Simple Ideas Are The Best Ideas

We live in a noisy, cluttered world. One where people are moving quickly. We barely have time to read a 140-character Tweet, much less read and re-read it.  And as marketers, these are the challenges and realities we face. Attention spans of humans are less than a goldfish and consumers have gotten good at tuning out messages.

Too often we don’t take these challenges into consideration. We try to confound this already complicated world with more messages, more directions and more clutter. We overcomplicate instead of oversimplify, and in the end, lose our consumer.

I get it. It’s not easy to simplify your approach down to one big idea when you work in social media. Your strategy and content has touch points to many departments within the organization, from PR to marketing tickets and more. Everyone wants a piece of the social media puzzle. But if you want to make a splash with your consumer and fans, you have to streamline. Why?

Because complex ideas are less likely to catch on, survive and thrive. If a consumer can’t understand your message, campaign or CTA in one simple second, they’ll move on. If the idea can’t be explained in one simple sentence, people will go elsewhere. Great ideas are simple ideas… executed seamlessly.

Here’s a look at two of simple but strong executions in sports:

 

MLB’s THIS  Campaign

For the 2015 season, MLB launched a creative campaign called “This is Baseball”. Focused on the word THIS, it was ode to the great things in baseball that need no explanation (exactly how THIS is used in social media). The campaign’s strengths was is in its simplicity and ability to integrate across teams. THIS campaign was relatable to every fan, no matter which team they root for

Here’s a look at some of the posts:

 

Warriors Creative

For the 2016 season, the Warriors defined a creative look and feel using tally marks. The concept is simple, sleek and can manifest in different ways across content. The red thread, the tallies, are being used to celebrate everything “from their regular-season wins this year, Stephen Curry’s 402 three-pointers, the 120-decibel noise level in Oracle Arena (the loudest in the NBA) and more” (via Adweek).

The creative is simple, stands out and is easy to consume. Here’s a look at some of the creative:

 

#H73TORY

A photo posted by Golden State Warriors (@warriors) on

 

With both of these examples, the ideas are easy to explain. Next time you’re planning a campaign or creative, keep these things in mind to execute a simple, big idea well:

Can you explain it in a minute?
Ask yourself if the idea can be explained in a single sentence? If you can’t explain the concept in less than a minute, then you haven’t boiled it down to one big idea.  Do the work that is necessary to get your idea simple, strong and right.

Is there a red thread?
Is there a consistent red thread that ties everything together? Strong ideas can carry across platforms and content to to tie everything together. Make sure your big idea and CTA is cohesive. Too many messages across platforms gets confusing; nail down a big idea that can carry through everything.

Practice discipline.
When you have nailed a big idea, stick to it. It’s easy to want to throw in a lot of other tactics and messages, but in the long run if you define a strategy and POV then you will win. Practice discipline.

The world is already complicated enough; don’t confuse and turn off your consumer with a muddled message. Simple ideas are the best ideas. Practice it.

 


 

What campaigns in or outside of sports have you single that were simple but strong? Share them below!

Thanks for reading. 

Career Lessons So Far

Careers are long and winding. They are filled with ups and downs, failures and wins and lots of opportunity. The good news is you’re never stuck if you aren’t happy—with persistence and hard work, there’s always a way to open a new door.

I’m a big believer that opening doors in your career requires self reflection. It’s important to take a step back and think about what you’ve learned, what you would do different and what you did right. It’s important to apply the learnings:

It does not matter where you are in your career—we have all had moments of great growth and learning.  This blog celebrates those learnings, both from my career and from my Twitter friends.

 

One job does not define your career.

When I graduated, I knew I wanted to work in sports, but my first job out of school was not the traditional route into sports business. I worked at the Atlanta Track Club, but the road racing industry is a lot like working for a team: Small and mighty staff, long hours, nights and weekends. Nothing was very traditional. Looking back, the ATC was one of the best first gigs for me. It allowed me to take on meaningful work, expanded my skill set and taught me the important skill of self-learning. The skill sets I learned from my first job eventually landed me a great opportunity at the NCAA.

It’s up to you to make the most of where you are. Develop the skills that will help you in the future. Remember that careers are long and one job doesn’t define your entire future. Work hard, be persistent and don’t be afraid to go an unexpected route.

 

Learning never stops.

