Finn Partners – Inspired

We at Finn Partners are Inspired by many things: A photo, a song, a news story, our clients - and each other. This blog is an opportunity to tell our story and to share our challenges, successes and motivations with you.

 
 

Finn Partners Midwest Hits the Detroit Tech Scene during TechWeek Detroit

History, opportunity, ideas, dreams, achievement, trust, warmth, creativity, quality, hard work, optimism, collaboration.

These are the words that come to mind when I think of both our recently opened Finn Partners Detroit office, and TechWeek Detroit, a weeklong event that showcases, celebrates and enables emerging innovative ecosystems in Detroit. And, not coincidentally, these are also all attributes of our host city.

We’re thrilled that, like us, TechWeek Detroit is a newbie in town from the Windy City, but the primary reason we gravitated to this event was because we share a belief in the incredible talent and opportunity that are unique to this city – especially in the realm of technology and innovation.

We’re eager to spend the next few days exchanging ideas with fellow Detroiters, learning from, and engaging with the 2,000+ attendees. With seminars on everything from How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation to The ROI of Happiness and panelists from The Atlantic, Detroit Denim and The Detroit Lions, we’re thrilled to learn more about the minds behind Detroit’s booming tech space and to contribute to the conversation.

Although there have been TechWeek events in New York, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles, I think this one will be unique because this city and the people here are different. The history of Detroit reminds us to thrive in the face of adversity and look at a future full of opportunity. We believe there’s a lot of potential in Detroit, and in Michigan overall – this week, and the ideas and relationships that come as a result of it, are a testament to that.

If you’re attending the event let’s meet up or, follow our team’s adventures from afar on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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If You Need Something Done…

I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who once said, “If you want something done, ask a new mother.”

I have recently had the incredible experience of becoming a mother. In honor of Mother’s Day, I am going to take the opportunity to humble-brag on behalf of all my mummy friends and myself.

There are a million and one lists to prepare you for pregnancy, labor and delivery and provide advice on child rearing. What they all share in common is NONE of them will ever truly prepare you for any of these things. The best metaphor I ever heard was from a girlfriend who compared delivery to a car accident with an incredible birthday gift on the other side. The list I could have used, the one we never see, was ten ways to leave and return to work gracefully.

Something many moms experience during pregnancy, especially in the last few weeks, is what one of my colleagues calls zombie brain. This was definitely my experience. Just when you are totally uncomfortable and ready to be done with the whole thing, your intellectualism completely depleted, you say farewell to your colleagues and head home to await your special delivery. You leave the company of the people who push and stimulate you for over 40 hours every week, on a low note — gassy, waddling and seemingly dumber than a bag of rocks. Then all of a sudden, you blink, and it is time to go back to work.

Preparing for that transition back to the office was one the most challenging parts of the whole process for me. My emotional state was not exactly the most stable — I was equal parts hormonal, sleep deprived and pure fear — but the part women rarely talk about is this: I was terrified of failing; terrified I had “lost it;” and terrified I would no longer care about the work that had meant so much to my sense of self before mommy-hood. In preparation for my return, I was, simply put, miserable. Of course, I was also terrified of leaving my baby with strangers at day care, but that feeling never goes away completely, or so I have heard.

But, there’s something else that happens that doesn’t get discussed enough, and here is the bragging part: To my surprise, I have never been faster or more productive in my life than I’ve been in the past year. As a new parent with responsibility for another human 24/7 I can now do four things at once and do them well. I exist on 15-minute intervals and have seemingly grown additional eyes, arms and legs. My experience, and the experience of other new moms I have spoken to, is that turning your mom brain and your work brain on and off at a moment’s notice is one of the greatest challenges early on. Every minute of the day is suddenly spoken for and as a result, the brain adapts and becomes very good at cramming a lot into small intervals of time.

Maria Konnikova’s recent post in the New Yorker describes the research of Professor David Strayer on the phenomenon of the super-tasker. He and his colleagues claim that what creates this small subset of the population involves neurons, cortexes and lobes– that these people are outliers and exceptions.

Well, Professor, I am a super-tasker, and so is every mom I know. I still occasionally leave my keys in the freezer- that is the humble part. But if you need something done, I recommend you ask one of your new mummy colleagues. She’s probably doing 14 other things, but she’s doing them really well.

 
 

Finncast Episode 17: Social Design

We took a slightly different direction for Finncast’s 17th episode, as we were joined by repeat guest and wildly talented account supervisor, Anush Davtian. Together we explored digital news as of late, including Vine’s desktop redesign,  Pinterest’s “Guided Search”, and Foursquare’s app split, before launching into a larger discussion on social design and Twitter’s desktop redesign.

Want in on our news-fueled discussion? Lend us your ears, and click here.

 
 

INFOGRAPHIC: 2014 Oscars Broadcast Sponsorships Impact in Social Media

Advertisers spent millions of dollars securing sponsorship slots for the 86th Annual Academy Awards. Samsung, American Express and Lipton among the most visible on Oscars night . How did that translate to the social media conversation for these brands? A well-covered selfie might make you think Samsung ran away with all the prizes, so we dug a little deeper than conventional wisdom and found some interesting activity that fueled a couple of lessons.

We utilized Crimson Hexagon to scan for posts associated with the Oscars and selected sponsors. We limited the analysis to advertisers that produced a measurable social media impact. I’m sure there were more sponsors than we examined but we caught the big ones.

Two insights we developed:

  1. It’s fine to staff up your social media team for the big event, but keep them around for the next day too — when the conversation gets the most traction.
  2. Depending on your business objectives, find the metrics that best help you prove that your activity is having an impact. Hint: it’s not just the usual KPI (key performance indicators) suspects.

