Archive for the ‘Case Study’ Category

Last week I was asked to talk with BBC World News Anchor, Adnan Nawaz, to talk about the controversy around Big Papi, David Ortiz, taking a selfie with President Obama during the teams trip to the White House. In my opinion there really wasn’t much of a controversy, as you will see from the interview below. What do you think? Was Big Papi right or wrong for taking his pic with the President?

Wondering if LinkedIn or Pinterest are right for your brand? You are not alone – marketers have been focusing their efforts on the Big 3 (Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube) but increasingly are looking to LinkedIn and Pinterest to build a presence and connect with their constituents. As a follow-on to our latest white paper, Five Killer Strategies to Dominate Social Media’s Big 3: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, which offers insights into how the leading social platforms can be used for marketing success, we turn to dissecting the best social marketing practices on Pinterest and LinkedIn, among the most popular social platforms of our days. LinkedIn boasts 147 million users and Pinterest recently hit 10 million unique active users. These two social networks hold untapped potential for reaching new customers waiting for your brand to make connections with them. Here are some ideas on how marketers can approach the social platforms along with some suggestions for tools they can use to get the most of their efforts. We also bring two great examples of brands doing it right on Pinterest and LinkedIn.

How to Use Pinterest and LinkedIn

While the social channels may seem different, marketers can successfully apply the same strategies to each by using different specific tactics. For example, successful use of Pinterest and LinkedIn requires great content, but on Pinterest it’s best to “avoid self-promotion” (see Pinterest’s terms and conditions), while LinkedIn content focuses heavily on company and product updates. Pinterest and Linkedin can be used by brands to effectively achieve key marketing goals such as:

  • Increase social reach
  • Engage fans through effective content
  • Identify and engage with influencers
  • Increase lead generation
  • Integrate activity with analytics

Pinterest How-tos:

Although Pinterest is still in its earlier stages, it’s clearly here to stay. Tools are popping up left and right to help marketers increase the effectiveness of their Pinterest efforts. Tools such as PinReach and PinPuff make identifying influencers easier and more efficient. Content development tools for Pinterest, such as Pinstamatic, Snapito, and Pinerly, allow brands to be creative and visually stimulating with their pins.

Chobani, a yogurt brand, uses Pinterest as a way to tap into their customers’ lifestyles and create a sense of brand loyalty. The themed boards are based on their target audience’s interests, such as recipes using yogurt, nutrition, and being active. Chobani uses creative titles, such as “Chobani Fit” and “Chobaniac Creations”, a clever strategy that have helped the brand gain over 6,000 followers on Pinterest.

Chobani Pinterest campaigns

Chobani used Pinterest to tap into their customers’ lifestyles.

 

LinkedIn Success:

LinkedIn has gained a reputation for successful lead generation, with marketers ranking the platform as 277% more effective than other platforms in a marketing study conducted by HubSpot. The “Products and Services” tab that displays customer-generated recommendations make LinkedIn an extremely effective lead generation tool. Embedding the “Recommend on LinkedIn” widget on your homepage is one way to encourage customers to actively promote your brand.

Juniper Networks, a business-to-business company that offers high speed, reliable switching routers to satisfy ISP-level performance, has a great LinkedIn company page. With over 40 products and services listed, Juniper Networks has 215 customer recommendations on their “Products and Services” page. The “Overview” tab is effectively utilized with widgets that give the most important and updated information about the company.

Juniper Networks LinkedIn company page

Juniper Networks uses LinkedIn for promoting products and services and customer recommendations.

 

With the right strategies, LinkedIn and Pinterest can be powerful platforms to add to your social media toolbox. If you are looking to the make the most of your Pinterest and LinkedIn efforts, download our complimentary whitepaper, Beyond the Big 3: 5 Killer Strategies to Dominate LinkedIn and Pinterest. To learn more about how to boost your brand’s success on Pinterest and LinkedIn, download our recent white paper, Five Killer Strategies to Dominate Social Media’s Big 3: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

 

Today Awareness announced that the Social Marketing Hub, our latest software innovation, became generally available. During the development of the Hub, Mark Cattini (our CEO) and I traveled to over 50 of the largest brands in the world to get their feedback on the new product.  We spent time collecting feedback on every aspect of the solution from functionality to pricing to market positioning.  While we spent time discussing the product we also spent a significant about of time talking with each company about their approach to social media, their objectives, their successes and their challenges.

I have to admit that I was surprised by some of the findings and was even more surprised to learn that most of the organizations we spoke with face similar challenges despite being of different sizes and in different industries.  What are those challenges you ask?  Below is a summary of what we learned.

