August 30, 2010

Privacy | Real or Imagined?

The quality of being apart from company or observation.

If you ever go shopping, enter a bank, drive on a road, walk down a street or sit in a restaurant, you are giving up your privacy.

Not only can others observe your actions but you may actually be on camera.

We are being photographed and filmed dozens of times every day from almost the moment we leave our home.

But most of us don't give it much thought. It is a way of life and since no one will do anything sinister with the information, we seem to be okay with it.

Privacy is dead and social media hold the smoking gun.
Pete Cashmore | Mashable

If you are on a social networking site, your information could also be stored on hundreds of other external sites and applications in virtually any language without your knowledge. That means your information could be available to the more than 1.8 billion people around the world who are online. And you should assume that’s the case.

One example is Facebook Places.

If you don't want that activated, go to account settings, notifications, scroll down to places and un-click the boxes. If you haven't changed your privacy settings in the last few weeks, it is currently activated and Facebook didn't ask if it was okay with you.

One way to monitor yourself online is to set up Google Alerts on whatever phrase you want and you will get a daily email with the results.

Another is to ensure you register your name domain if you can get it. You don’t have to build a website but you should reserve that piece of real estate before someone else does it.

The ability to seclude and reveal selectively.

The U.S. Army has one of the most extensive digital engagement policies around and one line says it all – you are always on the record. Know that, understand that, grasp that and you won’t be surprised if your information is shared – with everyone.

It is also a good idea to review all of your profiles once a month to ensure nothing weird is going on. And do a vanity search on your name regularly to see what may be out there with your name on it.

The state of retirement or free from intrusion.

You can triple bolt your front door and never leave the house, but as soon as you step where others hang out – on or offline - you may be watched.

I didn't even begin to discuss the latest wave of location based sites which will continue to multiply. Yeah, I have some work to do.

So does privacy still exist?

Create experiences not campaigns.

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August 29, 2010

Do Your Ideas Procreate?

Imagination is what separates us from any other species.

British author and speaker Matt Ridley is a interesting guy who has been studying and writing about genetics, society and evolution for decades. He outlines in this fascinating TEDTalk that trading ideas is centuries older than farming. Idea sharing is essential to human life.

Matt's website - the Rational Optimist - has plenty to digest.

More from the TED site on Matt’s talk:
“It is our habit of trade, idea-sharing and specialization that has created the collective brain which set human living standards on a rising trend. This, he says, "holds out hope that the human race will prosper mightily in the years ahead - because ideas are having sex with each other as never before."

Create experiences not campaigns.

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August 26, 2010

Fame and Fortune Guaranteed

Don’t let any channel be in charge of your success.
That is your job.

As online social networking spaces continue to explode, it is becoming easier to build online collateral that some may mistake as a brand.

Since branding occurs between customers and is not created in a chemistry lab, your effort to give the appearance of expertise can only take you so far.

Do You Like Me Yet?

If you meet someone at a party and they press up against you and shove their business card and a pamphlet in your face, you would probably call security. But some feel comfortable jamming in-boxes with unsolicited sales pitches perhaps because of the appearance it may be easier than building another relationship.

Your quest for instant success,
may irreversibly hurt the brand you are trying to create.

As with many industries, some who are less than skilled claim to be experts. I was approached by a company recently who guaranteed they could help me market my company through social channels yet their online footprint was virtually nonexistent. Last week, there was promotional material floating around for an e-course and it read like it was written by a child.

Social media take a lot of time and even more commitment. The work is worth it but not if you are going to try it for a while and hope it does miracles for you. Other media or even an inflatable gorilla on your roof can't even promise that.

Limited Time Offer

You and your company are not a campaign. I don’t care how many followers you have and you don’t care how many friends I have if we can’t help each other get there.

Return on Investment has been a phrase uttered in business silos since we were trading rocks for rice and now with some people the phrase has been changed to return on now. Clients want chiselled in stone success guaranteed. I have been in media and marketing for twenty-six years, nothing is guaranteed.

