Is Threads the New Twitter (or now the new "X")

The Carbon Social Team

Threads, the new Twitter-like app from Meta, launched on July 5th, and we’ve spent the last few weeks trying out the flashy new platform. It has been billed as Zuckerberg’s answer to Twitter, finally adding a public, text-focused social feed app to their suite of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. But we all know the main reason for its development: to give advertisers a new “safe space” to reach Twitter’s news-hungry audiences minus the Elon Musk chaos. (If you haven’t been on the old platform in a bit, there have been a number of major changes that have affected advertisers directly, including a requirement that brands pay a large some of money to stay verified on the platform, and a noted rise in hate speech and conspiracy theories, leading to many advertisers to move on from a platform that was never really a AAA player in the digital ad space anyway.)

However, as shown by the previous mini-migrations to apps like BlueSky, Mastodon, and others, there is clearly an audience yearning for a new space and competition is always a good thing. You’d have to be living under a rock to miss Twitter’s challenges since Musk acquired it, including user and advertiser boycotts, fraudulent accounts, and brand safety – to name just a few. Now, in what can only be a desperate attempt to stop the bleeding, Musk just rebranded Twitter as X (yes, just “X”), and announced that it will become more than a 1-trick microblogging pony. Stay tuned for news and POVs on that hot mess…

For any user looking for the next best not-Twitter, and for advertisers looking to branch out with more social media options, there are definitely some great possibilities with this app. But there are also a few things to be wary of. Here’s what we’ve discovered so far:

Pros From a User Perspective

There’s Already A Ton Of People On There

One of the biggest hurdles in getting folks to mass migrate over to a brand new space is that it can be hard to get the ball rolling. You don’t want to be the only person to show up to a concert. Users want to know there’s already a party happening before they get there.

This is probably why Threads made accessing the new app incredibly easy – if you have an Instagram account you already have a login (“I don’t have enough logins to remember” said nobody ever!). Plus, you can follow all of the accounts you follow on Instagram en masse, and even pre-follow accounts that haven’t yet signed up for Threads. This means that later adopters might log in for the first time to find out they already have hundreds of followers on an app they’ve never used. This was a brilliant tactic to get tons of users quickly, and it worked – Threads instantly became one of the fastest growing apps ever, hitting 100 million users in 5 days. This also made it much more enticing to celebrities and influencers to join up right away, which helps grow the user base even more.

It’s Very Clean

Our first reaction to the app was how clean the user experience feels. There are no ads yet, so you aren’t bombarded with crypto scams every 5 tweets. It also has a much simpler look built around a familiar interface (hey, if it ain’t broke!). Photo carousels look great when scrolling through (unlike on Twitter, which requires you to tap into them to view). And while the lack of hashtag support has some people feeling lost, we find the missing pound signs to be a welcome change (the focus is actually on the text conversations now, and not trying to game the algorithm).

As for specific features, it remains to be seen whether users will really take advantage of the “threading” inherent in threads and pick posts on which to dive deep. More likely, they will comment and move on, the way they currently do in Instagram. But Meta has great experience with alerts that invite re-engagement, so the behavior here will be interesting to observe. (Taken to an extreme, will threaded discussions take over subreddits? Unlikely!)

Cons From a User Perspective

Threads Is A Privacy Nightmare

Facebook doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to data privacy (how’s that for understatement of the year?) but this one really takes the cake. In an effort to cover all their bases, downloading the app on iOS requires an agreement to share basically any data you could possibly accumulate while using the app (why do they need our health data again?). In an age of blindly accepting cookies on every webpage, will the majority of users even notice or care? Probably not. But this will certainly turn a percentage of people off forever, and in the case of users in the EU, using the app might not ever be an option.

The Algorithm Isn’t “Good” Yet

If user engagement of TikTok is any indication, users actually LOVE it when you tailor their content as specifically to them as possible. Is it creepy that after a few videos it can learn all of your hobbies and dreams? Yes. But that’s why people keep coming back. The feed is “For You” after all!

With Threads, it’s a little disappointing that all of the data that Facebook has about us couldn’t be used more effectively to generate content we might actually want to look at. The first few days were extremely boring, with much of the content being engagement bait from random accounts nobodies ever heard of and brands announcing their presence on the app (sorry American Eagle, it’s not that interesting that you’re here too!). It’s also missing many UX features that could improve the experience (even Twitter has a separate feed just for chronological posts from your favorite accounts). Over time, the algorithm will improve, but this could definitely explain why, despite an incredible launch, engagement has fallen sharply. As Anthony Bartolacci, managing director at marketing data firm Sensor Tower, put it, Threads “will need a more compelling value proposition than simply ‘Twitter, but without Elon Musk'” to survive long term.

