How a 73 year old organization wins at innovation

The companies that win at innovation and successfully scale emerging technologies are the ones that experiment early and know which signs of growth to look at. The National Basketball Association might be a 73 year old organization, it is definitely this type of company.

Having worked closely with NBA at Twitter, not only were they one of the first sports league globally to fully embrace the power of real time public conversation for their audience engagement, they also understood quickly that it would grow the fandom of each team, allow players to express their personalities off the court, extend the reach of their TV broadcast as well as increase the value of sponsorship for their brand partners.

The NBA as also been an early partner of NextVR. With less than 1% of basketball fans globally ever setting foot in an NBA arena, the league turned to technology for ways to replicate the unique court-side experience.

Here is what I have seen them do over the last 4 years working in partnership with the NBA:

  • The relentless appetite to innovate comes from the top. This helps identify trends early and permission to experiment.
  • Everyone comes to new opportunity with an open mind and is willing to let the partner (in my case Twitter and NextVR) guide the project with their expertise.
    The NBA sets the standards and the direction they are looking for in the partnership and then they get out of the way allowing the experts to do their best job.
  • Once the model works, they scale quickly.
  • Finally, once the program is scaling, collaborative creative thinking brings new idea to constantly evolve new products.

Hear more about the NBA innovation philosophy from Adam Silver the NBA commissioner himself at the AT&T Shape conference which took place on June 23 2019.

Marie Sornin

MEDIAWATCH #4: China in 2015

Chinese media landscape

It is slightly more difficult to find robust information about the Chinese media landscape than any other country I have researched so far.

Here is an overview of what I have compiled from multiple sources

Chinese media landscape

Download the Mediawatch PDF

Additional read if you want to go deeper:

The State of Chinese Advertising

Social, Digital & Mobile in China 2014

Marie Sornin

How to organically grow your followers on Twitter?

Lion

I committed to volunteering at Kevin Richardson wildlife sanctuary in South Africa.
I have also helped him and his wife Mandy with their digital and social media presence.

They recently asked me for advise about how to organically grow their followers on Twitter.
I thought that the tips I prepared for them, could also be valuable for you.

Here they are.

1- Know who you are talking to:

  • Use Twitter analytics to understand the profile of your organic audience and track your performance over time.
    Go to analytics.twitter.com to activate.
  • Define conversation themes based on your followers traits. You will be more interesting to your reached audience end therefore more users might follow you.

2- Leverage all your marketing material:
Twitter is the best touchpoint to enable your audience to interact with you in real time. Remind them when they see your brand!

  • Your online assets of course:
    • Embed your Twitter timeline into your website:
      This will show your live activity and entice your website visitors to follow you.
      If your website template is not pre built with this feature, click on this link to know how.
    • Same goes for the the follow button:
      Add a follow button to your website and email signature (if you can’t figure this out, just write your @handle with a hyperlink)
    • Try adding call to action to your videos:
      Add a screen at the end of your videos with a call to action to follow you on Twitter (always showing your @handle + a clear call to action).
  • Your offline ones as well:
    • Show your @handle on all your marketing tools: brochures, business cards, leaflets, sales receipts, newsletters T shirts, vehicles, cup cakes,….Wherever people might see your brand when they have their mobile phones handy, add Twitter. Be creative with it, try things out!
      Remember that “Follow us on Twitter” or the Twitter bird is not enough. Be specific, show your @handle: Follow us on Twitter @mariesornin
    • This is also true for speaking engagement/ public appearances:
      Include your @handle in your slides, call out the audience to follow you when you start.
      Get your staff and the conference/ program organizers/ audience to live Tweet the key elements of your speech. Make sure that they mention your @handle and # of the event in their Tweets.

