You Say Disruption, I say Revolution (for Greg Satell)

You Say Disruption, I say Revolution (for Greg Satell (

“Disruption” has become a popular buzzword over the past five years. It’s been used to label the agressive shifts of free-market competition. These “disruptive” economic shifts have been around for centuries. They’re sometimes labeled as periods of innovation, sometimes they are truly revolutions. As these shifts have become more prevalent within our current era, the term “disruption” has reached heightened usage. In the past, pre-1950s, the impact of disruption would be spread over a generation or two. The “pain” of the disruption could be absorbed over a lifetime. This cycle of disruption and absorption has accelerated, exponentially, starting during the post-war economy of the 1950s.

As example, the ice barons of the 19th century ( withstood a “lifetime” disruption and absorption cycle. These barons, who shipped New England ice all over the world, did not invent electric refrigeration. The ice industry was disrupted by refrigeration. This harshest part of the disruption, the collapse of the ice industry as the primary source of non-electric refrigeration, took place over a “soft landing” period of 50 years. By the 1950s electric refrigeration was the norm (

Using the computer as an example of disruption we can witness, in slow motion, the increasing influence of ever-more-powerful computers starting in the early 70s up until the 90s with the adoption of the PC. Then the disruption accelerates with the rampant adoption of PCs all the way up to their recent offshoots (tablets, smart phones). In the 80’s we could expect a computer-related disruption every five years, now we expect a computer-related disruption within every six months.

The downside to these disruptions is the negative impact. The impact is typically unevenly spread within the population causing “winners” and “losers.” Some of the negative impact is obvious, but many aspects are inapparent, and often separated from the disruption. As example, the creators of email didn’t set out to negatively impact the US postal service. The Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter (, in his writings from the 1940s, predicted this disruptive cycle of winners and losers. He labeled it “Creative Destruction” ( He concluded these cycles would continue to accelerate until the forces of capitalism destroyed itself.

It is not the fault, and potentially not the intent, of the inventors who create disruptions to foresee the winner and losers. Nevertheless, all disruptions will, even if the goal is benign.

The pertinent insight from our era is how companies are adopting strategies that allow them to thrive within an economic environment of accelerated disruptions versus being negated by them. The next wave of entrepreneurs will ideally take this to the next level and figure out models that include reducing the negative impact caused by these disruptive innovations. This trend is seen within the organic food movement and LEED certification in architecture.

Companies, such as Apple, are brilliant students of Schumpeter’s Creative Destruction. Rather than allowing the external forces of competition to drive the disruption, they choose to disrupt themselves, regularly reinventing their products, both from a design and functionality perspective. This allows them to contradict Schumpeter’s prediction. They are thriving. This thriving through self-disruption is actually a 20th century revolutionary theory. Marxists such as Trotsky and Mao deeply believed in the theory of “Permanent Revolution” ( as the only means to enable and accelerate innovation while also stabilizing the wider economy.

Companies such as Facebook or Twitter have also invented clever variations to the Apple-way to alleviate this disruption. They are disrupting themselves by adopting and absorbing user behavior into their services. This allows them to be part of the disruption versus being affected by it. Their nimbleness allows them to thrive.

In our era these disruptions are taking place on a national, if not a global scale. If business leaders seek to shift their enterprises and initiatives to both align to and shield themselves from the radical disruptions of our era they have to make radical changes to their operations and/or make radical changes to the macro-economic arena within which they function. We are in an accelerated disruptive era, calling it “revolutionary” or “innovative” are choices of nuanced phrasing to explain their aspirations to their constituents.

The rewards of our era are for those who can shift to align with disruption, to thrive off the positives while mitigating the negative effects. Those that can do both will be the successful benefactors of our era.

Chris Cornell and the Exercise of Dissonance

Chris Cornell is a musical genius. Yes, I was raised on the heavier music of the post-punk pre-Nirvana-breakthrough wave, and therefore have a preference for these tones, but what Chris Cornell has accomplished as a “Futurist” is extraordinary.

