But it got me to thinking about something we probably all take for granted, but rarely have a reason to talk about: the weather forecast itself. You probably can't count the number of times you turned on the TV in the morning to catch a glimpse of the 5-day forecast, or dialed TellMe (1-800-555-TELL) and asked for "weather," or clicked on Accuweather.com or Weather.com for your local forecast.
In weather and in social media, local content and connections are part of what make them relevant to us. People care about the communities in which they live and invest a great deal of time, energy and money there. To wit: the Newspaper Association of America just announced that over $2 billion was spent last year on local advertising on newspaper web sites. Why? Because it's targeted, it's relevant, and it connects people to the world immediately around them. If content is king, local content is the emperor.
Now think about how you interact with some social media connections. You're likely to have a network from around the globe - whether you're an individual or a business. But the relationships that you build based on repeated interactions and sharing of content, information and insights - those are brought to the next level when you meet face to face. A sales call, a Tweetup, or a social event in your locality make the interaction even more relevant and create the opportunity for deepening the relationship.
What's the weather got to do with it?
When it comes to the weather, you're really only interested in the conditions where you live or where you're traveling. And you generally don't care how you get your information, as long as it's accurate. Sure, you may develop a one-sided "trusted" relationship with a particular weatherman, but I'll wager you don't think much about the actual presentation of the forecast - seemingly a commodity.
Well, I've got to tell you that every day in various markets on Accuweather.com, there is a remarkable weather forecast. If you haven't had the chance to see Jim Kosek in action, here's your chance. He's bringing passion and creativity to his job and in the process is taking something the boring and making it truly engaging.
What I like the most about this story is that Jim's employers have given him the license to be as crazy as he wants to be. He still does the basics of his job, but he incites viewers - for good or bad - which in turn gives Accuweather a sense of its viewership. More companies should embrace this kind of creativity - not as a gimmick, but as a natural extension of their employees' personalities - to boost morale, productivity, and marketing gold.
Have you got a story about how something mundane and ordinary has sprung to life because of a different approach? I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.