The 5 Fundamentals of Cause Marketing

Guest post by Corey Pudhorodsky, Senior Client Partner at Social: IRL sponsor, Spredfast.  Originally posted in the Spredfast blog.

Cause Marketing – the word is tossed around more than a caesar side salad, but what does it actually mean? What are the components of a strong cause marketing campaign and how do you make it relevant to you and your audience and consumer?

In a recent strategy session comprised of industry thought leaders, we dissected cause marketing and uncovered five essential ingredients for a powerful campaign. Participants shared their own interpretations and uses for cause marketing, along with tips for final evaluation.

Attendees included:

Audrey Tiger, Senior Product Manager at Spredfast

Kristen Haga, Director of Client Services at Spredfast

David Modigliani, Creative Director at Flow Nonfiction

Alana Kalin, Account Executive at Blippar

 

1. Know Why You’re Doing This   

Simply put, Cause Marketing is the intersection between a brand and a cause whether that’s a cause through a third-party nonprofit or a cause that a brand adopts. Marketers are using this tactic for several reasons, both to promote a brand message and also to produce social good.

The beauty of cause marketing lies within it’s ability to add value and reinforce a brand’s image with audiences – all while using that social impact to make a difference in the world. It sounds like a perfect marriage for all parties involved but before you slap together a cause marketing campaign, some planning has to happen.

2. Be Yourself

Authenticity in cause marketing means choosing the right campaign for your consumer. Brands these days come with predefined images of what audiences already believe a brand to be, so planning a cause marketing campaign means choosing the cause that already aligns well with the image your brand portrays. If you’re a weapons manufacturer, it probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for you to select an anti-gun cause for your campaign.

Choose a cause that’s relevant to the brand and those who receive it. Once you have this connection it becomes easy to tie the cause to your product in a way that the brand can openly discuss. That my friends, is authenticity.

3. Alignment is Everything

Similar to authenticity, selecting a cause that pairs well with your brand is essential to the success of your campaign, but how do you know what resonates with your consumer? Well, that’s where social really steps in – with social you can see what your consumers are talking about, what they’re saying in their everyday conversations through social and word of mouth, and what their interests are. Take this collection of knowledge and match it up with a cause.

Below are two examples of cause marketing campaigns that clearly took brand alignment into account:

Lucky Charms

luckytobo

During Pride Month, General Mills celebrated diversity with a campaign around the Lucky Charms brand. The LGBT community and its allies were engaged by a call-to-action asking audiences to submit Tweets or Instagram stories using the hashtag #LuckyToBe while aggregating that content to the brand’s Tumblr page.

(RED) Campaign

redcampaign

The (RED) campaign was created in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver to involve people in the widespread fight against AIDS. To bring social to the forefront of their campaign efforts, Spredfast created “Pulse of (RED)”, a display of images that brought in social posts from (RED) campaign supporters. There, (RED) connected with supporters while observing how audiences were interacting with their organization.

These brands selected causes where they knew they could make an impact. With absolute certainty they could say, “your cares are aligned with my cares” when talking to their audience. Once they’ve reached that point, brands can give the audience some control vs. the brand trying to sell to the audience. The brand becomes the giving facilitator and this option becomes very organic, like the grocery store adding $1 to your final bill.

Of course there are other factors to consider such as timing – when are people in the giving mood? Take that authentic message and content you’ve worked so hard to craft and capitalize on it at the right moment when your audience is feeling philanthropic. And by capitalize I don’t necessarily mean money either. These campaigns aren’t always asking audiences to do something – they could also be simply raising awareness. When brands tell a story in their cause marketing campaign, audiences are compelled to give back which is actually more effective in many cases. People will be more inclined to give later, but in the meantime they can interact and participate.

4. Extend Your Caring By Sharing  

So we get that it’s nice and all, but aside from that, why do cause marketing? Brands can only exist within a certain amount of mindshare of every consumer’s space and level of interest. When you align with a cause, you’re increasing the level of impact that you have around what those consumer interests are. With Hollister, for example, teenagers are only going to be thinking about clothes so much. Maybe they’re also thinking about surfing or the environment or a whole other set of interests that brands can tap into to show that their ideas are shared.

By creating an extension of your brand formed around other interests, brands can attach themselves to causes and extend their impact. We think about mechanics (where will they share and how will we host it) but first, we must think about the story. Tell an impactful story.

Now it’s finally time to spread the word – it’s actually a step that people miss, believe it or not. Brands need to ask others to engage and share, look at the share/retweet/follower to follow ratio on Twitter. Are you going to promote a hashtag or use a celebrity endorsement?

5. See How You Did

The end is just as important as the beginning and evaluating the success of your cause marketing campaign is the only way to learn from past mistakes or pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

How do you know if it was a success?

That has a lot to do with what you’re planning to measure. If you’re looking at reach, it would be based on the total potential reach or number of interactions that you’ve had. If you’re looking to raise money, it would be based on the total number of funds that have been donated either through your audience of consumers or your brand, based on the number of activations you’ve reached from people who’ve participated. If you’re looking at awareness, you might do some surveying before and after to see what’s been the increase in education about the cause.

Whatever your goal is, it must be established beforehand. If you’re partnering with a nonprofit make sure that you know their goals too because the best cause marketing campaigns are the ones that aren’t just performed one time. It’s the brands that have an ongoing partnership with a nonprofit where the brand is really increasing their interaction with a cause of a period of time.

Ready? Set? Plan!

The best cause marketing campaigns are the ones that have a lot of thought behind them. Reach beyond the obvious with a campaign that resonates with your audience and tells a story that the consumer can relate to. There’s so much more beyond the business aspect of a brand where clients are interacting with products in uncovered ways – it’s up to brands to get in touch with these storytellers and raise awareness. The people who care and causes already exist, brands just have to connect with them.

Social Commerce Success

“Brandi Temple went from sewing dresses for her daughters to make ends meet to running the most talked-about, $11 million company in e-commerce – all because she picked the lock on using Facebook for sales.”  Inc. – June 2014

Lolly Wolly Doodle, Inc presents a great success story – propelled from a home-based business to an $11 million corporation thanks to the power of social media. Where many major corporations have failed, CEO Brandi Temple succeeded in creating a highly effective social commerce model, with sales made directly in her business’s Facebook Page. In addition, she created a powerful “social feedback loop” that helped shape her business’s growth and continues to influence key business and product decisions.

The story made the cover of Inc.’s June 2014 issue and can be read in its entirety here. In the video below Brandi Temple shares “7 Tips for Social Commerce Success.” Her advice:

  • Treat Each Channel Differently
  • Experiment, Experiment, Experiment
  • Be Yourself
  • Make Transactions Seamless
  • Don’t Be a Business
  • Keep Them on Their Toes
  • Buckle Up

View the video to hear Brandi expand on each point and offer valuable insight and lessons learned from her business’s incredible social media-driven success.

