Tell Your Own Story Without Missing a Moment

We live in an era where people can tell their own stories like never before. You can capture key moments of your life and share them with friends and family all over the globe. Now a company is using technology to take capturing the moment to the next level.

At the big game!

Yours truly enjoying the Wagon Wheel Challenge, courtesy of PNC. Go Flashes!

Fanpics gives every fan a chance to tell their own story by turning the cameras from the competitors to the stands. Forget trying to grab a selfie with friends mid-game and missing a major moment. Now there’s an app for that. This innovative startup has you covered — from all angles.

What’s better than a selfie in the stands? A candid capture of you jumping for joy when your team hits a buzzer beater. Or being crushed in a spontaneous group hug after a late steal seals the win. Those are the moments you really want to capture — and share.

Now fans attending events at the STAPLES Center and other venues can. Fanpics has partnered with the home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers to give fans the ultimate viewing experience. Simply sign in to the app, enter your seat number, put your phone away and enjoy the game!

Capture your moment!

Photo courtesy of Fanpics

Pictures captured of your reaction to key moments will be available to you on the app within 30 seconds of when they’re taken. You’ll be able to share these memorable moments in real time or during a break in the action. Don’t worry; all pictures taken of you are private until you decide to share them.

Speaking of sharing, think about the applications for this technology! My mind jumps to companies using it to capture attendees and memorable moments at conferences and events. How could you use this technology in your industry or for your business?

The best part is that Fanpics can deliver data too. Each image is time-stamped and comes with a description of what’s happening at the moment the picture’s taken. With data being such a big deal in business, there are endless opportunities here. Perhaps you could gauge attendees’ true reaction to a speaker without the hassle of follow-up surveys. Or you could see where seating areas are needed the most for random networking moments (by noticing where people naturally stop to chat).

The implications of this technology are huge. It could give us the ability to tell our own story without missing a moment.

Fan Feedback

Would you utilize the Fanpics app at a game?

How could you use this technology in your industry or for your business?

A sports junkie and technology fan,
Jaime

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3 Ways To Embrace the March Madness Spirit For Your Business

Two games in, and my bracket’s already busted. Oh hey, welcome to the CCC blog. I’m trying to sneak in some work today around the NCAA Men’s Tournament games. Sound familiar?

March Madness brings excitement!

Fans storm the court as Kent State beats rival Akron for the MAC East crown.

March Madness. As a basketball fan, sports junkie or gambler, you love it. As a business owner or manager, you may hate it. How do you make the most of this productivity black hole?

  1. Embrace the excitement. Approximately 40 million Americans will fill out more than 70 million brackets in 2015.* If you try to keep it out of the office, you’re missing out on the excitement it creates. Have an office pool, and encourage employees to display their brackets with pride. Have a “Tip-Off” party to commemorate the start of the tournament, complete with a basketball day luncheon of hot dogs or coneys, chips, nachos, other finger foods and all the trimmings.
  2. Bring the competition into your business. Hold contests for your various departments (most sales, most billings processed, highest amount of collections, etc.), and utilize the bracket format. Who’s going to #SurviveandAdvance to the next round? Recognize round winners, underdogs succeeding, MVPs, and of course, overall winners. Give meaningful prizes, such as a day off, lunch at a nice restaurant or coveted branded swag.
  3. Create a winning atmosphere. Beyond just displaying their brackets, encourage employees (or departments) to decorate their workspaces. Team paraphernalia, #1 foam hands and motivational sayings are all great ways to get in the spirit. If possible, allow employees to dress the part with their favorite team apparel. Allowing dress down days during a fun event doesn’t cost you anything but is appreciated by employees. Take your efforts one step farther by handing out basketball-themed promotional items complete with your brand. Branded water bottles, basketball stress relievers and rally towels are fun items that recipients can continue to use long after March Madness is gone. Offer higher end items, such as a tone-on-tone embroidered pullover, to contest winners.

Embracing the spirit of March Madness is a win-win. Your employees are happy yet still productive, and you end up on the right end of the final score.

