October 29, 2009

UX BizPlan Vending Co.

The vending machine is marvel of retro technology which thrives in our digital hi-tech portable world. Not only can you order items on your cell phone, you can now buy a cell phone from a vending machine!

But let's stick with food for a moment.

Will you hover over your selection just that extra half second to insure you don’t accidentally get black licorice when you wanted cheese doodles?

Dinner In A Bag

It can be stressful when you made the decision to work late and replace dinner with a few handfuls of deep fried potato slices.

Snack food is a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry. There are companies making money hand over chips as we toil late in to the wee hours searching for sustenance.

Conformity and Choice
How can we learn from the vending machine while running a business?

Some say if we are left with too much choice, we make none at all. But if we think we are too restricted, then we are unhappy with the choices presented to us.

User experience must be – by definition – designed for the user. We customize our phone backgrounds and voicemail, we can modify our computer color schemes, choose from the long menu of options for our car and fashion is an individual choice.

Why do we conform in the workplace?

Could it be beneficial to examine the tastes and desires of each member of the team? Is it possible to find a more co-creative workspace by incorporating the choices made by each person involved?

If we all liked the same things, shirts would only be available in blue and the parking lot would be filled with the same make and model of car.

No Rules. No Conclusions.

This is not to suggest you create an atmosphere where everyone chooses and no one makes decisions - that's just as unproductive as a benevolent dictatorship.

If you work with clients or run a business, give some thought to the abundance of knowledge and experience of everyone involved. You may find some surprises along the way and not blindly feed them black licorice when they’d prefer cheese doodles.

What's your selection?

Helping you create your best business
marketing and social media strategy.

image credit: askdavetaylor.com

Bookmark and Share

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

October 26, 2009

Why Social Media?

Got 'em. Need 'em

Why do we spend time collecting connections, friends and followers? Are we going for some sort of record? Is it bragging rights we seek? Are we in need of that much attention that we must ask strangers and colleagues to click a few clicks and join our community as we reciprocate? Is that the end game?

Are we collecting each other like trading cards or dusty trinkets for the mantle? Of course not!

Sure, some think these digital channels are advertising/spam/direct mail opportunities but those activities aren’t very successful.

Yes, enough people say yes to the pitch. There are plenty who are happy to write the code to create bots who scour the social networks like bottom feeders. But that’s not you and me.

A Chit and A Chat

Most of us just want to connect and share. It is a chance to find and meet similar thinking people. It may even give us a chance to work together. But it begins with a conversation and a modicum of trust.

It’s a cup of coffee, relax!

Today I published a tweet about meeting people for a chat. There were some skeptics and a whole bunch who said that would be a good idea.

Newsflash: If you want to tap in to the magic of social media, you kinda need to be somewhat social. I am looking forward to the seven meetings that were booked within ten minutes. Pretty cool, huh! Yes it is.

Friends And The Rest

Why do you have friends or followers or connections on your social media profiles? Some may be buddies from school or co-workers or members of your Thursday night hockey league but are there others?

Why are they there? Have you taken the time to get to know them a bit more? It may surprise you that they may have been trying to figure out a way to connect with you.

It’s not whether or not you need to tap into the power of human networking, but you should know why do you want to do so.

Helping you create your best business.
marketing and social media strategy.

image credit: scienceblogs.com

Bookmark and Share

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

October 24, 2009

Freedom of Choice | What Is Yours?

The waiter asks you what we want from the menu.

You call the service line and if you’re lucky enough to get a human within half an hour they will ask you how they can help.

You stand slack jawed in the cereal aisle trying to decide whether it will be flakes or loops.

Consumerism is built on the appearance of choice.
What happens when we have too much?

Imagine for a moment that I put pictures of 83 different cars in front of you. Each car is available in 17 different trim packages and 163 colors. How quickly would you choose the car you wanted? At one time I did have a car that was black currant with grey leather interior. But I digress.

