Monthly Archives: August 2010

Say What You Mean to Say

I finally got to utilize a nifty online tool that builds cloud tags of your content. It’s a great free tool that you can even customize.  Check it out at wordle.net Aside from it looking really cool, it helps you understand if you’re actually saying what you want to say.

A tag cloud, for those that don’t know, is a visual representation of the most used/most prominent words in a cluster of text.  I ran all of my blog posts from the past year through the tool and this is what I got back.

As you can see, I’ve apparently discussed media, people, social (probably social media), FedEx and quitting – and I think I know lots of things.

If I were to analyze the purpose of this blog, I’d say my content matches it’s mission.  I firmly believe social media, media and communication is about people. I worked at FedEx during the first quarter of this year. And even though I left, I did just write a post about quitting. And, I never have enough time.

This is a great exercise to run your key messages, web content and video scripts through to be sure your word emphasis aligns with your message strategy.

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Filed under public relations, repuatation management, social media

Process Will Set You Free

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.” – W. Edwards Deming

If you know me well, you know I’m not one to promote process. In fact, I probably spent half of my junior career running from it. I was the AE who was locked out of his computer come Monday morning because my Time sheets weren’t in. I was the guy late to the meeting because I was writing my activity update 5 minutes before I was to provide updates on activity at the meeting.

But a funny thing happens when it’s just not your activity you have to manage and balance. Process can make your life easy or if you’re on a course of bad process or no process, you’re life will be hell.    In a life of managed chaos it helps to get all activities down on paper and then execute towards them.

The way I have found to help me organize my thoughts and align across teams a simple one page document that lists out:

  • the purpose or overview of a project
  • objective
  • strategies
  • tactics
  • measurement (go figure)

It’s important to clearly define where you want to go, how you will work to get there and then the steps needed to take for it all to work.  This one simple process will not only save you from not knowing what you’ve been doing, it’s already documented for reporting purposes and maybe, help keep you out of trouble.

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Social Media Integration for Managers

This not the typical post about how to sell social media to your boss. The fact of the matter is, your boss is probably on Facebook, if not their children are. So, they already have an idea of what social media is.  They may have their own unique opinions of what social media really is, but they know. I believe we’ve moved past the education phase of social media.

This post is for managers. Communication, marketing and media managers that have to respond to the changing times. It’s likely your boss has seen an articles in the WSJ or NY Times about companies who have been burned by or are making money with social media, and they want to know what you’re thinking is. If your senior leadership is like mine you probably received this feedback via copied newsprint or faxed to you with a note: FYI, pls read and provide recommendation.

And, you know what they are looking for is: “read this and tell me what it means in case someone asks me about it.” You will probably think to respond with “another case of blown opportunity”, “trust and transparency” or “this is what I would have done.” Your personal opinion is valuable, but you’re a manger and the real question that needs to be answered is, “what’s our process if this happens to us or what’s our process so we can start doing some of this.”

Here are some thoughts on how to integrate social media into your group and how to manage it’s usage in your organization.

1. Start with the business strategy. If your communications aren’t tied to business strategy, than you already have some problems that social media will only amplify quickly. The first thing you should ask yourself is how will using different channels help me achieve my communications goals to support the business.

2. Understand the channel. Just because everyone is blogging or is on Twitter doesn’t mean you have to be. Read the research that’s out there – there’s a ton of it and it’s all free.  Understand what each channel’s medium is; what audience it impacts; what messages you can deliver through them. You can’t do all of them, so choose wisely the ones that will highlight your brand, you have the talent for and which you could easily have success with. For example, if no one on your team has ever done video editing and all you have is a flip cam, maybe YouTube isn’t the channel for you.

3. Assess your team. Understand who on your team has bandwidth or has an interest in these channels. You want to be sure your team will work the tactics for you and can achieve results. You as a manager need to understand what they are doing in order to highlight success and provide more opportunity for more social media i.e., budget, resources, political clearance, etc.

4. Build your business case. “Everyone is doing it” and “have you seen newspaper subscription rates” are not business cases. Understand your costs, the time you’re willing to spend on the new medium and more importantly what current activities you’re willing to sacrifice to engage.

Before you get to strategy and tactics, clearly state your objectives for the work. Articulate your goals in the front end and that will better inform your strategy or be enough to buy you some time to start that strategic thinking process. This business plan stage really buys you trust in the organization and allows you to show that you’ve thought it out a plan instead of just doing activities.  Your senior leadership won’t fund trends, but they’ll fund outcome-based plans.

5. Align with cross discipline champions. If you’re in corporate communications outreach to marketing, if in marketing outreach to advertising or PR.  The key is getting people out side your of  group to understand your activities and serve as a voice of support once your work starts to become real. This also allows for them to be included in the strategy development process – and that’s good politics.

6. Get help. Good help. Look to your agency or internal thought leaders for support on your plan. Agencies are great because they have probably helped other clients with this integration. Those clients won’t talk too loud about its agencies efforts in its programs and the agencies aren’t going to take blatant credit for the success their client s are realizing. Well there are some.  ;)

Also look to educate yourself a little deeper on the topics and channels by reading others’ thoughts and internalizing what they could mean for your activities.  As much as I’ve praised agencies, I always say, you can find everything you need to know about social media by getting a free Twitter account and following just a handful of people. These people either publish their own thoughts or mine the internet and share things you couldn’t find by yourself, because of time or energy.

