18 things I learned by 30.

So I spotted this at my coffee spot this morning and I had to share this with you.

18 things I learned by 30:

  1. Love never feels the same twice.  Each time you love someone, it will feel completely different from anything you have ever felt.
  2. Art Degree's are useless
  3. It's perfectly ok to not answer the phone, the door, the emails for a while. All the info will be waiting when you return.
  4. Treat your lungs well. When you decide to exercise/ run from the police, the lungs will decide how well you perform.
  5. Dont comment on things you know nothing about. It always back fires.
  6. Parents are people too.
  7. Everyone has bad days.
  8. Smile. Even if you don't feel like it.
  9. Today may suck. Tomorrow May Suck... Eventually, things suck less.
  10. Change your oil every 3k miles. It makes a huge difference in the long run.
  11. Have a savings account. Dont withdraw from it. Ever.
  12. Moisturize
  13. You will always have 2nd thoughts, doubt, ect.  Thats ok.
  14. Dont Drink and Drive EVER. Its just not worth it!
  15. Surround yourself with people who's values you admire.
  16. Always tip more than needed. If they didn't need the money they wouldn't be doing the job.
  17. Don't watch the news. It'll just make you sad.
  18. Read EVERYTHING!
Anonymous in the Lost Dog in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.


My New Years Resolution for 2012! Follow the Optimists Creed.

The Optimist Creed

Promise Yourself ...

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.


found my inspiration

I am very excited about finally finding some new inspiration with my photography.  Here is one of my latest photographs that I plan on developing a series around.

Foreclosed by David Rosen


Evolution of Search

Great understanding on how search/google has evolved through time and why it is successful.


5 rules for social media use for small businesses

So one of the first things I tell new clients about social media is that there some rules to follow or at least guidelines.  Here are the top 5 things I would stay away from when using social media as a small business.

Not develop your strategy.

So many businesses jump into social media with no idea what they are doing and why their goals are for social media.  It is important to understand the tools and networks you are becoming part of.  Develop your plan and set your goals.

Be real.

People connect with people not a no name corporations.  You will find more success when you are yourself and interact as a real person and offer your expertise.  Also be sure to use your manners and thank others.

Do Not Spam!

The quickest way to destroy your relationship is by constantly barraging them with sales pitches.  One of the biggest mistakes I see from businesses is just using social media as a way to blast the Internet with useless unsolicited sales attempts.

Be  Friendly.

Do not attack people or other businesses online it is very offensive to potential customers.  Stay professional and avoid the temptation to constantly vent.
Do Not Self Promote All the Time.
Promote your partners, customers, friends and followers.  They will be more receptive to you and more likely promote you which is the end goal.

If you would like to know more contact me at or @shiftthrive


The Content Shift: How your business can lead.

We have seen over the past couple of years the decline of the newspaper industry.  The internet has made information easily available and quickly decreased the need for a paper.  We have seen the death of many newspapers and over 15,000 jobs have been lost due to the downsizing of our newspapers.  The overall newsroom workforce has declined about 11%.  Although it is sad to see this sudden change in the news market I believe we are seeing a shift that presents a huge opportunity for business.

The shift is from news media being the provider of information to the experts in the field becoming accessible.  The shift is from writers working for large newspapers to working for businesses creating content.  We are seeing our industry thought leaders now providing us with the information straight from the source.  If I want to find out the latest information about a specific topic I can now use social media and find that information on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube.  

So what does this shift mean?  It means that rather than industry experts spending money on advertising in the business sections of their local paper, they are either are spending that time or money on developing the content themselves.  They are becoming the provider of content because the shift has removed the middle man and now has us looking right at the experts for the answers.  The proof is in the pudding.  My wife watches dateline and tweets with Josh Makiewicz (@JoshMankiewicz).  We follow stars on twitter but we also follow businesses who we see as leaders in the industry we are interested in.  Our television is reporting on trending topics on twitter.  People open up facebook in the morning with coffee rather than their newspaper.

What does this mean for business?  So the shift has just begun and you have a major opportunity here.  Whether you are a small, medium, or large business your have the ability to lead in your industry by providing content and building trust and engaging with the readers. Now only if I was a good writer. :)


12x12 Art show at plum in Shepherdstown

So I am currently working on putting together an art show at plum. The shows only contraint is that all of the art must be 12x12. I have spoke with a few local artists and I think at this point I will have close to 10 people submitting. I hope this project will evolve to begin with themed shows. Possibly shows with polical messages. I personally am struggling with my piece because I am trying to do something different. I hope to have my piece dont by this Friday. If you are at all interested in participating let me know.


The major lesson I have learned in my first two years in local politics

So it has been almost two years since I began my time on the Shepherdstown Planning Commission and Town Council. I can sum up the lessons I have learned in one small saying. "Those who show up run things." So if you do not like what is going on in your community or with our government and you truly care... Show up.

