Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I'm Moving!!!

I'm finally saying goodbye to Blogger - I'll be over at caitlinmccabe.com from now on.  As you can see, Google doesn't like my Wordpress template so I'm finally making the move! 

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ever Been Told You Should "Listen" To Social Media? It's Not The Best Advice.

The last night I was in San Diego for the OMS conference I'm sitting with a table full of people and we are tired and burnt out so we are giggling like 6 year olds about how many times we've been told to "listen" as part of a social media plan that day.  The conversation went something like:
"Hey, have you thought about listening to social media?"
"yeah..... that is a good idea!  Or maybe, before that I should listen first!  hahaha!"
It was literally about 20 minutes of pure immaturity which you'll see after a few days packed full of learning and business.
After I left though I was thinking about why that was so damn funny.
Is it because "Listen" is such a simple command that it's hard to imagine giving it out as a plan?
Is it because you can't really audibly "listen" to much on the internet - it's really just reading?
Or is it because it's only half the idea, like telling someone to "get in the car and go"?
I think it's the latter.
With so many people urging us to listen I think it has become a bit oversimplified.  Are we telling marketers to listen to EVERYTHING that's being said about their brand or industry on the internet?
I would amend that instruction to "listen with a serious filter".  You don't have to just turn on your computer and read Twitter or Facebook posts or blogs all day.  It's a waste of time and if you don't know how to filter the information you won't be any wiser after reading all of it.  As you "listen" online, you need to immediately decide which stuff is just noise.  Brands aren't going to be able to work with their community online if they pay attention to all of the noise as well.  Look at it this way - a local grocery store sends out coupons to everyone in the neighborhood and wastes a ton of paper because most of the recipients aren't going to be interested.  With listening online, you could send every person who even remotely mentions groceries at all a coupon.  Better?  Yes, slightly but still wasting a lot of time grabbing those grocery conversations.  Most brands have 1 or maybe 2 people trying to manage their social media and marketing and print and now they are expected to deal with every person online talking about groceries.  What if that grocery store could reward those people who really like their store?  Not people with a grocery blog but people who are genuinely their fans?  Wouldn't that be a better use of their resources?  Sephora thinks so.  They have figured out who goes on their mailing list for coupons (sort of fans) and who are their Beauty VIP people (people who buy every pot of sparkles on the shelf....  me).  They reward them differently and as a result, people like me who used to go there once in a while now are avid fans.  They brought me into their community.
So should you be "listening" online?  Yes you should.  However, you need to listen with a filter for people who can be in your community, not just every person talking about a certain topic.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why I Don't Hate LinkedIn Anymore.... And A Little Something I Missed At Home.

Every time I come to a conference I a: meet some really cool people and b: learn something.  Of course, I did meet some cool people, wait you should meet them too.  Here's a few:
I haven't found the rest on Twitter yet.  Which leads me to my newest brilliant plan that everyone's Twitter handle should hover in the air above their head so I can find them easily.  Someone should get working on that......
Anyway, on my panel yesterday afternoon we were asked what the biggest social media waste of time was in our opinion and I really, really wanted to say LinkedIn because its not very social and I don't ever use it but I didn't think it was going to be appropriate considering all of the LinkedIn love I'd been hearing around OMS over the last day.  So I said Facebook ads, which is pretty wasteful too. 
Someone else said LinkedIn.
After the panel I was standing around talking and LinkedIn came up which, of course, elicited my usual negative response, and you know what?  Right there on the deck of OMS I got schooled in LinkedIn.  I admit it.  I got 3 things that LinkedIn is good for and I can no longer say that the community has NO value.  I stand corrected.  Here they are:
1) Questions.  I had thought that the questions section was all spam and no one ever really got much business there.  Turns out, it's not ALL spam and people that I spoke with last night did in fact get business by answering questions on LinkedIn.
2) Recommendations.  I liked this one.  LinkedIn is the only recommendation area on a site in which the recommended person cannot edit the recommendation.  You have to put it up as is which does make them pretty solid I have to admit. 
3) InMail.  This one is pretty interesting too.  You get to send 10 Inmails per year and no matter how much you pay, you can only send 10 emails to people you don't know on LinkedIn.  If you get someone's "cold call" email, you know they paid for it, and chose you to send one of the precious 10 to so you know you weren't just the recipient of a mass email.  Not so bad.