Of course, the pull of screen time can always have a dark side. Over time, social media algorithms inevitably learn to prioritize eyeballs, which typically leans more into polarizing content, fake news, and baiting. (In fact, Twitter has decided to simply embrace this by literally paying power users based on how engaging their posts are. So now that there’s a financial incentive to get people riled up, would you expect the quality of posts to go up or down?). The dearth of political muckraking on the new app has been a nice relief overall, but Threads will have to take steps to ensure it doesn’t create one more outrage machine that we will all hate-look at.

Pros From An Advertiser Perspective

No Ads Yet, But They’re Probably Coming Soon

While Threads does not yet feature ads functionality, we can expect that this is the whole reason Meta built the app in the first place. Twitter has seen an exodus of advertisers that are looking to put their dollars somewhere, and Facebook itself is seeing a lot more competition from TikTok, Pinterest, and even Reddit.

The potential for advertisers is huge here – brands will likely be able to simply choose Threads as a placement in Ads Manager and run Twitter-like ads without even changing anything about their strategy or signing up for a new business manager. You can imagine a future where you just give Facebook a bunch of assets (creative, copy, links, etc) and Meta will create and distribute the ads automatically to whatever platform and placement will work best for the objective (we’re basically already there!). In the meantime, as with other social platform launches, brands should build organic engagement to positively influence the algorithm, and they should analyze their best-performing Meta ads for hints at what to use as ad creative when the time comes. Need help with your organic and ad analysis strategies? Talk to us.

Cons From An Advertiser Perspective

Limited Global Reach

For brands that work internationally, Threads’ privacy concerns might make it much more difficult to reach a user base in Europe. And if we see larger adoption of privacy measures in the US, you could even be limited by state! One can imagine a situation where messages, ads, or links would need to be tailored to Montana or California specifically, which would be a huge nightmare. But for now, you can at least reach your targets in the USA.

Just Another “Thing” You Have To Think About 

While this finally feels like it could be the true Twitter alternative everyone was looking for, this creates an awkward situation for brands who may not have the bandwidth to keep up with yet another social app. Organic growth is still useful, but here’s the pickle: do you ditch Twitter in favor of Threads and take a chance on early adoption? Do you keep both and “wait and see?” How does your organic strategy change if you are running both Twitter and Threads at the same time? If you don’t give someone a unique reason to follow you in a new place and just repost the same content folks could easily find elsewhere, what’s the point? (See how Wendy’s and other brands were able to turn their Twitters into a “personality” that felt distinct from the corporate entity). In short, if you are a brand with the bandwidth to share genuine, interesting news and perspectives – Threads is indeed “another” platform you need to add to your content calendar. A few early tips to beleaguered community managers include posting Threads that are applicable to a broad audience (since new users seem to see a variety of brands’ posts), and remembering that like Twitter/X, posts with images and vertical video take up more space and get more attention.

Overall, Threads has shown early signs of success, and with the backing of Meta, stiff competition, and a quick gain of 100M users already, we’re likely to see Zuckerberg double down on Threads. It remains to be seen what the advertiser’s role will be here, but that’s where the dollars are after all! Want to discuss how to leverage Threads for your brand? Talk to us.

Our New Facebook Flex: Carbon Is One Of The First Meta Certified Agencies

We’re proud to announce that Carbon is one of the very first Meta Certified agencies! In June 2022, Meta introduced a pilot certification program within the U.S. for their most trusted partners. Due to our historic performance, Carbon was one of the first digital agencies to gain access to this opportunity. 

In October 2022, Carbon earned a Media Meta Certification at the company level, meaning our business is recognized by Meta as having proven digital expertise through verified certifications. The Meta Certification requires a percentage of eligible employees to have studied and demonstrated success and detailed knowledge on Meta technologies.   

