What’s your coachability score?

January 6, 2011

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @ NYCA

The world is moving faster, powered by information.

Keep up by being coachable.

I know the U.S. has education issues. See Waiting for “Superman.”

But there have never been more quality teachers available.

On YouTube, on Twitter, we can take courses at the best institutions in the world.

One suggestion is to concern yourself not with how many are following you, but who you are following.

When I’m reading and notice a smart comment, I follow the source on Twitter and read what he or she is reading.

We can learn from everyone and we can now learn from the best.

And don’t forget to thank your teachers.

What’s your coachability score?


Be Real. Be Transparent. Unmask Yourself.

April 5, 2010

By Gabrielle Windsor, Director of Digital Strategy @ NYCA

Photo Cred: hiway7

Black and white. Transparency is important. Straight up honesty is the best policy. All descriptions of how my brain often sees things. I’m not the only one – the FCC has recently ruled that bloggers must expose their affiliations or relationships with brands. This is something the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA.org) has been advocating for years. Something I completely agree with.

No charlatans, no posers, no freaking liars. Don’t talk to me about ‘seeding’ message boards. Please. In honor and reverence I’ve cooked up a meme AKA #hashtag to quickly and easily indicate if communications and/or sharing are related to a brand that I’m somehow working with: #rep. Short and sweet, the hashtag #rep should be easy to remember – “Hey! I’m a representative of this brand in some capacity and wanted to be straight up about it.”  So, let’s all ‘represent’ and spread the word. #rep. #word.


Building Brands through Social Networking:Part 1

August 20, 2009

By Kevin Breid, Business Management and Development Intern @NYCA

By now we have reached a point where the majority of internet users are at least aware of Twitter and Facebook.  Their endorsement and utility are expanding exponentially.  Facebook alone hosts 250 million users.  Nearly half of those users log on to the site at least once every day.  The same goes for Twitter, with estimates stating they have increased by near 20 million users since the beginning of the year.  In the past two months alone, an incredible number of internet users went from having only theoretical knowledge of Twitter to becoming regular tweeters.

social_circles_2Only a couple years ago, these social media sites did not even appear on anyone’s radar.  Now, Facebook, Twitter, and the form of communication they provide are becoming part of everyday life.  Facebooking, tweeting, and texting (which is essentially the basis for Twitter) are quickly approaching a status of necessity and functionality that rivals the cell phone and e-mail.

So how are brands getting into the networking game?  Interaction.  By participating in social media sites and interacting directly with consumers, we can find out what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling, and what their needs are.  Beyond metrics and results, we can begin to engage consumers on an individual basis. In return, they have the opportunity to connect with us, speak their minds, and ultimately feel important and even influential. 

A small business, like a privately owned restaurant, can send a message to their regulars through Twitter if, for example, they have a new entrée on their menu.  A regular can then tweet back after dinner and offer their opinion and feedback.  Likewise, larger corporations can give a face to an otherwise seemingly impersonal monster.  Consistent, personal dialogue of this sort can give life to a brand and permit patrons to feel legitimately that you are investing as much in their interests and concerns as they are investing in your company with their loyalty. 

These methods of networking are still new and constantly progressing, but symbiotic brand-and-consumer relationships of this kind could do great things for companies who are willing to open up to their audience and communicate.


Social Media Revolution

August 17, 2009

By Gene Paek, Director of Interactive @NYCA

Social media is about communication.  Whether peer-to-peer or brand-to-fans.

The future of social media for marketers is being able to segment their fans and communicate to them with relevant topics and extend targeted offers.


BRANDS IN THE DIGITAL SPACE: IT’S TIME TO CHANGE

August 4, 2009

By Gene Paek, Director of Interactive, NYCA.  gpaek@nyca.com; http://www.nyca.com

The year was 1999.  My neighbor was selling his home.  No realtor, no MLS listing.  Just a sign that read “For Sale By Owner.”  By the end of the day, he received five offers.  All over asking price.  The winning bid by a jogger that just happened to see the sign passing by.  Back then, home sellers sat back for buyers to find them.  In today’s real estate market, it’s the complete opposite.  Home sellers need to find buyers.

Same thing happening with brands and their websites.  Back in 1999, building a web site was pretty much the bullet point for their “Interactive Strategy” slide.  But in today’s digital space, brands need to understand the digital space means more than just a website and online advertising.  Today’s consumers are finding necessary product information in a variety of ways (search, retailer sites, blogs, apps and rich media formats).  

Don’t get me wrong.  Brand still need a web destination.  A home in the digital space.  However, brands also need to venture out and find consumers where they’re consuming their media.  I call this fish where the fish are fishing.