If you listen to Chris’s first popular band, Soundgarden, you might fight it off as “heavy metal.” If you listen carefully you realize the band is practicing the art of dissonance. Practicing, or at least being able to identify, dissonance is the anchor to being a Futurist. Each Soundgarden (and his solo stuff, and his time with Audioslave) record, performance, and song is an exercise of dissonance. He is weaving into the mainstream-songbook the external forces of marginalized sounds. Nearly of all of his songs, the structures, the chords, the vocal ranges, are built on dissonant chords that find moments of serene resolution, and then break back apart into dissonance.

There are many historical examples of weaving dissonance into the mainstream. Specifically related to Chris, is one that has been replicated since the birth of “print-making” and is now found in Instagram. Let’s use punk-rock bass playing as the pivot point.

Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols didn’t know how to play the bass. It didn’t matter. The band had a strong drummer and guitar player; both “professional” studio musicians. They were the forces of resolve… weaving Sid’s dissonance into the mainstream. This allowed Sid, and Johnny Rotten, to be the “punks” they are now famous for being. If you listen to Sid’s playing you realize that he can’t play, but what he did bring to the band is the historical print-making technique of, “over-biting,” or “foul-biting.”

Way back when, when people realized they could duplicate things, they relied on the printing press to be their duplication machine. They eagerly attempted to make things perfect. The key problem of early print techniques is it required the use of acids to burn the texts or images into the metal printing plates. When all went well, the ink would remain within the cracks, scratches, and acid-made lines in the plates. These plates were then used to press the ink into paper. But acid is volatile, and it would leak, run, and escape the lines the printmaker carefully laid. Somewhere along the way, dissonant printmakers found a beauty in the overrun of acid. They created techniques to make it happen on purpose. They were our culture’s early punk-rockers.

This overrun is called over-biting or foul-biting. It added a genuine quality to the prints; it added an unseen force, a “filter” to their images that was out of their control, but still exciting, and even beautiful to the eye. If you should browse through Instagram, you are made acutely aware that this dissonance trend is in full force. Thousands, if not millions, of images are struck with an over-bite layer to give them that “old school” quality. It’s as old as people making prints, any type of prints. And it is an obvious example of the weaving in of dissonance into the mainstream, or potentially the other way around. This specific “print” wave took around two hundred years to crest.

Back to music…Sid Vicious was the over-bitten plate. Chris Cornell is Instagram.

Through Chris’s songwriting and performance, he continues this over-bite tradition and elevates it to a genius level. Through following Chris’s career, as an exercise of dissonance, you could predict Instagram. The western culture is becoming more and more dissonant as the voices of difference become available on social networks. This effect is illustrated within the adoption of filters on Instagram.

Even so, dissonance works both ways. And if we look to Chris Cornell as the trailblazer of the dissonant wave, it seems the next step is to take the popular, resolutive sounds of our day and to weave them backwards into the force of dissonance. This is an unwinding, a drawing out of the dissonance from the popular and putting it back into the wave of change. Like a tornado pulling up the hot ground-air from the plains to power its might, the next wave will be a powerful change, a shift to the marginalized, a shift away from a one hegemonic force and into the facets of a multi-force web of cultures, people, and voices.

Case in point: Chris is currently on tour. On the news of Whitney Houston’s death, Chris learned one of her songs, overnight, but wove it through his dissonance filter. The outcome is still her song, some of his song, but ultimately a genius moment where a futurist listened deeply to his surroundings, found the resolutive force, and pulled it back into the roots of dissonance.

Chris Cornell, live, San Francisco, 2/16/12, “I will always love you”

Super, freaking, genius.

Jeff Mangum, BAM, 1/19/2012

Jeff Mangum has created a unique catalog of songs that resonate with a troupe of wilting-flower intellectual Americans. He keeps his songs scarce, instilling the pre-digital value of songwriters in the eras without recording devices. Bottled-up and pickled in the cold shed he cracks the jar open on seldom occasion. Each time the vinegar grows ever dim, the sweetness fades, the brine stings less. I’m not sure if Jeff likes these songs anymore, but he seems to know there’s a proud-hearted audience that is decreasingly half-desperate for them.

These earnest sons and daughters with crisp-cuff jeans above their pale ale workshoes are crafting their lives upon grass-fed hopefulness. These kid-faced mid-life professionals secretly loathe the ironies of middle-class rewards, but hang the vinyl above their beds. Finding solace in the soft-faced muppets, they pray with all their secular might for a truth found within the cracked guitar tonks of Mangum’s photomatic broken-youth parables. They hope their live viewing of his near-pantomime performance will free them from the irritation of their destabilized generation.