If your real estate agent showed you 481 different houses, how closer would you be to calling the moving van? Crown moulding is not that compelling but the Catskill green granite counter top in the bathroom is fantastic.

What About Your Career?

On the surface, a free society fights to have career path choice.

It’s obvious, right?

You want to choose what do for a living – don’t you? You don’t want to feel stuck, you want a wide open menu filled with hundreds of delicious items.

Depending on the study however, most say that close to 80% are unhappy with their career path - why is that?

We can site family obligations, financial concerns, educational limitations but are those just excuses? Most of us have them; they are nice comfy memes to keep us from stepping too far out on the ledge.

Why don’t we make more choices?

It’s common to feel stuck, have self-doubt or limited with your ability to move. Imagine how that looks across an organization with hundreds of people feeling the same way. It may not appear to be related to your personal or business strategic objectives but it has everything to do with them.

In the free world during tight economic times you can try the - ’cause I said so - approach for a little while but it is a highly damaging long term plan.

Your most talented stakeholders will simply leave.

Some say that there are three reasons we do anything: to make money, to make a name for ourselves or to make a difference.

What is differentiates high achievers from the rest?

It begins with their ability to answer one simply question:

What Do I Want?

Helping you create your best business,
marketing and social media strategy.

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

Rush - Freewill

image credits: gallup.com | corbisimages.com

Bookmark and Share

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

October 21, 2009

Social Media | 37 Things

• This is not advertising.

• Trust is earned over time.

• There are no short cuts.

• Do something.

• Spam is not content.

• Let us get to know you.

• Never fixate on the numbers.

• Have patience.

• Ask a lot of questions.

• Share. Often.

• Don’t get caught up in stats and surveys.

• Be helpful.

• We need you to lead.

• Social media efforts must integrate with your overall business plan.

• Write well.

• Have fun. Always.

• Navigate the digital space like your life space.

• Contribute to the conversation.

• Be yourself.

• The answers won’t land on your lap.

• Never take yourself too seriously.

• Tighten your helmet and get in there.

• It’s up to you to decide what you need from this space.

• Engage don’t just broadcast.

• Tell us what you learned so we can learn from you.

• Twitter alone will not save your business.

• Respect your community.

• Read others’ profiles don’t just expect others to read yours.

• Open your mind and imagine.

• Learn the tools. Then understand it’s not about the tools.

• Educate yourself. Constantly.

• Treat us with respect. We'll do the same.

• Learn from others. Then carve up your own thing.

• There is not only one way to do this.

• If you want others to join you, ask yourself why.

• You get out what you put in.

• We are in this together.

What would you like to add to the list?

Helping you create your best business,
marketing and social media strategy.

Bookmark and Share

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

October 19, 2009

Communicating with Other Creatures

Nice To Meet You

It hit me last week while having coffee with someone I had just met. We were having a great conversation.

It weaved from family stuff to work stuff to ideas and plans. The exchange felt very natural. We had met through the social network but the commonality was work.

In order to activate the true power of digital and social channels we must be able to navigate actual conversations with other humans. The tweets and emails are not enough. I look forward to more conversations this week with new people - it's cool, you should try it!

Gadgets and Gossip

The debate over formats and tools may never end but if your personal skills in areas such as talking with people and face-to-face correspondence are lacking you may need to give that some attention.

Because I paid attention to the conversation, I now have the privilege of being involved in TEDx Ottawa.

Science Fact or Fiction?

Often when "the future” is portrayed in films, we are donning uniforms and flying in cars. Medicine has advanced to the point where doctors simply zap us in the shoulder with a silver implement and the poison from the alien force is removed.

We walk on escalator type sidewalks and no one can explain how we can fly in our space ship through an asteroid storm hundreds of light years away the nearest fueling station.

Horses and Horsepower

Centuries ago it would take weeks to deliver a letter written with an ink-dipped feather to its recipient via horseback. But do our thumbs on a smart phone make the message more important?

