Category Archives: Power Of Influence

Power Of Influence

SXSW 2015 – What Will Advertising Look Like in the Year 2020

Written by: Tom Edwards
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Now through September 5th, 2014 is the time to vote on panels & presentations for SXSW Interactive 2015. I have submitted a presentation for consideration and would greatly appreciate your support.

Screenshot 2014-08-11 11.06.41

My proposed topic is What Will Advertising Look Like in the Year 2020. This is an in-depth extension of my previously published iMedia article of the same name. Here is a brief outline of the proposed presentation. I will also roll out the new consumer engagement platform called #DatabaseOfYou during this presentation.

Screenshot 2014-08-07 10.30.58

Presentation Description

Where should marketers and brands place bets over the next five years? What is hype over substance? Taking all of this into consideration, I interviewed my strategy teams in Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas to map the state of digital marketing in the year 2020. We had fun with discussions of drones, crypto currency, the internet of people, and more. While the team agreed fundamentally about certain platforms making an impact, there were pros and cons to impact and feasibility. The following panel is the consolidated and highly visual vision of the future of advertisting in the year 2020. This presentation will take a look back at transformational media moments that give clues to the future state of advertising. We will then look at the role of integrated mobile, converged media, connected life and the digital ecosystem of the future. Presentation Cameos by Drones, Terminators, the Jetson’s, Marty McFly, Grumpy Cat and more!!!

Questions to be Answered


The presentation will focus on the three predicted core pillars of advertising in 2020 (Content, Data, Channels). The pillars will fuel the discussion and points of connection between where technology is going and how to stay relevant with a information overloaded consumer.

1) How can media of the past predict the future state of advertising?

2) What role will mobile + wearables play in 2020?

3) How can media fragmentation and personalization unlock new opportunities for converged media?

4) What role will the internet of things and connected life play in predictive advertising?

5) Who will be left standing as major players digital ecosystem players in the year 2020?

Here is a preview of some of the initial visuals tied to the presentation.


I would greatly appreciate your support with a vote. You can vote here. In order to vote you must create an account at

Then you can simply search for Tom Edwards and give it a thumbs up to submit your vote.

SXSW - Tom

Thank you in advance for your support! It is much appreciated.

Follow Tom Edwards @Blackfin360

Buzzfeed Is Word of Mouth at Scale

Written by: Tom Edwards
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One of the more interesting briefings that I have taken part in recently was provided by Buzzfeed. The rise of native advertising publishers has created a lot of excitement with brands. The level of sophistication and scale provided by publishers such as Buzzfeed cannot be understated.

Buzzfeed Stickers

At it’s core Buzzfeed strives to create content that people want to share. With 130+ million monthly uniques & 50% of users coming from mobile, the easily consumable & sharable content makes Buzzfeed a marketing platform that demands attention.

Buzzfeed Homepage

From a native advertising standpoint, Buzzfeed represents a “closed” publisher. Meaning they own their contextual inventory and brands & agencies will need to partner directly with Buzzfeed to execute programming.

Here is an example of a custom execution tied to the launch of Anchorman 2

Buzzfeed Anchorman 2 feed

What is interesting in their approach to empowering brands is how they strive to align their content offerings with the path to purchase, highlighting their focus on impacting opinion, consideration & preference. This is one of the reasons many CPG brands have chosen to partner with Buzzfeed.

Here is an example of a Bud Light integration

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With the decrease in organic reach for brands, leveraging the reach of platforms beyond owned properties is becoming increasingly important from a social perspective. The key to navigating social beyond simple reach is to continue to focus on creating engaging & sharable content to generate word-of-mouth. Here is a link to my recent whitepaper outlining the shift.

Even with the recent seismic industry shift, consumer behavior is still true to form, meaning consumers are looking to discover, engage and share content. In the new world of decreased organic brand reach, more emphasis and control resides with the consumer to carry a brand message or association forward.


