Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What did we learn in 2009?

Maybe it's just because Tiger Woods's woes remain in full surround sound at the moment, but I believe 2009 will talked about as the Year of Online Reputation Management (ORM). How many pro athletes (and even coaches) were traded or otherwise publicly maligned for less-than-professional tweeting — or on the flip side, immediately fired up their Twitter accounts to apologize or explain themselves after an indiscretion? Twitter was even banned by the South Eastern Conference's media policy in an attempt to avoid rapid-fire surprises or untoward messaging. And the above-mentioned were only examples from the world of sport.

With the forthcoming launch of Google's next-generation search infrastructure Caffeine, which promises to integrate social network activity in its real-time search results, you'd better believe we've only seen the highest tip of the iceberg. And as we all know, the immense power of the search algorithm will propel right to the top your worst nightmare if the digital public latches onto it. Then try and get that new job (or explain to your spouse why that off-color joke you tweeted about your mother-in-law two years ago was just a Google search away {:B ).

The author of The Book on ORM – Radically Transparent and founder of the social media monitoring service Trackur, Andy Beal, takes a moment to speak to TopRank's Lee Odden on the subject of ORM and its importance in the coming year and beyond:

Monday, December 07, 2009

Britney Spears vs. The Moon

If you think you've got a good grasp on the web and its population, I have a question for ya: Which of these two topics generates more online activity — the moon or, say, Britney Spears?

Now take a look at their respective Google search results numbers (as of Dec 7, 2009), understanding the fractal geometry of search algorithms and their ability to associate pretty much anything with everything:

NOTE: For those of you who question my use of the keyword "moon" versus "the moon," there are considerably more results for "the moon" — 54,700,000 as a matter of fact — so for the sake of argument I went with the lower number to prove a point.

And that point is, as marketers it's easy for us to overlook even the most obvious elements in our audience's world in lieu of what's "new" or "hot” or “sexy.”

When was the last time you talked, texted or tweeted about the moon? You probably can't remember. With the exception of cloud cover and the occasional solar eclipse, the moon is visible Every. Single. Rotation. Of. The. Earth. Yet it's so much a part of our lives, we're guilty of paying it little-to-no mind.

There's no way the moon's been featured in the news or enjoyed as much global chatter as often as Ms. Spears has since the dawn of the mass internet in the mid-'90s. Yet this dead ball of pumice located roughly 400,000 km away from earth (depending on the time of year), which doesn't even make hit singles or find itself mired in sex scandals, is approaching four times her search results. Just something to keep in mind next time perspective is in order.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Another MB Fashion Week's in the books,

and so, the greatest client ever, Mercedes-Benz USA, has closed the curtains on its latest edition of the world's premier fashion event. I was fortunate enough to have again been selected to direct the digital video and photography for the week, my 13th.

"Mercedes-Benz Presents" Designer Narciso Rodriguez was an absolute joy to work with — as nice a guy and humble a designer I've ever interviewed. Check out one of the videos here.

A few junky iPhone shots from backstage and the runway:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

is once again upon us — this edition showcasing Spring 2010 Collections here in New York — and for the 13th time, I'll be directing all interactive, video, and photography work under the Tents and throughout town for Mercedes-Benz. See ya on the runway.

A quick iPhone shot from this morning's Duckie Brown runway show:

Monday, September 07, 2009

Advertising IN: a new social net just for us

A quick plug for Advertising IN, the new social network designed specifically to interconnect all constituencies of the advertising business. (I include the interactive space, too.) Their promise: Exchange Information, Ideas and Opportunities with your Coworkers and other Advertising Professionals.

Agencies, individuals (a.k.a., peers), vendors, clients, freelancers, job-seekers — in truth, anyone who wishes to expand his/her professional network — are invited to join and share what's up in their worlds. I'll pay it the highest compliment one can regarding a new business concept: it's about time.

My good buddy and former coworker Wade Murray is Chief Interactive Officer, so I know it'll be über-successful in approximately one picosecond.

Go sign up and get in on the ground floor of something that's guaranteed to influence the influencers.

Oh, and though it's new and almost totally bare, my profile's here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The new site is up

After a lengthy brand re-stage, (simplified) site redesign, and addition of a Mobile section, the new BrandSpankingNewYork.com is live.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

On branding a region of Panama

Last year, I was contacted by my buddy José Goldner to help him and a group of fellow landowners in Panama's Azuero Peninsula to brand the area. The value per square meter of this virgin Pacific shoreline had skyrocketed in recent years (and continues to do so), and it was their intention to craft a brand framework and control the voice of the area now, before the throngs of internationals, primarily Americans, come down and do it their way. Clearly, the time to build a world-class destination brand was yesterday.
Pedasí is a fishing village on the Pacific Coast of the Azuero Peninsula.

Outside of being a long-time friend of mine, José is also an incredibly accomplished businessman whose success is a testament to his work ethic and wealth of knowledge of the digital marketing space, travel, hospitality, multiple business verticals, local politics, even the fishing industry. Additionally, he's a partner in the country's largest content-based travel and business portal, panamabusinessandtravel.com, which boasts over 5,000 pages-and-growing of content.

What an amazing opportunity, I thought. Naturally, I jumped on board and began generating a framework immediately. In this case, undeveloped land equaled an undeveloped brand, and it was my job build responsibly and deliberately.
Despite the global economic downturn, attention from around the world toward this small isthmus nation — which is more associated with its famous canal than the charming people and stunning beauty — has shown no signs of slowing. With square kilometer after kilometer of untouched beachfront and inland property available at prices long since unseen by most investors, Azuero has officially achieved “land rush” status.

Last June I toured the area with José, beyond being blown away by the magnificence of its verdant expanses rolling toward untouched beaches, I was finally able to grasp just how special this place and this opportunity truly were.

I knew what I had to do. As I conveyed in the press release:

“It’s my sole intention to make Azuero’s image synonymous with bespoke luxury, privacy, authenticity, old world quality, and ecological responsibility,” Susi said. “We have something really special here — not just some of the most beautiful land and natural resources in the world, but a chance to control the voice from the start, to magnify its appeal for visitors and investors alike, and to lay the foundation of success early on.”

Susi plans to achieve this by aligning all marketing efforts to the area’s unique character and distinguish it from all other travel and investment destinations.

“For Azuero to reach its full potential, it will be crucial to administer this distinct brand in partnership with the hospitality- and real estate-based businesses in the area, as well as other stakeholders like economic development agencies and, of course, the media. Every business in Azuero has to see every other business not as a competitor, but as a partner in the brand and its progress. That’s how destinations like Monte Carlo, Dubai, and even Guanacaste have done it through the years, and that’s what I intend to catalyze in Azuero.”

Since finishing the brand manual in December and launching an online media campaign in early January — including a new website I built to create awareness for one small beachfront portion of the Azuero Peninsula, a town called Pedasí — our efforts are bearing fruit, both online and off.

José is now a principal in a new real estate fund built in conjunction with Briggs Capital in Boston, MA, which is dedicated to building a land bank offering shareholders maximum return on their investments, with land that's been increasing in value steadily for the past five years. And despite the slow economy, the area has seen a massive surge in investors — and not just visiting prospects, but buyers.

I'm heading back down in a few weeks, and I cannot wait to see the change in the land and the growth of this living, breathing brand.

Oh, and if you'd like to take part in an amazing real estate investment with low-to-negligible taxes for investors in the fastest-growing economy in South and Central America the past three years, leave a comment below and I'll be happy to point you to the appropriate parties — or visit pedasipeninsula.com/contact to submit a form for an instant response.