I am amazed at the power of the residents in town who take the time to attend meetings and voice their concern or opinion or even email the commissioners and council men and women. Their opinion is the only feedback the governing body receives other then that of their vocal neighbors who drop by to provide their opinion. One of the major pieces I see as broken in government and why I feel our system is broken is that people most of the time only show up when they are in opposition to an issue. This is why government is so slow. Anytime we as a society want to move forward with improvement and need a public hearing only those who are against it show up.

Lately I have been talking to my fellow residents and putting the bug in their ear that they need to participate. We need your opinion. We need Americans as a whole to get involved especially when they support something. Yes you blast your opinion and your perspective on social media but that is not enough.

Get involved and show up. Show up at your town meetings. Show up at your county meetings. Write your Representatives if you support something (this morning I wrote every government person that represents us in WV about our parking issue.) Vote or run for office. Volunteer!

I can honestly tell you from my time as a town councilman that it truly does make a difference especially at the local level. And we all know the local level is where change begins.


Brand I am most loyal to

So today the discussion question in my class was what Brand are you most loyal to.

The Brand I have been most loyal to is of course Apple. I have not spent a dollar on another brand of computers since my first apple 14 years ago. I believe Apple still has pride in its products and I have not found a product that they work hard to make their products “User Friendly.” Here is the way I feel Apple demonstrates this to me:

Logo – They have a very clean simple logo that is one color and usually found in white or black maybe with a slight gradient. It is not very detailed but it doesn’t require its logotype to identify it.

Packaging- Even their packaging is easy to use. I am sure you all have dealt with gifts that require blow torches and machetes to open. Once you open those gifts the parts go everywhere and then comes to fun part… trying to figure out how to put that thing together. If you ever had the opportunity to open an apple product you will know that it is fun. The boxes slide open easily. The products pull out easily and are presented as if they are in a jewelry box.

The Product – Apple products look great! Hands down they are some of the best looking products in the market. Their products might not be the biggest or smallest (some cases they are) But they do it right. They do not feel cheap, they have great plastics and use metal when need be. The iphone 4 is all glass and feels like something from the future. The new imac looks like a monitor but the whole computer is built in. The apple mouse is touch enabled without using track balls or rollers that collect dust.

The Advertising – Simple ads where someone explains why you should get a mac in a clear and concise way to clearly define the product advantage. The music ads use cutting edge music that any song they use in an ad sky rockets in sales.

The user interface – whether it is their website or itunes. Apple makes it very easy to buy products from them.

All around Apple has great designers involved in every aspect of their business. Not only that but they are constantly evolving their designs for the better.

The product line I have no loyalty to at all is chewing gum. I am not even tied to a certain flavor. I just grab a pack that looks good at that moment and chew away. There are some brands which I will not buy again due to lack of taste but for the most part I like change when it comes to gum. I like new packaging ideas. I like new flavors. I really don’t care who makes it. It is gum. :)


We Are One - Candlelight vigil - Shepherdstown, WV April 4th

Shepherdstown, WV April 4, 2011 08:00PM to 08:45PM Hosted by Rod Snyder Event Description: The Jefferson County Young Democrats, Shepherd University Young Democrats and Jefferson County NAACP will hold a candlelight vigil to honor the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to emphasize the ongoing struggle for civil rights and worker rights. Location: McMurran Hall at Shepherd University Shepherdstown, WV 25443


The Four Stages of Life





pretty cut and dry people. :)

Have a great week!



random tune created.

This past weekend I was in the mood to put a tune together...

Got a Minute to spare? by ave

running a promotion on facebook

So as some of you know I had to stop a promotion I was running on the plum facebook site. This morning I began to try to understand the legalese behind Facebooks rules on promotions. Please feel free to check out the Facebook promo policies yourself. Feel free to help me figure out how to modify my promo to have it run on facebook!



It is all the same in the end.

I wanted to share this article with you guys. I think about 2 years ago I had that moment when it hits you. I began piling more and more on my back to try to get it all done before my time is gone. I thought all the work would break me, but I chosen not to stress about when I fail. Because I know I will fail. I decided that in order to get all that I want to get done in this life completed, I had to get started. Two years later and I am adjusting with all that I have going on. I think it stresses the wife out more than it does me (which I feel bad about.) Every day is full of things I have to get done. Most of the time I get it done. And things are moving very fast. I feel though as if I am waiting for something big to happen as a result of all my work. As if it will all combine into this karma bomb and provide me with something very rewarding. I worry that in 4 years from now I will look back and think what a big dummy publishers clearing house is not delivering you a oversized check. But, I must press on. I am enjoying it for now.

By the way I love the Sienfeld reference. I do look at my little girls and think about how they are here to replace me and smile. I know they are a much improved model. :)

Snippet from the article "My 10 year high school reunion is coming up this year. I was thinking about this, and thinking about how astoundingly quickly the 10 years had gone by. And then I thought about how I might only get 5 more of those ten year periods. I thought about 5 apples lined up on a counter. Not very many. 5 apples before I’m food for worms."
This is a great read!


Grids, painting, and art!

