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My New Role at USAA

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I’m excited to announce that as of Monday May 19th, I am driving south from Dallas/Fort Worth area to San Antonio and starting a new chapter by joining the highly talented Social Business and Digital Marketing team at USAA as Director, Social Media Marketing. It’s been a long term goal of mine and my family to remain in Texas and settle in the Hill country of San Antonio. USAA is a perfect fit from so many personal and professional angles.

Joining a well established company with core values that align deeply to my personal values of serving others while being able to help Military, their families and those that are in need is an added bonus.

I’m also proud of what was done while I was at RadioShack for over 2 years. My original goal was to make social not only part of the conversation in the turn around efforts but at the core of what we did. I wanted to truly scale social at a large corporation. We were able to increase visibility and integrate social beyond the marketing team, we brought on board more support, helped kick start an amazing employee advocacy platform, lay the foundation for a community platform for over 30,000+ associates and be a part of a high risk/large reach efforts like the 2014 Super Bowl ad.

USAA Corporate HQ

USAA Corporate Home Office – San Antonio, TX

As I join the highly talented social and marketing organization at USAA, I’m eager to collaborate, learn and impact the long term bottom line results for such a respected and loved organization.

USAA was one of the early brands to adopt social into their business and have been recognized in the industry by Forrester Research as best in class and most recently they continued to set the benchmark for social listening and monitoring with their Social Exchange.

Eager to start. Exciting times ahead!

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Win The Oscars with Second Screen First

Photo Credit: AMPAS

Photo Credit: AMPAS

The 86th Annual Academy Awards Oscars show last night came and went by for many people. However, for those of us that either love movies, celebrities, entertainment, and fashion it was the highlight of the year. If you are a marketing and advertising professional like I am, especially when it comes to digital and social media marketing, I was all eyes on how this moment was going to be owned by The Academy, advertisers, and second screen arm chair tweeters trying to capture a moment with RTM (Real Time Marketing).

The Oscars don’t have the viewership and ratings of a Super Bowl, however this year saw the highest ratings in more than a decade with an average of 43 million viewers. More importantly with the prolific use of celebrities within social media, this Awards show is tops for taking advantage of the moment beyond the 3 or so hours of the show.  Ellen DeGeneres, the host of this year’s Oscars alone currently has 27 million followers on Twitter. A healthy base to spark social media conversation. Sure enough, one of her first efforts after her opening monologue was a ‘selfie’ on stage. Then came Pharrell and the “Arby’s Hat” on stage where Arby’s yet again seized the moment with a tweet of their own. Of course, came the epic “group selfie” where Ellen asked a group of A-listers to get together for a selfie to help break the record of most retweets which it promptly did during the show with currently over 2.8 MM retweets or 3x the retweets of the previous record holding tweet. It also momentarily broke Twitter.

…in order to win, marketers needs to thoroughly think of a second screen strategy first.

What was impressive was seeing the brands that took advantage of the socially cultural moment and didn’t rely only on their traditional media buy, but extended social integration. This continues to prove that in order to win, marketers needs to thoroughly think of a second screen strategy first.

Breakthrough brands…

Samsung Mobile, Cadillac, JCPenney, Lipton Tea were good examples of taking advantage of the moment. ABC Network unfortunately failed to win by having their live stream on mobile devices not working. I was one of those who watched the Red Carpet behind the scenes live stream on my tablet via the ABC app. About 30 minutes before the Oscars the stream stopped. I tried numerous times to reconnect and quickly realized from other people on Twitter that this wasn’t a single problem but common to others. The live stream didn’t work throughout the night.

The winning brands had the common thread of making sure that they not only paid for traditional advertising but had ongoing social and digital integration throughout thenight. A few key insights that I noticed to improve second screen first strategy is:

1. Ensure traditional media has clear tie to experiential social.

Samsung won the night with social conversation by a smart product placement of their new Galaxy devices and capturing the keywords “selfie”, “oscars” and “samsung galaxy”. Per a quick Topsy report, their mentions were all in the millions. However, how did that translate to the 90 second TV spot of “You Need To See This”. Currently, it has under 50,000 Youtube organic views the day after the event when people are searching for context of buzz.

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There was no clear call to action on any of the TV spots (a total of 5 minutes worth of TV spots). If the objective of the marketing efforts was to be a part of the social consciousness during and after the moment, then it’s a win. If the goal was to get people talking about the Galaxy line of products or more directly the new Galaxy S 5 that was announced a few days ago. This fell through the noise.