What is certain is your ability to stick with it, monitor your results, review your organization for strengths and understand that you are building a business, not a Twitter following.

What are your thoughts?

Create experiences not campaigns.

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August 24, 2010

Six Ideas to Silence the Chatter

We are overrun with content and it will never end.

Don’t follow rules, follow rules, be on every channel, be selective, watch this video, buy my program, read my blog, see this new thing.

We are constantly trying to find ways to filter through the stuff and find what's important. But how do we shut out the noise from out there and inside our own minds?

Take Digital Time Off

The Internet will be here tomorrow. Shut off your computer and your phone. Try it for 24 hours. It's okay, we'll be here when you get back.

Keep Things Simple

I start less and finish more. It’s not easy and it takes daily practice. Squirrel.

Listen to Your Voice

It’s fascinating how much weight we give others' opinions. Take the time to listen to your voice more often. It knows you better than they do.

Find Your Focus

This is like adopting a new exercise regimen. The treadmill in my basement has yet to get me in shape on its own. Weird.

Your Memes Can Be Dangerous

The human mind is a miraculous machine that can create whatever reality we wish and for some strange reason negative thought can infiltrate faster than positive. Our thoughts are just our thoughts and we can work on turning self-doubt moments into action items.

Give Yourself a Break

Take some time by yourself and list all of your strengths. No one needs to see the list, so be completely honest with yourself.

How do you silence the chatter?

Create experiences not campaigns.

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August 22, 2010

What Drives You?

What motivates you? What motivates them? What motivates your team to do the things you need them to do to move things forward in however you measure that?

Daniel Pink is an author, consultant and engaging speaker who has written two books A Whole New Mind and Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us which (as it says on his website) uses 50 years of behavioral science to overturn the conventional wisdom about human motivation and offer a more effective path to high performance.

Dan explains in this eleven minute thought provoking and clever presentation which has had almost 2.5 million views since it was posted in April.

If you have not seen this, it's worth your time.

Create experiences not campaigns.

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August 21, 2010

The Real Power of Community

They're People Too.

I've been over thinking a few projects lately and decided to strip it all down to the core.

Years of building relationships and I had forgotten help was right there.

Once in a while, you need to ask your community for a hand on something or feedback on an idea.

Every now and then you need to reach out and ask for some time for a call or discussion to flush out the stuff that seems to keep coming up within the confines of your own brain.

Don’t discard that idea or thought. Stop listening to the naysayers and dream killers. Look around and find those who you can reach out to for some perspective.

This is not about others doing the work for you or patting you on the head. All too often we just need to get it out and that is not going to happen with someone you just met or through a few tweets.

Numbers are irrelevant if you can't call on your community for help when you need it. The same holds true if someone asks us for a hand.

Thanks to everyone who was gracious to give me some of their time this week. That was fun.

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August 20, 2010

The Fire Hose Gets Stronger

The nonstop information on the Internet was once described as a fire hose aimed at a teacup which remains a vivid and accurate image.

We are drenched by constant information and there is no hope of us ever being able to keep up.

Information, education, entertainment, humor, music, books, articles, websites. The choices are endless.

And this doesn’t include that little thing we call life.

How much time do we have?

Depending on the survey, the average person living to life expectancy (women 81 and men 76) spends six months in the bathroom, eight months having sex, eighteen months shopping, two years reading, two years exercising, three years doing housework, three years cooking, four years eating, four years on the phone, four years lining up, five years online, a decade watching television and twenty-five years sleeping.

So when you think about all the stuff we want to do as business owners, the competition is fierce and the least of our worries is our competition.

Time is our biggest adversary.

A Series of Tubes

There is no definitive way to determine the size of the Internet. It just turned forty and we have created something we can’t even measure that grows by the second.

With over a quarter of the world's population online, the fire hose won't be easing up for the foreseeable future.

