Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

Rock n’ Roll…and Water?

Music festivals are now a big thing in the United States. Consequently, outdoor brands are hard at work to be involved…with sponsorhip dollars, booths and the resulting exposure to the large crowds and media. After reviewing consumer comments about the festivals we’ve uncovered a problem; water, particularly the availability and price of water at the festivals.

In this Channel Signal blog we highlight the 3 best festivals and the 3 worst.


AUSTIN CITY LIMITS – A three-day music festival in the fall in Austin, TX. About 75,000 people go each day with an average of 225,000 over the three-day stretch. Camelbak is the water sponsor for this event.

What is Allowed:
• Two factory-sealed water bottles up to 1litre.
• Empty plastic or aluminum bottles allowed
• Empty Camelbak allowed
• Ice – in a soft cooler or Camelbak
• No glass bottles

Comments from Festival-goers:
“There are several complimentary water filling stations around the park.” –Joseph F.
“My Pros: Filtered water stations from Camelbak – bring your empty water bottle to fill up for free.” – Debora L.
“There are clean, filtered fountains so you can bring your empty water bottle and have it refilled.”
“It was very convenient and well run, and the water was abundant, and there was just a plethora of water available to the thirsty, thirsty masses. The lines moved quickly, and the hydration personnel were very accommodating to all receptacles.” – Nate S.

LOLLAPALOOZA – A three-day music festival in Grant Park, Chicago, held in late summer. 90,000 people per day and 270,000 over the three-day weekend. Camelbak is also the water sponsor for this event.

What is Allowed:
• Two factory sealed water bottles up to 1litre.
• Empty Camelbaks and Camelbak bottles (or any other branded or non-branded hydration system and reusable plastic bottles”)
• Free Camelbak water fountains and misting tents

Comments from Festival-goers:
“I LOVE that they offer water filling stations free of charge.” –Stacy M.
“Abundant water refilling stations.” – Kevin V.
“I had the following…empty water bottle (water stations throughout the park for you to refill).” – Roseanne S.

BONNAROOBonnaroo is a four-day summer music festival in Manchester, TN. Many festival-goers camp out for the length of the festival. Unlike many of the other city festivals, it is held in a 700-acre cow pasture. Bonnaroo sees about 80,000 people per day and 320,000 over the four days.

What is Allowed:
• Camelbaks, plastic and aluminum bottles allowed
• Factory sealed water bottles allowed
• Water fountains available (all running water is filtered and meets Tennessee standards)
• Has always offered free water from wells on the grounds
• Bottled water can cost upwards of $4 from certain vendors.
• $7 showers
• Not water-related, but Bonnaroo offers free air-conditioned movie tents

Comments from Festival-goers:
“Water stations were easy to find and relatively quick to use. You could find one easily, whenever you needed to refill your water bottle, and the water tasted fine and looked clean.” – Heather N.
“I just toted a refillable BPA-free bottle. There are free water bottle fill up stations. This year I’m bringing a Camelbak (you want one! They were everywhere last year).” – Deborah R.
“Bonnarroo is a magical time of year when you gather up your glow sticks, your most beat up pair of TOMS, and the most reliable Camelbak you can find and go primitive with 80K of the best friends you’ve never met.” – Jennifer P.



How They Need to Improve: While these festivals do have some access to water, they do not have it readily available, nor do they handle it as efficiently as the top three. Fewer water stations means long lines and potentially dangerous situations.

VANS WARPED TOUR – Our research indicates there are Sigg Water Stations. However, the information is sketchy about how many stations, which calls into question the availability of water. Reports indicate that in 2010 some vendors were charging up to $10 a bottle for water. Since 2011 it seems that the Warped Tour is charging $3 a bottle at the commercial stations.  After a death at the Kansas City stop, VANS stated that they could not control the price of water and therefore, could not be responsible.

What is Allowed:

• One sealed water bottle
• SIGG water and misting stations available
• Slip ‘n’ Slide (this is where festival goeers run and slide/dive on water tarps.)

Comments from Festival-goers:

Well it’s about damn time the water was cheaper. And it only took a guy dying of heat storke. Hmm.” –Dan W.
“$5 for water was just outrageous.” –Autumn S.
“It was awful hot last year and the cost of water was ridiculous.” –Tina T.

COACHELLA – A music and arts festival held annually in Indio, CA. It sees a total of 180,000 people over the two three-day weekends.

