Part 2: Squeezing 2 Days Into 1 Hour – The Best of Blog Indiana 2011 @ Social Media Breakfast Fort Wayne

Part Two – The second of a  series of posts detailing my impressions of Blog Indiana 2011.

How to Drink From a Fire Hose

One of the best aspects of BIN2011 was the sharing of resources to help make your social media efforts more effective.

Doug Karr’s presentation “40 Tools 40 Slides 40 Minutes” (now updated: 50 Tools 50 Slides 50 Minutes) is an excellent example. Live, it felt like I was drinking from the fire hose. Great information and categorized well, but the fingers couldn’t type fast enough. Extra bonus: Doug shared the presentation as a reference tool on Take a few minutes and pick a couple tools to explore. You’ll find yourself going back and finding new ways to improve your efforts.

View more presentations from Douglas Karr
Kenan Farrell is another great example of sharing. Kenan is an Intellectual Property attorney that gets the new digital world. Trying to figure out a social media policy for your organization? Need ideas on how to get started? Kenan suggested The site has free access to 175 policies that will get you up to speed.
Database of Social Media Policies
These are just two examples of sharing from Blog Indiana 2011 that made the event valuable to me.  What are your thoughts on how conferences can be more effective?

– Don Kincaid

September’s Social Media Breakfast Fort Wayne centered on diving into the best of Blog Indiana 2011. Amber Recker, Lisa Wylie, Samantha Sawyer  and I were led by Kevin Mullett  to discover the key takeaways.

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Five Ways the Coca-Cola Freestyle® Machine is a Game Changer

Click for video transcript

Two years ago I learned about the Coca-Cola Freestyle® fountain machine from a Fast Company article profiling David Butler, Coca-Cola’s Vice President, Global Design. My first thought was this is a great tool to bring mass personalization to the drink market.

Fast forward two years later to a recent trip to Indianapolis. Hearing a radio commercial for Firehouse Subs promoting the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, I made time to visit – and watch. Seeing people interact with the machine, creating their own blends from 120+ flavor combinations, and helping others in the “community” create their own drinks was an eye-opener.

Customers, in this very unscientific sample, told me they were excited about the machine and enjoyed being able to have their “own” drink.

According to a St. Petersburg Times article,  Firehouse Subs store “sales leaped 16 percent and traffic 11 percent from a year ago in [Freestyle] outfitted locations.”

Butler says ” We’re leveraging design to drive innovation and to win at the point of sale.” Watching Troy, Firehouse’s 86th Street location GM, in the video, I’d say Coke® is winning the point of sale with the Freestyle drink machine.

Here are five reasons why Coca-Cola’s Freestyle machine is a game changer:

1) Mass Personalization allows everyone to customize their own drink. This is driving new traffic and sales to retailers with the machine. Troy told me they get more afternoon off-hours traffic specifically to use the machine.

2)  Better Targeted Messaging because data is fed to Coke and the retailer giving valuable information about drink choices. For example, seeing Caffeine-Free Diet Coke® is popular in a market after 4pm allows the company to better hone their advertising.

3) Restaurants can build loyalty by branding their own drink. Firehouse has their own screen promoting their signature Cherry Lime-Aid®  drink.

4) Coca-Cola can easily test new drinks by combining Freestyle data and social media input.  In May, they announced an additional 19 Freestyle Brands. By seeing how new mixes perform, they can develop brands quicker with better certainty.

5) Secondary brands can gain market share. With the ability to easily customize the base drink offerings, customers will have better access to Coca-Cola smaller brands.

How can Coca-Cola’s experience with Freestyle help you generate ways to personalize offerings to your customers?