2. Co-branding even if you’re not directly tied to the event.

What does Lipton Tea have to do with the red carpet? Nothing. However, when it is paired with conversational icons like the Muppets strutting their stuff on the red carpet and included in your TV ad buy. Lipton was now part of the story with the #BeMoreTea campaign. They also took advantage of some RTM with this post. One of the few examples of this working in contest of their effort.

Of course other brands tried to take advantage of Real Time Marketing with tweets that had nothing to do with the night and Denny’s didn’t fail to deliver a bad example by sharing this tweet.

At this point, as a brand why even bother? If you have a reason to engage with other efforts around an event then plan ahead and have a seat at the table. Don’t just barge in. It’s rude.

3. Quality vs Quantity engagement.

JCPenny had an innovative approach with Vine videos. If their objective was to engage directly with their existing customers and fan base then it seemed to have worked by extending the content into Twitter where they currently have almost 300,000 followers.

They engaged people via Vine and their “#GoldenMoment” contest. They received many entries via Vine however with minimal revines and likes. I’ve yet to see a successful video UGC contest that successfully acquires mass submissions due to the fact that there are so many barriers to entry. In the case of JCPenny you had to be a fan of their Twitter profile, have the Vine app, and the time to take a take video and post.

Within social engagements, finding the sweet spot of quality vs. quantity should always be the focus.

To wrap things up, it was refreshing to see that more and more socially driven advertisers are recognizing the need to think beyond traditional advertising and create unique second screen experiences while there is still opportunity to innovate and create unique moments for consumers to engage.

What was your favorite moment of the Oscars that you felt helped amplify traditional advertising?

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Road To The Social Media Super Bowl

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Photo courtesy of themorrisonla.com

There is rarely a moment in our lives where you plan for success and when the moment arrives, it succeeds beyond your wildest dreams and prayers.

That moment happened during Super Bowl XLVIII when I had the honor to partake in a campaign launch with a group of wickedly talented and passionate marketers when our RadioShack Super Bowl commercial debuted to over 111.5 Million people on national TV and then immediately following up with a multi-channel marketing campaign driven by social media conversation.

Outside of a small group of people that worked directly on the TV commercial and supporting the campaign, it was shock and awe. It was the moment where we wanted to reintroduce RadioShack on the grandest stage possible. It was the moment where we wanted to have everyone hear “The Phone Call”.

We were one of 30 other brands that had a TV Commercial during the Super Bowl. We all wanted to win the moment. However, no one knew that RadioShack was going to have a commercial during the Super Bowl. We weren’t going to release a “teaser” or “trailer” video. There was no “coming 2.2.14” website. We were not only underdogs, but underdogs that no one expected to be at the party. We had to stand out. Not only stand out, but chart a solid game plan to strategically capture the moment and fuel it not by our own words, but by the words of those watching on the “second screen”. Which in 2014 starts and ends with Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, Forums, and anywhere else someone can share and call out what resonated with them from the TV commercial.

There was a lot of emotion and anticipation from all of us who worked on the campaign. We had crafted a strategy and planned a road to our Super Bowl moment.

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RadioShack Temp Social Command Center

The moment came on Sunday February 2, 2014 approximately at 6:19 PM CST. Those of us that had the responsibility to introduce the TV commercial to the digital world were ready. All 15 of us in the Digital Command Center near downtown Dallas and many more that dialed in. Our goal was to go live online in 30 seconds. This was the exact time of the commercial. That was the moment that we had the attention of the world. It was the moment we were going to fan the spark and turn it into a flame.

It happened. We did it together.

The tweets and social mentions began to pour in. From existing fans, new fans, celebrities, media and people that in the past had forgotten RadioShack. Within the first 30 minutes we had a 90+% positive mentions online according to Topsy.com

We were getting close to the end of Super Bowl XLVIII and we saw that AdAgepublished this headline: “In Shocking Upset, RadioShack Wins the Super Bowl“.

In that moment we knew that the road we had planned and executed came together and over delivered beyond what we could have anticipated.  CNN named RadioShack as one of the Top 10 Social Media moments of the Super Bowl.

Nielsen Most Liked Super Bowl Commercial

Nielsen Most Liked Super Bowl Commercial

Nielsen Most Liked Super Bowl Commercial

The Adobe Digital Index measured all 30 Super Bowl advertisers and out of all ads RadioShack was the social media winner with 22x increase in online mentions.

