My plans for SXSW Interactive 2014

With SXSW Interactive only a few weeks away, I wanted to see who else might be making the annual trek down to Austin.  I’m personally doing a shorter trip than usual, arriving on Thursday March 6th and heading home on Sunday March 9th.  But while I’m in Austin, I’m participating in a few different events this year.

On Friday, March 7th I will be taking part in my first SXSW in a few years as we cover the “Internet of Cars.”  In partnership with Team Detroit and Ford Motor Company, the panel will cover:

The internet of things is growing by leaps and bounds. But moving ahead of the pack of “things” is the car. Along with integrated apps, vehicle data and the data cloud, this panel will discuss the direction of the digital automotive industry along with rise of the connected car. Joining us are representatives from Ford Motor Company’s Product Development division to discuss how Ford is going further with integrated in-vehicle technology along with embracing the community of developers that are chomping at the bit to jump in.

On Saturday, March 8th I will be participating in the SXSW’s experiment with a new format called a meet up.  In particular, I’ll be hosting the “Think Like a Founder” Meetup that is described as:

Are you an entrepreneurial-minded brand marketer with a passion for innovation? At this meet-up, Dave Knox, co-founder of startup accelerator The Brandery & CMO of digital agency Rockfish, leads a networking session for marketers interested in driving innovation within their organizations.  Through conversation and networking, attendees will dive deep into startup secrets to success that can benefit leaders in every industry — and learn how, by embracing technology and thinking like a startup, you can drive innovation from the inside out.

Let me know in the comments if you are going to be at SXSW.  And would love to see you at either of the two events as well.

Starting My Day in a Coffee Shop

If it is a work day, there is a good chance that you are going to find me starting my day in coffee shop around 7:30 AM.  Since leaving P&G in 2010, it is a ritual that I’ve developed where each day in Cincinnati begins with a trip to one of favorite baristas.  Instead of one shop, I typically rotate between three or independent shops including 1215 Coffee Lab & Coffee Emporium in OTR, Bow Tie Cafe in Mt Adams, and Mammoth Coffee in Newport, KY.

But those trips aren’t about me sitting down over a cup of coffee and leisurely reading the newspaper.  Instead, I start every day at the coffee shop with a meeting (or two or three).  After all, “business is about motion.”  It is about creating planned serendipity where you grow your business opportunities by putting yourself in a place to discover new people and new things.   When it comes to motion in my own town, that means the various coffee shops, each of which expose me to a different group.  At 1215, it becomes my meeting place for the startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem.  Coffee Emporium on the other hand is more for the political crowd of Cincinnati, while Mammoth Cafe is the movers and shakers of Northern Kentucky.

In a coffee shop, it’s easy for someone to stop by and say hello.  It doesn’t feel like you are interrupting a business meeting.  Instead, it is a chance to introduce people and embrace the serendipity.  I can’t even begin to count the number of times where someone has walked into the coffee shop and it was the very person I had just been saying I’d make an introduction to.   Or someone walks in that sparks an introduction that I hadn’t even thought of.  If I had been doing that same meeting in my office behind closed doors, the spark of an introduction would have never happened.  And that right there is the power of motion in business.


How to Build a Startup that Thrives – SXSW V2V 2013

At the inaugural SXSW V2V this August, I had the opportunity to deliver a 20/20 Vision talk on “How to Build a Startup that Thrives.” The talk answered the question of “can today’s startups become tomorrow’s General Mills or P&Gs?” In the startup world, overnight success stories make a big splash. But what happens when initial rounds of investment dry up, the press moves on and success relies on your business strategy as much as your creativity? The talk was meant to show you how to look beyond the first 5 years to build a foundation for the next 60.

The team at SXSW V2V just posted the talk in its entirety, which you can view by clicking the video link here.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Social Media Cannot Be Deleted

Yesterday I happened to catch a Facebook post by Ford’s Scott Monty that simply said. “Now THAT’s on brand!”.  Of course, I had to click through and what I landed on was a BuzzFeed article entitled “Charmin Tweeted, Then Deleted, This Spectacular “Thor” Pun.”   Apparently Charmin had posted the great ad below but then pulled it down when Marvel / Disney made a complaint (around trademark, etc).

Charmin Thor Asgardian


First and foremost, shame on Marvel if they really took this seriously enough to complain.  You are trying to build buzz leading up to opening weekend for your new movie and are spending tens of millions of dollars to do so.  Tell me just exactly how the above ad hurts in that mission?  Ironic that a comic book company is taking themselves this seriously, isn’t it?

Second, this is just another example of a brand forgetting that the Internet, and Social Media in particular, does not have a delete key.  You might delete your post but I can guarantee that someone has already saved it the second you posted.

The shame in all of this is that Charmin is actually one of the better brands when it comes to Social Media.  As Jason Falls conveniently pointed out in a post this morning, a lot of brands could learn something from how Charmin handles Social Engagement.  As Jason writes:

What Charmin teaches us is that engagement on social channels is absolutely worth while. Social marketing in this context is not about getting people to buy Charmin. That would be a direct response approach that would be awful in the social space.  Who wants to see tweets of, “Make sure you go out and buy some Charmin today!?  Social marketing in this context is about getting people to choose Charmin. Whenever it is they are faced with that choice.  Top of mind is worth millions of dollars to many brands. Social media engagement helps brands like Charmin get there.

Hopefully in the halls of P&G this morning, someone isn’t being blamed for this ad but being celebrated for the success they are having with making Charmin a darling of the Social Media landscape.  This ad was just as good as Oreo’s “Dunk in the Dark” when it comes to tapping into pop culture.  After all, how often does a toilet paper brand end up with over 200K views on BuzzFeed?

Don’t Call Us Flyover Country

In September, I had the opportunity to be one of the keynote speakers for the inaugural D2 Cincinnati conference.  Standing for Digital Dialogue, D2 was focused on how brands and retailers make meaningful digital connections with consumers that build long-term brand loyalty.  For my portion of the conference, I focused on the role that Cincinnati plays in Digital Brand Building.  Below is the presentation that I gave to bring a close to Day 1 of the event.