I'm the Director os Social Media for Barkley, an integrated marketing agency based in Kansas City and the Chairmen of Social Media Club of Kansas City.

My passion has always revolved around the way people communicate & the technology they use to spread culture & ideas.  The last 10 years has only scratched the surface of what the social web has to offer to both people & business and as this infrastructure connects to wearable computing, big data & the internet of things, you can bet I'll be right in the eye of the storm.

Here you'll find my take on everything marketing, emerging & social media & agile marketing.  Please connect with me through whatever channel is your poison. 


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Red Bull Timeline Page is Cool

I was on Facebook today after the announcement for Facebook Timeline for business pages, looking for good examples and what early brands were up to when I came across a message from Red Bull's page on my stream.

A couple of hours out of the gate and Red Bull already has a best practice!  Using a scavenger hunt type of game to get people to explore and look deeper into their new timeline.  I'm intrigued...So I visit their page.

Holy crap!  I love it :)  This will be fun for brands.  Here is what pops out:

1. That big picture!  What a great opportunity for branding.  Look out for some fun stuff from brand here.

2. App presentation is about 5 billion times better than the previous design and more graphical as well.

3. They give your friends that like the brand some pretty hefty screen time.  I wonder if my friend's posts               will be weighted more, making them more visible to me on the timeline? 

4.  The "bookmark" is a great way to highlight certain posts.  This is PERFECT for when your brand is having      a contest or has a bigger piece of content that they want to highlight over time.  It only lasts a week,                but this insures that certain messaging won't be lost in the stream.

5.  The timeline.  This allows brands to tell their story through posts, videos, and other media.  This is really      cool.  More on this below.

The Red Bull brand story is a good one and though I didn't see it as in depth as it may be in the future, I was impressed by them putting at least one post in each year since they were established in 1987.

The historic posts are great.  The fact that you can embed any piece of media like you can in any post, is great.  The ability to use pics and video to add weight to your story is fantastic!

Overall I'm really impressed and excited to see how brands utilize this new creative outlet for their pages.  Hoping to see a lot of creativity since Facebook has opened the doors wide open for brands to tell their story.

Haven't had a chance to jump into admin mode yet, but will share my thoughts as soon as I do.  Really interested in how an admin can orchestrate all of this.

Bravo to all the Red Bull peeps too for rolling out with a great representation of the new Timeline for Pages.

My love for the Red Bull brand should be no secret here on the blog.  They taught me much of what I believe in when it comes to branding and CPG marketing while I worked there and what they've done with their community on Facebook of now over 27 million fans.

The secret to Red Bull's success through social media is that there isn't a secret.  They've always been hyper focused on their communities and have been content creators before creating content was cool.  They spent untold money on amazing events and videos before there was even a way for these things to be shared and spread.  They won a long time ago.  Dialog with the customer was part of their DNA from 1987.  We can learn a lot by watching them...stepping off of my box now.



5 Hour Energy Makes Uses Facebook to Make Possible PR Save


My first brand marketing gig was with Red Bull back when nobody but college kids could have a Facebook account. That job taught me a sonic mega-load about influencer, experience & event marketing and 85% of it still holds up today.  That's why I have a special place in my heart when it comes to guerrilla marketing teams for energy drinks & stories like this one.  I also still have a lot of industry folks in my Facebook stream and I tend to get these things fresh off the press.

Some things are ageless when it comes to experiential marketing.  One of them is perception.  When you're representing the brand, you are percieved one in the same as the brand you are working for.  There are two rules when you're out sampling energy drinks.  

1. Don't Yawn

2. Don't sleep in the car

As you can tell by the picture above, these poor kids are proving exactly why rule #2 was put into place.  It would suck for the brand to have anyone see you out on the streets sleeping in an energy drink van.  It would really suck if someone got a picture of you sleeping and it began to build the energy needed to create a nice little interenet meme.

I commend 5 Hour Energy for making lemons into lemonade and reacting quickly and with a sense of humor on this one.  As soon as this pic starting making rounds, they threw it up on their Facebook and with just a bit of egg in thier face, said "ok we've seen it and it's kind of funny, what isn't funny is the captions you guys have come up with so far."  

They created it into their own caption contest and though it's not the most original, it is quick and does the job.  It deflates it, and calls it as it is, 2 young workers that got caught doing something that doesn't match up with the brand much.  Workers make mistakes, what are you gonna do?  I'm sure they won't be doing it again :)

It's a small example, but shows that more & more brands are learning to not be afraid of Facebook & virality, but to accept it, harness it and use it right back.  

Nice work 5 Hour Energy guy!  




My Facebook Timeline

After the announcement at the F8 Conference yesterday of the new timeline, Facebook opened up this timeline to developers only to start tinkering with.  I'm not a developer, but thanks to the Techcrunch article, was quickly able to get the needed credentials to give it a try.  

I REALLY think this is big for Facebook.  It anchors them into our lives and builds them into the fabric of our story and how we tell it.  It allows us to realize how much equity in content we have in Facebook, which will make it harder for people to walk away into using a new tool (Google+).

Check mine out below and please share your thoughts on the new Timeline.


