Twitter Jerseys – Golden State Warriors shoot for 140 characters

ImageHow do you make professional athletes even more popular online? One NBA team has a good answer. Direct fans to the players’ social network presence. The Golden State Warriors have outfitted their players with warm-up shirts that displays their Twitter handle, where normally their name would be. The team has a special hashtag for this shirt, #GSWSocial, as part of an overall social activation campaign. This is like walking, dribbling, shooting digital ad. 

You’ll remember back a couple of seasons when Mississippi State painted the schools battlecry, #hailstate, as a hashtag in their endzone.Image

These are two very interesting ways sports teams are using their facilities and players as a way to drive social engagement. Are big-box retailers, business with truck fleets and other significant “publicly viewed properties” using their assets to the fullest potential? Probably not. 

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The diminished sensitivity to the power of language

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Photo by Wendy Copley / Creative Commons.

It is cliché in the social media world to “#hate”, “FML” and declare the death of everything…sometimes in a fire. Technology has delivered so many instruments with which to write with such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and arenas with which to express ourselves in, such as comment sections on news websites and social networks, we have begun to lose the ability to self-censor and communicate with true intent.

I’m guilty of this behavior, particularly during football season. I tend to retweet and “like” negative language directed toward rivals. However, abusing societal norms of the use of appropriate language is an increasingly darker, more distributing trend.  It seems as a society we’ve lost any attachment to the power of words.

Justin Carter is a sad example of this detachment. Carter engaged in conversation with a friend on his Facebook Newsfeed about an online role-playing video game. Carter in an attempt to “one-up” his friend responded with “threats” of shooting up an elementary school. The comments were written 60 days after the Newtown Elementary tragedy.

His publicly viewable threats were probably just mindless banter between two friends; but a Canadian relative of the friend read this mindless language and alerted Texas authorities. You can read an account of the story at the Dallas Observer, but Carter now faces up to 10 years in prison.

Another inexcusable example of this disregard for the power of words came over the summer thanks to the Miami Dolphins. Player Jonathan Martin accused fellow teammate Richie Incognito of bullying and attributing to a declined level of mental health.  The bullying came in the ways of threatening text messages and voicemail filled with racial slurs and derogatory references. It should be noted that this abusive language wasn’t used in one direction; both players used some pretty nasty language.

According to a recent British study, a racist comment is posted on Twitter every 9 seconds. In addition, the study found that more than 10,000 tweets are posted every day that could be considered offensive.

To say we are desensitized to the power that language has would be an understatement. We are left with an environment of poor judgment, bad choices and lack of understanding the power that our words have on each other. Just because you can write it, doesn’t mean you should.

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How Brands said, “I <3 You" this Valentine’s Day

IBM

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Dunkin Donuts – Check out the company’s Pinterest page for more.

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Intel

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Lowes

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Amazon

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Microsoft

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Dell’s Recruiting Department

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Southwest Airlines

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Delta Airlines

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The Patriots #gopats

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Adobe

adobe

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The Comcast | Time Warner Deal by the Numbers

ImageThe mega merger announced yesterday has certainly created some shockwaves in the world of entertainment and media. Comcast’s bid to buy Time Warner is a big deal. Literally. Here’s what the deal looks like by the numbers.

#1 – Comcast is the nation’s largest cable company

#2 – Time Warner Cable is the second biggest cable company

$45B – The offerby Comcast to buy Time Warner

$159 – The buyout share price

70% – The combined reach of the U.S. population the two companies enjoy

½ – Comcast and Time Warner provide half of the “triple play” services offered for U.S. consumers (cable, web and phone)

33M – The number of broadband connections delivered by the two companies

$18B – The combined broadband revenue for the two companies

33B – The combined number of cable subscribers in 2013 (Although Comcast is indicating it will divest up to 3 million subscribers in the deal)

147,300 – Number of employees of the combined company 

 

Sources:  Adweek, The Verge, BusinessInsider, GigaOm, Marketwatch

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Incentivizing the Bully at Work

ImageBarclays, the British bank, has revisited the ways it compensates its employees by looking at not only their performance, but also the way they behave with coworkers and customers. The policy adjustment is fascinating, and it will be interesting if more companies follow.

I’m sure most people who have worked in a corporate setting have run into a workplace bully.  They usually reserve their best bullying behavior in conference rooms or on emails. You know the email where you just stare at your screen and don’t know whether to feel sorry for you or them.

What is interesting about the Barclays announcement is an individual’s performance will only be worth half of their total comp. The other 50 percent will come from internal relationships and feedback from their clients and customers. 

The WSJ provided these details of the Barclays policy:

“Barclays advisers will receive about half of their pay in the form of a monthly payment; the other half will be paid out every three months, according to people familiar with the new arrangement. While both payments will be based on a production formula similar to that at other firms, the quarterly payment also takes into account values-based criteria that include professional conduct and customer complaints. Poor performance in these areas could lead to a reduced payout.”

So, how prominent is workplace bullying? So prominent there’s actually a Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) that has been established to track and report on the trend. The WBI conducts a survey every four years. Their findings from the 2010 round are pretty interesting:

  • 35% of workers had experienced bullying firsthand 
  • 62% of bullies are men; 58% of targets are women
  • Women bullies target women in 80% of cases 

The last statement makes sense because the majority (68%) of bullying is same-gender harassment. Research published in the journal Human Performance seems to agree; the study found that workplace bullies are more likely to single out colleagues they consider unattractive. What does that say about same-sex judgment?