I remember in highschool or was it college when I saw a poster that was a grid of photos that made up a larger picture and I was floored. It was back in 93 and at the time it blew my mind. Ever since then computers have made it easier and easier to do this type of grid work. I have been experimenting lately with it myself doing abstract grids. I am going to continue to do so. You know watching shows like Georgetown cupcake you can see how this has become a go to method for artists now a days. They do most of their cupcake layouts this way. My uncle sent me these great photos today that was done with coffee. AWESOME.

I also came upon Chuck closes work below which really inspires me to take it to the next level.


plum week one contest

Here is a video promo I did for a contest running at plum in Shepherdstown, West Virginia!


Reflections of our past

Today I wanted to feature an artist project that I found myself looking at this morning. Have you ever seen the work of Irina Werning? She created this project of photos that captured my attention that was a lot of fun. She recreated a photo a photo from a persons past. It had the outfit and all. It reminds me of those timelapse photos people do where you actually see them grow a beard or age right in front of your eyes. But I think I like this one more. This project really had me staring at each image and trying to figure out what has changed and what is the same with that person. It also had me wondering and creating stories of what they went through. Great work.

See More from Irina Werning


Porn for Designers!

This morning I came upon two new sites for your pleasure. Twitter actually led me to them and I will forever be greatful. The first site I came upon is called Stair Porn. This site is full of awe inspiring photos of stairs. Yes I know what you are thinking... David has lost his mind once again. But you need to check this site out. It is as if you took a world tour of the coolest staircases from around the world. You need to go take a look and follow them on

The second site I came upon was Morph Interior Blog. Their twitter account is @interiorporn (listen twitter reccomended them and I had to check them out). This site is run by Luke Williams who is the Co-Director of Morph interior ltd. He has collected a wealth of amazing photos combined with his interior design experience make for a great blog that I will follow now on a regular basis. Good stuff!

And this folks is why twitter is great.

Has IKEA Implemented IMC Successfully?

This is a very good question. I think IKEA is a truly interesting subject for this question because its whole business is based around its catalog since it began.

Over the past few years we have seen a lot of traditional print news resources disappear because they were so big and they were not able to adapt to changes in technology and how consumers are now consuming information. We have also seen over the past few years a lot of brick and mortar stores disappear due to a poor economy and changes in globalization and how customers shop. I think this could cause a lot of trouble for companies that are unwilling to change how they do business because that is how they have always done business.

So looking back at the beginning of this semester Stacey Creely explained IMC as follows:

"What is IMC? As defined by Tom Duncan, one of the founding fathers of IMC, IMC is "a process for planning, executing, and monitoring the brand messages that create customer relationships." It’s important to remember that segmentation and diversity are at the core of IMC. "

Based on what I have learned this semester I would say that IKEA has successfully implemented IMC. They are using a lot of traditional resources including great PR and print to reach their customers. Their catalog is amazing and has been the cornerstone of how they got their message out. Most companies of their size would keep running in that direction but not IKEA. Did you know they have a IPHONE/ IPAD app catalog? IKEA APP They also have a YouTube channel, a twitter account, a Facebook site, and they have their fingers in a few other new social apps. I think are testing out new mediums to connect with their customers carefully and continuing to utilize what is and always has been working for them.

The one aspect I have to say it truly amazing about IKEA is their PR. They have been very good about getting articles in traditional media about their company and about what they are doing. If you do a google news search on IKEA you will see relevant good news about the company and all that they are doing. For example when I did it just now it pulled up “IKEA building its own personal wind farm". They get the message out in a big way and tying it all into their products and their wants and needs of their target customers.

If you understand who their target customers are, and you look at how they are reaching them, I am very surprised to see a different strategy then I would take work so well. IKEA has really done things different then its competitors and I believe that is why they are so successful. I only hope that they continue to adapt their strategy to the ever changing mediums that technology is providing us.


Aviator Chair | Leather | Restoration Hardware

I would love to own a pair of these! Very Cool Chairs that I could spend evenings in. :)

Aviator Chair | Leather | Restoration Hardware

looking at the tactics of the product launch of the Mini CountryMan

So I am a mini owner and fanatic. I am the type of customer companies’ drool for. I promote the products I buy and love. I decided to do a review of the tactics Mini decided to use for the launch of their first crossover vehicle in the US. So the first I read of the Mini Countryman was back a year ago in January 2010. It is promoted as a true crossover vehicle and is Mini’s first 4 door vehicle available in the US. It is meant to appeal to the people who love the Mini styling but need the extra room and possibly 4 wheel drive. Here is the first press release I found using Google about the Countryman. It is full of details and photos of the car a year before the launch to create the buzz needed to sell a new car.

One of the cool factors for the official launch they had a pop music idol produce a new song. They had the artist Timbaland create a song specifically for the launch. .
I actually found YouTube videos back to October of 2010 featuring the Mini countryman.
They actually stood up a twitter site and just said hi to mini!/MINICountryman. So either they didn’t own that account or they did not want to divide their followers from their man brand to a sub brand. I do have to say Mini has a small fan following on twitter so I would say they do not have much success there.