In Jeff they see an available ideal, the soft hero. They find their salve through an album and a half of decade old songs, sung by a man quiet enough to allow intrigue in his bio. Maybe if they sing along, especially when he asks, they’ll scrape the genius from his air. In an era where the value of nearly everything is churningly reinvented, the decay of these songs is painfully obvious. Two years ago the audience would be standing, singing at the top of their lungs. At this event, we all sat in theatre chairs and half-sung self-consciously. Next time we’ll put him in a glass case and kiss the surface.

The songs are good. I wish Jeff the best, but wish even more that he’d write new songs. Still, more importantly, the songs he sang last Thursday night are songs that dance upon the string theory within our cells. They mingle with neutrinos that are older than stars and gape at our bones from amidst the eldest vibrations. My grandkids will like these songs. Eons ago there were apes who would find magic in these songs.

Over the piles of time, songs have formed-up within cultures, combined like chemistry, and followed the math of notes and time. Uniform audiences warmly gawk at the modest majesty of a lonesome figure. Sitting, surrounded by sound-making tools that only they can play in a special way.

Like the slow salt-loaded waves on the moonless sea, these songs have seen their crest. They’ll soon be stacked within the basement boxes of polaroid portraits, cheap plastic school trophies, and mom’s love letters to a man who wasn’t her husband.

Retail will be a mash-up of experience and mobile

Retail will be a mash-up of experience and mobile

The history of retail, particularly the mall, was born from the experience of visiting circus-tent-sized panoramas. Early in our modern era, folks would gather together to view wide-angle-scoped scenes of far away landscapes. They’d walk within them, be enveloped by the magnificence of places they couldn’t imagine of seeing themselves, and ponder the expansiveness of the world. Film, as we experience it today by gathering together in theaters to be enveloped by the moving pictures, started from the same historical pivot.

It’s no surprise then, that retail has steadily been spiking the “brand experience” as a key element to strategic planning. As this trend continues, mixed with the ever-innovative feats of mobile technology and the digital components being layered upon the connected world, the demand for greater experience will grow in partnership with a greater demand for immediacy.

Greater experience

Who needs a retail space for brand experience? Brands should take these spaces and turn them into regularly-changing “living portals.” What if Levi’s created their retail spaces in the same manner they create their live-action ads? A space with growling self-proclaiming voice overs, stages with sparkling band-equipment, weather blown floor-spaces with spinning trampolines and campfires that shift into lamp-post street corners and wood paneled cabins.

By visiting this space I can chose my role, put on the Levis garments of how I envision myself within this place and then take part in the action with my fellow brand fans. Actors gallop throughout the space, wearing all the newest articles from the Levis catalog. They shift from the stations, from the band-stage to the trampoline to the lamp-light, with appropriate wardrobe changes, to showcase all that Levis has to offer and why. They show, don’t tell. I live in their space, not just witness it. The articles I wear then become souvenirs, the relics of my experience. They are infused with the spirit of the energy the brand gives to me.

The “added-value” is I get more take-aways then the clothes…I get a video of myself on the trampoline, photos with my new friends running with the “Go Forth” banner. I become part of a webcast, part of the play. My actions appear on digital billboards in Times Square, Picadilly Circus, more…I will leave the store refreshed, vibrant, recharged by the brand down the path of the lifestyle it represents to me. I am woven into the narrative and plan for my next foray into the Levis space. Wondering what Levis  will become next, what experience it will offer me, what I can become next.


Still, I do need some socks, a t-shirt, and a jacket. Anywhere within the Levis store I can use my phone (or a kiosk) to view the catalog, including my past purchases and recommendations. I can access this catalog from my phone later, anywhere. I can click through the characters I’ve seen and interacted with, and select their garments for myself. I can watch videos of them modeling the clothes, or wearing them live within the experience. I can even see the videos of myself wearing these clothes as these will have been uploaded immediately, in real-time. I can share these videos with my friends, my family, I can post them to YouTube, Tumblr. I can edit them into new videos and post them across the Levis network.

