Archive for the ‘Inside Gen Y’ Category

2015 Warby Parker Hackathon

with one comment

logo2

Insights by NYC Sales and Marketing Intern Emily Upson

 

What makes a successful Hackathon, you ask?

Had you asked me this a few weeks ago, I would have no idea. Frankly, I wasn’t completely confident in my definition of of a Hackathon. However, as an intern in the NY office of MKTG, I was able to work on my very first Hackathon, and it was awesome.

On July 18-19, MKTG INC produced a Hackathon for our client Warby Parker in partnership with the City of NY Office of Tech and Innovation at Civic Hall in the Flatiron District. The goal was to bring together 100 summer interns from companies in the area to spend a 24 hour period in lock down, solving a technology issue for three non-profits. Basically, a tech-for-good initiative.

As part of the core team, we worked for months for this to come off without a hitch. From venue selection to sponsorship procurement to donation outreach, collateral design, run-of-show, speaker training, intern recruitment, staffing and all the way through to production, it was a huge undertaking.

At kick off around 3pm on Saturday, July 18th, nearly 100 talented tech interns from the NYC area gathered for 24-hours to compete against each other for rewards that went far beyond bragging rights. Unlike my previous interpretation of a hackathon – cracking codes, breach firewalls – these interns used their tech skills and savvy to solve current issues faced by prominent NYC non-profits: Blue Ridge Labs, NYC Department of Homeless Services, and Donorschoose.org.

Although these interns were working tirelessly throughout the night, this isn’t to say they weren’t having fun, and they definitely weren’t going hungry. Participants could blow off steam by playing foosball or ping-pong, flying mini drones, and solving Rubik’s cubes, while consistent bouts of meals – a boatload (like hundreds and hundreds of tubs) of delicious Tribe Hummus of every variety, jars upon jars of candy, mountains of food, and of course #HudsonHack gear and toys kept them on their toes.

After hours of hard work, 24 to be exact, each team of 3-4 interns presented their final pitches to a panel of impressive judges including Minerva Tantoco, NYC’s Chief Technology Officer; Shelley Leibowitz, Board of Directors of E*TRADE and former CIO of Morgan Stanley and World Bank; and Alan Wade, Board of Trustees of The Aerospace Corporation and former CIO of the CIA.

The teams were judged on multiple aspects of their presented solutions, the most important factor being social innovation that solves an issue for the the greatest good. For example, one team developed an interactive map that showed where specific donations have the most impact, to an app that allows families to find safe educational events for their children during the summer break. In the end, the riseUP app won for incentivizing donations from diners and participating NYC restaurants to aid homeless shelters and kitchens in the area.

Overall, it was a ton of work but such an incredible experience.  And working with a brand like Warby Parker was so much fun. It’s an amazing company with a cool culture that I really enjoyed being part of. Thanks to MKTG for this great opportunity I always remember fondly. What a great summer this has been!

 

 

 

Share Button

Meet our NYC Interns

without comments

Interns

From left to right: Melissa Trager, Nike; Stasean Ridley, Strategy & Planning; Emily Upson, Sales & Marketing; Lauren Wagner, Creative; Chrissy Hughes, Diageo; Julia Coombs, Production

— Emily Upson

We have all heard daunting tales of pointless internships, where interns are relegated solely to making copies and getting coffee while constantly asking themselves “Is it 5 o’clock yet?” But in my six weeks as an intern at MKTG INC, I have yet to get anybody coffee; in fact, I’ve had full-time employees offering to get me coffee on their run downstairs. We even have a “coffee talk” program, where each intern is given a Starbucks card (being the broke college student that I am, this is huge), as well as the opportunity to invite any employee in the company to coffee for a chat. Even though I am an intern in the Sales and Marketing department, I have had the chance to sit down with Tim Owens, VP, Production to pick his brain about another part of the industry that piques my interest.

If you ask any of the 12 MKTG summer interns in NY, Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco about their typical day, the answers would be universal: there’s no such thing as a typical day.

