Who is Powered?

Normally, it is realistic to think that a company’s website can easily answer the question, “who are we.” That’s because in most cases, companies start off as something and grow organically. Occasionally, however, companies acquire (or are acquired by) other companies. And while this adds accretive products and services to their general offerings, it doesn’t radically change the focus of the business. In the case of Powered, nothing could be further from the truth… but we see that as a good thing.

In case you missed it, last January, Powered announced that it had acquired not one, not two, but THREE other companies. To borrow a term from Bill Watterson’s well-known cartoon series, Calvin and Hobbes, earlier this year Powered Inc. was transmogrified from a company that focused on building online communities to a social media agency.

Given what we were hearing in the market, this was the right move. But at the same time, January is a tricky time to merge four companies together because in our case, all four companies had a bunch of business that they were trying to close before the year got started in earnest. So all four companies were given a fair amount of leash and allowed to continue using their own names and pitching prospects using products and services that were in their wheelhouse.

As the head of marketing for Powered, you can imagine that my job of trying to promote a business comprised of four distinct entities located across three geographies — Austin, TX, New York, NY and Portland, OR — could be tricky. Up until a few months ago, that was absolutely true. But over the last three or four months, our collective companies are starting to gel and we now have a much more cohesive story to tell when asked “who are we.” But it’s taking a little time to catch the website up (kind of like changing the tires on a moving car).

In the spirit of giving people a little bit better sense of who we are, I thought it might not hurt to give a quick drilldown of what we say we do, who we we work with and then provide a few case studies. Oh, we also have a number of folks that work here who blog and tweet and podcast. If you haven’t met those folks (or didn’t know they were all under one figurative roof), I’ve provided links to them as well.

Powered is a dedicated social media agency that helps brands fully capitalize on their social initiatives, make them more relevant in an increasingly digital, connected and social world. Now with 75+ employees in its offices, we bring our clients “best-in-class” expertise across the social spectrum by offering a combination of strategy, planning, activation and management for social presence and programs including those centered on Facebook, location based/LBS, mobile applications, influencer activation and community building, content marketing, earned media and experiential marketing.

Clear as mud, right? Well they say that a picture is worth a thousand words…

At our simplest, you could say that we actually do three things:

  • Help companies “socialize” their websites
  • Build branded presences in places like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube
  • Get prospects, customers and enthusiasts to “do stuff” on behalf of companies. The “stuff” includes evangelizing, sharing, buying, referring and educating among other things.


Powered is lucky enough to work with A LOT of really cool brands. Rather than trying to list them all here, I’ve provided links to the various industries that we work with — each one contains company names and mini case studies about what we did (or are doing) with each of the brands:

Note: for a deeper dive on some of our active Facebook projects, be sure to head over here (StepChange is one of the four companies that is now a part of Powered Inc.


As I mentioned before, we have the benefit of working with some extremely smart people here at Powered… many of which try and practice what they preach (myself included). You can find the blog and twitter activity for many of us on the Powered.com home page. But for a slightly more comprehensive list, here are the folks that are regular content creators (alphabetically):

So what did I miss? What more can I tell you about Powered? Just let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer!


Looking at the Future: Onstar’s Live On

It’s an OnStar kinda night at Stubbs — Austin, TX

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a fabulous event at Stubb’s BBQ here in Austin. The host of the party was OnStar (a Powered client) and the purpose of the shin dig was to announce OnStar’s latest and greatest in mobile technology called Live On. Without getting into too much of a marketing pitch, the crux of what VP of Planning and business development at OnStar, Nick Pudar, walked us last night through focused on these four areas:

  1. Innovative technology
  2. 9th generation hardware
  3. Enhanced safety features
  4. New marketing campaign
Rewinding a little bit, I had a chance to try out some of OnStar’s technology a few months back when my colleague, Joe Jaffe, and I were in Detroit for the Future Midwest conference. Friend and director of social media at GM, Christopher Barger, was kind enough to lend us a Cadillac Escalade. In addition to it being a REALLY sweet ride, it was equipped with OnStar technology. What I loved about the technology (in addition to coveting the ability to remotely unlock my doors) was the fact that everything is done via voice. As someone that is married to their iPhone, I can tell you that I know how dangerous it is to try and text or tweet while driving. I also know how aggravating it is to not be able to enter an address into my GPS en route.
Joseph Jaffe, Powered and Christopher Barger, GM
Back to last night… what I like about OnStar’s thinking is that they are working hard to keep drivers safe on a lot of different fronts. Considering the fact that over 6,000 people died last year in texting or other smartphone related accidents — a number that’s destined to go up dramatically — allowing people to do the thing that they will inevitably do in a safer, smarter fashion makes a ton of sense to me. In fact, OnStar President, Chris Preuss said it best in yesterday’s announcement:

Giving our customers control of their vehicles with smart phone application technology is a key advantage of OnStar’s in-vehicle connectivity. This technology empowers drivers to make decisions about their travels well before they enter the vehicle,  meaning their full attention can stay where it needs to be – on the road ahead.

To that end, allowing for the ability to use your smartphone’s bluetooth capability to to perform text to voice OR using OnStar to be able to update your Facebook status (and listen to recent updates) is huge.
Inside a Chevy giving commands to Facebook via OnStar
The live updates coming from our car as we update from OnStar
On the “room for improvement” side of things, it does take a little doing to coordinate the Facebook updates. And once you do an update, it results in a voice >> text >> automated voice update on Facebook itself. However, this is OnStar’s first shot of the gate with this stuff so I imagine that the technology and capabilities will smooth out soon. I’m also envisioning that services like Twitter and location-based applications will be included in subsequent releases of this technology.
One other thing to note is the ability to go to OnStar’s site, enter in a location and then send it to your car is VERY cool and something that is a no-brainer. As I noted earlier, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve gotten into my car, forgotten to enter my destination into the GPS and ended up having to pull over onto the side of the road.
So a big kudos to OnStar last night for pulling off a fun and informative evening (something they replicated across the country). Also, a great big thank you to my friend, Kameya Shows, who was kind enough to invite me to last night’s soiree. You can see other pictures from the event over on my Flickr page.
Simon Salt, Incslingers, Aaron Strout (that’s me) and Wayne Sutton, TriOut & OurHashTag
Cross-posted on blog.stroutmeister.com

Loyalty Marketing Meets Social Marketing Podcast: Episode 2

Loyalty Marketing Meets Social Marketing: Episode 1

Loyalty Podcast Series

This is the second episode in the bi-weekly series of podcasts that I’m doing with author and loyalty marketing expert, Jill Griffin (you can find episode one here). During these brief 5-8 minute podcasts, we’ll be talking about the intersection of loyalty and social marketing and how focusing on both disciplines can help large and small companies deepen their relationships with new and existing customers.

In this episode, Jill answers the specific question:

I’ve read in a number of places that businesses need to start paying closer attention to Gen Y and the fact that they have different needs than those of Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers. Can you talk a little about creating customer loyalty among this age group? In particular, what can companies do to help deepen ties with these natural born “Googlers?

Right-mouse click to download

Be sure to check out Jill’s latest book (as referenced in the podcast) titled, Taming the Search-and-Switch Customer: Earning Customer Loyalty in a Compulsion-to-Compare World. You can also follow Jill on Twitter.

Community Powered, Live from SXSW: Aaron Strout


Susan Bratton & Aaron Strout at the SXSW Mashable Party

Susan Bratton & Aaron Strout at the SXSW Mashable Party

Next up in the #CommunityPowered podcast series featuring Susan Bratton of DishyMix, is little old me. That’s right, yours truly. Aaron Strout. Susan thought it was only fair that after working with her to arrange 13 other podcasts, helping her set up shop and then posting all other 13 that I should get a little “time in the sun.” By way of background, I’m the head of marketing at Powered — the company that owns this blog. Prior to that, I was the VP of social media at Burlington, MA-based Mzinga. Before joining Mzinga, I held a variety of director level roles at Fidelity Investments.