Lack of water stations and water fountains means long lines and that has caused tension at the festival.

What is Allowed:

• Empty Camelbaks allowed
• Empty plastic refillable water bottles allowed
• No outside food and/or drinks
• Water – $2 a bottle (same price since 1999).
• Water fountains available
• N0 metal or glass bottles

Comments of the Festival-goers from the coachella forum:

“You can bring as much water into the campground as you want, but not into the venue. Last year even though the temperatures were pretty mild (low-90s), the line for the one fill-it-yourself water station were ridiculous. I plan to just buy water when I’m thirsty.”

“Im gonna have to go ahead and say that this might be the lamest thing about Coachella.

At Bonnaroo there are plenty fill stations throughout the camping area and the concert area for you to fill your Camelbaks with. They would make you poor it out upon entering the gates but right inside you can fill your Camelbak up. And they had tons of sinks and stuff for you to fill water bottles and wash up at.

If there is anything that should be readily available at all times at a festival, especially being in a desert, is water.”
“I mean I’m not complaining about $2 a bottle but it’s kind of a necessity at least have a station or two by Main.”
“The lack of refill program means a couple hundred thousand extra water bottle will be used that weekend. Very silly. If the crowd is as big as last year, we’ll be swimming in discarded water bottles.”

SASQUATCH – A 3-4 day (depending on the year) music festival held on Memorial Day weekend in George, WA. It sees about 25,000 people a year for a total of 75-100,000 over the weekend.

What is Allowed:
• One 20oz. factory-sealed water bottle
• No mention of refill options. We could not find any evidence of water stations.
• The only water options we could find are the sinks outside of the toilet stations.

Comments from Festival-goers:
“What was unforgivable was the limiting of access to free water. In the past, there were several key locations to get water. This year, you could get water from sinks outside the bathroom. That water was heavily chlorinated, warm and difficult to get to due to the lines of people washing their hands.” – Tony V.

“When water refill stations break, they will post signs proclaiming erroneously that water being distributed from the hand washing spigots is non-potable…There is no way you are walking half the festival grounds up and down inclines to fill up bottles from an unbroken water refill station.” – Edwin P.

“The water stations did not make any sense. They expect you to fill up your bottle and stay hydrated while they lock you in the venue without the option to leave for more than 10 hours a day, and they have three water stations with ridiculous lines and one of the stations went ‘Out of Order.’ Seriously, not providing enough water is DANGEROUS!” – Patricia M.

Channel Signal believes this consumer research calls into question the idea of treating water as a commodity. We applaud the water companies who supply a substantial number of stations, provide free water, and keep the lines moving. The festivals who believe water is not their responsibility are courting disaster. Just as restrooms are essential, so is water.

Paul Kirwin

Paul Kirwin, Founder and CEO of Channel Signal

Brands are Bit Players in Consumer Storylines


I put Walt Disney on top of this blog because he understood, more than anyone, that the customers were the kings and queens and that his cast members were there to serve them. Brands, many brands, seem to have gotten far from this thinking.

It seems that most companies believe in the standard form of branding, meaning telling a brand story and believing consumers will adapt it. Consumers will follow the brand because the brand has positioned itself as being a part of the momentum, the cool, the lifestyle. Huh, uh. Frankly, it has never really been that way.

It is the other way around. Brands are adopted by consumers, and only if consumers like the product, what the brand stands for, and that it FITS  INTO THEIR LIFESTYLE.

As Channel Signal collects more and more consumer feedback for companies, it is becoming apparent that it is all about consumers and their lives. It has very little to do with brands, even the powerful brands.

The best that brands can do? Build great product. Create events that consumers participate in. Be known for doing good deeds. Do business responsibly. And then hope that the brand is adopted into a consumer storyline.

The storylines are in every tweet, blog, consumer review, pinterest post…everything.

. A brand is powerful when it is a role player. Egoless. Humble. Only there to help

Their products are role players. Grassroots events are role players. Athletes are role players. Advertising should be built around the real stars.

Consumers are the kings and queens…now, more than ever.

And they  will choose who is and isn’t a part of their lives.

Brands would do well to stop trying to sell into a consumer’s life, stop telling them what they should be and begin to understand what they are.

And then build product to satisfy that need.

Because in the end, doesn’t a great salesman, work to learn the true needs and wants of a prospect?






Paul Kirwin

Paul Kirwin, Founder and CEO of Channel Signal

The Ever Increasing Roar of the Crowd

The public is now being heard loud and clear. And it won’t stop.

