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Author: Dave McGurgan

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Khun Narin Electric Finn Band

Soundtrack of our office: Khun Narin Electric Finn Band

After listening to Khun Narin Electric Finn Band‘s 2016 album “II,” we were once again reminded what a great delight their music is.

It blends psych rock and world music and western and eastern approaches to music-making.

Here is Khun Narin’s story told in two-and-a-half minutes.

And here’s a very psychedelic and inspiring 24-minute long megamix of Khun Narin’s music which you may enjoy.

File under: Psychedelic music from Thailand.

Stop working long hours

Please stop working long hours, nights & weekends

By Karl Smith

You have them in your office. We all do.

They work crazy hours during the week and work nights, weekends and during their vacation to boot. And they make sure you know about it.

As a leader, I have always gone out of my way to let my team know that that sort of behavior is not impressive, nor is it expected. Not that there aren’t times when you have to work well past the end of a typical 8-hour day. Not that there aren’t times when you have to crack open the laptop on the weekend. But on a day to day, week to week basis, that sort of thing shouldn’t be expected.

And lately, it seems other people are starting to see the light.

At the beginning of September, in preparation for Labor Day, Jena McGregor offered up a piece with this straightforward headline: Stop touting the crazy hours you work. It helps no one.

McGregor tees off with some of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s over-the-top views on being “strategic” with things like when you use the bathroom and, God help us, sleep, but hammers it home with, well, some facts.

Research, time and time again, shows the problems with overwork — on people’s health, on turnover, on absenteeism, on productivity. Studies have shown that after about 50 hours a week, productivity decreases, and it plummets after 55 hours, leaving no detectable difference between those who work 56 hours and those who work 70 — or 130, as Mayer suggested may be needed for successful startups.

McGregor’s piece was a follow-up to an article that explained those long hours are bad for you in a lot of ways. Again, the facts bear that out.

So why do people do it? To pump up their self-worth? To try to get people to work harder? The truth is, every one of these folks probably has a somewhat unique set of reasons. And they shouldn’t be the ones who identify the problem. People working these crazy hours aren’t helping you, or your organization, so it’s up to their organization’s leadership to recognize this for the symptom it is and get to the real underlying problem, then solve it.

#onward

Karl Smith writes frequently about leadership. His posts can be found on LinkedIn.

Social Media Marketing

What 2017 has in store for social media marketing

By Dave McGurgan

In the world of social media and social media marketing, one constant you can count on is constant change. New social media tools rise to the surface, while others reach the end of their lifespan. Meanwhile, major players such as Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat continue to roll out new features. These changes can often shake up your organization’s social media strategy and playbook from year to year.

In 2017, we expect to see continued innovations in the social sphere and the continued evolution in being able to target, message and market to highly defined audiences. And here are some of the ways it’s all likely to unfold.


Video is about to hit the peak! Now’s the time to get on

“When asked which type of content they would like to create more of if there were no obstacles like time, resources, and budget, 83 percent of [the] marketers surveyed said video content.”

What 1,200+ of the world’s best marketers think about the future of social media [Inbound.org, Alfred Lua]


The status quo on social is shifting

“For marketers, social media in 2017 will be a challenge and opportunity. With the decline of content marketing and the rise of new technologies, like virtual reality and artificial intelligence, marketers will have to create new strategies to keep up.”

Social Media in 2017 [Crowdbabble, Katie Meyer]


New areas of communication will emerge

“Historically, social media existed as a way for individual people to communicate online. When brands caught on, it also became a way for brands to speak to and advertise to consumers. But now, social media is evolving in new communicative areas. Some platforms are offering means of customer service, increasing the significance and interactivity of exchanges between brands and consumers. Others, like Facebook, are delving into more professional communication. Expect to see more diversity here as more brands catch onto the potential.”

7 Social Media Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2017 [Forbes, Jayson DeMers]


The social media skills gap widens

More companies than ever are using social channels for marketing, customer service and sales: around 90 percent, according to the latest data from eMarketer.
But a curious thing has happened: training and resources for frontline employees have been largely ignored. Research from management consulting firm Capgemini Consulting says nine out of 10 companies report their workers don’t have the requisite skills to leverage social media as a business tool.