1. Inability to scale

The inability for organizations to scale – to quickly and easily manage, maintain, and measure multiple social channels – was a top theme coming out of our meetings. Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group recently published a post that discusses the pain of scaling social media programs in more detail and breaks down the Social Media Management Software market. A real life example of this pain came very early on in our tour. We sat down with the interactive marketing team at a large retailer who explained that they needed to drop MySpace as a channel because they didn’t have the resources to manage and report on it in a meaningful way. Because it had become too burdensome to maintain, they opted to stop spending time updating and managing MySpace and, in their words, “break-ties with our 30K+ MySpace friends”.

The issue for them boiled down to scale. They are not able to utilize and promote additional channels because managing their primary outposts – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube – requires a huge commitment in terms of resources. They would like to be able to easily add and test new channels but don’t have the time or energy to expand on their current strategy.

2. Security & Control

Raise your hand if your organization shares passwords to your social sites via an excel spreadsheet? If you are guilty, trust me when I tell you that you are not alone. In fact, of the brands we met with only a handful were not using excel to share passwords.  In one of the more uncomfortable moments from the tour, we met with the marketing group and a representative from the IT team at a large consumer electronics company. We mentioned controlling passwords was a challenge for many organizations and they went on to explain how they share passwords through excel. When someone leaves the company they change the password, update the spreadsheet and resend to nearly 30 people who “may” need access to manage updates (this includes resending it to their multiple marketing agencies). Needless to say, the rep from IT was not happy and that resulted in a heated discussion about internal security protocols.

This example is just the tip of the iceberg for security and control. Many organizations have Facebook Pages, YouTube Channels, Twitter Accounts, etc controlled by individuals within the company, outside of the team responsible for controlling messaging. This makes it very difficult to control messaging and posts and makes it almost impossible to retract assets that may be out of date or contain obsolete messaging.  It’s also impossible to report on who published what, where and when.

3. Lack of resources and buy-in

Many of the top brands – some of which have received kudos for their social performance and strategy – are operating with an extreme lack of resources and next to no buy-in from senior execs. A contributing factor to this is a lack of meaningful reporting (see point 4) but it is still shocking that social media has not been fully accepted in the highest levels of some of these enterprises.

Take for example a large, multi-billion dollar retailer who has two individuals managing multiple twitter accts, a few Facebook pages, multiple YouTube channels and a recently launched Flickr page. The management of these channels is only a small component of their everyday jobs which makes prioritizing them very difficult.  While meeting with the social media tandem they needed to continually excuse themselves to respond to support issues on Twitter. The challenge they face is resources are difficult to get. In their words “…  from the executives perspective, we are executing on social media and doing a great job. The question we get is ‘why do you need more resources, everything is going really well’. The problem is we are working 16 hour days to make this happen and are spending large portions of our day arguing with other departments about access, controls, messaging, etc.” This is a good segue to point #4 – reporting…

4. Reporting is Ad-Hoc

Reporting on social media is the single biggest hurdle faced by large organizations because it impacts every other point on the list.  Without reporting, it’s difficult to scale, get exec buy-in, maintain control and centralize your social media strategy.  What surprised us is that pulling general reports from the big channels – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube – is a manual process that people are spending a great deal of time on. We have seen everything – interns hired specifically to pull stats and aggregate data, marketing agencies getting paid top dollar to pull data on a weekly basis, departments forwarding weekly reports to an individual who aggregates data on specific channels and pieces of content and a myriad of other ways to resolve the issue.  The point is there is a big hole to fill around reporting. Organizations want and need a central place to collect data from multiple channels and have simple way to manipulate data to see how assets are performing and which channels are providing the best bang for the buck.

5. Centralization

Organizations are looking to centralize social media efforts across the organization. What we found is that most organizations handle social media in silos. Different departments create pages and accounts for their division and this makes it difficult to deploy a centralized strategy.  Another large retailer we met with is experiencing this issue on a global scale.  They have over 200 physical retail locations in the United States and Canada and many of the local outlets have taken the initiative to develop and manage their own social outposts to target individuals within the local geography.  The problem comes when one of the local offices decides to promote a sale too early (or not at all), promotes a new product before it’s announced by corporate, uses incorrect messaging and generally doesn’t conform to corporate guidelines.  This is a huge problem faced by not only retail organizations but also inside large multinational corporations with departments that are dispersed across the globe.  Centralizing the social media strategy is something that is gaining a lot of momentum within large companies and most are moving to bring social media to one department who controls all engagement and interactions.