Don't worry, while I was in San Diego there were things going on in good old Wisconsin.  My sister was at my parent's house when a sheriff car comes rolling up the driveway.  She says the first thing that went through her mind was "oh fuckitty".   Here's what happened:
Sheriff: "There was a report of a black Ford F250 leaving the gas station with the hose still in the tank."
Sister: "License plate XXXXX?"
Sheriff: "yep, that's it."
Sister " Yeah, that's my mom's"
Sheriff: "Well, she drove off  and left the scene"
Sister: "uh.....  ok."
Sheriff: "So,  what's going on around here today?"
Sister: "Sir....  I don't live here, and I don't pretend to know."

I guess she'd driven off with the gas pump still in the car.  She went back to the station long enough to tell the attendant "I have a haircut right now, I need to go" and just left.  So they called the police whom she also informed that she was busy having a haircut and they'd need to talk to her later.....


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

With Social Media Love, From San Diego, and OMS.

So yesterday I trudged through the snow and ice to participate in my second year of Online Marketing Summit's conferences.
It just so happened that this was in San Diego.
At a nice resort.
Let's just say I generally make every effort to attend conferences if they are in a nice locale (come on, everyone does it).
I started the whole  thing off by getting out of the cab in front of the hotel and exclaiming to a group of people that were from Florida and San Diego "look!  A duck! Birds!"  I have had several other moments since then with a fish in a pond and some flowers that probably make it look like I'm from the tundra or was just released from prison.
I am on a panel today at 3:40 so if you want to see it go here.  I'm the super pale one looking like I've never seen the sun.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Creative Person You Should Know About: Jena Ardell

To say I've been anxiously awaiting summer would be a mild understatement but when I stumbled across the retro photos of Jena Ardell, I spent about 20 blissful minutes on her site.  She photographs lots of beach scenes but my favorites are the lovely little beach bungalows that you can almost imagine yourself in. 

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Want To See Where The Flaming Lips Live?

This is where Wayne Coyne, Flaming Lips singer, lives.  How awesome is this house?  (hat tip: Black Eiffel)  It's actually a lot less odd then I thought it would be.  The first song I ever heard them put out was Vaseline.... remember that one?


Excuse Me, You're In My Office. Office Etiquette When You Have No Office.

So, I'm sitting in my favorite coffeeshop and it's one of those days when I'm trying to get something done and I'm totally distracted by two women sitting next to me having an honest to god conversation about how many grocery stores they shop at.  I'm not trying to be judgemental but in a moment of smugness I give them a look.  Which one of them catches.
"I'm sorry,  we're in your office aren't we?"  Instantly, I feel bad,  it's a coffeeshop!  I don't own this place, it's not my office, and they can talk as loud as they want about the merits of different grocery stores all day if they want.  I feel like some kind of hobbit protecting my rock from other, more relaxed, people. 
"ummm.... yeah.... sort of..... but it's ok."  They look very apologetic.  I go back to my computer and hope they stop looking at me.
It's weird to me that people are now very aware that any given place could be someone's office.  That it's mainstream enough for casual coffee drinkers to mix with a location independent's conference calls and that they try to be semi respectful of each other.  Some places are impossible to work (Starbucks, I love you but you have way too much going on in there) and others are just filled with location indie's (Barrique's thank you for embracing us) and everyone has their own limit for how much outside noise they like / can take.
Are there any etiquette rules you observe or have come up with for common spaces and working?
Mine are:
Phone calls - Don't do them in a common space.  Go in your car or go outside.  Your clients don't want to hear barista background noise, coffee grinding, people talking, etc.  There are plenty of people who are going to see this as really unprofessional.  Even short calls that are being done for business should not be held in a common space.
Tables - Don't hog up a huge table if the place is packed.  If you are working in a place that has natural busy times, offer to share your table if it gets full.  On the flip side, don't be afraid to ask another person who is working to scoot over if they are hogging a whole table.
Plugs - share them.  If you can't plug in you can't really work.  If you see someone looking for a plug offer them a half hour or so.
Don't Get Territorial - Seriously, I have seen people almost get into it over a chair or table that they "usually work in".  Don't be 'that guy'.  No one likes 'that guy'.
Talking - Some people want to talk to everyone and some people just want to work.  Try to be sensitive to what it seems like a person is doing.  I've had to leave a place before because "I have a really tight deadline" didn't stop a chatterbox.  Other days, I have plenty of time to chat and I think it's generally pretty obvious but it's kind of like airplanes.  Every once in a while you get someone who really wants to talk.   It's ok to move seats. 