Join us at the second Resilient Summit, returning to Kansas City October 20-21

In February 2014, a diverse group of national brands, startups, local and regional businesses, entrepreneurs, agencies, cities and civic organizations, and makers and sharers from across the U.S. came together in Kansas City to explore the rise, impact and opportunity of the Collaborative Economy.

We’re excited to announce that The Resilient Summit will return to Kansas City over October 20-21, 2014.  The Summit will again be co-hosted by Social: IRL principal Ben Smith, and Crowd Companies founder Jeremiah Owyang. With this next event, we’ll dig deeper in to this key trend, bring together leaders in the movement to explore areas of impact and opportunity and discuss how innovative businesses and cities are adapting. We’ll also address some of the very real challenges that have arisen, including in our host city.

We’ll be sharing major speaker and partner announcements in the near future and will also release special early registration opportunities. If you would like to join our email list for the event and have the first opportunity at discounted early registrations, simply sign-up below and you’ll hear from us very soon.

In the meantime, remember to save the date: October 20-21, 2014. Union Station, Kansas City MO.

 

 

 

 

 

Preparing for Twitter’s New Layout

Guest post by Courtney Doman, Digital Marketing Manager at Social: IRL sponsor, Spredfast.  Originally posted in the Spredfast blog.

Twitter recently started rolling out its new look for desktop. Initial feedback is all over the map from high praise (“stunning visual format!”) to skepticism (“Haven’t I seen this before?”)  It’s only natural to have an opinion about the new look, but getting hung up on specific changes is for the birds. Smart social marketers are already thinking about how to make the most out of their renovated real estate.

Here are five things you can do to make the most of Twitter’s new layout:

1. Update your profile picture

The aspect ratio of you profile picture hasn’t changed; it’s still a square. But things are getting much bigger in the new layout. Upload a 400x400px image to ensure that your profile picture looks great in the timeline and the new larger format profile picture at the top right hand of your profile page.

2. Add a new header image

This one will bum out the clever people and brands that had a “picture-in-picture” thing going on with their profile picture overlaying the header image.  In the new layout, the profile image is left of center and only overlaps a small portion of the cover photo (okay, even we’ll admit, this is quite similar to Facebook.)

This frees up a broad swath at the top of your profile to share an image that tells your brand story. Look at the two different stories told by Chobani and the New Zealand All Blacks. Two very different, but equally compelling messages, conveyed with a single image.

New Twitter Header Images

3. Pin an important tweet to the top of your profile page

With (well over) 5,700 tweets per second being published every day on Twitter, it’s easy to wonder whether your brand’s message is being swept away in the mad currents of your followers’ Twitter streams.  Now, if you have an important message to convey, you can pin a tweet to the top of your brand page so that it’s the first tweet a visitor will read.

Quick tip: don’t use this space to introduce your brand- that’s what your bio is for. Use it to communicate timely information like details of an upcoming sale, a match or episode specific hashtag to enhance a second-screen experience, or an important cause your brand is supporting.

4. Take advantage of new photo sharing features

Before rolling out these new desktop updates, Twitter announced social enhancements to photo sharing via mobile. You can share up to four images in a single tweet and tag up to ten people in a photo. All without taking up any more of those precious 140 characters. While these updates only affect mobile publishing, you can still view tweets with multiple pictures and photo tags from any device.

How can your brand use these features? Think about events like new store openings, or tab your design department to create a diptych, triptych, or tetraptych (we had to google that last one) where each individual image, as well as the collective collage tells a story. Michelle Obama used this feature to share photos from her recent trip to China.

 

5. Think about your audience(s)

While your brand may have an established presence and following on Twitter, remember that many of these changes have been motivated by Twitter’s desire to draw new users to the network. This is great for brands seeking to engage and invite more people to participate in their social community and experiences. Understand your audience and share content that will engage your community, new members and old alike.

6.  Remember, a lot of your audience is mobile

76% in fact.  These changes to the profile page currently only affect desktop views. Keep an eye out for how these updates may potentially impact mobile use, but for now, don’t take your eye of the ball in optimizing tweets for on-the-go consumption.

Are you looking forward to the new visual layout? To help you get started, we’ve created a cheat sheet to make the most of your visual timeline:

Twitter Layout

Lead in the Collaborative Economy: Attend KC’s Inaugural Resilient Summit

Mary Noulles

Guest post by Mary Noulles, Marketing Communications Manager at Triple-I, Kansas City’s premier technology consultancy focused on the application of emerging technology. With more than five years of experience in brand and marketing strategy development, she proudly supports Triple-I’s efforts to help build the Silicon Prairie. Triple-I are also a sponsor of Social: IRL’s Resilient Summit. We are grateful for their support. 

A few years ago, our family decided to spend the Holidays the right way – with each other, disconnected from work and the day-to-day distractions of social media, our busy lives and just plain noise. So what better way to escape than in the remote town of Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. We booked our flights and later, our rental home via AirBnB. Then, all we had to do was wait for sunny Costa Rica.

The above story is relatively commonplace for most vacationing families and couples. However, there was a growing movement happening right before me. Our inclination to reserve a room via AirBnB was natural – we didn’t browse major hotel and resort sites nor did we compare prices with a travel agent. Instead, we researched and selected a home, someone else’s home, we thought would be the most accommodating – all from the comfort of a couch with a glass of wine and nothing but daydreams.

Founded to connect travelers with unique accommodations across the globe, AirBnB is an online portal for people to research, list and reserve rooms or homes for vacations. Want to stay in a penthouse in a New York? No problem. House in the trees? It has that, too. In fact, in a recent Forbes article, AirBnB stated it will “eclipse Hilton to be the world’s largest hotelier in 2014.” To me, it’s because AirBnB isn’t selling a rental home – it’s selling an affordable lifestyle, an experience, that many years ago seemed only attainable for the Joneses.

Our increased adoption of sharing services, like AirBnB, is indicative of a movement identified as the “collaborative economy.” As subject matter expert Jeremiah Owyang says, the collaborative economy is the global shift toward “human to human” marketing and business collaboration. The collaborative economy removes silos of “corporate America,” allowing employees, clients and consumers to be a part of the decision-making process at all levels.

With the rise of the devices and an increasingly mobile workforce, the collaborative economy leverages the intersection of creativity and technology to make us more efficient and to enable enterprise collaboration. And nowhere is this global trend better positioned for growth than in the Kansas City region.

With our unique blend of Silicon Valley innovation and Midwest values, our business ecosystem represents a symbiotic approach to success; “we” versus “me.” From Sprint’s increased investment in the startup community – whether it be in the newly established Sprint Accelerator or in its partnership with Local Ruckus – to Kansas City’s effort to be “America’s Most Entrepreneurial City,” our region is poised to be a leader in the collaborative economy; we will lead in the New Reality versus follow in the new normal.

We blend industry and academia, connect students with corporations and invest in our community to fuel innovation. With grassroots efforts like Athena League, led by representatives from PoslinelliKauffman Foundation and Triple-I, as well as groups like KC Women in Technology and the Women in STEMM, our region leads our nation’s effort to invest in and foster female entrepreneurship and leadership. Our community and the innovators, creatives, technologists, students, teachers, business professionals and civic leaders who comprise it are the collaborative economy. It’s a mindset, one that’s inherent in our Silicon Prairie.