————————-

We used these interviews and the information we collected as a guide to help us develop the Awareness Social Marketing Hub.  By listening to our customers we gained a deep understanding of their approach to social media and built the system from the ground up based on their needs.  With the market constantly evolving we wanted to make sure the system met the needs they have today as well as be capable of supporting needs that develop over time. We are continuing to gather more knowledge about enterprise social media needs and are always using our learnings to innovate our offerings.

What do you think?  Did we miss any challenges?  Are these the same ones that you face on a daily basis?  I’d love to hear your thoughts…

All photos used under a Creative Commons license.  Photo credits:

  1. Scale: Hanson Bros. Scale 04.06.09 [96] by timlewisnm
  2. Control: No Controle (in Control) by renatotarga
  3. Lack of Resources:  089/365 Money…What Money by stuartpilbrow
  4. Reporting: AAAARRRGGGHHH by evilerin
  5. Centralize: Collegiate Church, Salzburg by andreakirkby

How do you Maximize Engagement across the social web?  That was the question I was asked during an interactive panel discussion at SXSW.  Joining me on the panel was a team of marketing and engagement experts including, David Meerman Scott, Eric Qualman, David Carter, Chris Heuer, Paul GillinBrian Solis and Peter Fasano.  We met at the Social Media Clubhouse to discuss this topic in detail and chat about how brands using the Social Media tools to engage with their customers.

The complete video footage is below.  Hope you enjoy the discussion!

thinkpositiveWednesday was a tough afternoon for me.  I’m sure many of you were probably following the twitter stream for #awarenessinc Wednesday afternoon and have some sense of what happened but for those that didn’t, here’s a summary of what went down:

For the last few months we have been promoting a webinar with Chris Brogan for a discussion about his new book “Trust Agents“.  Needless to say the demand for the event was extraordinary.  Over 1200 people registered and I was personally excited to have the chance to chat with Chris about the book. Chris and I spoke several times that morning to discuss the slides, flow and logistics and had worked out every last detail. I started the session 30 minutes early, uploaded the slides and walked through the logistics with our Webex producer who was overseeing the call. I typically use producers for our events so they can provide the recording and manage any tech issues that may arise.  This is particularly important for me for this event because we were dealing with a very large crowd and I wanted to make sure everything went smoothly.

Everything was progressing on plan until Chris tried to join the conference bridge 15 minutes prior to the call.  He was having trouble dialing into the phone line and connecting to the Webex meeting manager.  We attempted several different methods for joining Chris to the bridge (including having him call my cell and putting it on speaker phone to broadcast on the bridge) and nothing seemed to work.  While Webex scrambled to figure out the issue with Chris’ line the situation steamrolled at 2PM ET, when a flood of people attempted to join the session.

Apparently, Webex was experiencing an issue that resulted in everyone getting removed from the line the moment they dialed-in.  People were also having difficulty joining the session over the computer.  We were notified that the Webex tech support team was aware of the problem and was working towards a resolution.  Chris and I immediately began tweeting, emailing and chatting with the individuals attempting to join the call.  We tried in vain to get the call started for over 30 minutes and had no luck.  Once it became clear that issue could not be resolved,  we decided to reschedule and notify everyone of the new date/time once we had it.

We learned a lot during the session just from following the Twitter stream. Most importantly, it emphasized the importance of keeping members in the loop while we were attempting to write the ship. The conversation was great and in the words of @gillat “I think that we proved that even though the webinar was canceled, we still had fun creating a conversation on twitter ;-) #awarenessinc”.

A couple of things I’d like to clear up. First, Webex has planned a meeting with me some of their execs today to discuss how we can make this right. And, when I say “make this right”  I don’t mean for myself, Chris or Awareness – but for the people who registered and spent time waiting on the line. (Special thanks to @faithlegendre for helping to facilitate this). Second, while unfortunate, tech issues do happen and I hope people understand that Webex still offers a quality product and service. Let me be 100% clear, in our opinion this was a serious issue that needs to be dealt with but, while unfortunate, we are still working with Webex on a resolution. Are we upset? Yes. But they heard the chatter on Twitter and will work to correct the issue. I am confident of this. I plan on keeping everyone posted on this process as it plays out.  Stay tuned for details…

On behalf of the team at Awareness, I want to personally apologize to everyone who registered and was on the line waiting for Chris and I. Not so much for the tech issue but for not responding to every tweet/note that came in during the session. To be transparent, we were both working hard to try and think of other alternatives and it was difficult for us to manage the overwhelming response.  We appreciate you patience and we think we have a plan in place to make things right.