Help Coming?

Maybe.  Individual states have been trying to put a “Healthy Workplace Bill” into legislation to give some legal and regulatory protection over employees; this makes sense since researchers at the University of British Columbia found that bullying bosses are more likely to achieve high social status. That study looked at the role dominance played into influence and authority. If the boss is a bully, then maybe the employee sitting in the cube needs some governmental air cover.

A CareerBuilder study published in 2012 found that the most common bullying tactics were: falsely accused of making mistakes, being ignored and used different standards/policies than what was used with other workers.

To summarize, don’t be mean. No matter how far it gets you. 

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All Good Texans Come Home

flagsI’ve been back in Texas for a little over 7 months and while lots of things have changed, the name of this blog has not. I’m no longer a Displaced Texan.

The journey back to Texas started in 2006 when we left Austin for Memphis. We never imagined living east of the Mississippi River, nevermind on it. Our time in Memphis was unimaginably productive, genuine and memorable. From Memphis we headed west, far west to the Pacific coast and the Bay Area. Another great experience for me and my family.

So, we back in Texas. Austin, Texas. So, back to the question at hand: What to name my blog?

I’m interested in the upcoming revolution sensors and the “internet of things” will bring. I’m interested in the collision of marketing and communications. And, I’m interested in the way organizations, companies and people transform and the process and journey’s they take in doing so.

If you have any ideas, would love to hear them.

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The Spacey Content Principle

ImageActor Kevin Spacey sent the film and television industry into a frenzy following his speech at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival this past week. The Academy Award-winning actor and star of the first Netflix original series “House of Cards” addressed the audience about how a new content model has emerged and is blurring the lines of what we’ve come to know as film and television.

The video of the speech was reported to be circulating through, “The Tech and TV industries,” because of his call to make all content available to everyone at anytime. We have all experienced the wasted Saturday “marathon’ing” a favorite TV series and getting unnecessarily upset that you’ve hit the end of the queue. This behavior, Spacey argues, strikes antagonistically at the way Hollywood has traditionally operated.

Spacey in his address, discussed how the American TV industry, to a fault, indulges in the pilot season. And when he and the producers shopped the show to all the major networks, they all wanted a pilot first.

This is not the first time a consumer’s hunger for content has made a traditional and established industry uncomfortable. Remember Napster and Limewire and what those Peer-to-Peer music-sharing services did to the music industry? Although it was called piracy and the networks succumbed to the legal pressure of the Recording Industry Association of America. But without those two forms of “all you can download” consumption models, today we would not have iTunes and the MP3/smartphone and tablet music stores.

It is with this lesson in mind that Spacey begins to lay the foundation for the Spacey Content Principle:

“And through this new form of distribution, we have demonstrated that we have learned the lesson that the music industry didn’t learn: Give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in, at a reasonable price, and they’ll more likely pay for it rather than steal it.”

ImageSpacey in his speech cites, “By comparison, last year, 113 pilots were made. 35 of those were chosen to go to air, 13 of those were renewed, but most of those are gone now. And this year, 146 pilots were shot, 56 have gone to series but we don’t know the outcome of those yet, but the cost of these pilots was somewhere between $300 and $400 million a year. That makes our House of Cards deal for two seasons look really cost effective.”

House of Cards “deal” is Netflix biggest original series to date and reportedly cost $100 million to produce and shoot two seasons.

With this backdrop, I’ve outlined what I believe is really the heart of the speech and a declaration for quality content.

Spacey Content Principle

Any differentiation between these platforms will fall away.

  • Is 13 hours watched as one cinematic whole really any different from a film?
  • Do we define film as something being two hours or less?
  • If you’re watching a film on your television, is it no longer a film because you’re not watching it in a theatre? If you watch a TV show on your iPad, is it no longer a TV show?
  • The device and the length are irrelevant; the labels are useless, except perhaps to agents and managers and lawyers, who use these labels to conduct business deals.
  • But for kids growing up now, there’s no difference watching Avatar on an iPad or watching YouTube on TV or watching Game of Thrones on their computer.

It’s all content. It’s just story.

  • The audience has spoken. They want stories.  They’re dying for them. They’re rooting for us to give them the right thing.
  • And they will talk about it, binge on it, carry it with them on the bus and to the hairdresser, force it on their friends, tweet, blog, Facebook, make fan pages, silly GIFs, and God knows what else about it.
  • Engage with it with a passion and an intimacy that a blockbuster movie could only dream of. And all we have to do is give it to them.
  • The prized fruit is right there, shinier and juicier than it’s ever been before. So it’ll be all the more shame on each and every one of us if we don’t reach out and seize it.

The Principle is simple and it is not new.

An effective marketing, digital or social program needs compelling content for it to WANT to be consumed. Long form story telling is wanted by consumers and we Spacey has provided yet another proof point.

So, while we all rush to Vine and Instagram for 7-second video and Twitter for 140 character expressions of brand and reputation, remember that there are consumers waiting to binge on your content.

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