The day you feel you are done learning is the day you should stop working. It does not matter what industry you are in, everything evolves and changes—and at every stage. If you want to continue to push the envelope in your career, then you have to push your own personal growth. Reflect, learn, read and absorb as much as you can.

 

Throw away the notion of a “dream job”.

When we think about careers, it’s easy to romanticize about places to work. I’ve been guilty of listing off companies I want to work for versus focusing on what I need out of a job to feel fulfilled.

It’s important to throw away the traditional notion of a dream job… it can be limiting and also disappointing (by romanticizing something too much). Sometimes we don’t even know what we need to be happy with work.  And often, work is what you make of it. As you move along throughout your career, take mental notes of what you like and did not like about culture, roles, managers. Don’t limit yourself with romantic notions of what your dream job is.

 

Be open.

I never thought I would live in Baltimore, but the move here is one of the best decisions I’ve made. I love the city and I love where I work. The thing is, you have to be open.

I’ve moved a lot and the one thing that has made moving easy is the notion that nothing in this life is permanent. The fear of change isn’t so scary when you realize if the change doesn’t work out, it doesn’t have to stay that way. If there’s something you want to do, go for it. It’s better to take the chance than to always wonder “what if”?

If you’ve ever had that itch to leave your current city, do it now. If you’ve been pursuing a job relentlessly and the day finally comes, take it. If an unexpected opportunity comes up, don’t just close the door on it. As they say, fortune favors the bold. Be open and go for it.

 

Execution matters.

One of my favorite things about my job is having the opportunity to strategize and ideate. And while I would love nothing more than to just spend my day scribbling ideas on a white board, execution is what makes your ideas valuable.

We can spend all day building beautiful decks and brainstorming, but all of that is fruitless if we don’t act on it. Ideation and brainstorms are important, but don’t just let everything be smoke and mirrors. Those that produce the work surface to the top. Brainstorm, strategize then make sure you execute.

 

There are no “real” rules.

You can read all kind of books on careers, leadership, etc., but at the end of the day there are no real rules. Don’t be afraid to do things your way. Don’t be afraid to go after what you want. Step up and stand out.

 

Speak up.

I often take time to internalize my thoughts. And early on in my career, I got feedback from my managers to speak up more. They constantly coached me to step up to the table.  I eventually developed the confidence needed to speak up. When I did, I noticed people started viewing me differently. I was brought into more brainstorms, more projects and put in front of leadership.

The problem with internalizing your thoughts and never speaking up is that people won’t know your thought process and leadership. You have to find the courage to bring your voice to the table and be heard. It’s not about speaking just to speak, but adding perspective. Studies show that successful people speak up… and I don’t think that’s by coincidence.

 

Get use to “no”.

I’ve been fortunate to have a fantastic career so far, but the road hasn’t always been easy. I’ve heard more than 1000 no’s, but have never let them hold me back from pursuing what I love. If I listened to every no I heard all the way, I wouldn’t have landed a fantastic job at a company I love. Rejection is a part of life. No’s aren’t easy, but they are necessary to get where you want to be. And in the pursuit of being great, you’re going to hear no. Don’t let the no’s hold back your forward progress. Keep pressing on.

Don’t fear rejection. Instead, celebrate the fact that you’re out their boldly pursuing what you love and want, rejection or not.

 

Advocate for yourself.

One time I left a job at a company I loved and cried during every exit interview. I left because I felt like I wasn’t being challenged and there wasn’t room to grow, but clearly my emotional response to leaving was perhaps an indication that it wasn’t time to go.

During one of my exit interviews, the person asked why I was leaving. They had no idea how I was feeling. That person had a tough and heartfelt conversation with me about speaking up more. And it was then that I had this “ah-ha” moment: You can’t expect people to read your mind and know what you want. If you love a company you are at, but need a bit of change, don’t be afraid to speak up. Speaking up requires work. It shows that you care. It’s better to advocate and fight the fight then to not speak up at all. Things might not always work out, but at the very least you should try and advocate for yourself.  From now on I’ll go down swinging at a place I love before I have to exit.

 

Great advice from my Twitter friends.

 


Thanks to everyone on Twitter who participated in this awesome conversation. Be sure to share you biggest career lessons by commenting below.

Thanks for reading! 

