Category Archives: Digital Daddy

SAMURAI RIDES: MIAMI – ART BASEL 2017 WITH THE 2018 MAZDA CX-3

SAMURAI RIDES: MIAMI – ART BASEL 2017 WITH THE 2018 MAZDA CX-31(13)

**Learn more about the Mazda CX-3 Here**

I can’t think of a better way to wrap up my year than in Miami returning to Art Basel. Last year I wasn’t able to make it down as I was preparing to enter Digital Daddyhood but now I’m back and I’m blessed to have my little buddy on the road with me too even if Max may not remember it. But I knew as soon as I confirmed that I was going to be down here I had to get a new little toy to run the Florida streets and without fail, the 2018 Mazda CX-3 was on deck for the weekend. I was sad that I didn’t have a longer stretch of time to really put this vehicle through its paces but for the weekend that I was there,  it did everything that I needed and then some.

Making my way from Fort Lauderdale International I picked up the 2018 CX-3 and made my way right to Lynwood for my first of many art exhibits for the weekend. Without fail, Mazda’s sleek design and easy on-road handling were apparent on the wide Florida highways.

One of the features that I tried for the first time while syncing up my phone via Bluetooth was using my Google assistant and word command more than I ever had before. The hands-free efficiency was recognized immediately. Locking in my residence for the weekend along with the important locations that I had to touch base with while I was in Miami was very easy to enter and save in the navigation system.

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As you may know from previous reviews I have been fortunate enough to try out all of the Mazda crossovers over the past 2-3 years. In getting a glimpse of what they have in store for 2018 I don’t have any doubt that they will continue to lead the pack as one of the top SUV crossover producers.

CX 3 Features

As you can see in the images below Mazda has perfected having sleek laid-back design combined with incredibly detailed luxurious interior layout. The finely stitched leather trim in gives these Mazda rides a sort of race car design and feel that makes you want to step on the accelerator a little harder. But, if you get tempted to do such a thing don’t fret because Mazda comes complete with its package of safety notifications to keep you from going too wild on the road.

Obviously, this is one of a series of vehicles in the Mazda CX line. The 3 is the smallest of the vehicles in the series but even with that being the case, the majority of my travel this weekend was solo so I had more than enough space once I reclined my seat. Just make sure you’re not sitting behind me. In any case, I had no complaints with Mazda’s latest creation. It was fast, efficient, easy on my pockets when I had to go to the gas station sounded, the audio was powerful and kicked when I needed to ride with my son I felt confident and safe that he was in great hands.

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Mazda does it again so take a look at some of the images above of the vehicle and some of the incredible art below that Miami had on display during Art Basel this past year I will be back again.

**For more Samurai Rides Click Here**

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THE STORY OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA SAMURAI: THE REAWAKENING

THE STORY OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA SAMURAI: THE REAWAKENING

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They say some things are like riding a bike. When you return to it it’s like you never left. As I log on and type these words, already I feel a surge of familiarity in the expressive process I’ve used for so long. So, let’s get back the question(s) at hand. Jason where did you go? What happened to the Social Media Samurai over the last 1 1/2 years?

The simple answer, the one most of you know is that I had a child in May of 2016. This has been touched on before and a quick click to this previous post provides more detail into that background story. I relocated a begun a new chapter of life as a father. Almost overnight the priorities changed and via a series of trials and errors, I learned quickly just how much of my old ways were not going to transition over into parenthood. The combination of my new city and my new daddy duties put much of what I building personally with this Brand on hold. I maintained just enough to exist but it wasn’t the same.

Max and his well-being were all that mattered and I work(ed) my self into the ground to provide for him. That included returning to the grind of regular employment. After working remotely for the latter half of 2016 to be able to spend time with my growing boy, I took on 2 jobs to prepare for Max’s changing needs and mine too, as I continued the relocation process.

Professionally, I streamlined everything. Philadelphia is not New York and when it came to the event covering element of my career that took the biggest hit of anything I was doing. The networking and residual work that came from those events fell off too. Shout out to Lady Blogga for hitting me with that writing plug though. Those checks were timely. I also had to adjust my social media consultation and management work. Less free time resulted in fewer clients. In this case, though, life would provide as I’d sign up my longest running client early in the year.