And once I have decided on which garments I need…I can have these new clothes delivered to me, either by an associate who appears magically from a secret door or by having them drop-shipped to my home, same day, or for a scheduled delivery-time I chose through an interactive calendar.

I want to be in the experience, and I want my stuff now. It’s possible. I expect this to happen in the near future.

Klout is the Sugar Cereal of Social Nutrition

Klout is the Sugar Cereal of Social Nutrition*

I like sugar cereal, I do. In my family home we were rarely allowed to have it. The rule was if sugar appeared as one of the first two ingredients on the box, then that cereal was unfit for our bodies. As soon as I was a grown up and had rented my own apartment, one of the first things I purchased, one of the first things I deserved, was to eat sugar cereals. Because I could, because they were delicious, because it was what all the ads I watched on TV and billboards and the radio said I should do. “4 out of 5 doctors who eat cereal say…” “100 Million people have Klout…”

Kellogg’s cereal was born from a sanitarium in 1877. It was a health-food. In 1909 Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner prescribed Muesli for his patients. Health food. Cocoa Puffs? Trix?

Modern day social-dietitians prescribe lots of tactics to increase your social health. Some are solidly nutritious, some are attractive AND nutritious, some are deliciously sweet, and vibrant, but are really just empty calories. Can you tell the difference? Tony the tiger says, “They’re great!”

Reading the Klout ingredients, it’s mostly sugar. I ignore the logic, I’m tempted by it. I reach for its colorful box, its game-like content scribed across its front. I sneak it late at night when no one is watching. I know its really not good for me, but its seductive. Its magical powers map to those puzzle holes in my brain, the receptors, that make me feel better. See, I have a score! And I can control it, I can manufacture my own destiny through a handful of activities that increases my value to…um…my impact on…to…other folks who check Klout scores? Community! That’s it. It increases my value and impact to a community of other people who value algorithmic scores as the indicator of value and impact to a community.

C’mon, the social space is so vast, so uncharted, so full of disruption and change, who can really deal with its unfathomable nature? I want, I require, the simple answer. Having to analyze people, messages, and behaviors is hard. I’d much rather just know their Klout score and call it a day’s work. Is that so wrong?

Listen, sometimes I need a crutch to lean on, a respite from thinking, a break from the healthy-body healthy-mind regime. We all do. I like sugar cereal, I also brush my teeth. In the meantime 19% of US children between the ages of 2 and 19 have untreated dental cavities. Children below the poverty line have a significantly higher rate of untreated cavities. In 2010, an estimated $108 billion was spent on dental services in the United States. In 2008, on average, 68.5% of US citizens visit the dentist each year (CT was the highest, Oklahoma was the lowest). That must be a good business to be in. Now only if we can take that model and layer it on everything else…

Oh Klout. There you sit on the shelf, burgeoning in your adoption. Social-dietitians professing your whole-body goodness while armies of social-dentists and social-rewardsmen hover at the door, waiting to provide the trinkets and salve for the eventual ailments. What to do? I’m torn between wellness and sweetness! I want to check my Klout score!

Nay, fly to Altars; there they’ll talk you dead;
For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread.

Untreated Dental Caries (Cavities) in Children Ages 2-19, United States

Adults aged 18+ who have visited a dentist or dental clinic in the past year

An Essay on Criticism, by Alexander Pope

*Social Nutrition is a TM of Jason Moriber

Five Applied Cultural Economics Ideas to Build the US Economy

Five Applied Cultural Economics Ideas to Build the US Economy

1. Foster group-buying of health-care. One of the largest weights on grass-roots/start-up innovation is health insurance. Alleviate this burden and new businesses and opportunities will spark. Similar to the model currently used by The Freelancers Union, allow for groups of friends, coworkers (as in co-working), start-ups, etc. to purchase health insurance, not just on the state level, but national.

2. Green Tech the urban core. Provide agressive tax-incentives and rebates to spur a rebuilding/replacing of blight with new, green technology-based building and infrastructure while also reinforcing the phoenix-type of community growth already taking place.

3. Five-year moratorium on sales tax for locally/nationally produced goods and services of less than $500 in value. Spur the local economies of thousands of neighborhoods, provide a foundational incentive for start-ups of all types to test the waters, and allow for consumers to purchase the goods & services they need while pegging the revenues to locally/national manufacturers and providers.