7. Demonstrate value, showcase your team. This is like a two-f’er. Once your team has started to execute and get results, take your team on an internal roadshow to demonstrate things you’ve learned, found, done. This shows that you’ve made progress, have the right team in place and that you’re doing what you said you’d do.  Organizational anxiety starts when people are unsure who to turn to. Even if you’re a manager that know all things social media, people will have anxiety if it appears you’re the only one doing things. They need to have some reassurance that others are involved and if they’re good managers themselves, they will look in their groups to see if they have team members they’d like to pair up with your team to learn from or to find ways to participate too. Also before you call a meeting, decide what “ask” you want and the results of each roadshow stop should be.

Hope this helps. If you’re a manager and have successfully integrated social media in your team, p,ease let me know what’s worked for you.

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Filed under public relations, repuatation management, social media

We’re Off to See the Wizard

Google celebrates the Wizard of Oz’ 71st anniversary. But the most fond memory of Oz I have is from Wicked.  Elphaba, where I come from we believe all sorts of things that aren’t true… we call it history!.

A MAN’S CALLED A TRAITOR OR LIBERATOR A RICH MAN’S A THIEF OR PHILANTHROPIST IS ONE A CRUSADER OR RUTHLESS INVADER IT’S ALL IN THE LABEL WHICH IS ABLE TO PERSIST THERE ARE PRECIOUS FEW AT EASE WITH MORAL AMBIGUITIES SO WE ACT AS THOUGH THEY DON’T EXIST…

THEY CALL ME WONDERFUL SO I AM INFACT, IT’S SO MUCH WHO I AM IT’S PART OF MY NAME! AND WITH MY HELP YOU CAN BE THE SAME…

AT LONG, LONG LAST RECEIVE YOUR DUE LONG OVERDUE ELPHABA, THE MOST CELEBRATED ARE THE REHABILITATED THERE’LL SUCH A WHOOPDEE DOO! A CELEBRATION THROUGHOUT OZ, THAT’S ALL TO DO WITH YOU! WONDERFUL, THEY’LL CALL YOU WONDERFUL!

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The United States of Quitters

“Take this job and shove it, I ain’t working here no more.”  It’s the Johnny Paycheck anthem of the downtrodden employee who is fed up with a poor work environment, low-pay and without a woman.  Over the past week there have been some people who quit in spectacular ways.

First, HP CEO Mark Hurd was forced to quit, a JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater quit with some flare and then “dry erase girl Jenny” faked-quit and in doing so, faked out the entire intertube community.

What amazes me is that at a time when the unemployment rate in the United States is 9.5 percent , that’s 14.6 million Americans if you’re counting, people were rallying behind both Slater and “Jenny” for doing what they’ve wanted to do for years – quit in a public, stick-it-to-the-man fashion. In  fact, if you don’t happen to work in a plane or have a fake job to quit or fudge expense reports allegedly, bNet has some helpful ways to help you quit.

But it’s not just these three people who have quit recently.  If you’ve followed the sports world you know some guy named Lebron James quit on the city of Cleveland.  Now, before you say, “he changed teams, did what’s best for him, he wants to win”— it’s how he quit that was spectacularly depressing—choosing to make his decision to quit on primetime cable TV to much fanfare.  It’s not like he’s the first to quit on Cleveland Then there’s the other guy who won’t decide if he wants to quit, but I don’t care for him so I won’t spend much time on him.

And, it’s not just in the sports world that this country is choosing to quit.  NY Times columnist, Paul Krugman writes that the federal government is quitting on schools and children, while letting the Nations infrastructure waste away.

Our government at the highest levels has quit trying to help the American people, instead falling back on party lines and passing bills catering to special interest and the ultra-rich. Maybe it’s because the American people have quit on them. In a bit of a dated research, but the last time it was conducted, Pew Research found more than half of America had an unfavorable view of Congress, a 24-year low.

Have we quit on the American dream?  Divorce rates for first marriages are 40 percent, 67 percent if it’s your second go around.  By the way, America has the highest divorce rate of any country.  Americans are quitting on religion as well.  Instead of laughing at George and Louise Jefferson who used moxie and perseverance to “move on up” we laugh at handful of pampered kids who subscribe to the GTL way of life.

Gone are the days of sitcoms showing families working together and solving all their problems in 30 minutes (as crazy as that sounds, family civility and understanding is a good thing to model behavior after), instead we watch shows like the Real Housewives of whatever town featuring women of privilege showing America how the rich and ugly live.  The American dream isn’t homeownership, finding a life-long companion or working hard and choosing to model themselves after polo games and dinner parties.

Maybe the United States hasn’t quit entirely, but it would seem that with the popularity Steven Slater and Jenny have received, America is celebrating quitting—maybe because deep down inside, we’re all ready to quit and live the good life.

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