From a financial standpoint the nextday on Monday, despite the DOW falling over 320 points, the Wall Street Journal published the headline: “Super Bowl Advertising Apparently Works: RadioShack Shares Jump“.

We continued to fuel the social media conversation and even after 3 days Nielsen published results that RadioShack was the Nr. 1 Most Liked Commercial of Super Bowl XLVIII.

This road had certain key elements that helped define that moment. It was our road to the social media Super Bowl.

I realize winning the social media moment on the grandest stage of the Super Bowl is not something that happens every day. As marketers in various business verticals we each have our moment that we want to seize. What worked for us is a solid road map to enable that moment. Some practical key takeaways that helped ensure a solid road map to that success are listed below.

I will use football analogies to tie into the Super Bowl moment.

1. Watch The Tape:

We started weeks in advance in preparing for the moment. Once we knew that we would have a TV commercial and creative was approved, we moved to make sure Twitter was the main point of conversation. We went back and forth in brainstorms and POV’s if we should use a hashtag, website URL, or something else. The trend was to have a hashtag at the end of the spot. This was true since 57% of advertisers in 2014 had a hashtag at end of their commercial. From an objective standpoint we wanted to drive directly to Twitter and be able to adjust the conversation according to what evolved once the spot aired. Having a permanent hashtag in paid media becomes a huge risk in the case of the conversation turning negative. Allowing the viewer to go to our Twitter @RadioShack profile provided us an opportunity to introduce them to the extended conversation.

2. Have Multiple Plays in the Game Plan

In order to be ready for a social media moment, we not only had to have the execution plan in a step by step checklist, we needed to think through and have a response for, real time marketing opportunities, a crisis situation, weather conditions, and multiple other real world scenarios.

3. Assemble the Team

Currently our RadioShack social media marketing team consists of only 3 people. In order to support a surge in mentions and engagements, we not only needed additional community managers but creative designers, copywriters, PR support, paid media, search, SEO, and integrated marketing and agency leads. In order for social media to work, we needed to be integrated throughout the entire digital journey on the second screen with a common message.

4. Practice. Who Needs Practice?

We did. You do. Once we had our plan in place and checklist identified, we had a goal. We needed to launch the multi-channel digital and social experience within 30 seconds. The exact time the spot was shown and when people were going to go online and engage. Anything less than 30 seconds was a failure to the second screen engagement. When we were in our Digital Command Center, the message was clear since we didn’t know the exact time the spot air. We needed to be hyper ready. We had 5 seconds to freak out that the spot aired and 25 seconds to execute. No one left their position. Everyone had their browser tabs open. We rehearsed this multiple times with a stop watch. After several tries, our best time was under 30 seconds.

5. Execute Key Play Flawlessly.

When the spot aired earlier than expected toward the end of the 1st Quarter of the game, we are ready. The signal was given and in 30 seconds all 15 of us in the Digital Command Center went live. We checked and double checked each channel for any issues. One by one we checked off every person as the shouted that they completed their role. This flawless execution cannot go unmentioned. It was the moment that we had planned, rehearsed, and lost sleep over for the previous weeks. Once we were live we weren’t done. We needed to continue to push the pedal. We were now on our road to winning the Super Bowl of marketing and we needed to fuel the conversation and capture the moment.

6. Run and Gun Offense.

Our social efforts were to use iconic 80’s products as symbolic prize giveaways to our fans. We wanted to have multiple products from the 80’s that spoke to different niche communities. In a social media strategy, many times the tactics only speak to one audience. By providing a variety of opportunities to engage it helped us be relevant not only during the Super Bowl but for the next 24 hours when the Super Bowl conversation continued. We were there. We were on offense and continuing to create and drive engagements. It wasn’t only for that moment but beyond. We were running with every new product that was revealed. Promoting key content that was trending to shoot through every opportunity.

 7. Post-Game Huddle

In the moment after a win, take the time to celebrate. We celebrated as a team but quickly huddled to make sure we didn’t become complacent. As the conversation swelled, we looked at our data and reports to adjust our efforts according to what was trending. This way we continued to stay relevant and react to ensure the engagements continued. Each stakeholder in a consistent pre-communicated timing shared reporting of performance and optimization insights. We looked at our benchmarks and reported each KPI to key stakeholders.

