Monday, June 26, 2017

Tropical Storm Cindy

Monday, June 12, 2017

Summer Breeze! An Afternoon Marketing Event with Max Hansen Caterer

Some businesses are just super photogenic and content creation is like ripe apples falling off a tree. Here is a breezy afternoon marketing event with client Max Hansen Caterer at beautiful Paxson Hill Farm in Bucks County.

Catering an elegant event is really a collaborative effort.  Timelines are critical and each role depends everyone doing their job to the highest standard. When everything goes right it is a breeze! That’s why we love to work with the best professionals in the hospitality industry including Bux-Mont Party Rental,Vibernum Designs Florist, our sweet friends at OWowCow Ice Cream, Little Brothers Wine, and the very talented musicians The Hazelrigg Brothers.  On a breezy summer day in the countryside outside of New Hope,  Max Hansen Caterer entertained prospective clients and new friends at the beautifully landscaped Paxson Hill Farm .  We are proud to showcase our food and service along with our select team of  talented wedding pros. Enjoy this photoblog from our Wedding Open House.  

Saturday, June 10, 2017

New Place Players and Max Hansen- Midsummer Night's Dream

The critically acclaimed production, directed by OBIE winner James Ortiz (The Woodsman) surrounds and envelopes the audience while they savor a 5-course feast inspired by the world of the play, accompanied by fine wine.  With the magic of LED puppetry, the highest caliber Equity actors and musicians, the guests are guided through a journey of the senses. Employing his original five-act format and the natural intervals within, drama, music, food and the art of conversation are each given the room to flourish in an unforgettable experience.  Max Hansen Caterer and New Place Players are celebrating their fifth year together where they have performed open public runs in an historic townhouse in Park Slope, Brooklyn as well as corporate and private celebrations in mansions, estates and apartments throughout the Northeast Corridor.  This is New Place Player’s first open performance in Bucks County.
About New Place Players
New Place Players combines immersive theater with exquisite dining to create an unforgettable experience. Whether for a corporate event, a charity benefit, or a private celebration at home, we perform full productions of Shakespeare as part of a feast of live music, gourmet food, and fine wine.

About Max Hansen Caterer
For more than thirty years, Chef Max Hansen’s culinary genius has celebrated the freshness and innovation of the American table.Max Hansen Caterer provides full-service event planning and custom catering at the region’s finest venues, including client-designated destinations throughout Bucks County, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York City.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Pickpockets and Social Media Marketing: The Art of Getting Close

Apollo Robbins is a theatrical pickpocket.  In a recent New Yorker article titled “A Pickpocket’s Tale,” author Adam Green chronicles Robbins’ ninja-like skills.  This is a fascinating read in itself, but when I got to the following passage my social media senses started tingling:

Robbins needs to get close to his victims without setting off alarm bells. “If I come at you head-on, like this,” he said, stepping forward, “I’m going to run into that bubble of your personal space very quickly, and that’s going to make you uncomfortable.” He took a step back. “So, what I do is I give you a point of focus, say a coin. Then I break eye contact by looking down, and I pivot around the point of focus, stepping forward in an arc, or a semicircle, till I’m in your space.” He demonstrated, winding up shoulder to shoulder with me, looking up at me sideways, his head cocked, all innocence. “See how I was able to close the gap?” he said. “I flew in under your radar and I have access to all your pockets.”... 
….“It’s all about the choreography of people’s attention,” he said. “Attention is like water. It flows. It’s liquid. You create channels to divert it, and you hope that it flows the right way.”

What can social media marketers learn from a pickpocket about attention, how to get close, and how to make a “lift” (or in our case, a “leave”) ? !   Please don’t bristle at the implied analogy, after all as Adam Green points out, “psychiatrists, neuroscientists, and the military have studied his [Apollo’s] methods for what they reveal about the nature of human attention.” Lighten up and let’s have some fun while we analyze.

Take  away the deception, the larceny, and the predatory language and there are important lessons here for social media marketers about how peoples’ attention works.  As marketers, how do we understand  the motivations and points of resistance of our social media audiences? How do we overcome the obstacles to getting their attention?  So without further apology I present to you the pickpocket’s guide to social media marketing and the art of getting close.

