Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Can Michael Vick and Tiger Woods Repair their Public Images by Winning?

I'm not a Public Relations (PR) specialist, but winning may be the best way for Michael Vick and Tiger Woods to improve their public image. Alex Rodriguez certainly got a boost from winning the World Series. Similarly, I feel Vick and Woods would benefit from such successes.

In addition to sports-related accomplishments, I would like to see the following:

A). Vick should appear in a commercial speaking out against dog fighting DURING the Super Bowl. I haven't heard of Vick speaking out against dog fighting since signing with the Eagles.

B). Tiger Woods needs to take a page out of the Michael Vick and Alex Rodriguez books by interviewing on "60 Minutes" or with Katie Couric. I'd recommend staying away from Katie Couric since she always asks the tough questions.

Despite personal stumbles, both Alex Rodriguez and Tiger Woods receive increases in buzz late December 2009 for professional achievements. As we know, Alex Rodriguez's public persona has improved since winning the World Series. I think Vick and Woods would benefit from such professional achievements as well.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Turn the Tub Around - "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" Infomercial

My wife and I came across this "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" infomercial on Dish Network channel 125. The video plays over and over continuously. The video is funny, but my wife are I are disappointed to be paying Dish Network for channels featuring infomercials about butter. Overall, we feel we should be getting more high-quality channels for our money.

I think the following comment sums up this video nicely. MissMousy60 on YouTube says, "This is very bizarre. An infomercial for a tub of butter."

Friday, September 25, 2009

Some Bold Economy Predictions Hold True

I have a friend, Dody Bush, who made 20 bold predictions about the economy at the beginning of 2009. I thought I would go ahead review her assessment of the economy. I answer Dody's hypotheses using social media trends, statistics and supportive news stories.

Here is what she wrote. I list an answer below each prediction.

Hypothesis 1. More jobs will continue to be lost until mid-May. By May things will either get better or much worse.

Finding 1. Unemployment has been rising throughout 2009.

Hypothesis 2. Gold will be high. I am not expecting 1600 or 2k like some commenters, but the highs of 2008 are likely to occur again.

Finding 2. Gold topped $1,000 again since February.

Hypothesis 3. Food stamps will become a staple for getting food for more than 40% of American families, and consequentially will be a budget problem eventually.

Answer 3. US population 304,059,724 million. Number of people using food stamps is 34 million. Given those numbers, only 10% of the US population uses food stamps.

Hypothesis 4. Luxuries will remain “not desirable”. So if you are in the luxury business, add another line.

Answer 4. I think this depends on the product type. Starbucks made a profit in its recent fiscal 3rd quarter. Starbucks made a profit through cost cutting efforts primarily though.

5. Foreclosures will suddenly increase at the end of 2009 unless government intervention occurs.

Answer 5. This just came out today on Bloomberg. Home sales are up 0.7%. The government has intervened though by offering tax rebates for new home buyers.

6. Sewing will become “IN” again. That is “remaking” clothes.

Answer 6. Google trends suggests otherwise.

7. Beans and Rice in bulk will be seen as staples for America’s diet. Steak is so yesterday, except for rare treats like an Anniversary. Also expect potatoes, macaroni, tomato sauce, and PB and J’s to sell well.

Answer 7. More people might be buying beans and rice, but less people are talking about them.

8. Back to school shopping, will start to involve second hand stores for clothes. For the poor it will be patching up hand me downs.

Answer 8. I'll answer this question after I see Walmart's next quarterly figures.

9. Children will learn to be thankful for the awesome stuff you give on holidays…at least a little more.

Answer 9. This answer depends on how you define "awesome stuff." I love the optimism though.

10. Every teen having their own cell phone with text messages, will be drastically cut back. Expect prepaid for Emergencies only to be the thing parents do.

Answer 10. Teen cell phone ownership nearing adult numbers doesn't sound like cutting back to me.

11. Shoe cobblers will find their business increase

Answer 11. Shoe cobbler buzz is trending down.