They had a superbowl commercial that went for the humor edgy them with cram it in the boot. It did not make the top 5 for superbowl commercials but you can tell they were trying to get attention with the walking the thin line of what is appropriate subject for commercials. Overall I thought it was a good commercial because I do not think people realize how much you can fit in one of those cars.
They also have a great TV commercial which featured a Mini Countryman offroading in the city and riding all over the place. Mini is always pushing itself, rightly so, as the fun alternative and their commercials really push this message.

All the mini dealers used their Facebook sites to have mini countryman launch events. Mini dealers have been very good about having mini events at their locations to increase the “mini cooper cult society”. They treat their current clients very well by sending them mini gear. I actually got a spray paint stencil in the mail to spray paint a spot in my driveway where it will be parked. That to me is almost gorilla marketing. I think when it comes to product launches there are few companies that can do it like apple, mini, Starbucks, and McDonalds. They hit is from all sides and are clear and succinct.

Overall I think they really pushed the concept that it is still as fun as a mini cooper but more space. I think they did that very well. I wish they would hit twitter more but they have such a large group of fans that use message boards that I believe they used their energy on those boards.


Social Media Monitoring Departments and Your Organization

Social media is a new complex situation to that is changing the structure of marketing departments of large and small organizations. Websites initially were products produced as collaboration between the technology departments, and the marketing departments. We find that social media is a product that is found somewhere between customer service and a marketing departments. The reason for this need for collaboration is if only one of those departments is handling social media we will see a failure. We find that marketers are good at creating their messages and pushing them out, while customer service is more oriented to listening to the customers and helping them through issues.

I believe it is important to establish a social media monitoring team that is a combination of these two departments. The reason why, is you need both departments working together to create synergy and prevent corporate silos of information. With my current position I see how my organization is utilizing Facebook and Twitter to promote news stories, and other information. It is promoting very well, but our organization has completely left the customer service factor out of the game. As a result, we are seeing great stories out there but there is no response to the tough questions that are being asked on Facebook or Twitter. People are becoming more disgruntled and disappointed with the organization because it is not responding to them. This is not because the organization does not care about their constituents, but because the marketing/communications department is not trained on how to respond as a customer service rep would.

I also think that social media is a great way to help develop your SWOT analysis. You can really begin to listen to your customers’ wants and needs. Once you get past the complaints and approvals, you can listen to what the trends are. You might find that your customer demographic is beginning to shift and you need to expand or eliminate certain products or services. As organizations begin to really understand social media, they will begin to develop tools needed to track their constituents and learn more about them. They will begin to know what music the customer likes, where they go on vacation, what they want for Christmas.

I believe a social media department is probably going to be one of the most important departments in future organizations. They are the front line, who will know your customers better than anyone else in your organization. The social media department will understand the intricacies about the customer base. This knowledge could evolve the company, and allow it to prosper if it is fully integrated with the organization from top to bottom.


David Rosen is now showing at Lost Dog in Shepherdstown West Virginia

I am very excited about having my first show at Lost Dog in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. This is going to be a great exercise for me to learn what people like and don't like in a show. I also plan on posting some information so people can get in touch with me via social media. The first thing I learned is that I should have done smaller prints with matting. I love big prints but I think matting would allow more separation from the wall and make it look cleaner. That was my original plan but I ended up thinking I could get larger frames with mattes for 16x20s which was not possible and would make my prints not very affordable. My plan is to sell all prints on the wall as they are for $90 then offer 8x10 prints at plum that are framed and matted for less. Please feel free to provide me any feedback you might have for me here or twitter, email, or whatever.


My review of the Audi Superbowl Commercial "Release the Hounds"

Audi went big with its super bowl XLV commercial not being one of the early commercials for the game, but it had a great story, film like qualities, action scenes, guest star cameo, and it was funny. “Release the Hounds” as it was called was in my mind what all superbowl commercials attempt to be.

You’re watching Audi Release the Hounds. See the Web's top videos on AOL Video

I really actually enjoyed this commercial based on what I have learned so far in IMC. I can see how this commercial came to fruition through the SWOT analysis. If you look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Audi brand you see that their competitors are luxury brands that have been around a long time, and are established as the vehicles of the wealthy. The key message for this campaign is Luxury has Progressed. What Audi has decided to do is play off their weakness and make it into a selling point. Audi created a commercial that attempts to classify Audi automobiles as the new luxury brand in contrast to Mercedes as the OLD luxury brand. Throughout the commercial they contrast two men buy having one seem born rich and not very smart, while the other is quick, athletic, and modern. In the end the “old rich” gentleman was hoodwinked into getting into a Mercedes because his father owned one. While the other hopped into the Audi and drove off. The Mercedes man was driven back into the prison while the man in the Audi got away. It was a great commercial that turned out to be even a better move once Mercedes played their commercial. The Mercedes commercial showed their cars throughout history and ended up making Mercedes look old which really allowed Audi’s strategy stand out.