We are in and out of the office, attending meetings and events, performing research, and even getting our hands dirty in the event production aspect of the industry. However, this isn’t to say we haven’t done our share of invoices and expense reports.

Many of the eight New York interns have spent recent weeks working on the Warby Parker Hackathon, a project MKTG INC is producing pro-bono in partnership with Warby Parker and the City of New York.

The Warby Parker Hackathon, called #HudsonHack, will host over 200 tech interns in New York City, and students will compete for 24 hours to come up with innovative solutions for several local nonprofit organizations. Our MKTG interns have been working in-and-out of their usual departments to help put on this event. Intern Stasean has been with the project since the brainstorming phase, working alongside the Strategy & Planning team to come up with ideas for sponsorships and activations within the event. The opportunity to meet so many members of the Warby Parker team and regularly visit their offices has allowed our interns to “really build a connection with the brand,” says Stasean. Meanwhile creative intern Lauren has had weekly trips to WP HQ to work with their design team. Julia and I have also tagged along, developing the event’s social media plan, recruiting intern participants, and helping with sponsorship outreach.

MKTG’s remaining summer interns have also worked on Diageo projects such as Chrissy’s work on Smirnoff’s NYC Pride Parade activation, and Julia and Melissa’s slew of Nike summer training events, even previewing not-yet-public classes and interacting with Nike trainers and clients.

More intern updates to come as our MKTG keep us all busy!

Share Button

Tackling Education in America

without comments

9326957248_c49389ea16_b

MKTG INC’s very own Kristina Cappuccilli wrote a truly inspiring opinion piece about education in America that was featured in Elite Daily. Click here to read more!

Share Button

Brands and the Audience Evolution

with one comment

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 2.42.30 PM

Frank Bruni wrote an interesting piece in the New York Times about what Princeton prof. Daniel Rodgers calls the “Age of Fracture.

The idea is, as our knowledge has gotten more specialized, there is less common ground that draws us together. Everyone is taking in content with their own customized feeds. Even at Princeton, in a room full of geniuses, the average teacher struggles to find common cultural references.

In the mid-70’s, America’s top rated show, All in the Family, drew 23% of all Americans. That means that almost 1 in 4 Americans were reacting to the same thing at the exact same time. Today, America’s top-rated show, NCIS, draws 1/16th of all Americans (7%), including those who DVR it.

Sure, there are a few cultural events (like the Super Bowl) that draw up to 35% of us, but on a regular basis, there is no MASS AUDIENCE anymore. Everything is going niche and finding a very specific following. Some of us are watching HBO and Netflix Original Series, some are watching cable and network series, and some of us simply watch videos through our social feeds.

The same is true of social networks.

Parents and brands joined Facebook, so influencers switched to Instagram. Then they moved to Instagram, so influencers migrated to Snapchat. Fred Wilson, the legendary investor who wisely invested in Twitter, Tumblr, Zynga, Etsy & Kickstarter, recently commented on this on a fascinating profile in Business Insider.

On Instagram, he says:

“A lot of the stuff that was on Instagram has now moved to Snapchat. It doesn’t mean that people are not using Instagram, but if I go back and look at my Instagram feed a year ago versus today, there’s a lot of people who were in my Instagram feed a year ago who aren’t there today. They’ve been replaced by brands.

So now my Instagram feed is full of things like the New York Knicks and restaurants posting amazing photos of food. The young Facebook user base who left Facebook to go to Instagram has now seemingly moved mostly to Snapchat and my generation (baby boomers) plus brands are what’s on Instagram now.”

So…what is the NEXT BIG Social network once all the brands and parents get to Snapchat? Maybe nothing! In an era of niches, there’s no next big network that has attained critical mass. Instead, there are a bunch of small communities forming that cater to specific interests with very devout followings. Here are a few of the communities that are developing:

There are communities for Musicians:  40 million musicians share their music with 200,000 listeners;

Communities for Students: a network of 34.2 MM students and teachers around the world that is dedicated to helping everyone become more educated;

…and even communities for Storytellers: 25 million people around the world writing and reading 40 million stories.