Join us February 6-7 and learn how our community can continue to leverage this momentum to create, build and lead in our collaborative economy. We’ll see you there.

Register for the Resilient Summit here.

Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers

Maker Manifesto CoverMark Hatch is CEO and co-founder of TechShop, a recognized leader in the global maker movement, and a sought after speaker and consultant on innovation, advanced manufacturing and leadership. The San Francisco Business Times presented Mark a “Bay Area’s Most Admired CEO Award” and Fast Company has recognized him in their “Who’s Next” column. He has spoken to groups from GE, Ford, P&G, ExxonMobile, Kraft, and many other Fortune 500 firms, and has presented at events and universities like TEDx, The Clinton Global Initiative, the Council on Foreign Relations, Singularity U, UC Berkeley, and Harvard.

On February 6, Mark will join Social: IRL and a diverse group of brands, startups, makers, sharers and innovators from across the U.S., at the Resilient Summit in Kansas City, where he will help us explore the role of makers in the collaborative economy, as part of our greater discussion on the role businesses play when people get what they need from each other.

Mark’s book, The Maker Movement Manifestocame out in September of 2013. Thanks to the generosity of Mark and his publishers, today we’re proud to share the entire first chapter of his book here in the Social: IRL blog. It includes a detailed outline of the Manifesto and serves as powerful inspiration for innovation and creativity, as well as a valuable introduction as to why the Maker Movement is so important for our collective future.

Don’t miss your opportunity to hear Mark speak at the Resilient Summit. Learn more and register >> Click Here

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Maker Movement Manifesto, by Mark Hatch

Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers

In the spirit of making, I strongly suggest you take this manifesto, make changes to it, and make it your own. That is the point of making.

MAKE

Making is fundamental to what it means to be human. We must make, create, and express ourselves to feel whole. There is something unique about making physical things. Things we make are like little pieces of us and seem to embody portions of our soul.

Make. Just make. This is the key. The world is a better place as a participatory sport. Being creative, the act of creating and making, is actually fundamental to what it means to be human. Secular philosophers like Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Carl Jung, and Abraham Maslow all came to the conclusion that creative acts are fundamental. Physical making is more personally fulfilling than virtual making. I think this has to do with its tangibility; you can touch it and sometimes smell and taste it. A great sentence or well-written blog is creative and makes you feel good about what you have accomplished, but it is not the same as the satisfaction that comes from the physical labor involved in making something physical.

If you come from a Judeo-Christian religious background, whether Jewish, Protestant, or Catholic, then you know that the first book of the Torah or Old Testament is the book of Genesis. Read Genesis Chapter 1 closely. Whether you believe in the literal interpretation of Creation or not, we can probably agree on two things coming out of this chapter. God is a maker, and he made us in his image. It is a very powerful introduction to God and who we are as humans. What do you know about humanity by the end of the chapter? It says, “God made” (or “let,” or “created”) some 15 times and ends with making people in his image. At the end of Genesis 1, we may not know much about God or humans, but we do know one thing for sure: we were made to make.

There is nothing that can replace making—philosophers, religious scholars, and personal experience make that clear. Wars have been fought when the common people thought they were going to lose access to ownership of their own productive tools. So the first thing we must do is make. The do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement industry in the United States is worth over $700 billion. The hobbyist segment is worth over $25 billion. The most valuable segment of the $700 billion DIY is the perpetual remodeler, specifically those who have enough money to let business professionals do the work for them, but don’t. You might know or even be one of these people. In your heart of hearts, you know you don’t really need to redo the bathroom, or certainly not the way you plan to do it, yourself. But you do it anyway. This is because there is more satisfaction in completing the remodel yourself.

A makerspace is a center or workspace where like-minded people get together to make things. Some makerspace members are designers, writers, practitioners of medicine or law, architects, and other white-collar types who come in and start making things for themselves, their families, and friends. They spend time in makerspaces because they just love to make things. They don’t need to make Christmas presents; they want to.

Tina Albin-Lax had made a New Year’s resolution for 2012. She was going to learn how to make something. She signed up for TechShop’s basic laser cutter class and has never been the same since. For $60, she learned how to use a laser cutter. Then she booked it for the next day so she could practice what she had just learned, but she needed a project to practice on. As luck would have it, that evening Tina’s sibling called and invited her to attend her nephew’s birthday party that weekend. With a flash of brilliance, Tina asked for the names of all the children who would be at the party.

The next day Tina used her new training to make cupcake toppers for each of the party attendees. Using the laser cutter, Tina cut out the name of each child and etched in some nice patterns. She finished them with a nice glossy coat and that weekend put one on each child’s cupcake. What child doesn’t love to see his or her name emblazoned on something? Particularly something chocolaty and sweet? Not surprisingly, the parents wanted cupcake toppers for the rest of their children and then wanted them for their children’s parties. It snowballed.

Soon Tina had an online store (www.etsy.com). Then she began teaching classes on how to launch a business and had a great mention in Martha Stewart’s magazine, Martha Stewart Living. Her phone couldn’t make it through the day from all the order notifications she was getting. Last I heard, she was working on a book.

This all came about from a simple desire to make something for the first time since sixth grade. An accidental entrepreneur was born. And what was Tina’s background? She was a labor organizer.

I grew up playing neighborhood football with a kid named Ben Parks. His dad was a ceramic artist and had throwing wheels, clay, and amazing glazes around his house. One day his dad invited us all to come out and throw a pot. What a great afternoon. I attempted to make a large vase—and after what seemed like dozens of attempts and lots of help and encouragement—I ended up with a sad-looking, lopsided, very small coin holder. It will hold a couple of dollars’ worth of quarters. I glazed it beautifully with help from Ben’s dad. A couple of days later, after it had been fired, I got to take it home.

This thing is an ugly duckling that will never grow up, but guess what . . . I still have it. It’s small enough that I’ve taken it everywhere I have moved. Its only value is that I made it and it is some kind of memento from my childhood. Looking back, I realize now that I was not the target of that day of making, though I still appreciate the gift it was. Ben eventually became a ceramic artist himself, following in his father’s footsteps. There is something fundamental about making.

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SHARE

Sharing what you have made and what you know about making with others is the method by which a maker’s feeling of wholeness is achieved. You cannot make and not share.

We make to share. Each of us is wired to show off what we have made. We get a lot of satisfaction out of the making, but the real payoff is in sharing. Some people are coy about showing their work off. Others are just terrified. One of the reasons we may have stopped making is that what we set out to make and what we ended up with may not match very well. Or others may have ridiculed us for our attempts. “I’m not good at making anything,” need never be said again. We were born to make. It may take some practice to get good at some kinds of making, but technology has begun to make creating easy enough that everyone can make.

My favorite question to ask at any makerspace is, “What are you making?”