The surprising point of my mutating business world was Nomadness. The powerhouse leader of the Urban Travel Movement was going through its own shifts and changes, most of which were unseen to the public. New team members in, long time members out, a transition from various campaigns, the creation of new ones, all of this happening as Nomadness creator and dear friend Evita Robinson is raising in clout, notoriety, and fame. Business and friendship don’t always mix. It was clear across the broad that things were changing. Nomadness wasn’t the only Travel crew on the block. Various collectives arose with an array of agendas that often put the work and sacrifice of Nomadness in a unique perspective.

I felt different in my role and position and come to find out I was being viewed differently too. Eventually, conversations were had. Real conversations. Candid, truthfully, surprising and even hurtful…but needed conversations. Loyalty, if it’s something you abide by will cost you at one point or another. It is not meant to be forever a comfortable place to stand in. With that said, this changing dynamic put a new spark in me regarding how my energies would be spent going forward in both business and personal dealings.

I’ve always fought moments of feeling undervalued or unappreciated. I’m kind of like the moon. You may look at it when it’s extra big for a few moments but you don’t really spend much time thinking about what it does for the planet. It’s just there. That is what I’ve felt in many cases, often of my own doing. I allowed folks to have me as the consistent dependable force that was just there. So, when my world shifted and Max became the new focal point, slowly but surely I found myself in exchanges with longtime friends apparently confused by who I now was. No apologies were given and as a result, some friendships have been damaged/lost, but for the most part I’d say respect, more respect has been earned through the personal exchanges 2017 brought to me. If I’ve told you I love you then I’m here for the long haul. I do hope the folks that need to know that get it. I may never be the stand out guy that gets the public acknowledgment but my impact will always be felt.

And that brings me to today 1/2/2018. I don’t deal in numerology too heavy but something about that number 8 makes me smile. Things that a year ago I lay awake fighting back tears about have now been earned and life has me a good point for the next step of this journey. I make plans with the understanding that things change in a heartbeat. It’s this more open approach to life that has me back in a familiar lane of hustle and drive. No pun intended but the samurai is learning life and taking important baby steps. Max is my world but I must have balance in my life. Max’s mom asked me about new years resolutions. I didn’t make any as much of what I want to do I started working towards before the ball drops. I will say that in 2018 taking care of “me” will not be confined to just my birthday months. I have few self-help measures to imply and I look forward to what I gain from them.

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I’m not one for grand statements but the Samurai is back. New, better, refined……far from finished but ready to get back to business.

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SAMURAI RIDES: THANKSGIVING WITH FAMILY, FRIENDS AND THE 2017 TOYOTA RAV 4 HYBRID

SAMURAI RIDES: THANKSGIVING WITH FAMILY, FRIENDS AND THE 2017 TOYOTA RAV 4 HYBRID
THE 2017 TOYOTA RAV 4 HYBRID

**Learn more about the Toyota Rav 4 Here**

The holiday season is always my favorite time of year. As Thanksgiving approaches you start to get that chill in the air, the cooking starts to take on a certain scent as those classic favorite dishes like those sweet potato pies fill the air. This year I’m extra thankful as I’m able to bring my son into the festivities for the first time. Making this all happen I got my first look at the next year of Toyota vehicles.  The 2017 RAV4 hybrid is a beautiful car that would take me from Philadelphia to New York unexpectedly back to Philly and then to New York. He was a little too small to be running around with last year so now I’m happy that he’s able to be a part of family tradition.

Yes, this year’s Thanksgiving holiday had a lot more running around than usual as I still had to fit my other occupational duties into the holiday schedule. Fortunately enough the RAV4 kept it classy, comfortable and easy on my pockets to make the runs back and forth from Philly that was needed.

Since this isn’t the first time you’ve seen the RAV4 via Samurai Rides 4 I had a pretty good idea what to expect from Toyotas mini crossover hybrid. The Interior was lush with a beautiful leather layout and trim.
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All the usual bells and whistles were on deck to make your travel the best ride possible. Navigation was tight and accurate with traffic changes. The audio was crystal clear via JBL speaker systems and electronic Bluetooth integration with my phone’s music.