A Look at NFL Draft Content

The NFL Draft content was stellar this year. From elevated graphics to unique GIFS,  the content was taken to a different level. I’ve curated a list of content that stood out to me, and I hope some of it inspires you in your work. Enjoy!

 

Graphics

 

GIFS, Vines + Video

With the 1st pick of the #2016NFLDraft, the @Rams select @JaredGoff! #CalFamily

A video posted by Cal Football (@cal_football) on

 

Inside Access

A very special moment for @dallascowboys RB @ezekielelliott. #NFLDraft

A video posted by @nfl on

The call that brought Laremy to Miami. #WelcomeToTheFamily

A photo posted by Miami Dolphins (@miamidolphins) on

 

Leveraging Fan Voices

 


 

What stood out to you about this year’s NFL Draft coverage? Share below!

Thanks for reading. 

Brand GIFS Trump Pop Culture GIFS Any Day

GIFS have taken over the Internet and sports. What started off as a pop-culture revolution has turned into a brand play by teams and leagues. It seems that at least every 10th tweet includes a GIF these days.

Early on GIFS only focused on pop culture moments. You couldn’t scan Twitter without stumbling upon Seinfeld, Friends and crazy cats. While a sea of pop culture GIFS still own Twitter, they are evolving. Teams and leagues are starting to create their own unique GIFS. And, let’s keep the momentum going that way.

Teams and leagues need to spend less time scouring GIPHY and invest more time on creating their own original content. Here’s the thing: Pop culture GIFS can alienate your audience. They also lend themselves to personal biases (as we are more likely to share what we think is funny and clever). If you didn’t grow up in the 90s or aren’t a Stars Wars fan, then there’s a good chance you don’t get or care about the pop culture GIF. It’s all relative.

You don’t know for sure if your fans relate to Seinfeld, but you DO know that they relate to your team. Why push out content that is unoriginal and has nothing to do with your team when you can invest energy in building your own content and unique voice?

When you work in sports, you have more access to content than most brands. There’s no need to rely on others for content, even in humorous moments. Tap into existing content, leverage your designers and create epic GIFS that not only resonate with your entire audience but also help build your own, unique team voice.

If you need some inspiration, here are some GIFS from teams and leagues that are uniquely their own:

 


 

What are your thoughts on pop culture GIFS versus brand GIFs? Share them below.

Thanks for reading!

Why Your Social Media Manager Says “No”

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Sometimes, after years now of working in social media, I feel like a no man. It’s not that I find joy in pushing back and saying no, but all too often social media is a catchall. And as someone who believes in understanding your why, I’m not afraid to pushback when things don’t align.

I get it. It wasn’t that long ago that social media in companies was a little rogue. People were still trying to figure out what this new medium meant for the organization. All internal requests happened because a young intern handled the social media accounts. Things are changing though.

Companies have started to build a strong foundation of what it means for their brand, goals and organization. And while social media will always evolve, we now know the power of social, what works and what doesn’t. As foundations and strategies are built, it means things won’t be the way they always were. With frameworks comes education, pushing back and standing your ground as a keeper of the accounts.

Internal partners have to understand that just because it’s easy to upload a piece of content and hit send, doesn’t mean it belongs on social media. As companies define their why on the platforms and take a consumer-first approach, there will be pushback. Otherwise, social media presences would just turn into a load of crap (I know, that’s not very articulate).

Yes, I’m saying that hearing “no” can be a good thing. Social media isn’t this free platform for us as marketers and brands to push anything and everything to our consumer. As the noise continues to grow online and consumers turn off more and more, we have to be thoughtful in how we approach things. Every organization needs a team of people who have outlined that why online and protects it.

Social media has evolved. It’s matured. We now know that’s not a silly marketing channel for interns to run, but the front door to our brand and a strong, direct connection to our consumer. A social media manager’s job is to understand how social aligns with organizational goals, protect the platforms and think about the consumer. That means that not everything belongs on the platforms and that’s okay. Just because social media is more accessible, doesn’t mean we should abuse the access and treat it lightly. We wouldn’t slap anything and everything on a billboard, so why should we do it on social?

This is the bottom line: If your social media manager says “no” sometimes, they’re doing their job. They know the goals, they know what works and they know the community they’ve built. When you hire good people, let them do their job. Trust their gut and know they’ve got the best intentions in mind. Not everything belongs on social, period.