Exploring Your “Why” in the Workplace

Exploring Your “Why” in the Workplace

Our CEO, Jim Weiss, likes to ask each of us “what’s your why?” Recently a college student sent me a great note in response to a year old post I’d written about my trajectory into PR nearly two decades ago and it made me think about my current “why.” Because while some reasons may stay the same – the people I work with, truly caring about the work and the impact it can have on patients and society, and the compensation – for me there must always be growth and learning or I naturally lose interest. As president of BrewLife, an integrated branding and communications agency under the W2O Group umbrella (along with WCG and tWist Marketing), I’m now setting goals for myself and my team that have required a change in the way I think about and approach my work. These are the big things – the personal things – that require an individual journey and are hard to teach. It’s pushed me to work on the parts of myself that hold me back, namely fear, impatience, and self-doubt. And it’s pushed me to liberate the things I do best, like taking calculated risks, and deliberate and compassionate coaching of my team and colleagues.... more »
Finding ‘The Kitchen’ in Your Communications Strategy

Finding ‘The Kitchen’ in Your Communications Strategy

There is one universal fact when it comes to hosting a party: no matter how well you decorate or where the music is playing, everyone inevitably ends up standing in the kitchen. The draw of the kitchen is like gravity, an inescapable force that brings everyone together for a shared experience and a shared conversation. So, how do companies capture that same effect? How do they engage their community and share in a lively conversation? At BrewLife, we partner with companies to bring this concept to life. Every brand will have its own definition of success (Who is in the kitchen? What are they talking about?) as well as its own approach, but really the underlying process is the same. First things first, you need a kitchen. The kitchen represents your company’s platform, where you want to bring people together. And it shouldn’t just be a single location. In this digital and social age, a company’s platform may consist of interlinking social channels, an unbranded awareness website, a corporate blog, and several other touchpoints. The point is that these elements must be coordinated, easily findable, and simple to navigate. Start the conversation. As people start to trickle into the kitchen, it’s important to engage them... more »
Care for your brand, because it’s worth it

Care for your brand, because it’s worth it

In the one second that passed while I was writing this blog post, there were 100,181 YouTube videos viewed, 2,045 Instagram photos uploaded and 9,109 Tweets. Whether we like it or not, we are constantly bombarded by all types of media and the fight for attention will continue to increase as digital technology enables our 24/7 consumption of content. Standing out is hard, but building trust is harder. Rising above the crowd is a tough order today. Marketing by interruption only gets you a few seconds of attention and if there is nothing relevant at that exact moment to engage your audience, you can be sure they have probably already moved on to something else. The fallout from a failed interruptive marketing execution is that the technique starts to get a bad reputation. Just like how I can’t wait to click away any banners that takeover my screen (Where is that clickable X?). What does this mean for companies? For non-profit organizations? For us personally? It means that if you are trying to influence anyone, sell anything, or say anything at all, it has to be relevant to your target audience. The message has to be delivered at the right time and be educational or... more »
Rethinking my thinking: When SXSW and ACC collide

Rethinking my thinking: When SXSW and ACC collide

I started my career as a research scientist at UCLA and spent years in the lab laser-focused on repeatability between experiments, making each day EXACTLY the same as the last. As intellectually challenging as it was, it was also… boring. If variety is the spice of life, I was eating white bread every day. This is what led me away from the lab and instead to BrewLife, and an existence fully of daily variety. Two weeks ago is a perfect example. W2O Group, the parent company of BrewLife, hosted its 5th annual Pre-Commerce Summit to kick off SXSW Interactive on March 11th in Austin, TX. The day was full of compelling talks that made me rethink my approach to communicating, to strategy, even to thinking. I learned that if you want to make products that resonate with your audience, you need to check your preconceptions at the door. This is exactly what didn’t happen when YouTube engineers first designed how videos reorient when you turn your phone. (All my fellow left-handers know what I mean.) To communicate effectively, you not only need to put your preconceptions aside, you should also put yourself in the shoes of the person you are communicating to. A great idea... more »
You’re invited: SXSW PreCommerce Summit

You’re invited: SXSW PreCommerce Summit

W2O Group is kicking off our SXSW events this year with the 5th Annual PreCommerce Summit this Thursday, March 12th. It will be a series of 10-minute TED-style talks, panels, and fireside chats with thought leaders and amazing speakers such as Al Roker (co-anchor of the Todat Show), David Kirkpatrick (author of The Facebook Effect), Daina Middleton (Twitter). We’ll also be live streaming it for those not lucky enough to be in Austin. Thursday, March 12th: Fifth Annual PreCommerce Summit Reserve to attend in-person through Eventbrite here (password required – email info@w2ogroup.com to request invite) Sessions run 9:30-6pm CT (10:30-7pm ET) followed by Cocktail Hour from 6:00-7:00PM Live stream available for those not able to attend in person is here. Speakers include: Al Roker, Co-Anchor/CEO, Today Show/Al Roker Media David Kirkpatrick, CEO, Techonomy, author of The Facebook Effect Vyomesh “VJ” Joshi, former EVP printing, Hewlett Packard Gayle Fuguitt, CEO & President, The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) Damon Davis, Director, Health Data Initiative, Chief Technology Office, US Department of Health and Human Services Mike Marinello, Head of Global Communications, Bloomberg Cathy Baron Tamraz, Chairman & CEO, Businesswire Ray Kerins, SVP, Head of Communications, Bayer Jon Harris, Media Personality (and former head of communications for Hillshire Brands). Amber Naslund, SVP Marketing, Sysomos Michelle... more »
Did the Super Bowl ads score with women?

Did the Super Bowl ads score with women?

The Super Bowl audience is 46% female according to Nielsen data, and something like 85% of all consumer purchases are made by women—so you’d think that advertisers paying around $4.5 million to run a 30-second spot, would have figured out long ago that they’d want to appeal to us. Or, at the very least, not alienate. Well, the message may finally have gotten through. This year’s ads were more inclusive than in the past, likely in large part because of the NFL’s terrible year as regards to scandal, abuse and sexism. Brands advertising in the Super Bowl were particularly sensitive to not seeming to endorse any of that bad behavior. (The NFL donated airtime for a gripping “No More” PSA addressing domestic violence.) Many female creative directors, including myself, participated in a live Super Bowl Tweetup organized by The 3% Conference using the hashtags #3percentsb, #mediawelike and #notbuyingit. (The 3% Conference, founded by Kat Gordon & Rebecca Rivera, builds the case for more female representation in advertising leadership.) The general consensus seemed to be satisfaction that there were only a few egregiously offensive ads. (Yes, we’re talking to you Carl’s Jr.) There weren’t many ads where women were portrayed as half-dressed eye candy (Ahem, Victoria’s... more »