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tips For Better Ideas.

Renegade Advertising: Vitamin Water Hits Up The Bus Stop

Vitamin Water has been working hard to capture the energy of the Olympics in its marketing lately with bus stop take-overs and clever writing.  I'd definitely give it a sit.

Labels: , ,

Monday, February 15, 2010

Company Spotlight: Sprite And Their Spark - Paging Captain Obvious.

I have to say, I'm a little nervous about the Sprite Spark program launching in March.  No doubt they researched, spent good money, and tried really hard to make an amazing integrated social plan.  At the end of all of this research they have determined that "fresh ideas and experiences are important social currency for teens"  to which I wonder if the person who delivered this expensive bit of news was dressed in a Captain Obvious costume.
What Sprite has cooked up is "Innovative TV commercials, an online interactive music mixer featuring content from GRAMMY(R) nominee Drake and a digital film mixer will inspire and enable teens to spark fresh thinking and display their originality. "  No doubt this campaign will garner plenty of interest and buzz but is it really innovative? From the previous advertising that Sprite had, it looked like they were going the route of avant garde like Skittles which I think would have been a better direction.  Here's the new spot, what do you think? 

Labels: ,

The Weekend In A Few Words. A Box Of Scissors And Alessi.

I thought I had been everywhere in Madison since I've been here almost 3 years and winters here will have you scouring every cranny of this city looking for something new but I did it, I found something new.  The Love and Hate Art Show at Club Inferno had everything I needed to get my art fix.  An artist that was a Zach Galifianakis look-a-like who paints a disturbing family portrait over and over, Betty Page Posters, and a big box of scissors that people seemed instinctively to want to stick their hands in (and as it got later, I saw people sticking their heads in as well)

Also, on Saturday there was a little Alessi bird on my counter that I have been drooling over for years that the New Jersey-ite gave me (the man remembers things that I forgot I even wanted).  I think I'm going to use it for coffee creamer.  Alessi, by the way, has some of the most amazing kitchen items you could ever want.

Labels: ,

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Single Man: Gorgeous Architecture, Great Clothes, And Guys I Could Stare At For Embarrasingly Long Amounts Of Time..

I decided to cut out of work early yesterday and take myself to the movies.  I'd been wanting to see A Single Man for a while but yesterday just seemed like a good day to steal some time for myself.  Plus I've been wanting to eat popcorn every day lately.
The house that the main character lives in is absolutely stunning.  I wanted to memorize it and copy it exactly.  It's pure 60's LA goodness.
The wardrobe (being directed by Tom Ford) is excellent.  The best part is that a lot of the looks are totally copy-able.  Guys, you should get some thinner ties they look great.
Lastly, I'm not really the kind of girl that normally lusts over actors but good GOD some of the guys were sensational looking in that film.  Totally worth it although it was kind of awkward seeing as I was the youngest person in the theater by around 40 years or so.  As an added bonus - Julianne Moore's make-up close up is so amazing that I'm tempted to try out the look.

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why You Should Be Pretending And Pipe Dreaming.