What Will Google Fiber Mean for Kansas City? Part 2

In my first part of this series on Google Fiber in KC, I spoke about the big picture and decide that the subject was too big to fit into one blog.

I'm going to use these next few parts to draw a little more focus to how I see Google Fiber effecting parts of my life and other's lives in the city.  This week, I'm going to focus on how gigabit speeds could effect marketing agencies in town.

I work as an Interactive Strategist for a 25 person agency in KC called Muller Bressler & Brown.  When the plan was announced,we all were called in for a pow-wow with the owners to discuss what Google Fiber would mean for the agency (I expect there were a lot of these going on at the time).  The short and long answer is opportunity, but the size of that slice of pie will depend on an agency's ability to adapt and invest in what's coming.

Google will be laying down their first gigabit infrastructure in KC.  The technology that will run on these 8 lane super highways of data hasn't really been developed yet, especially for at home use.  As Google flips the switch, the first businesses to take advantage of the grid will be those that will be building the technology that sits on top of the gigabit infrastructure.  

App development that uses these speeds will be one of the avenues.  We're going to learn what cloud computing means fairly quickly, as applications that needed the processor power of a home PC become useable with less and less hardware.  (Examples would be data crunching, video editing, or anything that traditionally would eat up processor power)

My guess is that these companies that will be coming in will be 2 to 3 man businesses with a couple developers and a designer.  The agencies that can become a hybrid of a startup tech incubator and a full service marketing agency will come out ahead as these businesses will not have the cash flow that most agencies are used to making from their clients.  The agency that can take risk and work for a percentage of ownership of these startups instead of cash will see success.  

The agency that plays in this game will also need to be as quick & agile as the companies that are building these products and that could be a challenge from watching how agencies have struggled to adapt in the last few years. 

When digital first started building momentum in traditional agencies, a strategy that seemed to work well for them was creating another business that could work outside of the slow moving inner workings of the agency.  The new small shop could act that way and take on the entrepreneurial spirit needed to make something new.  I'm just saying that this may be the right time to bring this strategy out from the playbook.

You could do that or just wait for a small company to do it on their own and buy it at it's highest value down the road, but where is the fun in that?

As for the opportunities that are further out, if you want to see the industries that will be effected first, just look out for those that are pushing lots of data.  Medical, Insurance, Education and Entertainment to name a few.  Since these industries are so large and require a lot of specialization, the agencies that already play in these worlds will have the best opportunities to earn more business by working with their current clients to shake out what gigabit speeds would mean to them.

Agencies that already have this business specialization can attract new biz from being there first and sharing that knowledge.  Thought leadership can be tough to businesses that bill time, but it should be a top tier priority.  When new biz begins to look around the interwebs for those that can get clients to the next level, you want them to run into your content.

What do you think this means for KC agencies?   

Tune back in for Part 3, I'll go over what Google Fiber means for our SMCKC community.



Driving a Lincoln MKX


I've had the awesome opportunity to drive some of Ford's newest cars this summer.  With how seriously Ford has taken tech in their cars lately, I was more than excited to drive one of their luxury class, the Lincoln MKX crossover for a couple of weeks in July.  

I'm not even going to pretend that I'm a car reviewer.  I could probably pick a carburetor out in a lineup, but my car knowledge is at about a 3, just above my knowledge of sports and Art history.

I will say that this car absolutely ruined me. You're not supposed to drive cars like this until you're able to buy one!  You remember your dad's Lincoln right?  The giant boat of a car that drove like you were riding on a cloud?  Well, it has transformed and gotten a lot sexier, been packed full of tech and the cloud thing stuck.

As for the tech, the car delivers...a lot.  Keyless entry, 3 LED monitors including a large touch screen, backup camera, backup sensor and a really sick little sensor that lets you know when someone hits their brakes quickly in front of you or is coming up quickly on either side, Sync system, and air conditioned seats (Yes I just said air conditioned seats).

I'll get more into the Sync system in another post, but the short of it is this.  If you put time into learning what it can and can't do, the Ford Sync system will allow you to be 100% hands free with almost all of your car and phone controls.  It's not only cool, but massively safer with allowing you to keep your eyes on the road. The BIG genius was Ford using your phone as the core tech and feeding that information and functionality throughout your car.  As soon as your phone is synced, you don't even have to take it out of your pocket again for the car to be able to utilize content like your music, phonebook, 3G connection and GPS.

The down side to this is that the controls are a bit confusing and that is coming from a guy who never met a VCR he couldn't program.  It's cool, but I'd have to say that the common driver just isn't there yet and would probably utilize about 10% of what the system can do.  Ford could use some a couple of lessons from Apple on the UI side of things, but it's a work in progress and very impressive for 1st'ish gen tech.

The Skinny: The Lincoln MKX car is basically a pimped out Ford Edge, but that's not a bad thing and it's also a really good amount of pimping :)

To say that I enjoyed driving the Lincoln around would be an understatement.  I'm was most impressed with the fact that most of the coolest tech (other than the air conditioned seats) is all safety related and really makes a big difference in how you safe you feel in the car.  Almost like it's an extension of your own perception.  My biggest hope is that this tech will become affordable enough to come standard in every car within a few years.