A Recognizable Character Could Help Both Universal and Nintendo (Watch)

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If you’re heading to any Universal theme parks over the next few years, you might see a familiar face. Mario, the popular plumber from many Nintendo video games, is headed to Universal theme parks in Orlando, Osaka and Los Angeles.

Universal and Nintendo first announced their partnership over a year ago. But the two popular brands just released a teaser outlining plans for the new theme park attractions. Though the tealer didn’t reveal many specifics, it’s a safe bet that Mario will be a major centerpiece of the new park area. He’s a recognizable face that could draw in visitors and get people excited about the new attractions.

However, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be other Nintendo characters or themes mixed in. This partnership also creates a unique opportunity for Nintendo to get more attention for some of its lesser known games. So if the two companies can come up with a way to draw people in using recognizable characters and themes, and then introduce exciting new themes as well, this could be a big win for both sides.

Benefits of Leveraging Brand Recognition

And while your small business likely isn’t partnering with any major theme parks in the near future, the same concept can apply. Using the brand recognition already earned by themes or characters can be a major draw for people. And sometimes, they can even help you introduce new items as well.

Salvation Army Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “A Recognizable Character Could Help Both Universal and Nintendo (Watch)” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Renewable energy

Trump Needs Clean Energy – by Jerry Jasinowski

President-elect Donald Trump has defied conventional wisdom with his assertion that global warming is a “hoax” and he has inspired hope among the impoverished coal fields of Appalachia that he will bring the coal industry back by calling off the Environmental Protection Agency’s “war on coal.”

I don’t believe the Obama Administration’s EPA ever formally declared a “war on coal,” but it has acted to accelerate coal’s decline, and for perfectly sensible reasons. There is no question that coal takes a greater toll on the environment than other energy sources. In terms of life-cycle greenhouse emissions per power source, coal is by far the worst offender, generating 1,001 in grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt hour. Natural gas comes in at less than half that.

The real “war on coal,” to the extent such a thing exists, is being waged by natural gas which not only burns cleaner than coal but also costs considerably less. Ten years ago coal accounted for 49 percent of all electricity generation in this country and natural gas only 20 percent. Today, both coal and natural gas account for 33 percent, and coal’s share is slipping inexorably away.

The challenge of natural gas is not only pummeling coal, it is slowly pulling the rug out from under nuclear power. It can be reasonably argued that nuclear power is one of the cleanest power sources, but it is not cheap. Building and operating nuclear power plants is costly and takes a long time. Our government has yet to agree on a consensus disposal method for nuclear wastes which remain toxic just about forever. About one out of four nuclear power plants in the U.S. today is underwater in terms of operating expenses, which includes payments on the huge debts that attend nuclear power plant construction. Many U.S. nuclear plants have been shut down or are in the process of being mothballed.

Meanwhile, renewable energy sources are gradually taking a larger share of the energy pie. Wind, solar, and other renewables are contributing only about 7 percent of the energy mix today – hydropower another 6 percent – but the share is growing rapidly. Renewables have acquired a momentum with a power of their own. Windmills are going up on mountains and off the coast. New houses, office buildings and manufacturing plants have solar panels on their roofs. They will continue growing regardless of the policies laid down by Washington or edicts from the White House. It is part of the economic landscape, and perhaps more importantly, part of our culture. The new generation wants clean energy and is making it happen through the marketplace.

President Kennedy liked to tell the story of a politician who saw his constituents on the move. “Look, there go my people,” he said. “I must find out where they are going so I can lead them.” At some point, our new President will need to recognize this dynamic and take advantage of it – if he wishes to succeed.

Jerry Jasinowski, an economist and author, served as President of the National Association of Manufacturers for 14 years and later The Manufacturing Institute. You can quote from this with attribution. Let me know if you would like to speak with Jerry. November 2016

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Instagram Introduces Two New Features that Borrow From Periscope and Snapchat

Two new Instagram features for November 2016 borrow functionality from other social platforms: live video and disappearing photos and videos.

Instagram is putting the popular ephemeral spin on video streaming and private messaging.

Taking a page out of the books of Snapchat and Periscope, the app is introducing two new features: live video and disappearing photos and videos for groups and friends in Instagram Direct.

The New Instagram Features for November 2016

Built on the existing “Stories” feature, Live video allows users to broadcast videos to friends and family in real-time. Once they are done, the live story disappears from the app.

The other feature is disappearing photos and videos from groups and friends in Instagram Direct. This feature works pretty much the same way as Snapchat. Users can draw on the disappearing photos and add text. The photos and videos disappear from the recipients’ inboxes after they have seen them.

