Monthly Archives: April 2010

Man up. Literally.

Be a father to your child!

I’ve just got to get this off my chest.

I just got off the phone with a friend of mine who dropped a bomb on me about her (now ex-) man and the fact that he allegedly has up to 9 children that he doesn’t take care of (with up to seven different women) or interact with at all.

The madness of her situation made me think about how many other women may be in a similar situation, and the impact this has on the kids.

I watch Maury (I’m ashamed to say, but it’s social commentary), and I’m amazed at all these dudes with 3, 4, 5 (or greater) children, with 2, 3, 4 (or greater) women.

Despite their claims to ‘be in all their kids lives’ I question the veracity of such statements, and the impact these absentee fathers have on their children.

What must it be like to only see your father once in a blue moon (if at all)?

How do you feel when every other kid comes to soccer practice with their dad, and you’ve always only got your mom?

Where do you turn when you hit puberty and have questions about wet dreams or erections?

How do you learn to be a man (or deal appropriately with men), if you have no man to model that behavior for you?

As a father of four, I see how important my interaction with my children is to their development.

I’ve got lots of friends with children, both married and single, and I’ve had the benefit of seeing the great variation in personality, growth and development, which results from parental involvement (and/or the lack thereof).

At the end of the day, children need their parents.

Both parents.

And by ‘both parents’ I mean a positive male and positive female influence in their lives.

But right now, I’m speaking to the men, because women have traditionally been on the front lines rearing children (and should be commended for such hard work).

Men are vital to the development of a child’s self esteem and sense of self.

They are critical to model appropriate behavior with respect to interpersonal relationships with women.

Even if the role is not provided by their biological units, there has to be a man standing ‘in loco parentis.’

It could be a step-father, granddad, legal guardian, uncle, older male cousin, but someone has to be there to provide that balance.

If you’re going to be ‘man’ enough to lay down and make them, man up and raise them when they get here!

‘Nuff said!

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Filed under Parenting

The Importance of Convergence: Social Media and Mobile

Social media plus mobile equals audience.

One of the strategies I advocate when meeting with clients, is implementing social media and mobile into their marketing efforts.

Mobile and social media are so ubiquitous, that I routinely counsel my clients to incorporate them with all deliberate speed.

For the select few that truly comprehend their importance, they’ve become a primary approach to reaching their target audiences.

For others, social media and mobile are part of a long-term strategy, that they understand needs to be implemented, even if they don’t immediately ‘get it.’

From the technical to the ergonomic, the aesthetic and interoperability standpoints, mobile and social media represent an unprecedented amount of bang for the buck.

You get a far greater ROI utilizing social media and mobile, than virtually any other medium.

More importantly, mobile and social media have an inherent metrics-based foundation, making them the perfect tool to query your database for useful and immediately applicable information.

One of the key virtues of mobile and social media, is the fact that they provide a point of convergence for a brand’s marketing efforts.

Instead of having to develop separate and distinct campaigns for each medium, you can structure one comprehensive campaign, that incorporates the fact that it will be deployed across several mediums simultaneously.

If you read Mobile Marketer or Advertising Age or any of a number of progressive on or offline marketing publications, you’ll see this trend is growing.

As the Obama campaign made clear, the social media and mobile platforms are the standard for galvanizing support around your candidate, product or brand.

I’m sure that there are many who still doubt the veracity of my position, but alas, you may lead a horse to water…

I’ll post updates about the brands that I’m working with, paying specific attention to how they are utilizing social media and mobile to expand the breadth and scope of their respective messages.

Over time, I’m sure, almost every brand will have some form of social media and mobile presence.

Those that don’t, I fear, may go the way of the dinosaurs.

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Mission iPad: The Power of Personal Networks

Mission iPad is NOT impossible!

About two weeks ago, my friend Ewan at Mobile Industry Review posted a request for someone from America to purchase and ship an iPad to him in the UK.

Because the iPad was being launched in the US only, he couldn’t get his hands on one.

But if someone purchased one for him, he would happily reimburse the individual for the cost of the iPad and shipping.

As I recounted in my Dear Santa post, someone did, in fact, hook him up.

I was impressed by Ewan’s ingenuity because he tapped the power of his personal network to achieve his mission: getting his hands on an iPad.

I was also intrigued.

Did I possess such a network?

Could my network be galvanized by a similar call to action?

Anyone who knows me, knows that I think I possess the gift of gab.

I believe myself to be highly persuasive, with all the skills and characteristics of an effective marketer.