Has technology allowed us to forget how to speak with each other?

Helping you create your best business,
marketing and social media strategy.

image credit: nationalgeographic.com

Bookmark and Share

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

October 15, 2009

I Don’t Care

I don’t care that you may think all this social media stuff is voodoo magic. The faster you decipher it is for real, the better shape your business and career will be in.

I don’t care if I don’t agree with everything you say.
I’m glad we’re engaged in a meaningful conversation.

I don't care about your opinion on my choice in music.
That's why it's my choice.

I don’t care what you did last year, ten years ago or last week.
Bring forward the good stuff and incinerate the rest.

I don't care who doesn't like me.
There are 6.7 billion of us, we can all find someone.

I don't care who knows I love pumpkin pie.
But I will share if you want a slice.

I don't care if you have self-doubt, no money,
lost your gig or think you are stuck.
Let's get over ourselves and get unstuck together.

I don’t care that I am entering the busiest time of my career.
I know what hard work looks like.
I’m looking forward to helping as many people as I can.

I don’t care about your family situation, marriage, demons or shortcomings.

I do care about your passions, ideas and how they are burning a hole through your cranium on the way to sharing them with others so we can help you make them a reality.

What don’t you care about?

Helping you create your best business
marketing and social media strategy.

image credit: api.ning.com

Bookmark and Share

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

October 14, 2009

You Have Marketing | Sleep Well

Investment Returned?

The chatter about return on investment never subsides.

If you spend money it's your right to measure the wisdom of your purchase and how it may have helped your business.

But Is It That Simple?

Stan buys an outdoor campaign in five cities for twelve weeks and sees a 9% increase in sales on the East Coast. Sounds great. The boss will love it. So is the campaign the cause of the increase? Not even Stan can be sure.

Share Points and Average Quarter Hours

Kayla has always used some of her marketing budget to place advertising on alternative rock radio stations. Since her target is Males 18-34, that makes sense but she has seen a decrease in revenue for the last five quarters. She is concerned that radio isn’t as affective anymore.

Her lean toward increasing her social media activity is justified. But the radio spend is worth a much closer look – not because of the medium – but because it may not be the reason for the decreased revenue.

Blanket and Hope

Keith is convinced that direct mail will work. He has seen the stats. He knows that less than 1% of people who receive the piece will actually spend more than a second to review it. He has decided to simply mail his menu to everyone in his town of 34,000 people. He will do four mailings per year.

Keith’s pizza joint is humming. He and his staff can barely keep up with the demand. The campaign is working like a charm. Or is it?

Social Media Saves The Day?

Lloyd started his Facebook group almost a year ago. He asked every friend to join and asked each of them to ask each of their friends to join. There are now 8,714 members from all over the world. The numbers keep building but Lloyd doesn’t know what to do next.

Marketing is not simply advertising. What you did last year is not a solution. Your company is not a campaign.

Radio, social media, print, outdoor and digital can all be viable options for you. But simply picking one isn't enough to ensure a good night's sleep.

What says you?

Helping you create your best business,
marketing and social media strategy.

image credit: firstpeople.us

Bookmark and Share

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

October 9, 2009

A Group Does Not A Team Make

Leadership is action, not position.
Donald H. McGannon

It’s simple to develop responsibilities, titles, direct reports and deliverables. But how will you allow a place of teamwork to resemble reality?

Beware what you set your heart upon. For it surely shall be yours.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you have ever experienced a true open environment it can be exciting - yet to some - chaotic. And because most don't want chaos, they choose to keep things nice and neat and departmentalized.

The perception of losing focus or control can block potential for significant growth in your organization and the careers of each person inside it.

If ideas aren't shared, department walls get higher and silos deepen.

To lead the people, walk behind them.

The position of Chairperson, CEO or President may appear to be at the top of the organization chart. But it's actually in the middle. This is the person who sets the tone; makes the big decisions that could affect the workload of everyone else.