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**Learn more about the Toyota Rav 4 Here**

Messenger sync for incoming texts keeps hands-free phone usage seamless. Everything you can ask for was taken care of so that my numerous rides would be as efficient as possible thanks to Toyota, so let me hit you with some nice images of what the Rav 4 has in store. You know the quality that Toyota produces so I have a strong feeling as 2017 finishes, 2018 will be another strong year for the Toyota brand.

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SAMURAI RIDES: FAST PACED SUMMER FUN WITH THE 2017 MAXDA MX-5 MIATA!!!

SAMURAI RIDES: FAST PACED SUMMER FUN WITH THE 2017 MAXDA MX-5 MIATA!!!

Copy of Mazda MX 5

There are few times during the year when I get extra excited for a review ride opportunity. To be perfectly honest with you this particular samurai ride has been in the making sense much earlier in the year. And it almost didn’t happen but I’m glad to say that I got my time to try out Mazda’s incredibly fun sports car the MX-5 Miata. The Mazda MX-5 Miata 2017 edition was an incredible ride and I can’t wait to tell you some of the things that I enjoyed about it. I’m sure when it’s all said and done someone in the mood for a little fun on the road will definitely want to take a look at this vehicle. Once again I was back on the 95 from the city of brotherly love back to Gotham and this summer experience was definitely a highlight of the year.

What’s on deck for today? #summer2017 #mazdamx5 #drivemazda

A post shared by Jason Francis – SMM (@smediasamurai) on

Last time I was in the MX-5 it was an early look at the 2016 Miata and that model was a soft top. It had basically the same size.

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The roof came down with a simple flip up on the latch via your own hand and you can go from topless to fully covered without any issue. This time around I had the hardtop version of the MX-5. The big difference in handling here is that going from fully covered to drop top operation simply requires you to engage the power switch. Hold down the switch and the car does the rest as long as you are stationary or at least under 6 miles per hour in motion the vehicle either pulls up or pulls back the hardtop and you’re ready to go.

As I’m sure most of you can tell this ride is not made for excess baggage. There is a modest trunk in the back if you’ve got some moving around to do for the day. If you have a simple travel bag, a carry-on luggage type of bag then you’re good. Outside of that, you’re not going to be moving tons of cargo in this vehicle. And honestly why would you want to? This is definitely a ride meant for you, maybe a partner and a very, very light load. At 6’4 I say that I probably am tapping on the limits of space that this ride is really designed for.

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With that being said I was able to drive with no levels of discomfort. I was able to reach and handle all buttons and knobs. All Miata functions and accessories could be operated without any trouble despite my size. So if I was able to do that, the standard size person should have no trouble utilizing in everything that the MX- 5 has to offer.

MX Inside

On the road handling is incredible. This lightweight speedster really picks up speed in no time and I’ll be perfectly honest, you have to watch that speed when you get on the open road because you cam find yourself hitting 100 miles per hour very easily. We don’t want people messing up there driving record while enjoying this fun sized vehicle. We also know that Mazda takes incredible pride in its craftsmanship and the design of its rides inside and out. You won’t be let down by the combination of luxury and racing design that is fully on display with the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Mazda has continued to put out some of the most beautiful rides on the market and they haven’t it missed a beat with this one either. Dive into the galleries for some gorgeous shots of the MX-5. This is truly a feel good ride. If you’re in the market for something fun, fast and built for special company, then you’ll absolutely love the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata. #DriveMazda

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Milestone Summer – Family Ties

Milestone Summer – Family Ties

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Already this summer may go down as one of the most eventful periods in my life. It started out with me celebrating the first birthday of my son Max. Not to be outdone, the following weekend I saw my brother become a husband. Witnessing the marriage of my little brother, as his best man, in front of our family was probably one of the most emotional moments of my life. So between that and the one-year celebration of my son, it’s been quite a summer thus far. With that said there’s been a lot of reflection a lot of introspective days just thinking about where I am where my family has come from and where we’re going. Knowing everything that emotionally struck me when I found out I was about to be a father to where I am today has been quite a path traveled.

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Max Turns 1!!!!

With that said there’s been a lot of reflection, a lot of introspective days just thinking about where I am where my family has come from and where we’re going. Knowing everything that emotionally struck me when I found out I was going to be a father to be where I am today is a major step. In conjunction with that seeing where my brother is at has made me so happy and so proud of everything that he has accomplished.

