September 13, 2010

Colorado, Technology, and Marketing

Sunset on Long's Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Colorado, Technology, and Marketing. Three of my favorite topics and quite exciting that there are so many intertwined relationships with them right now. I'm a Colorado native in love with where I live. I have a great career growing alongside marketing and technology. It's fun working with the team at Pure Brand Communications on all aspects of digital marketing, centering on Pure Listening.

One of the things I like about Pure Brand Communications is how we give back to the community, personally as well as great agency work with non profits like Boys and Girls Clubs, Special Olympics, and Children's Hospital. I volunteer with CSIA, Colorado's Technology Association. On October 7th CSIA is hosting DEMOgala - an event showcasing technology companies and thought leaders in Colorado.

It's wonderful to see how many technology companies have started in Colorado that provide really fantastic marketing solutions. SimpleGeo offers solutions to enable location based services in mobile, web and desktop applications. We've got web conferencing company ReadyTalk, email marketing firm SwiftPage, social media marketing company FiltrBox that is now part of Jive Software. Associated Content's online publishing platform (now part of Yahoo). A really creative CodeBaby that helps you with web site optimization by leveraging the nature of human behavior online and scientific study. There are also applications for mobile marketing like SnapTag from SpyderLynk.

In most blogs each of these companies would have a hot link to their website to learn more about them. In this case I'm going to promote the event where the companies, many others, and their founders and executives will be. On October 7th the companies I mentioned, many more, and over 25 thought leaders will be speaking at CSIA's DEMOgala at the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center. Now there's the link that's important. There will be over 1000 people attending.

It will be a great day. I'm looking forward to learning more about all the companies, especially those that are taking marketing to a new level.

John Meyer - jmeyer@pure-brand.com - @johndmeyer

September 10, 2010

FACEBOOK keep it clean

Drunk-guy

Remember the days when Brittany, Lindsay and Paris were the only ones who had to worry about the world seeing pictures of their risqué partying? Well, thanks to Facebook you now have something in common with the stars.


Forty-five percent of employers check out job applicants online, according to a study by Careerbuilder. This means when you go into an interview, chances are, not only has your potential boss seen your crisp black and white résumé, they may have also seen some scandalous full color photos of you at last weekend’s party. Think this seems a little far-fetched? An “it’ll never happen to me type thing,” perhaps? Well, think again. According to CareerBuilder, over one in three employers have found content online that stopped them from hiring someone (See sidebar “Online Faux Pas That’ll Cost You the Job”)

So how can you protect yourself? Peter Vogt, author of “Career Wisdom for College Students” and the President of Career Planning Resources, stresses the importance of privacy settings. He says many people don’t bother with the Facebook privacy settings or don’t know about them. To adjust them, simply click “Settings” on the top right corner of your Facebook home page, on the settings menu click “Privacy” then choose whom you want to share your information with.

Even with your privacy settings, Vogt warns, potential employers still get some information, and that can be damaging enough. He explains that no matter how private your profile is, employers can still see your profile picture so it’s best to pick a conservative photo.

Some people argue that privacy settings aren’t enough. Ronda Smith is the Director of the School of Arts and Communication at University of Wisconsin—La Crosse and teaches interviewing classes to prepare students for job searches. According to Smith, employers have found ways around privacy settings. Many companies access your profile through interns or other employees who are in your network or share mutual friends with you. Some employers even ask applicants to pull up their profiles during interviews.

Karen Lyon, Vice President Human Resources with Harris Bank, says she also knows employers who accessed private profiles and suggests avoiding anything that looks unprofessional. “A lot of companies have specific core values that they look for when bringing an employee into their organization,” Lyon said. “They want their employees to reflect that corporate image.”

Also, beware of your friends’ posts. Karolyn Bald, Career Service Advisor at University of Wisconsin—La Crosse, explains that often the content friends post on your wall or photos they tag is enough to turn employers off. Vogt agrees with Bald and suggested talking to your friends. Tell them you’re looking for a job so they can’t write anything inappropriate on your wall. Also, be sure to untag compromising photos and ask your friends to remove them.
 
Despite these negative aspects, social networking sites aren’t all bad. According to CareerBuilder’s study, 18 percent of employers have found positive information online that caused them to hire a person. Examples include creativity, strong communication skills, well roundedness, good references, awards and a professional personality that fits the company.

Lyon said she’d be impressed by someone who’s involved in a lot of social clubs, holds leadership roles and has a good amount of friends. She explains it looks bad if a person has very few friends and makes an employer wonder if the applicant has trouble socializing.

Some companies worry about the legal issues of screening people online. However, Lyon, Vogt, Smith and Bald agreed those worries don’t seem to be stopping employers from online check ups. Vogt explained it would be impossible to prove the employer used your profile.

