Can A Brand Have Too Much Personality?


pondering-carriejkeenan-deepthoughts-open_discussion-what_do_you_thinkIf you have been reading this, or any of the other blogs I write for (Steamfeed, Social Solutions, Fox Cities Social and so on) you know that I often like to ask a question and then argue both sides. Call it devil’s advocate, maybe it is the eternal quest to learn all the answers, blame it on my being an only child, it could be that I just like to hear myself talk, or say I just like to see what is inside other peoples’ heads – whatever, here I go again!

It is considered good practice for brands to not only be fully transparent, but to often show personality in social media. People make examples of the brands who do a great job of creating fun, popular digital campaigns and those brands become goals for others to mimic. How many times have you heard the phrase “be the next Oreo“? That, to me, is like asking someone to create something ‘go viral’.

I think (and this is the both sides bit) that some brands do have the capacity to create a wild and crazy, full of personality digital and social presence. I think, it has to be the right kind of brand. Representing your brand in social media, has to be an extension of how the brand represents itself offline. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Before it started its “Be the Man” campaign  , one of the first commercials to go viral, it was thought of (at least by most people I know of) as an old man cologne. The kind of thing you would find in your grandfather’s medicine cabinet (well, and one ex boyfriend of mine.) And now, when you say “Old Spice” you think of Isaiah Mustafa, in a towel and on a horse. They carried this fun and wild persona into the social media space and carry on in fun, creative ways. Including a rather fab “Twitter War” with Taco Bell.

taco bell-carriejkeenan-twitter-can a brand have too much personality


Taco Bell is another brand who has done a great job in social. They not only have some fun tweets, they are massive engagers .If you head over to the Taco Bell Twitter page, it is full of RT’s and conversations with followers and fans. Again, Taco Bell is another brand that verges into the weird, wild and wonderful – especially when they are actively listening and talking to people in the stream.


I feel like this is an easier process for a B2C brand vs a B2B. I don’t know if I would ever see the head of a Fortune 500 company half naked and on a horse in a YouTube video. Nor do I see my boss appreciating me starting a battle, even a fake one, with another brand online. Depending on the product, a B2C brand can take that next step and go whole hog with its creativity.If you head over to the Taco Bell Twitter page, it is full of RT’s and conversations with followers and fans. Again, Taco Bell is another brand that verges into the weird, wild and wonderful – especially when they are actively listening and talking to people in the stream.

The question I have for you, dear reader is this; how much is too much in personality? Can the Old Spice/Taco Bell shenanigans work for everyone? I say no. Check out these tweets from a local B2C company (part of a national chain). I think it looks like someone’s personal account, just with a business name attached. To this day, I can’t tell if this is an account gone wild, a front desk person who is using the account as their own, or someone trying to be funny and just not pulling it off. Also note how they are all auto posts from Facebook! They do throw in some brand-logical posts, but mostly, they just leave me with question marks floating in my head.

can a brand have too much personality-carriejkeenan

So, good friends – What say you?

How do you walk that line between professionalism and fun for your brand. How do you create it and set it in stone? Also – how do you know when and how to hopscotch over it?


Something Gishwhes This Way Comes


gishwhes-carriejkeenan-standardnerdsEarlier this month, I was listening to a Nerdist podcast where the special guest was Misha Collins. They were in a castle in Scotland celebrating Chris Hardwick’s girlfriend Chloe’s team, Badwolf,  win of a scavenger hunt that Misha hosts called Gishwhes.

G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S. stands for the “Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen”  and it is epic! Listening to the interview, I thought that would be an amazingly cool thing to participate in. Then, I made the mistake of Googleing it. Um, wow – the items on that hunt are madness! Not only is the even set up to create art and experience it also has a social good aspect.

From the website:

“On the social improvement front, we’re proud to announce last year’s teams also broke the Guinness World Record for the most charitable pledges of Acts of Kindness (93,376!) in partnership with our non-profit Random Acts (www.therandomact.org), submitted thousands of images and videos of participants hugging war veterans and committing acts of kindness, delivered thousands of coats to homeless people and helped victims of Hurricane Sandy.”