The good news is we HAVE rescheduled the session for September 9 at 2PM ET. We are working with PermissionTV to make this a live, streaming session.  We will be proving details on this session by Monday at the absolute latest.  In addition, we will be providing a new eBook to everyone who registered. This was written by Chris and was scheduled to be released to the public in late September. We are finishing the book now and will have it our the attendees who registered for the previous session on Monday as well.

Finally, I want to thank everyone for registering and taking some time to wait on the line to hear from Chris. The audience on our webinars consistently ROCK and we always appreciate hearing their feedback (whether good, or bad).

Feel free to post any questions or voice your frustration here.  You can also email me directly at mike.lewis(AT)awarenessnetworks.com or chat with me on Twitter @bostonmike.

Photo credit: Wavy1

Updated August 31:

Just received this note from Webex to share with our attendees:

August 28, 2009

Dear Attendee,

Thank you for your interest in the Awareness Inc., “Trust Agents: Webinar with Chris Brogan” web event held on Wednesday, August 26, 2009.

On behalf of Cisco-WebEx, please accept our apologies for the telephony issues during this Awareness Inc. sponsored event.  We strive to make each of our customer’s events successful and apologize for the issue.  The telephony issue was not the fault of Awareness Inc. and Cisco-WebEx will continue to work closely with Awareness Inc. to ensure that all future Cisco-WebEx events will provide a high-quality experience.

Sincerely,

Cisco-WebEx Communications, Inc.

I am a huge fan of the TV show Lost.  The writing is brilliant, the plot is both engaging and unpredictable and every episode leaves you wanting more.  What else could you possibly ask for in a TV show?

What has been equally impressive to me, in addition to the top-notch writing and plot, is their effective use of social media and viral marketing programs to generate buzz.  The show’s marketing is an excellent example of not only the effective use of social media but also of the use of multiple marketing channels to build and maintain a loyal community.

Getting Lost:

If you have never seen Lost, the program chronicles the lives of the survivors of Oceanic flight 815.  815 is a flight from Sydney Australia to Los Angeles, CA that crash lands on a mysterious and supernatural island somewhere in the South Pacific.  While there are no “typical episodes”, most focus on the survivors lives on the Island while featuring a secondary plot that is focused on an individual character during another point in their life (note to newbies, time travel is a big component of Lost).

Lost has leveraged the passion of their fans to launch several cross-media promotions including a Lost Magazine, 4 novels (one, called “Bad Twin“, was credited to Gary Troup (an anagram for “purgatory”), a survivor of Flight 815), as well as a series of alternate reality games, Mobisodes, podcasts and viral videos.  One example was a video released by the show’s producers that provided a clue to one of the shows biggest and best kept secrets:

One of the aspects of the show that has captured the speculation and imagination of fans is the show’s elaborate mythology.  This mythology has been the driving force behind hundreds (if not thousands) of viewer created sites and blogs focusing on  theories and speculation on the Island’s past and the outcome of the show.  Sites like DarkUFO and “The Numbers” not only feature fan discussion forums but also include user generated podcasts and videos, fan fiction, episode summaries, photos, spoilers and much more.

The marketing was effective because it leveraged the passion of loyal fans and multiple marketing vehicles (both print and online) to build an active community.  Below Damon Lindelof, Executive Producer of Lost, talks about some of the innovative marketing and effective use of multiple forms of media to generate buzz for the show.

While you probably don’t have an ABC-sized budget to to drive your marketing there are some great lessons from Lost that marketers should consider as they develop their marketing programs.

Marketing Lessons from Lost:

1. Know your audience and empower them:

Success in marketing, especially in social media, comes from having a deep understanding of your audience.  Without an understanding of who your audience is and which vehicle(s) is best to communicate with them can lead to the failure of your program.  The producers of Lost took the time to know their audience up front and to communicate with them through the channels they were most comfortable using.  They also took the next step by empowering their audience to contribute and drive the conversation.  Empowering customers is a difficult concept for many brands to grasp because it goes against the way most of use have been trained to market.  As marketers, we are comfortable delivering messages when we want to deliver them, to the audiences we choose, through channels we select.  Allowing the audience to discuss and market our products and services outside of the guidelines and oversight of corporate marketing can be a difficult pill to swallow.