The landscape has changed, but there are still a lot of great ways to reach an audience. In fact, brands may have an easier job targeting their core consumers because these communities have done such a good job of singling out very specific demographics.

Share Button

Bitcoin: A Layman’s Guide

without comments

If you follow the news in tech, finance or pretty much anything else on the Internet chances are you’ve heard a relatively new term being batted around: bitcoin. While not actually that new, the term burst into the national consciousness in 2013 and so far in 2014 has been trending alongside the polar vortex, MH370 and various Russian antics.  Here is a quick 101 on what you need to know and what you can expect from the amorphous alt-currency world this year and beyond.
index
So bitcoin. What is it?
Simply put, ‘bitcoin’ is a peer-to-peer digital currency.  It is made up of a web-based line of code “mined” from an increasingly difficult to solve mathematical riddle — that’s how it maintains its scarcity and therefore its value. Bitcoin was invented by an anonymous hacker and because no federal government or central bank controls it, the currency changes hands anonymously and crosses borders easily. Naturally, it was quickly adopted as a black market currency. Today though, bitcoin is an increasingly legitimate and rapidly changing ecosystem of technologies, exchanges, VCs, vendors and customers.

What’s the difference between bitcoin and Bitcoin?
Great question! bitcoin (lowercase b) refers to the currency itself, while Bitcoin (capital B) is the largest, most well-known service used to buy, sell, exchange and retain bitcoins (lowercase b) via digital “wallets.”

This sounds awesome, I want to go buy some right now. 
Not so fast. Because it’s backed strictly by the market (rather than gold, a central bank or an agency like the FDIC), the currency is notoriously volatile, giving many would-be investors pause. Just this year the exchange rate has fluctuated anywhere between $80 and $1,200. Compounding the issue is susceptibility to security flaws: the late Mt. Gox, once the world’s largest exchange, recently collapsed due to hacker meddling and mismanagement. So buyer beware.

Oh. 
Yeah, pump the brakes.

So how will it affect me?
Bitcoin ATMs are already popping up in major cities, and the currency has even begun to creep into many mainstream vendors, including Home Depot, CVS and Amazon. The Sacramento Kings recently became the first professional sports franchise to accept the currency, and one has to assume the forthcoming Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco will soon be on board as well. Bitcoin also bodes well for any brand with an interest in e-commerce; continued innovation of payment systems is rapidly reducing precious time spent at the point of sale. If you’re a believer, you can use bitcoin for most of your day-to-day purchases right now.

But why would I want to?
Fair question; and the truth is, many people will not.  Right now bitcoin is most attractive as an investment opportunity- a way to make a quick buck betting on the wild swings back and forth.  But as things stabilize many see virtual currency as the way forward for payment systems.  Picture this: you are in your seat at a Kings game, and want some nachos.  Soon you will be able to place the order from your smartphone and have it brought to you without ever exchanging cash or a credit card, even in the nosebleeds.

I already do that with Uber! 
Yes you do- but you pay with a standard credit card.  While you see no difference, bitcoin vendors like Bitpay are charging flat fees to merchants, rather than the standard credit card percentage.  Lower fees mean higher margins for merchants, which means the roster of bitcoin-friendly businesses will continue to grow.

Ok, fair enough.  What’s next?
Tough to say. Mt. Gox was a major black eye for supporters, but the momentum is tough to deny. Even NASCAR is getting in on the action; Bitcoin competitor Dogecoin (yes, that doge) has signed on as an official sponsor and will be featured this spring at Talladega on Josh Wise’s no. 98 Ford.

Long story short, the bitcoin world will look very different 5 years or even 1 year from now, but whatever it looks like it’s definitely not going anywhere. Though it has some major detractors (Warren Buffet and essentially every federal government in the world, to name a few) and flaws, enthusiasm is only building and savvy techies like Marc Andreessen, the Winklevoss twins and others with a vested interest are going to make sure it succeeds. When is anyone’s guess, but bitcoin will become a major player for consumers, marketers and brands alike.