I put the the thought out of my mind and it was replaced with other things and time moved on. Until today. I was doing a quick Facebook stream skim and saw a friend’s post recruiting for her Gishwhes team. Wait? What? I know that word! I did a double take and thought about it for about 2 seconds and I did something don’t do. Or, didn’t at least.

I signed up!

For most of my life; if it scared me – I wouldn’t do it, if there was the possibility of embarrassment – let me do it, if it involved talking to random strangers – yep, you guessed it, I wouldn’t do it. For the last year or so, I have been reaching out to “do the shit that scares me”, so here I go.

Now, here I am, one of the STANDARDNERDS – ready and waiting for the insanity ahead of me!

I’ll leave you with the awesome Gishwhes philosophy:

“Gishwhes believes that “normalcy” is overrated and that true “living” can be found hidden under the rocks of community artistic creation and in acts of artistic sublime public performances. More importantly, we are all artists and have gifts for society no matter what our capabilities or talents. And most importantly, cheese is not a good sewing material.”


From Slizzard to Sharknado – How the Red Cross Rocked Twitter


red_cross_sharknadoFor all the social good it does, the Red Cross has had a rough start with social media. In just about every presentation given, the infamous #GettingSlizzard tweet rears its ugly head. And here it is, being talked about yet again in this post.

For those of you who do NOT know –

In 2011, due to a missed post in Hootsuite, a tweet was sent out from the main Red Cross account instead of a personal account (this is why you think twice, tweet once people!)

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Despite the mistake, the Red Cross (as well as the community manager who made the whoopise ) acted fast, acknowledged the mistake and apologized for it.

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The incident turned into a more positive situation when, there was a donation movement from Dogfish beer when #GettingSlizzard was re-tweeted.

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Fast forward to 2013 and the world was introduced to #Sharknado.



















There is a very fine line between what is acceptable and unacceptable for brands trying to jump in and take advantage of hashtags and trending topics. In this case, it was brilliant! There were some very sharp thinkers behind the scenes at the American Red Cross, they decided to take the “opportunity to take a totally hypothetical situation and turn it into an opportunity to discuss disaster preparedness”.

They were able to get very important safety information and get it out where the eyeballs are. Not only were the tips potentially life saving but they were also topical, smart and funny.

When you think about ways your brand can jump in on a trending hashtag (or any hashtag) or memes – whatever bandwagon you are preparing to jump in on, you need to make sure of a couple of things:

  • Why is it trending? – You don’t want to take advantage of a tragic situation.
  • Is it relevant to my brand? – Just because something is funny, does not mean it fits your brand
  • Do it right – Don’t jump in without a plan. If you are going to do it, don’t do it half assed.

The Red Cross staffers also did a good job of interacting with the people who were talking about them that night.

It is great to be able to share a positive story about a brand utilizing social media in a creative and fun way. All in all, I say, when the social media speakers bring up the Red Cross in future presentations – they include the story of both hashtags. It was a great and memorable way to leave a good brand impression.

Well done, Red Cross. I’m looking forward to seeing you for #Sharknado2


Common Sense: Stop Ignoring Google+ (HOA for #SMDwithSSC)


On Social Media Day, I sat down with Ray Hitlz, Sara Nickleberry and Natalie Paul for a Hangout about the importance of Google+.

Common Sense & Social Business. The gang will be discussing the common sense reasons for using Google+ for business.

The discussion focused on  the unique features and benefits of using Google+, creative examples of how the platform has been and can be used, and we also tried to answer the most persistent why questions that surround Google+.

These are the discussion topics/questions the hangout presenters will be sharing:

1. Why should business owners create a Google+ page?

2. What makes Google+ unique to other social networks?

3. What features are most beneficial to businesses?

4. What are some the creative ways businesses use Google+ Hangouts or Communities?

5. What ways might businesses benefit from the Google suite of products and services by owning and operating a Google+ page?


Social Summer


Today was the first day that really felt like summer to me. In the midst of putting away sweaters and shopping for the garden, I looked at my calendar for June. Not going to lie, I’m tired already. My month of June is going to be so jam packed with awesome, I’m going to need to take off the entire month of July off. (Well, except for the Paul Mc -Freaking-Cartney concert *squee*)

What do all these events have in common?