– Don Kincaid

Video Transcript

> Don Kincaid: Hi, I’m talking to Troy, general manager here at Firehouse Subs here on 86th Street.
And, they’re one of the first locations in Indiana to have Coke Freestyle.
Tell me a little about the experience, and what your customers think?
> Troy: Well, everyone seems to have a very good impression of the machine,
it’s very functional, it’s very neat and cutting-edge, with a touchscreen display
with all of the different flavors we can get out of it.
Everyone really likes, um, everyone has their favorite that they like to go to.
It’s been a really neat positive experience so far.
All four locations in Indiana have it, and all the new locations that will open will also get it.
It’s just a really neat thing to help set Firehouse Subs apart from everyone else,just one more thing to set us apart.
> Don Kincaid: What do your customers like about it?
> Troy: Well, they like to be able to go up there and get their favorite drink
in any sort of flavor, like strawberry Sprite, or peach Sprite,
the ability to just kinda of play with the flavors, and make their own drinks, even.
Just the functionality that it gives, is one of the, I would say,
one of the more positive aspects that we’re seeing from it.
> Don Kincaid: Cool. And it’s made a difference in your business?
> Troy: Oh yeah, absolutely.  We’ve seen a tremendous influx of business.
People coming in, wanting to check out the machine.
Just getting drinks, just to check out the machine.
It’s really great, it’s been really positive for us.
> Don Kincaid: Thanks, Troy.
> Troy: Hey, thank you very much.

Posted in Customer Satisfaction, Marketing, Profiles, Retail, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Squeezing 2 Days Into 1 Hour – The Best of Blog Indiana 2011 @ Social Media Breakfast Fort Wayne

This month’s Social Media Breakfast Fort Wayne centered on diving into the best of Blog Indiana 2011. Amber Recker, Lisa Wylie, Samantha Sawyer  and I were led by Kevin Mullett  to discover the key takeaways.

Part One – The first of a  series of posts detailing my impressions of Blog Indiana 2011.

Measure Behavior, Not Just Aggregation

Measuring what someone did is more important than the number of  your fans, followers and friends. That’s the message I took from Jay Baer’s  keynote address.

Congrats, you have 10,000 twitter followers. Are you collecting or converting? Collecting isn’t action.  Converting your followers to take action moves you closer to the goal. That’s why it’s key to measure behavior.

Trying to raise awareness? Start measuring behavior by tracking  what are people saying.”  is a simple tool that gives you insight to social mention sentiment. More than aggregating  the number of mentions, it analyzes the attitude of the message. Perfect? No. Helpful? Yes!

Social Media Measuring

Measure the sentiment of the messaging -

Include social media activities and results in your marketing performance timeline to track your metrics with company metrics. This gives you trending to see the social media activity against overall results. You won’t be able to prove causation, but it does help see patterns.

Don’t Be Afraid to Engage Your Audience In Your Cause

So you’ve built a large Facebook base. Now give them an assignment.  Jay described how Austin-based Sweet Leaf Tea turned a normal “Where do I find” request into an engagement exercise by having fans take a “Dear Shopkeeper” letter direct to their favorite store.  The company sales team started seeing the requests AND new orders. Great evidence of  retail conversion through social media.

Engage Your Audience for Action

Jay presented many more examples of measurements than can be helpful in our quest to understand social media behavior. See his “Social Media Measurement – A Six Step Process” to see more information from his keynote.

What can you do today to start understanding the behavior of your Social Media users? I look forward to your thoughts!

– Don Kincaid

Next Up – Doug Karr and How to Drink from a Firehose

Posted in Fort Wayne, Marketing, Social Media, Technology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Subway and Sky Diving = Repeat Business

Click for video transcript

Three times recently I’ve visited the Subway Restaurant at 10462 Maysville Road in Fort Wayne, IN. Now I make it a point to stop when I’m in in the area.

Why?  Because on my second visit, the store manager said with a smile,

“Welcome back! You’re the person that sky dived.”

That made my day. Honestly, I didn’t remember the conversation. But she did. And I returned.

I bet she’s a future franchisee owner.

If you’re near Maysville Road in Fort Wayne, IN – stop by.

How does your team engage customers?

– Don Kincaid

Video Transcript

> Don Kincaid: Subway, I just wanted to tell you what a great store you have here.

Great product, clean store, but most importantly, a staff that cares, engages, and makes me smile.

I just wanted to take a second, and say thank you.

Disclosure: I have received a Subway Klout perk in the past. I paid for my food every time I’ve visited this store.

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Why Crisis Communication Needs to Include Social Media, Now


So, how effective was Washington, DC’s social media crisis communication during yesterday’s earthquake?

Chris Battle, a former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Public Affairs Director, basically scores the event Crowdsourcing 100, Government 0.