Share Button

You’re So Vain

without comments

Selfie

You probably think this post is about you, don’t you? Let’s admit it—you’ve taken at least one #selfie. Selfies entered our social vocabulary around the early 2000s, the MySpace (remember Tom?) era, and included awful glares from the bathroom mirror. But thanks to front-facing camera and filters (thanks, Instagram!), selfies have been looking a lot better, with people from around the world posing, pouting and tilting their heads in front of a camera and sharing it online.

Selfies have become a sociological phenomenon — so much so that research projects have sprouted up around the topic. Selfiecity is one such project, analyzing over 120,000 selfies online from New York, Sao Paulo, Berlin, Bangkok and Moscow. The project investigated the style of selfies and other demographic differences.

Selfiecity’s findings reveal that people take less selfies than assumed; only about 3-5% of the images Selfiecity analyzed were considered selfies. Women share more selfies than men; and particularly stronger in Moscow than in any other cities covered by the project. However, selfies from Moscow feature fewer smiling faces than those from Bangkok (what’s up with that?).

With life-logging easier than ever, the selfie phenomenon will not likely fade anytime soon. So, take one today—you won’t be the only one!

Share Button

Written by Alayne Luistro
Alayne Luistro

February 27th, 2014 at 3:14 pm

How Brands Are Taking a Bite Out of Content

without comments

TheQueen

We all know content is king, but these days the platform used to share that content has become just as important as the content itself. Consumers’ content consumption has changed. With busy, hectic lives, today’s consumers seek content that can be easily accessed and quickly grasped. Various platforms such as Instagram, Twitter or Vine have its own point of difference.

SocialMedia

Bite-sized content, often visually based (images or videos), have made it easy for consumers to digest information and cull what’s really relevant.

supply&demand

And in a world full of noise and diminishing attention spans (roughly 2.8 seconds), brands now have to be more creative than ever to grab consumers’ attention—let alone engage with them.

attention

Take Vine, for instance. Lowe’s leveraged Vine’s 6-second and looping feature to share fun, very short, yet informational life-hack videos. Another example is Airbnb leveraged Vine’s 6-second feature to develop a crowd-sourced short film, culled from over 750 submissions, called Hollywood & Vines.

Bite-sized content allows people to consume content on the fly—whenever they want, on whatever device they choose. It provides people with enough information to know about a topic and enough of a teaser so they can seek out more they’re hungry for it. It is a very effective method for building awareness, providing variety and promoting social sharing.

Share Button

The Latest Trend: Email

without comments

hearblack_nathan_desktopPhoto Credit: hearblack.com

Once upon a time, like ten years ago, email was everything. Before Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, friends would forward baby photos, wedding announcements and jokes about menopause (those were emails from my mother).

In 2007, Nora Ephron wrote a column on “The Six Stages of Email” for The New York Times. “I just got email! I can’t believe it! It’s so great!” the essay began. It ends with “Call me.”

Email is the subject line of the conversation between artist Miranda July and Buzzfeed creator Jonah Peretti on a T  Magazine blog. “E-mail has returned to being more intimate,” says Peretti, “where you might be IMing or messaging or texting with your friend, but when you want to send something that is longer and more meaningful, you use e-mail. I think it’s becoming increasingly important for personal relationships.” (Hear that marketers? Email is practically a love note.)

Miranda July’s latest art project We Think Alone sends subscribers (100,000 so far) an email every Monday from the in-box of one of 20 people July has brought together, like Lena Dunham, Kirsten Dunst and Kareem Abdul-Jabber. For July, reading other people’s emails is a revelation. As she told T, “I’m always like, ‘Oh – so that’s how other people behave in the world.’ You know?”

