Category Archives: Social Analysis

SXSW day 2: Branding for Big Business

On my second day at SXSW I stopped by a social media for big business seminar title “Branding for Big Business”. I thought this talk to be especially worthwhile as my position as a Digital Content Strategist is with a large B2B group. The theme for that day was how a company should interact with its community.

Larger businesses must be both immersed in and customer engaged when involved in new media. To be involved in online engagment is to tailor multiple platforms for client needs. For many B2B (Business to Business) groups, Twitter and LinkedIn are useful methods. Both are suitable in showcasing products, updating public relations events and relaying corporate news.  Another method is the use of Facebook and its analytics system. Although the oldest social media platform, Facebook is also the most actively used across the globe. It is also the most used by the 45-54 year old demographic.

All three represent a comprehensive New Media approach to engaging customers and clients.

The discussion then turned to the use of analytics in order to properly engage an audience. Utilizing methods such as Hootsuite and Google Analytics provide an effective way to analyze customer interest and metrics. Among the most important data to review includes location data, view times and bounce rates in addition to clicks. Recently the merger of TI with Derprosa and the expansion of our Hungarian line has been greatly received in both Europe and North America. This is due in part to geographic authority. When an international company provides news of a region’s success, naturally that areas staff and customers will recirculate the article. As TI gears up for the larger conferences in May and the Fall months, there will be ample opportunity to reach out to all of our regional members.

SXSW Day 1- How to combine new media with big business

I recently had the chance to go to SXSW 2014! It was an amazing feeling, being at the very cutting edge of new technology and research for both products and marketing strategy. Part of this series is dedicated to what I’ve learned over the wild and crazy experience I had in Austin.

The first bit of guidance given by the panelists at the convention was to understand your audience. The one I primarily work with is much older and more in tune with established business practices. The use of social media to drive traffic is a new phenomenon, albeit a cost effective one that expands a company’s reach. Establishing the value of this new medium to the older generation is broken down by the following factors.

The worth of social media and the rate of investment is measured by how many followers a company has. For instance, when initiating this program the number of followers has increased from 500 to 716. This is a roughly 30% climb in viewers. In order to have this number raised even further a company must look to its own culture.

Taghleef Industries is a richly diverse company founded in Dubai. It’s subsidiary organizations include operations in North America, Europe, Egypt, The Arabian Gulf, Australia and China.  The ability to perform as a global company includes the ability to reach across cultures and languages. By combining regions that produce our material and having sales offices in the major financial markets, TI has a formidable presence in the market. There is also another reason behind the success of Taghleef Industries. The primary topic that often comes up is how to be a more sustainable organization. The introduction of bio-resin based products, lighter films and more diverse markets has enhanced our marketability as an organization. Utilizing new technology such as social media and online metrics also assists in potential reduction in paper products. Before I get ahead of myself, diversity and sustainable practices must be embraced by all aspects of an organization. The culture of a company’s founders are to be embraced by all.

In a second conference about utilizing Twitter, the two speakers focused on getting businesses to utilize their best assets, their followers. In digital marketing using followers is a tremendous force multiplier. When a tweet or message is resent via a list of company contacts (clicking the retweet button), those individuals will have that message on their message board. An excellent example is of a sales officer giving a talk at a conference of 400 business people at a convention center. Before walking up to the podium, the salesperson tweets a link to the specific event that is his company is sponsoring. This message is then circulated to over 600,000 individuals online. The number is increased even more when photos and video of this event are posted. When this message is circulated by each of these users, the ROI (rate of investment) increases. The lesson learned is to always think of where company employees are, rather where they are not. Special events, philanthropy, new products, and public relations are all suitable topics with this new communications medium.

Tom Spano and Michale Duggan at #your hashtag is your event
Tom Spano and Michale Duggan at #your hashtag is your event

Another preventable massacre and its social impact

A few months ago I was tempted to write about the tragedy that occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary school. It was proper to wait for the dust to settle as details were not concrete enough. Now that the story has been told multiple times by several news affiliates several, facts are clear. A mentally disturbed 20-year old shot his mother and proceeded to kill 26 unarmed people, 20 of whom were children. After the tragedy, the media descended upon the town.They interviewed the barber that cut the killer’s hair, police detectives, and several survivors. What the news can’t seem to get across is the sheer magnitude of disciple problems we have with firearms in this country.