One of the major things I actually looked for was how commercials used social media and overall I was surprisingly disappointed. I could not believe how many of the commercials decided to not have anything social and interactive. But… with that said Audi was the first Super Bowl commercial to have twitter hash tags. They introduced a contest for users on twitter that allowed them to use the #progressis in a tweet and the winner would win a drive in an Audi R8. They creatively got people talking about their product on twitter and got people to think creatively.


PAUSE!!! Put Your Marketing and Communications Plan Together.

So as I have been taking courses towards my masters in Integrated Marketing and Communications at West Virginia University I began looking at all the businesses in my life and say “Hey wait they do not have a marketing and communication plan!” It is amazing how social media has changed the whole game and has put the tools available to only those largest corporations with the biggest budgets in the hands of the smallest mom and pop. David Rosen as a person is now able to catch the eye of a million people. Where as years ago that was not even thought of. Now this is actually in my eyes changing the business market. Mixing the availability of marketing tools, the poor job market, and the stagnant pay rates in America, people are starting to build their own businesses and becoming self sufficient. Almost frontiersmen… I love this but with all this at your finger tips, what you need to do first is decide what tools are going to work for you, and how you are going to use them. There are just way too many tools out there for it to be effective for you to use all of them.

Where do you start!

Most businesses and people at first blush go to where their audience and community reside. But do you even know who your people and potential customers are? Do you even know what types of media they prefer to consume? You really don’t know much do you?

Develop your plan!

I have found that plans are ever changing and morphing now a days as technology changes and as communities grow but you need a clear concise starting point. You need to start this plan buy building your SWOT Analysis Wikipedia defines at SWOT analysis as follows
”SWOT analysis is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieve that objective. The technique is credited to Albert Humphrey, who led a convention at Stanford University in the 1960s and 1970s using data from Fortune 500 companies. A SWOT analysis must first start with defining a desired end state or objective. A SWOT analysis may be incorporated into the strategic planning model. Strategic Planning has been the subject of much research.
  • Strengths: characteristics of the business or team that give it an advantage over others in the industry.

  • Weaknesses: are characteristics that place the firm at a disadvantage relative to others.

  • Opportunities: external chances to make greater sales or profits in the environment.

  • Threats: external elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business.
Identification of SWOTs is essential because subsequent steps in the process of planning for achievement of the selected objective may be derived from the SWOTs. First, the decision makers have to determine whether the objective is attainable, given the SWOTs. If the objective is NOT attainable a different objective must be selected and the process repeated.”

I find this really is a way to hear what is going on around you. Looking internally and understanding what you do well and what you don’t is very therapeutic. I know I am not a very good writer but I am very good at design, photography. While my wife Cari Rosen (@plumwv) might not be as good in graphic design but she is amazing constructing with her hands and has a unique ability to understand style and trends. While looking externally you will see what techniques and tools the competition is using successfully and where they are beginning to overlap into your market. Also, listening externally will allow you to understand frustrations and needs of your customers that you can begin to address. At this point in my life I think your SWOT analysis should be updated quarterly to ensure that you are keeping in touch with your environment. Once you have heard all that is going on around you, decide what opportunities and strengths overlap that you can begin to work towards solving. Write it down in a clear and concise goal and put it somewhere visible.

Okay, now that you have your goal and what you plan on achieving in your sights your need to narrow down your strategy to something that is manageable. So first setup your central location for all communications. I have Creating Itchy as my central location but I could see down the road become my new home. Now that you have your core all that you do in other forms of media should direct users to that content… whether it is is print, on twitter, facebook, youtube, whatever it is work to refer them to your hub.

Ok so you have your hub now you need to establish what tools you are going to use to get people to your hub. Most companies use facebook, twitter, and youtube as their sattelites to get people to their hub but during your SWOT you have listened and you now know where your community is and what is the best way to reach them. Now like my post yesterday “tips for small business marketing with social media” make sure you are not a push marketer but mix it up. I would say for every 10 to 15 posts on twitter of facebook or whatever, refer to one of your posts on your hub. This is probably your best mix and actually will give you quality of content rather than being me centric. Remember that interaction with your community is how you build new contacts and new ways to reach new customers.

Here is the part that I am beginning to do, but I really see as the essential component, is develop a contact list, a database of sorts of all the people interested in you or your business. Large associations and corporations that I have worked with like AASLD, ASAE, or SHRM use a tool called a CRM (Customer relationship management ) while small business like PLUM use tools like constant contact. Why you ask? This is where the gold is. If you have a new event new offering or whatever it might be this is who you know is actually interested. They will be the people you go to speak with to find out what their issues are and how you fit into the solution.

You did it!

So now you have your plan and you know what you are actually going to do to achieve it. You no longer will waste your time and effort on fruitless efforts but will be able to take advantage of all the tools out there to reach new contacts and customers in a concise method. Now understand this is something that should be updated on a regular basis to insure you take advantage of shifts in technology and your customer base.

What tools and methods are you using?


