Category: Food For Thought

Why You Should Give Selfishly, And Be OK With It

10/30/2017
 

We would like to think that we're all altruistic people. That when we donate to a worthy cause, we're doing it for nothing more than our desire to support that cause.

This is, very often, not the case. We give because NPR will send us a sweet tote bag we can show off at our next poetry reading. We give for tax deductions. We give for personal experiences. We give for recognition. We give to cultivate personal experiences and connections. We give to have buildings named after us. We give for that warm fuzzy feeling. And sometimes, we give for the sake of marketing.

And, that's OK.

In his latest piece in CSQ, Echo-Factory CEO Mike Schaffer talks about the value of cause marketing to both your company and the philanthropic organizations you partner with.

Sure, giving with the expectation of getting something back for your brand may seem callous, but in truth, it can be a win for your brand, and a win for your charitable partner.

Read the article to find out how.

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

08/15/2017
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.

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

04/18/2017

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.

(more…)

An Outsiders Perspective on the Women in Tech Movement

03/06/2017
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…)

IRobot Inventor Shares 3 Things VCs Look for in Robotics Companies

12/09/2016
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…)

4 Traits of Entrepreneurial Thinkers

10/10/2016
entrepreneurial thinker victor limongelli speaking at friday coffee meetup Article originally published on HuffPost.

Victor Limongelli’s talk at Innovate Pasadena Friday Coffee Meetup last week revealed a lot about what an authentic entrepreneurial thinker looks like.

Victor missed our second interview call Friday afternoon following his talk at FCM. But at around five, three hours after I’d left two messages on this cell—one from Google Hangouts and one from my cell (in case he wasn’t keen on answering calls from restricted numbers)—he called back and left me a surprisingly sincere-sounding apology. Apparently, some respiratory thing that had been brewing before and during his talk at Friday Coffee had hit him full force and put him down for the count the rest of the day. (more…)

Top 10 Takeaways from Our Social Media Marketing Expert Panel

08/16/2016
social media marketing expert panel

(Photos courtesy of Taryn Rothstein of Pasadena Charm via Thomas Reiten)

Last week’s social media marketing expert panel at the Apple Store in Pasadena sold out fast. So if you’re one of the many who missed it, you’re in luck—we’ve got the 10 most awesome pieces of advice they offered, right here.

The Apple Store in Pasadena gets a constant barrage of marketing-related tech questions that go beyond their hardware expertise. To help address some of these questions for its clients, the store asked Pasadena-based branding agency Echo-Factory for help. We put together a series titled, “New Tech in Old Pasadena,” and held the first discussion August 10 at the store. (more…)