Our Latest Forbes Article

Our Latest Forbes Article

JULY 30, 2018

In recent years, Hollywood has taken its hits for not recognizing the need and demand for more diversity and inclusion, and as of 2018, we’ve started to witness a small but impactful change. Celebrities and thought leaders in the entertainment industry took the opportunity to voice their concerns, and it’s starting to make an impact. Now we have superheroes portrayed by women and by African Americans, and the public has responded. They want more...

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“Hey, I got that reference!!”

“Hey, I got that reference!!”

JULY 27, 2018

Social media is a casual platform for people to express themselves, share what they are interested in,
and follow brands and personalities they are interested in. This platform enables businesses to connect
with consumers in ways they were unable to 10 years ago, and to constantly progress, businesses need
to adapt to these new platforms. Since social media is so causal, business cannot use the same verbiage
that they would on a typical website or advertisement; they need to get more casual and funky with the
wording. That’s were pop culture can help. Pop culture references in social media marketing engages
consumers using their interests in movies, books, celebrities, and current events that are influential to
their personal lives.

The most important thing is to look at your audience and determine what references they are going to
understand. A group of accountants who are 40+ are probably not going to understand a reference to
the “road work ahead” vine, just like a group of college aged men probably are not going to understand
a reference to Johanna Gaines. Using colloquial humor is one of the few times you should make
generalizations about groups because you need to ensure that whatever reference you are using is
instantly understood by the majority of the audience; you can’t hope that just 2 or 3 people in the group
are going to get it while confusing or segmenting the other 99%. A perfect example of this is the
Deadpool movies. They use a heap of pop culture references, and many of them came from movies with
similar audiences such as Batman, RoboCop, Terminator, and Stranger Things. Almost all of these were
one-liners (which are perfect for social media posts) and provided a lot of intriguing laughable moments.
They forced the audience to pay attention to the dialogue because they wanted more moments of “Hey,
I understand that reference!”

Pop culture changes by the hour, so it is both difficult and vital to stay current. Things like sassy Willy
Wonka and Grumpy Cat are yesterday’s meme, so it’s best to not use it. Using something outdated
makes your company seem behind the times and shows you aren’t a fresh and fun company, so having
at least one person who has seen a tremendous number of movies or is a Meme-God will benefit your
social media presence greatly. A fitting example of a bad use of an old meme is from the movie Black
Panther. Now, I loved this movie and thought the movie and soundtrack was very current. That being
said, when T’challa’s sister screams “What are those!?!” in the middle of the movie, literally my whole
body cringed. As am writing about it right now I’m cringing. That meme has been deceased for quite
some time, and the writers using it really confused me and made me wonder if they would have other
cheesy lines or ideas in the movie.

With all of this, remember to be subtle with your use of pop culture. You don’t want to clutter every
sentence with vine reference because that is just overkill, especially on social media when usable
characters are limited. Having one reference per post is plenty. To continue with the Deadpool example
from earlier, Buzzfeed had an article of all the pop culture references in Deadpool 2 and the list had 58
items on it. 58!!! That doesn’t even count all the references that were pointed out in the comments of
that Buzzfeed article. When the list gets that long, pop culture is becoming a distraction rather than a
quick attention grabber.

So now that you are equipped with knowledge about the proper use of pop culture, particularly with
social media, its time for you to get out there and put a little fresh and fun funkiness into your social

Our Favorite Podcasts

Our Favorite Podcasts

JULY 23, 2018
If you have a long commute to and from work like us, you could probably use a good podcast to listen to. Here's a few of our favorites!

Andrea - Stuff You Should Know

Great podcast for learning a little more about everything. Entertaining and fun, the hosts, Josh and Chuck are relatable and funny, and the content of every podcast is well researched and explained. They cover various topics including: Crime, Space, Sociology, Music, Neuroscience, History, Art and more.  Give it a listen. You won’t be disappointed.

Dane - Inside LaunchStreet

It drills in on the one thing that separates great companies from good ones, innovation. This blog helps business leaders think about things differently in all areas of their business.

Laurie - Ted Radio Hour

I love the breadth of information, insight and inspiration I get from these brief but powerful podcasts.

Jeff - Wisecrack - Show Me the Meaning!

If you're a movie buff like me, you'll enjoy this podcast that dives into the deeper meaning and cultural significance of the most, and least, iconic movies of our age. One of Wisecrack's several podcasts, Show Me The Meaning! breaks down the good, the bad, and the ugly, loaded with trivia, philosophical insight, and thought provoking takeaways.