Social Media

Or, as my coworker Drew would say my “extracurriculars.” All of these up and coming events have either happened because of and all will be involving social media.

social media teamMay 31 – June 2 – Oshkosh Irish Fest

This is the Fifth year of the Fest  and the third of me as the social media chair. I manage social properties for the Fest all year long, but for those three days, I am all Fest all the time. My co-chair and I roam the Fest with as many mobile devices as we can carry on our persons.

We live tweet the entire weekend and have a known reputation as paparazzi. For the 2012 Fest, we introduced the Back Stage Mobile Photo Booth for the bands on both the Main Stage and in the Pub Tent. This year, we are expanding the booth to be a part of our free roaming photos as well.

I am also excited to be bringing in more video to the Fest’s social media experience. I feel like Vine app was launched just for me to use at our First St. Baldrick’s event. I also have a couple of the performers excited to attempt some live streaming of their shows via Google Hangout format as well as doing a Q&A in the same way.

Oshkosh Irish Fest Social


June 11 – Mundy at Shank Hall in Milwaukee

I first heard of Irish singer Mundy when I covered weekends in the store my friend’s parent’s own. When I worked at Mystic Ireland,  I would always live stream Live Ireland radio  and there is where I heard his songs July and Galway Girl, I was hooked. Me being me, I needed to know every song he every made and quickly had a Spotify playlist of his stuff. I happened to tweet about one track and shockingly – he replied!

I didn’t expect a response and the fact I got one was pretty darn cool. We exchanged a few tweets here and there since then and I was determined I wanted to see him play! Through that series of tweets, an email exchange was born and from the emails, I got connected with his agent  and now, not only is he playing in Milwaukee, but I have been helping with some social media for the show and will be doing some video and photography the day of for social as well! (See kids – once in a blue moon, it’s OK to drunk tweet)

Mundy Social


403417_377187765678537_1649023925_nJune 13-15 – Milwaukee IndyFest

OK – this one is cheating. I published this post earlier today on the Social Media Club’s website.

In April, the Social Media Club of Milwaukee was tasked with a mission. The Andretti Sports Marketing team asked for our help.

In 2012, Andretti Sports Marketing brought Indy style racing back to Milwaukee at the Milwaukee Mile, in an event called IndyFest on Father’s Day weekend. Andretti hand selected 26 individuals to attend the race and connect social media to the Milwaukee community. The event was a success, so Andretti Sports Marketing agreed to keep IndyFest alive in Milwaukee. This year, the goal is to take it a step further and make Milwaukee IndyFest  the most socially connected motor sports event ever. This is where we, the Social Media Club of Milwaukee steps in.

For full post – click here 

Milwaukee IndyFest Social


June 22 – cmgrUn

cmgrUN  is an UNconference for community managers and social media professionals. This conference is put on by the My Community Manager team (the same team who bring the #cmgrhangout every Friday. Compared to the rest of the events this month, this one I am a participant and not a planner. What does that mean? I get head to Chicago, sit back, hang out with some awesome people off line, participate in discussion and learn from some great speakers! Oh, I might tweet or write about it or something too.

Stay tuned to Steamfeed Radio on June 19th, as I will be bringing Tim McDonald in to talk community management and cmgrUn.

cmgrUn Social


social media day-social solutions collective-sollectivess-carriejkeenanJune 30 – Social Media Day

The Social Solutions Collective  group members are planning quite the bash for Social Media Day! We’re planning a full day of online events and digital learning sessions as we celebrate the day. There will be Twitter chats, Facebook conversations, Vine, Pins, and even a Hangout on air. This event will be taking place from 9am EST to 9pm PST to cover everyone in all US timezones.

Social Solutions Social


Hold on to your hats folks!

It’s going to be a VERY social summer.


HootKit Unboxing for the #SMCMKE #HootMKE


May 14th is going to be an awesome day to be in Milwaukee! The Social Media Club is having it’s first HootUp, and I get to be the deliverer of the swag!

With my recent participation in VEDA, I’ve been doing a lot more video. Watch below at my first attempt at stop motion for the great unboxing!

Read  Spring Into a Hootup! over on Social Solutions by Laurie Thompson (and myself) for more about HootUps!

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