Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

endings+beginnings

March 22, 2010

3 brilliant spots.

Each makes a different point about beginnings and endings.

The first celebrates the end of a soldier’s tour of duty. I love how honest and simple the execution is.

The next is the perfect sequel ending to one of the most popular viral videos ever.

And the last sparked imitators world wide because–in a brilliant twist–the ending is the beginning. (Stay to the end, it’s worth it.)

All three  spots move me in different ways. Two of them cost almost nothing to produce. They inspire by strong writing and unexpected twists.

Flannery O’Connor once said “Beginnings+endings are critical moments . . . the shorter the narrative, the more important their function and their import.” These short ads make the most of both.

I hope they start something in you.

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good morning, sunshine

March 15, 2010

We love spring.  Crocuses nosing up from the earth. Sunshine spilling onto the sidewalk when you leave work.

But up in Inuvik, the Canadian Artic, sunshine has an even greater power. For sixty-six days of winter, they’re encased in darkness. Which makes this documentary style spot, from Tropicana Canada, so charming. And their message about brighter mornings so meaningful.

Find a story. Or make a new story that meshes with your brand. Tell it honestly. You invite people to experience your message, instead of bracing themselves for your sell.

What story is waiting for you?

live it out

November 25, 2009

Whether you’re talking business or personal style, standing out takes balls. And the ballsiest person I know is 88 year old Iris Apfel. Iris is outrageous, down to earth, and can count herself among the ranks of art geniuses.

Her medium?  Clothes.

Don’t laugh. Art museums around the country are showing her work, including NY’s Met and the Peabody Essex Museum. Last month we promoted her extraordinary exhibit on radio.

Now, meet Iris…

“Live it out!” Iris tells us. It’s true in life as well as business. The first question to ask is: Do you have the guts to be truly distinctive? All it takes is some balls and maybe a boa.

the real work of brands

November 14, 2009

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Tomorrow I lead 25 TV executives through an all-day brand workshop in Dubai  at the DMI studios.

We’ve never met, but already I know this: they’re managers, directors, art directors, and producers. They’re young, creative, opinionated, curious, and ambitious.They’ll be shy at first, and open up as the day goes on. We will laugh and disagree, we may have misunderstandings.

By the end of the day, they will amaze me.

We spend a lot of time preparing our workshops:  pulling examples, creating exercises, and laying out the concepts that make brands work.

But the miracle always happens in the team work. When the language of the day isn’t job titles or meetings. It’s ideas. When people jump in and try things out. When they don’t fear failure.

What will amaze me tomorrow? I can’t wait to find out.

What’s your best workshop experience?

everything I know about social marketing I learned from my taekwondo master.

November 2, 2009

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Grandmaster Kim may not tweet or post his favorite kicks on Facebook. But he has mastered Social Media and, in the process, built an internationally recognized school, Jae H. Kim Taekwondo Institute.

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Build Community

The school, a stone’s throw from Fenway Park, plays host to Korean surgeons, clerks from Ethiopia, French chefs, and students from Boston University. But, in uniforms and bare feet, we’re members of the same tribe, thanks to the community that Mr. Kim has built.

He hosts an annual holiday luncheon, expects every black belt to teach other students, and encourages us to visit sister schools around the world. Jet-lagged in Singapore, I still found a home and welcoming instructors at the JHK dojang.

This year Master Kim is throwing a Hanmadang to celebrate the school’s 35th anniversary. Visitors from the other schools will come for a day of competition, showmanship, demonstrations, songs, and, yes, eating.

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Think about the communities in your company. Are they welcoming? Passionate? Open and well organized?

Tell your story

A beautifully hand-painted scroll, a gift to Mr. Kim from the founder of Taekwon Do,  General Choi, greets everyone who enters the dojang.

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In the visitor’s area, next to the cushy sofas, are booklets packed with moments from the school’s history. Events like the “Friday Night Fights” and the showdown between Mr. Kim and his top 3 students against a competing school, are told with full relish.

The message is clear to every member, you’re part of something great.

Story fills your brand up with meaning. It lets consumers know they’re part of something more than a business transaction. So, what’s your story?

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Keep talking and tinkering

Every week Master Kim sends emails updating members on the school. He’s not a chatty guy; every email is an enclosure and written formally. Mr. Kim changes up class schedules and shifts the focus every year to reflect student input. He takes risks on a daily basis.

Embracing change every day in your business may seem overwhelming. But, just like a turning sidekick, exercise those muscles and it becomes fluid.

Black-BeltAre you ready to kick your social marketing up a level. What are great examples in your own life?

let’s talk

October 23, 2009

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We’ve talked about conversational writing. Now, let’s talk conversation. Part 4 of our Write With Balls session (from Promax/BDA) is all about getting the dialogue going.

Imagine running to a train when, suddenly,  other commuters break into a fox trot. What would you do? I’d take a picture and call my friends. That’s what T-mobile hoped for–and they turned it into a viral video that circled  the globe.

January 20th. I was sitting in front of the TV, laptop open and, while several million huddled together  in the Washington,  I was with all my friends watching the event with CNN and Facebook.

It didn’t matter that all the comments flying by were just a virutal version of “Can you believe this is happening?”

The ability to connect with my friends and strangers made a great moment even more memorable. And it was a perfect fit for CNN’s brand.

Finally, this spring, I felt like the world had taken a weird turn when I saw this video on youtube. But of course it was part of another massive plan. This time for True Blood, a revolutionary and virtual ad campaign.

Shared moments,  virtual moments, vampire moments: They’re different sides of the same subway token. Kind of crazy, totally exciting and here we are with the best seat in the house, witnessing this new frontier.

What’s your favorite shared moment?

a song, a message, a movement

October 17, 2009

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It was a tremendous conference. Presenters from all corners of the globe and I was honored to be among them; marketers, designers, even a futurist with a fabulous accent.  Still, the highlight for me were the attendees; passionate, gracious and hungry for information.

With the conference over I said good bye to colleagues and friends, and welcomed my family who flew in from Boston.

Back in my hotel room we watched the DVD of the previous evenings award show winners. All the winners were inventive and shared world-class production values but one campaign was more than branding.

Channel O aspires to be an Original African music channel that delivers world class content. Its ‘Young Gifted and Black’ campaign as its Facebook fan page announces is nothing short of ambitious.

“It’s a song. It’s a message. It’s a movement. Join up and Wear it Loud!”.

Taking impetus from the 1970 Nina Simone song ‘To Be Young, Gifted and Black’ the network created a music video, a fully integrated ad campaign, a T shirt contest, and full range of 2.0 efforts that celebrate the musical talent that is found in Africa, both historic and current.

We began the day walking through Soweto where I struggled to digest the horrors of apartheid. It’s too fresh to even be called history, apartheid is a current event. We ended the day watching the YGB music video and the FB fan page was not ambitious it was right.  It’s a song. It’s a message. It’s a movement. And, it is as current and relevant as any campaign I’ve seen.

The music video below.

What do you think?