People open up like flowers when asked that question and given any kind of positive encouragement. In this regard, we are all still five years old.

Interestingly, after six years of working in a creative space, I’ve been told, “I can’t tell you everything, but . . .” probably hundreds of times, maybe thousands of times, but I’ve never been told, “I can’t tell you.”

Why? We want others to see what we have done.

When I worked at Avery Dennison, we used to let the newest junior product managers help work on the back panels of our product’s packaging. They had to work off templates that had been approved and developed for the line, and they had to have all the appropriate approvals; nonetheless, the back panel was “theirs.” The young managers would jump into this with gusto, argue over font choices, the kerning of apostrophes, the shade of loam green. I repeat, they cared about the kerning of an apostrophe—the space between a letter and an apostrophe. Look at the space they had to work with here: ’ s. Can you see it? On a high-resolution computer screen, this is about the distance of two or three pixels, and they removed one! Yet, they would protect their design turf like a pit bull protects its bowl of food, growling when someone tried to mess with their back panel.

Let me put this into context. To be a junior product manager at any Fortune 500 packaged goods company, you have to graduate from a respected MBA program at the top of your class. You have to work between your bachelor’s degree and your MBA at another major company with consumer facing interactions. You are among some of the “best and brightest” our schools and companies produce. You will almost always make senior director, VP, SVP, or CEO if you choose, or you will go out and start your own company. If you are a junior product manager at this level, you are a very intelligent, type A, hard-charging, competitive professional.

That said, once the aforementioned products were launched into the channel and we all went to an Office Depot or Staples to see what the final product packaging and shelf positioning looked like in the stores, the junior product managers would rush like little kids to the stacks of “their” products. They would stand in front of them, momentarily admiring the way the products looked on the shelf and then pull a package off the shelf, turn it over, and examine their handiwork. A sense of satisfaction visibly rolled over them as they saw that the typesetters had taken their ideas into final production and the s was just a little closer to the apostrophe because it had been manually kerned. Invariably, these talented, impressive, type A young professionals would turn and say something like, “I did this.”

“I did this.”

“See the space between the apostrophe and that s? I did that.”

The glow on their faces was like a new mother’s when holding her child for the first time. Complete satisfaction. The need to show others one’s new, beautiful child is embedded in the human psyche.

What is going on here? First, while the contributions that these professionals were excited about might seem insignificant—after all, the difference, distance-wise, between the spacing of an apostrophe that has been automatically kerned and one that has been manually kerned is negligible— but the end product is something that can be bought, taken home, and shown to a significant other. Second, it is public. Hundreds of thousands of these packages are shipped all over the world. Third, it is often the first tangible and public representation of years, if not a decade, of work. It isn’t the size of the impact that is significant; it is that there was impact and it was made tangible, and tens of thousands of people would “see” their work. That really is powerfully satisfying, even if it is only the amount of nothing between an apostrophe and an s.

If you make something and don’t share it, was it made? If you make something, even something as small as a one-pixel space modification on the back of a package, and share it, you have made something, and it must be shared.

Another aspect of sharing is sharing knowledge and know-how. The best attribute of a well-run makerspace is the sharing of skills and knowledge. It starts with the formal instruction, but the best learning takes place while one person is building or designing and someone else with just a little (or sometimes a ton) more experience lends a helping hand and the project gets upgraded in the process. The sharing philosophy gives a makerspace its magic. People show off their creations knowing criticism was left at the front door, and everyone feels comfortable asking for help, guidance, and input into projects as they go through the build process. Sharing makes a maker-space a community.

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GIVE

There are few things more selfless and satisfying than giving away something you have made. The act of making puts a small piece of you into the object. Giving it to someone else is like giving that person a small piece of yourself. Such things are often the most cherished items we possess.

One of the most satisfying aspects of making is giving away what you have made. Wonderfully, most people still value gifts made by the giver more than gifts that were bought off the shelf. If you do nothing else this year, make one Christmas present to give away. And reflect on the level of satisfaction you get and the recipient receives in that act. It is immeasurable.

If your parents are still alive, they probably are still hanging onto craft projects you made for them when you were a child. Quilts are often handed down for generations. A well-made item, meeting a real need, made by and for a loved one, is among the greatest of gifts.

There is another type of giving, that of your creativity or intellectual property. Embrace Global is a wonderful nonprofit that used TechShop for some of its development work. Naganand Murty was one of the design engineers who came to our space, under Embrace cofounder and CEO Jane Chen’s direction, to address the problem of infant thermoregulation in developing countries. Babies who are born even a few weeks prematurely are unable to thermo-regulate, or maintain their body temperatures on their own, and consequently must be incubated within one hour of birth or risk death or serious permanent disabilities. For the hundreds of thousands of these babies who are born around the world every year without quick access to incubators (because they are born in rural areas where the nearest hospital with incubator equipment may be several hours, if not days, away), the problem is especially critical.

The question that Naganand Murty and his team had (you’ll meet cofounder Jane Chen in Chapter 3) was fairly simple: Would it be possible to design a simple, affordable “blanket” that could maintain a baby’s body temperature at a constant level for an extended period of time? And that was not dependent upon a continuous supply of electricity? Well, it turned out the answer was yes. The Embrace portable infant warmer, which looks like a mini sleeping bag and costs a fraction of the price of other baby warming devices, uses some fancy chemistry and design to make it work.

But here is the most amazing thing. Portions of Embrace’s core technology were donated to the organization through interactions with other members of the TechShop community. These community members gave their ideas away freely. And as a result, General Electric has signed on to help distribute the blanket, and Embrace is on track to save the lives of 100,000 babies in the next five years. Jane has been recognized by the World Economic Council as one of the top social entrepreneurs in the world.

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LEARN

You must learn to make. You must always seek to learn more about your making. You may become a journeyman or master artisan, but you will still learn, want to learn, and push yourself to learn new techniques, materials, and processes. Building a lifelong learning path ensures a rich and rewarding making life and, importantly, enables one to share.

Making brings about a natural interest in learning. It brings out the natural four-year-old in all of us. “Why is the sky blue?” “Where does milk come from?” “How are babies made?” This natural inquisitiveness seems to be beaten out of most people in school or at home. I’ll let the educators in this community help figure out why “project”-based learning seems to fit some learning styles better than others, but it certainly feels more natural. I always found the order we did things in physics class backward. Instead of being taught the formula for determining the ratio of the required output force to the input force and then trekking to the lab to see how a lever works, it makes more sense to first observe the lever in action and then learn the formula for it. This is how the principle was figured out in the first place, through observation. You observe an effect, then build a theory to fit the observation. It may be faster to memorize facts than to experience them, but then I would argue you don’t really own that fact. “Hot” is a pretty abstract concept until you’ve burned yourself.

The world is such a fascinating place. How do you design and build a table? What kind of joints can be used to join the legs to the table? Which are the best ones for what I’m trying? What periods in history used different technics? What glues should I use, and when do I use a screw or a nail, or a brad, or a staple, or a rivet? What woods have which characteristics? What style do I want? What tools should I use? The options go on and on. They don’t have to; you can jump in and just do it. Or you can plan and plan and plan. The key takeaway, though, is that you are going to learn something. And no one can take it from you.