There has been a heavy focus on content creation over the past two years. One of the key driving factors was Facebook’s shift towards visual storytelling shift with the revised timeline in March of 2012. This led to new theories and approaches (Many that my team and I created for our Fortune 500 client base) followed by various Facebook publishing garages outlining the new best practices to further segment content hierarchies driven by content themes and pillars to create engagement.


Sophisticated efforts were made to maximize the impact of content to drive engagement with participants. Now with the recent shift from engagement to a reach and frequency model has/will impact brands approaches to content themes and strategy.

While brands continue to reduce the number of content themes and shift from “reach through engagement” strategies towards the new normal of paid reach, publishers such as Buzzfeed are still able to capitalize on various content themes to drive a connection with their audience. Be it thematics around Emotional, Identity, Informative, Funny, editorial content is crafted to resonate with various audience segments.

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What is very interesting is that Buzzfeed does not target their content, their approach is based on the behavior that consumers will find the content relevant to them. Their mantra is that “Great Content Finds It’s Audience”. This goes directly in the opposite direction of social mega-powers such as Facebook and Twitter where there is an apparent arms race to further target and segment users.

Buzzfeeds approach to advertising is truly an example of contextual native advertising. They are focused on telling a story that is relevant to the audience, involve people emotionally and are not heavy-handed. But one key element to consider is that their content is currently favored within Facebook’s algorithm, even over certain competitors.

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Their approach to editorial content creation mirrors that of a hybrid social & creative agency, where they take into consideration the brand voice, evergreen content and brand pillars and then leverage the branded content activation to create word-of-mouth at scale. Buzzfeed is also getting into the video content creation space by creating custom video content on behalf of brands

Purina Cat’s guide to taking care of your human

Luvs – 9 super cool baby tips

From a measurement standpoint, Buzzfeeds approach to supporting brands is a combination of impressions & social lift. Whereby they guarantee x amount of impressions and incremental shares off of that through a combination of Buzzfeed inventory & social seeding.

Buzzfeed is just one example of an extensive list of open & closed publisher networks. Depending on the type of campaign that is being explored, if creating word of mouth at scale is of value then Buzzfeed may be a publisher to consider.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

#SelfieRevolution White Paper

Written by: Larry Weintraub
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Say what you will about the term, “Selfie,” but whether you hate it or love it, odds are you are doing it. Not a day goes by where millions of us aren’t snapping photos of ourselves with the intent of capturing the moment or the location using the front-facing camera on our smartphones.  Did you ever wonder why we do it? And, if you are a marketer, are you curious about how your brand or your client’s brand can benefit from this so-called #SelfieRevolution?

Olga Kraineva, one of our superstar account executives at Fanscape / The Marketing Arm Digital, wrote an insightful White Paper that dives deep into the psychology and the marketing case uses for the Selfie.

Download a copy of the #SelfieRevolution White Paper HERE (click ‘Save’ to take it with you).  It’s free, you don’t have to sign up for anything, we just want you to enjoy it and we hope that it helps expand your knowledge on the Selfie!

Say cheese!

Using Behind-The-Scenes TV Content to Create Super Fans and Drive Viewership

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Catie Super Fans SNLIn a time where the future of broadcast television is uncertain and the viral video is king, it is essential that TV shows use social media to retain viewers and turn fans into loyal watchers. Every program ultimately wants loyal watchers, or “super fans,” but few programs achieve it. The key to generating super fans is creating an emotional connection between fans and the show. This calls for programs to go beyond posting segments of the show and to also create original content that is specific to social media.  The most natural way for TV shows to generate this connection is by posting behind-the-scenes content. 

Saturday Night Live, challenged by the departure of veteran cast members like Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and Jason Sudeikis, has taken to social media to bond fans of the show with its new cast.  Through initiatives like #AskSNL on YouTube,  #Freshman15 on Instagram (short videos that feature first-year members), social profile takeovers, and exclusive backstage photos, SNL has found creative ways to let the cast’s personalities shine through.

Behind-the-scenes content, however, doesn’t always have to be visual. Take Late Night with Jimmy Fallon for example.  During the January airing of their “Best of Late Night” special, writers and cameramen alike took to social media to provide real-time commentary.  Fans who followed #BestofFallon got to read exclusive tidbits of information from the masterminds behind the segments.

