Author Archives: Adrienne Schafer

Using technology to keep up… with technology

The digital world is changing faster than a cheetah on Red Bull and it can feel impossible to keep up. However, careful planning and an understanding of what is driving your audience, whether it’s sources they trust, amazing photos and experiences or a particular need, can still help marketers connect people to products and brands. Even better, in the not too distant future, technology will help solve the challenges it creates. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can help you reach the right people with the right product at the right time.

Case Studies

USA Today: People Freaking Out Over Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino
Starbucks hopped on the Unicorn food train with a colorful Unicorn frappuccino this week. It had the internet and the brave taste testers in our office buzzing, but the “buzz” may have been from the sugar coated sugar. Either way, they’ve seen plenty of social media conversation from the extremely limited run product. Lessons learned? There is no amount of sugar Americans won’t try. Don’t forget to think about the picture people will take when you’re coming up with ideas. If nothing else the neon Unicorn drink makes great Instagram fodder.


The Globe and Mail: Consumer Trust in Social Media Influencers Drops
This one comes from our neighbors to the north. In Canada, like the United States, there are laws requiring bloggers to disclose corporate sponsors. They’ve studied the effect of those laws on consumer trust. Spoiler alert – people place lower trust in bloggers now than prior to the enactment of the law. Canadians rated “bloggers you follow” far below sources like “company websites” as a trusted source of information about products and brands. When you’re thinking about creating an influencer campaign remember, large follower counts don’t always equate to influence. People still trust themselves and friends most.
P.S. We learned a new term – “astroturfing” is when a company’s employees post positive reviews about their company without disclosing their conflict of interest.

Artificial Intelligence

Occam’s Razor: Artificial Intelligence: Implications On Marketing, Analytics, And You
This one is from my data crush Avinash Kaushik, Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist. Data driven marketing really gets my heart racing. Kaushik’s view is that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (ML) are poised to make great digital marketing strides, solving the right place, right time problem at scale. ML is capable of creating the perfect email campaign for every person, we’re just waiting for people to build the tech that takes advantage of those capabilities. Some companies are already using ML to accomplish things like getting ads for hotel rooms in front of stranded airport travelers.


TechCrunch: Everything Facebook Launched at Both Days of F8 and Why
Marketers might not always tune into developer conferences, but it’s at least worth noting what Facebook talks about at F8. Their announcements about virtual reality and direct brain interfaces sound sexy but some of the more homely elements like QR codes that can trigger in-person experiences and analytics driven by AI have the potential for a bigger impact on marketers’ lives.

On the Blog: 

Project Highlight:


smart-ash-branding-website-featuredDenver Parks & Recreation | Be a Smart Ash Branding
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, making it a great time to highlight the design work we’ve done on the annual reports for Tennyson Center for Children, a nonprofit that works wonders with victims of child abuse.

Sources for Social Media Ideas

Social Media Ideas ResearchWhere do you get your social media ideas? When you hear the words “brainstorming” or “creativity,” you may not immediately associate them with science and research, but I do. When I see a calendar invitation to a brainstorming session, I make a note to make time for some research. I’m not talking about what competitors are up to, though that too is important. I’m talking about finding a LexisNexis log in and doing some digging to see what the scientific community says about the topic. You’d be surprised what exists out there to inspire your work.

Most recently, I did some work with a child abuse prevention nonprofit and stumbled across the amazing Frameworks research that studied how people in various demographics responded to different message framing related to child abuse prevention. This research is widely used amongst nonprofits working on this topic. It has great insights like “because so many frames have the effect of lifting support for child abuse and neglect policies, child welfare advocates on this issue have the opportunity to create some synergy across child development issues by using frames that also elevate other areas of child development.”  To translate, there are many ways of talking about child abuse that can be effective, but a few strategic ones will also help everyone else working on the topic. In coming up with ideas for this April, which is child abuse prevention month, we kept that research in mind.

The child abuse example is just one of many. If the topic relevant to you doesn’t have extensive existing research there can be more broad ways to investigate, such as looking for research related to online giving and social pressure for nonprofits. Or even understanding theories related to how people choose what to buy. This study tested whether people offered a coupon for jelly bought more when they could choose between 26 flavors or 6 flavors. More people were attracted to the big display, but more people actually bought jelly when there were fewer choices.

If you want to propel your agenda, build a movement, and change the narrative, you’re going to need some powerful social media ideas for content. Why not start with a Google search to leverage psychology, cognitive science, and the latest social science research to help lead you to success?

The Data Dating Game

Welcome to the data visualization dating game! Hi, I’m Adrienne and I’m new around here. I like engaging social media posts, long creative sessions and most especially thoughtful incorporation of data before and after campaigns. My ideal date doesn’t just take a dip in the data pool, he jumps off the high dive and into the deep end. After his swim, he keeps only the necessary, glistening, shining drops of important, actionable data points.

As my major data crush Avinash Kaushik would say, getting drunk on data and providing “data pukes” is totally unnecessary, not to mention classless and a total turn off. What he means by that is having data is great, but dumping a bucket of it onto a page doesn’t answer the two most important questions data exists to answer – “So what”? And, “So that?”  Why is this graph important to your business and what is it telling you to DO!?

Read more after the jump…