Top 5 Social Media Trends for Businesses in 2017 [Hootsuite, Ryan Holmes]


Employees Turn Into Beacons For Their Brand

“If you are working for a company that considers itself “connected”, you might be encouraged to share business updates. This is because brands have now started turning to employees as brand ambassadors to further their brand image. In other words, using employee social advocacy programs has grown about 191% since 2013.”

5 Trends That Will Transform Social Media in 2017 [Social Media Explorer, Nancy Grace]


Chatbots Take Over 1:1 Conversations

Automated communications are here to stay. Facebook’s Messenger app now enables brands to build their own chatbot response services, helping to automate and direct communications with customers that don’t require major human influence. This month, the network even announced that payments will be supported in the feature.

So far, the majority of chatbots on the network seem to be experiments with the potential and range of the feature, but that’s bound to change. As savvy marketers and developers begin to catch up with the possibilities, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see chatbots begin to automate communication in 1:1 conversations. If that happens, 2017 will be the year we begin to see tangible effects on your social media marketing strategy.

5 Predictions For Social Media Marketing In 2017 [Social Media Today, Brad Friedman]


Leveraging live video within social media

“In 2017, one of the marketing trends we’ll continue to see the increasing adoption of live video for businesses that are marketing themselves through social media. It’s a powerful tool. I think smaller companies are likely figuring out how they can leverage it. I expect we’ll see more experimenting with live video for sure. I also believe that we’ll see more tools or add-ons that help make the production of live video even easier. It’s pretty amazing: You can launch a live video stream with one click and a mobile device.”

Marketing trends to watch for in 2017 [Four Dog Creative, Dave McGurgan]


If you’re not sure where and how you should be focusing your social media marketing efforts, call us at (302) 367-4023 for a free consultation and see how we can help.

LinkedIn social network

Linkedin’s new interface: Will it make social network easier to use?

By Dave McGurgan

LinkedIn is one of the oldest social networks in existence (it was launched in 2003!) and focuses on business, employment and professional knowledge sharing. Until early 2017, LinkedIn had an extremely utilitarian, if not Web 1.0 design, similar to sites such as Craigslist and Reddit. LinkedIn has made a bold step forward with a new interface that simplifies the user experience and reduces clutter. But does it make the social network easier to use?

As LinkedIn grew, it rolled out new features such as the ability to publish articles and discover/curate topics of interest. As it added on more features, the site became increasingly harder to use because of its unwieldy design and less-than-optimal UX. As a result, many of LinkedIn’s advanced features remained out of sight and out of mind for casual users of the social network. Simply put, LinkedIn hadn’t been especially easy to use, or navigate, for a long time.

The new LinkedIn design is much more contemporary and streamlined. The new feed where your latest updates flow in is very reminiscent of the Google+ feed. It’s dead simple and clean as it should be. The navigation menu is also greatly simplified, with all of its primary activities very apparent.

Where did everything else go? Well, you’ll want to check under the “More” tab, where LinkedIn favorite Groups now reside along with Slideshare (which is an incredible resource for business knowledge in and of itself.) Hopefully, with the new design, these features will get more play due to better placement in the site navigation. The “More” tab is also home to where LinkedIn business services now reside and are where companies can post a job and advertise to acquire customers.

LinkedIn continues to offer “Premium” services for job seekers, which is ideal for those willing to plunk down $29.99 a month, but for the underemployed or recently laid off workers, the monthly membership fees may still be too much to bear. It’d be great to see these premium services available to all users, but it seems like LinkedIn’s subscription model won’t be going away anytime soon. That said, you can usually get a free 30-day trial to their premium services, which may be sufficient if your search is a short-term one; sadly these days that’s not always the case.

If you’re like most professionals, you’re probably too busy to learn all of the nuances of the new LinkedIn site redesign. In which case, you’ll want to check out this recap of LinkedIn changes from Social Media Examiner. While it’s intended for marketers, there are probably several takeaways for most people and novice LinkedIn users.

Frida Baby Illustration

Four Dog Creative welcomes Frida Baby to our herd

We wanted to share a little something about the latest dog to join the Four Dog Creative herd, Frida. She is a min pin/chihuahua mix. We adopted her through Faithful Friends, a wonderful nonprofit animal welfare organization, here in Wilmington, Delaware.