“I’m not saying any of this is right,” Vogt said. “But in this environment and with the economy in tough shape, employers aren’t willing to take a risk on anyone. If they have a stack of résumés, all they have to do is dig up one funny-looking picture and that’s enough to put that résumé in the no pile.”  

Lyon added that even if you could prove an employer screened you online, there’s not much you can do about it. “These are public sites,” Lyon said. “Once you put it out there, you are putting yourself in a public light and people are responsible for their own profiles.”

Every time you put something online just consider if it’s something you’d be proud to show a future employer. After all, you wouldn’t stumble into a job interview in scandalous clothing, hanging on some guy’s shoulder, with 40 ounces of beer duct taped to your hand, would you?

Influences & Ignorance: Generation WC (Who Cares?)

NES

Pure colleague Geoff Renstrom loaned me a book, “Nothing Feels Good.” The title is a double meaning referencing the self-exploration and self-deprecation of music called “emo”—the theme is often loneliness and failure, yet that’s the preferred state of being.

No, I’m not currently crying over the keyboard. This is going in a different direction, don’t worry.

“Nothing Feels Good” shares great musical background, listing bands that have influenced the tunes I daily pump through headphones. And as I’ve scanned the pages I’ve shaken my head: Why haven’t I explored this before? It’s the skeleton beneath the skin of my MP3s.

I’ve jumped on Pandora, started cycling through these new-old artists, smiling at the connections I hear between then and now. But this has also sparked thoughts of predecessors in general.

At Pure we’re constantly using and chatting about all things digital: laptops, iPods, iPads, iPhones, social media, ad infinitum. Consider the dusty things in those evolutionary lines: typewriters, record players, Zack Morris cell phones, the many defunct magazines and newspapers.

Who in the rising generations will have the curiosity to explore this fresh wave of vintage? 

At the moment, vinyl is still cherished by many. It has a nice look, a nice feel. You set an album in its place, preciously place the needle, tweak the speed.

A stiff button opens a portable CD player, into which you loudly click in a texture-less disc and poke play.

One of those two experiences is more appealing. But if the CD player will be their record player, it’s tough to blame those rising generations for not caring.

Finding a Pac-Man arcade game or a pinball machine in someone’s basement is a thrill. To be vacuumed into that screen, that portal (and to have the machine suffer zero damage when punted in anger). Or have your eyes paw like a cat after a gleaming metallic ball.

While Sega Genesis was glorious, plugging in cartridges and dousing controllers with palm sweat robbed the act of some personality (and a kick could be fatal).

The youth slinging Wii remotes—and whatever’s beyond—may not care to meet Sonic the Hedgehog or Earthworm Jim, and they were cool dudes.

A person might be handed (or e-mailed) a “Nothing Feels Good” equivalent, but will they only nod at the words and think the past was wild? Does the investigation, the understanding, stop there? A lot of thrift store gear could be rather lonely down the road, and Nintendo Entertainment Systems weren’t designed to be emo.

@ryarnold

September 08, 2010

NEW INTERN!!

Hello All!

 

My name is Emily Keating and I am the new intern here at Pure!  I am so excited and proud to have this opportunity.  I have heard nothing but great things about this agency, and I couldn’t be happier to be here.

 

I have lived in Denver my whole life (with the exception of a few years back in Michigan, but I like to consider myself a native).  I graduated from the University of Denver in 2007 with a degree in Marketing and loved every minute of it.  Sometimes I wish I could go back and do it all again.  My favorite class at DU was a Marketing Strategy class where we created an entire campaign from start to finish.  It was for the Student Health Center about alcohol awareness for students by students.  We came in second place with our campaign “Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself!”

 

Some interesting this to know about me:  I have a German horse named Gus, who I have owned for nine years and show competitively all over the country in Hunter/Jumpers.  I have a two-year-old Alaskan Malamute who loves Colorado in the winter and hates it in the summer.  Finally, I love anything and everything outdoors.

 

I look forward to my time here at Pure, and I hope to learn everything there is to learn about PR and advertising.  My goal is to end up as an account manager for an agency here in Denver, because let’s face it, why would I ever leave this place!

 

Emily Keating

 

 

August 30, 2010

Happy Anniversary Pure Brand Communications

7candles
Friday was Pure Brand Communications 7 year anniversary! 

What were some of the highlights of 2003?

  • Nobody was "friending" anyone on Facebook as it would not exist for another year.
  • Nobody was making calls on iPhones or reading books on iPads as it would be  a few more years for that technology.
  • Lance Armstrong won his 5th Tour De France
  • Do not call lists were started.
  • Toyota overtakes Chrysler to get the number three slot in US car sales.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California
  • The Matrix Reloaded was one of the popular movies of the year.
  • Gregg and Dan started Pure Brand Communications and a year later Larry would join them.