On the world stage the cry for freedom is being heard in Syria. It has been somewhat realized in Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria. Syrians seem to believe that the power of guns displayed by the the Assad regime won’t win the battle. The revolutionaries will keep fighting and throwing bodies into the battle. As Ho Chi Ming once famously said, “ You can kill ten of our men for every one we kill of yours. But even at those odds, you will lose and we will win.”

And the videos and tweets keep coming. From cell phones, they are telling the story of the struggle. Real. Raw.

Here’s a great graph of the Arab Spring Revolution. The Guardian Graph

And now back to the corporate world. Things aren’t going so well for companies who make promises and don’t keep them, create new pricing, back the wrong horse or change the rules in midstream. I have included a great piece from Mashable about the recent troubles companies have had when they ignored the publishing power of the consumer. Coke. Go Daddy and The Bank of America heard the roar, ignored it, and lived to regret it.

Consumers are judging brands on products, brand performance, brand promises, advertising, grass roots events…everything. This isn’t just social media anymore. Think of this as Consumer Sentiment, and they have opinions on everything a brand is doing.

Consumers don’t believe brands just “make products” anymore. That is because brands have come out with sustainability studies, environmental stances, corporate opinions on the behavior of entertainers (think Limbaugh), and have backed legislation they believe is good for themselves and their industries.

It’s a new world. And brands are being held responsible for their products, actions and opinions.

Here are some examples of corporate stumbles in this Mashable Article.


Paul Kirwin

Paul Kirwin, Founder and CEO of Channel Signal

Measurement. Measurement. Measurement.

It has been said that you can’t improve what you can’t measure. An article from eMarketer emphasizes that statement. Debra Williamson, eMarketer principal analyst, states,

“Marketers often think of social media measurement as listening and monitoring. But that is only one part of a fragmented process, which has contributed to a lack of focus for both marketers and vendors. It has also created a culture of data overload, in which metrics that do not have much business value have more importance than those that contribute to the bottom line.”

Alterian has just released a report that says that 70 percent of all senior management reports have no social media reporting in them. And this is at a time when marketing and public relations departments are asking for more and more dollars to finance the growing social media presence.

The reason social media is absent from these reports is because everything should work backward from the reports. What do you want to see from social media and how should it be compared to the other marketing initiatives? Social media metrics need to line up with the corporate structure so that comparisons can be made.

Social media is not some strange animal that nobody knows how to measure. However, it is strange when there is no context to the reporting and when the reporting has no home in senior management monthly reports.

Click here for the entire eMarketer article. But just had to get my two cents in first.

By the way, happy holidays to everyone. Best to you, your family, your community and the wildlife that lives around you.


Paul Kirwin

Paul Kirwin, Founder and CEO of Channel Signal

It Is Still Your Gut



Recently, while talking with executives about social media, I got three different messages from them:

1. I get it and we are building our social media presence. 

2. I don’t get it and until somebody shows me the money, I’m not gonna get it. 

3.  I know that we need to get on top of the social media thing, but I’m not sure if it will do us any good. 


Ok. Here is what social media data can do.

1. With the proper analysis, it  provides insight and justification for your major decisions.

2. It gives you the truth. And remember, every post, whether good or bad, has a good deal of truth to it.

And your “truth” and their ”truth” may be completely different. Not the same picture at all.

3. It gives real-time feedback on the performance of your products.

4. It provides trending information, which will be a leading contributor to upcoming sales forecasts.


Here are some things that data cannot do:

1. It can not make decisions for you.

2. It should not be  manipulated. If it is, it will be at great risk to your company and your career.

3. It cannot be your friend. When data says the momentum is good, it doesn’t care. When momentum is bad, it doesn’t care.

4. It cannot be ignored. Data is direct from are your customers, your life-blood. Ignore them and you ignore the performance reviews of your products. It is the beginning of the end for your company in the 21st century.


I say these things because recently there has been too much emphasis on both the power of social media and the weakness of social media. Both are true.


Social Media Reporting becomes a competitive weapon when you:

1. measure correctly

2. analyze

3. deliver the data in a way that senior managers can understand and compare to performance in other sectors of the enterprise.

And when data is delivered this way, it is still your gut, but with more ammunition.

