The Latest From Echo-Factory

Innovation for the Win: Lessons Learned from ESPN’s Struggles

08/15/2017 by Danny Carmichael
In the most recent issue of CSQ, Echo-Factory’s dear leader, Mike Schaffer, used a recent wave of layoffs at ESPN as a jumping-off point for an article touting the importance of building and maintaining a culture of innovation. And that’s something you don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate.

When it launched, nearly 40 years ago, ESPN was a revolutionary idea: nothing but sports, all day long. The company was able to ride the burgeoning wave of 24-hour cable programming well into its second decade, but then a series of tubes called the internet came along and roiled ESPN’s reign as the most important outlet for sports.

With record-setting sports viewership and sports stats available in the palm of your hand, at any moment, you would think that ESPN would have tapped into entirely new audiences and formats for their content. But over the past two years, ESPN has laid off more than 400 employees. So, why isn’t ESPN still flying high?

Because they refused to innovate. While the entire rest of the world has been busy figuring out how to evolve to accommodate the initial dot com boom and internet 2.0 and whatever comes just before flying cars, ESPN has dug in its heels and remained stubbornly shackled to a failing business model. In the meantime, other outlets have happily seized the opportunity to fill in the gaps, offering exciting new ways for audiences to watch, track and interact with the sports they love.

It’s worth mentioning that, since Mike wrote the article, ESPN’s parent company, Disney (maybe you’ve heard of it?) has announced that ESPN will offer its own standalone streaming service beginning in 2018. Here at Echo-Factory, we believe that it’s never too late for innovation as long as the innovation provides new value. Now the ball’s in ESPN’s court to make sure that their streaming service gives people something to cheer about.

To get the full story of what is happening at ESPN and to hear Mike’s thoughts on how to avoid a similar fate for your business, hop aboard (or, uh, inside, I guess?) one of those fancy internet tubes and read Mike’s article on how to create and sustain a culture of innovation on the CSQ website.

Social Media Is Key, Especially If You Want Nuggs

04/26/2017 by Echo-Factory

As marketing professionals, we know that social media is important for reaching and engaging with your customers. It’s free and hardly takes any time, right? This is what @Wendys thought before they met Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm), your average high school teenager just wanting his nuggets.

Wendy’s had a way with talking, or tweeting, with its customers. No other chain was doing things like this juicy hamburger-maker.

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You Have the Meats, and My Heart: How Arby’s Marketing Wins Over Vegetarians & Millennials

04/18/2017 by Echo-Factory

Arby's: We Have the Millennials

There’s nothing I love more than criticizing other people’s work. So it only seems fair that when someone in the industry does something I  love, they get called out as well.

Arby’s, I love what you’re doing.

Let me give some context here. I was raised a vegetarian. I like animals. I try to avoid eating them. I have literally never set foot in an Arby’s.

I should, by all rights, be deeply offended by commercials like this one.

But I’m not. Even though I eat at least two salads a day, don’t hunt and have ethical concerns about meat-eating. I love this commercial. I love the whole campaign.

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Using Trigger Systems to Avoid PR Nightmares

04/11/2017 by Echo-Factory

 

In the latest issue of CSQ, our very own Mike Schaffer writes about how you can use trigger systems to avoid PR nightmares.

In case you’re not familiar with trigger systems (which are kind of our new favorite thing), let’s catch you up. A trigger-system is a planned group of marketing activities that support a business event.

Let’s make that even simpler. Say your company makes widgets. You release a few new widget designs per year. If you were working with Echo-Factory (because obviously, we’re leaders in the widget-marketing field), we’d set up a trigger system, so that every time you were close to releasing a new widget, that’d trigger a series of marketing projects, like creating a new product page on your website for the new widget, and press releases, and social media announcements, etc. etc. etc. (more…)

An Outsiders Perspective on the Women in Tech Movement

03/06/2017 by Marion Sistrunk
During the month of February, Echo-Factory planned, promoted and hosted a series of Women in Tech panels at Apple stores in Old Pasadena and Santa Monica. These events, featuring major local tech players, including Renée LaBran, senior advisor to Idealab, Max Powers, senior vice president of business operations at TeleSign, Natalie Sun, creative technologist and founder of NextArt, and Anna Barber, managing director at Techstars, centered around the advantages women bring to the industry, along with advice for tech companies looking to include more women and for techy women looking to advance. (more…)