“We are honored to accept this exclusive recognition, which has only been possible because of the dedication that our social team has to our clients. Working directly with Meta and other social platforms, we are always excited to try out new tools and features and are excited about the future of social media advertising.” – Chris Rio, Social Media Supervisor  

Aside from our sparkly new trophy, what does this mean for Carbon? Certified companies are proven to demonstrate increased knowledge, build effective campaigns, and deliver high quality work. We offer our new and existing clients a higher caliber of expertise. Through a joint study with Kantar, Facebook found that: 

  • 79% of employers of certified employees say they produce higher quality work and make agencies more credible and innovative. 
  • 87% of certified individuals experienced improved knowledge. 
  • 53% of certified individuals experienced increased work efficiency.

We are honored to receive this accolade and look forward to transforming your business with this proficiency. Learn more about our approach to performance based social marketing at 

Recipes for Success in a Cookie-less World

Who wants to live in a world without cookies?

Cookie Monster can breathe a sigh of relief, as our favorite Buttermilk Bakery cookies aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but the pieces of data stored on your computer are about to be cooked. As marketers we face the impending extinction of cookies in the Google ecosystem in

the second half of 2024 (at least until they push the date back again), on the heels of Apple already taking steps to protect user’s privacy in their iOS 14 update in 2020. The secret to success in this new world lies in your top-secret family cookie recipe.

Before we unveil secrets that have been passed down from generation to generation, let’s look at the different types of data parties us marketers are invited to on a daily basis: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd party data. To make it easier to understand, let’s compare the types of data to cookies that you might find at an actual party.

  • 1st party data: 1st party data is the homemade cookie from your family recipe. It is the most important type of data because it is collected straight from your own audience. The information is the most effective and reliable because you are getting it directly from the source.
  • 2nd party data: 2nd party data is the cookie that your friend baked and brought over to your party. It is a partner or friend’s 1st party information that they are giving to you. By knowing the partner, you most likely know the accuracy and quality of the data.
  • 3rd party data: 3rd party data is the store-bought cookie with ingredients you may not know, but it is widely available and in large quantities. It can be hard to know exactly where your 3rd party data came from. The reason for this is because large data collectors collect their data from other companies and then put it into a single dataset. 3rd party data is helpful in reaching broad audiences.

So, what steps can you take as a marketer to evolve with, and even before the market? Here are a few tips from our marketing kitchen to yours:

  1. Focus on building your 1st party database. Offers on your website, or low CPM paid media lead generation campaigns to capture email addresses of prospects you can convert via email is one strategy that has worked well for many of our clients. This should be a line item you add to your budget and leave on moving forward.
  2. Pick your battles and own your channels with 2nd party data. Identify key media publishers with a high index of your target audience and leverage 2nd party data to reach your customers. With this approach, its important that you plan your budget to enable for consistent presence, custom integrations to stand out and leveraging the value of brand equity your partner has to the fullest extent.
  3. Take a hybrid approach and use your website traffic to expand your 1st party audience via large, vetted 2nd party databases. Using tools like Resonate or MRI Simmons you can learn more about your web visitors through mapping your data against large research panel information, and even build your own exportable audiences which can be more laser targeted than the walled garden paid media properties of Google and Meta.
  4. Lastly, we would be remiss to not share the world’s best Sugar Cookie recipe – when things get confusing with parties and data, these are a hit every time:

May The Fourth Awakens

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away one rogue advertising agency dominated all the top awards at Cannesto Bight every year. We were given an all-access pass to introduce you to the cast of characters behind all the galaxy best work at the hottest shop from Tattoine to Endor.

Let go of all your fears and come meet the crew:

Han Solo, Creative Director – lives every day with a “never tell me the odds” mentality, wears all black and has great hair. Once said, “Sometimes, I even amaze myself.”

Chewbacca, Account Management – Chewie doesn’t need a medal to validate his contribution to his clients, he’s happy being an unsung hero. He stays cool under pressure but can be seen running around the office yelling “HERRNNNGGGHHHHH” when on a deadline. Everyone knows “It’s not wise to upset a Wookiee” so scope creep is never a problem on his accounts.

Darth Vader, Business Development – a toxic employee who once said, “He’s as clumsy as he is stupid” about a co-worker, but was still promoted up through the ranks based on his persuasive selling skills. Finds your lack of faith in him hitting his quarterly numbers disturbing. After attending an offsite and going through a Myers Briggs assessment learned he was an ENTJ-A and figured out how to work better with everyone before he retired.

Princess Leia, CEO – “CEOrgana” runs the agency leading with passion, bravery, and grace. If the work isn’t good enough, she will absolutely throw it in the garbage chute and tell the team to start over. The final decision maker, notorious for once saying “I am not a committee!” in a board meeting.