Catie Super Fans 1Catie Super Fans 2Catie Super Fans 3

TV shows often forget that their writers are their greatest asset, both on the TV screen and the digital screen. The wit and sarcasm used to write Rob Ford jokes on a daily basis naturally makes for entertaining social content. Because of this, writers sometimes have followings that rival that of the show’s stars. In the case of The Tonight Show, Head Writer A.D. Miles has more than 67,000 followers on Twitter.  If The Tonight Show were to add up the number of followers every writer and producer has on Twitter, they would find themselves with more than 366,000 followers.  Employees should be encouraged to take advantage of their influence and display unique perspective behind-the-scenes, because this will ultimately make fans feel like they are a part of the show’s creation.

Mashable’s Max Knoblauch put it best when he said, “Social media, when done correctly, grants the audience more access, more transparency and a deeper connection to their favorite show.”

Four Tips On Getting The Most Out Of Your Brand’s Sponsored Celebrity Athlete

Written by: Nick Cernoch
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A sponsored athlete to work with and utilize on your brand’s social channels can be a gold mine as long as you make sure to do the following:

1. Become Their Biggest Fan…Even If You’re Not
Brands sponsor athletes in order to create excitement among sports fans, and hopefully turn them into loyal followers of the brand.  To properly create content around your brand’s sponsored athlete you’ll need to know everything about them, from how their season is going (on and off the field/court/track) to their personal history and place in their sport’s landscape. You’ll even need to learn about the other members of your athlete’s team, other teams and personalities in their sport, and how other brands may utilize their competitors. Take the time to learn all there is to know about everything related to your athlete.

2. Learn Their Tone Of Voice
Access to content where the sponsored athlete speaks directly to your fans is a tremendous asset.  Often you will be creating content for your brand’s social channels in the voice of your athlete, so it is imperative that you are familiar with their tone and their personality. Any time you write copy that is associated with your athlete’s image, it should feel authentic. This authenticity will foster greater “linkage” to your brand and the athlete will be considered a true part of your brand’s community. If it doesn’t seem like your athlete is actually connected with your brand, then the relationship becomes less important to the fans and lessens the value of the sponsorship.

3. Utilize Their Own Social Channels
Many popular athletes have their own large social followings, so finding ways to take advantage of their social clout can be a huge win for you and your brand. The occasional (or regular) sharing of your brand’s content by your celebrity’s Facebook page or Twitter account can boost your organic reach tremendously. This is incredibly valuable these days, as organic reach on Facebook for brands is dwindling fast. So get to know your athlete’s social media team, manager, or learn how they use their own channels. This way you can find ways to create content for your brand that could be shared. Remember, this can go both ways, so using your brand’s channels (where appropriate) to share posts from your athlete can go a long way in relationship building.

4. Know When And When Not To Engage
Brands and those of us who work on their behalf can become incredibly close to sponsored athletes; sometimes we may even become friends. It is important to remember, however, that when it comes to being involved in personal matters, we should choose carefully when to engage. For instance, when a brand speaks up on social channels with messages of support after a sponsored athlete suffers a personal loss, there can be a fine line between appearing authentically sympathetic and appearing opportunistic. Always keep in mind the nuances of the relationship between the brand and celebrity.

There is certainly much more to managing the relationship between your brand and its sponsored athlete from a social perspective, but keeping the above in mind will help.

My Visit To The Natural Products West Expo

Written by: Allie Wester
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NPEW logoEarlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending Natural Products Expo West, which is THE trade show for everything natural, organic and healthy. This year, there were over 67,000 attendees and 2,600 exhibitors. To put that into perspective, SXSW Music/Film/Interactive has about 72,000 attendees.

