Creativity, Featured, social media

Yes, Stefan, They ARE Storytellers

“My philosophy has always been that I believe that art is not an elitist gift for a few select people. Art is for everyone.” — Richard Attenborough

Recently, Juxtapoz featured a video by Stefan Sagmeister in which he proudly proclaimed, “No fuckhead, you are not a storyteller” to, well essentially anyone who isn’t a novel writer or a feature film director.

(The tl:dr version of this post? “Yes, Stefan. People are storytellers. And despite making some good points, you’re an idiot.”)

Stefan (can I call you Stefan? I mean, after watching your video and tearing it apart so many times, I feel there’s a certain kinship here) makes some interesting points, some of which even make sense. I understand the need to say outrageous things. After all, if you don’t then how will you convince people to show up to your next TED talk, or get picked up by Juxtapoz?

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Creativity, social media

When “The Best Camera” You Have Needs to be Better

(With a huge tip of the hat to Geoff Livingston’s kick ass post from about a month ago looking at the same topic, it was a huge inspiration for me to finally finish and hit publish on this post. I don’t want to take anything away from Geoff, you should read his post first then come back. I’ll wait.)

A few years back, award-winning photographer/videographer/creative genius Chase Jarvis created a project called “The Best Camera is the One You Have With You.” It wasn’t just a project, it became a movement. In addition to the creative photography Jarvis showcased, it spawned a book and an iPhone app encouraging people to discover their own love of photography, and not be limited by the gear they did (or did not) have.

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Creativity, Tech

Telling the Future, Back in “The Day”

Just stumbled across this on YouTube. It was one of my favorite ad campaigns back in the mid-90s. It’s from AT&T and it looks at what “You Will” be able to do for business, pleasure and the merging of the two in the future. It appealed to the cyberpunk in me, looking at how business was expected to change. And most of it has come true, but not quite in the way shown in the commercials. (It WAS the 90’s after all) I particularly like the idea of consulting from the beach…

Creativity, From the Archives, social media, Strategy

From the Archives – “Bigger Boobs Through Social Media?”

If you are interested in social media, and learning how to get started or engage more in this burgeoning online media-sphere, then you have probably run across quite a few stories/blogpieces/ads pimping how “You Can Get 10,000 Twitter Followers in 30 Days!” or “You Too Can Become a Facebook Gawd!!1!!” and other such nonsense.  To me these are nothing more than just the latest “How To Get Bigger Boobs Through Social Media”-esque BS lures to remove you from your money or time (both of which are important).

A lot of these try to latch onto our need to be recognized, to be acknowledged quickly for our brilliance – and claim to provide a quick, “gimme gimme gimme now” fix to achieving this. Like most things in life and business, working in social media is going to require a lot of patience, time, strategic planning and hard work.

One of the big ideas these “plans” leave out – especially important if you are a business owner or corporate type – is the need for some kind of merging of your strategy between social media and communications. Social media are great tools for building additional communications and increasing your community outreach/developing a community relations platform, but they will never really replace your communications/pr strategy.  They can help augment it, but your social media outlets are really one more avenue to communicate with people, and need their own strategy to . But you need to have a firm strategy in place before you really jump in and drown in all the noise out there.

At the end of the day you’re not going to land 10,000 followers in a month, nor are you going to achieve deitific bliss on Facebook or – Buddha forgive – MySpace. As with most things in life, you need to work at it and show patience. Engage with your target audiences, look at the strategy you have developed – what do you want to say to them? What goals are you hoping to achieve? Why are you writing or recording?

Creativity, From the Archives, social media, Strategy

From the Archives – PR Firms as “News Stations?”

(Originally written March 10, 2010 – crossposted at PR Open Mic)
Why aren’t Public Relations firms more effectively using new media tools to create their own “news stations,” reporting on what their clients are doing? As long as those firms fulfill government requirements for disclosure regarding clients/freebies/etc., it makes sense to create content to their client’s advantage.