Luke Skywalker, Brand Strategy – Luke is always searching people’s feelings to understand what motivates them and his Creative Briefs are “full of surprises” for the Creative Team. Which color highlighter will he use to whiteboard this time…blue or green?

R2D2, Measurement & Analytics – R2 loves numbers and data. Beep boop bop. Help me Google Campaign Manager, you’re my only hope at measuring attribution of this campaign.

Admiral Ackbar, Head of Production – He is always looking out for traps in the production timeline and uses his patented SCRUM and VILLAINY development process to build the best digital experiences in the galaxy.

Ben Kenobi, Copywriter – Opens every Zoom call with “Hello There!” A grizzled agency copywriting veteran who mostly freelances now. He rose to fame early in his career behind the Death Star “That’s no moon.” campaign.

Cantina Band, Office SONOS Speaker  – everyone always fights over control of the band and is judgmental on others music choices, but unfortunately it only always plays the same song on repeat, you know the one – do do do do do do doo doo doo doo doo do do

The Mandalorian, Office Manager – takes great responsibility for ensuring the operation and safety of the entire office. Continuously trains the staff on how to use the dishwasher, saying “This is the Way” but usually ends up breaking down and just shaking his head while he does the dishes again.

Baby Yoda – You know how snacks and sandwiches always go missing from the fridge, and everyone is like what kind of scruffy-looking nerf herder does that? It’s been Baby Yoda this whole time…

If you have any favorite agency Star Wars characters I’ve overlooked, please let me know in the comments. May the fourth be with you, always.

#maythefourth #starwars #agencylife #advertising #marketing #createareaction

Apple's iOS 14 is coming

The Fallout of Apple’s iOS 14

Remember the days when “protecting one’s privacy” simply meant lowering the shades in your house, or shredding paper documents?  To be honest, neither do we. That’s because, over the past 20 years, the ability to control one’s privacy has changed drastically. With the widespread adoption of the internet, and then later as social media platforms emerged, consumers have been slowly but surely relinquishing authority of the personal information that is not only being seen, but also tracked by businesses and brands, and even worse, by malware and hackers.

As a result, the push for user privacy has been years in the making.  Between 2012 to 2017, many consumers started to understand how closely their behaviors were being monitored and how easily their personal identifiable information (PII) could be breached. In fact, by 2016, 86% of internet users had taken steps to remove or mask their digital footprints.  The defining moment for privacy changes transpired in 2018 with the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal and later that year, a new era of privacy regulation came to be with the adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation.

Today, privacy measures are about to take another unprecedented step with the forthcoming launch of Apple’s iOS 14. In short, Apple will require any apps that want to track a user’s online actions for advertising purposes to ask explicitly for permission to do so.  The biggest casualties of this change? Facebook and Google, and the brands that use them to reach their potential customers.  So, while this is welcome news for users who are looking for further ways to protect their privacy, it raises a lot of questions and concerns for marketers.

Online Privacy & Facebook

So, what now?

While the processes to handle these changes are still evolving, Facebook, specifically, has outlined a few things that advertisers must consider moving forward.  On top of the list, advertisers who plan to track conversions on their website are being urged to do the following:

  1. Verify your website’s domain. This can be done through the Business Settings of your Facebook account, and is something that Carbon will proactively do for each of our clients.
  2. Define and prioritize a maximum of 8 pixel events to track per domain. Recognize that your number one goal, for example purchases, may not be the number one priority from an event tracking standpoint, as not everyone who visits your website will make a purchase. Rather, you may choose the “add to cart” event as a better choice from which to optimize.
  3. Anticipate changes to the attribution window. Event attribution is changing to a 7-day click model. 28-day click and view through, as well as 7-day view through will no longer be options within the Facebook advertising platform.
  4. Identify campaign optimization strategies that may require testing. With reduced tracking and increased data restrictions, advertisers will have to consider other ways to optimize campaigns. This could include testing different bid strategies, alternative audience options, and specific placement selections.

While Facebook is certainly a big platform, we realize it’s not the end-all-be-all for marketers. So how else should your brand prepare?

For one, take steps to grow your 1st party database and enable for authentication across all online and offline brand touchpoints. This could be dedicating budget to lead generation email capture so you can convert customers at a lower cost through email later. Or it could be incentivizing your customers to share their PII at brand touchpoints.