She must answer to the owners, shareholders, investors, customers, employees and the public. If a company relies solely on her decisions, millions or even billions can hang in the balance. It's dangerous to lean on one person's bad - or bad mood - decisions.

The first rule of management is delegation.
Don't try and do everything yourself because you can't.
Anthea Turner

A former boss taught be about “reversed delegation”. This is where someone suggests a half-baked idea and you try to run with it.

This neither encourages their further thought nor helps you with what you want to accomplish. Push it back on their plate and see what happens.

Organization charts and fancy titles
count for next to nothing.
Colin Powell

For decades even centuries, we have followed a company model that resembled a flow chart. Nice and clean, easy to follow, department and leaders, directors and work flow.

We may have forgotten one important element:

Are we communicating and sharing this life experience with each other or just sharing a parking lot and florescent lights for 2,000 hours a year?

Helping you create your best business,
marketing and social media strategy.

image credit: theworkorganizer.biz

Bookmark and Share

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

October 5, 2009


I was reminded recently of the importance of friends.

All too often we speak of friends, connections and followers in the same light.

Check out Chris Brogan’s post about being that sharing guy while trying to have a balanced life.

But this isn’t about social media spaces, this is about human spaces.

To my friends: Thank-you. Thank-you for letting me mess up and apologize and move forward. Thank-you for letting me in. Thank-you for your help.

Being human is tough sometimes, isn’t it?
But the good news is we have our friends.

Here are some cool quotes about friendship, feel free to add yours...

The most beautiful discovery true friends
make is that they can grow separately
without growing apart.
Elisabeth Foley

Friendship isn't a big thing,
it's a million little things.
Author Unknown

Friendship is unnecessary.
It has no survival value.
Rather it is one of those things
that give value to survival.
C.S. Lewis

Our most difficult task as a friend
is to offer understanding when we don't understand.
Robert Brault

Friends are relatives you make for yourself.
Eustache Deschamps

The most I can do for my friend
is simply be his friend.
Henry David Thoreau

True friendship comes
when silence between two people
is comfortable.
Dave Tyson Gentry

Only your real friends will tell you
when your face is dirty.
Sicilian Proverb

Helping you create your best business,
marketing and social media strategy.

image credit: nextup.files.wordpress.com

Bookmark and Share

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

October 1, 2009

What Is Local To You?

Location Location Location?

In my twenty-five years of marketing and media, I have heard one phrase uttered more often than any other: Be Local.

It was how you differentiated yourself from national outlets.

Market and demographic were used to describe the audience, listener or reader. It wasn't about home or humans.

Local referred to the geographic location of a business and its customers.

I have realized that my view of "local" has changed. It is has become less about geography. It is more about what is local and important to me.

Buddies For Life

You may have attended university in another city. The relationships you formed during that time remain local to you. You may have moved hundreds of miles away and never visited the campus after graduation day, but all your touch points to that experience are still local to you.

Perhaps you love your car so much you have joined an online community devoted to lovers of that model and you have formed relationships with other owners and perhaps even planned outings and events. That is a community that is local to you.

Know Your Locals

It is crucial you realize this fact if you are running a business. It’s not enough to be in a market without activating the power of the local community. There is a chain of coffee shops here that is competing quite nicely with two major international chains, because they are local to us.

If you own a destination business - such as a hotel or resort, then it’s important to realize that your local community is anyone who wants to visit your destination. So you need to be local to them.

Emotion vs. Location

We need to keep finding ways to allow our growing online relationships a place to flourish that make it feel local to us.

The size of your community is boundless and what is local to you may have become more of an emotional and mental attachment rather than a spot on some map.

What is local to you?


image credit: skagitriverjournal.com

Bookmark and Share

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

© Kneale Mann knealemann@gmail.com people + priority = profit
knealemann.com linkedin.com/in/knealemann twitter.com/knealemann
leadership development business culture talent development human capital