Few Words, Big Meaning

April 11, 2014

by Dan Ward

Tim Siedell, one of the funniest people on Twitter (@BadBanana), today offered proof that 140 characters is more than enough to send a powerful message.

“Pretty cool how the Internet allows everyone to have a voice on who should be silenced next.”

Those of us who communicate for a living should strive to put so much meaning into so few words.

Can’t a Whale Ever Catch a Break?

December 6, 2013

ktaylorby Kim Taylor

As a kid, there was no better treat than Carvel—especially a Fudgie the Whale cake.  If you grew up in Carvel country, you know what I’m talking about.  Sadly, the Carvel in town eventually closed and there were no more ice cream cakes.

Today, I came upon an even sadder whale tale.  Twitter’s iconic Fail Whale is no longer.  If you were around in the first few years of Twitter, the Fail Whale often made daily appearances.  The whale would appear when the site’s servers reached capacity.  It was almost a badge of honor when you got the whale … like you knew you were part of something big, something that everyone was talking—er, Tweeting about.

fail whale

From a brand perspective, I can see why Twitter, with all of its mega-success, would want to distance itself from something called a Fail Whale, but next thing you know, the Twitter bird is going to be replaced with a dollar sign.

Suddenly, my Save the Whales tag has taken on a totally different meaning.


Silence Wins

September 12, 2013

by Kim Taylor

Since the advent of social media, brands have been destroying their online reputations quicker than you can say “tweet.”  If you need an example, just read the latest gaffe from a certain fashion designer whose brand won’t be promoted with any extra Web traffic in this post.

The events of September 11, 2001, gave brands a whole new challenge online.  There are some shameful examples of marketing missteps from companies big and small over the years—and, some of the big guys still haven’t figured it out.

Happily, one has.  Tuesday night, I caught this tweet from Whole Foods Market:

Notice:  it makes absolutely no mention to 9/11, yet I think it says everything it needs to about honoring an historical event.

Thank you, Whole Foods.  This post, too, can wait.

Sorry, AFLAC, the Duck Stops Here

March 16, 2011

by Kim Taylor

By now, you’ve heard that comedian Gilbert Gottfried was fired as the voice of the AFLAC duck for his insensitive tweets following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

After reading the tweets, I thought “of course they fired him” and “how could he?” but then I remembered … he’s Gilbert Gottfried.  He’s not exactly known for his family-friendly shtick.

Now, two days after they muted the duck, I’m wondering what AFLAC was thinking when they employed Gottfried as the voice in the first place.

When you hire someone to be the face or voice of your company, hiring criteria should extend far beyond the ability to quack.

What’s in a Name?

January 26, 2011

by Kim Taylor

Last week I received an unusual phone call. The woman on the other end of the phone had a request for me: she’d like my name … my Twitter username to be exact.

She proceeded to explain that she was calling on behalf of a fashion designer in NYC who shares my name, Kimberly Taylor. And as the publicist for said designer, she was experiencing difficulty with the “branding” because there was often confusion between her Twitter account and mine.

Admittedly, I had received a few misdirected tweets, but nothing to indicate that the Twittersphere  was up in arms about the name confusion.

She went on to explain that “I’m just a person” and they’re working on a “brand.” I’m not sure about you, but I don’t think that’s the most convincing or endearing argument to make.

Furthermore, I wasn’t about to school another PR person about branding. Branding is more than just a name. A brand is a promise you make to your customer.

So, my questions to you are: What’s in a name? And, would you give yours up?

World Cup and Social Media, an Organic Goal

June 24, 2010

by Kim Taylor

If you’ve spent even a short amount of time on Twitter or Facebook since June 11, chances are your tweet stream or Facebook wall have been all aflutter with one word:  Gooooooaaaaaaall!

Ratings are up, Twitter is down … we probably haven’t seen this many fail whales since the King of Pop’s death (which, incidentally, happened a year ago this week).

Interaction, excitement and sheer fandom are through the roof.  But, as I observe this new media success story, I can’t help but think it happened for one reason … it was organic.

Our firm has long been known as The Strategic Firm®, so don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe in strategy and social media is no exception, but sometimes it’s fun to sit back and watch what happens when it just … happens.

Thou Shalt Blog

January 26, 2010

by Ashley Pinder
*We’re not a religiously affiliated company, but we believe in analyzing the communication plans of any type of organization.

Leave it to the Pope to share solid strategic communications principles with the world.

Not only did news break recently that Pope Benedict XVI is urging priests to engage in social media using blogs and other audiovisual online tools to spread the Gospel, but it seems he’s providing some resources. Several Vatican partners already manage for the Pope a clearinghouse of shareable, downloadable tools like e-cards in several languages on Pope2you. (It’s a pretty extensive Web site from the Holy Father that incorporates a number of interactive social media platforms in one place.)

The Pope wants priests to foster friendship by connecting with new audiences online, using some of these tools.

According to the AP, he said:

“Priests present in the world of digital communications should be less notable for their media savvy than for their priestly heart, their closeness to Christ.”

Priests won’t be judged on how many Twitter followers they have or views their videos get on YouTube, but by their message and what’s in their heart. Maybe he thinks if they are transparent with their purpose, the benefits of getting involved online will come.

This principle is something we tell our clients at C&P all the time. You can’t just be “in social media.” You need a good business plan, a message and an objective for engaging.


Friend Me on Twitter

January 22, 2010

by Dan Ward

I was passing a digital billboard on Interstate 4 the other day, and seriously considered violating traffic laws to get a cell phone photo of one of its revolving ads. I chose, however, not to risk life and limb for a fuzzy photo, so this post is visual-free.

So let me describe this simple, text-only ad, which was promoting the outdoor advertising company to those who are active on social media. The bold type encouraged drivers to “Friend Me!”

Not a bad idea in this day and age to engage in social media conversation. Minor problem, though. “Friend Me!” was followed by the company’s Twitter address.

Perhaps they figured that a Pied Piper-ish “Follow Me” message would encourage too many drivers to exit the highway immediately and search aimlessly for the next board. It’s more likely that they just got this one wrong.

If you want friends, fans and followers, make sure you know your terminology.

Kanye West, Social Media and Great Design

September 14, 2009

by Dionne Aiken

Fans and viewers everywhere began twittering away about Kanye West’s disorderly conduct at the MTV Video Music Awards.

We saw a visual representation of this as his profile picture bubble grew to enormous proportions on the VMA Twitter Tracker:

This dynamic tracker created by social media measurement company Radian6 and design firm Stamen, is a real – time visual display of users’ twittering activity on Twitter.  In creating this tracker, they were able to translate complex statistical information into something visually pleasing and tangible that people can easily relate to.  This is a powerful example of what happens when design and technology come together in an innovative and engaging way.

Another example of this is Flickr’s new clock … It’s a visual representation of recently uploaded videos arranged chronologically to give a broad look at what’s being posted in the Flickr community.

In these two examples, we see the critical role design plays in how we receive and interpret information especially on the Web and on social media platforms.

By finding new and creative approaches to design and visual communication we can inform, as well as engage and connect with our audiences.

So when great design and technology combine, we see form and function at its best.


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