iStrategyBlabs

ISL Named Social Media Agency of Record for Volkswagen USA

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We’re incredibly excited to announce that we’ve just been named the Social Media Agency of Record for Volkswagen USA after a 6 month competitive review! Volkswagen has tapped us to manage their social media strategy, content creation, social engagement, social analytics and more. 

ISL has become the go-to social and digital agency of record for brands looking to disrupt the status quo of social media marketing. Our exemplar digital + physical work has enticed other clients of ours (like KrogerWilliam Grant & Sons, and Prestige Brands) to trust us with their day to day marketing as Volkswagen has — and led us to taking home AdAge’s Small Agency of the Year last year.

Four years ago, we launched an incredible project at VW’s global HQ in Germany called the Socialsphere, visualizing social data on massive projection displays. Becoming VW USA’s Social Agency feels like we’ve now come full circle. Simply put: we are ready to help make VW the coolest auto brand in social.

– DJ Saul, CMO & Managing Director, ISL

ISL brings a truly unique and inventive approach to their work. We are extremely excited to partner with them for our social media marketing.

– Mike Awdish, General Manager, Digital Marketing, Volkswagen USA

There’s so much more to come, but for now, we’ll just tease you with a prototype we built for VW which we call the “Social Dash” — a custom wood-enclosed dashboard visualizing real time “MPH” (Mentions Per Hour) and “TPM” (Tweets Per Minute). The icons flash blue with a new follower or RT along with custom audio effects. It works. It’s awesome. See it in action below!

 

Facebook Brand Battles: Coke Crushes Pepsi, Burger King Gains Ground on McDonalds, And More Epic Rivalries Revealed

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If you’ve followed our blog over the years, you’ll know that we love diving into the Facebook Advertising Platform to analyze and report on everything from Facebook Demographics to Fascinating Social Media Statistics. This year, we’re releasing a quarterly report on key brand rivalries on Facebook, looking at their quarterly growth and share of Brand Affinity, i.e. “people who have expressed an interest in or like pages related to a [Brand]”.

Check out the Q1 report & key insights below, and stay tuned for the Q2 update this Summer!

Brand Battles Final

Top Insights:

1) Burger King crushed McDonalds in terms of “% Q1 growth” with 50% growth versus 10% growth. Burger King still lags far behind McDonald’s in overall percent share of brand affinity but The King is gaining ground quickly.

2) While Starbucks remained stagnant, Dunkin Donuts grew by almost 19% in Q1, closing the gap on share of brand affinity as well.

3) Coke maintains its dominance over Pepsi, with 70% share of brand affinity and more than 2x Q1 growth and overall brand affinity.

4) Domino’s saw a sharp decline in brand affinity, likely due to their rebrand from Domino’s Pizza to Domino’s, as affiliated pages of “Domino’s Pizza” were altered and no longer roll up into the top line number reported here.

5) Visa’s impressive Q1 growth (36.4%) also comes around the same time as its Costco deal (supplanting American Express as the retail warehouse giant’s credit card partner). Well played. 

NOTE: As these #’s are pulled directly from the Facebook Advertising platform (In January and again in April 2015), we can’t account for potential factors such as fake profiles, timing of algorithm changes, deactivated accounts, or accounts of the recently deceased. Email dj@isl.co if you want the complete data set.

 

What’s Trending On Facebook? A Touchscreen Visualization Of The Trends API, Live At F8!

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We’ve recently been named a Facebook Media Solutions Partner, and have been working on multiple projects for Facebook from hardware prototypes to data visualization. We’re excited to unveil our latest work: a real-time touchscreen data visualization of the Facebook Trends API, live right now at Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference.

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Our visualization is a depersonalized view of the most popular conversations happening around the world on Facebook, using the Trends API to show the top conversations across nine different categories: Sports, Entertainment, Business, Politics, Science, Technology, Health, Disaster, Strange, Celebrity, Crime, and Lifestyle.

It’s a JavaScript based web app that pulls data from three Facebook API’s (Trends, Topic Insights, Graph) and displays them in a beautiful WebGL environment with touchscreen interface. Here’s how it works:

Visitors see a universe of Trending topics:

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Visitors click into a Trend:

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Visitors tap on posts to see contributing content:

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Visitors can also browse and filter by category:

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Check out some more photos of the visualization in action at F8:

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Meet Dorothy: Click Your Heels To Summon An Uber, Call Your Phone, Or Text Your Friends!