Our art director, Kelly Carter, created this delightful illustration of Frida (formerly known as Baby, sometimes goes by Frida Baby.) Yes, that’s a dog in a martini glass! Kelly referenced a photo Frida after she had just been spayed and had to wear the cone of shame, and took some liberties.

Frida Cone

Frida has lots of energy and enthusiasm for life, which we’ve found refreshing. It has helped reinvigorate our team. Frida loves to go for walks, meet new people while she’s out and about and is especially fond of playing with her new brother, Maui.

Dogs are very much a part of who we are at Four Dog Creative. Dogs are loyal, trustworthy and offer long-lasting relationships. Those are the same values we aim for in our business relationships and are representative of who we are as a creative agency.

Maui and Frida

Backlit Keyboard

Using software to prevent sexual assault at work

By Dave McGurgan

Recode staff writer April Glaser makes a strong case for creating an anonymous reporting system that would provide victims of sexual assault at work a way to report accusations more effectively.

“Perpetrators can get away with attacking so many because often when individuals report these crimes, they are ignored or discredited … There’s strength (and credibility) in numbers, after all, but victims have few ways to connect with one another. We can fix this.”

Glaser’s vision resembles existing campus-­based reporting tools and addresses many complexities victims of sexual assault face including financial dependence on their abuser, fear of retribution, being ignored or discredited or further harassed in retaliation for reporting an incident. And it also would help employers and HR managers investigate accusations, review evidence and identify if other events have occurred.

“There are stories like the Brock Turner case and others in the media that make it very clear that the system is just not there to support survivors,” says Riddhi Mukhopadhyay, the director of Sexual Violence Legal Services at the YWCA. Online organizing could make prosecutions easier. “When it’s ‘he said, she said, she said, she said’ and multiple victims are willing to testify,” Mukhopadhyay says, “it can really help the case move through the criminal justice system.”

How Simple Software Could Help Prevent Sexual Assault [April Glaser, Wired]

Prince

What Prince taught us about relationships, creativity and being an artist

By Dave McGurgan

This March 2014 interview with Prince caught our attention because the enigmatic artist and entertainer rarely gave up information about himself. In this candid conversation with Arsenio Hall, Prince shares several interesting insights that for us, relate to our approach to marketing, creativity and what it means to be an artist.

>> On relationships

“The first person to contact me when I came back to late night was this man, to congratulate me and to say he will be here, save me a night. Thank you, dude, you’ve always been a good friend.” – Arsenio Hall

What it means: This small interaction speaks volumes about the importance of relationships and relationship building. Prince had no obligation to call Arsenio and congratulate him on his new gig, let alone offer to appear on his show and in a gesture of kindness, support his friend’s new work endeavor.

Our take: Relationships are one of the most valuable things you can spend your time developing. Sound relationships last for years, if not for life, and continue to grow and produce new opportunities. These relationships often help lay the foundations of successful businesses as well help individuals in their professional lives. That’s why at Four Dog Creative, we spend so much time building relationships, networking and sharing knowledge. The return on investment is often significant.

Prince Icon

>> On committing to life as an artist

“When I was 16, I was completely broke and needed to go get a job, so I got the Yellow Pages out and I couldn’t find one thing that I wanted to do. So I decided I was going to push as hard as I could to be a musician and went at it, you know?”

What it means: Prince’s response conveys how sincerely and deeply he committed himself to pursuing a life as an artist. It also demonstrates the intense focus that is required to become an outstanding creative. Prince recognized his strengths as a musician and entertainer and doubled down on them, even though there was no guarantee of financial success. He worked extremely hard at becoming the best he could become.

And like other eclectic artists, such as Miles Davis, Prince rarely looked in the rear-view mirror; he preferred to grow and explore as an artist. Prince worked to build a life where he was able to create the art that he ultimately wanted to make, on his terms, even if it meant at times, potentially alienating fans and the record labels that released his music.

Prince Icon

>> ON Teaching

“I think I’d want to teach in some capacity.” As much as I’d like to teach, I also like to learn.”

Our take: This is straight-up knowledge sharing. It’s one of the most powerful things that individuals and organizations can do. At Four Dog Creative, we spend a lot of time meeting with leaders from other marketing agencies to share information and insights. It leads to mutually-beneficial relationships and reinforces why we feel so strongly about collaboration over competition. It also supports lifelong learning. Along with time and money, one of the most valuable currencies is knowledge.