Interestingly enough, the announcement to my parents that I would be expecting a child and the announcement from my brother that his girlfriend had accepted his proposal all happened within the same November week back in 2015. So to have the wedding and Max’s birthday fall within a week of each other was kind of interesting and pretty cool. I say that now as I think back to the same younger brother who I used to play video games with, play ninja tag and get into fights with, to now seeing him as a grown man and myself now as a father is just a testament to the power of family.

#BestMan #BigBrother #MagicalMountainWedding2017

A post shared by Jason Francis – SMM (@smediasamurai) on

I have always said that nothing matters more to me and nothing is more important than family. It is a foundation that not only holds me together in some of my weaker moments but is the foundation that I plan on building and raising my son upon. It’s something that I’m still trying to capture in words right now, where I am where the time has gone and yet almost feeling like we are all at a point of new beginnings. I’m in the early stages of life within Parenthood and now my brother is embarking on the journey of marriage. It really is a brand new world. I look forward to what it will mean for him and I look forward to the life that I’m going to craft out for myself and my son.

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SAMURAI RIDES: CELEBRATING LOVE AND FAMILY WITH THE 2017 MAZDA CX-5

SAMURAI RIDES: CELEBRATING LOVE AND FAMILY WITH THE 2017 MAZDA CX-5

Mazda cx 5

This has been quite an eventful summer. The last edition of Samurai Rides featured me celebrating the 1-year birthday of my son. This time around I had the honor of celebrating my brother’s wedding as Best Man.  With so many major events taking place across so many states, I need to have faith in the transportation I use for myself and my family. Fortunately, I was riding in 2017 Mazda CX-5 and let me tell you it took care of me, my son, my parent’s, anyone that needed to move around the event space for that wedding weekend. Mazda had us covered.

The last time I was driving a Mazda CX-5 I was in Atlanta preparing the final details for the Nomadness Summer barbecue so I know just what type of work this vehicle can put in. Fortunately, this time around I didn’t have as much stuff to carry and pick up. There was no food or alcohol runs,  just a few guests and some luggage bags for the festivities. More so than anything I needed to make sure that the ride was comfortable for my son. This was his 1st time him going to upstate New York and I wanted to make sure it was a comfy ride for him going up and back. He slept for most of the time so I take that as his stamp of approval. Up front in the driver’s seat Sirius XM and my USB port kept the tunes steady.

Mazda does a great job of combining convenience, control, and power with race car like design that still has this luxurious touch to its interior. Mazda is well-known for its stellar designing, especially its well-stitched leather interiors.

The weather that weekend was a little unsettled including more rain then I personally would have liked to see at a wedding but we worked around it. I will say that as always Mazda handled perfectly on the road despite the conditions of rain and wind. Nothing was able to mess up a ride. There was more than enough space in the ride and in the trunk. I would say that if you’re really looking for maximum space you probably want to look at the CX 9  but if you’re someone who is pretty modest with the loads that you’re going to be carrying then you’ll do great with the 5.

On the detailed side the Mazda’s crossover SUV currently ranks near the top of the SUV pack via U.S News and World Report. All this power and style will run you about $25K which is an amazing price. Mazda has been knocking it out the park with their recent redesigns. They have figured out how to pack so much into an affordable package and it’s a win/win for the people.

Hop over to Mazda.com for more info for this top on the line Crossover and stay tuned, the next edition of Samurai Rides will be a fun one, trust me.

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SAMURAI RIDES: INTRODUCING THE GENESIS G90 – SUMMERTIME EXCELLENCE

SAMURAI RIDES: INTRODUCING THE GENESIS G90 – SUMMERTIME EXCELLENCE

GENESIS G90 - P2

Samurai Rides is fun. At the heart of this work is the fun of hitting the roads of the U.S in the newest rides. Giving my honest views on the experience to help others make their car buying decisions is something I’ve really come to enjoy. This recent experience is one I’ve had circled on the calendar for a while. The new Genesis G90 brings luxury and power to the forefront. I LOVED this ride. I was fortunate enough to review the initial Genesis while it was still under Hyundai.  Now as its own line, Genesis is reintroducing itself. Let’s take a look at its top model the Genesis G90.