Related reading: Sports & Leisure: Scoring Points & Creating Fans

Fan Feedback

How has your company embraced March Madness?

Who do you have cutting down the nets on your bracket?

Who’s your favorite college basketball team?

p.s. If you need any marketing, writing or social media help while you’re enjoying March Madness, we’ll be your biggest fan!

*Statistics courtesy of the American Gaming Association and GfK Custom Research North America

CCC’s head coach,
Jaime

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My 2013 Bucket List: Six Months In

“Some people create a bucket list because they are dying; I created one because I want to live.”     –Lesley Carter

Earlier this year, I came across Lesley Carter’s 2013 bucket list and was inspired to create my own. (Ed. Note: If you haven’t checked out Lesley’s Bucket List Publications, please do so. What an inspiration!)

Related reading: My 2013 Bucket List: What’s On Yours?

It struck me a few days ago that we’re already half way through the year. Crazy, isn’t it?! So I wanted to post an update and see how I’m doing so far.

Without further ado… (items crossed out have been accomplished:

  • Attend a Kent State University basketball game (my alma mater!)
  • Go ice skating
  • Watch a hockey game live
  • Attend a professional networking event
  • Go for a twilight hike
Lake Erie Monsters hockey

I love Zambonis! Watching the Lake Erie Monsters

  • Enter a trail running event
  • Register for my first triathlon
  • Get together with my family at least monthly <So far, so good!>
  • Celebrate special occasions with family & friends <Just celebrated my sister-in-law’s birthday and Father’s Day this past week! Next up, my brother’s birthday.>
  • Watch the inauguration festivities for the first time
Valentine's Day wreath

A slightly different take on a Valentine’s Day wreath…

  • Bring on 5 new dream clients <On pace, lots of activity right now…>
  • Read 100 books! (Yep, full fledged book worm here.) <I need to start counting!>
  • Write the first chapter of my novel
  • Make time for me 🙂
  • Jump out of another airplane!
Dark Tower Series

Finished 6 of 7 Dark Tower books by Stephen King… along with a few others.

  • Go to the theatre
  • Pay It Forward
  • Learn a new skill
  • Take advanced coding classes
  • Attend a NASCAR race
KSU + Haven of Rest = Pay It Forward

Proud to join the KSU Alumni crew at Haven of Rest for National Day of Service 2013

  • Spa day 🙂
  • Finally bring home a furry friend
  • Travel, travel, travel — across town & across the world
  • Watch the sunrise
  • Watch the sunset
sunset at Canal Park

Watching the sunset at Canal Park

  • Step outside of my comfort zone
  • Watch the fireworks at an Aeros game
  • Book a spontaneous getaway
  • Unplug & connect with nature for a day
  • Laugh often
  • Create with my hands
Mother Nature's beauty

Enjoying the serene Alder Pond at Gorge Metro Park

  • Swim in the ocean
  • Walk on water again –> paddle boarding 🙂
  • Get up close & personal to the octagon at a UFC event
  • Be ready for my next great opportunity & pounce on it
  • Get muddy often

How about you? How are you doing on your 2013 bucket list? It’s not too late to create one! Leave your thoughts in the comments below or hit me up on social media.

Dark Tower books photo courtesy of The Dark Tower Official Website
All other photos from my personal collection 

Smiling in the sunshine,
Jaime

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My 2013 Bucket List: What’s On Yours?

What’s on your bucket list?

I was thinking about adding another (overdue) 50 Things I’m Grateful For.. post when I came across Lesley Carter’s entry about entering a contest to fulfill a bucket list trip. Lesley’s Bucket List Publications is one of the blogs I follow, because her updates about checking items off her always evolving bucket list inspire me. As she notes, “Some people create a bucket list because they are dying; I created one because I want to live.” That’s exactly how I feel about life.