Soulmaz - Channel B – Historical facts

BBC Persia – Because I like to keep myself updated about what is going on in my country and in the world, even if BBC is really good at manipulate the facts!

Emily - Lore:

In Aaron Mahnke's popular podcast show Lore he tackles the spooky stories, ghostly hauntings, and frightening histories of our past. It takes a look at history and delves into the creepy folklore and stories that have been passed down through generations; the way Mahnke tells these stories mixed with the music in the background enhances the level of creepiness. Despite all the spookiness, you still learn genuinely interesting information. Episode 89, Fanning the Flames, is especially creepy because is revolves around Chicago and different tales that take place in the city.

3 Big Ideas For Your Next Project

3 Big Ideas For Your Next Project

JULY 20, 2018

Entrepreneur are entrepreneurs because we're constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to change the world. That's what makes us successful. Here are a few things to consider when you're contemplating that next big idea.

1 | Don't do it

This is counter-intuitive because you are hardwired to believe you can succeed at anything you put your mind to. But sometimes the smarter choice is not to take the risk or at least wait for a better time to execute. There are many things to consider before starting a new project. Just because an idea sounds good in theory, does not mean it will work out in practice.

2 | Okay, do it, but only like this

Knowing that is it too hard to walk away, you need to make sure you are truly ready to take on this next idea. You must be mentally, physically, financially, and emotionally prepared to follow this opportunity. So before you take the leap, do your research. Make sure you've really looked into whether or not this is is a viable idea and if you are the one to do it.

3 | You did it anyway, didn't you?

Ask yourself this, did you even read #2? My guess is, like most entrepreneurs, you got distracted by the shiny penny and you've already set things in motion to make it happen. Though that is what makes you successful, let's think about all the things you tried to do and if they really make sense. Learn from your mistakes quickly and don't be afraid to try a different approach.

Our Latest Forbes Article

Our Latest Forbes Article

JULY 19, 2018

Business owners and brand ambassadors are always on the lookout for interesting, better or innovative ways to become better marketers. Colleagues and mentors tell us to stay current with industry trends by reading the latest studies and articles. We also read all the “mandatory” business nonfiction, filling our bookshelves with impressive titles focused on sales, leadership and strategy. While all these materials offer valuable insight into specific areas and even help us craft our own personal strategies and better our understanding of the market, they may be missing some of the point....

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“Creative” Is Such an Interesting Word

“Creative” Is Such an... Interesting... Word

July 13, 2018



I’m a creative person, who’s been working with other creatives, creating creative for over three decades. Sounds a tad crazy, but it’s a good example of how many ways the word “creative” is used. Take a look at these examples:

“Have you met with the creatives yet to see how the work is going?”

“That’s not your best creative is it really?”

“How’s the creative coming?”

“The team’s not finished with the creative.”

“Who’s going to present the creative today at the meeting?”

“She’s the Creative Director.”

“Pull all the creatives together in an hour to review their creative.”

“He’s a creative genius.”

“We have no creative yet!!”

That last one is so scary. Do you know how hard it is to face the empty page? The one that’s waiting for those brilliant words. Or the unexpected image? Let alone the concept…the IDEA. Where is it? When will it emerge?

What I can tell you from personal experience is that sitting in front of that blank page (ok screen maybe), staring at it, is one of the best ways for it NOT to happen. In fact the best way to freeze your mind.

Although I do know some really talented writers who just say “start putting thoughts and words down. Don’t try to write.” But you know what, those writers did a lot of research and reading and thinking before they sat down to just “put a few thoughts and words down.”

That’s pretty hard to do with images though—you can’t just “put a few images on paper”. You have to look around, walk around, listen, absorb, notice, observe everything around you…all the time. TV, movies, theatre, dance, art, music, sports, nature, animals, people, magazines, books, machines…the places from which inspiration arise are endless.

That’s why you hear about those companies with crazy fun areas for creatives to “play”. Because sometimes the best way to unlock is by exposing it to something completely different. Literally distract it! Get those other brain waves going. It’s why lots of ideas happen when you’re driving or cycling or running or whatever: the left brain is involved, which leaves the right brain (the free-thinking “creative” side) free to produce, to create connections and release what’s in there. Magic!

Hence, the creative’s mind is pretty much never at rest. Always trying to come up with the idea, the nugget that will prompt a few words or some graphics, or some graphic way of presenting words. Some wonderful marriage of words and graphics.

You never know when it will come. Or even if.

Take this article. I fussed and fumed about what to write in my next blog. I mean, what’s with that?! After nearly 40 years of being a “creative”, I couldn’t think of a topic?? Good grief that’s pitiful. But actually such a perfect example of what it’s like.