Learning is fundamental to making. The more time you spend familiarizing yourself with and practicing in a field, the better you will get in it. Very quickly, you will be able to share what you have learned with someone else who is newer to it than you are. There is a different kind of satisfaction that comes from teaching, but it is very real. Watching people you have been teaching become facile and expert in what you have taught them is extremely satisfying.

Learning is fundamental; it is why we have books, libraries, schools, the food channel, the DIY channel, and shows like How It’s Made. These days, the DIY magazine rack at a local newsstand often constitutes 15 to 20 percent of the total space.

From an educational perspective, we live in a sad time for making. When I was growing up, woodshop and metal shop were required courses for middle schoolers. Every middle school I was aware of had a woodshop instructor. I still have the things I made in middle school woodshop, and many of you do too. Today, it can be hard to find a shop in an entire school district. This makes no sense at all. In our “race to the top,” school systems tend to focus only on the students who are headed to college, ignoring the 50 percent of those who aren’t, depriving all students of skills that they could use the rest of their lives.

Just as badly, right as we are on the cusp of the largest explosion of new products and development of physical goods through breakthroughs in materials science, 3D printing, bioengineering, nanotechnology, design, and engineering, American institutions are failing to graduate enough engineers, scientists, and production workers. Economically, this is insane. It is time to reengineer our schools and reintroduce shop class. Oh, and by the way, through cheap and powerful design computers and 3D printers, we can make these courses exciting, engaging, and transformative.

With access to the right kind of tools, you can experience your own industrial revolution in a matter of weeks. It’s possible. It really happens.

Let me give you an example. A couple of years ago, some of our TechShop staff members encouraged me to meet one of our newer members. He was the first I’d met who was taking an extended “maker vacation.” This member had saved up his money for a couple of years working odd jobs as a security guard and janitor, and once he had accrued enough money, he quit his job and took the first vacation he had taken in years.

This man was committed. He had the bug. He wanted to learn how to make things. He was good with the hand tools, but he had never taken welding, machine shop, woodworking, textiles, 3D printing, computer-aided design, or any number of other classes.

To stretch his funds, he didn’t stay at a hotel or rent an apartment. Instead, he used couchsurfing.org to find free places to stay every night. A few times, he couldn’t find a couch, so he just slept in his car. Couch surfing turned out to be a great tool for him to help us find new members. He was so focused and excited that he would go “home” at night and tell his new couch surfing host all about what he was doing at the shop. We picked up half a dozen or so new members that month. We actually kicked around the idea of turning him into a sales representative by having him couch surf through the Bay Area for a couple of months.

But even better, he became a maker that month. He took every class he could schedule and went from hand tools to power tools to computer-controlled advanced manufacturing tools. He could weld, lay out carbon fiber, CNC mill, lathe a bowl, and spin a lighting fixture. He even picked up a little electronics in that 30 days. His desire to learn was so powerful that he quit his job, stayed at strangers’ houses, and created other new makers in his enthusiasm. What is holding you back?

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TOOL UP

You must have access to the right tools for the project at hand. Invest in and develop local access to the tools you need to do the making you want to do. The tools of making have never been cheaper, easier to use, or more powerful.

I had to use a phrasal verb as a heading to this section so it would be consistent with all the other one-word headings in the manifesto. I like manifestos heavy with verbs.

You and I are living through the most amazing age in all of human history. Whenever someone asks me which time period I would like to be living in, I always say “right now.” Tools are getting easier to use, they are more powerful, and they are cheaper to acquire than at any other time in history. Materials are becoming more accessible, more sophisticated, and more fun to work on and with.

Odds are, you cannot possibly afford all the tools you may want or need. So join a makerspace. What I have learned is that a community of makers does not fully emerge until a complete makerspace is provided. The advantage of a well-equipped makerspace is that it attracts people with a widely diverse selection of projects, creating a beehive of activity, passion, knowledge, and sharing. When a large and diverse set of tools is provided, a large and diverse group of makers comes out to live, work, and play. The following is a general list of what a well-equipped makerspace needs in order to meet the needs of a community. There may be a few more or different tools on your list, but this is a good start:

  • Laser cutters
  • CNC milling machine(s)
  • Manual milling machine(s) with digital readouts
  • Manual lathe(s) with digital readouts
  • 3D printer(s), consumer and commercial grade
  • 3D scanner
  • CNC (computer numerical control) waterjet cutter (4 × 8 foot)
  • Vacuum forming system
  • Heat strip bending system
  • Injection molding system
  • Commercial grade sewing machines
  • Overlock sewing machine (also known as a serger)
  • Quilting machine (preferably CNC)
  • Computer-controlled vinyl cutter
  • Powder coating system (and large oven)
  • MIG (metal inert gas) welders
  • TIG (tungsten inert gas) welders
  • Handheld plasma cutter
  • Sheet metal spot welder
  • Sheet metal brake (16 gauge × 50 inch)
  • Rotary sheet metal punch
  • Sheet metal corner notcher
  • English wheel and planishing hammer
  • Sheet metal shear (6 gauge × 50 inch)
  • Sheet metal roller (16 gauge × 50 inch)
  • Sandblast cabinet
  • Metal grinders and sanders
  • Metal chop saw
  • Metal horizontal band saw
  • Metal vertical band saw
  • Electronic testing and soldering equipment
  • Large format color printer
  • ShopBot CNC wood router saw (4 × 8 foot)
  • Panel saw
  • Wood planer
  • Wood jointer
  • Wood band saw
  • Wood sanders
  • Wood scroll saws
  • Wood lathe
  • Drill presses
  • Granite surface plate with digital height gauges
  • Compressed air throughout shop
  • Compressed air hand tools
  • 30 or more design computers
  • 30 or more copies of or licenses for Autodesk Inventor, Maya, 3D Max, 123D Make, AutoCAD software
  • 30 or more copies of or licenses for Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat
  • 30 or more copies of or licenses for National Instruments LabVIEW Professional development system
  • 8 or more National Instruments multifunction data acquisition devices
  • Member storage
  • Private studios for rent
  • Meeting rooms and/or classrooms
  • 12 large work tables
  •  Wi-Fi
  • Retail store
  • Free coffee and popcorn

And, of course, the local makerspace must then have staff to teach classes and manage this great space.

I’m not going to apologize for the size, breadth, or depth of this list. This is, in fact, what is required to foment a maker revolution. Without the tools and community it is impossible to maintain a movement. Revolutions are fought and won with arms. These tools are our “arms.” Without access to them, nothing has changed. They may be easy, cheap, and powerful, but they are useless if you can’t use them.
.

PLAY

Be playful with what you are making, and you will be surprised, excited, and proud of what you discover.