Several anti- and pro-gun advocates almost immediately came to the forefront of this crime. The issues were of the stigma of mental illness, the fact that guns prevent shootings, or how arming guards or even teachers would prevent incidents like this from happening. Several articles came up in a recent search of how Switzerland has a similar rate of weapon possession, but no substantial history of firearms related tragedies on unarmed civilians. The Swiss military requires many of its citizens to perform national service, which includes the proper discipline to handled and maintain weapons. This is also highly stressed in the Israeli Defense Forces. In short, when nations that have a mobilized population that are trained in military weapons are called up, they are urged to exercise individual responsibility. Weapons are regarded as tools necessary for the defense of their homes. Period.

In the United States, with our large military and law enforcement bodies, it is necessary to manufacture firearms for war and public safety. For civilians, a firearm is a traditional means of hunting game or preventing a home invasion. If I had a son, I would forbid him from holding a firearm until he is old enough to fully understand a gun owners responsibility. I would expressly tell him of a weapons purpose. To be clear and matter of fact would, I think, discipline him. I would tell my son that they are not toys, they are meant for providing for your family or defending them. To hold a weapon is to accept the responsibilities of an adult, to fail to realize this is unforgivable.

Aurora: What we can learn

It’s already been two weeks since the tragedy at Aurora,Colorado as a dozen people were killed and over three dozen were wounded in a calculated attack by the mass murderer James Holmes. Putting this event into context, the situation was unique. A mild mannered PhD student, with a history of mental illness, accumulated an arsenal of over six thousand rounds of ammunition, two high powered pistols, a shotgun and an assault rifle fitted with a 100 round drum, making that weapon, for all intents and purposes, a military support weapon. After initiating his attack, Holmes left the theater, calmly walked to his car and surrendered to waiting patrol officers. Now he has been arraigned in court and formally charged with multiple counts of murder. Meanwhile, television interviews have been conducted on the survivors, an army of lobbyists and policymakers are hard at work to spin the story to their advantage, hysteria is being thrown around as weapon sales have now reached an all time high in this country. The question remains: what about those that are left behind?

In the aftermath of tragic events it is natural to attempt to apply logic, reasoning, or blind emotion in order to come up with an answer. Perhaps we should consider the background of our nation’s mixed relationship with the firearm. During the time period of Colonial America, A gun was a multi-purpose tool that could either be used to hunt game of defend a household from bandits of all ethnicities. It was written in the constitution that an American citizen has the right to be part of “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” And so here lies the conundrum: How does this law apply today? We already have a free standing military and a National Guard system that stands ready to defend our people. Our country has not been invaded for 200 years. Clearly a weapon’s purpose is to protect the community, period. So why are weapons a necessity? Hunting still requires the use of weapons as does home defense. A bolt-action rifle or pump-action shotgun is more than enough to take down wild game. A handgun is a practical weapon for someone to defend their home, should they choose to accept the responsibility and consequences of deadly force. So where do military grade weapons fit into this strange situation?

In speaking with friends of mine in the Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force, most came into agreement that an AR-15, the civilian model of the M16/M4 rifle family is fairly impractical for a n0n-soldier to use. When bringing up the topic of a 100 round drum magazine for the same weapon, they viewed such an attachment with distrust. It was explained to me that the direct impingement system of an American rifle cannot sufficiently handle that type of ammunition capacity, unless it had an automatic selection. Without automatic cycling, the magazine is almost always prone to failure. Making it practically useless in a civilian setting. It was also agreed that a military based weapon is only applicable when being faced by 15+ opponents, something that rarely happens outside of a combat zone. Yet that does not fully answer the question of the victims and their families.

A Beta-C Magazine, Capable of holding 100 rounds.

In spite of our nation’s history in needing these weapons, constitutional rights, and political routines does any of this truly matter to the young men and women that fill the hospital beds? To the grieving parents and spouses that lost their loved ones? Perhaps what is necessary is an institutionalized system of accountability. The responsibility of figuring out what exactly triggers these episodes should be at the forefront of these preventions. I have read news reports of how shootings like Aurora, Tucson and Columbine high school could have been stopped if individuals listened to the warning signs. These included erratic behavior by the suspect, a history of peer or family abuse, misuse of medication or alcoholism and social isolation. Perhaps the answer is not to retaliate as individuals but to come together as a community and address these problems in therapeutic manner. That being said, we as a society should not parade this story as a curio for a week and then revert back to our day time programming as though it never truly happened, leaving a grief stricken community in the wake.