My good friend Chris Brogan recently wrote a post called “Empowering versus Marketing” where he said “Today, I’m thinking about how empowering people matters so much more than marketing to them.”  As you think about your marketing programs take a lesson from Lost and ask yourself what can you do to empower your market?

2. Don’t be afraid to use multiple channels:

Lately I have been speaking at a lot of social media focused conferences and have been hearing how traditional forms of media are “dead”.  Print is the vehicle that seems to get the most criticism and tends to fall into the “going the way of dinosaur” bucket.  In my opinion, modern marketing is all about leveraging the types of media necessary to engage your audience.  If you follow step one and take the time to know your audience and learn about their preferences you may find that print is the best way to reach them, or you may discover 99% listen to podcasts, you may find that 85% attend a certain conference every year or they all listen to a particular radio station everyday.  While social media currently has a lot of hype and is buzzword of the day for marketers, it’s important to not lose site of the fact that your marketing goals have not changed.  While there are new ways of marketing your products or services, your ultimate goal is still to engage your audience, generate leads, build awareness, drive conversions, etc.  To do that you need to engage with your audience through the channels that they are most comfortable with.  Lost used a combination of print (Lost Magazine, Novels, Messages in a bottle) and digital (podcasts, videos, mobisodes, fan forums) to facilitate a dialog, drive buzz and gain viewers.

As you look at your campaigns ask yourself if there are other channels you can use to communicate with your audience?

3. Identify the influencer’s

Identifying and empowering specific key individuals (or types of individual) can help build your audience faster than mass marketing to your target audience as a whole. This type of marketing identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers (or viewers in the case of Lost), and orients marketing activities around them.  A couple of weeks ago I did a webinar with David Meerman Scott, author of New Rules of Marketing & PR and World Wide Rave, and he tells the story of the launch of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, Orlando.  Cynthia Gordon, vice president of new media and marketing partnerships at Universal Orlando Resort, launched a program to tell the world about the new park by only informing seven influential bloggers.   By targeting and enabling these seven individuals, word quickly spread to over 350 million.  How’s that for an ROI?

Similarly, prior to the debut of Lost, the show producers previewed the pilot episode to more than 3000 at the Comic-Con conference in San Diego.  The demographic in attendance was primarily young technology enthusiasts whom the producers of Lost had identified as influencers for the show.  In addition, the producers launched multiple websites before the show hit the airwaves. These microsites provided limited details on the characters and storyline as well as provided ways to dialog and connect with other viewers.  These tactics were aimed at identifying and empowering influencers who were likely to spread the word about the show and encourage others to attend.

As you are executing your marketing programs ask yourself, who are the influencers of your product or service and have you taken the time to engage them?

4. Take some risk

A common component of some of the most successful marketing programs in history is an element risk.  Marketing innovation is all about stepping outside of what is comfortable and avoiding a natural fear of rejection.

Ironically, a big risk for the Lost producers was empowering their fans.  As the show gained popularity fans began to speculate about the mysteries of the show.  This led to “spoilers” being leaked and distributed online (from WIkipedia: A spoiler is any element of any summary or description of any piece of fiction that reveals any plot element which will give away the outcome of a dramatic episode within the work of fiction, or the conclusion of the entire work.)

Every marketing program contains a certain element of risk and the producers of Lost asked many of the same questions some of my customers asking before beginning a social media program: “Will customer empowerment hurt my brand?” “What if people say negative things about my brand?” “What if we build a site or community online and no one shows up or no one participates?” “What if this doesn’t draw any buzz or achieve any of our stated objectives?”  “Did we target the right people?”  The key for them was embracing the risk and remaining confident the programs would be effective.

After you finish reading this post ask yourself if their are ways you can make your marketing stand out?  What is the competition doing and how can you take it to the next level?

5. Don’t be afraid to give up control

Lost producers encourage fans to build sites, foster conversations and spread the message and by doing this they gave up an incredible amount of control.  They no longer controlled the messaging on fan sites and forums or whether the conversations were positive or negative.  Television marketing has been based on the broadcast model which is the idea that you have one person who has something to say and you want to minimize the cost of having that message reach the most number of people.  As opposed to marketing to faceless masses, the Lost producers said, “we see you as important assets for this show.  You’re our audience and we need to enable you to help make this successful.  We think it would be great to have you join up with one another and discuss the show in your own voice.”

Since season 1 the producers have made it clear that they pay attention to the conversations of fans and take the time to enter into dialog with them.  On several occasions the producers have highlighted fan theories during their podcast and rated them and incorporated fan discussions into episodes.

As you think about your own marketing don’t be afraid to give up control to your fans.  Think about how they can help drive you messaging and create buzz.

