On Wednesday the Obama administration announced a new website created with data visualization tools to make it easier for Americans to see the effects of climate change on their communities ( www.climate.data.gov ). True to a government made website, Climate.data is very clugey to use, but after a bit of tinkering I was able to find an interesting mapping tool that showed the likely impact of sea level rise on coastal communities. But why pick just ANY coastal community to visualize? I zeroed in on the location for billionaire Bill Koch’s sixteen million dollar waterfront compound estate on the toney island of Oyster Harbors in Cape Cod. Koch, who made his money in the fossil fuel industry, thinks climate change is a liberal fiction, and will do whatever he can to stall the adoption of clean energy in America.
Well, I have bad news for you, Bill. According to the latest projections, sea level rise is happening even faster than scientists previously thought. Along the Massachusetts coastline projections show between a 3 and 6 foot rise between now and the end of this century. Using the data visualization tool, your estate is in serious jeopardy of being under water. I’m not talking about a mortgage being underwater – the kind of problem that hits regular folks. I’m saying your whole estate will very likely be under the Atlantic ocean, a kind of billionaire Atlantis. I make this point not only because I strongly disagree with Mr. Koch’s climate change-denying beliefs, but also because the Climate.Data website needs to make it much easier for people to see how the un-checked changes hitting our atmosphere will affect us personally. Our houses, not just our regions or towns. It would work like Zillow.com just enter your address and see if you’re property will be under water. An interactive map of this nature would be relatively easy to make, and would go a long way towards making climate change a real and urgent issue for more Americans. Maybe even Mr. Koch – although I doubt he’ll believe in climate change even with the waves are lapping at his leather armchair.
Check out what sea level rise could do to the Koch estate:
Mean Sea-level Rise | Boston, MA
Projected Sea-level Rise | Boston, MA
Even in the age of real-time customer service, where crucial contacts and tips are shelled out—en masse and by the second—across Facebook, Twitter, and 24/7 chat lines to resolve issues, it’s always a bit dazzling when the head honcho of a major brand reaches out to address a singular customer (and arguably, more so when the interaction prompts a discernible pivot in brand strategy). Those are the moments in which it seems that the two-way conversation goes analog—as though to remind us all that no company is faceless and every solution is borne of two (or more) living, breathing people just hashing it out.
Today, we have another proof point for the content marketing binder, c/o of Jenni Avins for New York Magazine. Last summer, Avins, a freelance journalist, authored an impassioned open letter in The Cut to Jenna Lyons, President of J. Crew, requesting a re-release of her favorite J. Crew scoop back swimsuit from the 1990s. Influential channel and J. Crew’s reputation for great customer interaction aside, an email response from Prez Lyons came two days later. Paraphrased, Lyons suggested in her prompt and personal missive that Avins’ letter was the request that tipped the scale on the re-release of the suit.
A year later, the scoop-back that millennial dreams are made of has been reissued for sale, with print advertisements featuring a handwritten note from Lyons to Avins. Nice brand play for J. Crew, but an even better lesson for all content creators out there.
A customer request—distributed via the right channels and touching on a canny audience pain point—can move brand strategy, define new markets, re-launch a product and even make for a personalized response or two from a president (or THE President). Today, we all have voices. Make sure yours is heard loud and clear above the fracas, and your wish can very well become a brand’s command.
Bored by reading the newspaper because it just takes too long? Don’t have enough time to finish the latest Malcolm Gladwell novel, let alone stuff a sandwich down? Dying to boast to your friends that you read as deftly as a college professor? There’s an app for that. Rather, there is soon to be, courtesy of a co-opted launch between Samsung wearables and Boston developer Spritz.
After three years flying below the radar, Spritz is ready to unveil their techie solution to address two barriers to widespread, mobile readership—the time it takes to read (largely due to excessive eye tracking of words on a surface) and the space lots of words take up (on 640 x 1136 px or smaller mobile screens). Their innovation is a compressed visual frame that streams one word at a time in 13 characters of space.
It’s easy to judge this app by its small, simple cover—until you try it yourself. Taking saccades out of the equation by applying a new method of word alignment (science!) really does mean something big. A beta test on their website offers an enticing glimpse into the promise that readers will be able to clock up to 1000 wpm—in the ballpark of what seasoned speed readers record. Even if you’re resolutely in the middle of the Spritzing pack, you’ll still be able to read at roughly the clip of a high-level executive.
But far more than just another novelty app promising to make us fitter, happier, and more productive (readers), Spritz could be revolutionary for brands and content creators—tomorrow’s delivery mechanism for eloquent, immersive, mobile storytelling within the span of a quarter minute.
We decide within 15 seconds whether to read, listen, or view on—whether a new journey is evocative enough to compel us to subvert our primal and indolent desires. So find the right narrative for your story and filter it through Spritz. The space of 250 game changing, ice-breaking words is your new brand conversation.