Feedback celebrates the year that was 2012, which was in many respects an Olympic year – from an office opening in London with bold new clients and Feedbackers therein – to a reinvigorated Richmond office curating the largest research and strategy projects to date among an ever-expanding kaleidoscope of industries. And 2013 looks to be even MORE incredible… Happy New Year all!
Team embarking on new client work in Europe, Caribbean and a cross-country tour
RICHMOND, VA – When the clock strikes midnight on September 8, Feedback, a social media research and consulting group, will have completed a whirlwind first year that included two dozen new clients in 16 states, tripling the team size at the Richmond offices, acceptance into Worldwide Partners Inc. (the world’s largest owner-operated global agency network), and some of the biggest speaking engagements of the founders’ careers in a variety of industries.
Immediately after the 8th, Feedback embarks on a new year that includes clients in Europe, the Caribbean and South America, their second cross-country tour for a new national client, new office space and new employees.
Feedback is proud to announce a tremendously successful first year as well as the hiring of Jeff Kelley as Senior Experience Strategist, Brad Carr as Technology Specialist, and Brittney Trimmer as Experience Specialist. Kelley comes to Feedback from the public relations world, and previously served four years as a business and technology reporter with the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He is also the force behind the Richmond satire web magazine Tobacco Avenue.
“Our first year was not only full of crucial initial milestones, it completed many goals we had set for future years as well,” said Feedback CEO Jeff Thompson. “To take this from a glimmer to operating internationally in twelve months has been a fantastic journey, and we look forward to breaking more records in year two.”
Executive Vice President Dean Browell, who helped found Feedback with a PhD emphasizing generational differences online, added: “Hitting our philosophical goals were as important as hitting our financial ones. We have an incredible team of intelligent, creative people that work hard and play hard with the support of great partners and friends that do the same. Clients love that we love what we do, and that’s what you get when you combine results, expertise and passion.”
Feedback, Inc has proudly differentiated itself with social media strategy formed from a research context, applying ethnographic research in the social space beyond simply Facebook and Twitter. A combination of high-level, research-informed strategies leading into expert implementation to complement and enhance marketing and PR efforts is why clients and agencies from around the world have contacted Feedback since it was formed in September 2009 by Jeff Thompson, Dean Browell and Experience Manager Anna Lucas. Because Feedback often operates behind the scenes, contact Feedback directly for client names we can share.
Do you have time to search the web everyday to find the newest social media tools? If the answer is no, then you have come to the right place. I have searched the World Wide Web for social media information all week, and stumbled upon a few favorites along the way. Here are my picks of the week:
Wave Goodbye..to Google Wave:
On Wednesday, Google announced that they planned to shut down the product next year. One of the most hyped products of 2009 received little attention after its launch. On the Official Google blog, it was explained that despite having “numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked.”
The New and Improved Flickr:
Flickr redesigned its photo pages by updating navigation, context and photo size. Flickr now offers:
- Photos that are are 28% larger
- Additional navigation buttons above photos and on the sidebar that make for an easier photo viewing experience.
- “story-sharing,” making it easier to find the who, what, where, when, and why details about a photo.
Social Networking Dominates Our Time Spent Online:
Nielsen stats reveal that social networking now tops any other online activity. In June 2010, 22.7% of our time spent on the web goes to social networking, with the closest rival activity being online games, which is 10.2%. That means that we spend twice as much time on social networks than any other activity.
Customize Your Gowalla:
Gowalla now allows users to customize their passports. They will provide a few themes to choose from, or users can create their own. As Tech Crunch reported, co-founder Josh Williams said “This is part of a series of features we’ll be rolling out in the next couple of months to allow people and brands a greater level of personalization for their passport and spot places.”
Google & Verizon in Talks:
Google and Verizon are in talks about an agreement that would allow content creators to pay Verizon to get their online content to internet users more quickly, and give them higher priority in Google search. This is a big deal, because, as the New York Times reported, “Such an agreement could overthrow a once-sacred tenet of Internet policy known as net neutrality, in which no form of content is favored over another.”
“… the longstanding notion that colleges can carefully shape and control their public image is antiquated.” – President Brian Rosenberg, Macalaster College
Like it or not, with the influx of new media and viral marketing, higher education can no longer control its message or perception. In essence, hardly anyone can control public perception anymore. What organizations can do, however, is try to influence that message and communicate/market in the most strategic/effective way.
After working in higher education myself for over ten years, I think it’s safe to say the means of communication and marketing has changed … an obvious understatement. From marketing the institution to prospective students, to communicating with current students/faculty/staff to engaging with younger and older alumni alike, higher education institutions have had a difficult time embracing new media to attract and sustain communication with their constituents.
Higher education marketing and communication strategies must adapt to stay afloat and compete in today’s economy. How many print brochures do you think the average junior/senior in high school receives from prospective colleges and universities? If you stripped away the college logo and tagline, could you decipher major differences between the marketing materials and what they are trying to “sell?” How many juniors/seniors in high school read the newspaper … in print? Remember your audiences and respect how they are communicating in today’s world.