What it means: For brands and organizations marketing themselves online, sharing knowledge to succeed has become almost non-negotiable these days. Often when people go online, they’re looking for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. By providing value and offering solutions, brands are building can leverage knowledge sharing to deepen relationships with their customers and audiences.

Prince Icon

> On the Internet

“It’s a double-edged sword. A lot of artists aren’t getting paid full scale for their art. And the Internet, because of downloading and things like that, it’s kind of like a black hole and it’s hard to audit, it’s hard to get accounting. It’s not that it’s just about the money, but it’s about justice and fairness. And when people say that they love you and they respect you, but at the same time take, you know, eighty percent of your earnings, then expect you to fix your own communities. That’s the sharp part of the sword and we’re at the wrong end of it right now. Eventually, with courageous people going out there and saying something, and standing up for it, I think we’ll get some balance.”

What it means: As creatives and artists, it can sometimes be a challenge to get properly compensated for your work and art. It may also be a challenge to get others to recognize the value of the work that creatives and artists produce, even for artists whose work is widely distributed, consumed and appreciated.

Our take: As creatives and artists, we have devoted a lot of time practicing and learning our craft. And we are also continually developing our skills and refining the quality of our work. The investment of time and energy that we’ve put into our art is massive. Creativity can take years to develop and refine.

Artists and creatives need to keep reminding themselves of the sacrifices they’ve made to become good at their craft and become fluent in conveying the value proposition when they are promoting themselves and their work.

 

Marketing trends and creative to watch for in 2017

By Dave McGurgan

In 2016, we saw businesses doubling down on content marketing, brands using personalization to deepen relationships with customers, and the use of high-quality content to drive thought leadership and provide value to audiences.

We asked an eclectic mix of our favorite creatives and marketers we admire what marketing trends they’re anticipating in 2017. We also asked what projects everyone would be focusing on over the next 12 months. The responses were very inspiring and should give you some marketing trends insights as we charge into 2017.

Read more

Top 10 radio shows and DJs to listen to while working

By Dave McGurgan

Music is an integral part of Four Dog Creative. It gives us infinite inspiration. We are on a mission to listen to as much music as possible. We’re fanatics. Here are some of the radio shows and DJs we listen to while working, to expose ourselves to new sounds, discover songs and artists we missed the first time around and fuel our soundtrack for creative inspiration.

1) Henry Rollins, KCRW

Henry Rollins

Henry is a huge inspiration for us at Four Dog Creative, mainly due to his relentless work ethic and D.I.Y. spirit. Ever since becoming Black Flag’s singer in the early ‘80s, Rollins has continually pushed himself forward as an artist including acting, touring doing spoken word, and hosting his own TV show. Rollins’ weekly radio show on KCRW is a mix of Henry’s favorite “classic” bands (Thin Lizzy, The Damned) with more contemporary artists (Thee Oh Sees, Lorelle Meets the Obsolete). Rollins doesn’t shy away from musical diversity, and you can often hear everything from dub to noise and world music to jazz on his radio show. It’s always an exciting two hours of radio when Rollins excitedly shares the thing he loves most in life: music. Rollins’ weekly column for L.A. Weekly is also wonderful.

2) Iggy Pop Confidential, BBC6

Iggy Pop

It’s awesome to hear entertainers and musicians share the music that inspired them. On his radio show, Confidential, Iggy Pop recounts the legacy of blues musicians and early rebellious rock artists that fueled the unbridled mania of Iggy’s band The Stooges. When he’s not sharing anecdotes from his own history, Iggy often speculates on the stories behind the songs he plays, demonstrating his broad artistic thought process. Iggy devotes a fair amount of time to newer music, and he champions bands such as Savages and Prefuse 73. We all owe a lot to Iggy Pop, an artist who has always given it his all.

3) The Howard Stern Show, SiriusXM

howard_stern

For those who didn’t make the leap and follow Howard Stern to satellite radio, a lot has changed for Stern, who has evolved tremendously as an entertainer. Interviewing is one of Stern’s greatest skills; his conversations and explorations with celebrities are fascinating in which his guests let their guard down almost completely. (This New York Times piece verifies Stern’s interviewing savvy.) For the old-school Stern fan, there is still plenty of raunch and filthiness associated with the Stern show, but years of psychotherapy and personal development have seen Stern and his show mature on many levels.