To wrap things up, these 7 steps helped us on our road to the social media Super Bowl, it was a great win but it is only the start of our efforts at RadioShack to turn around our overall business and help RadioShack become relevant and a destination once again as it once was. There is a solid Executive leadership in place that is focused, determined, passionate and is an inspiration.

As we move forward to the next chapter, it’s amazing to see how Social @RadioShack has evolved over the years and big wins like the Super Bowl and smaller wins that help drive our business are critical to each step.

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Journey of 100 Miles

This week starts my 100 Mile Challenge. The goal is to do something I have never done before; to bike within 1 week a total of 100 miles. Many people who ride bikes for some time can do this in 1 day. For me, it is a start of a goal that hopefully will grow with time.

I’m going to take this post to track my journey every day as I push forward to this goal. The plan is to go one day on the road bike for longer miles and then alternate with a mountain bike trail ride that is a shorter distance but will build strength. Along with way I will share thoughts daily.

I will also begin to track my steps and activity during the day to make sure I’m being active prior to my rides. I’m going to be using the FitBit Zip. Its the basic one from the FitBit line of wearable health products, but does plenty for what I need.

Day 1 – 17.88 miles; 82.12 remaining

Day 1 // Road Bike

post13aToday started off later in the day as I wasn’t able to arrive at the start of the ride until after 7 pm. Posting my challenge last week got some of my friends intrigued to start my challenge together. So, I met with 3 other friends at Erwin Park to start and the plan was to do go 8.5 miles one way and then turn around and come back for a total of 17+ miles. Due to our late start we wanted to make sure we arrived back at the start of the ride before it got dark and dangerous to ride on a country road.

Originally I wanted to bike at a minimum of 20 miles my first day, but it was great to ride with more bikers and have a goal of finishing as close to possible within 1 hour for a ride. I rode for a total of 17.88 miles a little bit slower than I was hoping (16.1 mph) but overall the first day felt great. Eager for the trail ride tomorrow.

I will be tracking all of my rides with the MapMyRide+ app which tracks great basic statistics.

 Day 2 – 10.55 miles; 71.57 remaining

Day 2 // Mountain Bike

post13bThe second day of my 100 mile challenge was a mountain bike ride on the great official DORBA trail at Erwin Park. The normal trail is approximately 7.5 miles but I started off where there is a little over 2 miles left in the trail and then continued on the complete trail to get me over the 10 mile mark.

It was a great ride as the temperature was around 95 degrees when I started as the sun was going down and during my ride I caught the sunset and a nice breeze in the wooded area of the trail that made the ride really comfortable but exhausting at the same time as I pushed myself to actually have my personal best average of 8.5 mph on the trail.

Tomorrow I’m planning to hit the road again and to go solo in order to push myself to over 20 miles in 1 ride. It’s getting challenging to make sure I finish my ride before it gets dark in order to avoid dangerous situation with cars on the road. Will be equipped with lights to help.

Day 3 – 20.19 miles; 51.38 remaining

Day 3 // Mountain Bike on the Road.

post13cAlmost middle of the week and I’m nearly halfway to 100 miles. Today I decided to try a Route Suggestion from MapMyRide+ that was at a minimum 20 miles. I found this great route that was perfect as it was near a good place I can start. Only problem was that it must be where someone else started near their home and I didn’t go the exact route. Either way, I pushed it today to get over a 20 mile ride.

The bad news was that I had to use my mountain bike on the road because when I checked the PSI on my tires before leaving for the ride, the stem broke on the front tire and all of the air went out. I didn’t have a replacement tube, so I didn’t want to lose a day and decided I would have a slower mph average but I was equipped with a front and rear light to be ready for some night riding.

Tomorrow I’m going to get a tube and fix the tire so I can do road bike ride and hopefully push it to get a 25 mile day.

Day 4 – 26.78 miles; 24.60 remaining

Day 4 // Long Road Bike ride

post13dI’m in that phase now where I was eager to start my ride and put in a solid long ride for the week. I mapped out a 25 mile course on MapMyRide+ with their online tool before the ride and prepped with a new tube in the road bike, an extra tube (just in case), a few CO2 cartridges in case of a flat, and I was ready to go.

I was pushing strong for over 4 miles when I had to stop at an intersection and accidentally ended my ride at 4.61 miles on the MapMyRide app. So I had to start another ride on the app to make sure I tracked all of the ride. Really disappointed that I had to break the time in the app like that. I need to submit a bug to MapMyRide that they need to add a Back button before you fully save the ride.