In his post “After Earthquake, DC Government Needs Lesson in Social Media” he says if they don’t adapt, they will “no longer fill the role of crisis communicators, a critical aspect of emergency management.”

Chris and Erik are both sounding the alarm. Who in the public sector will answer the call?

Click for video transcript

Former Risk Communication Director Erik Deckers discusses why government agencies need to use social media before the next crisis hits.

I learned of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse from Twitter within 15 minutes of the tragedy. Throughout the evening, many people including Allison Carter, Chris Theisen and Erik curated and tweeted updates. Most of their information came from people on-site and police scanners, not through traditional media channels.

Through social media, agencies can be an immediate voice of authority to news agencies and directly to the public. But to be effective, they have to build and engage their audiences before the emergency happens.

It’s no longer a surprise that more and more people get their information from social media and digital sources. It’s time agencies integrate these channels in their daily processes so they are effective when  crisis communication is needed.

Erik discusses this in more detail in his recent post.

– Don Kincaid

P. S. Try text messaging if you are involved in a large-scale emergency. Because it uses a fraction of the resources of a voice call, you may be able to get through with a text even if you can’t complete a call from your wireless phone.

Video Transcript

> Don Kincaid: Tell me what lessons we can learn from recent events,
about how governments can better prepare to use social media in times like these?

> Erik Deckers: I think a lot of governments aren’t prepared for crisis communication.
They’re still using e-mail as a primary form of communicating with the media,
and they don’t even consider communicating with the public,
so I think that’s an overall attitude they have to overcome.

But then they need to actually relax a little bit,
and let some of their staff use tools like a blog, like Twitter, like Facebook.
Those three tools, I think, for any government agency, can communicate with their constituents, with the public at large, especially during a crisis.

And if they get into the habit of doing it now,  when there’s nothing going on,
and they just… it’s almost like every day is a test, or simulation of some sort,
and they just put out new blog posts,
and talk about what their agencies are doing, they get on Twitter,
and meet people who they might be associated with later on, during a crisis.

If they start doing that, then the agency becomes the voice of authority during the crisis.
Otherwise, they’re too busy ‘playing catch-up’, because people like me are on Twitter,
reporting on things we see on the news, to everybody else, who’s not turned on the TV,
and the agency in question has lost all credibility, they’ve lost their expertise,
basically, their right to speak, as the authority.

Posted in Observations, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Character: Do You Trust Your Recruits to Baby-Sit Your Children?

Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema has done a great job building the program to a five year 49-16 record. He recently commented on recruiting and character (starts at 14:06).

The key takeaway:

“If you are not willing to let a recruit come in and baby-sit your children when you’re not in the house, don’t recruit them.”

Simple and to the point.

Even as an IU alum, I am impressed by his attitude and his way to success.

What do you tell your team about recruiting new hires? I look forward to your thoughts!

– Don Kincaid

More on character from my post on Character and Twitter.

Posted in Leadership | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Leadership: Creating Moments Everywhere

Leaders look for moments to connect at every opportunity. Fort Wayne Indian Village Elementary Principal Stephany Bourne is a great example. This photo was taken at 4:30 after a student recognition ceremony for reading improvement. I was headed home after helping clean up. I walked out the door and saw her reading to the kids and engaging them in a conversation about a poem.

This is after school on a nice spring day.

They were happy…. and learning.

During the semester, I saw students voluntarily go to the principal’s office after lunch to read. That’s a whole different spin to “Going to the principal” than I remember.

She connects with her students. They respond. I believe they feel she supports and trusts them.

Make no mistake, there is discipline. But it’s not, I’ll catch you doing wrong. She will start a session by asking the purpose of the session, what are the acceptable activities, and then the unacceptable activities.  At that point, everybody is on the same page without any surprises.

Thanks Principal Bourne and the kids at Indian Village! I’m glad I went back to school to learn a lesson in leadership.

– Don Kincaid

edited to correct school name
Posted in Fort Wayne, Leadership, Motivation, Profiles | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Prejudice is Alive and Well in 2011 – Unfortunately

The guest author is a good friend who has asked to remain anonymous.  I am honored to be asked to post this story. I am also sad that the post is necessary.

I was enjoying a pleasant experience at a suburban men’s clothing store the other day. My sales person, John was enthusiastically taking my money and I was excited about the clothing he had upsold me. I only went in for a shirt…the alterations on my new sport coat and 2 pair of slacks would be ready in 2 days.