Share Button

Hello There, “Hello, Again!”

without comments

landing_mediumPhoto Credit: lincoln.com

Abraham Lincoln is to David Bowie as … well, I’m not quite sure to be honest.  But according to the marketing team at Lincoln Motors, it was the memory of the former president that inspired their latest campaign – “Hello, Again.”  Though deliberately vague in revealing details, Lincoln Motors describes “Hello, Again” as a year-long program during which Lincoln Motors will align themselves with progressive artists across a series of projects and fields all celebrating the spirit of re-imagination.

The initiative recently launched with an online digital experience that showcases a live performance by Beck: a re-imagination of David Bowie’s iconic “Sound and Vision.” A fully immersive, 360 degree experience, the content was recorded by microphones and cameras lining every inch and potential angle in the room.  The result: online viewers can both watch and hear the show from ANY vantage point, including what Beck and his 160+ supporting band themselves are each hearing and seeing.

You may ask yourself: “What does a 360 degree Beck concert have to do with selling cars and Lincoln as a brand?” Now, now – dear reader – don’t we all know better than to ask such naïve questions?! I mean, let’s be real.  Who wasn’t lusting after a Carl’s Jr. Southwest Patty Melt after Kate Upton and her ample beauty writhed around in a hot rod stuffing her face with said-sandwich?  In all seriousness, however, Lincoln Motors makes a rather valid claim for relevancy.  The director describes the whole undertaking of “Hello, Again” as a larger “metaphor” that embodies “the personal and surprising differences in product and client experience.” Basically, much like the “Hello, Again” concert was designed with the audience in mind and can be experienced from extremely diverse perspectives, so too does Lincoln Motors seek embrace a more diverse consumer demographic via “creative empathy” – i.e. designing with the audience in mind and pushing this customized experience to new heights.

Call me a sucker for a good metaphor, but I’m actually buying this one.  Not only did the larger campaign make sense to me as a consumer, but I both watched the concert, and then took the time to peruse Lincoln Motor’s website to learn more about the larger initiative.  Keep in mind: I am simply a music lover who doesn’t even own / need a car.  Yet, Lincoln’s marketing plan successfully attracted me to their website, and then provided enough compelling content that I stayed there.  Grand sweeping metaphor and Beck on their side – I only mildly cringed at the brand messaging that is not-so subtly intertwined with the post-modern pastiche / “art is everything” hipster-speak us Gen-Y’ers live by.

The very act itself of revisiting the past and reinventing old classics is a rather brilliant way to reintroduce a brand to a younger audience without totally isolating the older demographic that remains their bread and butter.  And ultimately… if that isn’t the equivalent of President Lincoln uniting the North and South under one nation, then I don’t know what it is.

Judge for yourself here.

P.S. David Bowie is a god, thank you very much.

Share Button

Power to the Tweeple

without comments

I love social media just as much as I love ice cream. But the only difference is that in social media, I don’t mind sharing (I would never share my pint of Cherry Garcia—go away, get your own… really). Allen Solly, a men’s clothing retailer in India (and way nicer than me), took social sharing to a whole new level. Allen Solly leveraged Twitter to share their new collection with their fans—and by sharing I don’t mean just tweeting about their new collection. The company installed the first-ever Tweeple Powered billboard that gives away men’s shirts through fan tweets using the hashtag #RainingSolly.
Brands that create meaningful interactions, like Allen Solly’s unique physical and digital integration, succeed in reaching consumers in a personal way.

TweeplePhoto Credit: Blogworks.com

I love social media just as much as I love ice cream. But the only difference is that in social media, I don’t mind sharing (I would never share my pint of Cherry Garcia—go away, get your own… really). Allen Solly, a men’s clothing retailer in India (and way nicer than me), took social sharing to a whole new level. Allen Solly leveraged Twitter to share their new collection with their fans—and by sharing I don’t mean just tweeting about their new collection. The company installed the first-ever Tweeple Powered billboard that gives away men’s shirts through fan tweets using the hashtag #RainingSolly.

Brands that create meaningful interactions, like Allen Solly’s unique physical and digital integration, succeed in reaching consumers in a personal way.

Share Button

Written by Alayne Luistro
Alayne Luistro

December 11th, 2012 at 8:58 pm