You are what you eat

You are what you eat

If you’re an author, how much do you read about craft or attend workshops or develop your brand?

If you’re a publisher, how much do you read about your industry?

Do you network with your peers? Seek advice?

I published a post several years ago called “why creative brands should sleep with the ‘enemy'” (I may publish it again, if I can find the original, but my site was hacked again this year, so I lost all my published posts) and for some reason that idea was on my mind this morning.

Specifically the idea of: “You are what you eat.”

Maybe I was being hard on myself because I HAVEN’T been devouring much of my own industry lately and I really need to.

My personal life and work life have been going through a lot of changes lately and I really need a vacation – but that’s no excuse for NOT keeping up with my industry.

And no matter what you are going through, you can’t afford to NOT devour more about your industry and your craft.

You WILL get left behind if you don’t.

Find ways to make this a part of your everyday routine.

This is why I encourage people to do what they love, because then keeping up with your industry won’t feel like work.

Subscribe to newsletters or blog feeds for people or companies your industry.

Attend workshops.

Do research.

Download podcasts.

Actively work at developing a new skill.

Connect with your peers.


Do it.

It’ll make you stronger in your niche.


[photo “Big ass burger between 2 grill cheese sandwiches” by chunkysalsa]

Brands and publishers turn to actors and comedians to give chatbots personality

Brands and publishers turn to actors and comedians to give chatbots personality

The problems with chatbots is they tend to sound too robotic. That’s why companies hire comedians and scriptwriters to shape their bot personalities and give them that human edge.

This week, Google announced it has hired writers from film studio Pixar and satirical site the Onion to help make Google Assistant, which powers its Home device, sound more human. Howdy, which works with Slack to automate simple orders, has writer and former-improv-comedian Neal Pollack on payroll. Microsoft’s Tay, which will be remembered for its racist outburst, was built by utilizing improv comedians.

“For a brand or publisher building a bot it ends up being an experiment,” said Seth Greenfield, co-founder at Imperson, which has created character bots on Facebook Messenger like Miss Piggy and Doc Brown for Disney and Universal. “One of the early lessons is that free comes at a cost: You lose your voice.”

If you look at five different bots from news publishers on Messenger, it is difficult to tell the difference. Once a company shells out for the initial cost of creating a bot, around $50,000 and then regular maintenance of $10,000 a month, according to Greenfield, there’s little budget left for crafting a personality.“

Interactive scriptwriting is a new profession,” said Greenfield. “It’s being born at this point. This will be taught at universities in the next five years.”

At agency Xandra Labs, which develops bots for platforms like Facebook Messenger, the team develops bot personas: what job they have, their siblings, daily habits, what their fears and goals are, even what their parents do and how they were brought up. Most of the time, this information is never represented in the actual bot; it’s more of a planning tool to develop a personality that can then be translated into dialogue.“

Personifying brands has never been more important,” said Jess Thoms, co-founder at Xandra Labs. “Conversational experiences between brands and consumers need to be led by writers and designers, in order to turn conversations into conversions.”

She points to Casper’s Insomnobot 3000 as a case brands can learn from, which acts as…

Learn more @ Brands and publishers turn to actors and comedians to give chatbots personality via Digiday

41% Of Marketers Credit Digital Transformation For Market Growth

41% Of Marketers Credit Digital Transformation For Market Growth

Marketers have gained more clarity about what digital transformation truly entails–and their results show it, according to new study from Altimeter Group.

Just two years ago, marketers were embarking on their digital transformation journeys with the goals of increasing engagement in digital channels (75%) and looking for greater volume in web or mobile traffic (53%). While important, these engagement metrics don’t equate to digital transformation, said Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group and author of the “2016 State Of Digital Transformation.”

These days, Solis said, marketers are concerning themselves with metrics that are more aligned with their companies’ bottom line. As a result, the report found, 41% of leaders said they’ve witnessed an increase in market share due to transformation efforts, 37% cite a positive impact on employee morale, and 30% have increased revenue.

“I think we are at a point where companies recognize that you can only get so far if you continue to work in old ways and use new technology in old ways,” Solis said. “This is why you see marketing departments becoming bigger than what they were yesterday. They’re becoming more of an integrated unit across the enterprise. And now we’ll start to see groups that disparately operated in the customer journey are now collaborating in the customer journey because they have to deliver this heightened experience.”

