Are you open to change?

March 8, 2011

Are you open to change? Some people aren’t and no matter what you do or how you explain something, they have already made up their mind and are committed to a course of action. 

I recently was engaged by a client to do a review of a corporate brochure – a quick and easy job. Anyway, I made my suggested comments via track changes and explained why I thought these changes needed to be made e.g.  – ” You have repeated this statement in the preceding paragraph” or “You need to explain what this term means.”

The response?

Thank you but no.

They disagreed with every single comment.  And rejected every single change.  And yet they were so happy that they asked me to do more reviews.

Why? I have no idea at all.


2011 social media predictions?

January 10, 2011

What do I think will happen in the social media space in 2011?  Hmmmm.

  1. Increasing use of mobile devices to download content and increasing awareness of this by larger corporates. A global website is no longer just the ticket. It needs to be personalised, accessible, fast to download and fit on whatever device’s screen I am using. if it won’t work on my iPad because of flash restrictions, work it out.
  2. More story telling by companies (not just B2C but also B2B) seeking to personalise their journey with their customers and create engagement and loyalty.
  3. More CEOs blogging and using twitter as part of their role as the face of the company
  4. More companies banning social media usage as part of an employee’s terms of employment (and the corresponding backlash against this as well). Why will they ban this?  Fear.
  5. A changing emphasis from push marketing – corporates pushing out marketing speak – to one where companies really ask themselves, besides delivering my product or services, what else can I offer my customers?
  6. More effort will be spent identifying influencers and monitoring online conversation.
  7. Leave your wallet at home. Your phone will become your wallet.
  8. Increased tie-in with spending and peers. You will receive more recommendations from friends on what they have purchased and these recommendations or purchases will trigger your own purchases.
  9. Reduced TV advertising spend. Why bother? I am only going to fast forward through them anyway.
  10. Better privacy settings on Facebook and a corresponding and competing growth of niche sites which will have better privacy settings.
  11. Alternatively, there will be evene more users on Facebook and better integration of social media sites through one efficient stream. You won’t need to separate social media streams. There will be better ways for you to monitor everything from one central point.
  12. Employees which have client facing roles will be encouraged to use social media to engage with customers. HR staff, Client Relationship staff and so on will learn to use these tools as part of their job.
  13. Less focus on trade sector publications as a tool for corporate promotion – these are a dying promotional tool unless they can step up and re-define themselves.
  14. Video conferencing over phones and smart tablets.  The next generation of mobile devices will encourage this.
  15. More focus on a return on engagement and less on traditional return on investment. Quantifying Facebook fans and foursquare check-ins is just too hard. All you should care about is the fact that you are engaging with those who have a desire to engage with your company.
  16. Groupon, Cudos, Spreets etc will tie in with your specific location not just your city to make suggestions and encourage purchasing decisions.
  17. Flash mob purchasing. Why not? Pushed to your mobile device. The first 100 people to sign up or purchase something get XXX.
  18. Greater acknowledgment that communication is no longer a two-way street – it’s a roundabout  – with inputs and exits and crashes. Get used to it.
  19. Increasing numbers of small businesses leveraging social media tools, and showing the big guys how it is done. Big business will throw money at these tools but small business will continue to think laterally and creatively and, as a consequence, give some of the big companies a run for their money.
  20. Increasing user-generated content – and increasing niche specialities.
  21. Embracing of location-based marketing in wider circles eg B2B. Virtual sign posting and specials.
  22. Decreasing use of email as a one-off  communication tool. Talk to me on my page ..wherever my page is located.

Hmmmm. Will think of more and add them as I can.


To delete or not?

January 10, 2011

Recently, I had a situation where the company that I work for (Company A) asked me to delete a Facebook posting on their corporate Facebook page .  The posting in question promoted another company’s expertise (Company B). Would you delete this? Have you ever been in this situation yourself?

The reasons for deleting the posting were that the Facebook page was to showcase Company A, not Company B’s expertise. Company A is very new in social media and was uncomfortable with any possibility of criticism expecially from higher-ups internally. Would the CEO or CFO see the posting and scream for it to be taken down? Would Company A get their knuckles wrapped for letting it be posted?