Social media sites are great fishing spots. I hear many brands talk about social media sites and their fear of “diving in” because they’re not sure if a particular social media site will be popular next year.  I always give the analogy of top network TV shows: who knows what next year will bring, but you will always find success placing media in a current hit TV show.  Seinfeld lasted for 9 seasons while The Brady Bunch only lasted 5 seasons.  However, both are considered iconic.  Note: I was under the impression that The Brady Bunch was still filming episodes.bradybunch
In today’s social space, Facebook and Twitter are iconic social platforms that brands can leverage.  But leveraging these platforms the right way is key. It’s not about a destination for your brand, as these platforms are about communications between your brand and its consumer.  Who knows for how long these sites will be mainstays, but what we know is that both destinations are growing.  And probably growing stronger than a particular brands own website.  

eRetail is another untapped fishing spot.  It’s equally as important to leverage eRetail strategies to educate consumers about your products and influence purchase for your brand.  For example, if a consumer is looking for a new food processor to buy (non-search), do you think they will visit Target.com or Sunbeam.com?  Chances are Target.com. Thus, the opportunity for a brand like Sunbeam to develop content specific for Target.com shoppers and feature that content on Target.com (as opposed to driving users to their site) will provide better results in the end.  Results meaning sales.

Brands simply cannot rely on just driving users to their own brand site to find success in the digital space.  Brands can no longer wait for consumers to visit them, instead, brands need to go out and find their consumers.  Just like the Greg, Peter, Bobby, Marcia, Jan and Cindy once sang, it’s “Time to Change.”  http://bit.ly/GdNQe


What the flock is up with Twitter?

June 26, 2009

By Dave Huerta, VP, Associate Creative Director @NYCA  

Have you ever wondered how flocks of birds are able to change direction in unison like they do? It’s amazing.  birdsThey’re all going one way and then all of a sudden, on cue, they all go a different way.

You might think it’s some highly evolved bird-brained telepathy, or that there is a leader in the group sending out signals to all the other birds to turn left NOW. “ 

Actually, it’s a much more democratic process that happens millisecond by millisecond. As birds fly together, individuals within the flock make decisions resulting in the collective direction the flock will travel.  

If a bird in the group senses danger, for example, it flies away from the potential danger. All the other birds then react eventually changing the direction of the entire flock.  

That same kind of interconnectivity that’s shared by a flock of birds is shared by millions of others who use Twitter. And, it’s this social aspect that allows information to go from one member to another that gives it its power.  

As its millions of users are following links or videos or tweets about what you’re doing right now, like the birds flying in a flock, they are collectively changing the course of how information is shared and used. 

Imagine if advertisers and marketers worked this way. Imagine if their products and services were conceived and sold with the same input that a flock has from the birds in it. 

The smart ones are already working this way. Little by little, other companies are following the flock. They’re finding relevant ways to have honest dialogue with their potential customers through sites like Twitter. Access to new products or promotions, live customer service, and customer involvement in new product development are all ways consumers can feel valued and closer to the brands that choose to listen to them.  

The smart ones will understand the strength consumers have when they’re part of a network like Twitter.

And that a comment from co-workers and peers will have more weight than a trophy from J.D. Power and Associates. 

The marketing model of the past where a company would create a product, create a need and sell it to a customer is growing stale fast. If advertisers want to stay relevant, they’ll have to develop a new model that works in the reverse order: listen to your customer, understand their need, and then provide them with a solution.


You can’t get away with nothing these days. And that’s good news.

June 23, 2009

By Michael Mark, creative director/ceo @NYCA

Big Brother does exist. No, it’s not the government. It’s us. And it’s a good thing. With the ubiquitous capacity to take a photo or capture video from your phone combined with the ability to communicate in an instant to millions on Twitter, we have 24/7 surveillance. We are being watched while we are doing the watching while sharing and it’s for our own good.  Who better to do it?

Personally I believe human nature is good. Yes, that even goes for most ad people.  The universal camera that is trained on us all will show that to be true. In our emails we get more good stuff than ever; like this video about people who commit random acts of kindness.

The first images I saw from the United Airlines emergency landing in the Hudson came to my phone via Twitter.

But if you happen to be trying to pull something Mr. Naughty – well then, just like Tom Joad said in The Grapes of Wrath, “I’ll be there.” The 2009 version of the book will add “and I’ll tweet my 25,000 followers and they’ll tweet their followers….” The point is, if one person sees it, instantly millions will see it.

The election in Iran proves this.  The outpouring was immediate and gripping. Twitter lists showed a steady stream of updates and links to photos and videos all making the developing turmoil clear and irrefutable. It’s still going on despite threats from the Supreme Leader. The communication will not stop.  And it’s not only in government that this is happening, of course. When Amazon seemed to be censoring books, the Twitterverse was on them fast as you can “oh no you didn’t” and Amazon used Twitter right back to react to the protests. The books are up for sale again. 

Twitter had approximately 17 million unique U.S.-based visitors in April, and about 24 million worldwide, according to Nielsen. Its number of users has grown by more than a thousand percent over the last year. Are they all good guys? Maybe not, but their followers are watching them, making sure they behave – a mass deputizing.

So if you’re a bad guy, take this as a warning because bad news travels faster than ever. Don’t do it — because it’s wrong.  But if that isn’t enough, don’t do it because you will get caught. Because you are being watched. 

Good news, though perhaps a laggard in making the rounds, will still get passed around and will inspire more and more good.  I’m convinced of it. And that makes us all better, don’t you think, my Brother?