Good Grief.

Sigh, what do ya think? Should we put in a RFP for the "C3" account?
Oh wait, haven't we been C3 since 1999?
Oh wait, aren't they the people that told us that darned it, that was too bad they were still going to use C3 even though they rented to people that competed against us in the marketplace and were confusing our clients because they had already printed their letterhead and business cards?!?

Oh wait, if they're the Creative Change Center maybe they should just be creative and... change?

Here's the RFP - C3-Web-site-RFP.pdf

Looks like they want to compile a database of creatives for work- soooooooo more confusion in the marketplace for The Original C3, Copeland Casati Media?

Please feel free to pass the RFP on to any unethical person you know!
Nice people, we're here, as we've always been, to work with you in advertising and web.

And we at Copeland Casati Media, C3 highly recommend the Creative Change Center look into rethinking their brand name before launching again. It's the right thing to do.

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Something Positive about the new Facebook Layout

I know it's en vogue to bash the new FaceBook layout, and I share many people's annoyance with some of the changes they've made. But I noticed something last night that I actually liked.

I don't know about you, but as you might have surmised from my last blog post, I'm interested in preserving some separation between work, family, and friends in my social media accounts. That being the case, I really use the friends list privacy filter settings. I keep those 3 groups as separate as possible, though there is inevitably some overlap. So I was interested to find that my feed had automatically pulled in those privacy groups as optional feed settings. Being an organizational freak (I was one of those kids who didn't let the different foods on my plate touch) I LOVE being able to see separate feeds for my different social groups. I find that much easier to keep track of.

Long Story Short: if you have groups you have created to apply privacy filters, you can now select those groups in your feed and see a custom feed.

For example, if I select "work friends" I see a feed containing just the updates from those contacts I have added to that group.

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You Have Summoned The Fail Whale

This is for all you twitter doubters... and for enthusiasts who can laugh at themselves.
But I am happy to explain to you in depth why twitter has been, and remains, a valuable tool.

In the meantime, enjoy!




The Agency As The Octopus

Dew on a Spiderweb
I wrote this draft post back in January, but the AdAge article today on how marketing is becoming directed to other marketers targeting each other prompted me to post it now:

Now that we're all comfortable with 'social media,' I'd like to throw in a little of my darker, literary side.

In 1901, Frank Norris detailed the struggles of small farmers against the "public domain" encroachment of big railroad industry in "The Octopus."

In the end,
"Presley goes to San Francisco, where he meets the president of the railroad and finds that he is not an evil man. He meets Hooven's daughter Minna, whom poverty has driven to prostitution. Chapter seven alternates scenes of a splendid, opulent dinner in the home of a railroad vice president with scenes of Hooven's widow starving on the city street. In the end, Behrman, the cold-hearted railroad agent who destroyed so many wheat ranchers, is buried under tons of wheat being dropped into the hold of a ship on which Presley is sailing. The ship is one that the wealthy people of San Francisco have arranged, with charitable contributions, to take wheat to the starving people of India."

Traditionally, agencies expanded when valued employees moved to other cities with viable markets and wanted to become outposts, or when working with a client in another city, they forged relationships with smaller companies there to then merge.
Until now, only the largest and well-funded agencies were able to expand to multiple locations.

Will that model remain?

In Richmond, copeland casati media has clients we've never met in London, Washington, L.A., Toronto... We know everything about their business, even their grandchildren's names. Somehow far-flung clients find us, and relationships begin. It has been great seeing so many different businesses overcome the "must meet in person" mindset to leap into close, successful, longterm projects.

Now there's twitter, and other social media.
When I first joined, it was to listen to authorities on subjects that interested me.
Then I began to cut up- our job involves much research, so I use twitter often as a place to giggle, relax, and interact with my peers.

This brought about some unexpected gifts- new friends with whom I'm happy to see outside of work, and collaboration on ideas, conversations... and fun.

Lately I've been exploring several large agencies in Paris, London, New York, loving how each has their own voice, brand, culture... seeing ones that are totally different from our workplace, then discovering ones where I think, "Oh my gosh we could work there!"

And think...

Now, before you start spreading rumors that we're gonna merge...
We have neither plans nor desire to change our company or culture.
We are happy as we are.