Without further ado, my 2013 bucket list:

  • Attend a Kent State University basketball game (my alma mater!)
  • Go ice skating
  • Watch a hockey game live
  • Attend a professional networking event
  • Go for a twilight hike
  • Enter a trail running event
  • Register for my first triathlon
Akron Marathon 2012 "Blue line, blue toes"

Celebrating hitting my goal in my 3rd — and final — half-marathon in Sept 2012

  • Get together with my family at least monthly
  • Celebrate special occasions with family & friends
  • Watch the inauguration festivities for the first time
  • Bring on 5 new dream clients
  • Read 100 books! (Yep, full fledged book worm here.)
  • Write the first chapter of my novel
  • Make time for me 🙂
  • Jump out of another airplane!
skydiving crew!

The skydiving crew — Sean, Steven, Yours Truly & Greg (celebrating his bday!)

  • Go to the theatre
  • Pay It Forward
  • Learn a new skill
  • Take advanced coding classes
  • Attend a NASCAR race
  • Spa day 🙂
  • Finally bring home a furry friend
  • Travel, travel, travel — across town & across the world
Hilton Head

Lounging on the beach in Hilton Head listening to the ocean

  • Watch the sunrise
  • Watch the sunset
  • Step outside of my comfort zone
  • Watch the fireworks at an Aeros game
  • Book a spontaneous getaway
  • Unplug & connect with nature for a day
  • Laugh often
Laugh often

Having a ball at my brother’s wedding

  • Create with my hands
  • Swim in the ocean
  • Walk on water again –> paddle boarding 🙂
  • Get up close & personal to the octagon at a UFC event
  • Be ready for my next great opportunity & pounce on it
  • Get muddy often
trail running

I love trail running — and mud.

Because it’s February, I’ve already crossed a few of these off my list.

How about you? What’s on your 2013 bucket list? Leave your list in the comments below or hit me up on social media.

Watching the snow fly-
Jaime

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Super Bowl XLVII: Not A Complete Blackout

I planned on writing about marketing lessons to be had from some of the better Super Bowl commercials until I read 5 Marketing Lessons From the Super Bowl’s Most Popular Commercials from the fine folks at Entrepreneur this morning via Pulse. So that’s been done.

Speaking of the Super Bowl commercials, I felt like they grew more interesting along with the game in the second half, and more specifically, after the blackout. Or I should say during the blackout.

How about Oreo? It almost seemed as if the company knew the blackout was coming. (Hmm, cue up the conspiracy theorists.) More likely, this fun brand was just prepared for the big game instead of sitting back and watching its ad run. Talk about great social media management. And better yet, it’s impromptu ad reminding us all that “You Can Still Dunk In The Dark.” actually made me crave an Oreo. Go figure, an ad that sells!

Oreo Super Bowl blackout ad

As of the writing of this post, Oreo’s clever tweet had earned nearly 16,000 retweets and almost 6,000 favorites on Twitter alone not too mention its success on other social media platforms. There’s something to say about being ready to take advantage of an opportunity!

Of course, Budweiser weighed in with another winner. I almost expect this giant in the beer industry to top USA Today’s Ad Meter and satisfy fans annually. The company used its famous Clydesdales for instant brand recognition and included a direct call to action, which many ads did not. People watching the commercial were asked to help name the baby Clydesdale pictured in it by suggesting names with the hashtag #clydesdales on Twitter.

Budweiser just launched its first-ever Twitter account on January 27th (after Twitter introduced age verification), so the commercial was a great way to attract attention to its new handle. As of February 5th, the new account already has nearly 10,500 followers despite being restricted to fans at least 21 years old.

Last, but certainly not least, let’s not forget about JELL-O! The legendary snack company came on right after the dramatic ending to congratulate San Francisco on being #2. How many companies have thought of that strategy?! JELL-O promised fans in San Fran free product today (Feb 5th), because winners shouldn’t have all the fun.

In addition to free pudding, distraught 49ers fans can install the Baltimore Blocker Google Chrome extension, which replaces the words Baltimore and Ravens anywhere they appear on the Internet with blah blah blah and swaps out pictures of celebrating Ravens fans with cute animals. This strategy has people talking on Twitter, Facebook and watching the pudding drop on the company’s website. “Who’s the big winner now, Baltimore?”