Now this might seem to run counter to what I’ve said recently about the importance of companies taking control of their own social media messaging. It is important for your organization to create its own social media content, especially blogging and video work. But if you have a PR firm on contract, then you should let the firm showcase its content on their own blog.  It not only promotes the firm (and you as a client of the firm), it’s additional information about your organization that can be picked up by Google searches.

Why and how should a firm set up an online newsroom?

  • It’s like setting up any other blog, with categories and/or pages for each client, and using tags for subcategories.
  • With a WordPress theme like Thesis, and/or an SEO plug in like you’re posts about each client will also appear in an SEO-friendly format
  • Firms usually give the responsibility of creating basic content (press releases, story pitches, etc) to younger assistant account executives. Also put them in charge of creating the social media content as it relates to your clients.
  • Give these junior AE’s ownership of promoting their client on your Firm’s News Blog. This helps them to develop the needed social media skills for the changing PR sphere.
  • Firms should let their Account Executives promote this material to the media, especially the media in smaller communities where local news outlets might have suffered most from the recent economic crunch.

And as long as they follow some SEO rules (keeping in mind that SEO might become secondary from this point on, falling to more organic social connections) PR firms will be able to drive more online searches not just to their client’s site, but to their own as well, which can help in getting more business. (Since the firm can show potential new clients that they are able to work outside the traditional media, or even the recurring idea of “blogger relations”)

Now what do you think? Should more firms take the lead in developing their own news outlet for client and firm news? Or should they spend more time working with the traditional media?

Community Relations, Creativity, social media

What’s Your Common Thread?

Earlier this month, my wife and I spent a relaxing week on honeymoon at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. One of the first things we noticed walking around the Magic Kingdom was the variety of languages floating through the air. Swedish, German, Spanish, Chinese – all bouncing around at the same time. (Not to mention the Disney program that allows college students from all over the world to work for Disney for a year – we met so many great people from around the globe that week)

What brought all of these people from locales all around the world to one place? Their love of Mickey and all things Disney. This place and what it represents to people around the world is a strong enough bond to bring together people who might not have much else in common. There are very few brands that can do this on a global level (Disney, Coca-Cola, the Pittsburgh Steelers, various religions, etc.).

But many more organizations have this potential, albeit on a more regionalized level. Whether it’s graduates from your school or university, sports fans, people who use your widget or follow your politics (if you’re a politician) there is a group of people who are passionate about being a part of a like-minded community.  Ask yourself, “what have we done to nurture this group? How can we engage and develop this burgeoning community?”


Getting in the Game?

Greeting again from sunny (during the day, it’s 1 a.m. as I write this) Disney World. It’ll be a few days later when y’all read this, but I’m getting the thought down now before I forget them and will have them up and running back when I get to ABQ and have reliable wireless again.

(Can you believe that after paying a bucket of cash, Disney still charges for Internet access? They have a good thing going here and know not to kill it.)

While the above paragraph sounded like some random ramblings, it makes the point I wanted to make in today’s piece. This idea of putting a message up when you want to, and allowing people to see it in their own time frame. And the medium I want to talk about today is the idea of advertising in video games.

Video game advertising? Really? Are people going to want to see this?

“Want?” Probably not. But advertising is already more and more prevalent in the video game world.  It probably started with the Madden NFL franchise (as many things in the video game world do) promoting various products with the “announcers” in the game (all real NFL Network and NBC talent). The “Old Spice Red Zone Report” when either team is within the 20-yard line (known in football as the “Red Zone,” which is also an Old Spice brand of deodorant I believe), or “this game is brought to you by EA Sports” mentioned at various times throughout the game, or the recreation of advertising actually located in each team’s stadium.

If football’s not your thing, the new “Need For Speed” allows for billboard advertising by companies or organizations that you can target to selected times and places. One organization that took advantage of this to a great benefit was Barack Obama for President. They were able to target ads for gamers in selected battleground states. Even if they did not notice the ads right away, or at all, they were still in the background adding to the subliminal message to vote for (or have more positive feelings for) President Obama.