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Have you ever been stuck in an awkward situation, praying your phone would ring so you could politely extract yourself?  Of course you have.  That’s why we made Dorothy, a physical trigger that makes any dumb shoe smart. Dorothy consists of the “Ruby” (a small connected device that slips into your shoe) and a mobile App that allows you to trigger a call to your phone from a fake contact (your “boss”) whenever you tap your heels together 3 times. Dorothy can also send text messages to your contacts with a custom message and your current location, letting them know exactly where you are. Soon, we’ll be working toward summoning an Uber. What else can Dorothy do?  You tell us… we’re just getting started! See it in action here:

Check out Dorothy on Good Morning America!

How It Works:

Dorothy is powered by the LightBlue Bean, an Arduino micro-controller with a built in Bluetooth chip, accelerometer, and coin cell battery. Simply clip the “Ruby” into your shoe, connect it to the Dorothy iPhone App, and select your desired action after a successful trigger (3 heel clicks). The onboard accelerometer sends a signal to your phone via Bluetooth (listening for spikes in the data over a short period of time).

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The App: The iOS application was built in Objective-C and uses the Bean iOS SDK. Using AFNetworking we contact a small Node server that hits the Twilio API to trigger the appropriate action (a call to your phone or a text to your friends).

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Components: The Ruby consists of three main components, the 3D printed housing, a laser cut acrylic faceplate, and the LightBlue Bean. The Ruby’s housing was modeled using a CAD program and designed to mimic the naturally occurring facets of a gemstone, while maintaining a compact form factor (currently measuring 1.35” x 0.88” x 0.35”).

(NOTE: While this is our initial prototype — we’re currently exploring models as small as 1/3rd of its current size, potentially built into an insole…).

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Fabrication: The Ruby’s housing was 3D printed and carefully finished to remove any ridges and imperfections. Self-setting rubber (Sugru) was then pressed through the stenciled logo on the front face of the enclosure, adding additional color and tactility. The LightBlue Bean was placed inside the housing and covered with a thin laser-etched acrylic faceplate, and finally, a flexible clip was attached.

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What’s next? While in the near future we’ll be able to trigger actions like ordering an Uber to your geo-coordinates, or automatically order your favorite pizza — we’d love to hear your ideas. Let us know the most exciting actions/outputs and we just might make you a custom Dorothy of your very own… HOLLER AT US!

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UPDATE as of 11/10/14:

Since its release, Dorothy has been featured on some of the biggest news shows including: NPR, Good Morning America, Ellen, The Today Show, and The Meredith Vieria Show.  You can view those clips below.

 

ELLEN from iStrategyLabs on Vimeo.


 

#IntroFriday Will Change Your Life, And Someone Else’s Too

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Perhaps it’s because I can toss a business card across the table with the accuracy of Peyton Manning that I often get asked to speak about the idea of “networking” or how to become a “super-connector.”  That said, the word “networking” often connotes the transactional, disingenuous side of relationship building. At the end of the day, one of the best ways to build & strengthen relationships is to provide selfless value to others. Here’s what you’re doing wrong and what you should be doing instead:

You are Doing it Wrong:  im-late-for-business-roller-blades The business card collecting, name-dropping, sales-driven types might be good at filling out a rolodex, but they’re too quick to ask for value (or simply to try and sell you something) instead of seeking to provide value (an idea, a connection, an opportunity, etc.). Too often are they demanding value in an email exchange (like calendar spamming), rather than simply creating it.

The Right Way: Many have written up great advice on this front, from the likes of Steve Blank on “How To Get Meetings With People Too Busy To See You” , and some even offer actionable recommendations and exercises such as James Altucher — who has a simple list of skills required to become a superconnector. The main message is to  provide real value to build real relationships. Here’s a dead simple way to get started: introduce two people you know to each other via email (two people who you know would both enjoy or find value in connecting with one another). Instead of #FollowFriday, let’s call this approach #IntroFriday.  Here’s an example:

Dan<>Kate

If you’re 100% confident that both parties will indeed be interested in meeting the other, then go ahead and let it rip. If you’re not, send them  individual notes to see if they would in fact be interested in the connection. Through practice, you will sharpen your radar and develop better intuition for future intros.

If you don’t have an intro to make, email someone you know and ask what types of intros would be beneficial to them (an investor? a designer? a plumber?), and remember it for the future. That’s it. I guarantee if you practice this, something positive will come from it… and sooner than you might think.

If it doesn’t, I’ll buy you a cup of coffee.  :)