Our client Blue Diamond Growers had a presence at Expo West to show off their new Honey Cinnamon Nut Thins, Honey Mustard Nut Thins, Hint of Honey Almond Breeze Almondmilk and Hint of Honey Vanilla Almond Breeze Almondmilk. (They were all delicious, by the way.) In addition to Blue Diamond, there were many other great brands there from Cabot to Seventh Generation to Burt’s Bees.

expowest copyOne of the best parts about Expo West is all of the free food and samples. It’s like grocery shopping at Whole Foods… for free! This year, there was lots of kale, chia seed, non-dairy and gluten-free products. There were also some interesting items – like protein bars made out of crickets. (Did not sample those.)

Here are some key trends from the show this year, straight from Natural Products Expo West themselves:

Health & Wellness Consumers: The healthy eating movement is spreading across all demographic groups. Five distinct consumer segments, differentiated by lifestyles, behaviors, attitudes and beliefs about health and wellness have been created for the industry.

Convenience & Accessibility: The importance of making nutritious, clean food more accessible and convenient across multi-dimensional demographics and how will it affect the health and wellness of all Americans.

Labeling Transparency: Consumers are asking for transparency with regard to food/product labels, claims and certifications, including non-GMO and organic.

Food Tribes: The growing gluten-free, vegan, paleo and other special diet communities are fueling the healthy eating movement and changing the way people view food and community.

The Future of Personalized Health: With nutrigenomic advances and the rise of food intolerances and autoimmune diseases, we are learning that one person’s “medicine” is another’s “poison.”

Triple Pundit wrote a great article on Expo West, which pointed out that, “Healthy food has leaped from a marketing niche to a revenue growth engine for the food service industry.” Truer words have never been spoken – the food industry is undergoing a massive shift and the size of Expo West (which grew by 5% this year) is a prime example of that.

Now pass me the kale chips!

(Photo Credit: @gwynethmademedoit)

Social CRM: Leveraging Peer Pressure

Written by: Michael Fein
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Your best friend is the best marketer in the world.  It’s true!  Don’t believe me?  Did you see the movie she suFeinFamggested?  Could your best friend convince you to buy a new wardrobe?  Lease a new car?  Join JDate? Without a doubt, the people who are closest to you are more influential than a Google search or a banner ad.  Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing is arguable the most powerful form of marketing.

As the smartest person in your organization, you are probably asking yourself the smartest question: how should you invest your money to increase sales?  As a company, it is difficult to make the case to write a check to your best friend.  Or at least it used to be.  With the amount of big data floating around, it increasingly makes sense to leverage your friends to market to you.   Social networks allow analysts and marketers to eavesdrop on those influential WOM conversations.  Certainly the depth of measurement varies on Facebook, Twitter, and others such as SnapChat.

Quick aside: this is why the multi-billion dollar valuation of SnapChat makes sense.  Yes the photos disappear, but SnapChat knows about your connections.  Since people generally send snaps to their closest friends, marketers will pay a lot to advertise on that network.  Now imagine integrating that same data with your existing CRM databases.

socialcrmSocial CRM is here.  Many companies already grab data from social networks to understand what you, the consumer, are likely to purchase.  The more advanced are customizing your web experience based on your friends’ purchases.  Such bullies! Is this nothing more than peer pressure?  Your friend Bobby bought a new video game so you should too… by clicking on this red button that we A/B tested with copy to ensure the strongest CTA… 

Despite my dramatization, I am in no way cynical of Social CRM.  On the contrary, I view social media as the lens to true consumer insight.  There is no other medium that moves so quickly and rewards marketers with such immediate response.  In my capacity as Director of Insights, Analytics, and Measurement at Fanscape/The Marketing Arm, I oversee a cross-vertical team of analysts whose task of proving business value begins with understanding people, their relationships, their passions and their conversations.  We look at the Social Graph, the Knowledge Graph, and all the other “Graphs” to turn social media data into predictive analytics for our clients.

Let me level set as there is no value in overstating capabilities.  Politico reported that social media can be used to predict senate elections with more accuracy than traditional polling.  Others have shown they can predict personality or even intelligence.   We work with our more advanced clients to provide recommendations to R&D for new products, track B2B influence within private social networks, and make product recommendations in-store at the point-of-sale.