During my conversation with the lovely and talented Ms. Bratton, we talk about things like:

In addition to reading me here on this blog, you can also check out my personal (but professionally focused) blog cald Citizen Marketer. It if you really can’t get enough of me, follow me on Twitter at @AaronStrout. I am also the chief tweeter behind our corporate @PoweredInc account (although I’m working on getting our CEO to start tweeting from that account as well).

Right-mouse click to download.

FULL LIST of SXSW #CommunityPowered Podcasts are here.

Community Powered, Live from SXSW: Cathy Brooks


Cathy Brooks and Susan Bratton

Cathy Brooks and Susan Bratton

Next up in the #CommunityPowered podcast series featuring Susan Bratton of DishyMix, is Cathy Brooks principal of Other Than That Consulting and head of content and bizdev at Seesmic. By way of background, Cathy has spent more than two decades working in and around media and communications beginning in 1982 with a job ripping wire copy (yes they actually still had wire copy machines) at the largest all news radio station in Philadelphia, PA. All these years later, Cathy’s experience as a Journalist encompasses reporting, writing, editing, broadcast management, and most recently media training and strategy development. She also writes/broadcasts at the Other Than That blog.


During her conversation with Susan, Cathy touches on a point that is near and dear to my heart… namely that “social media is only as social as the people who are in it. And so, that means you actually need to see people in carbon-based life form.” Cathy also notes the importance of “quality” in terms of “quantity” in terms of those that engage with you and/or read your blogs or Twitter stream. Please note that Cathy had less of a voice at SXSW than I did so if you find it too hard to hear her,a transcript of the podcast is here).

In addition to reading her on the Other Than That blog, you can follow Cathy on Twitter at @CathyBrooks

Right-mouse click to download.

NEXT UP: Tara Hunt – Intuit

SXSW CommunityPowered Podcasts


Photo Credit: Jim Storer

Photo Credit: Jim Storer

A few weeks ago at SXSW, our friend and advisory board member, Susan Bratton and I did a number of podcasts with some thought leaders/practioners in the online community and social space. Each podcast is going up as its own blog post but I’ve heard from several folks that they would like a centralized location to see all the interviews at a glance:


  • [PODCAST] Patricia Martin – author, AdAge and Huffington Post
  • [PODCAST] Guy Kawasaki – author and Alltop.com
  • [PODCAST] Angela Benton – BlackWeb20.com
  • [PODCAST] Lee Odden – TopRank Online Marketing
  • [PODCAST] Henry Jenkins – MIT’s Collective Media Research Lab
  • [PODCAST] Dave Taylor – AskDaveTaylor.com and FilmBuzz.org
  • [PODCAST] Chris Brogan – New Marketing Labs & Chrisbrogan.com
  • [PODCAST] CC Chapman – The Advanced Guard
  • [PODCAST] Rohit Barghava – author and Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence
  • [PODCAST] Peter Fasano – The Coca Cola Company
  • [PODCAST] Dave Evans – author, Digital Voodoo and ClickZ (4/9)
  • [PODCAST] Cathy Brooks – Other Than That Consulting and Seesmic (4/10)
  • [PODCAST] Tara Hunt – Intuit (4/15)
  • [PODCAST] Aaron Strout – Powered Inc. (4/16)

Community Powered, Live from SXSW: Peter Fasano


Photo Credit: Keith Burtis

Photo Credit: Keith Burtis

Next up in the #CommunityPowered podcast series featuring Susan Bratton of DishyMix, is Peter Fasano, global interactive marketing team member and social media marketing manager at The Coca Cola Company.  Peter Fasano is also the principal of mass+logic, a consultancy focused on digital marketing and social computing. If that wasn’t enough to keep Peter busy, he’s also co-founder and partnership director of Social Media Club Atlanta.


During his conversation with Susan, Peter talks about the importance of brands not being afraid to make mistakes in social media. He also provides some background behind the evolution of Coke’s Facebook Fanpage (an organic process). Peter also shares some of the things he’s thinking about [hint: portability and vendor management relationship].

In addition to reading him on his social media strategy blog, you can follow Peter on Twitter at @PeterFasano.

Right-mouse click to download.

NEXT UP: Dave Evans, co-founder of Digital Voodoo, author and regular writer for ClickZ