Instagram’s head of product Kevin Weil said the goal of both live streaming and private disappearing photos were all about broadening the scope of the service. “Instagram should be a platform for all your moments,” he told Variety, arguing that Instagram had over the past few years turned into a highly curated service for people’s best photos, and that these new additions would allow for more intimate and less polished experiences.

But it’s evident that these new updates are sending a clear message: Instagram wants to take on Snapchat. Interestingly, this isn’t the first time it has been “inspired” by its competitor.

Earlier this year, Instagram launched Stories, a feature that makes the app less like the old Instagram and more like Snapchat.

This time, the stakes are higher because Snapchat doesn’t have live video yet, and Instagram is pushing Stories in a big way. The company said over 100 million use Stories every day.

It will be interesting to see how Snapchat responds to this move.

Image: Instagram

This article, “Instagram Introduces Two New Features that Borrow From Periscope and Snapchat” was first published on Small Business Trends

Top Strategies for Taking Your Online Community Offline with Marketing Events – Stefanie Grieser [SSM019]

How do you go from having no conference – from almost having no marketing team, just you being the 9th employee and one of the very first marketers – to a marketing conference of 1,000 attendees, acclaimed in your industry, a must-attend destination on the annual events calendar?

How do you do all of that in just four years?

We had the pleasure of speaking with Stefanie Grieser, International Marketing Manager at Unbounce, about the multifaceted strategies that go into marketing and growing one of the most successful marketing conferences in the industry. And how marketing events help to engage your audience and create delighted customers for life.

A huge thank you to Stefanie for jam-packing this episode with actionable wisdom and takeaways for social media managers and marketers looking for the best ways to start, grow, and nurture successful marketing and social media events.

How to listen: iTunes | Google Play | SoundCloud | Stitcher | RSS

This episode is available on:

In this episode, here’s what you’ll learn:

Stefanie Grieser shares the fascinating story and strategy of how Unbounce went from small meetups to hosting one of the largest marketing events in the industry. You’ll also learn other great things like:

  • How social media can help you market and grow your offline community
  • Why measuring the ROI of events is challenging, but important
  • Key factors and strategies in promoting marketing events and conferences
  • Where sales and acquiring new customers fits into the event marketing cycle

2 Key Takeaways for Successful Event Marketing from Stefanie

In Stefanie’s words…

1.Keep in mind the backbone of any great event is great content

“Keep in mind the backbone of any great event is great content: deliver great value for your audience and an audience. If you keep those two things top of the priority list I think you’ll succeed in event marketing. Again, I said this throughout the interview, you can have all the bells and whistles and you could be worried and stressed about catering, but at the end of the day that’s lower on the priority list to make a great event.”

2. Keep it simple at the start

“I would also advise people that are thinking about doing event marketing, whether it’s a conference or a smaller meetup, to keep it simple at the start. You don’t need to over-complicate things. Again, keep those two things top of mind, an audience and great content. Really keep it simple. I think the first year you can get sidelined. We’re going to have all these different tracks and all these people and it can get complicated really quickly.”

I think if you simplify things, especially if you’re a one person team. I was by myself. I was doing this. I was spearheading things from the ground up and there’s a lot of people around me would be like, “Oh, what about this? What about this?” I had to … It’s so great to think about all these extras and think about all these different tracks or what we could do here, but at the end of the day I think keeping it simple and keeping those two things top of mind will really serve you well.”

 Mentionable Quotes and Shareable Snippets

Event Marketing Tips with Stefanie Grieser

In Stefanie’s words…

“Really, event marketing is an extension of your content marketing. That’s the backbone to a really successful event. You can have all the bells and whistles, and events oftentimes get overshadowed by all these bells and whistles and great AV and balloons and swag. But really the backbone of a great event is an audience, the people there. That makes an event: a community and great content, valuable content that people can learn from.”

Show Notes and Other Memorable Moments

Thanks a million for checking out this episode! Below are the websites and other tidbits that were mentioned in today’s podcast about creating incredible Facebook communities using groups. If you have any questions for us, feel free to drop us a line in the comments and we’ll respond right away!

Companies and Events Mentioned by Stefanie

Great Quotes

  • “It’s a very big word, but really like any project or startup or even marketing channel, you should think of it as an MVP. Start small. We didn’t start by saying, ‘We’re going to do a conference. We’re going to pull off a conference.’ Yes, we kind of had the endgame in mind: It would be nice to do a conference. But why don’t we take little steps to get there?”
  • “These communities could really be strengthened through in-person encounters. Unbounce is a software company. We provide marketing and conversion software to marketers, and all of our interactions are done online. Building an in-person marketing strategy really actually strengthens some of the ties that we have to our community, to our customers, to people that could be customers – future customers I call them.”
  • “It showed us that people want in-person experiences and events. They want in-person connections. That was one little thing on the road to a bigger event. We did five or six meetups in different cities, and we found that it was really valuable. People were learning a lot. They were a high touch opportunity.”
  • “If you think of an event as a marketing campaign you are driving and you’re using different levers to promote your event to get people to come. Social is one of those, social is something that we integrate into a marketing campaign. It’s always an aspect. Okay, we have this campaign, you have this event. How are we going to tell people about it? We have an audience on social. We have a community on social so we’ll tell them through social media.”

