It’s #CrabbiesHour in the suite tonight. (at Fenway Park)
Don’t ever leave the agency with work that you believe to be less than Great. Whatever pain is necessary to avoid being a hapless messenger, take it. Agency pain is always less severe than client pain, as long as your motive is better work rather than an easier life, and it doesn’t scar so badly. Heated disagreement with colleagues is far preferable to disappointing a client.
(CEOs) Conducive Environment Officers
It’s Been A Good Week
While traveling back from a quick trip to Los Angeles, two really nice things happened in my professional world.
First, Custom Made (where I am on the advisory board) announced a big new round of financing. Now While I’m not generally one to see raising money as something to showboat about, this is a round led by some blue chip investors (like…Google), and is a real vote of confidence for the model. I’m really psyched to be working with these guys, and excited to begin this next ascent with them.
Next, Hill Holliday (as part of an integrated IPG team) was tapped to lead creative and strategy on Cadillac. This is obviously awesome news for the agency, and I’m incredibly proud of the team here that put this together. I truly feel lucky to have been a part of it, and to have had the chance to work with such smart and engaged people. Can’t wait to kick this one off either.
Hope this week keeps going in a similar direction.
Found this gem on the in flight entertainment system. Looks riveting.
Some brands have the courage to do it differently. We want to reward the brands that have reinvented their image, or even their industry; companies that have it hard because their business or product may not not flashy, but they stand out from the herd with an authentic, engaging, clever campaign; companies that are radically transparent in the face of difficult issues.
Creativity + Bravery
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living. Each day is the same, so you remember the series afterward as a blurred and powerful pattern.
How we spend our days
Weird animated GIF on the front of Boston.com right now. Weird, but kind of cool.
As email matured, and early mass-market Internet services like Prodigy and America Online became popular, @ became even more typographically unique. It stood alone on the keyboard as the one symbol known more for its association with the Internet than for anything else.
The Unlikely Evolution Of The @ Symbol
When you get a “Cup of Goodness at Pret a Manger, the POS display shows “Cup of Goo” as your purchased item. (at Pret A Manger)
Maybe my favorite album cover.
Late night at the office. At least the sunset was nice.
Your Technical Ignorance Is No Longer Acceptable
If you work in advertising in 2013, it’s is your obligation to be at least conversant in current technology and aware of possibilities that this technology provides.
The “I don’t get that stuff” or “I’m not good with the technology” is no longer an acceptable attitude to have in this industry.
To be amazing at your role, let’s say as a board director or a leader of a business or department, doesn’t require you to be a programmer. But to navigate this sea change and how it’s impacting your business and day-to-day life, you need to be literate and quite skilled at tech, and not be afraid of it.
Directors train to speak like the geeks (from The Sunday Times)
Rob Delaney on Walmart & Twitter
Rob Delaney’s thoughts on the Walmart Twitter account. I agree with this so hard on every level.
If you look at the Walmart Twitter, it is the worst, most pathetically offensive thing on the Internet. They totally have people who have like ***social media degrees*** running it. They clearly have a protocol where you literally respond to every tweet that they get—except ones from me, they never respond to me.
They try to feign humanity and engage with users. First of all, if you’re tweeting Walmart, you’re an idiot. Really? It’s like, “Hey, I couldn’t find Jack Reacher on Blu-Ray!” So they’ll write back, “It’s in the DVD section! Hey, what are you doing for Memorial Day?!” It’s like they ask a question that the answer will absolutely not matter and they’ll never see it but they try to engage like they’re your friend ***Corey***! To me that’s on the level of, if the Nazis had invented SkyNet, that’s what it would be like. To pretend that you’re a human being when you’re a gigantic soulless multinational. I can’t off the top of my head think of anything more disgusting and offensive.
So I would love to literally tweet for them and tell the truth, and be like, “We’re Walmart. We’re giant. We have many things for you to live a very bland and copiously overstuffed life of milquetoast unoriginality. You know what you’re gonna get, so just swing on by. Don’t ask us any questions because we’re a friggin’ robot running a Twitter account.” I’d make it much more popular.
The Simple Secret To Effective Community Management
For a good part of 2010, and for some part of 2011, I was in charge of the social media channels for Samuel Adams. And though I only spent a short time at the helm before moving onto Hill Holliday, I learned more about community management in this role than I had before or have since.
And I don’t mean “best practices” sort of stuff, like when the best time to post is, and what formats get more engagement. None of that actually matters as it turns out. That’s all brand-centric thinking. More on that in a minute.
What I learned, was that the key to running a successful brand community in any social space, was to be part of the community and never above it. Here’s what I mean…
Every person that works at Samuel Adams is a beer person. They fucking love beer genuinely. Regardless of what your job function is at the company, from Jim Koch himself, all the way through to the finance department and the interns, every person in that building shares one thing in common. And that’s their love for drinking, tasting, making and talking about beer.
So therefore, the approach to social for Samuel Adams was a simple one - connect with people over a shared love for beer, by being part of the community, not by lording over it or patronizing it.
Tactically, and on a day-to-day, post-by-post basis, I looked at it like this:
We ALL loved beer. It was the common thread between myself and all of the brand’s fans and followers. And in particular, we all loved Samuel Adams. But it just so happened, that when I got up and went to work in the morning, I’d walk by Jim in his office, tasting Boston Lager samples, or step over hoses being used by Bob Cannon as he washed the brewery floor. Or maybe I was part of a homebrew taste panel. Or perhaps I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at our most prized creation.
Whatever the particulars, I was Charlie and this was the Chocolate Factory. And my job was to help get your mind off of TPS reports and the humdrum of office life, by giving you access into my world.
The tone was meant to be “HOLY SHIT. CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS IS MY JOB??!!”
And by taking this simple approach of sharing my genuine excitement and wonder at what I had access to every day, I was able to connect to fans on a level that wasn’t manufactured authenticity, but was actually authentic.
Since I’ve left Samuel Adams, I’ve had the occasion to work with lots of people, who in some way or another, are responsible for over-seeing or managing brand communities. And what I see more often than not, are content calendars, best-practices outlines, tone/voice guidelines, and other devices meant to operationalize authenticity and connection with the people in these communities.
We all talk about the importance of connecting with our communities on a human level. We all talk about being personal and having a voice. We all talk about doing the right thing. But then we go out there and literally do none of those things. We treat these channels like a sales-brochure, and we post rehearsed, tone-deaf, advertiser-centric junk, that everyone sees right through.
So my advice is to ignore best-practices, don’t make content calendars, and for god’s sake, please try and see the irony in formalizing documents on how to have a voice and be authentic.
Instead, hire smart people, and match those people by interest, to the brand communities they oversee. If you have a fashion brand, staff that community manager role with someone who genuinely loves fashion. Have an automotive brand? Get a car-nut in that community manager’s seat. Don’t waste your time looking for people with “community management experience”. Look for people who already have a voice and connection with the community, and the rest will be easy.
If you go this route, you won’t have to spend time teaching someone to have an authentic voice, because it’ll just be there naturally.