Archive for April, 2013

Entering the Brave New World

DATE: April 25th, 2013

“One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.”

― Aldous HuxleyBrave New World

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”
― George Orwell1984

“Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse, for some.”
― Margaret AtwoodThe Handmaid’s Tale

Authors of dystopic novels — like Huxley, Orwell and Atwood (my favorites) — imagine beyond what we know to envision what will come. Echoes of distopia are becoming a reality. In the ’30’s, when Huxley’s book launched, Soma was a clever and imagined drug therapy to each the pain of growing old, today it is, literally, a drug to each the pain of aging muscles. Orwell imaged Big Brother watching every move we make — today we call it “Big Data”. Atwood imagined a world that had the opportunity to start over, a world that began with complete destruction. Today we continue to imagine the benefit of technology.

MIT just released their list of the top 10 break through technological ideas of 2013 — as a marketing professional — and agency — we need to keep on the edge of things, because ideas are the very foundation of our work.

Gone wild

DATE: April 17th, 2013

Client meetings come in all shapes and sizes…..

That delightful moment happened on Grafton Street in Dublin…. I was there consulting. Our goal was to build a social media plan.Who could resist sending this over Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest?

The organization I am working with wants to build their circle of influence by increasing their social media presence.

Social media is an excellent tactic to do that.

But during our conversations, I was struck by how “simple” social media is. Seriously. Social media opens the world for me. Twenty years ago, retail outlets would have died for the information they can easily glean off of social media sites — current and honest customer perceptions. We can see what ordinary people are saying about us (if they are silent, well, there’s a problem). We can see what our competitors are doing. We can get immediate feedback.

I published a survey this morning. I used Twitter and Facebook. The survey was long and complicated…. within 2 hours more than 30 people had completed it — with no incentive! Thirty people had nothing to do this morning at 10 am and took the time to fill out a survey. My reach was quite small — about 1500 people — that’s 2%!!!

But the critical factor in social media is meaningful interactions.

It’s simple to have interactions. I follow tons of people who have managed to tweets thousands of times since January — in that time they have been stuck in traffic, had coffee at various retail outlets, watched a variety of TV shows. While the content of their Twitter feed acknowledges a boring life…. it isn’t worth reading.

But what makes us actually engage in social media?

Here are a few suggestions:

– Set goals. Why do you want to use social media and what are the markers of success? Be serious about this. Just fooling around with social media sets a careless and dangerous tone for your business. In the case of my client, true success will be to be followed, like and retweeted by influencers in their field.

– Use social media when you have something to say. Take a page from the book of the boy who cried wolf — frankly, if your spout nonsense, people will quickly quit reading your content.

– Engage. Follow, Retweet. Post on blogs. Like. But to it in a strategic way. Social media is an important facet of networking and building a consistent message. Be sure your messages, posts, responses, likes and other interactions in social media venues are consistent with your brand.

– Speak with personality. Have an opinion. Create some waves (within your brand context). I still think of the BIC ball point pen for women fiasco…. they had a tremendous opportunity to engage with their audience — to play with them. But they sent a traditional, boring staid corporate signal that they were not interesting in engagement. I admit, those speaking with personality may land in hot water occasionally — but they will also start a conversation.

The greatest challenge with social media is keeping up to date and engaging with intelligence.

Content is Queen…..

P.S. This nontraditional setting and playful moment culminated in an 11 page report…..