How to Say Hello to Stefanie (and us)

Stefanie “Stef” Grieser is a must-follow marketer on Twitter and she would love to say “Hello” at smgrieser.

Thanks for listening! We’d love to connect with you at @buffer on Twitter or with the hashtag #bufferpodcast.

Enjoy the show? It’d mean the world to us if you’d be up for giving us a rating and review on iTunes!

About the Show

The Science of Social Media is a podcast for marketers and social media managers looking for inspiration, ideas, and results for their social media strategies. Each week, we interview one of the very best in social media marketing from brands in every industry. You will learn the latest tactics on social media, the best tools to use, the smartest workflows, and the best goal-setting advice. It is our hope that each episode you’ll find one or two gems to use with your social media marketing!

The Science of Social Media is proudly made by the Buffer team. Feel free to get in touch with us for any thoughts, ideas, or feedback.

Paired Objects For Paired Relationships

This post is based on a talk about responsible internet connected design. For more information, contact the author.

We communicate constantly, both IRL and online, through organic and artificial interfaces.

We communicate constantly, both IRL and online, through organic and artificial interfaces.

The internet helps us reach our loved ones even when they are far away.

The internet helps us reach our loved ones even when they are far away.

Christian Sallustro / Via yankodesign.com

And yet we still miss each other…

And yet we still miss each other...

Modern times.

…just like we used to before these communication tools existed.

...just like we used to before these communication tools existed.

Cave times.

Because whether we communicate with text, sound, light, or video, sending information is not the same as feeling a loved one’s presence.

Because whether we communicate with text, sound, light, or video, sending information is not the same as feeling a loved one's presence.

Presence is simple, comforting, and ineffable. Recreating that feeling is difficult, so it’s no wonder that the internet centers around communication rather than presence.

Presence is simple, comforting, and ineffable. Recreating that feeling is difficult, so it's no wonder that the internet centers around communication rather than presence.

But communication without presence can strain relationships, provoking anxiety and “score-keeping” between couples.

This strain exists whether you are sending a text, a touch, a sound, or a video.

This strain exists whether you are sending a text, a touch, a sound, or a video.

If we could, we’d transmit the unquantifiable comfort of human presence instead of blinks, blips, and images. It’s hard to imagine what that would look like online.

If we could, we'd transmit the unquantifiable comfort of human presence instead of blinks, blips, and images. It's hard to imagine what that would look like online.

We recreate comforting human presence all the time with non-electronic objects that remind us of loved ones.

We recreate comforting human presence all the time with non-electronic objects that remind us of loved ones.

Oog sprung for the princess cut.

Many of these objects activate emotional memories to help us recreate a loved one’s presence in our minds.

Many of these objects activate emotional memories to help us recreate a loved one's presence in our minds.

A few well-placed, comforting, emotional outlines go a long way in recreating a loved one’s presence.

A few well-placed, comforting, emotional outlines go a long way in recreating a loved one's presence.

We think “dog” as easily from this outline as we do from a photograph of a dog, or a real dog.

With the Internet of Things, technologists can add interactivity to give new objects this same emotional weight.

With the Internet of Things, technologists can add interactivity to give new objects this same emotional weight.

These tech-powered objects recreate presence through a traditional emotive framework.

These tech-powered objects recreate presence through a traditional emotive framework.

Good paired objects recreate a sense of presence with no extra input required. They invoke comforting memories through subtle outputs.

You can actually purchase some of these products, like this heartbeat-relaying pillow.

You can actually purchase some of these products, like this heartbeat-relaying pillow.

Pillow Talk relays your heartbeat to your sleeping loved one.

Little Riot / Via kickstarter.com

While even the most technological advances of today can’t fully recreate presence…

While even the most technological advances of today can't fully recreate presence...

Oh, Mr. Bell.

The Touch / Via boredpanda.com

Stay tuned for more IoT thoughts as Christine wraps up her fellowship, or check out a more technical overview of paired object design.

The Open Lab for Journalism, Technology, and the Arts is a workshop in BuzzFeed’s San Francisco bureau. We offer fellowships to artists and programmers and storytellers to spend a year making new work in a collaborative environment. Read more about the lab, read more from Christine, or check out Christine’s website.