Paul Kirwin

Paul Kirwin, Founder and CEO of Channel Signal


3people running

Recently I have been reading and thinking about the obsession that technocrats have with performance and the quality of software platforms. Google with its disdain for salesmanship and obsession with functionality. Many other technical companies driven by engineers who believe that the more efficient and intuitive you make the information systems, the more people will use them. And the disregard for salesmanship, human networking and marketing. The point seems to be, “build it and they will come.” Seems like an artificial approach.

And then you have the new Toyota ad, which characterizes a young man who is worried about his parents because they each only have a few Facebook friends. He has 900 friends. And the camera cuts back and forth from the parents having a ball with real friends having real fun, and this lonely kid walking around the house worried about his parents’s social media standing. The real friends and the artificial friends.

And now comes many companies engaging in social media who judge their successes on converting people into customers and messengers, so they can sell more goods and services. Grow. Grow. Grow. They want to be “Friends” with you, and you be “Friends” with them. Consumers know that companies only want them to buy their stuff and have no intention of being real friends. Seems like artificial communication.

In a new article in MarketingProfs, Embrace Irrationality,   the author, Jeremi Karnell, spells out the difference of human-centric marketing and the focus on customers in customer-centric marketing. The difference being that human-centric marketing approaches a customer as a whole human being, not just a consumer who buys stuff. This approach realizes that people like events and experiences. They want and need love, family and friends.

Consumer-centric marketing is captured by these three phrases, according to Karnell:

1. It views people as somewhat passive participants.

2. It measures success by how much merchandise a consumer moves.

3. Rising paradoxes have led consumers to seek more meaningful relations with brands.

This past decade has taken the wind out of the sails of the “spend now and worry about it later” mentality. 9-11. The Internet bubble. The real estate bubble. And the near collapse of the financial system have all contributed to people rethinking their priorities. Home, family, relationships, and experiences have taken center stage and it looks like those priorities will stay there for awhile.

But companies are not picking up on this. In social media companies want friends and followers. And why? So they will buy stuff and grow companies. And what do consumers want? A life.

So, why don’t outdoor companies start focusing on sponsoring events that improve lives by teaching new skills. Sponsor events that bring communities together. Or, participate in events that test the endurance of people who are new-found athletes.

Recently, I have been reading many blogs in Channel Signal about men and women who have lost weight, started training, and are now into running. Their excitement on completing their first 10k literally jumps off the page. Now, if a company can be a part of that experience in an authentic way, they have a customer…for life.

Don’t sell them stuff.

Sell them on themselves.

And that’s humanity.

And that is real.

Paul Kirwin

Paul Kirwin, Founder and CEO of Channel Signal

Channel Management


Companies in the sporting goods business are now coming out with their growth plans, many of them 3 years or more. These plans are aggressive and this signals a change in the landscape. For at least ten years the sporting goods business has been consolidating. This means that stock holders and stake holders want healthy and sustained growth from the new larger company.  And it’s up to senior management to plot that growth.

Here’s the challenge.

Where will that growth come from? The traditional sales channels are specialty retail, large specialty retail (REI, EMS, Dicks, Cabela’s,etc.), and huge retail (Walmart).

Specialty retail is averaging growth of between 3-5% over a six year period ending at the beginning of 2010.  Large specialty and the big retailers are growing, on average, in the area of 8-10%. These numbers won’t change much. It takes a lot for any of these channels to plan for the explosive growth demanded by the brands. A lot of money will be needed for expansion, inventory and salespeople.

Brands realize that traditional retail can’t supply the lion’s share of the growth, unless many of the brands go to the very big boxes and most brands still believe that Walmart will dilute the authenticity of their product offerings.

The explosive growth will come from two relatively new channels, branded stores and online sales. Online sales have grown, on average, about 20% a year in the last 4 years.

New Balance, Nike, Columbia, The North Face, Merrell, Icebreaker, Marmot, and many others, have announced they will be opening retail stores across the country. Why? Because they can offer wider selections and fulfill inventory faster, which means a bigger upside.

Same thing with the Online Sales Channel, aka, the company web store. Brands are selling merchandise at full price, can replenish inventory instantly, and offer the entire collection. There is a lot of profit margin here.

So, online sales and branded retail stores will be  joining the landscape of Channel Management.

Here’s Channel Signal’s guess as to how Brand’s will position the Channels.