Ugly outside but its a beautiful ride in here. #SamuraiRides #DriveGenesis #GenesisG90

A post shared by Jason Francis – SMM (@smediasamurai) on

 

It was a special time while I experienced the Genesis G90, my son Max was celebrating his 1st birthday so there was a lot of running around to get things in order, but at least my little man was moving about in style. As soon as you enter the Genesis G90 you get the feeling of comfort and space.  Its roomy interior is laced with gorgeous Nappa leather and trimmed with a smooth wood finish. You’ll get all the features you could ask for from your multi-positioned seat adjustments, heated seats, seat memory for both the driver and passengers.

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My key driver needs were more than taken care of with Bluetooth connection for my hands-free phone capabilities, multiple USB ports for my on the road audio pleasure and SiriusXM to keep me tuned into the NBA playoffs.  Funny enough, when I wanted late night silence the sound dampening detail of the Genesis interior made for incredibly peaceful rides.

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From a handling perspective, the Genesis G90 feels and moves a lot lighter than it actually is. With all that power it was great on gas too. Speaking on the road elements of this ride, the safety detail is top-notch.  Many vehicles have Lane Detection tech to alert you when you’re swerving. The Genesis G90 actually has a subtle yet effective LKA, Lane Keep Assist feature that adjusts speed and aids you in pulling back in the lane if you swerve too deep. In addition to that, you get Smart Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection, and Driver Alert features. The Genesis G90 is constantly reading the world around you and providing various levels of adjusted reactionary actions to make your travels as safe as possible.

I really had a hard time returning this car. The idea of redefining luxury from such an unexpected source really makes the Genesis stand out. There isn’t a thing you could ask for that the Genesis G90 doesn’t provide.  You can hop over to Genesis dot com to really dive into the bits and bolts of this amazing ride.

Traveling in Style

It’s early for the Genesis and I really look forward to what this new brand has in store for the future as it stakes its claim within the Luxury auto market.

**Check Out My Previous Auto Reviews**

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New Podcast Launch – Who’s Listening EP.00

New Podcast Launch – Who’s Listening EP.00 & EP.01

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Funny how life goes in circles. Years ago I was a pretty solid fixture in the internet radio/podcasting/online streaming space. I co-hosted a Toronto-based online show. I made regular appearances on a number of pretty popular online shows and even on my personal blog I was doing a video blogs very heavy.

Now, to have stepped away from that and then see you that same media blow up with a current surge of podcast activity I won’t lie it’s bittersweet. I think I have a habit of being too far ahead of the curve and several times I’m so far ahead that I missed out on the chance to monetize what it is I’ve already been doing.

With that being said, Facebook over the past week just rolled out a very interesting feature. They announced this back at the tail end of last year and now it’s finally hitting. They announce the audio only feature within Facebook live so if you’re not someone who is camera ready at the moment but has a lot to say, has a voice that needs to be heard or a voice that the people want to hear this is the perfect thing. Obviously, you would do your recordings for the benefit of a live audience at the same time your material is saved which you can direct people back to or share across social media.

This past week I introduced “Who’s Listening”.  Episode 00, the pilot episode. This is me stepping back into the podcast world with this first episode. I spoke about the Yankee captain Derek Jeter having his number retired along with a few Yankee memories. I touched on the NBA playoffs as well. In addition, there was social media talk about virtual reality and “Smart” tech like voice recognition.   The main topic of the show was the  “black women are trash black men or trash” t-shirt fiasco that hit the internet last week. I definitely gave some opinions on that so without further ado drop down and take a listen to the pilot episode of  Who’s Listening.

 

**UPDATED – LISTEN TO THE FIRST OFFICIAL EPISODE 01 HERE**

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My Day Speaking at Kamit Prep Institute in Brooklyn

My Day Speaking at Kamit Prep Institute in BrooklynKamit Preparatory Institute Career

One of the best things you can do in life is to aid the upbringing of the next generation. From education to social interaction, it truly is our greatest duty to put the youth in a position to do things bigger and better than we ever did.  To that end, I recently was invited to speak to the students of Kamit Preparatory Institute in Brooklyn for their first annual Career Day. KPI is split into 2 internal schools housing K through grade 6 in the lower school and grade 7 to 12 in the Upper.  This enabled me to address student across the entire spectrum of the system. It was an amazing opportunity that I really look forward to doing again.  KPICareerDay8

I gave 4 different presentations that day sharing my work as a Social Media Manager. The engagement was high across the broad. The youngest students seemed more curious about me personally than professionally which was amusing. As the age and grade level increased the questions picked up in details and scope.