4. Boost interconnected public transportation options. Spur both state and private investment to connect urban to suburban to rural travel. Increase the paths for commerce, interactivity, and learning. Yes, high-speed rails between urban centers would be cool, but let’s start with connecting smaller hubs to larger hubs to increase the movement of people and ideas without burdening the roadways.

5. Local food. Shift our food-supply emphasis to locally grown, prepared and delivered food. The movement is already underway, let’s amplify it and increase it’s footprint across all communities.

What am I missing? What do you recommend?

Is Google a Waning Giant?

This post was sparked by a email thread with my coworkers at Waggener Edstrom, shouts to them all.

Is Google a waning giant? Yes, they are tightening their grip on long tail with Plus, social integration, etc., but in the past (AOL, MySpace, more) this tightening equated to a grasping for relevance while the market rolled on, and away.

I wonder about the users whose social messages appear in the search rankings, or the users who click the “+1 button.” Will social-capital be enough for them if their words appear in the search results? Will their Klout rewards be enough?

Brand-strength, built through a well crafted integrated, marketing campaign, will be what bubbles up from this recipe. If you look at the magnetism of brand such as Starbucks, it probably has more to do with their services and loyalty than with their social media actions. As example, I did some modest analysis for a client of a handful of corporate Twitter accounts mentioned in a Mashable post.  I used my “Matrix” exercise to manually peg these accounts to a graph.


What I found is nearly all of this test group are repeatedly speaking to the granular of their markets with hopes of resonation. More importantly, it seems, that their following is not based on their Twitter actions, but based on the “spectacular-ness” of their brand. Starbucks and JetBlue have a huge amount of followers when compared to Delta or Taco Bell or Dunkin’ Donuts. So although Dunkin’ Donuts is doing a great job with social to keep the momentum with their audience, more people are potentially “listening” to Starbucks.

In regard to Google’s further grip on the tail: Is the next step in the evolution of the social-search space a gaggle of smaller search-engines focussed on segments? A food search engine? A coffee one? What if Kayak also offered a search algorithm of the social conversations around travel? Isn’t this what the Apps eco-system is teaching us?

My question is: while Google screens through the mud to gather up the gold dust, where is the next vein to chunk away the bounty?

‘Clovering’ to Make Sense of It All

Clovering: – verb. 1. Daily (minute) layering of potential options with social groups into adaptable data (thoughts) that mitigate complex decisions into simpler ones. 2. Activity of illustrating layers of influence into a graphic (clover leaf) to both discern and organize complex thoughts into simpler data. 3. A game played through charting a clover leaf diagram where the players submit ideas (either forces or goals) with the hopes to fully populate the clover.

In nearly every second of our day, we’re layering and integrating piles of data and information to make sense of our world. Tech and media companies barrage us with a host of tools and services to filter, aggregate and process the incessant information. We carry around toolkits including hardware (phones) and software (apps) — our tiny robots, our little helpers, extensions of ourselves — that help mitigate the river of data that is rampant within our western-culture lives.

We live within these layers. We float through them, they wave over us. If you were to illustrate our era, it would look like a shifting pile of translucent pancakes. You’re looking through a shifting screen of layers, viewing the incrementally cranking inside mechanisms of a clock; it would look like a massively layered Venn diagram.

It is no coincidence that Venn diagrams have become very popular. I see new diagrams every day, including a non-Venn (and a personal favorite), the “clover” diagram. As a culture we’ve been producing these layered illustrations to try to figure it all out. In a way, they are telling us the story of how the era is progressing. Back in ’09, HuffPo provided a slideshow, Jesus, Karaoke, And Serial Killers: The Funniest Venn Diagrams The Web Has To Offer.

This interest-spike in ’09  of Venn Diagrams denotes a cultural shift — one that suggests acquiescence to the data and a method to find joy within a seemingly unmanageable data-pile.

At WE Studio D, we were playing with a clover diagram to discern and divide up communications in order to find “viral.” This is more of an organic puzzle than a locked-in solution:

It’s satisfying to be able to lodge certain criteria into a position, to feel the sense of order, even if it’s fleeting. I am an open proponent of “clovering” and believe it could be a great tool for brainstorming and filtering down to the root elements of any complex scenario.