At its best, Social CRM allows for integrating measures of social media influence into existing CRM databases for real-time omni-channel marketing.  Unfortunately, on the agency side, I frequently see three challenges impeding organizations from moving towards Social CRM: money, time, and a lack of vision.  If vision is your issue, put your glasses on.  Anyone who struggles to see this wave of marketing probably struggles to understand why digital content now has to be “thumb stopping.”  As for the issues of time and money (i.e. technology), this seems to go back to the same question: how should you increase your money to increase sales?

Let me try to convince you:

  • 43% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it on social media. (Nielsen)
  • 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family. (Nielsen)
  • 81% of U.S. online consumers’ purchase decisions are influenced by their friends’ social media posts (Forbes)
  • 49% of U.S. consumers say friends and family are their top sources of brand awareness, up from 43% in 2009. (Jack Morton)

Still not convinced.  Then start small.  Start with trying to understand how you gather information. Forget the micro-pieces of data for a moment.  Even at a macro-level, understanding the clusters of influence in online WOM will provide direction insight for your marketing and, if executed properly, provide a self-evident business case for larger Social CRM integration.  If you’re still skeptical, let me help you earn your bonus by challenging you.

Be the person with the vision.  Be the game changer.  Will it be easy to get there?  No.  Social CRM requires a data-driven organization that uses evidence-based decision making to get results.  It is not a technology issue that is stopping you, it is a cultural issue.  And hey, we’ve all been there.  Surely you have faced that moment when you believed something was so good, so right, that you knew you could be influential.  You know, like that time you recommended that movie.


Excerpt from my keynote on Social CRM: Connecting Word-Of-Mouth to Sales, presented on February 4th, at the Digital Analytics Association’s Los Angeles Symposium to address the importance of Social CRM.   You can follow me on Twitter @DigitalStats.

Stats of the Week

Written by: Jackie Mendez
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Every week (or so) we compile lots of interesting stats here at Fanscape and we try to share a lot of what we learn with you in these posts.

Social Media Starts at Age 10

All the laws and rules in the world can’t stop kids from creating profiles on social networks. Heck, if it had been around when you were 10,  could someone have kept you away from Snapchat?

A survey of 1,004 British children ages 8 – 16 by Knowthenet, an online safety advisory organization in the UK found that:

  • 59% of children have joined a social network by the age of 10
  • 52% say they had lied about their age to join Facebook
  • 40% joined WhatsApp
  • 11% joined Snapchat
  • 8% joined

They also found that:

  • 24% of respondents reported using the BlackBerry Messenger service (BBM), reflecting the continued popularity of BlackBerry devices among teens in Britain.


  • 21% say they had posted negative comments
  • 26% said they had hijacked someone else’s account to post damaging content
  • 43% of respondents ages 12+ said they had exchanged messages with strangers

And yikes:

  • 32% of parents said they feel “very confident” about their ability to keep their kids safe online

In October 2012, a survey of over 25,000 European kids by the London School of Economics’ EU Kids Online project found that 28% of British children ages 9-10 have a profile on an online social network, with the majority using Facebook. Putting these numbers together, the proportion of kids under age 10 using social media has more than doubled over the last year and a half.

Source: The Social Graf (MediaPost)

Stats of the Week

Written by: Jackie Mendez
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Every week (or so) we compile lots of interesting stats here at Fanscape and we try to share a lot of what we learn with you in these posts. This week we’re posting a little early because these stats are all about the Super Bowl. Turns out there are a lot of infographics about the Super Bowl and the role social media plays. Here are 3 we like…

Super Bowl Ad Shares

Unruly, a marketing technology company that specializes in video marketing strategy built this great infographic to showcase what is going on with Super Bowl advertising.

10 Facts Every Brand Should Know About the Super Bowl


Source: Unruly

Social Super Bowl

Meanwhile Crowdtap shared this infographic adding to the social sharing of all things Super Bowl (including the ads):



TV vs. Facebook vs. Twitter Super Bowl Infographic

Meanwhile social marketing company Ampush created this infographic to show the battle for supremacy between the TV networks, Facebook, and Twitter.