As games and platforms continue to advance, you can expect to see game companies allow for advertising in their games. Think about it, you could place an ad for your organization on a bulletin board read by players in the upcoming Fable 3 game, or on a TV screen in the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.  And of course in any game which XBOX Live players can download (or even on the online games page itself).  Some platforms might even work out deals for players on their platform to get cheaper games if there is advertising allowed in the game, or might charge more to allow players to get “premium games” free of advertising.

It’s all up to you or your organization to think of new and creative ways to tap into this growing market. How would you like to present a consistent message to your audience in this medium? Would you even try to present more than a few seconds of a message? Would this be a great way to target a message to a potential audience in a selected location? – Probably, because you can selected which parts of the country these messages would go to, and they would be available to an audience that might TIVO ads away, if they even watch TV on a TV set, but can later get the message from their video game, still reading the message, only in their own time frame. (I would think that this would be a great way for a university to reach potential students.)

Then of course there are some opportunities for video game makers to offer games for a little higher price if they come with a “No Advertising” guarantee.

Creativity, From the Archives

Random Thoughts

These are some random thoughts that hit me when I was walking the dog last night.  I hope you find some of them useful.  I’m pondering which of them to expand on as upcoming blogs posts.

  1. “Fact Vomit” stories
    1. For Buddha’s sake, New Media and social media outlets have given you the opportunity to write and present your information creatively and with conviction. Take advantage of it!  Don’t just regurgitate stale talking points, tell a compelling story in video, text, audio, images, whatever you can think of!
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Creativity, social media, Strategy

Iron Chef – Social Media

So your boss is interested in social media.  They’ve read some blogs, checked out some illegally copyright-protected videos on YouTube, and even have a Facebook page and one of them fancy Tweety accounts.  Now they want you to come up with a social media plan to get them into as many Social Media groups as possible.  You’re on the verge of throwing out your company’s communications plan and starting from scratch, looking at every social media site you can lay your browser on.

(There are bosses who do get social media, and they aren’t are rare as you might think. So to get this out of the way, we’re not talking about them.)

First, don’t throw out the comms plan. While a lot of people talk about “social media strategy,” myself included, it’s important to remember that social media tools are just that – part of the communicator’s toolbox.

Actually, think of them as ingredients in a dish. (OK, I admit I’m still on a “No Reservations” high after tonight’s premier).  But more than that, the various tactics we will be looking at in this series (many of which you know, some of which you might not know or might not have thought about) are more than the proverbial “pieces to a puzzle.”  There is not one correct way to solve this puzzle.  Instead, there are myriad ways to use these tactics, and how I put together the social media sub-plan for a communications plan will probably be different from how Crosscut Communications will put one together.  And each of these will be different from how Drake Intelligence Group will develop one. And it goes without saying that someone like Chris Brogan will take those same ingredients and whip up a 15-course dinner (with fava beans and a nice chanti) compared to our barbeque cookouts.

Are any of us right?  Are any of us wrong? Not really, we just have different ways of approaching a challenge.

Continuing the cooking theme, every great chef has sous chefs, cooks and grill peeps to  help them keep running things smoothly and even provide input on new dishes. Now is a good time to raise the point that if you can, get a few creative pros together and let ideas bounce around.  You’re bound to get a lot more good ideas (as well as more ideas that’ll never fly).  Pay them for their time, let them give you some tasty morsels and then run with it.  A good social media PR peep should aim to make themselves redundant to your company when they are done training you.  As previously discussed, firms should take a serious look at content creation and how they can add that and other social media tools to an overall communications plan.

Now, your ingredients are coming up this week.  As they say on Iron Chef, “Allez Cuisine!”

Note: In this series I’m going to look at some social media/new media tools and briefly touch on what you can, can’t and possibly shouldn’t do (in my opinion).  The creativity will come from you.  This is in no way a complete list of all of the tools out there, and if I miss anyone’s favorite tool then please feel free to leave a comment or email or throw something blunt at me the next time you see me.