According to the study, customer experience is a top driver of digital transformation efforts. Fifty-five percent of leaders surveyed cited “evolving customer behaviors and preferences” as a top driver of digital transformation at their companies. “Growth opportunities in new markets” was a close second, at 53%. On the other end, 19% cited “fear of disruption” as a major reason for their digital transformation efforts.

While marketers are more advanced in their digital transformation efforts, mobile is still…

Read more @ 41% Of Marketers Credit Digital Transformation For Market Growth via

These Marketers, Content Producers and Entertainers Under 40 Are Shaping the Industry

These Marketers, Content Producers and Entertainers Under 40 Are Shaping the Industry

The 2016 class of Young Influentials features an impressive lineup of mind-blowing talent, all game changers under 40 who’ve made waves in the worlds of media, marketing, technology and entertainment. Featured on our cover is actor, writer and musician Donald Glover, who also is the creator and star of FX’s critically acclaimed dramedy Atlanta. Glover joins an impressive group of superstars, including Saturday Night Live cast member Kate McKinnon, social influencer Lele Pons, Annalect North America CEO Erin Matts and Dollar Shave Club founder Michael Dubin. Identifying such a wide range of high achievers was no easy feat—crowdsourcing was key. This is the second year of an editorial partnership between Adweek and PopSugar in which co-founder and president Lisa Sugar served as selection committee chair alongside Adweek’s editors.

Read more: These Marketers, Content Producers and Entertainers Under 40 Are Shaping the Industry via Adweek

Avon calling: With a brand makeover, the beauty company targets millennials

Avon calling: With a brand makeover, the beauty company targets millennials

Georgian Haynes, a 29-year-old architect based in New York City, started selling Avon when she was in high school. Over the course of 12 years, Haynes’ Avon business has helped her pay off her debt and school loans.

“It also helped me in my personal life. When I first started, I was terrified to speak to people. [But] now, I speak at conferences in front of thousands of people and take on leadership positions that I would never have thought of taking on otherwise,” said Haynes in a promotional YouTube video as part of Avon’s “This is Boss Life” campaign that debuted on Thursday.

This campaign is coming at a time of rebirth for the company. Avon Products sold its North American division to private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management in March of this year after steady revenue declines. Struggling to attract new sales reps — its famous army of Avon ladies — New Avon is looking to refresh its brand to appeal to a younger generation.

And so “This Boss Life,” with its message of independence and you-go-girl self-empowerment, aims to recruit more sales reps like Haynes: energetic, outgoing, social and — though New Avon will push back at the idea — millennials.

“We are not going after millennials,” demurred Matt Harker, vp of marketing for Avon. “We are looking for representatives who are self-starters and want to take control of their own life, regardless of their age.

”Maybe. But  Sandy Greenberg, executive creative director for Terri & Sandy — the female-owned agency that created the “This is Boss Life”campaign  — admitted that the agency conducted intense research on Gen Y.

“Entrepreneurship is on the rise for this generation,” she said. “The campaign captures the feeling of freedom that comes from being your own boss and taps into the passion of women who love beauty. This could have been done years ago, but [Avon] didn’t.”

Read More: Avon calling: With a brand makeover, the beauty company targets millennials via DigiDay

Survey: Email Is Evolving And Time Spent With It Growing

Survey: Email Is Evolving And Time Spent With It Growing

Email usage is on the rise, driven primarily by consumers’ shift to mobile, according to a new study by Adobe Digital Insights (ADI). At the same time, email is evolving: It’s less formal in a world that is moving toward texting and emojis and in which smartphones are the preferred device for accessing email.According to the “Adobe Email Survey 2016,” which surveyed over 1,000 white-collar Americans, time spent with email is up 17% year over year (YoY). Millennials—consumers ages 18 to 34—spend the most time with email of any age group and rely primarily on their smartphones (90%) to do so. In fact, almost 50% of Millennials admitted to checking their email while still in bed in the morning. “I think the rise in email consumption has a lot to do with the fact that people are now relying on their smartphones more,” said Ryan Dietzen, senior market analyst at ADI. “Smartphones make email all the more accessible. And Millennials, especially, can’t resist the smartphone screen telling them something has just come in from a colleague or a friend.”The survey found that smartphones have overtaken computers for checking email. People identifying smartphones as their primary device to check work email grew 21% YoY.

Read more: Survey: Email Is Evolving And Time Spent With It Growing via