The Importance of WAGAS

With the Big Game finishing up this weekend and the annual blitz of brands jockeying for consumer’s hearts and minds, it’s worth taking a look at one of my favorite terms, WAGAS. Its a filter I use when evaluating content, creative, etc. that stands for Would Anyone Give A Shit. Somewhat crass but it’s needed to be a no-nonsense filter on if what you’re working on will resonate. WAGAS is the filter that ties together areas including:

  • the Hook = WAGAS starts strong and typically has something in the immediate moments to grab a consumers attention. That initial grab is important, however if it doesn’t deliver after the hook is set the effects can be really bad. This is where dogsploitation, e.g. cute lab puppies and horses or Kate Upton can get immediate attention but they need a payoff.
  • Value Exchange + Social Currency = Is there a fair exchange in the consumer’s time or mindshare and what the brand is delivering. This could be done across a variety of measures, however one of the most popular is social currency. That is, something delivered from the brand that enhances the consumer’s role in their network(s). It could be a reference that supports conversation, connection, identity, advocacy, etc. From the ads this weekend, it could be a funny reference like the polar bear in the sombrero or a great line from the Dodge commercial, e.g. “Don’t Bitch”. WAGAS works great when that value exchange happens and a consumers gets something they can take with them for their time spent with the brand.
  • Investment = As part of the value exchange, if its a worthwhile transaction there should be an investment the consumer takes on, in many cases as a call-to-action. Could be as simple as a hashtag, link, sharing, etc. This is a best-case scenario as the consumer is doing something on behalf of the brand. A filter used frequently is “why would they care, why would they share” which takes the hint from WAGAS-worthy content and connects it to the investment of an action on behalf of the brand. This is the difference in consumer tweets “powering a car” in a race vs. just “who we think will win” with little payoff.

WAGAS isn’t about being “cool”, WAGAS is about being remarkable, that is someone would want to make a remark about it. It’s not always easy to achieve WAGAS but worth pursuing.


Good People and Bad Process

One of the most frustrating and unfortunately common things in business is when good people follow bad process. In the ideal state, process is established to deliver repeatable success. Process can often be looked at in waterfall terms, meaning step 1, then step 2, options reviewed and step 3, etc. Looking at today’s business environment where change is constant, process should be looked at in a more agile-way. That is, finding opportunities to review process and ensure its efficient more frequently. It’s hard, especially for established businesses where process has meant continued success over an extended period of time. Even with success, innovate or die. There’s no need to get complacent, challenge your processes. Stress test them often and don’t take them for granted. Processes are only as good as the means to ensure they’re up-to-date.

Friends don’t let friends follow bad process.

Don’t call it a comeback…

It’s a new year and new resolutions to set and break. This is less of a resolution and more of a commitment to sharing. I’m surprised this blog hasn’t been reclaimed for neglect from child protective services. Luckily, its not and I’ve kicked my own ass to put more effort into it. I’ve met so many amazing people and cherish my relationships, experiences and what I learn from them more than anything else. This is dedicated to the amazing people in my network and hopefully positively contributing to that network via this blog.

Don’t call it a comeback. It’s on like Donkey Kong.

Insights on Effective FB Marketing

Everyone’s an expert on Facebook these days. With that in mind, I’ve collected some of the articles I’ve paid particular attention to recently. Granted, some of them go back to fMC earlier this year but they’re good reference points. The Buddy Media article is pretty recent. I’ll do my best to update this with additional ones I find and feel free to add more in the comments section.

Buddy Media Article on FB Marketing

Mashable’s 6-Point Plan for FB Marketing

AllFacebook’s Review of CEII Approach

The one quote from my friends at Facebook that continues to resonate with anything in/around social, especially Facebook, is “Why would they care, Why would they share”.

Also, here is the link to the Facebook Marketing One Pager I did for the IABC Emerging Media Summit.

IABC FB Presentation

Dear Pandora, A Love Letter

Music is an incredibly social experience. That said, if music is a Ferrari then Pandora is a never ending Autobahn.

The Internet Age has brought so many advancements in business, social norms, communication and more. The music industry is certainly a primary example of incredible twists and turns, highs and lows, innovation and litigation as a result of the Internet. Social Media has been an accelerant, resulting in a virtual 24/7 mixtape.

Enter Pandora. If you’re not familiar with Pandora, it’s a live-streaming service that lets you enter in your favorite artists and/or songs. Based on those artists and/or songs, a virtual radio station is created for you. Pandora then plays music that either is the actual artists themselves or similar artists based on that style. For example, let’s say I enter Weezer, Foo Fighters and Beastie Boys. Pandora creates a “radio station” where the first song might be a Weezer tune or something like Modest Mouse or Linkin Park based on the profile of the music.

Behind the scenes of Pandora is the Music Genome Project. The Music Genome Project analyzes every song in its library for “up to 400 distinct musical characteristics by a trained music analyst”. According to, “these attributes capture not only the musical identity of a song, but also the many significant qualities that are relevant to understanding the musical preferences of listeners”. Cool stuff. It’s where the qualitative styles or artists and their music meet quantitative analysis. Pandora plays the music based on what you’ve entered and you can let Pandora know what works and what doesn’t by giving songs a “thumbs up” if you like or “skip” if it doesn’t work.

What makes Pandora such an immersive experience is the discovery. Every day you can discover new music you may or may not be familiar with. I’ve had my Pandora account for several years now and it continues to show me all kinds of cool stuff.

There’s a premium version of Pandora, called Pandora One which provides more opportunities to skip songs, higher quality and a desktop version of the Pandora App. Nice.

With the Pandora App on my phone, I take Pandora in the car, at the gym, at the office and more.

Is this a total endorsement post for Pandora? Yes, without question. It’s not often where a product or experience is so valuable and social that it’s worth sharing. This is one example. Get it, it’s worth it.

What are some of your favorite bands you’ve discovered on Pandora?