Comic’s week in a window display: How short-term social campaigns can pay off

Earlier today, I gave an interview to American Public Broadcasting’s business show, Marketplace, about the role of social media in marketing campaigns. (The transcript and episode are here.) The story (which I believe is running tomorrow) was prompted by reports that fabric softener Downy was launching an interactive campaign featuring comedian Mike Birbiglio.

There’s nothing particularly new about the stunt that underlies the campaign. Starting today, Birbiglio is spending a week living in a Macy’s window display in New York sleeping on sheets washed in Downy. Birbiglio has incorporated his sleepwalking problem into his standup… Read More »

Eight ways to improve employee brand literacy

Shel HoltzCountless articles and blog posts have been written listing ways to encourage employees to become brand ambassadors. A lot of companies already engage in many of these practices, but that doesn’t stop most employees from ranking among the company’s detractors. As I reported earlier this week, a Forrester study found the Net Promoter Score among information workers is a disheartening -23%.

The problem is that the brand ambassador efforts most companies have in place are designed for those employees who are already inclined to recommend their employers’ products or services to friends or family. Detractors aren’t likely to take advantage… Read More »

Lessons from The Gap logo debacle

UPDATE, 10/12/10: While The Gap has announced that it will scrap the new logo in the wake of online criticism, a survey of Gap customers revealed that 17% even knew the company had posted a new logo. For details, take a look at the eConsultancy post that raises the same question I did: Is the online reaction to a design change really representative of your audience?

People don’t like change, or so the old saying goes.

In general, I disagree. People love change. They buy new cars, new clothes, new houses. They try new hair styles, grow mosutaches or beards, get better jobs, want their teams to play in new stadiums. What people don’t… Read More »

Apple-free: Step 1

Shel HoltzI have made the decision to go completely Apple-free.

This is a personal decision. I have no intention of trying to start a movement or get others to join me. Personally, though, I have enough problems with Apple and the way it conducts business that I’ve concluded that I simply don’t have to support these practices with a nickel of my money, nor do I need to show tacit support when I’m seen using an Apple product.

It shouldn’t be that difficult. I stopped using Apple computers a couple years ago after the hard drive failed in my PowerBook Pro. With only a couple days before I had to leave on a business trip, Apple refused to replace… Read More »

Personal vs. logo Twitter accounts: Must they be mutually exclusive?

A debate several years ago, during blogging’s heyday, centered on the wisdom of introducing “character blogs.” These aren’t fake blogs. They’re very transparent in their use of a fictional character as the blogger. Some experts defended the practice while others insisted that it could never be a good idea. I fell somewhere in the middle, advising against them in nearly all instances but acknowledging there might be a time when they could work.

An example would be Dwight Schrute’s blog. Schrute is the character played by Rainn Wilson on “The Office” (a show I don’t watch, by the way). Posts are written in character. None of the readers… Read More »

About that Skittles site? Let’s all take a deep breath…

A couple of days have gone by since Mars, Inc.‘s Skittles brand tossed out its website and replaced it with links to various social media properties. So frenetic was the commentary that I decided to stay out of it other than a mention on Monday’s episode of For Immediate Release. But I just can’t keep my lip buttoned any longer.

Most of the declarations that the experiment launched by has failed are based on the flood of obscene, racist, and otherwise tasteless tweets Twittered by the adolescent set as soon as they learned that their juvenile output could be seen on the Skittles website. These messages run counter to the… Read More »

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