Ever since I’ve shared my interest in these clovers with friends and coworkers, I keep finding more and more. I received this clover from a friend who knows I dig diagrams. This one is also from ’09 and tries to define “what is a good information design:”

Edelman Digital also uses a clover to help define media:

In all three clovers, the middle spot seems to be the “answer” to whatever problem we’re trying to solve.

Recently I’ve begun to practice clovering as part of my creative routine. I’ve introduced it to friends at dinner (where we used it to determine the joy of coffee) and in the office with my co-worker Matt (to investigate the balancing act of client relationships). In Matt’s clover, the answers wasn’t in the middle, it was actually one of the side layers …Evolution!

Give it a try, see what you come up with, and let me know if you want to share it here on this blog.


Thought Marketers, Crossing the Chasm and the Cultural Terrain

(This post was inspired by my conversation with Michael Roston of The New York Times. I’m deeply grateful for his insights.)

I’ve been working on a diagram to anchor the digital-strategy conversations I have with clients. I wanted a map of the current landscape to reference when speaking about “why” we need to implement these strategies. Over the past two months, I’ve been sharing this diagram with my peers and refining it down. Then, just when I thought I had created the final version, two peers (Michele Clarke and Natalie Lieblick) noted it was reminiscent of Geoffrey A. Moore’s “Technology Adoption Lifecycle,” which he developed in his book, Crossing the Chasm (1991).

This is true, but instead of it being a bummer, it was a spark of evolution. In comparing my diagram to Moore’s theory, we can specifically identify what’s changed from then to now. Hurrah!

The initial “Chasm” theory points out the hurdle new technology needs to traverse in order to gain widespread adoption. Here’s a diagram that illustrates Moore’s “Chasm” theory:

Over on the left is the Chasm. Moore speculated that somewhere within the early adoption process this Chasm ate up most new technology, with only a few making it to the “Early Majority” market. This symptom still exists, but in our current era the “Early Adopter” zone is populated by a new set of behaviors.

Over the past 20 years, marketers, communications professionals, new technology startups and advertisers have been actively seeking to fix the Chasm. Right now the new fix is You, the digitally connected individual. The cultural forces that impact our lives have us focusing greater and greater time and energy within the online “networking” space. Facebook, Twitter, blogging, etc., have pointed our activity right at the Chasm; we’re reverse-mining the Chasm by filling it up with the immense amount of content we share. While marketers and communication pros used to focus on getting people across the Chasm, the need now is for marketers to minimize the impact of the Chasm, by re-engineering it altogether to make it irrelevant.

In my new map, an evolution from Moore’s theory, I’ve identified the behaviors of the entire terrain. While similar to Moore’s, it includes new overlaps, new definitions and updated behaviors.

The Cultural Terrain:

The Cultural Terrain defines where ideas start (not just technology products), where they are amplified and where they are adopted. From left to right, all of the roles within this Terrain are (I’ve defined each role in more detail at the end of this post):

–          Trailblazers

–          Futurists

–          Pundits & Thought Leaders

–          Thought Marketers

–          Consumers

–          Late Adopter

–          Lurkers

In the space where the Chasm used to be, there are now three main behaviors:

–          Futurists

–          Pundits & Thought Leaders

–          Thought Marketers

The new, key re-engineering role is being populated by the “Thought Marketers.” The number of participants within the Thought Market is growing exponentially as anyone with an Internet connection can now partake in the Thought Market. You yourself are probably a Thought Marketer. You don’t have to be “mainstream” to be a Thought Marketer; you can be either a Consumer who is participating within the public dialogue (posting status updates, sharing videos, new links, blogging, etc.) or a Pundit who seeks to influence your thinking. In fact, this influence is now a two-way street. Consumers have greater voice in defining the conversation around ideas, versus 20 years ago when this conversation was more passive.

When I post links to content I’ve found that I want to share with you, I’m Thought Marketing.  A friend post photos they want me to see and when brands post messages they want to me act on, they’re Thought Marketing. A journalist shares handheld videos that support their articles, my cousin shares a video of his kids — they are both Thought Marketing.