Secondly, go old-school.  That’s right – rely less on 3rd party data and partner with publishers who have their own data, i.e. 2nd-party data, that aligns with your brand and objectives. Doing so assures access to permissioned PII and data that is measurable, as well as scalable.

The changes from Apple’s iOS 14 may be enforced as early as this month. Only time will tell how these new rules will truly impact advertisers on Facebook and elsewhere but preparing now will ensure your brand is able to move forward relatively unscathed. One thing is for certain: as consumers continue to choose privacy over ad relevance, the importance of the total customer experience will be instrumental in moving a brand forward. After all, a brand is so much more than just its digital advertising.

Digital Marketing During Coronavirus

How COVID-19 is affecting the digital landscape + how your brand should react

Since the first confirmed case in Wuhan in early January, the world has watched as the coronavirus, COVID-19, has spread across the globe. As the number of confirmed cases increase, the severity of the virus’s ability to spread is felt by everyone. As families continue to hunker down and practice social distancing, brands have the opportunity to lend a helping hand, make life a little easier, and even distract people from the hysteria by adding value through ways of content, special offers, services and volunteering.

How brands are giving back

While the coronavirus has created unforeseeable hurdles for brands to overcome, many have found creative ways to use this time to give back and use their resources for the greater good. CVS, for example, has waived delivery expenses for medical supplies for those who are unable to leave their home. Uhaul has allowed displaced college students to occupy storage spaces for free for up to 30 days. Schools across the country have set up food pickups to help out families in need. Ford has stopped auto production and is offering payment assistance to potential buyers and current owners. Ford and GM are both looking to help with the medical supply shortage, by producing medical equipment. Tesla also answered the call by donating and shipping ventilators they purchased from China, to California.  In NYC, Hertz is providing free car rentals for health-care workers in an effort to help nurses and doctors distance themselves and avoid public transportation.

Supplies aren’t the only way brands are giving back. With social isolation forcing parents and children to be at home, some brands are using visual content to entertain and lighten the mood. Fiona, everyone’s favorite hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo, is being featured in a “Live Safari” which has occupied the attention of kids and even many adults. Contrastingly, Pornhub is offering its premium service in Italy, for free!  Loom, a video-recording and sharing service, has given free access to teachers so they can continue to teach kids while away from the classroom. Yale has even offered a free course centered around happiness and enjoying the simple things in life.

"With what feels like the whole nonessential world working from home, now is the time to leverage increased screen time and build brand awareness with content that is relevant and serves a purpose."

How Brands should adjust digital marketing strategy 

So what do we know as of right now? Industry conferences, sporting events, and face-to-face interactions are all being shutdown, cancelled, or moved to digital means. With what feels like the whole nonessential world working from home, now is the time to leverage increased screen time and build brand awareness with content that is relevant and serves a purpose. 


Promote Corporate Social Responsibility 

Now is the time to let your brands’ Corporate Social Responsibility shine! Like the brands mentioned before, giving back and providing aid will promote brand awareness and build brand equity, plus doing the right thing always feels good. And we can all use some of that right now.


Create Relevant Content

 Moving forward with scheduled campaigns aren’t going to create a reaction or connection with current or potential customers. Brands need to stay relevant and create content that acknowledges the coronavirus and offers something that can ease the pain, boredom of being in isolation, or make life a little more tolerable in the short term. Ben and Jerry’s Jerusalem ran an advertisement that acknowledges how boring isolation can get, but with a delicious bowl of ice cream, all seems right again. 


Utilize High Traffic Channels to Connect with Followers

While social and digital spend may feel like the last thing your brand should do, impressions have never been more cost effective with increased screen time globally. A recent research study conducted by IZEA insights, found that 66% of social media users believe their usage will increase amid isolation. 


Consumers are going to spend more time watching video-content. Brands able to curate video content in a short turnaround will benefit greatly from this. Video-content is engaging and captures your audience’s attention as they scroll through their feed. Leveraging video on YouTube, IGTV, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok will allow you keep brand awareness on the radar. 


Engage with Followers

Use your social channels to tell your brand’s story and keep your followers updated. We all have a story to tell during these uncertain, unpredictable times (if you’re stuck at home). Keeping your followers informed of your current state and responding to comments will allow you to stay connected with your followers, create lasting relationships, and allow them to engage with your brand. If your company sent workers home, yet you are still operating, be sure to keep them up-to-date and let them know you are still in business.