12. Parents will start to pressure schools to remain open during holidays and possible weekends so kids can have free school lunch. (urban areas)

Answer 12. Schools should go year around in my opinion anyway.

13. Libraries will cut back hours or raise late fee fines just as more patrons come in due to budget cut backs.

Answer 13. This is sad but true.

14. Food staples will rise in price.

Answer 14. Inflation is trending down.

15. Treasuries will be sold off by other countries, causing our dollar’s value to dip. How much is anyone’s guess.

Answer 15. China isn't selling US and other treasuries. China's just not buying as much.

16. Gas prices will rise again. As this happens, more inflationary pressures will occur.

Answer 16. says otherwise.

17. Towns and states will start laying off even more workers. The problems in California will hit Georgia, New York, Rhode Island, and various other states. At least 10 states will have to lay off drastically.

Answer 17. The state of Rhode Island just laid off 1,000 workers.

18. Court houses may shut down for longer furloughs on holidays, or not open for weeks at a time.

Answer 18. Budget cuts are affecting law enforcement everywhere.

19. Crime is headed up, but not way up.

Answer 19. Crime rates have fallen in some areas.

20. Gardening will become a new passion as people looking into new “Victory Gardens”.

Answer 20. Online buzz for gardening is trending down.

A quick review shows that Dody may have not been too far off with her predictions. At least half of her predictions are correct. I'm impressed that she took some initiative to make these predictions, despite not having a background in Economics. I certainly didn't make any bold predictions like these.

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or comments regarding my responses. You can find out more about Dody by reading her profile on

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Deposit Market Share vs. Deposit/Checking Online Buzz

I’ve been gathering some preliminary data comparing deposit market share to checking/deposit buzz. The chart below looks at 2008 deposit market share data
(7/1/07 – 6/30/08) from the FDIC. 2009 data (7/1/08 – 6/30/09) is not available yet, but I will report on this data as soon as it becomes available.

A strong correlation (r squared = .91) correlation exists between % of Deposit Market Share and % of Deposit/Checking buzz currently. Banks with more deposits tend to receive more online buzz. I can't say the finding is completely surprising. More customers making deposits means more interaction with a financial institution. More interaction leads to a higher propensity for customers to go online and discuss experiences.

JP Morgan Chase / WAMU, Bank of America and Wells Fargo/Wachovia receive the highest percentage of deposits within the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Deposit Market Share vs. Deposit/Checking Online Buzz for 2008 (July 1, 2007 - June 30, 2008)

Let me know what you think about this data. I look forward to updating the results with 2009 information once it becomes available.

Friday, September 11, 2009

How Do Financial Companies Use Social Media?

Mashable published an interesting article hightlighting ways banks use social media. As for me, I'm impressed by banks using social media to service customers. In my opinion, banks really put themselves out on a limb by going outside their organization (e.g., call center) to reach consumers.

Kudos to all the banks using Facebook and Twitter to service their customers!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

iPhone Trumps Blackberry in Worldwide Traffic

The Apple iPhone receives more worldwide traffic; however, Blackberry is making some headway in certain markets. For example, Blackberry appears to receive more search requests than iPhone from consumers in Toronto, Canada (click on source link below to see).

These findings are based using Google Trends. Google Trends provides insights into broad search patterns. Please keep in mind that several approximations are used when computing these results.

Data Source: iPhone vs. Blackberry Google Trends

I think Blackberry may be able to catch up in terms of buzz and search requests in the future. I love Blackberry phone. I currently have a Blackberry Pearl. I hope to get a Blackberry Storm in the future!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Does United Airlines Break Guitars?

One consumer thinks United Breaks Guitars. Check out this video awesome piece of CGM (Consumer Generated Media)!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Is Rising Unemployment Affecting Website Traffic to Popular Social Media Sites?

While working on a recent project, I noticed the number of people visiting Facebook and LinkedIn increasing. I compared the increase in website traffic with unemployment figures from May 08 through May 09. The findings were surprising.