This behavior has created a new type of ecosystem, mostly seen through the growth of social media, that hopes to create influence through activity (I tweet every day in order to make sure people see my Tweets) and trust (I hope to gain more friends so you want to be my friend too, then I can share my ideas with more people). Thought Marketers are all hoping to inject and amplify their “thoughts” into the conversation to influence the conversation, to gain some recognition and to somehow prosper from their activity. If I share my photo with you, which is seemingly innocent, I am actually making an exchange with you, providing something I believe has value with hopes it influences your life, even modestly with a “like” on Facebook. More friends, more fans, more purchases…more influence.

As more and more people are engaging within the Thought Market, Thought Marketers have to increase their activity in order to gain results. As example, my Facebook news stream is full; I often miss photos my friends are hoping to share with me. I share news items over my Twitter feed — only a small percentage of my friends actually see my Tweet. Still, this activity can be very rewarding; if your message receives a spike in attention, your reach and potential influence can be immense, but it sure does take a lot of time.

Everyone who seeks to influence anyone wants to be in the Thought Market, and social software continues to provide more entry into this zone on the map. The role of the consumer and the marketer is blending as word-of-mouth, bloggers and tech startups continue to fuse these roles together.

So, if it’s getting so crowded in the Thought Market, and it’s taking more and more of my time to be influential there, what’s next?

I’m working on some thoughts right now and will market them to you next week.


The Cultural Terrain Roles:

Trailblazers: These are the fiercely innovative individuals and organizations who are inventing the future. Their greatest concerns are for newness and innovation, regardless of monetary rewards or who hears about the technology. They are the true “bleeding”-edge.

Futurists: These folks are the glue between the “bleeding”-edge and the amplification of new trends. They are both pushing the envelope while seeking to communicate their learnings to the larger group. They are aware of the tightrope they walk — knowing they are sharing discoveries that might be “too early” for the popular market but see the deep value these trends will bring to the future.

Pundits & Thought Leaders: This group identifies which of the new trends map to their own agendas and work to configure the trends for either personal or organizational gain. They are reliant on the Futurists to do the initial filtering, but take it the step further to create ingestible, adoptable plans integrating new trends into the lives of their markets and audiences.

Thought Marketers: This is the “stock market” for ideas where thought-brokers seek to amplify key trends, news, stories, etc., to attract Consumers. They aim to craft sticky and compelling content that will either resonate with a current audience or attract a new one. This is the main arena for advertisers, marketers and communicators. The thought market is where nearly all the obvious activity is taking place, primarily through the exponential growth of social media.

Consumers/Purchasers: This is the buying market. The individuals and organization who determine their purchases and take steps to make the new products and trends mainstream.

Late Adopters: These are the late bloomers to a trend. They do eventually get around to purchasing an item but typically long after the marketing campaigns are spent out and Thought Marketers have moved on to a new trend or idea.

Lurkers: This group waits until a trend has passed before they potentially participate. Still, they are a large group with buying power but are the hardest to influence. In Moore’s chart, these are the laggards.

Layered on top of this terrain is the “Popular Scope.” This is the arena at which most of current advertising, PR and marketing campaigns are aimed.

Throughout the timeline is the power of influence. Influence starts with the Trailblazers, moves through to the Consumers, and hits the wall at the Lurkers. Once it hits the wall, influence then reverbs back into the Consumers, typically as kitsch, irony and snark.

3 Quick Points about Building Your Digital Campaign

(originally posted on Thinkers & Doers blog, 1/11)

(The above slide was crafted by Cindi DeHoog, account executive at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, as part of a collaborative effort between the account teams and WE Studio D.)

1. Heartbeats over spikes: Craft your campaign as a sustained cadence of low, modest and high activity. A careful mix of the three can propel the campaign forward while conserving energy (budget) to boost ongoing momentum (and greater adoption). Think of your campaign as an EKG line of short pauses, minor drops and lifts of activity.

2. Invitations over packages: Invite your community into the campaign from the inception; open doors to inclusion and participation. Dropping a tidily wrapped program into social channels will not allow for the same longevity as campaigns that allow for interpretation, organic growth and interactivity.

3. Relinquishing over rigidity: “A tree that is unbending is easily broken.” When considering your campaigns, build in a flexibility that allows for the greatest interactivity and adjustments. Infuse the campaign with a life of its own,  and allow it to grow beyond your initial expectations.

Let me know your questions!