Stay Positive 

The Coronavirus has affected everyone in some way, shape, or form. While the end may not be in sight just yet, companies and individuals who go the extra mile by giving back, helping out, and making times easier, will not go unnoticed. Do not underestimate the power of staying positive!

Digital Accessibility Made Accessible

Domino’s, Pornhub, Amazon, Nordstrom, and Warby Parker. These are a few of our favorite brands… that have been sued for noncompliance with web accessibility standards.

Digital accessibility is the ability of a website, mobile application, or electronic document to be easily navigated and understood by a wide range of users, including those users who have visual, auditory, motor or cognitive disabilities

In the U.S. nearly one in four people has a disability, so it’s no surprise that there has been an increasing effort to make the internet more accessible. In 2018 alone, there were 2,285 lawsuits that were brought forth under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Nervous now? Us, too! However, not all businesses are required to comply with the ADA. Under Title I of the ADA, any business with at least 15 full-time employees that operates for 20 or more weeks every year is covered by the law. Under Title III Businesses that fall into the category of “public accommodation,” such as hotels, bands, an public transportation are also required to comply.

If you need to or would like to be more compliant, here are a few specific items to consider:

  • Closed Captions – Any audio content, including videos or podcasts, must include captions
  • Screen Reader Compliance – Screen readers are software applications that convert text displayed on a computer screen into synthesized speech. To become compliant, provide coded descriptive text alternatives for non-text content and the specific language of a page or a specific word should be indicated so the correct pronunciation can be programmatically determined.
  • Easy to Read Text – Text blocks with narrow widths are easier for all people to read, especially those with reading or vision impairments. Because of this, the WCAG recommends keeping a line of text’s character count below 80 characters.

Want a deeper understanding of compliance on your site?

While there are automated plugins and chrome extensions available that can help you, having an expert conduct an audit of your site would be the best approach. Be aware, compliance is not a one time achievement, it will be an ongoing effort to maintain accessibility standards. No one wants to deal with a lawsuit that could have been easily avoided, especially when the work will ultimately make the internet a better place for everyone to shop, peruse, stay in touch, or otherwise enjoy.

The State of Media

Sometimes it feels like the media landscape is ever changing

But then we’re reminded that the Yellow Pages still exists. In an attempt grapple why, and best plan for our clients’ media in 2019 and 2020, part of our crew from Carbon React, our media team, attended BIMA’s State of the State event.

This event serves as a yearly check in with the best and brightest of the media industry who discuss the state of media and technical changes to expect in the upcoming year.

BIMA Media Workshop

Here are the main takeaways:

Traditional + Digital

In years past, many marketers thought the world of media would eventually shift from traditional to digital. However, we’re seeing that traditional channels may never die. Rather than thinking about a total shift in dollars to new technologies, it’s important to understand the purpose and value of current channels, while being aware of emerging channels. Include both into your mix if they make sense for your brand and goals.

Digital =/= Direct Response

It’s time to stop thinking about digital media as a direct response model. When we measure the success of digital media in terms of short term KPIs only, we are undervaluing its impact. Ultimately, finding ways to have a fuller picture of campaign impact and the lifecycle of consumers will continue to be an important task for marketers to tackle.

2019 Legislation Changes

In 2018, GDPR shook part of the marketing community, while others seemingly ignored it. In 2019, it’s likely that the California Privacy Act and possibly a patchwork of other state or federal laws will rock the digital marketing ecosystem. It will be vital for marketers to be aware of the changing legislation and the potential impact they will have on our industry.

Will this change everything?

Likely not! However, here at Carbon, our team is dedicated to guiding our clients through the ever-changing (and sometimes unchanging) media waters.

'Understanding' Innovation at Adobe MAX 2018

Thoughts on Adobe MAX 2018

MAX wrapped up last week in Las Vegas and since I’ve been back in the office, I’ve been thinking a lot of innovation. Yes, Adobe apps are some of the most innovative pieces of software out there, and we couldn’t do the work we do without them.

But the idea of never-before-seen solutions isn’t what I find most exciting about the new releases at Adobe MAX this year.

It’s the every-day solutions. The things that we as designers, illustrators, editors and animators do dozens of times each day, hundreds of times each week and I don’t even want to know how many times each year.

It’s safe to say that because of my unique professional experiences, I’ve tested out a lot of headphones.

John Williams

The gift every creative wants. Time.

