Imagine you work for a small digital shop (one among hundreds, no doubt) and you want to attract attention and demonstrate that you've got the social media chops to stand apart from the pack. What would you do? Roll out the obligatory social media tactics -- like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, find us on Foursquare? Put a couple of "we get social too" pages in your creds deck and slap a "share this" icon into the footer of your agency site?
Or pile your team into a Ford Flex and drive 'em around the United States to meet with some of the most creative and interesting people in media, marketing, business and technology?
If your answer sounded more like the former, then you're probably -- well -- you (and that's OK; there's nothing wrong with being you). But if your answer sounded more like the latter, then you're probably Darryl Ohrt.
Darryl is founder of the Connecticut-based interactive agency Humongo (formerly Plaid, recently renamed following its acquisition by Source Marketing), and for four summers-running has been taking his show on the road -- literally -- for Humongo Nation: a rolling real-world demonstration of social media in action. When so many agencies are talking (and only talking) big about social, Humongo has taken a decidedly different approach by putting their media where their mouths are. With just one small idea that any agency might have come up with (but didn't), they have created a proof-is-in-the-pudding showcase of the current batch of social media technologies, a demonstration of their own chops at putting the tools to work in compelling and relevant ways, and a non-traditional forum for earning the attention of not only raving geek Humongo fans (yes, they're out there and they've got the t-shirts to prove it) but also innovative companies that might be interested in securing the services of a shop like Humongo.
This year's Humongo Nation kicks-off on July 19th and takes the team on a 10-day trip down the east coast, from Maine to Miami. Along the way, they'll be hanging out with cool people and visiting with companies as diverse as Wingate by Wyndham, Paul Deen Enterprises, NASCAR and the Miami Heat. As in past years, the whole thing will be streamed live from a pair of in-car video cameras, live tweeted and blogged. New for this year, you can also track the tour's progress as the crew checks in on Foursquare along the way.
So be sure to tune into the Humongo Nation dashboard starting on the 19th to live variously through the wonder of the interwebz. But most of all -- and this is the personal plea part -- I hope you'll make super-sure to tune in at noon on July 21st when I'll be meeting up with the Humongo team when they visit New York City.
We'll be hanging out at the Doughnut Plant (doughnuts for lunch? it's only fitting if you've eaten your Brand Flakes for Breakfast) and talking about microMARKETING and whatever else strikes our fancy. In fact, if you're planning to be in NYC on the 21st feel free to swing by the Doughnut Plant, grab a glazed, and say hey.
In the meantime, for more details on what Humongo Nation is all about, check out the pre-tour trailer (if you're reading this in the feed or on email, you may need to click through to the post to watch the video.)
Disclosures: I've been on the Plaid/Humongo blogger outreach list for several years, which means Darryl and team have outfitted me with a few free t-shirts (including one my fiancee keeps "losing" because she finds the bright orange color a bit too over-the-top), lapel pins and air fresheners. Also, the consultancy formerly known as crayon worked with the agency formerly known as Plaid on some programs for the video chat service still known as ooVoo. Also also, in a past life I worked with a couple of Source Marketing's key executives but that's neither here nor there (but hello to Rich and Mark, regardless).