Congratulations to the team at Pure Brand Communications. By following the Pure manifesto, as well as being creative, smart, and energetic, the team has successfully helped many clients be famous for who they are.

Happy Anniversary!

John Meyer

@johndmeyer

August 25, 2010

Customization for the greater good

Starbuckscup

A few weeks ago, I put up a post about how we receive our news, and how customizing the world's events to our preferences (and the preferences of our friends, via Facebook and Twitter feeds) could be bad news for the future good journalism.

As it turns out, customization isn't always a bad thing.

In preparation for the National Day of Service on September 11, nonprofit organization MyGoodDeed has launched a tool that allows you to choose a cause based on your likes and preferences, with the thinking that if you can choose a car, soul mate or news feed through customization, why not a charitable organization?

Follow the 9/11 National Day of Service on Twitter at twitter.com/911dayofservice.

-- Kate

@millerkm

August 24, 2010

Dumping Digital Trash

Blog_E-waste-1

While studying abroad two years ago, I loaned a stateside friend my television.

I never saw the 14-incher again.

So maybe I should have been thankful when, a month ago, my brother donated to me a 27-inch gem. Sadly, its depth was about the same dimension—a behemoth in this age of flat screens. I lugged the cube to an Arc thrift store in hopes that someone else could sacrifice the space.

But what if no one can? I’m assuming Arc stows things for a finite time. Then where do the “ancient” devices go? Ideally, it wouldn’t clank into place atop a landfill peak. But I didn’t make the inquiry. The fate of that box of metal, plastic and glass is a mystery.

(Yes, I could go back and ask Arc. But what follows is my point.)

What other electronic goodies have I—you—thrown away lately, or are planning to soon? Maybe you’re ditching your five-year-old iPod since it looks like you drag it from your car’s bumper. Oh, and that fresh smartphone makes your Internet-less one look like a punk.

A hefty but intriguing article from PBS Media Shift looks at the impending (well, already worrisome) overflow of e-waste as our collective craving for digital media inflates. (It’s so delicious—Twitter gave me the PBS heads-up.) Technological advances, as rapid as they are, will transcend what was “now” with what’s just slightly more, uh, now. We’re a growing sect of addicts tweaking for the fastest information and the most extreme connectedness.

Yet our paperless drug doesn’t inherently yield sustainability. A market analyst firm said that of the 53 tons of e-waste procured around the globe in 2009, a slim 13 percent was recycled. As the PBS article notes, there aren’t yet any true standards to which companies and manufacturers must adhere for the creation and disposal of their products. (Recycling aside: Ponder the energy and resources that go into bringing our “babies” into existence.) Some groups have taken it upon themselves to make ostensibly positive strides. The Apple on which I type boasts the number-five slot on the Greanpeace Greener Electronics rankings.

Although some states have enacted laws mandating e-recycling (not Colorado), consider being a bit more conscious of the pass-along destination of your outdated devices. You can be that first filter blocking the permeation of old, toxic MP3s into wasteyards. Ask the question of Arc that I didn’t; politely challenge/encourage them if the answer doesn’t satisfy. If your new printer cartridge comes with a hopefully-postage-paid recycling bag for the former one, use it. Better, how about sending it to a cool project like this Australian bicycle path made of empty inks?

Or simply hoard the Zune, or whatever the gadget(s) might be. Show your grandkids how cool you once were while they scoff at you, riding away on these.

Ryan Arnold

@ryarnold

August 19, 2010

Back to Basics

IStock_000005454206XSmall
I miss my pencil. During my adolescence very rarely did a day go by that at some point I didn't pick up my pencil and sketchpad and just draw. It may have not been for hours, but at some point in the day, I always put pencil to paper. It was an outlet for me and one that I miss terribly these days. Upon getting into this industry I had aspirational thoughts of sitting in front of a sketch pad all day and letting my ideas come flowing out of a pencil onto the paper. The reality is that I hear far more fingers clicking keyboards and mouse-clicks these days than pencils being sharpened. The computer has taken over as our creative outlet in this industry and it takes away from the tactile attachment that we had as aspiring creatives.

Now don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want to have the technology pulled away from me and go back to "the good ole days". I've grown very fond of my powerful cohort and wouldn't trade it for anything in terms of bringing my vision to reality. What I am saying is that we can't get away from our core. Too often I've seen designers go directly from a project briefing and plant themselves down in front of their rig and start right in designing on screen. They totally bypass a critical stage of the design process. The idea stage. Now one could argue that the initial designing on screen is the idea stage, it's just a modern day version of thumb-nailing, and I can see that. However, more often than not, designers get bogged down in the execution of only a couple of ideas and miss out on the exploration of the idea itself, the concept of the creative. At the end of the day the project will look good, and it is efficiently produced, but this process can lead to mediocre creative executions.