This latest round of updates to Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps seem to really focus on understanding how we’ve all been working, to strip some of the tediousness out of what we do in order to save us time.

And that isn’t to say that Adobe hadn’t been understanding how we worked before, but the pace and nature of the work we do as a creative agency was itself shifting over the years so that a video editor didn’t need to just understand story and pacing – but also user content habits on half a dozen social platforms as well – changing one deliverable into half a dozen so we can reach every audience.

The gift every creative wants. Time.

It seems Adobe has worked under the mantra of “Work smart, not hard.” as they put together some really serious tools supported by machine learning (Adobe Sensei) to essentially act like an interpreter between what we as creatives need to do to achieve the outcomes we want, and the apps themselves with all the timelines, panels and functions we have to hunt through to do it. Adobe’s Sensei doesn’t seem like the dreaded AI we fear will take our jobs…but more like the Mr. Miyagi we all need – helping us to focus and hone our thinking (the serious stuff behind the work) – since we’ve already put in the countless hours of clicking through panels that equate to catching flies with chop sticks.


As someone who has always focused more on what the work is, what it says and how audiences engage with it, these Creative Cloud updates show that Adobe is thinking along the same lines. Our creative work will always be based on client goals and effectively communicating with our audience – that won’t change – what will change is how much time and effort we need to spend on the many tedious elements of executing the work that don’t actually advance client goals.

You can’t advance brand awareness by clicking through 46 menus in Photoshop.
You can’t increase sales by constantly importing or recreating effects for every social video.

So with improvements across the entire spectrum of creative development – from experience design to photography, from social to video & animation – this streamlining of HOW we work, will improve WHAT we can do in the time we have.

So maybe “Work smart, not hard.” isn’t the correct interpretation, because there’s always going to be hard work in what we do.

Maybe it’s like Einstein said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.”
And now our software has a little bit of that intelligence built in to help out.

Erik Heumiller heads up Video & Animation content at Carbon and likes to experiment in areas that are not his expertise, so he is very much looking forward to diving into every Adobe app over the coming weeks to see what he can cook up.

3 Brands Who Mastered the Art of Storytelling

Everyone has that one friend…

The one that can tell a great story. The kind that makes you gather around to hear. No matter who you are, where you’re from or what age you are, everyone likes a good story. I think it must trace back to our childhood, to bedtime stories, meant to inspire our imagination, or just help our parents get us to “Go the F*%K To Sleep.

I’ve come to realize that stories are one of our most powerful forms of communication. It’s stories that build connections that can span countries, audiences and generations. Because people always remember a good story. A great story that personifies your brand is what you need in order to position yourself in the most effective way possible. Therefore, the most memorable brands with the greatest stories are the ones that stand out the most. Here are 3 brands who have done just that.

A great story that personifies your brand is what you need in order to position yourself in the most effective way possible.

1. Nike

Nearly everything Nike does is accompanied by a backstory. Instead of pushing a product with a Sell! Sell! Sell! mentality, Nike’s launch of a new footwear “Flyease” was released alongside a video and an article that told “The Flyease Story” of how the shoe came to be. This is a brand that acts with purpose. This specific shoe was designed with a specific function; for athletes who have trouble getting in and out of shoes and securing them. And the story behind it will make you look at the brand in a whole new light, I guarantee it.

2. GoPro

For handheld video camera brand Go Pro, every single day is a new opportunity to tell a story, to capture and share the most meaningful experiences in life, and celebrate them together. They have been successful in building brand loyalty through their user-generated content, with over 6,000 new videos uploaded to YouTube daily. The idea is that in the same way that “a day on the mountain with friends is more meaningful than one spent alone, the sharing of our collective experiences makes our lives more fun.”

3. Burt’s Bees

Burt’s Bees has an actual story, when its founders Roxanne, an artist, and Burt, a beekeeper met in 1984 while hitchhiking, hit it off and started making wax candles together. It’s simple, sweet, and despite the company’s success, they have stuck to their philosophy that “What you put on your body should be made from the best nature has to offer.” They have an entire section of their website devoted to their story and use videos to educate consumers about the processes. If you only watch one video, make it “Burt talks to the worker bees.

Everything we do becomes part of our story, part of who we are, what we believe in, what we stand for. For your brand to really stick out, you’ll need to clearly define its story and how you want to tell it. Reach your consumers in an emotional way, make a meaningful connection, be a great storyteller and watch your audience grow.