Grilled and Smoked Turkey #thanksgiving

November 21, 2013

Because it’s Thanksgiving!

Last year we had family in for Thanksgiving so we had to cook dinner. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to try not one, b2 Turkeysut two new (to me) methods of cooking the turkeys. (This is a somewhat risky strategy because as you know the turkey is the linchpin of Thankgiving dinner – so I was more than a little nervous.

I grilled one bird on the Weber, and smoked the other on the Traeger.

Drumroll please . . . They came out great. We ate right on time – 4:00 PM and both birds were very well cooked. The smoked turkey on the Traeger took about 5.5 hours. The turkey on the Weber only took 2.75 hours.

I cooked both to an internal temperature (instant read thermometer) of 170 degrees and then took them off. Preparation was simple. Two 15 lb fresh organic turkeys (from the local food co-op) brought to room temperature and then dressed with a simple rub of olive oil, salt, pepper and finely chopped fresh sage, rosemary and thyme. I chopped up some apples, drenched them in the rub and put them in the cavities – just for flavor. (No stuffing.)

For cooking, I ran the Traeger on high for about 45 minutes and then turned it down to medium for about the next 4 hours. I then ran it on high for about 30 minutes to get up to 170 degrees. No turning, no basting, etc. On the Weber, I just followed their instructions from the website. Turkey in the middle with drip pan underneath. About 75 coals in two piles (on either side of the turkey) then add 8 briquettes per side per hour. That was it.

I was pretty surprised that they came out as well as they did – and will definitely do it again. They tasted great and there was no messy turkey pan to clean!



Do You Know the 3H Rule of Social Media??

June 6, 2013

Do you ever wonder why social media is hard for brands and marketers?  I think it is mostly because they don’t follow the 3H rule.

BE HELPFUL: Social media is not like broadcasting. SM is about relationships – and one great way to build relationships is to be helpful. Share interesting information, compliment people, try to help them solve problems.

BE HUMAN: We all have a “voice”. That voice typically does not undergo review and editing by legal and PR. It’s OK to have guidelines, but you must have your own, authentic voice. Sincere, emotional, enthusiastic. You have kids, cheer for a team, care about something deeply – show it.

BE HUMBLE: Even if you are the CEO, you aren’t in charge on social media. Make sure not to act like it. (There will be mistakes – admit & move on!)

Remember – it is about relationships – not selling stuff to people.  If you build good relationships, they might buy from you though!


Wikileaks, Obama, The Tea Party and Ford

December 21, 2010

11 years ago, the Cluetrain Manifesto (the end of business as usual) was published.  The only really surprising thing about it (looking back) is that the predictions didn’t happen faster.  Well, I guess it is surprising in another dimension.  The challenges to the modern business corporation were articulated, but it is clear now these same challenges apply to all large hierarchical organizations including governments, political parties, news organizations, etc.  This article is focused on:

Thesis #6: The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.

Thesis #7: Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.

Here are four examples of how people are  connecting to each other across the boundaries of time, space & institutional hierarchy using the Internet to subvert authority and established channels of communication..

WikiLeaks: Think what you will of Julian Assange – but he has certainly used the power of the web to attack powerful institutions.  His 2006 essay posits that organizations (like governments) can only gather and hold power IF they are able to keep secrets.  As soon as they can’t keep secrets they will be crippled and doomed.  He has recently acted on this hypothesis in a direct attack on the US Government.  The publication of these materials (by the NYT, Guardian, LeMonde, Der Speigel and El Pais)  certainly made a bigger impact, but he could have acted without any collaboration with mass media and achieved roughly the same result.

Obama: Barak Obama was a long shot underdog early in the 2008 Presidential campaign.   His campaign did many, many things very well but in one particular area, they absolutely trounced the competition.  Obama used the Internet to organize, motivate and dramatically expand his supporters and fundraising.  He did this better that any presidential campaign ever has – and it paid off.

NYT:  How Obama Tapped Into Social Network’s Power.
Wired Magazine:  Obama’s Secret Weapon – Internet, Databases, Psychology.

Tea Party: Of course Obama and the Democrats don’t have a monopoly on using the Internet to subvert the established order.  In the 2010 mid-term elections, the Tea Party used the power of the web to connect a widely distributed group of people who shared distrust of the established political parties – especially Republicans.

The Atlantic:  How the Tea Party Used the Internet to Defeat* The First Internet President

Ford: Ford Motor Company won AdAge 2010 Marketer of the Year accolades for among other reasons being the most aggressive car company on the planet when it comes to using social networks to sell cars.   Ford didn’t fight about whether marketing or public relations owned this channel – instead they collapsed the two into a single communications function.  For two examples of how Ford is reducing their media spending dramatically while reaching ever more people – see below:

Wired Magazine:  Ford Bets the Fiesta on Social Networking
USA Today:  New Ford Explorer to make debut on Facebook

These four examples demonstrate how powerful a force the Internet has become in society – not just for corporations, but also for all large institutions.  We live in an age of disintermediation where each of us can get our information from any source we like and no longer have to accept anyone or anything as the “expert” or the final authority.  There will be much more painful change ahead (mostly for large organizations) as people band together in their own interests.  The smartest of those large organizations will understand the implications of these trends and figure out how to get on the side of the people.

