Almost exactly a year ago, I asked the question on this blog why trucks aren’t used more for advertising. All that empty space, those rolling billboards capturing countless eyeballs…seems like a no-brainer.

truckbboardsmYesterday, while enjoying dinner with my extended family in a bayside restaurant, I saw one way a company is doing this – has this truck driving around with (scrolling) billboards on both sides and the back. I’m not convinced that the truck carried anything but the ads, but they clearly got people’s attention, if only for the novelty factor.

Since this is not an Al Gore-approved blog, I won’t bring up any issues about the carbon footprint of mobile advertising (Al’s Gulfstream flights and palatial mansion have a much larger carbon footprint than this truck, I imagine), but I do think that certain platforms – like trucks – are quite underutilized. What other “vehicles” can you think of where advertising could be carried that would be both engaging and non-intrusive?


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My Kids don’t “get” Twitter

You know all those stats that talk about how the younger generation doesn’t “get” Twitter, or use it much.

Yeah. True.

My teens don’t understand me (how’s that for a role reversal!) They think about the little messages, but what they don’t “get” is the people.

They simply can’t figure out that I really like you folks. That I enjoy interacting, bantering, discussing ideas, sharing pictures, passing notes in class, and lending a hand or a shoulder.

The tools continue to bring us closer. But it really has very little to do with Twitter. It’s life. And it’s you.

Maybe they’ll “get it” someday.

Ask the Right Questions

Quick – think of businesses that have imploded in recent years. What names come to mind?

A lot, unfortunately. Enron. AIG. GM. And loads of others.

All of it could have been avoided if these businesses were founded on the right answers to three simple questions. Questions that, if rightly asked and answered, will save any company from a world of hurt:

    1. What are the real needs of our customers?
    2. How can we add value, immediately and in the long-term?
    3. How would our practices look on the front page of the newspaper?

Instead, many companies are founded on and driven by other concerns, which override any fine-sounding sentiments in their mission statements:

    1. What do we want?
    2. How can we maximize “the numbers”?
    3. What can we get away with?

Selfish, shady, short-term business practices are the bane of our economy, leading to lost money, cynical markets, and increased regulation. But – it opens up a wide vista of opportunity for honest, truly customer-centric business people. People who have a conscience and a heart.

Ask the right questions. Then give the right answers. Over the long haul, you’ll be rewarded.


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Bring it!

If you travel, you know that horrible feeling when you’ve forgotten stuff.

Here’s a handful of stuff you should put together in a travel kit that ALWAYS goes with  you:

1. A spare smartphone charger

2. A compact umbrella

3. A pair of sunglasses in a hard case

4. Some gum and/or mints

5. …and, if you’re going to a conference, consider bringing a power strip.

What would you add??

Free (Starbucks) is Good

I saw last night that Starbucks had published an on-line coupon for FREE pastry (with a beverage purchase) this morning. In fact, they even have a smartphone-friendly version if you don’t have a printer. Nice.

Being a bit tech-geeky, I decided to find out if there was a Starbucks in the vicinity of this hotel in Philly where I’m staying. Since my iPhone knows where I am, I just plugged “nearby Starbucks” into Google and voila! – there was a list. Very nice.

After a brisk walk of a few blocks, I found the place, which was nearly empty, and when flashing the coupon on my iPhone to the barista, she was visibly relieved that SOMEONE knew about it, because they had a massive delivery of pastries today in anticipation of the event. So I said I’d continue to promote it.

Now we don’t want all that pastry to go to waste, so get it while you can! And here’s another suggestion – think about taking advantage of Starbucks’ largesse, and give your free pastry to someone less fortunate to you. If you’re reading this, you’re undoubtedly blessed beyond measure. But there are lots of hungry folks out there. And maybe your local Starbucks is near some hungry or homeless people. Let’s show how good free can be…(and thanks, Starbucks – great promo!)


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Nutella Newfella

nutellaOn Monday night, for no apparent reason, discussions on Twitter seemed to zero in on some confection that a number of folks are seriously addicted to – Nutella.

Now I admit that I’ve seen this term tossed around before, but the rhapsodic descriptions made me, a Nutella virgin, rather curious about what the rage was all about. So I did what any normal person would do – Google it.

I liked what I saw. Without engagement of one tastebud, I was converted, and determined to become a Nutella Newfella by Wednesday night of this week.

Fellow blogger Sonny Gill also crawled out of the shadows and admitted his gastronomic naivete. So we now have a death-by-Nutella pact, to be completed in two days time.

There may well be other Newfellas (note: that term includes gals!) who need to be indoctrinated into the cult, so let’s see how many Nutella-naive souls can be rousted out of the slumber of tastebud boredom and welcomed into this brave new world of…well, tasty calories, I guess. Tweet your sweet impressions Wednesday night!

If large-scale die-offs of social media “gurus” occur because of this exercise, blame will be spread among Olivier Blanchard, Liz Strauss, Kris Colvin, Amber Naslund, and Valeria Maltoni. And Olivier will be left to calculate the negative ROI…

UPDATE: Here is my sideways (?) video on YouTube showing the taste-test verdict…


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Everyone’s an Influencer

influencerIt’s tempting to look at the A-list bloggers, the uber-Twitter users, the people with massive followings, and say, “That’s an influencer!

True – as far as it goes. But what do we say about everyone else?

The same thing.

Yes, someone with a big network and large reach has outsized potential influence because of the audience size. But the person just getting started on Twitter may be a friend of the CEO of the company you will be working at next. That blogger with a relatively modest following may have a cousin who will be President of the United States in 12 years.

And that’s one of the wonderful “soft” returns on Networked Communications. There is serendipity involved. Unpredictable and unanticipated connections happen.

Example: someone who had recently connected with me on Twitter, and with whom I had had little or no direct contact, knew that I was involved in pharma, and when someone from a biotech company approached her with a need, she thought of me and made the connection. Which resulted in a consulting engagement. She was an influencer, even with the most tenuous of connections. And, as regularly happens, we’re now in more regular contact.

Everyone’s an influencer. Including you.

But wait, there’s more…!

As I sit here early on this Friday morning, I look forward to a lunchtime tweetup with some of my networking partners-in-crime here in the North Jersey area. This is our fourth monthly meeting, an event that just started because someone (I think Aimee Evans) said, “We should all meet up!” So we did. And now, as I look forward to a backyard cookout and hangout time with these folks, I don’t really think of them so much as “influencers” any more. They’re colleagues, interesting professionals, moving along the continuum from avatars to initial acquaintances to budding friends. Yes, we may well be able to bring influence to bear to help each other in coming days…I would expect so. But there will be bright eyes, warm hugs, and encouraging words. There will be stories told and laughter shared. And that’s plenty good enough influence no matter what anybody’s network “reach” may be. (Update: picture of the NJ gang below)

NJ tweetup


(Image credit)

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