How Institutions Are Enabling A Movement

The activist movement on climate change continues. Every day, I continue to read articles and posts about Greta and her piercing speeches. But I’d also like to point to a subtlety that’s making a difference here, at least in NY circles. This is the message parents with children in public schools received prior to the school strike. Department of Education, along with public schools, enabled parents and teachers who wanted to teach their children about advocacy. Not only you could be excused from school, but some schools even coordinated transportation and pick up. Yes, there is a lot to be said and admired about the power of ‘one’ in the protest events where Gen Z students walked out following Greta. But support from key institutions is what brings about trues change and catapults movements to new heights.

AI Can Be Used To Solve for Autism

I hate the puzzle. As a mom and a data-driven person, I don’t understand why we cannot solve for the autism puzzle when 1 in 59 children in the US are diagnosed with autism and the diagnoses are increasing exponentially. I hear it’s so variable, so multi-factorial and if you meet one individual on the spectrum, you meet one person on the spectrum. True. But have we ever shied away for solving for multi-faceted problems for brands who were willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single measurement project? I would argue that we do have the statistical skills and life science knowledge to solve for autism. We lack the data.

We lack the kind of robust datasets that connect the dots between all that our children are exposed to and all that they show and do. When we have these threads of data, we can test for a myriad of variances simultaneously leveraging AI driven data science platforms. While a typical scientific study may be testing 1-5 hypotheses, we can go through 100s of hypotheses with AI in one study and quickly improve upon our knowledge.

My hope is for organizations such as the NJ Autism Center of Excellence, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Duke University, Epidemic Answers and others (e.g., ABA agencies) who are at the frontiers of this issue to be able to pool the data we need in this field. We need to understand why our children are having sensory motor issues that lead to behaviors. We need to tease out the environment’s impact on autism. And we need to empower our practitioners to optimize on therapies (ABA, speech, OT) and alternative interventions (homeopathy, neuro feedback, acupressure, etc. ) so that our children can have happy, productive lives.

Inclusive Design

Inclusive will be the defining word of 2019. Inclusive therapies, inclusive work places, and finally inclusive design. The word acknowledges diversity and encapsulates acceptance. The way our world should be and the way technologies should help bring us together. Call it a rise of mindfulness, call it a reaction to the reappearance of social fissures we all thought were long gone and sealed. It’s good. Here’s a clip of Microsoft’s Satya Nadella explaining how inclusion should be a preliminary step of product design as opposed to an after thought or add on. Right on!  

(Video credit: LinkedIn)

A Female Super Hero from Anatolia: Puduhepa

Word of mouth marketing expert Renan Tan Tavukcuoglu started an amazing campaign to introduce a strong female figure to young girls, starting from Turkey spreading globally. This is the story of Puduhepa, a Hittite queen who lived in Anatolia 3,000 plus years ago. The project not only weaves a beautiful story, but the sales of the Puduhepa dolls and story book contribute towards young girls’ education.

Here’s Baris Ozcan’s great video with subtitles in English.

Do Your Next Pitch on 360 Video

Immersive experiences communicate deeper and help convert viewers into donors, shows the most recent study from Nielsen on potential VR adopters (paVRr). The study gauged attitudes of 1,000 paVRrs aged 18-54 about 134 charities. The group appeared to be advocates of technology and education in general, with 49% supporting increased technology access and 41% supporting universal primary education. 

To further measure the effectiveness of VR as a donation tool, Nielsen created an experiential setting in its Las Vegas research labs focusing on 14 pieces of charity VR content: about 100 US consumers viewed a 360 video in Samsung Gear, while another 100 viewed a piece of midroll (i.e.,digital ad that appears in the middle of a video) on a tablet as a comparison. The experiment showed that those who viewed the VR content were significantly more likely to recall the brand than those who viewed the midroll (84% vs. 53%). They were also more likely to seek additional info about the brand (48% vs. 37%).  Just as impressively, 48% of those who viewed the 360 video indicated they would donate to the viewed causes afterward vs. 38% of those who watched the midroll. 

The same efficacy in communication can be brought to any ‘pitch’ — social or commercial. It’s a tremendous opportunity for anyone looking to stand out of the crowd while asking for donations for a cause, seeking start up funding, or asking to be a brand’s agency of record.

VR for Women’s Empowerment: KAGIDER (Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey) Luncheon Speech

I had the honor and pleasure of attending a luncheon, hosted by Burcu Mirza, with board members of KAGIDER (Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey) who were in town for meetings at the UN. KAGIDER has an amazing mentorship program where they coach select young, low-income, high-potential women seeking employment and entrepreneurship. Their graduates change their (and their community’s) destiny by either starting their own businesses or becoming successful at firms they join. KAGIDER leaders cited research pointing to millions of young women of employment age in emerging countries, who are neither able to pursue education, nor find employment. KAGIDER’s work is to address this problem. Below is what I shared as my point of view on emerging technology and communication trends, which lead to a dynamic discussion on how these technologies can be used in educating and giving employment skills to young women.

Whatever the technology label might be, we have transcended into post-reality era.
A time when we believe what technology tells us more so than what we see in front of us. For instance, believing our GPS more than the traffic coming towards us on a one-lane street. Or, when children say good bye to Google Home when leaving the apartment.  