The most productive environments I have operated in are often the ones where there is a lot of laughter. We joke about the craziest things. We are playful with the ideas, stretch them to extremes, and morph them ridiculously. Even in the military with the Special Forces unit I was a part of, we were constantly exploring ideas, trying new ways of working, and even goofing around.

One day we learned that the quickest way to cut down a tree was with a detonation cord (det-cord) and plastic explosive. The number of wraps and the amount of plastic varied depending on the size of the tree we were trying to “cut down.” The det-cord cut the tree, and the plastic would kick it out in the direction we needed it to fall. If just the det-cord was used, the tree might randomly fall on a nearby object by accident. This became a feature once we figured out how to control the direction of the fall. By using the plastic as well, we could drop the tree on something on purpose. That was a great day, or, it was until we started a small fire. Live and learn. No, actually, play and learn.

We have artists and engineers (among many other categories of users) in our space. What is interesting is that the engineers typically come to a machine with a set of things they are trying to accomplish. The artists, often enough, come to a machine to experiment and see what it can do. (They also tend to break the machines a little more often, and not because they don’t know how to operate them; they are just pushing the equipment to do something beyond its normal operating environment.) When the two are combined, watch out. Have you ever heard a CNC milling machine play a tune?

Blocks, LEGO, and Erector sets are what I grew up with. Kids now have LEGO Mindstorms, radio-controlled robots, and Arduino microcontrollers. Soon, the home 3D printer will be the PC accessory of choice. Playing with these toys is a lot of fun and will help to raise up another generation of makers.

Recently, I received a note that one of my sons had updated his Facebook page with a video titled “Hovercraft.” I was on the road and had no idea what this referred to, so I clicked through to YouTube and watched him floating around our garage on a homemade hovercraft. He had found instructions on the Internet, gone to the hardware store and bought the pieces he needed, and in an afternoon he had built a poor man’s hovercraft using an electric leaf blower as the drive. He now has a hovercraft, and I’ve got a leaf blower. He was playing around, but he learned how to use a couple of saws he had never used before. I built a trebuchet with my other son and had a blast getting the cats to chase flying paper balls around the house.

Building is a form of play. There are times I have a hard time distinguishing the difference between work and play. I hope you will have the same experience in your work life.

 .

PARTICIPATE

Join the Maker Movement and reach out to those around you who are discovering the joy of making. Hold seminars, parties, events, maker days, fairs, expos, classes, or dinners with and for the other makers in your community.

We are not islands. Though there is a time to work in solitude, to focus, to push oneself without distractions, there is also a time, and I daresay most of the time, where it would be better to be working together, or at least sharing a creative space. The warmth of another human in the room or workspace is preferable to working in solitude. Many artists, engineers, and inventors work alone in their labs and studios, but just as many or more collaborate. Even if they don’t collaborate directly, they will seek out the comfort of a peer group to hang out with. Writers form writing clubs, others form co-ops to share tools or workspace. Many go into business with friends or collaborators, not just because they need to, but because they want to. We are social creatures. It is great to be able to build up your shop in the garage or barn, but it is sad to work in it alone day in and day out. It is more fun to work together.

Participation takes many forms: working directly together; attending events; and participating in societies, clubs, and parties with others who care about the work we do and share. One such event, designed specifically for makers by the editors of Make magazine, is the Maker Faire. Held in various locations around the world, Maker Faires are annual events where thousands of makers come and hang out together to look at, participate in, and experience a wide range of fun projects that makers are working on in the area. The primary Faire is held in Northern California and attracts over 100,000 attendees over the course of a weekend. Smaller, local versions, called Mini Maker Faires, draw up to a thousand people to see a hundred or so projects, booths, and exhibitions.

The sense of wonder and amazement on the faces of the kids (both young and old) at these events makes all the effort and expense that go into the Faires well worth it. Watching the performance group, ArcAttack, rock onstage inside a Faraday suit while making a 500,000-volt Tesla coil “sing” along with 15-foot-long bolts of electricity striking the suit is unforgettable. Nor will one easily forget the 40-foot-long, fire-breathing, heavy metal–playing metal dragon. Or Colossus, the 70-foot-tall, 25-ton flying boulder merry-go-round where little kids can pull on a rope attached to flying multi-ton boulders hanging over their heads. These engineering entertainment devices thrill and amaze thousands every year. Engaging young people and getting them excited about science, engineering, technology, and math is a key driver of the Maker Movement.

 .

SUPPORT

This is a movement, and it requires support. Emotional, intellectual, financial, political, and institutional support are needed. The best hope for improving the world is us, and we are responsible for making a better future.

Governments have spent billions, if not trillions, of dollars building institutions of learning, research, development, and experimentation. Almost none of them open their labs up to the public. Actually, I’m hedging here, I haven’t found any yet that do, but I’m sure there must be one somewhere. We have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on building research institutions across the United States and the world—and within them very little self-directed, self-interested research is taking place. All of that research requires approvals and funding from third parties, a general manager’s approval, a budgeting committee’s approval, progression through a stage-gated new product process, and the receipt of a grant from a foundation or government.

Instances of access to the tools of research and development outside of institutional direction are exceedingly rare. Why? It is a fact that the tools of the industrial revolution have been exceedingly expensive, hard to use, and of limited power—until now. They are now cheap, easy to use, and powerful, yet we have not made any changes to how we organize access to these tools. This must change. Those countries that change the fastest in this regard will have a serious competitive advantage.

What can you do? Support policy changes at your institution that open up the labs to others in the institution and to those in the local community who don’t have access. Help allocate new funding to set up open access fabrication studios. Pressure universities, government research labs, and large manufacturing companies moving into your community to set up open access fabrication studios.

We live in a world now where computers are everywhere. We carry them in our pockets and call them phones. Similarly, the software tools to design and produce things will be coming to your preferred screen; yet without access to a Kinko’s for making things (a fabrication studio), you are no better off than before.

Please do what you can to support your local maker community. We have seen a number of technologies come out of makerspaces that have already changed the world. These innovations were created cheaply, quickly, and easily by small teams and, in most instances, by people from outside the domain they were disrupting.

 .

CHANGE

Embrace the change that will naturally occur as you go through your maker journey. Since making is fundamental to what it means to be human, you will become a more complete version of you as you make.

Whenever one joins a movement, one changes. This is a good change. Embrace it. Participating in the Maker Movement is a personal journey. Each will look different. No two makers are exactly the same. No two paths will be the same. But you will change. You will begin to see the world through the eyes of someone who participates in creating. You will look with wonder again at great artisanship. You will wonder how someone was able to design this or that, and you will begin to appreciate local artists, designers, architects, and artisanship in your community. You will wonder where something was produced and who made it—you will look for the story behind the artisanship You will ask about local talent and local sources for things you never dreamed you cared about before.

Joining the Maker Movement and participating in it locally will open up your life to the highest concentration of creative people in your community. You will meet poets, laser etching their words on oak panels, you will meet a financial planner building sets for her children’s play. You will see someone start a hobby that leads to an avocation and then a business employing a dozen locals. You will enjoy the excitement and joy of giving those you love a piece of yourself through gifting to them something you made just for them. Join me, join us, join the movement—it will help you become you.