  • specialty retail will be used to create momentum and maintain authenticity.
  • large retail…less of the same but bigger numbers for the brands.
  • Walmart, Kmart, etc…look for the brands to open this channel in limited amounts to move merchandise that is lower end. Numbers are good here.
  • Branded stores…good margins, good selection and success will fuel more stores across the country.
  • Online stores… great margins, great selection, and more money pumped into the web site to make it more of a shopping experience.

One thing we haven’t addressed and that is social media. My guess, the brands will find ways to build this channel as a sales channel or use it to drive traffic to the other sales channels.

Channel management will be critical moving into the future. And so will tracking what channels are generating the buzz and how that translates into profit.

Thanks to Leisure Trends for the growth stats.

Paul Kirwin

Paul Kirwin, Founder and CEO of Channel Signal

A Cause

This is a three-part series that I am writing on the importance of finding the Purpose of Your Company…the Cause. I first tackle a growing problem in social media…pumping up traffic by using the wrong tactics.

Channel Signal is picking up more and more evidence of companies building traffic by using hashtag Twitter and then incenting people to join by offering the chance for new product.

This is “discount-linking” and it doesn’t work. Companies doing this are attracting sweepstakes sites (sweepstakes bots), discount sites, link farms…all retweeting and retweeting about what?About your discounted products.

Is that what a company wants to be known for? This is like throwing a cocktail  party and advertising it by posting free drink notices in all the local dives. You’ll get a crowd all right, but you’ll have no silverware at the end of the night.

So companies are lowering the barrier to entry, incenting, and building traffic. But it is the wrong traffic. These people don’t really care about a company’s products. They won’t be having adventures in these products and then writing about them. And they won’t be telling their friends about the quality of the products and suggesting a buy. They only want to broadcast the discounts.

The upshot. These people come for the discounts, and quickly disappear when there are none.

Now, maybe one person in 30 buys a discounted product, starts hiking, loses weight, and becomes an enthusiast. Fine, but that is one out of 30. Not good odds.

At Channel Signal we have extensive filtering hooks that grab these sites and knock them out of the search. Companies should increase their value-propositions by complimenting good product with good content.

Building traffic the fast and easy way, through discounting, is not a sustainable strategy.

And be known for something.

More about that next time.

Paul Kirwin

Paul Kirwin, Founder and CEO of Channel Signal

No Strategy for This


The spill in the Gulf of Mexico started as a news report of an explosion and eleven men missing. Only one sentence was dedicated to the oil spillage…saying only that a tiny amount was leaking.

It has now grown and threatened the coastline of several states. It is telling a story much larger and much more damning to the shrimpers and the oil people.

Here’s an example…reported by the New York Times.

“About 35 endangered sea turtles have washed up dead on beaches along the Gulf of Mexico since Sunday, sowing fears that they were done in by the growing oil spill.

But so far scientists have found no connection between their deaths and the spill. Autopsies indicated that the turtles had ingested no oil.

It is now suspected that shrimpers out at sea before the April 20 rig explosion and spill caught the turtles in their nets, which can suffocate them.

The A.P. reports that federal fisheries investigators are looking into whether shrimpers were responsible.”

So, the oil spill exposes other abuses.

And is social media having a hay day with the suspected killing of endangered species in pursuit of the dollar? Yep. Search for “sea turtles” on Twitter and it is all about turtles and the oil spill.

Why is the sea turtle episode exploding on Twitter? Because it is the sidebar that puts a new spin on the story. There are pictures. And people are becoming emotionally attached.

And this whole business is dirty.

Our dependence on oil is dirty… due to carbon loading.

According to the University of California, every car is responsible for 1.28 tons of carbon per year.  A nation with five percent of the earth’s population consumes about 23 percent of the world’s oil output. And we are currently exceeding the regenerative ability of the earth to sustain us. Today we occupy 145% of the earth’s regenerative ability.

The extraction is dirty, and dangerous.

According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Minerals and Management Service is developing regulations aimed at preventing human error, which it identified as a factor in many of the more than 1,400 offshore oil drilling accidents between 2001 and 2007.

Sea turtles are now proving that commercial shrimpers are dirty.

And this story has so many sidebars, many which are still unknown,  that it will be tweeted about, facebooked about, and blogged about …for years.

There will be more pictures of wildlife, total victims.  And millions more new media comments.


There will be villains. And more new media comments.

There will be innocent human victims. And more new media comments.

And my point?

There is no new media strategy that can solve this, next time. This is a national tragedy.

