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Unfortunately due to my silly MBA classes, I was unable to attend any of the FutureM events earlier in the week, but I was able to hit up a couple events Thursday night. Holland-Mark‘s Digital Man Mike Troiano spoke about “Scalable Intimacy,” siting their client example Notch Session (which I must admit is some exceptional beer — especially if you want a few without that headache the next morning). The set up of this event was particularly interesting, since it was a contest where the winners received on the spot social media advice from Mike himself. (Full disclosure: I did work for Holland-Mark and loved every minute of it.)

And who were the winners?

3rd Place: Creative Crafts for Creative Kids

2nd Place: Formaggio Kitchen

And the 1st place winner is….United Way of Mass Bay!

All 3 received specific advice on areas they were having trouble in – whether it be content strategy, which social media tool to focus on (depends on where your target market it), etc. Lets just say, the crowd was not yawning, and they were not leaving early. Mike knew how to keep the crowd laughing and entertained while teaching the crowd on how best to utilize social media to your advantage. And if you are now sorry you missed this, you can see check out the full deck from the event.

And as I tweeted from the event last night: “Remember the social, not just the marketing” – Mike Troiano.

After saying “great job” and “c ya later”, I quickly ran off to Mantra where Cyberbrew had been kicked off. There was an eclectic crowd of veteran “cyberbrewers” and newbies (such as myself). Unfortunately I missed the open bar, but I did meet some interesting folks and ran into a few good friends (Jason Rush from Boston Interactive and Joselin Mane from BostonTweetUp). Familiar faces always make an event that much better. While I laughed at the men who “networked” from one female to the other, I drank my glass of wine and chatted away…until next time FutureM, you sure did rock!

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As I sat in my MBA Global Branding class last night, I couldn’t help but laugh. As the professor went on and on about how brands need that “one word” which consumers will recall at the drop of a hat — I thought back to my time at Holland-Mark (HM). HM coined the term “One Simple Thing” (OST), which is that one attribute that most well defines the brand. For example, as my professor asked in class “what do you think of when you hear Coca Cola?” Everyone should be thinking of the same word (unfortunately for some brands this does not always occur). Supposedly the “OST” for Coca Cola is “happiness” — did you think of that? Coke would hope so! And so would their marketers!

As I sat there in my seat, I started to realize that the concepts the professor was teaching were processes and terms that I had become well acquainted with during my time at HM. And with the hands-on learning and experience, I learned way more than reading cases and discussing them in a classroom. Now, I am not knocking my MBA education — it is definitely valuable and am happy to be a candidate for 2011 spring graduation — but learning these concepts in a work setting where you are automatically putting them to use is not only rewarding but helps one (or at least me) recall and understand things way more.

It was pretty awesome to be sitting in class and feeling that I had a firm grasp and knowledge of the topic (at least so far — it’s only been a few weeks into the semester). And I owe this knowledge and understanding to the exceptionally bright and talented folks at HM — especially Mike Troiano who if you haven’t heard speak — you should!

Now I ask you — where did your best knowledge and understanding come from?