. Freely translated by me as; Staying power, endurance or persistence.

Where most brands tend to go for short term campaigns and being in control, Starbucks went for long term. Showing the marketing community it’s in control enough to let go.

In FMCG or CPG, we see lots of “new” flavours being introduced to push the market penetration up a tiny percentage.

Honestly, how often do we see TVCs about “new and improved” facial creams or even better shampoos? If that happens too often, consumers might think; “Hey, why not creating a better product right away?”

At C-level, we mostly brief agencies on campaigns. Long term programs are often being neglected, straight away.

Most large brands are very scared to release consumer generated ideation, or open brand innovation.

Like consumers do not rate their products or services on sites like Epinions or TripAdvisor anyway?!

True Social Media, Open Brand Innovation or Social CRM?

6a00d8351b44f853ef00e54f137f528833 800wi 500x303 My Starbucks Idea: 5 Years Of Inspiring Ideas

I am not sure how to “label” My Starbucks Idea. But, does the label truly matter?

I only know that the consumer generated and voted suggestions are shaping Starbucks in the best of ways.

A brand that listens to its customers, now that is true social media, right?

Or should I call it open brand innovation? Or social CRM? That decision is up to CMOs. Or you.

Science, analytics, observations and experience at C-level, are showing me that consumers are engaged with Starbucks.

And that consumers are smart, certainly in similar wisdom of crowd format.

Mostly the sum of consumer generated ideas is often smarter than the brand’s own R&D department.

My Opinion on My Starbucks Idea?

I liked the approach back in 2008 and 5 years later, I even like it better from a branding and marketing point of view.

Share. Vote. Discuss. See. They seem like 4 simple words, not a very big deal, right?

But any CMO knows and understands the possible impact of such a program. Most CMOs won’t even take the risk to be labelled radical.

I do have some quotes (from others) to express my appreciation for this Starbucks program:

“It takes an architect to vision and build cathedrals. Everything else is just bricks in a wall.”

“Learning is experience. Everything else is just information.”

Some brands can become part of our badge of belonging. Starbucks achieved that. When its going got tough, CEO Howard Schultz revealed his true DNA.

The My Idea program helped Starbucks over its tipping point from mindshare to heartshare.

Two thumbs up for this mechanism with mileage.

What About You?
How would you label My Starbucks Idea? How do you rate it? What other great examples can you share with our readers?

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About the Author
Igor Beuker was CMO at 3 listed companies, chairman at the IAB, jury member at Webby, AMMA and Esprix awards, founder of 3 digital agencies (sold to WPP) and global chief social officer at Mindshare. Now he is freejack consultant and still a sought after keynote speaker.

The post My Starbucks Idea: 5 Years Of Inspiring Ideas appeared first on VIRALBLOG.COM.

    


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