"You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than you can from a lifetime of conversation"
I stress people out a lot with my goals. Maybe its because my goals range from Nepalese temple wandering to an Inc. Magazine cover, to somehow making an entire cake out of Skittles.  Maybe it's because I'm an Aquarius and that sign is the equivalent of a mad scientist.  Maybe not though, I know plenty of entrepreneurs of all signs that have crazy ideas. 
Until recently, the New Jersey-ite thought that I wanted to move to Charlotte next month followed by a sabbatical in Spain.  He was stressed out about it for weeks without telling me because he has a job that would probably not enjoy one of their few employees calling in from Spain every day.  He also told me he wasn't sure how we'd afford something like that since I spent most of my money opening a business this year.  I was really surprised when he told me he was worried about it since I was only planning and not doing.  I like to be prepared should I suddenly have 6 months that I don't know what to do with. 
Pretending used to be something I kept to myself - like it was maybe some part of my 6 year old self that never went away like a skin tag or birthmark.  Well beyond the days when it's appropriate for adults to openly be discussing "playing and games" I was still "playing" and I didn't see how that was going to fit in at any kind of business setting.   I drove several of my bosses crazy because try as I might to seem focused on only the task at hand it leaked out.  I had post-its everywhere with things written on them like "Inc. Mag. - shall I wear a crown?"  and "location independence means flexibility for employees to pursue their goals", and "Yes, let's replace the existing normal!". 
On a more embarrassing note (yes, let's go there) I still want a tutu or some sort of poufy dress for prancing around in regardless of the fact that I am rapidly approaching 30.

But don't worry fellow head-in-the-clouds-ers I'm prepared to defend this type of behavior in the workplace. 
Exhibit 1:  Legos.  Legos has built a Serious Play section for businesses. Notice that it's gray and boring BUT it's about playing.  They believe that by playing together employees will be better able to express themselves and will inevitably access deeper and more complex thought processes and solutions.
Exhibit 2: Google.  We all know about playing at work.  Pretending at work is different than play.  It's not playing a game of ping pong or skateboarding on the company ramp.  Pretending is closely related to planning and planning is good for companies.  Google has themed rooms all over their buildings to promote pretending, daydreaming, and planning. 
Exhibit 3: Pretending helps you achieve.  Oxford Journal did a study where they determined that people that could pretend that an object was something else (like a flat rock is actually a plate) were good at communicative narrative - which means that they can imagine that something is different than it is.  If you can visualize yourself being successful at building a Skittle cake, then chances are much higher it will actually occur.  This isn't terribly new, psychologists and hypnotists use visualization techniques all the time.
Exhibit 4: Pretending isn't as ridiculous as it seems.  This is the thing that I think helps me the most and the one that people usually blast me for.  Before you comment that I'm being an escapist, think about what some people in different fields must pretend about. 
A Mr. Peanut employee must have pretended at some point that one of their peanuts was in fact a little man.
Fashion shows would not be produced were it not for legions of 30 year olds (and older) wanting tutus.
How many times as a weather reporter must Oprah have  been pretending to interview the world's celebrities? 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Stop Motion T-Shirt War.

Rhett and Link are a comedic team from North Carolina (one of my Craiglist stalking cities) and they make all kinds of videos.  I hadn't seen them until this T-Shirt War video and I think it's a pretty funny idea.  You can also buy the shirts so it's also one of the more successful product placement ventures I've seen in a while.
I am really interested to see how product placement in our programming continues to evolve but anyone thinking of doing it - watch videos like these for inspiration.  Don't just turn the soda can logo out and smile.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Listening To: Wiley Feat. Emelie Sande - I Love the 90's!

I sporadically participate with my friends over at FIWK on Music Tuesdays and lately I have been really sucking at it because I haven't heard anything good / I've been too uncool to go and listen to anything.
However, this week?  I have been mysteriously bumping into really awesome 90's covers.  Remember this 90's gem??

Monday, February 8, 2010

Company Spotlight: Golden Grahams Cereal.... Who Knew?