Luanne Lawrence, Vice President of University Advancement at Oregon State University said in response to their new media campaign, “Powered by Orange,”
“It’s scary to relinquish control of your message. But when you build a loyal community, it does your work for you.”
Right now, my two favorite social media campaigns for higher ed are yielding amazing results. Oregon State University’s social media campaign caters more towards prospective students and influencing the reputation of the university by including all constituents. The campaign launched last spring. School enrollment has soared, first-time donations by alumni were up and visits to the OSU website grew exponentially.
Macalaster College happened into a social media frenzy. A seemingly innocent self-parodying video on YouTube, “President’s Day at Macalester College” initially designed to attract and engage alumni, ended up reaching over 55,000 viewers. Annual fund donations spiked. The self-proclaimed non-technology savvy college president had a change of heart. President Brian Rosenberg of Macalester College had never blogged, tweeted, and he wasn’t on Facebook. He learned first-hand how new forms of social media “have more potential to connect audiences across both generational and geographic boundaries than do virtually all previous forms of communication.”
This isn’t a sales pitch. It’s reality. Pay attention to your audiences. Embrace new media … and accept the fact that the old adage of “controlling your message” is obsolete.
- Heather (@hmillar13)
The time has come to make the long journey to this year’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. Here at Feedback, we’ve prepared for the “Road to ‘Roo” by downloading and testing some free iPhone apps that we think will help us (and you) get there with minimum hassle.
First things first, if you haven’t already done it, download the official Bonnaroo app! Manage your way around the festival and mark points of interest using the “Festival Map” feature. You can also plan your route and stops along the way from your current location with “Road Trip.” An excellent addition to the app is “Radio Bonnaroo.” Stream it to get you in the mood and and be sure to play around with “Roo Camera.” Take photos on your way and e-mail them to your friends to make them jealous.
Another friendly suggestion from your pals at Feedback – Use the schedule feature on the app to plan out your day so you don’t miss out on your favorite bands!
Now, on to the meat of this post.
Making sure you don’t get lost is pretty important. We’d hate for you to be headed to Bonnaroo, take the wrong exit and end up in West Virginia and not Tennessee. Here are a few apps we recommend to help you get there.
Name of App: Mapquest 4 Mobile
Developed By: Mapquest
Mapquest 4 Mobile has some unique features that make it very useful for travelers. With this app, you can choose to see icons for places like hotels, food, shopping centers, and gas. Check out the name of places near you by tapping an icon on the map and, if you like, add it to your route. Mapquest also provides the voice option typical of most GPS systems as a guide, which will help you avoid a near-death experience caused by checking your phone while driving.
Name of App: Maps
Developed By: Apple (using Google Maps)
The iPhone’s preinstalled Maps app has different map views that might make finding where you’re going easier. Based on Google Maps, the app’s satellite feature enables you to see real-life views of where you’re going. If you’re a visual person who associates landmarks with directions, give it a quick once over before hitting the road. For safety’s sake, I wouldn’t use this en-route unless you have a passenger/navigator telling you the directions.
Knowing traffic patterns, police alerts, and construction areas is valuable when traveling and can save you a lot of time and, if you’re lucky, money. The apps below have similar features in this regard but different aims.
Name of App: INRIX Traffic!
Developed by: INRIX, Inc.
INRIX Traffic! lets you know about, well, traffic. This app made our list because it covered a lot of bases drivers would want to know about: accidents, construction, live police, and fixed camera traps. You can even report incidents you see along the way and earn karma points. As a warning, some of the apps options are a little misleading because you have to upgrade to INRIX Traffic! Pro ($9.99/year or $24.99/lifetime) to access them, but they don’t impact the overall effectiveness of the app.
Name of App: Trapster
Developed By: Research Unlimited Corporation
As you might have guessed, Trapster’s main focus is speed traps. From live police to cameras, it provides information on known enforcement points, toll booths, road closings, dangerous intersections, and school zones. “Known points” are permanent structures or favored police hideouts that will be of interest to drivers. Another cool thing about Trapster is its ability to use social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter, so you can alert your friends as well.
>> Gas Finders
Scrambling to find a gas station when you’re running on empty can be stressful; however, there are apps for that.
Name of App: Cheap Gas!
Developed by: GasBuddy.com
This simple ad-supported app is all about finding the information on the variable that most affects your wallet when you travel (especially by RV like the Feedback Mobile Lab) gas prices! Harnessing the power of GasBuddy.com, the app allows you to search for gas by cost or by proximity to your location. Because Cheap Gas! uses a system that awards user input, prices are typically updated shortly after they change at the station, leading to greater accuracy and reliability.