John was interrupted by another salesperson,”He doesn’t want me to wait on him. “John said, “What?” and was answered, “He wants his own kind.” John stopped and looked at the other employee and said, “Excuse me?” The employee repeated, “He doesn’t want me to help him.”

This is 2011. I’m shopping in a nice, suburban neighborhood, retail outlet. The customer refusing help is a clean-cut, well-groomed, professional-looking, 30 something. Is this for real?

With clenched jaw, John went to the stores manager. The manager helped the customer.
The employee who had been refused was a 70-year-old retired military man. He fought for our country and defended us all.

If you Google “Hate Groups,” there are over 900 hate groups listed. Should we start a dexteresque hate group–a hate group that hates hate groups? Well…no. It’s a reminder that racism continues to exist. It can be anywhere and is everywhere. It is the responsibility of people to work against it, and it starts with our children. Do not assume they know what is right – teach them, and show them.

When I was 13-years old, my parents owned and operated a neighborhood convenience store. A small cafeteria was attached to the store. Mom ran the cafeteria and dad ran the store.

The cafeteria did a lively lunch business supported by a few local businesses. One warm summer day, a local power company service crew stopped to eat. One member of the service crew was an African American (back then, he was black). Several regulars from a local gravel operation began heckling the man, “You know where the colored section is? It’s out in your damn truck you ___!” The heckling became worse. My dad took off his white store apron, handed it to me, and asked me to run the register. He was going to lunch. My dad went through the line, got a tray of food and sat down with the African American man. It was a lesson. The cafeteria closed a short time later. It had been black- balled. Over the years, my dad taught me we all have prejudices, but must understand they are wrong and work to change them. Teach your children.

Here are several tolerance teaching organizations including:
Anti-Racist Parent, Teaching Tolerance, Character Education, and the Civil Rights Project.

Posted in Guest Authors, Observations, Retail | Tagged | 1 Comment

Another Reason A Desk IS a Dangerous Place

Don Kincaid Leaving the Plane!

In my first post, I was reminded that we should step away from the desk. My advice:

Visit stores, walk down the hall, pick up the phone – and listen to your associates AND customers.

The reason – It’s too easy to get fixated on the monitor and not see the real business.

Peter Shankman takes it to the next level with five great ways to step away from the desk and kick-start our brains in “How to Regain Your Lost Creativity.” Take time to read it and then immediately pick one idea to do the very next time you get brain freeze.

Like skydiving ….

Yes, that’s me with arms crossed thinking,”What the heck am I doing?” I admit. It was great! Now every time I think of saying “I’ll try to..,” I stop the thought with, “I didn’t try to jump, I did it.” Now it’s a trigger to remember to stretch that brain muscle.

Thanks for the reminder Peter.

Now, how do you find your creativity when you’re stuck?

– Don Kincaid

Posted in Customer Satisfaction, Fort Wayne, Marketing, Motivation, Retail, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Twitter. The Good, The Bad, and Character

Twitter –  The  worldwide, instantaneous megaphone AND listening device. It’s

  • Brought millions to the streets.
  • Given businesses – small and large – a voice to engage and grow their customer base.
  • Provided comfort in times of disaster by reuniting families.

But then, there are times the <enter> key is hit and and the world sees what it should have never seen.

In Jay Baer’s excellent “Convince & Convert,” he discusses the 3 Types of Destructive Corporate Tweets.  It’s a must read.

Reading it, one thought kept running through my head:

Character Counts

Most of the issues when a mistake happens, and the response to it, can be minimized by hiring for character as the first priority. Period. Every associate represents your company. To your customer, they are the company.

Who will represent the company? What are their key qualities? Excellent communication skills are a given. A leader inspiring multiple teams to effectively use social media will improve your customer experience.

But if  you insist the company choose associates with character, you will have fewer social media mistakes. And when they do happen, you’ll see a response that follows  Jay’s  “Three A’s – Acknowledge, Apologize, Authenticity.”

How important is character in your company? How do identify people with character? What qualities do you look for on your team?

I look forward to your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by.

– Don Kincaid

Posted in Customer Satisfaction, Marketing, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments