Sitting On Top Of The Shale World

Originally published at GoMarcellusShale
By K. Daniel Glover

Douglas Berkley Jr. was laboring in relative online marketing obscurity for a Pittsburgh newspaper when he discovered his passion for the shale business. Now he works for a company that is part of the shale space, and he runs a budding network of social media sites about it.

“I love everything about the industry,” Berkley told GoMarcellusShale. “I feel like I’m doing the country, the world, this area a service.”

Berkley is the marketing director at Somerset Regional Water Resources, a company that offers water and well-site support services and owes its existence to the Marcellus Shale. He has been at SRWR for two years, having transitioned into the shale business two years before that.

Berkley’s interest in the industry started as he read article after article about the shale boom while working at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “You could see that there was something big coming,” he said, so Berkley pursued and landed a job at a shale-related startup.

He also has personal connections to shale: Although no drilling is occurring there, Berkley’s family owns land near the Marcellus region, and his hometown of Somerset, Pa., has benefited from that shale play.

The biggest benefit is jobs that pay enough to support families. This includes jobs for truck drivers, in front offices and in business development, which is one of Berkley’s responsibilities at SWSR.
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The Essential Guide To Pinterest

With the interest in Pinterest at a fever pitch, brands around the globe see the virtual bulletin board as a new social forum for connecting with their fans. But first brands need to make sense of Pinterest. The best way to start is by downloading “The Essential Guide To Pinterest,” a brief storytelling guide to this hot social network.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Pinterest is a gold vein just waiting to be mined by brands. The network lets users “pin” images and videos from across the Web and organize them into themes that tell stories. The Pinterest interface is simple, and it offers boundless opportunities for companies to communicate their unique brand narratives in visual form.

The Social Customer Is Always Right

Originally published on the David All Group’s social marketing blog
By K. Daniel Glover

One evening last month, we started getting robocall after robocall from our insurance company on our home telephone. I tolerated a few of those interruptions from Allstate before I decided to take action. But what could I possibly do to halt recorded phone calls?

Then it hit me: Tweet!

So I did. I sent a couple of pointed but friendly tweets to @Allstatenews, specifically calling out Guy Hill, the executive vice president whose recorded voice kept disturbing our family time, and I included a link to Hill’s bio so the Twitter manager would know he was a real Allstate person.

Allstate promptly replied and the robocalls stopped. Even better, Hill sent me (and other customers) an apologetic note by snail mail a few days later and included a $25 gift card. “This is not typical of how Allstate operates, and we are taking the necessary steps to help ensure mistakes like this will not happen in the future,” the letter said.

My experience proves that the cardinal rule of commerce — the customer is always right — has never been more true than in today’s social media era.

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The Roots Of Brand Activism

Originally published on the David All Group’s social marketing blog
By K. Daniel Glover

Those of us who use social networks to promote products, services and other favorites appreciate the value of modern media to spread the word about our favorite brands. But what we may not realize is that brand activism is not a 21st-century innovation; technology has merely enhanced a concept with roots in the mid-20th century.

The proof is in a 1966 study recently revisited at the blog of the Harvard Business Review. The research, conducted by Ernest Dichter, the father of motivation research, explores the value of word-of-mouth marketing and outlines the four things that motivate people to talk about the brands they love:

  • Product. “The experience is so novel and pleasurable that it must be shared,” blogger David Aaker concluded.
  • Self. “Sharing knowledge or opinions is a way to gain attention, show connoisseurship, feel like a pioneer, have inside information, seek confirmation of a person’s own judgment, or assert superiority.”
  • Others. “The speaker wants to reach out and help to express neighborliness, caring and friendship.”
  • Message. “The message is so humorous or informative that it deserves sharing.”

Read the rest of Aaker’s piece for his insights into how brands can apply yesterday’s lessons about word-of-mouth communications to achieve the most success in today’s social-media campaigns.

The Essential Guide To Twitter

Twitter is a great medium for promoting your products or information online — if you can get people’s attention. That’s no small feat, according to the research firm Sysomos. It found that nearly three-fourths of tweets are ignored, and the window of opportunity typically closes in less than an hour.

That reality gives you all the more reason to do Twitter right, and “The Essential Guide To Twitter” can help. The guide is chock-full of corporate case studies that cover everything from the Toyota recall and BP oil spill to the Twitter techniques of Major League Baseball and Zappos shoes. You’ll learn why Twitter matters, what makes a good tweeter and much more.

Essential Guide to Twitter

St. Louis: Media City On The Big River

Originally published by Media Life Magazine
By K. Daniel Glover

St. Louis is a city rich in commercial history. Situated along the Mississippi River, it once was the center of the fur trade and later became home to entrepreneurs selling their wares to frontiersmen passing through the “gateway to the West.”

The city blossomed as first steamboats and then railroads brought more people, and thus more commerce and industry, to its borders.

Today, as the long-time headquarters of Anheuser-Busch and its Budweiser brand, St. Louis is still known for an industry that made it famous early this century: liquor. But it is also an auto-manufacturing center, with Ford, Chrysler and GM plants, and is home to upstart Internet companies like MAX Broadcasting Network, a new media company that owns sites like MaxFootball.com and MaxBaseball.com.

Bank of America and Boeing, which records the history of aviation at the James S. McDonnell Prologue Room at the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, also have a presence in the city. (McDonnell-Douglas was based in St. Louis before its merger with Boeing.) And although St. Louis lost the nation’s oldest professional football franchise, the Cardinals, to Arizona in 1988, it still boasts a proud sports tradition.