BUT it makes us think:
I am certain 'Big Ad Industry' will be changing, thanks to the ease of interaction through new social networks, and thought professionally we should point it out.

Like the era of Big Railway taking away small fields of wheat, will there rise The Octopus of Large Advertising greedily extending their domain?

...Or will this foster opportunity for nimble collaboration and exchange of culture and collaboration?

As a web enthusiast... I'm certain it will be the latter.
The interaction on the web still remains individualistic- despite the brand umbrella under which your agency speaks.

I see instead The Octopus as people leaning towards and reaching to each other via different agencies, in outreach, not overtaking but benefiting in positive partnerships to better serve their clients.

Let culture, and freedom of collaboration, ring.

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Digital Divide

This week has been full of discussion on the Digital Divide.

Businesspeople in meeting
It started with a conversation on rural areas and their lack of access to high speed internet, thus removing them from online experiences that might benefit their region economically and educationally. Without good access to the internet, how can their rural voices be heard? Appreciated? Exposed to opportunity? Foster relationships with those outside of their area to then attract tourism? Computers, high speed internet, and a grasp of social media is key to helping small, rural businesses be heard.

Then Eric stopped by.
Eric only comes by when it is about to rain, and asks to clean the gutters so he can afford a room for the night.
We usually don't talk that much, but this time he said, "I'm sorry I keep coming back. I went through the Salvation Army program, but once you're done they kick you out. I really do want to get a job."

I decided I would try to do something about that. I know Eric rests his head *somewhere* nearby, so before hitting up friends that own restaurants downtown to see if they'd hire him I thought I'd look over to the grocery store in our own mutual back yard, Ukrop's.

I felt that by adding bus fare, distance, and transportation hurtles to Eric's existing challenges to work, it would increase his likelihood to not succeed.

In the shopping center, blocks away, was Ukrop's Grocery Store. I went in and asked for an application. "Oh, we don't take applications, all of our jobs are online!"

That's when I decided to explore the trend of businesses moving their job opportunities online, and how it would affect those with less resources. I am an environmentally conscious business who encourages people to go as paperless as possible. My job is efficiency.

But is the move to online job submissions encouraging the digital divide?

It reminded me that online access affects urban poor, those unable to purchase computers everywhere, reinforced by this Washington Post story about one unemployed mother who relies on library access to help her child with his homework and searching for jobs.

Anticipated aid could include adding more computers to libraries.
But,this same week, it was pointed out that public computers in libraries, hotels, etc. are rife with security risk, easily hacked or rigged to parlay sensitive information to malicious thieves. (See much more here.)

Thinking about the digital divide and its implications, a new thread emerges, and brings us back to:
Ukrop's may not be on twitter yet, but they exemplify social.

When the online job application quandary appeared, the customer service rep paused and hand wrote a number on paper, "Try this number to call."

I called, and explained to Ukrop's employee #2 Eric's plight of applying online as he is homeless and without easy transportation to a library. She listened to me and did not try to fire off corporate HR dogma or cut me short. Then she said, "I'm going to find the appropriate person and get them to call you."

Employee #3 did call.
Three employees did not drop balls and instead passed the issue higher.
Matt Riley not only listened, did not discourage me, but engaged me in many of the aspects above- discussed the dilemma of job applicant functionality and environmental-impact of encouraging paperless applications being relevant when one considers that some applicants may not have access to online, and said they would consider and discuss having a small number of paper applications available in stores for those in that situation. (My suggestion: maybe have them online but "to print" function so Ukrop's employees could print them in-house, on an "as needed" basis?)

This is social, the way people have engaged for eons before the invention of the term "social media": Listening, engaging, reaching out, communicating with your current and potential customers, and addressing issues whether they are a customer or not, because you care.

Contrast user experience with the sites I visited looking for information on homeless services today: static, and on a snowy dangerous day, after going through their poor navigation to find contact information: no one returned my call.

Ironically, these people need most to understand social technology tools, to best provide their outreach to those most affected by the divide.

Ukrop's employees not only communicated well, they refused to pass off a difficult question; each of them took it a step further than their job description: by the end of my call with Mr. Riley, he not only provided me with his direct phone number so that, despite the economy and hiring freezes, when Eric stops by next, he will have a real person to go see that can take his application, but with phone numbers to other organizations that could help I had not yet discovered.

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