Pundits are already coming out and writing that BP didn’t handle this the right way. Well what is the right way? Set up a war room and have the best minds churn out news?  Stay on top of the issues? Be the first to break the stories…before the media?  Be transparent? Be honest? Be responsive to new media questions?

Won’t help.

Again, this is a tragedy and one that is unfolding before our eyes. And new media is a part of delivering the story and the millions of opinions surrounding it.

BP better concentrate on fixing the problem and cleaning up the mess. And pay for all of it. After nearly two decades of screwing around with the legal system, Exxon got exactly what it wanted: a Supreme Court that reduced punitive damages from $2.5 billion to $500 million. According to reports, that is just a week’s profit for Exxon.


This time we should put the big hurt on BP. 10 billion. 20 weeks of profit. Make them howl. And the judicial branch should level the fine and walk away. That will get the attention of the other oil companies.

The Obama Administration would be wise to forget about the deals they made with the Republicans to get the health care bill passed…and kill the off-shore oil drilling initiative. DOA. Period.

Shrimpers…stop killing endangered species. You might have been innocent victims, but you sure aren’t now.

This is a big story of our time. And because of new media, we are all involved. Writing. Discussing. Taking action. Being disgusted.

And there is no strategy that will lessen the impact for BP.  It is caught in a huge unfolding story.  And the federal government is caught in the same story. So are the shrimpers. And so am I. And so are you. BP is just a spoke in the massive feeding machine connected to our lifestyles.

We in new media can pontificate all we want about this national disaster, but until we view the future with sharp, clear-eyed vision and determination…expect bigger environmental disasters.

And expect our free fall into the future to continue with the ground approaching at an ever increasing rate.

We have met the enemy, and it is us.

Paul Kirwin

Paul Kirwin, Founder and CEO of Channel Signal

All of the Noise

noiseChannel Signal has been bombarded lately with noise. Now, part of our job is to filter noise and there is much to filter: worthless posts like “Just on my way to work. What a beautiful day. Wearing my brand sandals.” or “50% discount here on all brand product. Buy. Buy. Buy.”

I would say of the 400-600 posts a day that we receive for each of our clients about 80% is noise.
And when we send it through our second “human” filter we filter out about 80% of that and deliver only about 20% of that to our clients.

Recently, there is a new type of noise, and it is just confusing the issue. This noise is all about the new software coming online to help companies sort through new media, help them develop content, and then help deliver content. Soon, there will be software that will write the content for you and all the brand needs to do is put its name here.

This improved software will help a company make new media easier, faster, more efficient and cost-effective.

Don’t believe it.

It’s just like the great Smith-Barney ads used to proclaim at the end of its thirty-second spots.
“We make money the old-fashioned way. We earn it.”

And you must. Brands must earn the respect of the Influencers in new media. Must earn a loyal following. Must earn a strong community. Sure it starts with the product; however, it doesn’t end there. That is only the beginning.

It’s the communication and feedback loops that you must now build. And yes, software packages can help; however, the basics can not be ignored. Here are some of the basics.

1. Pick just one channel and do it well. Not just by getting yourself up on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, and Flickr…and saying, “well, that’s that. Let’s talk about our product and see if we sell more.”

2. Sorry about this, but it needs to be said…because this is the phrase, “shit in, shit out.” Searching and receiving raw new media data, and not filtering and accurately assigning sentiment means a brand is getting crap. And now crap is being analyzed. And the analysis is crap. And management decisions are being made based on crap.

Channel Signal delivers “finished” data and this is data that is relevant and worth consideration by our clients. We then analyze that data, and measure it. Now management (and its pr/marketing partners) have clean data, a clean report, and good information to consider.

3. Engage. I come from a family of talkers. My Mom always used to say, “well Paul, if you aren’t listening and talking, then how will you know what others are thinking?” Brands must first listen, and then talk. Engage with good content, and then enter the conversation that it sponsors. And if doesn’t sponsor any talk, then change what you are writing about. Get them talking.

Publish and talk. Don’t be shy. New media is not the place for wall-flowers.

And, ignore the noise. An old African saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

Take this in bites. Choose a channel. Concentrate on it. Make it successful. And then use that knowledge to build.

And believe that this will be hard work. Building content that attracts a strong community starts with knowing your voice, your audience, and what they want. And that’s where “finished” data comes in. It is the feedback loop that allows you to accurately gauge, and correct.

It’s your compass in a whacky world.

Paul Kirwin

Paul Kirwin, Founder and CEO of Channel Signal