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.

WHAT WE DO
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.

WHO WE WORK WITH

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.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

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!

The Next Big Thing? Lot’s of Little Things.

If you haven’t met our VP of strategy here at Powered, Greg Verdino, you should try and remedy that soon. He’s a smart guy who brings a healthy dose of wit and snide to any channel you connect with him in. He’s also just written a book. A really good book I might add. One that is made better by NOT being about social media. Well, it includes many references to social media tools and examples… but the book itself is about marketing. MicroMarketing. If you’re wondering what that is, you came to the right place to find out.

microMarketing FTW

Before I talk about what microMarketing is, I want to go back and provide a little context for this post. In helping my friend and colleague, Greg, get the word out about his new book, Mr. Verdino and I decided that rather than just send the book out to a bunch of influential folks and ask them to write about it, we’d ask them to cover a single chapter. I’m not in any way criticizing the traditional approach but in the spirit of “micro” we realized that shorter might be better. The roster of people that have agreed to speak is pretty awesome. I’ve included the names/dates/chapters they are covering and a link to their blogs below. As their write ups go live, I’ll swap out the generic blog links to those that point at the actual chapter posts:

Monday Sept. 20 –┬áChapter 1

Tuesday Sept. 21 – Chapter 2

Wednesday Sept. 22 – Chapter 3

Thursday Sept. 23 – Chapter 4

Friday Sept. 24 – Chapter 5

Monday Sept. 27 – Chapter 6

Tuesday Sept. 28 – Chapter 7

Wednesday Sept. 29 – Chapter 8

Thursday Sept. 30 – Chapter 9

Getting back to “what is microMarketing,” the title of the initial chapter of the book, “The Next Big Thing is Lots and Lots of Small Things,” does a nice job as summarizing the entire book. To that end, chapter one does a nice job setting the stage for the rest of the book by offering up examples of how the world is shifting from a mass to micro focus. With examples like “Sasquatch Dancing Man,” the Iranian election coverage by citizen journalists and Ashton Kutcher’s unlikely victory over CNN in a race to one million Twitter followers, the book demonstrates the loss of control by the mainstream media and in some cases, the government, over we, the consumer’s, time and attention.

If one were to summarize the entire book into it’s bare essence, this illustrative chart on page 21 pretty much says it all:

As a marketer or someone running a business big or small, it’s these types of prescriptive recommendations that make microMarketing so useful. When you take a quick look at the success of a site like Facebook with it’s 500 million members who share over 30 billion pieces of content each month, it’s not hard to understand that there is a new sheriff in town and his name is NOT “mainstream media”.

I promise that I won’t ruin the rest of the book for you. And while the reviews that you’ll get from my fellow bloggers over the next two weeks will be useful aids in understanding the new phenomena that Verdino writes about, it’s certainly no substitute for all of the useful examples and suggestions in the book itself. In fact, if you’re in the New York City area on September 27th, there’s a great seminar (I’ll be leading a panel with some of the folks mentioned in the book). You can also meet Greg and get your own signed copy of the book which comes with the price of admission.

If you’ve already read the book and have thoughts on Chapter 1 that I haven’t covered here (I’ve yadda yadda-ed over a lot), feel free to include them in the comments.

How is Mobile Changing Social Media?

iphone-toastLast week, I received this question from @dbaron in my weekly webinar and wasn’t able to get to it. But I also felt that it is a larger topic that warrants a blog post. It’s a question we get frequently at Powered, typically with a follow-up question about how our platform handles mobile.

The answer right now is, at the same time, a lot and a little.

In terms of participation in social media, much is now driven by mobile devices. The iPhone and similar new smartphones by Blackberry have become portals into popular services like Facebook and Twitter, cameras that post pictures instantly for friends to see, an outlet to let your friends know where you are and what you are doing. In terms of content creation for social networks, I actually do a lot more on my iPhone than I do on my laptop now. When I’m out and about I often have lot more going on that is post-worthy. I think the emphasis on the newsfeed and short bits of information in most networking services is a response to that behavior.

Networking is just becoming more interesting and powerful with GPS-enabled devices and location-based services like Brightkite (geotagged photos) or Moximity (geography-based networking).

However, the world of social marketing hasn’t been impacted much by mobile yet. This is for two reasons.

First, marketing through services like Facebook is still being figured out (and Facebook Connect offers many of the answers there), as ads don’t perform very well and pages don’t create long term engagement. If the model is still evolving for the broad web, the much younger mobile web has nothing to emulate.

Second, these networking services are communications tools, and mobile devices are still at their heart communications devices. While people may browse for the odd piece of information like a sports score or Madonna’s age (to settle a bet), it is rare to see prolonged sessions of browsing on mobile devices the way you see them on laptops. Mobile has narrow attention that allows little space for marketers to squeeze in without angering the user.

But small geography-powered services that address particular mobile use cases – like finding a restaurant, checking movie times, or delivering timely updates on events, will find niche audiences where offers could be served within the narrow attention of mobile in a relevant way. And once Facebook and other networks get a firmer grasp on how best to integrate marketing, those models can be extended into the mobile space.