The St. Louis-based Sporting News named its hometown the Best Sports City this year. That distinction is hard to question when the St. Louis Rams, who moved to town in 1995, gave the city its first Super Bowl in 2000 and in mid-September was off to a 3-0 start, when home-run record-holder Mark McGwire and the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team were bound for the playoffs, and when the St. Louis Blues regularly rank among the nation’s best hockey teams.

To a great extent, the media market in St. Louis revolves around the city’s professional sports teams. But the automotive sector also accounts for up to 40 percent of the media dollars spent in the city, says Jay Goldman, president of A&JG Media.

Yet despite a robust economy in St. Louis, sources say local ad buying have been on the downswing. Even the locally based dot-coms have been spending their ad dollars nationally rather than in St. Louis.

Coleman Steele, the media director for Veritas Advertising, credits the slow market to numerous factors. D’Arcy, for instance, had been the largest buyer in St. Louis for years. But when the agency moved its headquarters to New York early in the last decade, it took much of the buying with it.

St. Louis also has lost the headquarters of Blockbuster and Southwestern Bell. “The market isn’t as healthy as it once was,” Steele says. “It’s just been one thing after another.”
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The Tobacco Road Less Traveled

Originally published at IntellectualCapital.com
By K. Daniel Glover

You know all is not right in tobacco country when a self-proclaimed “proud North Carolinian” like White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles takes to the podium, as he did at a luncheon this week, to condemn as a purveyor of “deadly products” an industry that is central to his home-state economy. Or when a long-time tobacco ally like Rep. Thomas J. Bliley Jr. (R-VA) exerts his congressional authority, as he did last December, to secure evidence of alleged deception by the tobacco industry and post it on the Internet for mass public consumption.

But these days, the unimaginable has become the commonplace in the tobacco wars. Tobacco companies and the health groups who once condemned them as “merchants of death” now walk hand in hand to Capitol Hill to appeal for a nearly $400 billion tobacco settlement. Tobacco-state lawmakers like Sens. Ernest F. Hollings (D-SC) and Lauch Faircloth, (R-NC) who in times past would have worked to kill such a deal, now only seek protection for tobacco farmers and caps on attorneys’ fees.

And tobacco executives who in 1994 denied under oath the addictive nature of nicotine and dodged questions about the health risks of smoking now openly, albeit carefully, acknowledge the dangers inherent in the use of their products.

On the surface, the 100-year war to regulate one of America’s most profitable crops appears to be nearing its completion. Just beneath the surface, though, the animosity between smokers and nonsmokers that has festered for decades continues to boil, raising one nagging question: Will this war ever truly end?

A see-saw regulatory history
If history offers any clues, the answer to that question is a certain “no.” Although the tobacco industry has seemed invincible for much of the 20th century, its power has not always been so unassailable. In fact, the industry once faced a worse fate than it does today.

The government rage against tobacco has its roots in an effort launched at the state level in the 1890s. In 1892, the predecessors of modern-day anti-tobacco zealots petitioned Congress to ban cigarettes, but the Senate Committee on Epidemic Diseases ruled that only states had the authority to act. That decision triggered a slate of statewide bans, beginning with an 1893 statute in Washington and extending to 15 states by 1909. The Supreme Court allowed the bans in a 1900 ruling upholding a Tennessee law.
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When Congress Muted The Marlboro Man

Originally published at IntellectualCapital.com
By K. Daniel Glover

With the midnight hour fast approaching, a man sat in front of his television set alone. He wept as the quartet of cowboys, a symbol of masculinity to all the men who had admired them for years, faded off his screen. He knew he would never see them again, and he had Congress to thank for the start of this new era on Jan. 2, 1971.

The man — whose story is told by Pulitzer-prize winning author Richard Kluger in his 1996 history of the tobacco industry, “Ashes to Ashes” — was Jack Landry, once a top advertising official at tobacco giant Philip Morris. And the new era that continues to this day, the one that moved Landry to tears, is one that relegated the Marlboro Man to the pages of magazines and newspapers and bucked him off the airwaves.

The ongoing war against tobacco advertising, the latest salvo being a proposed settlement between government and the industry, has its roots in a battle that began in the mid-1960s and achieved its greatest regulatory milestone 27 years ago this month: the enactment of a law that banned the advertising of cigarettes on television and radio.

Making a case for an advertising ban
The Surgeon General’s office fired the first shot in 1964, when it issued a groundbreaking report on the link between smoking and diseases such as lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and coronary artery disease. That report spurred congressional action. By mid-1965, President Lyndon Johnson had signed into law the first federal anti-smoking legislation, a law that required this warning on the labels of all cigarette packages: “Caution: Cigarette Smoking May be Hazardous to Your Health.”

By that time, the tobacco industry had earned a reputation as a less-than-honest, albeit effective, advertiser, wrongly boasting of the positive health effects of its products. The Federal Trade Commission sought to eliminate the most outrageous advertising claims, but pro-tobacco forces in Congress had limited the FTC’s powers. For example, the1965 cigarette labeling law contained language that prohibited local, state and federal agencies from requiring the law’s new health warning in cigarette advertisements.

Cigarette makers tried to blunt criticism of their advertisements by promising to police themselves. They announced the creation of a Cigarette Advertising Code in 1964 to deflect charges that companies were targeting the nation’s youth as future smokers, and the National Association of Broadcasters launched its own Advertising Code Authority. But tobacco foes soon exposed those codes for what they were — efforts at self-protection, not the much-ballyhooed self-regulation.
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