Wine wit and wisdom from Brian Solis

During a cab ride between Internet Week NY events, I asked Brian Solis, a known social media PR maven and fine wine and champagne aficionado, to share some advice my with my blog readers. This is what he said:

Published in: on June 10, 2009 at 12:54 am  Comments (1)  

Vote For Me Tomorrow!

I am in the process of submitting my video and application for #areallygoodejob. I have already created and edited my video, and have decided to upload it to my blog while I take the time to write and revise a powerful essay for the online application. I have been so busy with the video, attending conferences, strengthening my network, tweeting from this account, my personal account and on behalf of my full-time job, as well as blogging on this blog and my personal blog and working on my startup (whew! I think I remembered it all…) I have been so busy that I haven’t had any alone time to really sit down and flesh out my essay. After finishing my draft tonight, I will wait to read and edit it with a clear head tomorrow morning, before I submit it. I hope to have my video submitted, approved and ready for consumption by COB Friday. To reward my Twitter and blog followers, I wanted to go ahead and post it to my blog right away! Enjoy and send your feedback!

Published in: on June 4, 2009 at 11:42 pm  Comments (1)  

My Take on What’s Required of the Lifestyle Correspondent

There was some discussion going on yesterday on Twitter and in the blogosphere about what the ideal candidate will be like and what will be required of her / him. Hardy Wallace thinks that at the end of the 6-month engagement, it will be all about building relationships and less about building a system that can keep going after the person leaves. I both agree and disagree with this statement. I think relationships are at the core of pretty much all of social web – building and enhancing relationships, creating ties when it wouldn’t be impossible or cumbersome IRL (in real life), strengthening weak ties, and keeping in touch. However, I think it is possible, and necessary, for the MG hire to kick things off and “institutionalize” this knowledge. I think that’s what this person will be expected to do. Here is an excerpt from Hardy’s blogpost, for your reference:

My thought from the beginning has been that you leave them with “YOU“.  Though there is a start time and an end time to “A Really Goode Job“, social media is not like building a bridge, installing a system, or leaving behind a set of tools– It is making connections, relationships, and communicating.  All of which are done by people, and in the case of Murphy-Goode, the “Murphy-Goode Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent”. (MGWCLC)  If you are going to be successful you don’t plan your legacy before you start, you strategize and plan for ongoing and future success.

I do agree with Hardy’s encouragement to have all the “wine 2.0” specialists (whether they are applying to this job or not) to band together to further the cause of using social media tools in the wine industry, to raise awareness, humanize brands and initiate dialog with the end consumer. These are long-term strategies, and I agree wholeheartedly that the successful candidate will have a winning blend of both: short term strategies that can be executed and measured within the 6-month window, as well as long term vision that will be carried on when that person leaves.

This question of long term vs. short term is something that I ponder quite a lot. I used to write the blog for my real estate startup, where I dealt with issues of the subprime mortgage meltown. An issue I discussed a lot was short term vs. long term. When long-term vision is lost in favor of short term impact and profits, success of the entire company (and even the larger micro- or macro-economy) is compromised. At the same time, human nature is selfish and works to enrich itself; we all know that what gets measured, gets done. To ensure success of the MG social media endeavor past the 6-month window, the Lifestyle Correspondent must come to the job with long-term orientation in mind.

It was the post by Craig Given that really struck a cord with me. This post discussed what the voice of the chosen hire would sound like: would it be that own person’s voice, or the voice of Murphy Goode? Would Murphy Goode hire someone that is already a web celebrity, or hire someone who can create a distinctive voice for MG? The upside of hiring an established web celebrity is that this person will bring his / her own brand to the table before the job even starts. However, the downside is that MG runs the risk of losing traction once that person is gone after 6 months. I agree with what Craig says below:

There are certainly ways to promote the brand in social media without promoting one’s self. I can think of several brands I follow in social media that definitely have personality, but I don’t really know who the real person is behind it. If the person changed, I wouldn’t know so long as the personality stayed the same. If you *create* a personality for the brand without linking it to you personally, someone else could potentially carry on that branding indefinitely. I think any brand looking for a social media professional should consider this, or else end up like Sirius w/ Howard Stern.

I think one of the keys to the success of this project will be picking a person who can establish a separate brand for MG, while still making the voice personable, authentic and bringing some of him/herself into it, without giving up the possibility of continuity. This person will have to have the expertise and facility with social media tools and be versatile enough to develop content and build relationships around several themes and concepts – not just wine tasting and wine making, but also lifestyle, travel and etc. The successful hire will be a conduit between Murphy Goode and the world – consumers, media, industry and other consumers of this content – without overpowering it.

Published in: on June 4, 2009 at 2:43 pm  Comments (5)  

Bacon Otaku

I tweeted a couple of times today about Bacon, which always gets a ton of response. As I monitor the Twittersphere, the two foods that come up most often are bacon and cupcakes. Not only are there a plethora of chatter about the two foods, there are also multiple #bacon bots that follow you and interact with you as soon as you mention this greasy, yet delicious food. I even received this recipe that incorporates not one, but both foods (via user @baconinja) It seems that, especially on Twitter, there is a ton of conversation about and loyalty to these quirky foods. I am still baffled by whether Twitter users are just more into bacon and cupcakes than the general population, or if my view is just extremely skewed, due to the specifics of both groups (online and offline) that I participate in.

In any case, as a marketer, I always think about what generates buzz and instills loyalty. Bacon and cupcake aficionados are quite staunch fans, and every time I think of them, I can’t help but think about Seth Godin‘s “Purple Cow.” In this book, Seth talks about Otaku, people who are more or less obsessed with a certain product, hobby or topic. Originally, Otaku (of Japanese origin) referred to Anime aficionados, but it has been somewhat adopted outside of that realm. Godin posits that certain foods, such as hot sauce, inspire Otaku-like behavior, while others don’t.

If someone can tell me why bacon and cupcakes inspire such passion (other than being sinfully delicious), I am all ears. I would also love to hear from marketers some success stories on how they built a passionate community around a fairly mundane product or brand.

P.S. I feel that wine, especially wine tasting, also inspires loyalty and a lot of passion. Other than the obvious lifestyle benefits of being a “social lubricant” and enhancing coversations at the dinner table (especially with a really good bottle), people who are good at tasting wines seem to belong to a close-knit group that is rich in its own traditions and even vocabulary. Wine tasting is an art, and the people who are good at it, have committed time and resources to learning how to be good at it, and I think that’s where the passion comes from. For the rest of us, while the fine art of wine tasting is aspirational, enjoying wine is open to all.

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Published in: on June 3, 2009 at 5:26 pm  Comments (3)  
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