What do you think?  Is there anything else I missed that might be good takeaway from Lost?

Last night I was talking to my wife about my blog post a few weeks back regarding great customer service at the Apple Store.  She listened to the story, read the post and said “That’s great, but not nearly as good as the service we got at that Sony Style store in Las Vegas”.  I have to admit, I was a little embarrassed that I forgot about that experience because it was so outstanding.  I have not blogged about it but have shared the story with some of my friends.  Every time I tell it people are amazed at the level of responsiveness and dedication to customer service.  Let me know what you think.

Sony Style Store

Before I get into the story, let me tell you my biases… I have always been a fan of Sony, in fact it’s one of the few brands I am loyal to.  In my opinion their products have two important qualities: (1) They are high quality and (2) they satisfy my “inner geek”.  My TV is a Bravia and my home computer is a Vaio.  In my laptop bag I carry CyberShot, Sony earbuds, and a PSP (for long trips).  I am in the middle of playing Fallout on my Playstation 3 and was an early adopter of Blu-Ray.  In the spirit of full transparency, Sony also happens to be a client of Awareness, Inc (my employer).  Now that you know I am brand loyal and that Sony is a client, let me share my experience with Sony Style with you and get your take.

For Valentines Day my wife and I spent a long weekend in Vegas.   Like anyone visiting Sin City we spent time gambling, going to some great restaurants and seeing spectacular shows.  On Saturday morning we got up early and spent time walking from Casino to Casino.  We ended up in Caesars Palace around dinnertime and as I went to take picture with my CyberShot I realized the battery was nearly dead.  I forgot the charger back in the room and didn’t have a spare battery.  We had dinner reservations and would have just enough time to make it to Cirque du Soleil for the show.  We had no time to make it back to the room.

Cirque du Soleil

The good news is we were happy to find out there was a Sony Style store in the mall at Caesars.  When we got to the store a representative greeted us and directed me to the batteries I needed for the camera.  As I grabbed the battery the salesperson told me the bad news: the new battery would still need to be charged.  Here is where service goes from good… to great.  Instead of selling me a new battery, the salesperson took my current battery from the camera and charged it for me.  The best part is, because it took about an hour to fully charge, she hand delivered it to us in the restaurant once it was ready to use.  (Note: I did buy the extra battery to make sure this situation didn’t happen again)

Picture taken Feb 14 with my Cybershot

How cool is that?  Talk about going above and beyond for a customer.  An important thing to note is the sales person had no idea I was loyal towards the Sony brand or that Sony is a client.  All she new is I had a Cybershot and needed help with the battery.  I’m not sure if this type of service is exclusive to the Sony Store in Las Vegas but it left a lasting impression for me.

In the last 10 years public attention on global warming and other environmental challenges facing the earth have escalated.  Of all the resources we have at our disposal to fight these challenges perhaps the most powerful weapon is knowledge.  Earth Knowledge is an online community that builds on a sophisticated geographic information system overlaid with knowledge contributed by its publishing partners and members.  New data and information on preservation and conservation is emerging rapidly and Earth Knowledge uses it’s global network to apply internet-based community solutions to distribute the information globally.

Users of Earth Knowledge have the ability to create their own blog to comment on the day’s Earth news and participate in discussions on topics such as climate change, moderated by scientists and experts working in that field.  This area of the site allows people to connect with other like minded individuals and express their opinions on recent environmentally related stories and issues.

Earth Knowledge Portal

Earth Knowledge Portal

The mapping tool that is included in site is extremely impressive.  It displays a full-screen view of the earth geo-tagged with breaking news stories from the world’s best scientific and environmental research and news agencies. The Earth Knowledge Portal, the website’s core information center, allows users to choose from over 50 different environmental categories and investigate earth science developments in over 80 global regions.

The mapping interface is powered by Google Maps and allows users to focus on specific geographic regions to see what environmental stories are occurring there in real-time. Users can also greatly enhance their map view by choosing one or more of over 60 different map layers, instantly overlaying such geographic data as the Earth’s ecoregions or river systems. Viewing news stories against a table of authentic geographical data allows readers to gain a richer understanding into the world’s environmental issues.

The clip above is featured on “Our Planet” which will air on CNN Headline News in Boston on Thursday March 26th, and in New York on Saturday March 28th, and other dates and times regionally and nationally this year.

Note: In the spirit of full transparency, Earth Knowledge is a client of Awareness.

A video and audio podcast hosted by Paul Gillin is avaialble here