The Mark
The Mark(s) (read “target audiences”)  are individuals in our audience who have something of value. These can be customers, clients, or thought leaders in related online conversations. What they have of value is a personal social media audience that has been cultivated based on consent and personal likeability.   Unlike a pickpocket, we are not trying to separate the “mark” from their possessions. When we are successful in establishing a collaboration with our target audience we will ADD value to the conversations in which they are participating and increase the scope of their personal messaging.

The Personal Space
The social media news feeds of the “mark” is an actively and passively defended personal space. The first problem for the marketer is to  is that there is so much information and so many voices in social media that it is a challenge to get heard above the noise.  In addition to technological advances that permit our audiences to tune out marketing messages (remote control devices, spam filters, premium services without ads, etc) our audience can become inured to even the most effective and thoughtful social media content strategies. Just as the repetitive movement of windshield wipers of even in the most exciting and expensive sports car can mesmerize,  so too will endless stream of even the most creative brand-centric  and brand generated content  result in a desensitization in the audience.  How do we get through the active and passive defenses, not just to get their attention but to get their advocacy?


We know by our own experience that people don’t want to be marketed to any more.  We have developed technologies to block or avoid traditional outbound advertising: remote control devices , spam filters, subscription based radio, caller ID, premium web services are all examples of how people sidestep direct marketing even if it costs a little bit more. The dance to get inside this resistance point is key. It’s really so simple: we need to get consent.

The Bump
Interestingly enough, getting audience attention may involve what seems to be a distraction from traditional marketing messages. What do most people on social media want to get out of the experience?  One thing for sure is that they want to be heard! So listening, sharing others’ content, and empowering thought leaders in related discussions will be a rather pleasant distraction for them. Use your brand’s social media platforms to promote strategic allies. The promise of social media for brands is in interaction!

For reasons having to do with the the mesmerizing effects of unrelenting corporate branded content,  managing the flow of audience attention requires the occasional oblique messaging.  For instance, if you are a company that sells houses in a certain geographical area you may want to interrupt the pattern of your newsfeeds with an occasional posts about bicycling, shopping, or any other activity that people may enjoy in your market.  Lightly branded stories of general interest will broaden your influence in your desired market and make them more receptive to your more traditional messages. Of course all content should still be optimized and lead users back to your landing pages.

The Slip
Perhaps the most effective tool of the pickpocket (and social media marketers!)  is to use the momentum and natural proclivities of the mark to effect the lift (in our case, “the leave”).  It is the nature of the social media community to create content, to seek greater audiences, to broadcast, and to be seen as influencers. Help your audience to accomplish this and they will consent to promote and advocate for your brand.

The Lift (or in our case “The Leave”}
Companies spend a lot of time and money planning and producing branded content to promote their products.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much more valuable is it when the picture is produced by a customer rather than the manufacturer?  The photo above is an example of User Generated Content.  One of  our clients, Lissa Leslie of Cornerstone Tax Services, is a fan of So Delicious Coconut Milk. When the local supermarket ran out of her favorite creamer, a thoughtful client brought her some from another store. Our client posted this photo on Facebook and when the people at So Delicious commented on it, our client’s weekly pageviews went up dramatically.  In this case “The Leave” was something of value to our client, Cornerstone Tax Services: promotion of her own brand to So Delicious’ wider audience.   

In conclusion, we note that in effective social media marketing, the marketers start with knowledge and the users start with content (even if it is not yet produced!).  After the “bump” and the “lift”, the switch is complete: the user has the knowledge and the marketers have the content.  Ta da!  

The author, Philip Stephano, is a social media marketing strategist in Bucks County,  PA.  He is passionate about helping local and regional business around the country to use social media as an effective tool to find local prospects and customers. To learn more about Stephano go to

Monday, May 22, 2017


“Communities are not built of friends, or of groups of people with
similar styles and tastes, or even of people who like and understand each other. They are built of people who feel they are part of something that is
bigger than themselves: a shared goal or enterprise, like righting a wrong,
or building a road, or raising children, or living honorably, or worshipping
a god. To build community requires only the ability to see value in others:
to look at them and see a potential partner in one's enterprise.”
― Suzanne Goldsmith