JULY 6, 2018

Back in the year 2000 an action movie about a car thief forced to steal 50 luxury cars in one night to save the life of his brother was titled “Gone In 60 Seconds”. If for whatever reason someone in 2018 were to make a movie about how long mobile device users are willing to wait for a website to load, they could title it “Gone in 3 Seconds”. Because according to a September 2016 report by the Google-owned company DoubleClick, it was found that 53 percent of mobile device users will give up on a website that takes more than three seconds to load. Yep that's right, three seconds.

But unfortunately for literally thousands of small businesses, longer load times could potentially become the norm if the FCCs decision which effectively ended Net Neutrality in April of 2018, is not overturned. The reason being is that many small businesses simply don’t have the financial bandwidth that will be needed to enable their websites to have the fastest load times.

So what exactly is, or more accurately, what exactly was Net Neutrality anyway and how did it impact small business?  According to Wikipedia, Net Neutrality, aka Open Internet, is the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs)  treat all data on the internet equally, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. Under these principles, Internet Service Providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down, favorably or inequitably speed up or charge money for specific websites and online content. Prior to the repeal of Net Neutrality, there have been instances of companies getting their hands slapped for violating some of these rules. Here are a few examples:

  • In 2012 AT&T was said have have violated Net Neutrality rules by limiting access to FaceTime so only those users who paid for AT&T's new shared data plans could access the application.
  • And in 2004, the Madison River Communications company was fined US$15,000 by the FCC, in 2004, for restricting their customers' access to Vonage, which was rivaling their own services.
  • In July 2017, Verizon Wireless was accused of throttling (intentionally slowing down or speeding up the internet service an ISP provides) after users noticed that videos played on Netflix and YouTube were slower than usual.

** Verizon contended that it was conducting "network testing" and that Net Neutrality rules permit "reasonable network management practices"

The benefit of Net Neutrality for small business meant that ISPs could not intentionally slow the website speed of a particular business that opted not go with that ISP's higher priced, premium or business-level service offering. And for consumers, it meant essentially the same thing - that, if for instance, you're a fan of Netflix, Net Neutrality dictates that one should be able to watch the shows one wants to on Netflix without running into impediments their ISP puts up that are designed to push them towards a competing service, like Hulu.

There is another element of Net Neutrality's rollback that could have impacts for all internet users, but specifically negative ones for small businesses in particular, Paid Prioritization or internet fast lanes. Simply put, an internet fast lane or paid prioritization is where one person’s data travelling on an ISP's network gets priority delivery over another person’s data delivery – and this priority or faster delivery happens for a fee. This prioritization can also include higher and better quality of the data that is delivered...critically important when considering video & audio streaming and gaming. A helpful way to think about fast lanes is by visualizing cars on a multi-lane highway where one of the lanes can only be used if you pay a toll. The toll lane only becomes attractive because the other lanes are too slow, or the surfaces are too pot-holed compared to the smooth paid toll road (quality). However the huge difference with the internet is that the ISP can actually slow down the traffic to make someone else’s go faster and have a better experience. For consumers, this could be an irritant, but for small business owners this actually could threaten the continuance of their business.

As mentioned earlier, one of the more widespread concerns of the rollback is the ability for ISP’s (more likely the larger corporations) to throttle web traffic to ISP startups or ISP-competitors. This would allow more dominant companies, such as larger scale web firms or more established companies that are partners or subsidiaries, to get priority speed.

As many companies already know site-speed play a pretty big role in Google's search rankings. As a result, small businesses fear that if their site unknowingly begins getting throttled or slowed down by certain providers, it will kill their ranking and there's nothing they can do to change it.

Throttling or the slowing down of site-speed comes at an especially high risk for video marketing companies who rely on speed to show videos with limited interruptions and buffering. While larger companies may be able to pay the prioritization costs, it will likely be the small business, Mom & Pops, and startups who do not have the financial bandwidth to do so,  who will be at risk of having yet another disadvantage as compared to much larger competitors.

So what can a small business do? While it's still early and not all of the implications, good or bad, of Net Neutrality's rollback are known, what small business can do is what they have hopefully been doing all along anyway. And that is talking directly to their customers, clients, and prospects in relevant, respectful and meaningful ways, and ensuring that the experience their customers have whenever they engage with their business always exceeds their customer's expectations regardless of whenever and wherever they engage...regardless of however long it takes them to get there.  At Black Rhino Marketing Group, we ensure that that happens for our clients!