Back from the Dead: PODCASTING!

You heard me. Podcasts are about as hot as The Walking Dead. Making a raging comeback, revolutionizing the old medium with high quality production, juicy story-telling, and attracting droves of young, new listeners, Podcasts are a marketing field covered with untouched snow. Is it even possible? New terrain?

Three Big Reasons to Pay Attention:

1. Mobility, Mobility, Mobility 
Besides good old, fashioned music, what other form of engagement lends itself perfectly to mobility and multi-tasking? Podcasts will literally be the “hands-down” winner in the coming year as the format extends engagement into untapped occasions that are now dominated by music: driving, doing dishes, gardening, hitting the gym, cleaning the house, etc. Looking forward to that commute? Hell yeah!

2. Ears: The New Eyeballs
By the end of 2014, podcasting was up 25% vs. 2013 with nearly 40 million listeners. 2014 was also the year people started thinking differently about old stereotypes of podcasting, namely, because of the hugely popular podcast, “Serial.” Serial likely marked the turning point of the medium from cold and dead to hot and trendy. Serial has been downloaded or streamed on iTunes more than 5 million times and averaged over 1.5 million listeners an episode. It is now the most popular podcast in history. Wait till the binge-listeners catch on and catch up.

3. Accessibility to Production and Distribution
For well under $100, anyone can create a high quality podcast production from home. Youtube, Vine, Instagram – all user generated content that built empires once the technology and infrastructure were in place.

With stereotypes up-ending …. Podcasting is the new frontier.


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Is your Brand a Survivor or Roadkill?

Reebok’s new inspirational chicken isn’t the only brand hitting the open range. All our brands today are being faced with the choice to hide in the coop or jump into a new world, one that changes daily, faster than we can catch up.

But there’s a difference between brands that take the leap and those that can actually survive the free range.

The Difference between Brand Survival & Roadkill

Both free-range brands and future roadkill may seem similar on the surface. Both can launch provocative creative that gets engagement. Both can support philanthropic efforts to show they care.

But rather than engaging consumers with a call to action, free-range brands lead with a call to the wild, teeing up ideas or throwing down the gauntlet to inspire and ignite spontaneous and visceral stampedes. Free-range brands manifest cultural momentum. As a result, they thrive in ways never imagined or pre-defined by the brand team.

Future roadkill, at best, will entertain and die.

A free-range brand knows when to exert control and when to let go. Free-range brands know that true authenticity can only be manifested by the community, not dictated by a brand monarch. So letting go, rather than controlling, becomes the key to survival.

Free-range brands can be corporate, mainstream and have mass appeal, like Coke, Oreo, Kit Kat and Urban Outfitters. Roadkill uses that as an excuse.

The difference isn’t in what programs they launch. The difference is in the way they think, the way they learn and the way they evolve.

While it’s still the wild west on the digital frontier, one critical component of this evolution has crossed a threshold to never return: traditional brand management, hardwired for control, is an era gone by.

So, root for the chicken and consider … what kind of brand are you creating?

Storytelling at its best

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When viewers can see themselves in the story, there’s nothing more compelling.  This viral prank drove an old cult horror into present day by unveiling a modern day “Carrie” at a NYC coffee shop.  Right timing (pre-Halloween) +  everyday setting + unexpected surprise = over 36MM views in less than a week.