Tips for small business marketing with social media

So, Cari (my wife) and I were talking the other night above our pet peeves about marketing on Facebook and how to change our strategy to improve the way Plum does business online. The first thing that came to mind was push marketing and how big of a turn off it is. Some great people that have great products ruin their social media presence by being so intrusive with push marketing. The biggest problem is when they advertise for their business using these techniques with their personal accounts. It is as if in order to be their friend I have to hear them sell stuff every 5 minutes online. It is a major turnoff for a customer no matter how great an offering you have. So after going over our conversation here are 6 tips for social media that I think all business should think about online.

  • If the business is self centered and not focused on its community and just does push marketing it will continue to do so with social media and fail.
  • A business that is lame offline will be even more lame on Social Media
  • A business that is not interested in building relationships with its customers will find Social Media a waste of time. While a company that cares, will see social media as a way to improve its business and make things better for its customers.
  • A business that will be successful using social media is interested in growing and becoming the best it can by listening, and recognizing greatness in their community and customers.
  • Don’t ask people to like your business… show them something awesome that makes them want to like your business.
  • Look for opportunities to have conversations with people that might be interested in your service don’t just spam them with unwanted content.


Kenneth Cole Offensive tweet... Brilliant or Blunder???

Kenneth Cole made a tweet today that has the web a stirring. People are up in arms over this tweet. I am starting to think yes they will be ripped apart. Yes they will have to apologize... But could it have been a GREAT move? They are now a trending topic on Twitter that has never happened before... How much would it have cost them to actually pay to get a sponsored trending topic? Now the news agencies will be talking about it. And actually all it really is untastefull they didnt say anything that could long term hurt their brand. I am going over this in my head and I see this in the end probably helping them out as far as rankings on the web and long term web traffic.

How To Get Creative!

Burger King ad for Real Big Burgers

What is the problem? Before you can begin solving problems with creativity you need to know what the problems are. Using a SWOT analysis is one way to start solving your problems. Your weaknesses and your threats are sometimes your biggest opportunities. To generate ideas to solve business problems we all need a starting point. You cannot get to Washington DC if you do not know where you are. So get a good grasp of the current situation before you begin anything.

Learn! Most of my best ideas come when I have an issue in the back of my mind and I watch movies or read books that subject is somewhere in the vicinity of the issue. You never know what can trigger a brilliant idea. One of the great things I have found with our IMC online discussion forum is how many creative ideas I am coming up with just by participating in this course and reading the required readings. I also have worked for a few “learning organizations” throughout my career and I think promoting education and training within an organization can really improve your workforces creativity. You would be surprised how excited people get about their job when they have learned something new in a class or in a book that is relevant to their job. The key is to not stifle that excitement but encourage it.

Brainstorming. Everyone has heard about Brainstorming throughout their career or time in school, because it is a brilliant method to get creative. It is amazing what a group of people what new ideas a group can come up with when working together. If you are not worried about finances or feasibility you can really generate a lot of new ideas. It works really well when you actually put constraints on the group like a time limit or a required amount of ideas. Also, be sure that everyone is fully instructed to think in the best case scenario.

Borrow from the competition. One thing I do if I am in a rush to come up with a creative solution is look at how the competition is solving the creative problem. As a hobby I am a photographer and some of my best ideas have come from trying to emulate the work of someone else. The end product is an evolution of my own style mixed with I see as the best from someone else.

Force ideas. When I worked for a contractor I used to make my employees write down a set number of solutions to a problem not caring how silly those ideas are. Then I would bring them back in the room the next week and have them write down new solutions to the problem. You would be surprised on how they would come up with better solutions the second time because their brains work on those ideas even when they are not at work.

Get out of the box. Another way to get creative is to go somewhere new. Get out of your comfort zone. Go to the air and space museum or to comedy club. Just do something that you would not normally do. In the corporate situation you can get your group of employees to go on a field trip and have a brain storming session at an offsite location. When people are away from the office distractions and can completely focus on an issue, sometimes new ideas can be triggered. When I worked for the Army Corps of Engineers they would have leadership meetings where corporate leaders and up and coming leaders would do meet off site to come up with new ways to improve the organization. These meetings were used to set the direction for the organization for the following year.


Hitting Creative Walls?

One thing I encounter from time to time is a creative wall. Sometimes it can last a year which becomes very frustrating. I usually get myself into this pit when I try to force an idea that is not working or I start creating something and it just is not working. This starts to eat at my self confidence which in turn eats away at my creativity. I find it very interesting to see how personally my self confidence is linked intrinsically to my creativity. When I am up against of this creative wall, I find myself thinking about the piece in question that is giving me such issues all the time. For example, I have a canvas in my attic that is of a brown tree on a blue canvas. I started it when I felt very creative and had a great idea it about 3 years ago. At this point when I think about it now and again I try to solve the problem in my head which cumulatively has taken up a good bit of time in the past 3 years. I learned something in art school that I never really got until now. My professor would tell me to just paint over it. I could never get myself to do that, whether it was my pride or my need to solve problems I just could never just give up on an idea I had that I could not complete. But, now that I think about it painting over it would free my head up to use that time I spend trying to figure out that issue with that canvas to be creative with other projects. In life, and as well with art, you must be prepared to no when you lost and its time to move on. Don't waste your energy on something you have realized just doesn't work. Take what you have learned from that project and use it on the next project. But having these failures sit around unfinished wastes to much of your creative problem solving time that could be used on coming up with your next project.