On the other hand, this was an opportunity to showcase engagement. We could have posted back something saying “Well done to Company B. Did you know Company A does similar work as well?”  Or something of the sort.

What would you do?


Decision making

January 10, 2011

When you make a decision to buy a product, or engage with a company, your decision is not purely a financial and logical decision and too many companies assume that it is.  Emotion plays a role and whether that emotion is articulated (through a response to a pitch or a sales person), or subliminated (through a reaction to an advertisment or a brand image) there is still a need to engage emotionally with your target audience.

Are you doing that?


Story telling

January 10, 2011

Being a brand is more than just simply pushing out your content to an audience.  Now, there are greater expectations and people are looking to humanize the brand that they engage with. A faceless company does not garner loyalty, but one which has a voice, and a personality and a shared vision or outlook creates loyal customer engagement.

Telling your story is one way to achieve this.

Too often companies forget that their goal is to connect with people – customers ARE people – and instead they focus on pushing out the same old corporate engagement strategies – full of marketing speak and lacking personality, vision and humour.

Don’t make this mistake!


Back online in 2011

January 10, 2011

After a six month hiatus, I have decided that 2011 will feature more online writing and blogging. I suffered a bit of a relapse, and was distracted by a new job, the purchase of a new business and, of course, the joys of moving half-way around the world with my family and relocating to a new continent.

Anyway, expect more in 2011.


Is social media burnout inevitable?

August 16, 2010

Social media is a no-brainer

July 1, 2010

You would think that companies here in Australia would be completely jumping on the bandwagon as far as social media is concerned but after consulting across a whole range of sectors – energy, mining, infrastructure, financial services, legal, charity, consumer goods and so on it is apparent that there is a complete reluctance to move into this space.

“We have always done things this way… our customers don’t use these tools…we can’t see a benefit.”

Of course you can’t see a benefit if you don’t know what the tools are. You need to do the research first before you make the decision. Once you have the information, you can leverage off your knowledge.

Isn’t that a no-brainer?


Which ways are your chairs facing?

June 30, 2010

I like a recent post by the master of social media – Chris Brogan about which way the chairs are facing. To you, the business, are your chairs facing your customers?  Building a community requires your chairs to be facing each other.  Perhaps in a circle. But if you are simply presenting or giving a speech, then the chairs will face a podium.

Which way does your company’s chairs face?


The Office Bully

June 30, 2010

In a previous job, I worked for a male boss who was, essentially, a bully. At the time, he seemed like a nice enough guy – a little insipid but nonetheless, a nice enough sort of guy.

Until I resigned.

Then it all became incredibly personal.  The question for me was how to deal with the situation.

For me, the best course of action was to report the bully to the authorities straight away. I had no idea how the situation was going to progress and the level of nastiness became very difficult to deal with. I found the government employment tribunal and detailed my concerns to them so at least I would have something in writing if the situation worsened. I also spoke to colleagues – both past and present and detailed my concerns to them to double-check if I was overreacting.  They assured me I was not.

The thing is though, if he had acted in a professional manner and not taken my resignation personally, he would have had an advocate in the market place. I was leaving because I wanted to do something else and I was not challenged.  I liked the company but I needed a more challenging position. There was nothing personal about it.

Anyway, once I resigned, the bully did some leg-work and found out the name of my new employer.  He forwarded them a copy of my previous employment contract with him and said he would sue both of us if I revealed anything inappopriate about him or his clients.

Now I don’t know about you, but I work in a professional industry. I have my own personal code of ethics and have always acted responsibly. Heck, my doctorate is in ethics! To me, him sending my employment contract out to my new boss was a complete breach of employee privacy.

And to be repeatedly bullied became enormously stressful. It initially complicated starting my new job although the new company was incredibly supportive as well as being astounded about his behaviour.  They also obtained legal advice.  The remaining account executives who worked for the bully resigned in protest as well once they saw how he treated staff and realised his management style was unacceptable.

And I just read that two more staff have left – the turnover continues and, beacuse he won’t ask himself why he has such a high turnover, the company will continue to flounder ethically and morally.

All he needs to do is take a look in the mirror.