We need to be careful and not become slaves to our beloved technology. The next project you get, make sure to take that extra time to sit down and create for a while. Sharpen a number 2, dust off that sketchpad and feel the creation of that line.

August 17, 2010

Advertising, Digital Media, R2D2 and Facebook

DigitalNEMO
 

Good grief. What could the four words in the title of this blog post have in common?

A year ago my family drove to Columbia Missouri for my nieces wedding. Along the way I noticed about 50% of the billboards were giant digital screens. Aha, there is the link for Advertising and Digital Media in the title.

It turns out there are three significant areas where digital signage is exploding in growth. All of them are in the DOOH (digital out of home) category. The three areas break down into generic advertising where it is the display only, in store retail display to help people make a decision, and extremely interactive touch screen displays people can use to find out information or find a destination.

You are probably exposed to some type of digital signage many times throughout the day; Airports, elevators, fast food restaurants, hotels, health clubs, office building lobby, shopping malls, the list goes on and on.

In fact, according to a Arbitron Digital Place-Based Video Study 2010 these type of media reaches over 7 out of 10 U.S. residents each month. The study also reports that more people watch digital place-based video than watch video online, have a Facebook profile or a smartphone. There is the word Facebook! 

PQ Media forecasts that this $6 billion media "industry" will grow 9.4% through 2014 in the U.S. and 10% globally.

Coca Cola likes this new technology so much it is operating its own network of digital billboards

ROI is alway of interest in advertising and sometimes hard to measure. You can get some info from studies like Arbitron. And the more interactive the digital display is (ala touch screens) the more data can be collected. It will be interesting to see how ROI is measured as this technology grows and defines itself more and more. It will be fun to watch how creative the advertising becomes.

So why did I include R2D2 in my title? One word: Hologram. Remember when R2D2 projected the hologram of Princess Leia saying "Help me Obi-wan, your'e my only hope"? Wouldn't it be cool to add holograms to this digital technology? Done. Many companies are experimenting with this technology. Here is a link to a company that is building in store kiosks with holograms.

Is digital signage marketers "only hope" for standing out in the sea of marketing messages we see each day? Stay tuned.

John Meyer

@johndmeyer

August 12, 2010

Content, Community and Commerce

When framing out a strategy for yourself or clients in the Social Media space, you can take a 3C approach - Content, Community and Commerce. FWIW the 3C approach is a helpful rule of thumb for both online and offline communication campaigns - let's take a look at online.

The first C: Content:

Online, content has a short shelf-life, utilize this knowledge to tailor messages, resources or software to maximize the experience for the  kind of viewer that's digesting your feed. In the graph below, you'll see that "CHAT" has 100% value at zero seconds with the value declining over time. How many times have you come back 30 minutes later to a hidden chat window to find out that the other person has bailed on the conversation?

Content 


How does this effect community?

One easy insight, is using TIME as a demographic to distinguish viewship communities. Customize content for blog readers to encompass ephemeral elements like time sensative promotions, Groupon does a great job at aggregating short attention span consumers and then utilizing their commonalities to drive the 3rd C, commerce.


The 2nd C: Community.

As if! You already get it - did you come from a Facebook link or a Tweet to this article?

SocialNetworkGraph-people

Basically - you connect to people online by way of any number of ideas, these ideas unify netizens within various online communities. These communities can be "self-help" forums with longer content halflives, or frenzied chat rooms. Regardles of the community, it pays to take cues from the type of ideas that bind people together, and tailor your content to the group. No need to NEWS FLASH the Mac Help Forum with Latest iphone g4 TV commercial or publish your HTML 5 Whitepaper : MOBILE to Gizmodo.

The Big "C" - Commerce.

Now that you've focused your content, it's time to tend to the great thing that all online community members have in common...a desire to buy things associate with the brands they have a stake in.

For a detailed view into e-commerce you can peep the Department of Commerce Quarterly e-commerce sales report however, this chart says it all:

10Q1linechart

If you've done your job of creating content that creates community, then it's perfectly acceptable to sell relevant products and services to your constituents. 

What's the best way to sell things to your community? If your community is family and you want to sell a batch of cookies you made using grandma's secret recipe, check out Etsy. Maybe your a bit more sophisticated and want to sell custom game controllers mods to PS3 enthusiasts - in this case you want: e-commerc shopping cart, or savvy users will engage a combination of WordPress and shopping plug-ins.

Enterprise users will still roll their own using solutions like Microsoft  or Magento.


HTH

~Dennis