Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Brother, can you spare a government bailout?

This is actually a post from our newest BrightBlueBlog contributor, Susan Dodia. I wanted to introduce you to her personally to say that she is one of the smartest, funniest, kindest people on the planet. Several of us at BrightBlue worked together at a Dallas software company, and have had the pleasure of knowing each other for 12 years. Enjoy!

It's a new year, the time when we are all feeling like we have a chance for a fresh start. That's why they are called “New Year's” resolutions, not “Mid-summer's” resolutions. Watch an hour of television, any hour, and you will see even more aggressive advertising for diets, gym memberships, and educational opportunities during the month of January.

But this year seems different. In addition to a Presidential Inauguration that has fascinated the United States, as well as the rest of the world, like no other in recent memory;

We are living in strange times, economically. On the last Monday in January, 50,000 jobs in the United States were lost in one day. This type of economic purge is unprecedented in my lifetime. It looks like a lot of people are getting a fresh start this year, whether they planned to or not.

I had four grandparents who were children and teenagers during the Great Depression. Sadly, none of them are alive to advise me during this time, but I think I have a good idea of what they would tell me, if they were still here:

Be patient, they would say - life is long and nothing last forever. Be kind; we don't know what other people are going through until we have walked a mile in their shoes. Be smart; look for opportunities, even in the bleakest times.

Both of my grandfathers were keenly interested in the stock market and were lifelong investors, even though their early memories and experiences were shaped by the Stock Market Crash of 1929. If they were alive today, they would probably tell me about the successful companies that were started, or those that grew and thrived, during The Depression. The lesson, they would tell me, is that these companies offered something that people wanted, regardless of what the headlines on the business page said.

My grandfathers might mention the White Castle hamburger chain, which started in 1921 and expanded to over 100 locations around the U.S. by 1930. The first A&W Root Beer stand opened in 1919; in 1933, there were 170 locations nationally. Harland Sanders opened his first restaurant in Kentucky in 1930, and specialized in fried chicken. Today, we still visit KFC for chicken made with the Colonel Sanders original recipe.

In an ironic twist, those quick service restaurants that gave rise to today's modern-day fast food purveyors actually contributed to the creation of another multi-billion dollar industry that thrives today: the ones that are advertising diet programs and gym memberships on my television set this cold January afternoon.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

A whopper of a Facebook application

Even if you’re not a fast food aficionado, you have to admit Burger King has some creative marketing folks.

They recently introduced a new Facebook application called "Whopper Sacrifice". How it works? You use the app to de-friend 10 people on your Facebook list and you get a coupon for a free Whopper. And the people you de-friend are notified that they've been de-friended, so you can let them know – in no uncertain flame-broiled terms - just how valuable their friendship is to you.

I wasn’t sacrificed, nor does it look like I’ll get the chance to be. After the sacrifice of 232,654 friends, Facebook sacrificed the application and took it down.

Stands to reason Burger King didn’t really intend for people to de-friend their buddies for a burger, but more likely were hoping people would think it funny enough to use and pass on so they could reach that ever-elusive viral marketing nirvana. After all, your friends will understand how much you love a Whopper and simply re-friend you, right?

Or maybe not. Maybe Facebook didn’t see equal amounts of re-friending and didn’t like what the de-friending trend meant for the health of their user base. Or maybe Burger King corporate thought they were giving away too many Whoppers. Guess we’ll never know, but I’d call it a success for Burger King either way.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Social Networking Advice For You In 2009: Dive in, but please come up for air!

The information available is out of control. It can be stressful trying to keep up with blogs, tweets, email, web sites, my TIVO and On Demand shows. But I vow to remain calm and not succumb to any addictive media behavior in 2009. Here’s my plan:

Work comes second. Learning comes first. At the start of each day, I’m going to open up our BrightBlueMktg Twitter account and check out one, at the most two, new recommended links to blogs or web sites a day. And then I’m cut off until my work is done.

I’ve found some really cool people to follow who have provided me links to articles that help me put this social networking in perspective (such as the Minimalist's Guide to Using Twitter... No more stressing about twitter! And it’s led me to discover the purpose of Twitter in my life. And that is to learn. To learn by continuously finding interesting new sources, staying on top of trends, listening in on brilliant people, and staying on top of hot news items.

I keep a list on my phone and PC of my favorite web sites, blogs and books plus those I want to check out. I highly recommend this! Through Twitter, Facebook and observing blogs, my list has grown tremendously. As a New Year’s present to you, I will share my latest and greatest finds:

Who I’ve learned from by following in Twitter ( Copyblogger larissagaston (One of our very own bloggers!) JesseNewhart

Cool sites I’ve recently discovered:

My recent great blog finds:
Mark Cuban’s:

So here’s to attaching your oxygen tank, flippers and the rest of your social networking scuba gear in 2009. Enjoy the dive, but please don’t forget to come back to live the real world after awhile!

Happy New Year!