Well, that’s my wrap on Super Bowl XLVII, which despite a dramatic second half and some intriguing commercials, will be remembered for a blackout. While I had no loyalties on either side, I am happy for Dean Pees, current Baltimore defensive coordinator and former Kent State head football coach. Way to represent, Coach Pees!

What’s your take? Did you enjoy the game? The commercials? Or did you switch over and watch Downtown Abbey? (I DVR’d it.)

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or hit me up on social media. I”m always up for a discussion, especially on football or commercials.

Waiting for pitchers and catchers to report-
Jaime

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Sponsorship: Your Name Here

I was sitting at an Akron Aeros (AA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians) baseball game the other night when a hitter broke his bat. Shortly after he was thrown out at first (and the pitcher danced out of the way of the jagged bat head), the PA announcer said, “That broken bat was brought to you by MDF Bats. For major league quality bats…” Seriously.

Your Name Here!

Sponsorship opportunities are virtually limitless.

Sponsorship opportunities abound around nearly every turn, from sports to events and beyond. Some companies will do anything to see their name in lights while others question the ROI (return on investment) of such a commitment. Does your company utilize sponsorships as part of your marketing mix? How do you gauge success?

My association with sponsorships started young although I didn’t realize it at the time. No, my parents didn’t sell my forehead space to a company for $XXX. As most t-ball and little league players, my team was sponsored by a local company (which basically meant paying for the shirts. If they splurged for ice cream once in awhile after a game, that was a bonus). Of course, I didn’t think of the company as a sponsor; it was just a name on the front of my shirt (which was usually covered in enough mud or dirt to wipe out any exposure on my end). Hey, I was a catcher.

In high school, I became seriously interested in racing, especially NASCAR. Anyone familiar with the popular racing series knows that sponsors are essential to the sport today. That led to seeking sponsors for charity and/or non-profit events which eventually spilled into my marketing and event planning position where finalizing sponsors for our events was vital.

Can you measure the ROI of sponsorship?

Companies measure the ROI (return on investment) of sponsorships in different ways and some don’t measure them at all.

So maybe I’m biased, but I believe that sponsorships can really pay off if they’re a good fit and are marketed correctly, preferably on both sides. Speaking of the Aeros, I became familiar with my current HVAC company, Blind & Sons, due to their sponsorship of the team. Also, I recognized at some point that I patronized sponsors of NASCAR drivers I liked without even realizing it. Apparently most NASCAR fans do… According to studies, NASCAR fans buy over $3 billion of licensed products annually and are 3 times as likely to try and purchase sponsors’ products and services. In fact, NASCAR fans are considered the most brand loyal in all of sports. [Source: Race Day Sponsor]

As someone who solicited sponsors, I always tried to ensure the companies I worked with received as much value and exposure as possible. I also tried to target companies who were a good fit for a particular opportunity and would market the sponsorship on their end as well. To me, those were the sponsorships that made everyone happy.

So, have you worked with a company you noticed through sponsorship? If so, what were the results? (As the saying goes… you can have the best marketing in the world, but if the product or service doesn’t live up to expectations, ultimately it doesn’t matter.) I have worked with companies found via sponsorship and sold companies successful sponsorships, so I’m a believer in the process, if handled correctly. Besides, who can resist their name in lights?

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on sponsorships as a buyer or sponsor.

Cheers,
Jaime

The Olympics: A Viewing Party

As noted in my previous post, I love watching the Olympics. It’s amazing to see so many amazing athletes from around the world gather in one place to compete. I was invited to participate in NBC’s 2012 Olympics Diary, which helps the network gauge the effectiveness of its coverage via all platforms.

NBC's 2012 Olympics logo

Photo Credit: NBC Olympics

As a participant in this study, I’ve tried to sample the various coverage options available — NBC, NBC Sports & partner channels, nbcolympics.com, the NBC Olympics app, the Live Extra App and, of course, social media. Being billed as the first “social media Olympic Games,” the coverage — especially from athletes themselves — have opened access to fans beyond what was previously possible.

screen shot of #Olympics tweets

#Olympics Twitter Page

I’ve enjoyed some of the non-traditional platforms, such as the Live Extra app (available for iPhone and Android), which allows you to watch live streaming action of your favorite sports and athletes, as well as view recorded action. Select your favorites, so you can easily locate the game or match you’re looking for later.