What do you do to get past these walls?


Is Groupon Appealing to the Growing Hispanic Market?

Is Groupon Appealing to the Growing Hispanic Market?

Groupon Mexico

I decided to do my research on an online company called Groupon. Groupon is an advertising company that markets deals of the day. Groupon works by having mass amounts of people subscribe to their service and once a day they send out a deal. The deal is usually a local deal and the customers pay a really low price for a voucher and then turn in that voucher to the business for the service or item. This is a great service that provides a way for a business to attract a lot of new customers with low risk since there is a critical mass.

So I chose to do research on how Groupon is reaching out to the Hispanic markets because it is one of the fastest growing companies right now. I thought it would be interesting to see how a young company that is growing extremely fast would handle this situation. The Hispanic market for marketing is huge… in 2008 Ad Age reported that $1.5 billion was invested in local Hispanic media so this is definitely something that Groupon is positioning itself to capture.

There are three major components that will make up success for a company like Groupon to succeed in the Hispanic market. They would need a minimum amount of consumers and the ability to get the interest of local advertisers. They then would need to understand how the online Hispanic market behaves, what sites they visit, what products they are interested in.

One of the major reasons why Groupon would do well in the Hispanic market is that according to the US Census Hispanic small business have increased by almost 45% which is twice the national average [1]. That would answer one of my components with enough local advertisers. Another major reason is the amount of Hispanics using the internet. Based on research done by the pew research center 18% of Hispanics use twitter compared to 8% of African American and 5% of Whites [2]. That is a pretty astounding number and should allow Groupon hit critical mass. I think the piece of the puzzle understands the Hispanic culture and its nuances in order to properly position itself.

What I have found is that Groupon is actually global. They have expanded to Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. I think as of now they are treating the American public as the same. They are allowing the interested companies be the one that decides what the product market is. I also have found a lot of upstart companies that are trying to carve out their niche as the Hispanic Groupon. So is Groupon missing the boat on the Hispanic market in the US? No, I really think they have it figured out. They are localized by nature so they are able to have demographics on each of their markets and the consumers and the businesses reflect that. What they have figured out is having a national corporation that plays differently depending on the market. So in Hispanic rich markets the ads they choose are ads that reflect the population that subscribes to their service. What other business knows their customer better than Groupon? They actually can provide business exact demographics compared to other advertising venues.

[1] US Census SEPT. 21, 2010 Retrieved from

[2] Pew Research. December 2010 Retrieved from


David Scott Rosen new Photography portfolio now online!

I am very excited to have finally stood up my online portfolio! After years of owning my name domain it finally has something great to point to. Please check out my site at! Thanks!

David Rosen


Snapfish versus Shutterfly

The battle of the online photo printers

Snapfish versus Shutterfly

I do have a love of photography and I think one of the great things about photography is the actual print. It is funny how people work. We have all this technology and IPads and photo frames but we still love a good photo book of our family and special occasions. I am approaching both sites as if I want to go ahead and create a book of my own.

First Impressions:
Shutterfly at first blush is a lot to take in. They have a very busy site but it seems like they feel like they need to show you that they can do it all. They have a great happy color scheme and there imagery is very child centric. Right off the top it is as if they read my mind. Photo Books are everywhere on the main page. There must be at least 3 or 4 links to printing books. The other thing I noticed off the top it looks like it is easy to sign up with a brief form and I will get 50 free prints. As a potential customer I can tell you I would try them out. I think these sites are great because they lure you in with the free prints but once you are on their site they have you because they give you a great place to store photos.

Snapfish has more of a toned down entrance with not as much clutter. They do have a very friendly flash animation to start off that has a playful fish. I think that is telling me that they are mom or grandma focused because of the cuteness and all the child pictures. I end up finding a link to the product I am looking for. I did notice they offer a similar deal but not as lucrative as Shutterfly. They also do not have the form right up front but you have to click through to begin filling it out. They basically gave up an easier route of signing people up for a cleaner look.

Clicking on the book:

I then clicked on the book on Shutterfly and landed on a very graphical site that basically provided me with two directions. The first was a simple path and the other was a custom path. But that is it… They have very limited examples for me to choose. But as I delve deeper into the process I notice that they are taking me step by step through the process. It actually becomes extremely simple for me to navigate and for me to choose what I want. One thing I thought was great was the integration they have right into your Facebook photo library. Once I chose the size of my book I began to upload my images which were a little slow to load but once it came up it was easy to interface with. I would say their overall process is geared towards a novice user because the directions are clear and simple and there are not too many options to complicate the process.