Website Traffic versus Unemployment Rate

There is a strong correlation between website traffic for Facebook and LinkedIn, but not MySpace. Here are the correlation figures:

Unemployment Rate/Facebook-- (+) 0.984167989
Unemployment Rate/LinkedIn-- (+) 0.825408734
Unemployment Rate/MySpace -- (-) 0.82843028

I do want to remind readers that correlation does not necessarily equal causation.

I don't want to jump to conclusions by saying Facebook and LinkedIn's website traffic is driven by consumers with more available time (as a result of being unemployed), but the strong correlation is interesting. While Facebook is more mainstream social media, LinkedIn could definitely be considered a professional networking site. More people may be visiting these social media sites to get in touch with friends and develop relationships, which may lead to future opportunities.

MySpace's website traffic trend has a negative correlation with the unemployment rate. This makes sense as MySpace caters to more of a tween audience, most of which may not be in the job market or seeking employment.

Anne Mai Bertelsen ( over on Musing Out Loud reveals similar findings.

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions about this data or findings.

Why do you think there is a correlation between the unemployment rate and website traffic to Facebook and LinkedIn?

Unemployment figures obtained from

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I found a new beer that I like. It is called GREAT LAKES BREWING Co. I would probably put it right up there with select Sam Adams beers (e.g., Sam Adams Oktoberfest). I've tried several varieties of GREAT LAKES beers including Burning River and Eliot Ness. I highly recommend giving them a try.

Also, I wanted to see if anyone was raving about GREAT LAKES beers online (like I am). And while online buzz is minimal, it is trending up. I see this as a sign of encouragement for the micro-brewery based in Cleveland, Ohio.

Visit the GREAT LAKES BREWING Co. website. Grab a 6-pack or a draft next time your out, remember to drink responsibly!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Should marketers tweet carefully when promoting brands on Twitter?

AdAge brings up very important point for marketers Tweeting their brand: "Proceed With caution." The article warns brands engaging in discussion on Twitter to be prepared for negative buzz and try to avoid directly advertising through social media. I agree with both of these points, but I'd like to layer on and add some perspective of my own.

Brands should also be transparent and reciprocal while engaging in social media. A lot of brands have a presence on social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. I do not keep up brands using social media which simply talk about themselves as much as I do with brands that interact. It is great that a company has a Facebook page or a Twitter profile. How does having a Facebook page or a Twitter profile help me though?

I expect a brand to be transparent and reciprocal. Let me know why you are on Twitter and answer my questions in a timely manner. This is not to say that I do not enjoy updates, because I do. I read almost every Ford product update that Scott Monty tweets. Scott has interacted with me as well, the few times I reached out to him. In fact, Scott Monty commented on my blog at on point, which truly impressed me.

What are your thoughts on brands using Twitter and social media as a tool to reach customers? Do you feel brands should be transparent and engaging?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Convenience Stores Leveraging Social Media

Convenience Store News reports on several convenience store chains utilizing Twitter and Facebook to bring in customers. Quick Chek is offering a free iced coffee to all its Facebook fans when the chain attains its goal of reaching 1,500 fans. Meanwhile Kum & Go, a conenience store chain in Iowa, launched what it is calling "Twitter Tuesdays." Starting this past Tuesday and going until June 23, the convenience store chain each Tuesday will select one Des Moines-area Kum & Go location as the "Secret Store." From 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., one clue per hour will be given out via Twitter to direct Kum & Go followers to the secret store.

CSNews Online, Shell Oil Co. and Chevron Corp. plan for the first time, to post hurricane season updates via Twitter this year.

Other convenience retailers with a presence on Twitter include: BP America, Wawa, Cumberland Farms, Gulf Oil, QuikTrip, Piedmont Petroleum and Express Convenience.

It is very refreshing to see convenience stores utilizing social media in such imaginative and useful ways. If only all companies could figure this out.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I just signed up for mobile blogging via This is a test text only.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

USA Today reports on Banks Using Twitter

USA Today points out that banks are jumping on the Twitter bandwagon. USA Today states that Wells Fargo and Bank of America have begun to "tweet” with customers about everything from bank fees to product features. Discover Financial, American Express and Citigroup have launched Facebook or MySpace pages. Some banks even put marketing videos on YouTube.

John Carney on linking to the USA Today article feels banks using Twitter is the "same corporate nonsense in a new medium."

Personally, I have to disagree with John. I think banks using Twitter is a great way to communicate. I've seen hundreds of posts where consumers have mentioned being able to resolve issues communicating with bank representatives via Twitter.

If used appropriately, Twitter may help improve the customer service experience.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Top 100 Brands on Twitter

Here is a list of the top 100 brands on Twitter. Enjoy!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Creating Social Media Plan Works Well

I came across an interesting read titled "Build a social media plan that never sleeps" on The article emphasizes several key issues which include:

- Brands need to change their approach to social media
- Customers expect an instant and public response to their issues
- Opening up a truly valuable dialogue

As I said, I found the article to be quite interesting, but I disagree with the title, "Build a social media plan that never sleeps." Nothing in the post really points out ways to build a successful social media campaign "that never sleeps." The article primarily focuses on the prominence of Twitter and improving communication. Also, the posting encourages brands to a) listen to consumers, b) be where customers are, and c) get to know people. I do not feel this is anything new. Almost every social media blogger feels companies should use social media to help improve customer service.

Overall, I found the posting to be a very good read. I found it rather intriguing that brands such as Papa John's are creating widgets for Facebook. The blogger, Reid Carr says, “Ahead of the curve, Papa John's launched a Facebook widget to allow users to place a pizza order right from Facebook.” Creating useful widgets is something each company should do.

I have to take my hat off to Papa John's for letting consumers order a pizza right from Facebook. I'm tempted to give the Widget a try. But I'll be truly impressed when I order it over Twitter!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

BusinessWeek: Innovators in Social Media

BusinessWeek published an interesting article about innovators in social media.

The article praises Scott Monty for helping transform Ford's image within social media. Personally, I couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

MBA Program

I recently started a MBA program at Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, KY. Given that, I'm trying to get acclimated to full-time work and full-time school. I do apologize for not posting regular content as of late, but I will be updating my blog periodically in the future. Thanks for all of your support.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ogilvy Launches a New Social Media Tool

A co-worker pointed this out to me. Ogilvy recently launched a new social media tool. The tool does not provide any metrics, but gives smaller companies the ability to view many sources/tools in an aggregated manner. This is just another example of how agencies and other stakeholders are continuing to become smarter and invest more attention toward the space as the importance of monitoring social media continues to rise.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Leading Social Search Engines

Lee Odden on provides a list of 6 social search engines to start 2009.

Will Twitter Change Blog Design in 2009?

Find out the answer on Mashable.

Mobile Social Media Expected to Expand

Mobile social networks are expected to expand as more and more consumers get mobile access to the internet.

I have to agree with this article. I feel mobile social media network will become a very lucrative market as more people get access to internet via mobile devices.

Herbert Brothers are At It Again! "Free Doritos" Crash the Super Bowl

I had the opportunity to interview Joe Herbert when he participated in Doritos' "Crash the Supber Bowl" contest in 2006/2007. Well it looks like he is at it again. Please vote for "Free Doritos".

Do Some Consumers Wait Too Long Before Filing Bankruptcy?

Foreclosure and bankruptcy online discussion trends are on the rise (see graph below). Given that, I found a recent Newsweek very interesting. It argues that some people should file bankruptcy sooner rather than later. What do you think?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Dosh Dosh Covers Fundamentals of Social Media Marketing posts an article for those interested to learn more about social media and how you use it.

It offers some insight to social media in general, tips on leveraging social media newsites and others such as StumbleUpon.

Overall, I found the article to be quite insightful. Let me know what you think.