Top Ten Social Media Resources

Top TenWe’re pleased to share our latest “top ten” collection of social media resources - a carefully curated list featuring a valuable mix of tools and checklists, practical guides, and insights and case studies from leading industry pros.

If you would like additional resources sent direct to your inbox every other week, you can subscribe to our free email newsletter.

Top Ten Resources:

1. Facebook Marketing Goals for 2014 - Now more than ever, success in Facebook marketing takes strategic planning and execution, and a working understanding of the many tools and resources Facebook makes available. In this post, Jon Loomer does a great job in identifying, outlining and explaining 14 key Facebook marketing goals for the new year. A great resource. >> READ MORE

2. Three Questions to Answer Before Your Social Media Campaign Launch -  What is the objective of this campaign, what are my key performance indicators, what does success look like? This post from Ignite Social Media provides a valuable walkthrough of these three important questions you should ask and answer before launching any new campaign.  >> READ MORE 

3. The Social Experience: 12 Leading Brands & Visionaries Explore the Elements of Great Social Programs - Social media leads from Whole Foods, RadioShack, Caterpillar, ARAMARK, HomeAway.com, and industry pros such as Jay Baer and Ann Handley provide valuable insights in this free e-book from Social: IRL partner, Spredfast. A highly recommended download covering issues such as content marketing, building engaged communities, social customer care, and converged media strategies.  >> READ MORE

4. Ten Tips for Reputation and Crisis Management in the Digital World - In the online era, it becomes critical for businesses of any size to have a social media crisis management plan – or even better, a crisis prevention plan. In this post, Ekaterina Walter discusses some key ways to avoid social media disasters, prevent them from escalating, or even to handle things if everything goes sideways. >> READ MORE

5. Influencer Outreach and Employee Advocacy - One of Social: IRL’s most popular interviews from 2013, features our in-depth discussion with Walmart’s Senior Director of Digital Communications, Chad Mitchell. Chad shares valuable insights on creating meaningful influencer relationships and outcomes. He also discusses the power of employee advocacy and steps Walmart is embarking on to engage, activate and empower their associates.  >> READ MORE

6. Digital Transformation and Disruptive Trends: What to Watch in 2014 - As we’ve headed in to the new year we’ve been bombarded with the typical “predictions posts.” Two we would recommend come from Altimeter’s Brian Solis and Charlene Li.

In his post, Brian shares his agenda for 2014, with some key issues around social business, customer experience and digital transformation. >> READ MORE 

In her post, Charlene discusses disruptive trends she is watching in 2014, and shares thoughts on the implications for organizations and actions they should take. >> READ MORE

7. Social Pros 100th Episode  - Convince & Convert President and Youtility author Jay Baer, recently celebrated the 100th episode of his popular Social Pros podcast. This 50 minute Google Hangout features great conversation and valuable insights from Jay and special guests including Brad Walters from Lowe’s, Jessica Gioglio from Dunkin Donuts, Vanessa Sain-Dieguez from Hilton Hotels, and more. Highly recommended viewing.  >> VIEW VIDEO

8. Digital Marketing Lessons Nonprofits Can Learn from charity: water -  charity: water, a nonprofit that brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations, is leading the way when it comes to redefining nonprofit marketing; they are exceptional at inbound marketing, focusing on creating powerful content to inspire people to join their cause. This post from Beth Kanter’s blog shares nine valuable marketing lessons from charity: water that other nonprofits (or really any business) can take and apply in their own organization. >> READ MORE

9. Building an Audience-Centric Content Distribution Strategy  -  To fully harness the power of content distribution, brands should shift from serving internal executives with branded key messages to serving journalists, influencers and advocates with relevant information focused on the end reader. >> READ MORE

10. Monitoring and Measuring Social Media: A Practical Guide - Eight practical applications for social media monitoring are highlighted (with examples for each) in this presentation from Social: IRL partner, Sprial16. Applications include competitive intelligence, industry research, market research, lead generation, customer service, crisis management, and campaign monitoring.  >> READ MORE

The Maker Movement Manifesto

In February 2014, Social: IRL principal Ben Smith and Crowd Companies founder Jeremiah Owyang, will co-host The Resilient Summit - a two-day conference exploring key issues surrounding the collaborative economy. The summit will take place in Kansas City, with participants ranging from major global brands, financial institutions, and marketing agencies, to leaders in the maker and sharing movements, tech startups, small businesses, city leaders, and civic organizations. Attendees are registered from across the United States as well as Canada and Europe.

Maker Movement ManifestoA keynote speaker at the Summit is Mark HatchCEO and co-founder of TechShop. The San Francisco Business Times presented Mark a “Bay Area’s Most Admired CEO Award” and Fast Company has recognized him in their “Who’s Next” column. TechShop also won the EXPY Award, given to the “experience stager of the year.” 

Mark is a recognized leader in the global maker movement and is a sought after speaker and consultant on innovation, advanced manufacturing and leadership. He has spoken to groups from GE, Ford, P&G, ExxonMobile, Kraft, and many other Fortune 500 firms. He has presented at events and universities like TEDx, The Clinton Global Initiative, the Council on Foreign Relations, Singularity U, UC Berkeley, and Harvard. At the Resilient Summit Mark will help us explore the role of makers in the collaborative economy, as part of our greater discussion on the role businesses play when people get what they need from each other.

His book, The Maker Movement Manifestocame out in September of 2013. Thanks to the generosity of Mark and his publishers, we will be sharing the first chapter of his book here in the Social: IRL blog. Today we start with an outline – what is the The Maker Movement Manifesto. In subsequent posts we’ll expand on the Manifesto with the entire first chapter.

Don’t miss your opportunity to hear Mark speak at the Resilient Summit. Learn more and register >> Click Here

 

Maker Movement Manifesto, by Mark Hatch

Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers

MAKE

Making is fundamental to what it means to be human. We must make, create, and express ourselves to feel whole. There is something unique about making physical things. These things are like little pieces of us and seem to embody portions of our souls.

SHARE

Sharing what you have made and what you know about making with others is the method by which a maker’s feeling of wholeness is achieved. You cannot make and not share.

GIVE

There are few things more selfless and satisfying than giving away something you have made. The act of making puts a small piece of you in the object. Giving that to someone else is like giving someone a small piece of yourself. Such things are often the most cherished items we possess.

LEARN

You must learn to make. You must always seek to learn more about your making. You may become a journeyman or master craftsman, but you will still learn, want to learn, and push yourself to learn new techniques, materials, and processes. Building a lifelong learning path ensures a rich and rewarding making life and, importantly, enables one to share.

TOOL UP

You must have access to the right tools for the project at hand. Invest in and develop local access to the tools you need to do the making you want to do. The tools of making have never been cheaper, easier to use, or more powerful.

PLAY

Be playful with what you are making, and you will be surprised, excited, and proud of what you discover.