The oldest students were very intrigued about the business I am in both on the digital/social media side as well as the travel side with my direct work with Nomadness. To that end, I was the one that was surprised to find out just how many of these students had passports. Not only do they have passports but they were very active having traveled to Asia, Europe, Africa and many other places across the globe.  You could tell that there were a number of future tribe members in my presence.

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The key thing with speaking to groups of any size, age or demographic is making a connection. With the overall focus of the day being about Careers, I made it a point to let these young minds know, not to stress. Do not feel that you are expected to know what you want to do with your life right now. Especially for those preparing for college that was a vital point I needed them to understand. At times I think we lay out these expectations for our kids and try to give them a foolproof plan to success. It’s well intended and for earlier generations, it did make sense. Today the world is in flux. It’s ripe with opportunities that venture way outside of the box and we need to make sure our kids feel the support to explore these options.

I look forward to checking up on the students of KPI and hearing great things about them in the future. When my time was done, I quietly made my way toward the exit. Suddenly I was mobbed with hugs from a half-dozen 1 st graders. It was the perfect end to my day. As I watched the kids run off, I couldn’t help but think of my son. Max is turning 1-year-old and time will fly and have him in school before I know it……and I will be there. Let’s be there for our kids now and forever.

Kamit Prep Institute

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NYC Hosts Word of Mouth Marketing Summit – [WOMMA 2017]

NYC Hosts Word of Mouth Marketing Summit – [WOMMA 2017]

womma logo

The New York Times building played host the annual WOMMA Summit this past week. The summit featured speakers from a number of major brands like MGM Grand, Tito’s Vodka, BuzzFeed, Wendy’s and many more.

WOMMA which stands for word-of-mouth-marketing presented two days of panel discussions, informative sessions that dove into various aspects of Social Media communication, content creation and the overall effect of digital activity on society. Many brands spoke about how they craft their respective voices along with the teams and systems that go into creating the content that the consumers see on a daily basis.

The online comedic wit of the Wendy’s brand was center stage for that chat courtesy of their V.P of Media, Ads & Social Brandon Rhoten.

Univision EVP Jessica Rodriguez opened up the Summit speaking on ownership of responsibility within her digital teams and the effects of “influencers”.

They also had a number of sessions that spoke not so much to a specific business purpose but how Society as a whole interacts with social media. As social continues to grow and evolve around us it’s playing a greater role in and having increased influence on day to day life. Topics such as prejudice, discrimination, fake news and more were touched on via author Emanuel Rosen

In addition to that WOMMA also addressed the issues of influencers in a few respective sessions. Kevin Knight of Experticity broke down what actually makes an influencer on various levels of scale, what their responsibilities are and how do they best express and deliver on the message of a respective brand.

It’s very informative to get a look into what larger mainstream businesses are doing and thinking in regards to social media. Learning what their methods are that result in the content that they create and what are the do’s and don’ts are that they apply to their own digital spaces. These things are important to be aware of as many of these brands set the trends that up-and-coming businesses and entrepreneurs tend to follow. Not to mention we see on a daily basis many mainstream bands continue to get social wrong and put themselves in positions where not just are they acting in error but then they are put on full display for the world to see just how out-of-touch they are. Truthfully speaking in today’s climate with social media as established as it is you should know the ramifications of the things you do in our business. Nothing is secret and customer service is now a spectator sport. How you treat your customers is no longer lost within phone calls and snail mail complaint letters.

Nicole Portwood of Tito’s Vodka says it best. “We focus on being as human as much as possible vs. being so product-driven.”

This sentiment does well in summing up the overall tone of the WOMMA Summit. Word of Mouth Marketing essentially is a reminder that no matter how far social media advances it is the social aspect, the direct person to person element that carries the greatest value for businesses to succeed. WOMMA isn’t stopping with the summit either. There are a number of events upcoming via WOMMA to continue the conversation of how our communication is evolving and impacting our business.

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