As I clicked through on Snapfish I found myself on a long page full of lots of different types of books. The variety of books far surpassed that of Shutterfly but it becomes a little more difficult to choose what I want with all of the options. The prices seem actually higher as well. One thing they do have to make my life a little easier is basically an easy button. They have something called Express Photo Books which removes most of the possible options and gets right to the point. It is obvious at this point I fall into their focused audience of books and that is young couples with kids. I do not see the facebook integration but they do have a way I can chat with one of their customer service employees.


Overall I think it is interesting how at first look they were very much the same but as you take a good look at their operations they both have different approaches to their customers. Shutterfly had the appearance of providing a more affordable product and allowing you to create it pretty fast by limiting your options. Snapfish was a little pricier but you get to customize the product a little more to make it your own. So we can see how they are differentiating themselves from each other in order to gain advantage. I would say they both use the same strategy at keeping their customers. They offer you a lot of free swag in order to get you in because they feel that once they have you it becomes a lot more difficult for you to leave and go to their competition.


Social Fitness!

So since it is the beginning of a new year everyone is trying to get fit. I figure I would list some good social networking fitness sites. Losing weight can be a lot more fun when you do it as a group. It also can be beneficial to have someone holding you accountable for your exercise.

Daily Mile
Share your training with friends and stay motivated.

Daily Burn
Best-in-class fitness plans, nutritional tracking, and social motivation to help you reach Your health and fitness goals

Fat Secret
All Things Food and Diet.

Spark People
Make your life an adventure.
Your nutrition and Health Solution

Extra Pounds
Weightloss Support+Motivation

Traineo helps you lose weight by letting you track your progress through a unique way of getting friendly motivation.

Please send me more!!! I want to try to keep this site up to date! What do you use?

pardon the interupption now back to your regular scheduled program...


Twitter Profile Picture Going Stale? Think Again.

So you think that your avatar on your twitter account is getting stale maybe? Avatars on twitter are a huge part of your personal brand. An avatar is a computer users representation of themselves it is pretty much your personal logo for twitter. It represents you and people associate it with your name.

This morning I logged onto twitter thinking about switching my avatar and I began to truly think about what it actually means to change your avatar. It is actually a critical part of your brand identity on twitter. Your brand Identity on twitter is made up by your name, your description, your avatar, your background image, and your writing style. (?) All of those items are who you are to people on twitter.

So after contemplating this and thinking about this in a corporate sense changing your avatar needs to be done carefully and with a full understanding as to the implications to your brand image. What if the GAP changed their logo on a weekly basis think about how that would affect their image? I truly believe once you have one in place stick with it and let it evolve slowly. There are avatars on twitter that drive me nuts, but you know what? I associate that icon with the quality of posts I have seen from them in the past. I don't know 99% of the people's names I follow on twitter but I can recognize their avatar if I saw them in a lineup. I for instance should care around a paper mustache so people recognize me if they see me in person.

One tweep @Minervity or Richard Darell has avatar he has stuck with for a very long time and it is embedded in my head with an association with mass amounts of data from bit rebel.

@ChrisVoss is a great tweep and he pushes out mass amounts of data, but he changes his avatar all the time. Personally every time he does it I think who is that guy and I have to figure out who it is again. Correction: I mentioned Chris Voss but I was wrong he has not changed his avatar in over a year. See... I have no idea who is that person is! :)

Of course you can change your avatar… You need to find one that you are happy with and you want to keep your brand in style. But try to stick with one that works don't change it as you would on facebook. I recommend trying to evolve the one you have so try to at least not go from personal pic to a cartoon character to a piece of artwork you love. Keep it similar and only do it if you must.

  1. Here are my twitter avatar tips:
    Find the avatar you like for twitter and stick with it.
  2. Understand that it is a major component of your personal brand on twitter.
  3. If you change it announce the fact you did it so people are not wondering who the new tweep is on their screen.
  4. As always remember your brand covers all social media so try your hardest to keep them all inline together. (I am bad at that)

What do you want your twitter avatar to say about you?


The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit

I have read many articles in the paper about the condition of detroit and I have seen many news reports. But today pictures spoke louder then words. The amazing photography of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre truly tell of the tragidy of what has happened in Detroit Michagan. Take a minute and review these pictures, they really tell a story of how fabulous Detroit once was and what its current status is in these modern ruins.

Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church, built in the gothic revival style in 1911 Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

William Livingstone House, Brush Park, a French Renaissance-style house designed by Albert Kahn in 1893 and demolished since this photograph was taken. Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Waiting hall, Michigan Central Station Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Detroit’s Vanity Ballroom with its unsalvaged art deco chandeliers. Duke Ellington and Tommy Dorsey once played here. Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

The ruined Spanish-Gothic interior of the United Artists Theater in Detroit. The cinema was built in 1928 by C Howard Crane, and finally closed in 1974. Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

The ballroom of the 15-floor art-deco Lee Plaza Hotel, an apartment building with hotel services built in 1929 and derelict since the early 1990s. Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Offices, Highland Park Police Station Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Michigan Theatre Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Michigan Central Station Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Light Court, Farwell Building Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

East Methodist Church Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Dentist Cabinet, Broderick Tower Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre