Dan Gershenson

I've always felt strongly that thoughts and ideas are the great equalizer of brands. No longer do we live in an era where only the largest of companies dictate their degree of influence based on how much money they spend to get in front of more eyeballs with one more 1-way message that's all about them.

The greatest influence can now be in the hands of the most helpful, transparent and personal brands of the world. Are you ready to be one of them? Caliber's Revolution of Influence blog aims to equip you with the strategies, content know-how, tools and trends to find the path that catapults you to newfound success.

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Idea for your next event: 3D Projection

Posted by on in Media Trends
Metropoly
3D projection technology
is a big deal in Europe and South America as there have been shows done on all kinds of iconic buildings and statues. But lately I’ve seen it adopted gradually more here in the U.S., which is cool to see. Here’s one that my friends at Metropoly put on in the West Palm Beach area.
Seth Godin. Gary Vaynerchuk. Mitch Joel. Randi Zuckerberg. Keith Ferrazzi. Avinash Kaushik.

Hearing one of these influencers in the world of social media and marketing is rewarding in itself. Hearing from all of them in one day is what I call one awesome intelligence download. Which is exactly what you can do when you join me in attending a special conference called The Art of Marketingcoming to The Chicago Theatre onTuesday, April 24th.

Making Your brand more conversational

Posted by on in Social Media

So true.

Why can’t we talk to potential customers as if we were sitting across the table from them?

I believe we can. I believe we have to.

Instead, brands look at their audiences as a set of statistics rather than a one-to-one conversation. And it’s little wonder why they often wind up sounding like they’re talking to a set of statistics. Why? Because there’s a fear that your brand might not sound professional?
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down on behalf of the Chicagoland Chamber withAdam Robinson, who is the Chief Hireologist of Hireology. Previously, Adam was the co-founder and CEO of illuma, a leader in high-volume recruitment outsourcing solutions as well as the creator of the Ionix Hiring System, a full suite of interview and assessment tools.

Hireology is a company that specializes in interview guides, applicant tracking, candidate assessment and selection. Just this year, the company was featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Crain’s Chicago Business and Fox Chicago, where it was profiled as a “tech company to watch.”
As I was reading my Facebook stream this morning, a simple message from Sally Hogshead, author of the book, Fascinate (and a great, inspirational speaker on creativity) struck me:

“Every meeting should be planned with a specific change in mind. Nobody needs more status quo!”

As I thought about this, it occurred to me that the whole problem with meetings is that most of the time, things don’t get done. Or not enough gets done.

One objective = one meeting.

What we need isn’t more time. We need less of it.
The other side of content syndication: Does it cause us to cut down on quality interactive time spent on each social media channel?

A couple weeks ago, I had a bonafide Freak Out Moment. One of the apps used to syndicate my blog was having an error and decided to post the latest post – even before it was done – onto the web over and over again. If you were on the receiving end of that noise, I do sincerely apologize for the insanity. Fortunately, if there’s any good that came after I had my meltdown and got the situation under control (hopefully, please Lord) by undoing the app altogether, it was that I had a bit of an epiphany about content syndication.
If you think you’ve seen Sandy Marshall somewhere before, you’re probably right. Besides running a small advertising agency, Marshall is heavily involved with Second City, has appeared in movies such as “The Dilemma” and on Comedy Central. I sat down with him to learn how improv comedy and marketing blend in perfect harmony at his agency, Marshall Creative.

Sandy Marshall, CEO of Marshall Creative – and the guy who might be behind that Second City production you’re about to see.
Can luxury and tech upgrades rescue movie theater brands from oblivion?

On the afternoon before the Oscars, I was sitting in the AMC River East Theater on Illinois St. wondering if I was sitting in what was about to be a relic.

After all, my wife and I had just paid about $22 for two tickets before popcorn and drinks. With a small bag and shareable Coke, we were looking at close to $30. I could only imagine what the expenses would be for a family of 4 in an economy like this.
I just finished Michael Lewis’ fascinating book, Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World about how international economies such as Greece, Ireland, Iceland and Germany dealt (or in some cases, never dealt) with the global financial crisis. What I learned was that my assumptions about fixing the economies of the world were way too simplistic and that it’s a whole lot more difficult than giving bailouts all the time.
On this Valentine’s Day, I thought I would share the love with some wonderful people in town I look up to regularly for their wisdom on advertising, marketing and social media strategy. They make me a better expert at what I do (after all, nobody can know everything and if they claim to, be very suspicious) and make me grateful that we have such a social media community like Twitter where such sharing of knowledge can occur.
As a follow-up to my last post, Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group pointed out that 28% of the Super Bowl spots led to no URL, social network or hastag. It’s kind of unfathomable to me that ANY company spending millions of dollars per 30 seconds would have no potential springboard to an online relationship. I know most of the world is going to measure Super Bowl spots in (no offense) effectiveness of “I liked it” or “I didn’t like it.” That’s the water cooler, day after grading system. But although it’s certainly better to be liked after the Super Bowl than never liked at all, how much farther could that goodwill have taken those brands that garnered a “Like” from TV watchers…and gave them no online outlet afterward? I just can’t let those brands off the hook and give them a thumbs up completely. Points off for forgetting your watchers are looking at your multi-million dollar ad and probably within inches of a smartphone where they could have gone to your site to learn/interact even more.

What do you think? Is “Liking” an ad good enough? And to take this a step further, are there any brands from the Super Bowl that you have purchased/interacted with more online as a result of liking it?
The question before the Super Bowl every year seems to be “Are you watching more for the game or the commercials?” Being a person who practices the dark arts of advertising and marketing, I’ve usually been glued for the game and the commercials. Certainly not for the halftime shows.

In the agency world, being a person behind a Super Bowl spot has always been the pinnacle. The Everest. The bragging rights. The kick-butt answer to “Have I ever seen any of your work?”
I’m hearing some reaction to the Facebook changes that have to do with its Timeline feature and frankly, I think the hysteria is quite overblown.

Whoa. Let’s slow down and remember a couple things.

1) You don’t own Facebook.
They can do whatever they want and it’s your choice to participate in it for free. I didn’t say they always make moves that are right (even Mark Zuckerberg wouldn’t say that). But you and I both know they’re in control of the site at the end of the day.

Good Things to Declare War On.

Posted by on in Inspiration
A pretty cool mantra by Chris Brogan that I thought I would share with you. You can apply it to many things in life. Your next blog post or ad. Your approach to your personal life. Your next speech. If it’s the conventional status quo, it’s time to declare war on it. Preach on, Mr. Brogan.
This is an ad for North Dakota’s tourism. It’s talking about having dinner, drinks and how the evening might just turn for the better.

We're guessing the people who think this ad is X-rated don't watch much True Blood.

b2ap3_thumbnail_north-dakota-racy-ad2.pngYet, the North Dakota Tourism Division had to pull it because it was too racy.

When I heard this, I thought maybe I was looking at a different ad. Not this one. I was wrong. This was the one, indeed.

“Dinner. Drinks. Decisions. Arrive a guest. Leave a legend.”

So please tell me what’s wrong with the ad.

Is it that guys are smiling at women? That can’t be it. If guys can’t flirt with women, we should ban all beer advertising, then. Good luck with that.
There are many good recruiters out there for a variety of positions – but in the world of social media, have you ever noticed how most of them sound the same?

“Great opportunity! Candidate must have X years of experience, be a self-starter…”

I get it. You have listings of jobs. And in our economy, that’s great to share. Really. But the strange thing that most recruiters don’t do via social media is guide candidates with:
I recently got into an argument with another agency owner who seems to believe that cutting costs and doing great creative work can’t share the same place in a marketer’s mind. He felt that Chief Marketing Officers across the board are fine with settling for “good enough” work these days by bringing their team in-house rather than hiring an agency and that doing so is a cost-cutting move.

I can’t agree with that logic because CMOs have a short window of opportunity – less than 2 years on average. And in that window, it is unlikely that creative work deemed merely “good enough” is less likely to produce very positive results. Yet I won’t get into a subjective argument about which tends to be more creative and strategic, in-house or outside source because in some instances, the in-house route works out fine. More than fine, actually.
I’ve noticed that generally, the cycle of love for new forms of media often goes like this:

1. New media tool arrives.

2. A few reports suddenly trickle in about the potential of the media tool.

3. Everyone jumps on the bandwagon of those reports, proclaiming it as the best thing since sliced bread.

4. Everyone clamors to be seen as experts and evangelists to their clients about the new media tool (whether or not they actually understand it in reality is debatable).
I love stories of how everyday people stumble into innovation for a traditional business model when they aren’t even looking for it.

Jacqui Cheng has a great article at Arstechnica.com spotlighting Rashid Temuri, who goes by @ChicagoCabbie on Twitter.  When I was standing outside freezing the teen temperatures the other day, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could tweet a cab and then get one fairly soon rather than hoping I get lucky by one seeing me?” Glad to see Temuri picked up on this idea, whether intentional or not, using social media to address a common problem – getting a cab to come to you when there aren’t any in plain sight in your location.

5 Cheap Moves Your Brand Can’t Afford

Posted by on in Strategizing
There’s savvy spending and then there’s cutting corners you don’t need to make at the risk of looking shabby in front of others. Avoid these moves to prevent yourself from making a really cheap first impression.
 

1) The non-company e-mail address

When I see someone with the email address of @aol.com, @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, etc., I have to wonder. It’s perfectly fine to have personal email accounts with something outside of your company name, but it’s not OK in a company email. Do you do this in your spare time? And even if you do, do you want to give that appearance?

No. You don’t. It’s not expensive to get an email with your company name, tagline or some variation. Reserve one and start using it. Now.

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  • "I hired Dan to freshen up the writing on my website, and am delighted with the results. Dan GOT what my consulting business is about in a way that I hadn't experienced from anyone outside my field! More importantly, he was able to take that understanding and write clear and compelling language about my services – AND suggest format changes to the site to make it more effective. I highly recommend him."

    Dina Petrakis, Renovation Coach, Littlerock Construction, Inc.
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    Michael Casaburi, CEO at Revulus Growth Partners
  • "Dan is not only a person with creative ideas, he is a professional with high intelligence and integrity. He has tremendous energy and technical acumen. Dan is is focused and loves what he does...creating brands and building relationships. He is always willing to offer a helping hand and brings a strong dynamic to any team he is on. I highly recommend Dan to any company that is seeking exposure, growth, financial results and brand development."

    Chadia Meroueh, V.P., Auto Tech and Body

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