PARTICIPATE

Join the Maker Movement and reach out to those around you who are discovering the joy of making. Hold seminars, parties, events, maker days, fairs, expos, classes, and dinners with and for the other makers in your community.

SUPPORT

This is a movement, and it requires emotional, intellectual, financial, political, and institutional support. The best hope for improving the world is us, and we are responsible for making a better future.

CHANGE

Embrace the change that will naturally occur as you go through your maker journey. Since making is fundamental to what it means to be human, you will become a more complete version of you as you make.

In the spirit of making, I strongly suggest that you take this manifesto, make changes to it, and make it your own. That is the point of making.

The Collaborative Economy Resilient Summit: Who Should Attend and Why?

Resilient Summit SponsorsIn February 2014, Social: IRL principal Ben Smith and Crowd Companies founder Jeremiah Owyang, will co-host The Resilient Summit - a two-day conference exploring key issues surrounding the collaborative economy. The summit will take place in Kansas City, with participants ranging from major global brands, financial institutions, and marketing agencies, to leaders in the maker and sharing movements, tech startups, small businesses, city leaders, and civic organizations. Attendees are registered from across the United States as well as Canada and Europe.

In a recent blog post we asked the question “is your company ready for the next ten years?” and answered with co-host Jeremiah Owyang’s presentation from Le Web Paris.  Today, we ask and answer the question “who should attend the Resilient Summit and why?”

The implications of the collaborative economy are far-reaching and we invite you to join us for a unique opportunity to gain insights on this critical topic from Jeremiah and other industry leaders, and to go beyond typical keynote presentations to a highly engaged conversation focused on asking and answering some of the most difficult questions, and together developing actionable insights.

As for who should attend and why:

Businesses - What role to businesses play when people get what they need from each other? Find out how businesses must enable these new behaviors.

Startups - Who’s the next Uber, Etsy, Airbnb, or Kickstarter? Come explore how these scalable new business models are growing faster than ever.

City Governments and Civic Organizations - Using new technologies, find out how cities and governments can increase resiliency, and reduce waste by igniting the sharing community in your own city.

Makers and Sharers - Calling all revolutionaries! Come join you breathren as we redesign and reshape the economy in a way that helps the people.

Marketing Agencies - What’s the next phase after social media? Come learn how the sharing economy and maker movement ignite new influencers in the physical world.

Social Media Pros and Community Managers - The first phase of sharing is when people created media and shared it, we call this social media. Now people are creating physical products and sharing them, understand how to tap into the powerful Collaborative Economy movement.

Entrepreneurs & Innovators - Find out why Google, VCs and other powerful investors have double-downed into the sharing economy and online marketplaces. Find out the latest tech trends at this first-of-a-kind Summit.

Small Business - Connect to your community as the local level as people share, make and develop community using new technologies.

Learn more and register >> Click Here

Is Your Company Ready for the Next Ten Years?

Crowd Companies LogoBy now, you’ve probably heard about the collaborative economy, but may not understand exactly what it is, why it matters to your business, how it’s already disrupting established business models, or how and why your business will need to evolve in order to remain relevant.

In his recent Le Web Paris keynote, Crowd Companies founder and Silicon Valley Analyst Jeremiah Owyang, addressed each of those very questions, and explained why the collaborative economy is the natural evolution of social – from sharing media to sharing goods, services, money, space and resources. We highly recommend you take the time to watch the video of Jeremiah’s keynote embedded below and then ask yourself the question – is your company ready for the next ten years?

In February 2014, Social: IRL and Jeremiah Owyang will co-host The Resilient Summit, a two-day conference exploring key issues surrounding the collaborative economy. The summit will take place in Kansas City, with attendees registered from across the United States as well as Canada and Europe.  We invite you to join us for a unique opportunity to gain insights on this critical topic from Jeremiah and other industry leaders, and to go beyond typical keynote presentations to a highly engaged conversation focused on asking and answering some of the most difficult questions, and together developing actionable insights.

Smart Social: Concluding Our Conversation with Walmart’s Senior Director of Digital Communications, Chad Mitchell

Walmart logoChad Mitchell is Senior Director of Digital Communications at Walmart.  Positioned within Walmart’s  Corporate Affairs division, he and his team are responsible for managing and supporting all aspects of Walmart’s corporate digital presence, including the corporate website, social media platforms, and email communications both internally to associates and externally to customers.  They are charged with managing and protecting Walmart’s corporate digital reputation, both reactively and through proactive influencer outreach.

Chad recently joined Social: IRL Principal Ben Smith, for Smart Social, an ongoing series of conversations with leaders and innovators in social business.

The first part of the conversation can be viewed here, featuring in-depth discussion on approaches to influencer outreach and brand advocacy, including details of a new social media-based employee advocacy program Walmart is launching in 2014.

This second instalment moves beyond Walmart’s corporate programs to focus a more personal conversation with Chad, including lessons learned in dealing with negative comments and attacks, and then stepping back to consider the ongoing theme of the interview series and discuss what “smart social” means to him.

In continuing the interview, Chad shares personal takeaways and learnings from the last 12 months and talks in particular about dealing with negative comments and attacks, the challenge in not taking them personally, and understanding how and when to respond. He also gives a valuable reminder that despite so much focus on social, not to lose sight of the value of your corporate website and of how powerful of a channel that can still be.

In concluding the interview, Chad explains how he defines “smart social” and talks about the importance of truly understanding our audience and being able to deliver the right message, to the right audience, in the right channel, at the right time.

Announcing the Resilient Summit: Exploring the Collaborative Economy as the Next Phase of Social Business

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 12.45.37 PMIn the first phase of social, we shared media. With the growth of social and mobile and affordability and accessibility of technology such as 3D printing, we are moving in to the next phase of social where people don’t just share media – they share goods, services, money, space and resources. The crowd is starting to become like a company: self-financing, self-designing products, self-manufcaturing, self-selling to each other – bypassing inefficient corporations in the process.

Corporations must use these same tools and strategies to maintain relevancy.  Just like we did in social business, to match customers launching blogs, video, and social networking accounts, we saw corporations apply the same strategies to engage in the same channels.  Taking a cue from the first phase of sharing, we’re already seeing over 60 corporations that have moved into the collaborative economy. Significant new mindsets and business investments will be required to satisfy this market change.

For companies that do this, they achieve Resiliency:  They’re agile, innovative, connected, empowering others, built to last, and profitable.

In April 2011, attendees from both coasts and 11 states converged in Kansas City for the Social Business Summit hosted by Social: IRL and Jeremiah Owyang. Join Social: IRL and Jeremiah Owyang once again as we reconvene in February 2014, to evolve the conversation to the next phase of social business with the inaugural Resilient Summit.

Hosted in the heart of the nation in Kansas City, we’ll be joined by a diverse group of national brands and the agencies that work with them, regional and local businesses, startups, cities and individuals, plus leaders from the maker and sharing movements. Together we will explore our role in the new collaborative economy and will ask and answer the question: what role to companies play if people get what they need from each other?

Learn more about the event and secure your registration now, by visiting the event website.