I'm surprised.  Surprised that I'm actually spotlighting a breakfast cereal for their cool concept when honestly, there hasn't been much of anything really interesting or progressive going down with cereals in a while. 
Cereals were king of the television ad.  They almost all have mascots like tigers, elves, vampires, and all sorts of other animated beings to get kids attention.  Because that's who eats cereal right?  Kids?
Wrong.  Case in point: one meal I made on a first date was in fact Fruity Pebble rice krispy squares.  I think there's a huge missed market with cereals to capture based on twenty-somethings' nostalgia for our favorite cereals back before their sugary goodness was deemed a product of the devil and bad parenting.
Annnyway, Golden Grahams has made a really funny contest called Golden Grant.
It's not as noble as it sounds, the winner will win a whole 12 boxes of cereal.  It's based on the twenty-something job search and the fact that while scraping to make ends meet cereal is still a viable food source.  I think it's brilliant.
Best parts:  Live feed for people to type in their job interview horror story.  The reason why this is so great is it's REALLY EASY to participate. 
Job interview tip videos that are really cute to watch and appeal to adults, not children.
The only thing I would have done to make this a little more visible is to create a Twitter component and promote it on job sites (maybe they are I haven't seen it).  Either way, kudos to Golden Grahams for the tongue in cheek contest!
Ok, now that I've thought about this a bit more I wanted to see which (sugar) breakfast cereals had decent Twitter feeds since they appear to be lagging behind the healthy cereals in terms of social media development.  When I looked.....  none were active enough to even mention (if you see that your favorite cereal has one and I missed it please leave it in the comments)!!  That's crazy because almost everyone I know has some attachment to his/her favorite kids cereal and still buys it on occasion.  That's a great fan base for a killer social project.

Labels: ,

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Weekend In A Few Words. False Eyelashes, Fresh Tortillas And Eviction.

I am officially obsessed with making my own corn tortillas.  I've been making them at least twice a week and I've moved on to offering to come over to friend's houses and make a stack for them as well.  I've been using this tortilla press on the left and a hot griddle (dry) and it only takes about 20 minutes to make 20 or so tortillas.  The best part is that all you need to make them is Masa Harina flour, a little pinch of salt, and water so you know there's no preservatives or anything in there.  Here's the recipe I use.

In other news, I managed to pull myself out of the winter funk long enough to get dressed up to go out on Saturday.  One of my favorite things in life is false eyelashes so I pulled those out and went to the Ivory Room which is a Piano bar that I'm convinced used to be a gym.   The New Jersey-ite requested they cover such piano friendly tunes as Rammstein and Lady Gaga......
Here's a great video tutorial for applying fake lashes.

Also, I started Janet Fitch's "Paint it Black" since her previous book "White Oleander" has been one of my favorite books for years.  It's slightly more depressing than Oleander (the main character's artist boyfriend dies right away) but I really like the main character, she's got loads of attitude and a cool sounding wardrobe (bright yellow faux fur jacket).
It's inspiring me to paint a mural on my wall which I'm fairly certain will get me evicted.

Labels: ,

Friday, February 5, 2010

Company Spotlight: Skittles Has A Bizarre New Site Based On Social Media Again

Skittles made a lot of headlines when they changed their homepage to be their Twitter feed.  It was new, interesting, and got them a lot of attention.  Now, they've gone and changed the site again.  It's hard to talk about it unless you've seen it so go and look at it here.  I'll wait.
It's pretty odd right?  It's both full of social media and strange as all hell. It's got lots of video, pictures, and links to their social pages which is usually a good thing.  What I'm interested in seeing is how well it's updated.  As of right now, they claim 92 Twitter followers on the site but when you go to their Twitter feed, there's 250 or so.  They make a bunch of other statistical claims about how many tweets the red Skittles get per minute that I wonder about as well. 
I'm not sure this will be a home run for Skittles but what I find interesting is their "full steam ahead" attitude towards the avant garde.  Are they the candy version of Lady Gaga? 

Labels: ,

The Coolest Window Blinds Ever: Thanks UK!

Aren't these the greatest blinds?  They are made by SurfaceView which has tons of really cool image blinds but I sort of have that "I could make this" feeling with them.  Remember that stencil book I got?  Could I use it to make something like this?

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Travel Much? A New Site For Small Products!

As I get ready for another round of travel (San Diego and SXSW) I've got my eye out for cool travel gear.  This site has travel sizes of really nice beauty products that all make it through security check points.   Guys, they have men's stuff as well.
This also works great for those of us who like to try a product before we buy a whole tub o' whatever.

Labels: ,