Name of App: GasBag
Developed By: JamCode
What the GasBuddy application lacks, GasBag makes up for. Instead of a fast list style, the app utilizes Microsoft’s Virtual Earth to display pins with a station logo for bigger gas resellers (i.e., Texaco, Exxon, et al). Nearby stations are identified by GPS and populated onto the map in a clear manner. Gasbag also allows you to record gas purchases and calculates your vehicle’s fuel efficiency based on how often you’re filling up. Despite this unique feature, for us, it doesn’t offset the delay in updates compared to Cheap Gas!
>> More Finders
Name of App: AAA TripTik
Developed By: AAA
Unlike many of its other services, AAA’s TripTik is available to anyone. Map out your destination using its search tool and find food, gas, and hotels along the way. While such finds are common in map-based navigation apps, TripTik offers more unique options – campgrounds, service stations, and key places to visit like museums, wineries, and historical houses. The app offers details about each place and the option to call or get directions.
Name of App: Yelp!
Developed By: Yelp
We assume everyone already knows about Yelp, but, just in case, we decided to add it to the list anyway. Yelp breaks down businesses near you into categories so you can find exactly what you’re looking for. You can read/write reviews, get directions, add photos, and check-in to a business. This can be very helpful to you and the masses, especially if you’re traveling great distances to get to Bonnaroo.
This is just a short list of the apps we’ll be using as we make our way to Manchester. As you can see, from navigators to gas finders and everything in between, there are all sorts of services out there to make your trip as pleasureable and hassle-free as possible. Use them well and have a safe and merry time on the “Road to ‘Roo!”
Be sure to follow our field team (@dbrowell, @ideaman, @alucas9) on Twitter for their latest updates and findings from Bonnaroo, as well as @feedbackagency for our observations from afar. Feel free to use the #RoadToRoo tag to share your travel adventures and check the Feedback blog daily for recaps and other fun things from Bonnaroo 2010!
This week, I’m doing my social media picks of the week a bit different. Feedbackers Dean and Anna are in Cambridge, MA for ROFLcon II. So, this week I have only one social media pick, and it’s…. #ROFLcon! We’ll be covering to footage of the event while we’re here, and started bright and early this morning at registration. I lucked out and got an interview with Christian Lander, who wrote “Stuff White People Like“.
Take a look:
Do you have time to search the web everyday to find the newest and coolest social media tools? If the answer is no, then you have come to the right place. (& if the answer is yes, leave a comment with your favorites). I have searched the World Wide Web for social media information all week, and stumbled upon a few favorites along the way.
Here are my picks of the week:
YouTube Redesign Rollout:
On Wednesday, YouTube rolled out a major redesign. The actual interface was revealed two months ago, & this week, the redesign was rolled out to millions of YouTube video viewers. Mashable describes the new YouTube as leaner and less cluttered with simplified navigation.
Facebook- Fans to Like:
This week, Facebook announced that they will be changing the way they ask users to connect with a page by replacing the word fan with like. So, instead of becoming a fan of a Page, you will be able to like a Page. This was announced on Monday by alerting Facebook advertisers that “fan” buttons will be replaced with “like” buttons on ads.
Twitter Homepage Change:
Twitter has completely changed their homepage. So now, Along with the search box and sign in or sign up information, Twitter’s homepage shows a sample of who’s on Twitter, what they’re tweeting about, and what big topics are being discussed.
Facebook Community Pages:
This week, Facebook has added an option for users to create Community Pages. A page falls into this category if it is an unofficial page, i.e. not for a company, brand, or public figure. So for example, if you want to create a Facebook Page for records or old radios, you’d use a Community Page. If the Community Page you create gets enough fans, it will be adopted and maintained by the Facebook community.
iPad Coming this Saturday:
For those of you eagerly awaiting the iPad, you may be in luck this weekend. On April 3, the iPad hits Apple stores. Wi-Fi only iPads go on sale this Saturday in Apple stores and select Best Buy stores. & As one would expect, iPad apps are now live on iTunes. The Wi-Fi & 3G capable iPads will be available later this month.
We’re beaming over here with new clients, super-interesting research and incredible partners lining up to make 2010 a banner year already. And over Twitter today we announced, “We can see clearly now, another new national client!”
Often people ask: “But Feedback, how come you don’t trumpet every new client or have a giant client list clearly displayed on your website?”
The answer is simple: It’s not about us. We generally don’t publicize our clients because often we are working behind the scenes. We have all sorts of relationships with agencies, firms, consultants and even a few direct clients. And while with some we are incredibly visible, in others we’re not. In our company’s life so far we have worked with a roster of national and international clients as well as firms of all shapes and sizes (located in major cities around the US as well as many here in our home state of Virginia). We have taken on many different industries such as healthcare, automotive, education, craft brewing, technology, incredibly localized communities and more. We’re able to share some names and will if you’re interested, just drop us an email (contact at feedbackagency.com) or call (804-893-3437). But for now we’ll just be us engaging with all of you on here thankyouverymuch.
All that said, every now and then we’ll tease out some good vibes as we grow. The great thing is, this wasn’t even the only good news this week. We’d like to thank all of our amazing partners, friends, fans and followers as well as warn them: Hold onto your hats, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.