Tom O’Brien

9 Things About Social Media

November 2, 2009

Two weeks ago I was on a panel for the AC Nielsen Center for Marketing Research at UW talking about social media and market research to executives from Wal-Mart, General Mills, Kraft, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson and 50 or so others. I was asked to share some lessons learned about SM – from the perspective of a brand marketer.

Here are my lessons learned personally and professionally over the last 10 years working in this space.

  1. What people say to each other is more important than what we say to them.
  2. People no longer rely on brands for information.
  3. Advocates are more important than influencers.
  4. Brand mentions are just the tip of the iceberg – somewhere between 5% and 30% of the relevant category conversation. You should listen to the whole conversation.
  5. If you want to participate be helpful, human and humble.
  6. When you participate, put the community’s interests & motivations first.
  7. Connect to existing passion, don’t just make stuff up.
  8. If you want new ideas, look beyond your category.
  9. Brand advocacy is the most important metric today – are people recommending your brand to others.

I could elaborate – for a long time on each of these, but  you get the gist.


Communities don’t care about brands

April 23, 2009

Does that seem like a provocative title? Well it kind-of is. Communities do care about brands, but perhaps not in the way you like to think. Communities are self organizing groups of like-minded people who gather to share information, opinions, and suggestions, make friends, get together, etc. Sometimes, a brand sits at the center of the community, but more often it doesn’t

(Here’s my deck on How Communities Work.)

We have done hundreds of projects over the last 6 years harvesting and analyzing community conversations to understand why people do what they do. Across all these projects, brand mentions are typically a fraction of all the community conversation. In food, brand mentions are in less than 5% of the conversations. In a highly brand involved community, like cars or cellphones brand mentions are rarely in more than 30% of the conversations.

If you are “brand monitoring” then you are missing between 70% and 95% of the relevant conversation.

If you (Mr. Brand) want to “connect” with communities what you need to do is study community issues, motivations and drivers first. Once you understand the community motivations, then you are ready to participate. Just remember this rule of thumb. Everything you (Mr. Brand) do in the community should go through the filter of community motivations.

Are you serving the community or are you using the community?



Everything you need to know about YouTube

July 31, 2008

“An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube”

Title not withstanding this latest gem from Prof. Mike Wesch is not only is this a great presentation (mixed ppt and video) but a must watch for anyone who needs or wants to understand YouTube in particular and Web 2.0 overall.

See Mike Weschs’ table of contents for this video here

The reasons, motivations and payoffs for why people connect online are all in here – and it is very people-centric. All marketers will do themselves a favor to sit down and watch this video.

Hat Tip to Laurel Papworth


iCitizen Conference – Top 5 List

May 21, 2008

Well since I did it this way at WOMMA-U here’s my Top 5 List for the excellent iCitizen conference graciously hosted by one of our great partner agencies – Resource Interactive.

  1. Kelly Mooney from RI gave a great talk about the Open Imperative – the thought and philosophy behind her (and Nita Rollins) recent book The Open Brand. Best quote from Kelly – “the internet is your Chief Opening Officer”.
  2. Graphic facilitation from Jim Oswald – just plain cool – and a nice, really smart guy. He “graphed” the entire conference on 4 x 8 sheets of paper – the image above is one of hundreds he created during the two days of meetings. Nice to see something not on a screen for once.
  3. Doc Searls – sure, he’s one of the authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto – the book directly responsible for me having the idea for MotiveQuest – and a true visionary – but did you know he has at least 7 electronic devices running at all times? I was sitting behind him watching and that guy can multitask! Great presentation (we tipped sacred cows in Ohio) and I especially appreciated the part about project VRM – which will change how we consumer stuff – and move us from a marketing based economy to a relationship/intention based economy. Thanks to his simple visual – the Relbutton – I finally understand the concept behind Project VRM!
  4. Joel Levinson: Joel has travelled the world and apparently supported himself solely with his internet endeavors and his talent for writing jingles. I am a sucker for stories about people with the energy, wit and guts to just go for it and make a living in a completely unconventional way. Joel is certainly living the life. His next gig? Taking a blind date on a week’s cruise to Alaska that he won in an online jingle writing contest for Nature’s Valley .
  5. Duncan Watts: Principal Research Scientist at Yahoo! Research and distinguished academic, author and thinker in the field network theory and social media. It was delightful to hear him skewer both the “influentials” and ” viral” approaches to marketing in one talk. Best quote “Do you think the really, really big forest fires are started by a particularly influential tree?”
  6. Joe Jaffe
    (OK, you’re right, he did just get a Top 5 citation at WOMMA-U – but it was interesting to see the different reactions of the two audiences.) At WOMMA-U he was preaching to a room full of of social media firebrands – and it goes down well. At this conference, well there were a few more blue chip marketers from RI’s impressive roster of clients – and I sensed a different energy. What Jaffe has to say is definitely more challenging to someone holding a billion dollar advertising budget in their hands.

Thanks to Kelly Mooney, Nancy Kramer and the entire HARD WORKING Resource Interactive team for putting on a first class event. (I never snacked so well . . .)