Mapping my course to ride through 2 beautiful cities of McKinneyFrisco, and up and coming Town of Prosper was a treat. Wide open fields and low traffic. Unfortunately my 16.2 mph average between both times is near my average. I was hoping to be faster but there were a lot of hills on the course where by mile 17 they were painfully slow to go up. Riding the mountain bike yesterday helped with the strength, but not enough.

So far I’m on course to hit my goal by Saturday. Tomorrow I am meeting with a friend to ride more casually but still want to be near 20 miles for the day to leave the 100 mile mark for a nice mountain bike trail ride.

Day 5 – 28.53 miles; 3.9 miles over 100

Day 5 // Hit my 100 mile Goal!

post13eToday I hit 100 miles for the week!

As the week went by I wanted to seek out great places to ride in the DFW area to add more experiences to my 100 mile journey. If you are from the Dallas area, there is no better place to bike, run or walk than White Rock Lake in Dallas. It has a 9.33 mile paved loop designated for biking, running, or walking. The lake itself is also a perfect backdrop for a casual ride or for those that want to train. Since moving to the Dallas area I’ve always wanted to ride there and now was the time.

My goal was to do the course 2 times and leave the 100 mile mark for tomorrow, but as I rode the first time around the ride was so nice I decided to do it a second time before a friend of mine that we chatted before hand would arrive for us to ride together.

Sure enough by the time I finished the second time around my friend arrived and I did the course twice in a little over an hour with a great avg speed of 17.3 mph. I started the 3rd time with my friend and we rode more casually and this time I was going to hit my 100 mile goal! In total for the day I rode 28.53 miles. My longest ride of the week!

It’s amazing to have hit this goal in 5 days. I knew with the right consistency and preparation I would be able to do it. Thank God there were no major obstacles or injuries along the way. The great thing is, I still have tomorrow as Sunday I am planning to be a rest day.

I’m really excited for tomorrow as I’m meeting up with another friend to finish off my week with a nice casual ride at one of the best mountain bike trails in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I can’t wait!

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100 Mile Goal

post12Since I bought my first Mountain Bike from a Bike Shop in Rochester Hills, Michigan back in 1998 with my entire summer savings of $400 I have had a love for biking.

Over the years, life has evolved with finishing college, getting married, starting a family and a career.

During this time, on and off I have continued my love for biking as often as possible. I was never was able to invest the money in super high end bikes or components. I just needed a solid bike to keep me fit and challenge my strength and endurance.

I always liked staying in shape but there was always something about the ability to push the pedals and hit the technical trails of a mountain bike trail that was a thrill.

Since moving to Texas back in early 2010 and the lifestyle change that came along with it, my riding went on a hiatus and sure enough my body was feeling it. That is why last fall I began riding with a group of friends from my church and discovered a local mountain bike trail near my home. This led to a setting a goal at the beginning of this year to take control of my fitness, nutrition and health once again. Since early February of this year until now I have been able to take in mountain biking once again and even was introduced to road biking (which is a lot more popular here in the flat terrain of Northern Dallas) along with eating right, I was able to lose over 20 lbs and be back to the shape I was when we first moved to Texas.

Now I want to push it to the next level and push myself to have an achievable goal. Ride 100 miles in 1 week.

I know to some people this is a small feat while for others it may seem like a huge achievement. To me it is goal. The first step in any successful effort.

post12bI firmly believe that having personal goals, fitness goals, business goals, career goals, or any goal is the necessary step to succeed. It’s amazing how few people actually make a disciplined effort to not only set a goal but ensure they are able to achieve it. Since I have a full time job responsibility, family, church, and even needing to eat and sleep, 100 miles is achievable in 1 week but it won’t be without an effort to reach it as it has been something that I have never done before.

Hopefully, it will be an inspiration to the person that reads this post or to others that will see my activity in my social graph. Especially due to the fact that I will need to weigh in balancing my insulin dependent diabetes. I need to adjust things in order to know my body and how much I can push it as an organic machine. This x-factor will hopefully be an inspiration to choose something you love to do even if there are obstacles and take it to the next level.

In my case. A 100 mile goal.

Upcoming will be a post where I will journal each day and share my journey. My hope is that once I hit that goal it will lead to an even higher goal. It’s amazing what determination and willingness can do in all walks of life.

#pushingforward

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