Michael Phelps

Photo Credit: NBC Washington

Also, it’s been interesting hearing so much directly from the athletes themselves and from fellow fans discussing the festivities. During the course of the Games, Michael Phelps gained his one millionth Twitter follower, an incredible feat for a swimmer. Of course, he’s also the most decorated Olympian of all time. But I think it speaks to how social media can be an avenue for athletes of all types to bypass traditional media coverage and develop a rapport with fans.

How have you watched the Olympics? Do you prefer to wait until prime time on TV or have you been following via live streaming online or social media? Maybe a combination of multiple platforms like I have?

I’m happy to be participating in NBC’s Olympic Diary, and I hope our feedback will continue to help improve coverage for future Olympics. Are you participating in this study? If so, what are your thoughts? If not, what constructive feedback would you have for NBC?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy competition between the greatest athletes in the world.

Jaime

The Olympics: A Global Brand (Kind Of)

Olympic-themed Coca-Cola bottles

Photo Credit: The Dieline

Are you excited about the upcoming Olympics in London? I am! I love watching athletes from around the globe compete against each other, especially the summer version. It’s a patriotic time for so many nations, and it’s wonderful to see the world come together on such a grand stage.

Beyond the stadiums, another competition is playing out — who can profit from the Olympic brand.

Like any brand, the Olympics want to keep strict control over how their brand is used. To aid their cause, they partner with a small group of official sponsors, who pay for the right to use the Olympic branding and have to follow detailed rules on how they use it.

Sounds simple, right? Of course, there are many businesses who fall outside of this small group who would like to profit from the Games as well. Everyone from small street vendors outside London’s venues to online companies want to get in on the act.

As London awaits the world’s spotlight. ‘brand police’ are quietly patrolling the streets ensuring that companies who are not official sponsors are not profiting from an association with the Games. Is that fair? Or should local businesses, often the lifeblood of an area, be able to profit from the Olympics as well?


I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Jaime

Sports & Leisure: Scoring Points and Creating Fans

sports fans

Fun times at the Kentucky Derby!

It’s no surprise that fan is the root of fanatic. People are passionate about their sports teams, so why not make your brand an integral part? From game day giveaways to local team tie-ins, you can elicit as much passion about your company as the home team.

Becoming a part of game day is a great way to get involved with the local community. Brand popular giveaways, such as noisemakers, signs, stadium cups or lanyards, to hand out at the gate or pre-game tailgating events. Help fans become the 12th man by giving away branded rally towels or shirts to create a ‘black-out’ effect – a sea of black across the stands (or use any team color). Shoot t-shirts with your company’s message into the stands during stops in the action to keep the passion and energy high.

Not going to the game? Bring the excitement into the office. Make your employees the MVPs of a celebration honoring the local sports team or a season kickoff, complete with branded giveaways and merchandise. Pair this special day with a cook-off or potluck to foster team spirit and company pride within your organization. Reward winners or all participants with prizes to acknowledge their efforts. Giving branded merchandise to employees that they’ll use outside of work is an unobtrusive way to spread your message and potentially generate new business.

Don’t limit creating fans of your company to the field or the office. Branching out into leisure time activities is an easy way to build rapport with potential customers, who are everywhere – shopping at stores, strolling parks, attending community festivals, etc. Sponsor teams or leagues, donate branded giveaways for fairs or partner with fellow local companies to create programs that will benefit the community and generate goodwill about your company at the same time. For example, a casual healthy eating restaurant could partner with a fitness center to promote healthy living. Both companies promote the program (and each other) by offering discounted products and services (15% off a fitness center registration with a receipt from the restaurant), helpful information (healthy living tips) and rewards to encourage participation (a free ‘healthy eating set’ after working out at the fitness center 10 times). Not only does partnering with other companies help promote your organization, it can also help with advertising costs. Split the cost of co-branded merchandise, so it’s a winning situation for both companies and the community.

Don’t forget the face paint…

Jaime