3- Give and Get:

Like in any conversation being engaging is key to making people want to talk to you again.
Twitter works the same way.
When you are engaging to your current followers, they will carry your message out extending your “earned” visibility and consequently bringing you new followers.
There are several ways of doing so on Twitter, here are some important ones:

  • Let people know what to expect from Twitter account: Your photo, bio and URL on your Twitter profile are the 1st thing that people will see. Make it impactful and catchy.
  • Follow people who are important to you. They might follow you back
  • Mention people’s @handle in your tweets, tag them in your photos. They might reply, favorite and RT you (generating a greater earned footprint for your content)
  • Reply to the users mentioning you in a timely manner. They will feel engaged, gratified and will help spread your message to their followers when you need them to!
  • Tweet around the clock: your followers might scattered around the globe (Twitter analytics can tell you that), you must be visible to all of them regularly.
  • Use Twitter native tools: upload your photos on Twitter (links to an Instagram photo will get way less engagement), shoot videos from your mobile, build website cards to Tweet your site pages, try Vines & GIFs.

4- Leverage moments:

  • Insert your tweets in current topics of conversations.Use Search.twitter.com to find the the right #. Use them in your Tweets.

Try these tips and check the impact on your followers growth over time.
Alternate your implementation, don’t do everything at once so you can understand what pushes the needle and focus on these points.

And of course, since I work at Twitter, I couldn’t finish this post without a little push to our promoted products: if all that is working for you and you want to take it one step further, you can also add a Promoted Accounts campaign.

Any other tips that are worth sharing? Comment below!

Marie Sornin for @lionwhispererSA
After all that, if you care that at this current rate Lions might be extinct in 20 years, give Kevin a follow on Twitter: @lionwhispererSA

Do you believe in magic?

Live music from NYC Subway on Periscope

Do you believe in magic?

I do. Actually, I believe in the magical power of technology.

Something quite extraordinary happened to me on Periscope’s launch day.
As I was getting on the NYC subway, I hear this guy playing the saxophone. His music was really good. I mean real good!
Listen to him here:

Isn’t he great?

Since the launch of the Periscope app, I have been playing with it, looking for interesting stuff to broadcast (like my #travelroulette experiment).
So as I hear this guy’s tunes, I get my iPhone out and start Periscoping him.
I thought that good live music from NYC subway would surely get some some attention.

In a few seconds, over 150 people joined in from UAE, London, Belgium, Italy, Scotland, etc… They were complementing his music, requesting songs, and begging me to tip him (which I did, twice!).

Over150 people joined on Periscope
Over150 people joined on Periscope

I told him that he was playing for an audience an international through my Iphone. He couldn’t believe it. I showed him the app and explained how it worked.

In 4.50 min of footage attracted over 2,000 hearts (equivalent to favorites or likes) and generated apprx. 2h30min viewing time!

What was supposed to be a simple subway ride magically turned into a wonderful shared experience.

I carried on with my commute with a smile on my face and an unexpected sense of lightness and gratitude.

If, you feel like creating some magic into your life, download the Periscope IOS app and share your best moments with the world!

Live music from NYC Subway on Periscope
Live music from NYC Subway on Periscope

Marie Sornin

Before buying a one way ticket to the US

** For Australians citizens mostly **

I have already written a blog titled “How to make it in America”, this post is about the preparation you need before buying a one way ticket to the US.

I have been in New York for about 3 months, and apart from still not having any credit history (which is pretty much the key to unlock any type of service in America) everything is going pretty smoothly.
So here are some observations for Australians who want to relocate to the US.

They are based on my experience from contemplating the idea of moving to the US to living like a New Yorker.

1- Know what you want:

Knowing exactly what you want to do is a must before you start engaging with contacts in the States.

Until you clear what position you are looking for, what type of company you want to work for and why, you will get asked to figure it out before going any further.

2- Activate your contacts:

Once you have a plan, it is time to get in touch with your network: friends, ex colleagues, recruiters, inspiring people that can link you with opportunities and knowledge about the American market.

Don’t forget that they are likely to get people asking them for such tips all the time, so be creative in the way you approach them.

I once attended a presentation by Tim Ferriss (author of the four hour work week) one of his tips is to “trade” information.
This is how he managed to become an early investor in start-ups such as Linkedin and Evernote.

Before we decided to move, my husband went to Miami for a conference.
He made some great contacts there, and took one of the executives out for dinner.
A few months later, that same executive referred him for a role at Google. The next day, he got a call from Google’s recruiter.

