Innovation's No-Duh, No-Joke Secret Sauce: Friendship
As a business owner, I’m always looking at how to structure relationships. I’ve joked that a sense of humor is our main concern when evaluating new clients at Karten Design. But when I really think about it, compatibility and the ability to have fun with your clients is a serious matter.
Recently, the composer Michael Giacchino shared his creative process with our studio. This guy has won Oscars and Emmys; he’s composed music for popular TV series like Lost and blockbuster movies like Up. The possibilities for such a successful composer are nearly limitless. But when I asked him what he would like to do next, his answer surprised me: “I just want to work with my friends.”
Central Park, the Soundtrack: Art & Music Join Hands
Clamp on headphones, start up the iPhone app by the musical duo Bluebrain, and walk into Central Park. The music does not begin until you pass through an entrance and head into the trees. Then it sounds like an orchestra tuning up, a chaotic jumble of wind chimes, electronic moans, and discordant strings. Push farther into the park, and a sweet violin melody emerges over languid piano chords.
"We didn’t want something to sound like a machine,” Mr. Feldman said. “We wanted it to sound like these guys were conducting an orchestra and watching where you are walking.”
More Theaters Reserve Seats for Tweeters
As the cast and crew hurried to prepare for their 7:30 p.m. curtain call in Connecticut's Norma Terris Theater last month, patrons filled the house and prepared to get lost in the production of Hello! My Baby. For some, that meant powering on their smartphones and iPads and telling all of their Twitter followers about the musical with the hashtag #hmbmusical.
A growing number of theaters and performing groups across the country are setting aside "tweet seats," in-house seats for patrons to live-tweet during performances, including the Carolina Ballet in Raleigh, NC, and the Dayton Opera in Dayton, OH.
To Create Something Exceptional, Do Sweat The Small Stuff
Business schools and most jobs don’t teach you how important it is to sweat the small stuff.
In fact, we’re mostly told the opposite--don’t be a micromanager, don’t be penny wise and pound foolish, don't miss the forest for the trees. The implied wisdom is that abstract and conceptual thinking always prevails over narrow determination and single-mindedness. And yet, when we look at the greatest inventions, greatest companies, and greatest teams of our time, their success always comes down to tireless concern over every last detail.
Symphony is Tweet Music to Their Ears
The lights dim, the orchestra tunes, and the audience is told to "please turn off your cell phones." Except in the "TweetSeats" at Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra concerts in Music Hall. That's where iPhones, Blackberries, and tablets light up and concertgoers start tweeting live along with the music.
"Tweeting the CSO's performance was like attending a members-only social event in the midst of a traditionally formal setting," said tweeter Jennifer Nissenbaum, 35, of Dayton. "I could communicate openly about my reactions to the music, musicians, and conductor–without speaking a word. Plus, I had the opportunity to engage others, and get their reactions to the performance."
Four Steps For Making Facebook Marketing Work
There aren't many marketing opportunities that can target 800 million people in one—so it’s no surprise that 96 of the top 100 U.S. advertisers are marketing on Facebook. But there's a problem: Many of those companies tell us they’re not finding Facebook nearly as useful a marketing tool as they’d hoped. In large part, that’s the result of the disorganized approach many companies have to Facebook marketing. Too many raced to launch a Facebook page without ever setting clear objectives, and are now left with a handful of fans but no clear idea of how to engage those fans. Likewise, too many marketers neither understand all the tools at their disposal nor put sufficient resources into their Facebook programs.
Critics Should Blog, Tweet, Engage, But Not Help Sell Tickets
One of the many lovely things about being a theater critic is that when you turn up at some far‑flung venue, you can be sure of a warm welcome—and, at this time of the year, maybe a mince pie, too. But when press officers and artistic directors tell me how grateful they are that I've made the journey, my response is that I'm only doing my job. Sometimes, a day or two later when they read my review, they may wish they'd never issued the invitation in the first place. Not that I've ever noticed the subsequent welcomes being any less warm—or mince pies more scarce.
Your Frontline Employees Are Your Brand. How Do You Hire The Right Ones?
Frontline employees—the people behind the counter, on the phone, in the cloud, and walking the floor—possess a large measure of control over the customer experience. Their actions determine whether a customer becomes a brand evangelist or detractor. Understanding how best to motivate these employees--and designing processes and strategies to ensure that they're empowered, energized, and personally vested--is at the core of delivering standout service and creating a compelling brand experience. Here are four critical areas to consider when creating a standout experience.
Building a Mobile App Is Not a Mobile Strategy
Everyone wants their own mobile application. In the last year, I have heard this consistently. In fact, mobile analytics firm Distimo claims 91 of the top 100 brands have their own mobile app (up from 51 just 18 months ago).
On the surface this sounds great, right? I can use my big brand name to get people to install my application, and then I can market to them via the palm of their hand whenever I want. If you're a big brand, I have no doubt you will get a ton of downloads. But downloads are a vanity metric; they don't measure success.
It's All About Me!
Last month, Australia went crazy. It had nothing to do with the usual summer cricket rivalries, nor did it involve a visit from the Queen. This time, the frenzy was over newly released cans of Coke. A local agency had dreamed up an entirely new way of revitalizing the 125-year-old brand, reversing its steadily declining sales and tapping into the diminishing youth market.
Nine Important Elements of a Social Media ROI Report
What do companies want in their social media reports? Basically they want to see two things.
1. That it's working
2. That they're getting value for money
Social media managers & consultants need to show the true value of social media activity to our clients. Social media return on investment cannot just be measured in monetary terms so when you are compiling your reports for clients we have to show them whole picture of what we are achieving on their behalf.
Photo by RambergMediaImages
Tweet Seats Draw People Who Probably Wouldn't Have Attended
The Dayton Opera intends to shed its old-timey reputation among young adults by not only allowing smartphone use during performances, but encouraging it.
The arts organization has set up discounted "Friday Nite Tweet Seats" where tech-savvy patrons — young or old — can sit and tweet, post updates to Facebook, send text messages or e-mails or blog about the night’s performance as it's happening. Enthusiasts hope it will attract a younger audience to the opera and create a new buzz around the centuries-old art form that they say deserves a listen.
Rendezvous with Art and Ardent
With so many museums, exhibits, art galleries, and lectures to choose from every day, how does a busy young arts professional keep up? For Francesca Merlino and about two dozen of her colleagues who work for museums and arts groups in New York City, it’s following each other’s 140-character updates on Twitter and the hashtag, #artstech.
Unlike some people who never step outside of their online Twitter streams, members of this group use the micro-blogging service to help them follow each other in real life. “We use Twitter to not only to connect with one another, but to share what we feel brings value to a larger online arts community.”
Photo by Leonard John Matthews
Popular culture is buzzing with secret messages.
I've written about the Fox TV show Fringe before: it's freighted with an especially complicated storyline. Besides the great acting, one of the things that sustains it is a series of secret messages that appear at the end of every segment: a stylized icon of a seahorse or a flower for the fan(atic) to decode.
But last week Fringe took a step forward, actually inserting a frame or two in the middle of a show. For the blink of an eye, we saw an image on the screen. Then it was gone.
11 Best YouTube Practices for Nonprofits
1. Display Subscribers and Friends
The more “Subscribers” and “Friends” your nonprofit has, the more exposure you get on YouTube. You are also much more likely to get new subscribers and friend requests if you display subscribers and friends on your channel. The avatars of your subscribers and friends also add some color and personality to your channel, and send the message that your nonprofit is engaged in the YouTube community.