Category Archives: Great Ideas

Connected, but alone

3rd April 2013

Growing up, we had two rules around the dinner table: 1. you must at least try everything on your plate and 2. you had to share one story about the favorite part of your day.

In a family of six, my parents had their hands full with sporting events, friends and homework, therefore making spending time around the dinner table no easy task. However, it was rare that there was a night that went by that we didn’t eat as a family, even if that meant eating in shifts from time to time.

We didn’t have smart phones, personal laptops, iPads and email to interrupt our family time. To say the landscape has changed is an understatement. However, dinner at the Dennihy house hasn’t changed one bit. Sure, the phones are kept in sperate rooms (as opposed to pulling the wall phone off the hook as my Dad seemed to do nightly to keep people from interrupting), but creating genuine personal time is much more of a conscious effort.

A dear friend of mine and I have had endless conversations around technology in our lives over the years, and as we both work in the digital marketing space, avoiding it is impossible. She has been urging me to watch the Ted talk “Connected, but Alone” for just as many years. I finally sat down to watch the talk and I cannot say I was surprised by my love for it.

As we watch technology evolve, it makes our lives so much more simple on so many levels. Connections are now a click, a tweet or a post away. We can have simultaneous conversations with 10 people over a group text all while sending an email and capturing a photo for Instagram. Facebook is in talks to release a PHONE for crying out loud. In short, technology is incredible.

Then why is communicating itself harder than ever before?

Because communication is more than a string of words. Communication leads to relationships, which lead to the betterment of ourselves, which is no surprise, hard work.

In Sherry’s words, “we expect more from technology and less from each other.”

If we want to become more connected, we have to expect more from each other and let technology guide us in getting there – not serve as the sole route.

Is texting a friend easier than spending thirty minutes on the phone each week? Sure is. Do I expect to remain friends without decline over the next decade by sending text messages? Better not put all of my marbles in that bucket.

Now get to work, I owe some people some phone calls / dinner dates / afternoon runs.

How The Hunger Games is tapping social for teens

25th January 2012

1. I am mildly obsessed with the Hunger Games these days, having finished all three books in a two-week timeframe.

2. I geek out far further than I ever should admit over the ever changing mold of what communication means to different demographics.

OK, so those may not be the juiciest of secrets and I may be a total nerd for sharing both, but I love it even more when the things I’m in love with collide perfectly.

The Hunger Games, the first book of a wildly popular teen book series will make its film debut this March and, to no surprise, there is no shortage of promotion taking place. However, outside of your typical TV spots, product promos and sneak peak YouTube trailers, the team behind this blockbuster is building connections with their target teen audience through personal, whimsical content.

This week the film added Tumblr to its growing list of social and digital outreach, which already includes Facebook, Twitter and an interactive site to name a few.

By offering up content on Tumblr through a pseudo magazine, fans are taken directly into the world of the Capitol, the reigning government of the country of Panem, by sharing the fashions and culture of the society. I could go on about the wonderful behind the scenes clips and “articles” profiling the story’s main characters, but the true spark within this presence is the pure match that has been made to the film’s most valuable demographic.

According to Qantcast, nearly 50% of Tumblr’s visitors are under the age of 24 within the US. We also know the teen demographic does not view advertising the same way as their parents or grandparents once did. They want to make a connection, support things they believe in and share genuine content.

The Hunger Games is using Tumblr to do just that. Yes, they could share bland by comparison examples of products supporting the Hunger Games logo or a quick clip from the movie. Yes, it would still be shared 1000’s of times. However, by displaying a product as if it were a real ad in a real Panem government magazine or sharing a gif as if the paparazzi has spotted characters in real time, the content now embodies everything this generation seeks in the brands followed. The advertisements, brands and content featured within the posts to come will also bring a new air of whimsy, passion and sharability to the same content, which in a different voice may have been lost to this audience.

As we as marketers look to realign how we think of brand personality, consumption and real life translation, we must consider how this shift in the consumer mindset will not deter us from connecting messages for brands, but to think of new ways to create a build relationships with those consumers who desire them most.

The Perks of CES

11th January 2012

I’m in Atlanta this week, not Vegas drooling over the newest devices, but thanks to Klout, I just might be rewarded from the comfort of my desk.

This might be one of the most interesting uses of Klout Perks I have seen yet. Tapping into the massive amount of conversation taking place at CES this week, all Klout users are eligible to become the T-Mobile Social King (or Queen I suppose) of CES.

Entering is easy:
1. Opt in to the perk
2. Enter your email address
3. The topic CES2012 will be added to your topics
4. Spam your network to give you +K in that topic
5. Recieve the most +K in CES2012 by the end of the conference and you win a grand prize of a Samsung Galaxy S II with a year of service, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and a T-Mobile 4G Mobile HotSpot

OK, so the last thing I want is to see a Twitter timeline full of beggars, but this is certainly a new way to look at a platform that so far has done little to engage me beyond the occasional quirky topic that somehow lands on my list.

Features within the Perk itself, such as seeing the top influencers, top +K recipients, and best content from top influencers at the conference, round out an engaging experience of what can be an overwhelming space of conference conversation.

As the influence space continues to grow, it’s interesting to look at how both platforms and brands can benefit from this type of exposure and added engagement.

Looking to test it out? I will violate all personal rules and beg for you to give a co-worker of mine, Joe Koufman, his due +K.