3- Are you eligible to work in the US?

Sooner or later during this journey, you will get asked if are you eligible to work in the US.

That is when you need to pull secret card: The E-3 visa.
It is a unique status for Australian citizens part of a trade agreement between Australian and the US established in 2009.

All the details can be found here on the Australian US embassy site.

This status makes it very easy for companies to sponsor Australians on a 2-year working visa.

The main difficulty is that very few recruiters and HR departments know about it.

To be successful at lifting the “are you eligible to work in the US” barrier, you must be able to demonstrate how a company can sponsor you on an E3 in 3 weeks for less than $2,000 fees.

If you can’t do that, your other options are L1, H1, etc. visas. They are extremely complicated, costly and lengthy to obtain. 

When I started talking to my employer about transferring to New York, the E3 was one of the first things I mentioned. I repeated it in every single communication, only to find out that when my position was approved, HR was about to start the immigration process for a H1 visa (intra company transfer), which was not guaranteed.

I had to patiently go over the E3 status again, prepare a detailed summary of the requirements for the employer and employee.
That information allowed HR to get sponsorship approval from the immigration consultant working on my case.
3 weeks later, I landed in New York with my work permit in hand.

4- Make the trip:

You can do all the prep you want, it is not until you get yourself there that things will accelerate.

Organize your trip by lining up as many meetings and interviews as you can.

When you are there, don’t be lazy. As hard as it is to fight the jet lag and go from meeting to meeting, just do it.
If someone throws you a contact: call them and meet with them.
Adapt your schedule to make the most of it!

4 months before moving, I spent one week in New York.
I tried to book a quick meeting with my now boss before I arrived.
On my first day there I tweeted this: 

He noticed it and made time to catch up with me on my day before last.
When I left, I was in a position to follow up on a job offer.

5- Follow up:

After your trip, you will need to close on the opportunity that you want.
Follow up on the visa, contract, benefits, and relocation.

It is a very important phase. Once you leave, the excitement fades, people go back to their daily routine and your opportunity becomes another task.
Don’t let that task fall at the bottom of their to do list because you are far away.
This is a difficult exercise of applying pressure without become that annoying person.
Patience and positivity help a lot.
I listened to more reggae than usual during that time. 
What will be your way to stay on top if?

6- Get ready:

Once you have a job lined up or a moving date, you start a marathon of things to do. What you will need is just pure simple organization mastery!

When you review your financials, over estimate the savings that you will need.
As mentioned above, until you get credit history (6 months of having your Social Security Number) you will need cash!

When I think about life in the US, that quote attributed to Steve Jobs “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” comes to mind. I will also ad be vocal, move fast.

Marie Sornin

A year in the life @TwitterAU

In July 2013, I was part of the start up team @TwitterAU. Just a year later I am heading @TwitterNY as the lead for international development for Twitter Amplify.

Here my Tweets that summarize a year @TwitterAU

Day one felt just like going back to school.
At the time, I had no idea that Twitter was going to come up with @dronie, the ultimate selfie machine

We kicked off with a week of intense training (anyone in my group at NHO would agree), followed by the Twitter global sales conference.

Although, I would have staid in San Francisco fro ever, we head back to Australia and set ourselves up in the first hone of @TwitterAU.
Apparently, the Australian team was the only team globally to not complain about being in corporate center… must have been the view…

Later, we had to trade the view over Sydney harbor for some awesome new team members

Plus, we do work from anywhere, so the view always changes
@Dannykeens probably remembers me doing IOs in his car between meetings.
With that in mind, I decided to take WFH one step further

Working through time zones, we had a few late nights throughout the year

And there was even some stressful times (private joke for those in the sales team)

Thankfully, the team (and the cat) was always been there!

 

Of course, all this we lead to some great work

And even some swooning with our clients

 

We felt the success,

Then @Maria started and life got a lot sweeter, with cupcakes and double birthdays !

 

Later that year, the opportunity of a trip to New York came up and one tweet changed everything…

Goodbye @TwitterAU

Thanks for an epic year

#BYEFRENCHIE