There are a few technologies that are driving our post-reality vision as ‘under currents’:
1.       With technologies such as VR and AR, this post-reality vision becomes more immersive and believable. And truth/experiences vary by each viewer not the director or the editor. Before we were told stories by movie directors, news anchors, journalists… Today viewers can look ever which way when immersed in a VR story. We choose the angle in which we’ll take that story – being our own editors.  
2.       Voice activation (e.g., Alexa, Echo, Siri, Adobe’s voice based photo editing technology) humanizes automation, IoT and other connected devices. They induce emotion and forge relations between humans and AI. (Students in a NY State University hacked Alexa to break up with it… some classmates who heard about the break up expressed concern. Post reality experience in this case is heightened by voice and emotion.)

Some companies are taking advantage of this technology in creative ways: eBay is offering VR experience in shops, Google is partnering with BMW and Gap on AR shopping experiences. Adobe is launching voice-based photo editing technology.

VR/AR are poised to generate significant dollars for technology and content makers. Deloitte called it the billion dollar niche in 2016. Some sources, such as Digi-Capital, make bolder predictions, forecasting over 100 billion dollars by 2020, disrupting mobile.

As these emerging technologies edge their way to become mainstream, gender and generational gaps appear. Nielsen study on VR technology (2016) shows a typical early adoption story on VR: Male and younger audiences are more likely to adopt. Women not as likely to be interested or aware! 

VR can fundamentally change the way we communicate in arts and politics. And if women are typically the storytellers, where does that put the female voice in arts, news, commerce and politics? If shopping is gamified in ways that suit men, will women – who are responsible for grand majority of household purchases– buy more?

charity: water stands out with "THANK YOU!" messages in crowded cause-marketing space

I got three critical emails in my personal inbox today: One from Seth Godin, asking me to buy an ebook, which would help buy malaria nets for children in need. One from TOMS Shoes, letting me know about their founder’s book ‘Start Something That Matters’. One from charity: water thanking all donors for what they have given to the cause over the past 5 years. Just this little example goes to show you how crowded the cause-marketing scene is. Everyone wants your attention for something worthwhile. You have limited dollars and time. What’s a smart marketer to do to break through the clutter? 

How about giving something back, instead of just asking? I got an email last night from charity: water saying they would be releasing the thank you videos online today. They would be thanking their donors starting at 9:30AM. I rmade a mental note to check out the site this morning. Of course, there they were: fun, genuine clips showing charity: water staff thanking all sorts of people who had ran campaigns, given up their birthdays and donated over the years. I thought it was cool, so I tweeted it. In less than an hour, charity water was following me back. 

charity: water made a point to connect and treated me as a VIP with premium information. They emailed me a thank you note and they entertained me with a series of videos, while showing me how others have donated over the years (including a 3 year old!). They thanked me again for Tweeting. At the end of my fifth video view, I didn’t mind the donate button. I was at this giant, virtual birthday party.

This was labor intensive on their part, but the back and forth was an example of what true (social media) relations should be like. 

OK, one last point for staff members who were chugging Ouzo to thank Dimitri for his contributions to charity: water: Guys, you need to mix it with water and have some meze with it. You don’t just gulp it down like that! But then, since you’re hard core, I understand.  


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New twist on charity: water September 2011 campaign: Track Your Donations at Work

Every year charity: water, the non-profit that drills wells and brings clean water to populations in need, plucks our heart strings with touching human stories from the field. The crew opens our eyes to the lives of villagers in remote areas of Africa. This year, they’re taking a different approach in sharing their story and drawing supporters into the donation process. 

Charity: water is inviting us to raise funds to help them buy an FS 250 drilling rig.


This investment will allow them and their Ethiopian partners to drill faster, and get to more places. In fact, this campaign is aiming to bring clean water to 40,000 people in 80 communities!

Ever wonder what happens to your dollars once you hand them over? As always, 100 percent of donations will go towards the good deed. Moreover, donors to this campaign will be able to track the truck through a GPS system. They will be able to see the gift of their donations 24/7 for years to come. 

This is not only a simple, but smart twist on location-based marketing, but it’s also organizational responsibility. Charity: water is transparent in its communication and is treating loyal followers as true partners. 

To make a donation or start your own fundraising campaign, click on the highlighted links.  

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Wrapping Up WOMMA 2010

I wanted to thank everyone who came to my session at WOMMA Marketing Summit this year, where I presented about social media KPIs. It turned out to be a pretty big crowd. I got many thoughtful questions from the audience. I wanted to share some of them with you here:

Q: You mentioned the role of social vs. paid and earned media. What about owned media? 

A: Yes, owned media is gaining more traction as companies embed social and engagement features into their brand sites. 


Q: You showed a connection between large ticket-item purchases and word of mouth. What about CPG products? 

A: I wanted to make the point that what someone else thinks or advises influences even those purchases that are in the thousands. For CPG products, the trend is even stronger. Word of mouth does influence shopping decisions. 


Q: You showed some strong results for charity: water’s September campaign, that was created with donated services. How much would it cost to run a similar campaign? 

A: Yes, those services cost a bit. But the point I want to leave you with is that the campaign was optimized for measurement from start to finish. The most important success metric was the amount of money charity: water could raise to bring clean water to people in need in Central African Republic. Yet, they also knew how many fans they had, how much traffic they were getting to their web site from Facebook and media, and how many campaigns were starting at any given point. [[posterous-content:pid___0]][[posterous-content:pid___1]]

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