Build, Maintain and Protect Credibility with Marketing Trigger Systems

03/01/2017 by Hayley Raynes
Marketing Trigger Systems Announcement Protocol   Building, maintaining and protecting credibility is critical for all companies, but even more so for newly established companies – particularly in B2B, new tech and new sectors. These days, startups are not only developing innovative products and services, they’re working in brand new industries, where shared knowledge is minimal, skepticism is high and history is counted in months rather than years. The road can be incredibly tough for these types of companies to expand operations, build new customer bases and attract either investors or offers of acquisition. This is because new entities – no matter how exemplary they are – don’t have the benefit of time and reputation to help establish that baseline trust so often required for inking a deal. (more…)

Harness Fast-Moving Opportunities with a ‘Trigger System’

02/05/2017 by Michael Schaffer
marketing trigger system

Why A Trigger System?

Electronic information circles the globe constantly, moving almost at the speed of light. With the endless information comes a steady flow of marketing opportunities. The problem is that, because these opportunities arrive in a real-time, 24-hour cycle, the pace is so overwhelming that we miss most of our chances. To capitalize on these opportunities, it’s important to be prepared ahead of time, so you can respond in real time. (more…)

Using Women To Your Unfair Advantage

01/27/2017 by Michael Schaffer
women in tech  

Here are some facts. Ninety-three percent of investor money goes to startups founded by men. Just 11% of Silicon Valley executives, 10% of directors, 10% of committee members and 8% of committee chairs are women. At Fortune 500 companies, things aren’t much better, with just 11% of the executive workforce made up of women.

Here are some more facts. Private technology companies that are led by women return a 35% higher ROI. Publicly traded companies with women in leadership roles in a broad range of industries have about a 27% performance advantage over companies that don’t. (more…)

IRobot Inventor Shares 3 Things VCs Look for in Robotics Companies

12/09/2016 by Syble Harrison
robotics companies illustration Creator of the technology behind the iRobot vacuum, Paolo Pirjanian, is also the founder and CEO of one of the most awesome smart robotics companies yet, Embodied, Inc. He recently spoke at Innovate Pasadena’s Friday Coffee Meetup, a group co-organized by Echo-Factory, and I (one of the writers on the team) had the chance to interview him for an article on Huff Post. (more…)

What about Men

02/07/2017 by Michael Schaffer
 

I was watching a completely factual documentary about Portland, Oregon the other night, and came across an inspiring song, dedicated to the struggles that men face in this country.

  It reminded me of several very important facts:  
  1. Echo-Factory is hosting a “Women in Technology” roundtable next week.
  2. About 90% of the people who have registered so far are women.
  3. Women already have about a 35% advantage in leading tech companies over men.
  4. If we (and by “we” I mean men) don’t show up and discover their secrets, that gap can only grow!!!!
  So, I urge you, my fellow men, to RSVP immediately.  Only by engaging with women in technology leadership positions will we be able to learn their secrets, and hopefully one day steal their powers of tech company growth and success.
women in tech                  

Women in Technology, The Latest Silver Bullet

Wed, February 22, 2017
8:00 AM – 9:30 AM PST
 
Apple 3rd Street Promenade
1415 3rd Street Promenade
Santa Monica, CA 90401
RSVP Here

Lol. Ugh. WTF? Reviewing 2017’s Super Bowl Ads

02/06/2017 by Andrew Hoehn
 

Yesterday, the evil-league-of-evil, lead by the evilly-handsome Tom Brady and his evil overlord Bill Belichick Sith, triumphed over the forces of good to deliver unto Boston the city’s 37th major sports championship, and deny Atlanta its 2nd.

New England’s never-before-seen-in-a-super-bowl comeback and victory further cemented Brady’s position as the greatest quarterback to ever play the game (gross), and doubtless will push the smugness of Boston sports fans into even more stratospheric heights (even grosser).

But we’re not here to talk about the disgusting show of terrible’ness that occurred on the field, we’re here to talk about important bits: the ads.

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