Check out the embedded infographic below or download the high-resolution static version. We’ll look for the next big event to test out this analysis again, and if you have suggestions please let us know.

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Finn Partners analysis of the social media impact of leading 2014 Academy Awards advertisers.

 
 

NY Tech Day: Showcasing Silicon Alley’s Finest

New York Tech Day is one of the most exciting days of the year for the local tech scene. The event, which heralds itself as “the world’s largest startup event,” brings together more than 400 exhibitors and over 10,000 attendees to showcase the best and most promising startups from around the globe.

This year’s Tech Day was the best yet, as there were more startups than previous years, and showed a true variety in the types of people and companies it attracted. In past years, it seemed like the tech industry as a whole was focused more on trying to be the next Twitter or Oracle. This year, however, you could sense a change in the air. Sure, there were social apps and data tools this year – but today’s startups aren’t trying upstage existing similar apps – they are specifically filling the holes they see in their space (like Crushed and Sportomato).

One of the major trends we saw this year revolved around payments – there were companies debuting smart POS systems for retail as well as mobile wallets. Perhaps some of the most exciting were the companies that were integrating social media and personalization features into their new-age cash machines, making shopping social again. For example, Koupah not only replaces legacy registers with new POS systems – they also allow customers to share certain data with the store, like their usual purchases and their name, to foster more personal relationships between small business owners and their regular customers.

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Another trend we noticed is the utilization of big data that translates the social experience. For example, hshtags is a startup that allows users to search for a certain hashtag across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. There seems to be an inconsistent user experience across platforms – hshtags changes that with an easy-to-use interface. Similarly, mashwork is a startup that follows second-screen conversations and offers real-time analytics on what people are saying, when they are saying it and what buzz words are being used about a particular show across all social platforms. (The ABC hit show “Scandal” was being showcased as having one of the highest conversations during the conference.)

Finally, on a personal note, if you’re in the market or looking to move, like Ryan will be, there are some great startups that offer services to help with your hunt. RentHackr is a crowdsourcing marketplace that allows users to search for available apartments in a certain area, and even offers a notification system that will email you when a location becomes available. Another hassle when moving ensuring that all of your mail is forwarded to your new address. Updater is a service that helps with this task. It only takes a few minutes to input your new information, and will update your accounts automatically.

We’ve told you about some of the companies we met – here’s our top ten of the companies we’re most excited about (in no specific order):

  • hshtags (thanks for the shirt!)
  • Crushed
  • Sportomato
  • Koupah
  • Bindo
  • Updater
  • Solidoodle
  • Dash
  • Paay
  • mashwork

 

 
 

Finncast Episode 16: Finding Partners for Your Client Partners

At Finn Partners, we use the word “partnership” a lot, and not just because the word “partners” is in our company name. We view our clients through the partnership lens, and work with them as collaboratively as we do our colleagues.

Episode 16 of the [mostly] weekly Finncast focused on the partnership landscape, particularly in finding the right brand and celebrity partnerships for a client. We were lucky to have Owen Donnelly, a newly minted Associate Vice President from our Chicago office, join us to discuss his experience in this area.

To hear our take on partnerships, and on the news (the General Mills terms and conditions mishigas (forgive my random Yiddish), Kraft teaming up with Ditto, and Occulus Rift), lend us your ears, and click here.

 
 

Finncast Episode 15: Good Writing Isn’t Dead

For episode 15 of the Finncast, we tapped into the brilliant Ty Sheppard of our San Francisco office to explore the world of writing, and how it applies to our everyday work in public relations and social media. We also touched on news from that week, including Vine enabling messages, as well as Honeymaid and OKCupid responding to intolerance, and taking a stand for equality. Give it a listen here.

 
 

April Fools’ Day

I’m not really one for pranks – which didn’t stop my colleagues from covering my office in bubble wrap a while back – but I do appreciate a good brand gag for April Fools’ Day. Last year, we chimed in with an Inbox Zero spoof called Inbox 90, but this year, we’re watching through the lens of BuzzFeed, who has dedicated a page on its site to aggregating today’s social stunts.

LinkedIn has always been playful with its “People You May Know” feature on April Fools’ Day, and today was no different as they debuted a “Cats You May Know” spinoff. My favorite spoof of all (so far, anyway) today has been Moo.com’s pug couriers. One part kitschy and one part cute-overload equals total success in my book.

Have you seen any good social stunts so far today? If so, share them with us in the comments, or on Facebook/Twitter.

 

 
 

Where are all the Girls and Women?

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a panel and evening reception held by the Metro NY Chapter for UN Women on “Exploring the Gender Gap in Science and Technology.” The panel hosted an impressive lineup of well-known advocates of this movement, including Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code; and Dr. Patricia Falcone, associate director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House.

After working with clients like the IEEE, the movement to give more women a chance to pursue a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and be lauded for their accomplishments in these fields has become near and dear to my heart. But, while I was coming down from the post-panel high, I realized that the promotion of the accomplishments of women and elevating them to leadership positions is still an issue that pervades every industry.

But… why? In studies conducted by American Express and McKinsey, research shows that companies led by women or with women in more leadership positions, are more successful than those without women in leadership positions.

In our day to day work, however, more often than not, I find that a male executive or spokesperson is more readily available and pushed to the forefront as the representative of a company or organization. As advisors to our clients, it’s our job to make a conscious effort to find, media train, and promote female executives and female-driven initiatives to show the world that women are equally good, if not better leaders.