Inspired by Ewan’s initiative, I decided to put my skills to the test.

Could I convince my network to get me an iPad?

More importantly, could I get them to pay for me to have an iPad?

With my 40th birthday approaching, I’ll admit I was playing with a stacked deck.

I was essentially asking for a birthday present.

But I was asking solely through my social media networks.

Using Facebook, Twitter and Buzz, I began the campaign to get me an iPad.

It started off with the Dear Santa letter, and was followed by regular Facebook updates and daily countdown tweets.

The initial response was, ummm, underwhelming.

My wife told me I should be ashamed of myself.

A few folks said I should wait for the 2nd generation so that Apple could get the kinks out.

At least one person told me that I should be saving for my children’s college tuition.

Several of my friends openly mocked me.

Why would anyone buy you an iPad?

But as I persevered, the responses became more encouraging.

Someone inquired if anyone had contributed yet.

Another asked where they could go to make a donation.

And then people started to put up money.

My sister threw in $100.

My friend George from college threw in $5 and then another $5.

Erica Robinson added her $5 contribution.

Slowly but surely, the momentum began to build, and then took a life of it’s own.

My frat brother suggested I set up a Chipin page to give folks the ability to micro-support my little endeavor.

One of my sorors input that I could ask people to donate Apple gift cards.

Folks asked where they could send checks and if I had a PayPal account.

One of the best ideas I received came from my friend (and up-and-coming brand strategist) Ben Tannenbaum, who suggested that in exchange for the generosity of my network, that I contribute my time to a charitable cause. FYI, I’m going with CASA (wifey volunteers there too).

Universally, over the course of the past ten days, well wishers and the inquisitive chimed in on my iPad campaign (many are still inquiring today about the success of my efforts).

On the eve of my birthday, I had raised enough to purchase my iPad.

You know what?

I learned, unequivocally, that I possessed a powerful network.

One that could be galvanized around a particular (albeit self-serving) purpose.

One that, properly approached, had the capacity to help achieve any goal.

These are lessons that I intend to bring to the brands I represent.

I don’t have the iPad yet.

The 3Gs don’t ship until April 30th, but as soon as it arrives you’ll be the first to know!

Thanks to everyone who helped make my 40th birthday memorable (and everyone who put up dough for my iPad).

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Dear Santa, I want an iPad for my 40th birthday

Dear Santa,

I know I haven’t written to you in eons, but please don’t hold that against me.

I would like a 32GB iPad with Wi-Fi and 3G in Black for my 40th birthday.

I recognize that you usually don’t do birthdays, unless they fall on Christmas, of course.

But I think you can make an exception.

With four kids, a sagging economy and bills to pay, gifting myself a shiny new gadget is not the most responsible thing I could be doing with my money.

That’s where you come in.

I want it.

For years, I’ve assumed that parents, not you, were the real jolly giants placing presents under the tree.

My belief in you was shattered one year when my Uncle hung a Santa suit (still on the hanger) from his collar, and proceeded to ‘Ho-ho-ho’ in the thickest Nigerian accent.

The disappointment of my siblings, cousins and I, was palpable.

But as I approach 40, I’ve come to see the error of my ways (discounting your very existence).

And, well…I’m desperate.

You see, I’ve been very good this year.

I’m on the front line with the 4 kids, and that includes the 9 week old. Think smelly diapers, vomit, sleep deprivation.

I coach my son’s soccer team. Organized confusion.

I take the kids to Kumon twice a week. Can you say: Chinese water-torture?

I had the procedure. This alone should justify you getting me one! Hello?

I could go on, but you’re Santa. You’ve got the whole ‘naughty and nice’ list.

One of my friends, Ewan who publishes the Mobile Industry Review, put a call out for someone in the States to buy him an iPad and ship it to him in the UK.

A day later Gif Gfroerer from i2SMS did just that. Gif was reimbursed – he’s not all generous like you.

The point is that Ewan made a wish, and the Universe granted it.

Santa, I don’t know if you’ve got skills like that, but my birthday isn’t until April 21st. So you’ve got time.

I’m counting on you. (Picture me doe-eyed, blinking, looking up at you.)

Sincerely,

Stephen (who-hopes-you’re-real-but-knows-you’re-not-and-prays-that-someone-within-the-sound-of-this-blog-post-is-reading-moved-and-paid-enough-to-hook-a-bruh-up) Chukumba

PS If you need to talk to the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny to pool your funds, by all means do.

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Filed under Smack talking