4) NTS Radio

NTS Radio

NTS is an online station that has some of the most adventurous and diverse programs we’ve heard. It’s an underground station that champions bands and sounds that will probably never be heard or recognized by the mainstream. NTS has some of the top music tastemakers such as Andrew Weatherall and Adrian Sherwood as residents of its station along with guests from around the globe such as Four Tet and Laraaji. This eclectic radio station offers seriously adventurous listening, which is why we listen as often as we can.

5) Joe Strummer’s London Calling

Joe Strummer's London Calling

Joe Strummer is best known as the frontman of “the only band that matters,” The Clash. Strummer was a huge fan of music, and as he traveled the world, he collected the sounds and music that inspired him as a musician. In the late ‘90s, he shared some of his eclectic music collection on his BBC radio show, London Calling. The shows featured an incredibly diverse mix of styles, sounds, and culture. Strummer’s talkups are a great demonstration of his unique communication skills. The London Calling radio shows are now compiled into eight one-hour programs, which are hosted by Mekons founder, Jon Langford. Stream away!

6) KEXP

KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle

Seattle’s KEXP is among the top radio stations in the U.S. because of its fanatical championing of music discovery. It’s also well-known for meticulously recorded live performances, many of which were filmed and archived on YouTube. The programming is top-notch, so diving in at any time and listening to the live stream rarely disappoints. KEXP also supports on-demand streaming and real-time playlist updates, so you can quickly identify songs/artists to add to your preferred streaming audio service.

7) WFMU

WFMU

It’s hard to think irreverent, eclectic and wholly original radio station than WFMU. It’s the kind of radio station that is ideal if you want to explore the outer edges of weirdness in music. The WFMU DJs are fanatical about curating some of the most obscure, strange, compelling and challenging music you’re likely ever to hear. It’s one of the most fiercely independent radio stations, and their programming is entirely freeform. Spending at least a few hours listening to WFMU should be on the bucket list of every music lover.

8) KDRT

KDRT

In Davis, California there’s a modestly sized grassroots radio station, KDRT, that incorporates all of the elements that we love about local radio. It’s a classic blend of music and public affairs programming and is powered by people in the community it serves. The music is an eclectic mix of Americana, bluegrass, jazz and indie. Other shows feature a thoughtful discussion on progressive news, the environment and women in the arts.

9) John Peel

John Peel

The legendary BBC DJ, John Peel, was known for an insatiable appetite for music. Peel was a master of curating a diverse range of genres and styles of music in a strangely cohesive manner. His legacy lives on in many forms. Countless bands recorded in session at the BBC for Peel’s show. These recordings are known as “Peel Sessions.” Many of them are now available commercially. The John Peel Archive has painstakingly preserved Peel’s record collection. A dedicated core of Peel fans has taken it upon themselves to document Peel’s legacy over in Yahoo! Groups. And there’s The John Peel Lecture series which has yielded talks with music icons such as Iggy Pop and Brian Eno.

10) Tom Ravenscroft, BBC6

Tom Ravenscroft

Although he is the son of the most influential DJ of our time, John Peel, Tom Ravenscroft doesn’t attempt to fill his father’s shoes, nor does he need to. Ravenscroft between-song patter does echo that of his father’s, but he’s also developed a pleasant style of smooth delivery that is his own. Ravenscroft does a great job of mixing new and upcoming artists (an excellent way to find out what bands are going to get popular) as well as mixing things up with some tried-and-true indie classics and a dose of vintage soul and R&B. We can’t get enough of Ravenscroft’s show on BBC6 and we listen to his weekly show and whenever he’s filling in for other excellent DJs such as Gideon Coe and Steve Lamacq.

Explainer video: Healthcare Claims Database

Conceived and led the development of explainer video of Delaware’s Healthcare Claims Database legislation, which leverages health data to improve access to healthcare, reduce cost and improve public health.

  • Created script outline and key messaging for video
  • Coordinated photo direction and capture of audio at bill signing event and video post-production
  • Sourced vendors and managed collaboration with Moonloop Photography and Planet Ten
  • Developed consumer-focused paid and organic social media campaigns to promote value and significance of legislation