So where does that leave us teacups?

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August 17, 2010

Rolling the Digital Dice

Abandoning Traditional Media

Your mind begins to wander as you dream about all the things you’ll buy when you win the jackpot. One roll and your dreams will come true. Money will be no object.

Now imagine you have a company or product. How will you get all you desire? Will you daydream about being wildly successful? Let it ride on one role and call it strategy?

Outbound Online Only

It seems simple enough to create a Facebook group, add a Twitter stream, start a blog and wait for the customers show up. You have the self-ringing phone so the new customer making web presence will do its magic in no time, right?

After all, we have seen the explosion of social media in the last 5-6 years (although social networking is as old as humans) with websites such as Twitter, Mashable, Huffington Post and YouTube which were built for the online experience. So it stands to reason you can do the same with your business, right? Easy peasy.

Paradigm Crushed

Take the time to build and you stand a better chance of permeating your message into the consciousness of users. Blast people and don't expect them to dance.

Some say social media doesn't work and it's a waste of time, others think it's the golden bullet, while others believe what they did last year will work again this year.

Who Me So-Me?

I often see stories about the death of traditional media. Print is in trouble, no one listens to radio anymore, billboards are ineffective, direct mail doesn't work, television is expensive and everyone has a PVR.

A bad idea on any medium remains a bad idea. Abandoning an integrated media approach in place of a digital-only strategy may result in a die in the wood, roll no good.

Or as my colleague Mitch Joel says - it's not 'instead of' it's 'in addition to'.

What's your roll?

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August 16, 2010

The Virtual Office Grows

Where Do You Work?

According to a report published back in February from IDC Research, one billion people will work in a virtual environment by December and 1.2 billion by 2013.

Through technology and social networking, we are creating alliances and partnerships across thought silos rather than geographical ones.

The notion of the office is changing rapidly. Companies are examining associate models and consultants are creating a home office/travel type work experience.

The adjustment continues as over a quarter of the world’s working population moves to home offices, web technologies and virtual work spaces.

Here are some details from the report:
• The United States has the highest percentage of mobile workers in its workforce. The U.S. will remain the most highly concentrated market for mobile workers with 119.7 million workers, being mobile in 2013.

• Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) represents the largest total number of mobile workers throughout the forecast, with 546.4 million mobile workers in 2008 growing 37.4% of the total workforce in 2013. At the end of the forecast, 62% of the world's mobile workforce will be based in this region.

• Western Europe's mobile workforce will enjoy a healthy compound annual growth rate of 6% over the forecast period to reach 129.5 million mobile workers in 2013, surpassing the total number of mobile workers in the United States.

• Japan's mobile worker population will total 49.3 million in 2013, representing 74.5% of its total workforce.

• The rest of the world, which is comprised of Canada and the emerging market countries in Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa and Latin America, will see its mobile worker population grow to 153.2 million by 2013.
The World Gets A Lot Smaller

I hear people lament all the time that their boss won't let them do some work at home or entertain a flexible work schedule plan. The boss doesn't think the job will get done without employees sitting in their office during office hours.

How is this affecting your career and business?

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August 15, 2010

The Digital Leap

Your Opinion Matters Most

I enjoy reading and learning about behavior, business and human interaction all the time.

My business card may say strategy but my fascination lies in anthropology and psychology.

You can't help your bottom line until you understand what drives you.

There is a crushing amount of information about social media and how it applies to you and your business and your life and your family and the pictures of the kids from college and posting the appropriate resume and how you should navigate online.

Most of us need to eat more veggies and do more exercise.

But with digital channels there is no one answer, site, background theme, writing style, logo color or font choice. Pick one, experiment, pick another one, experiment, throw stuff against the wall, collaborate and have some fun.

I hear the objections all the time. "We have a Facebook page. We're on Twitter. I don't understand it. It's a waste of time. How will that help us make more money? When will we see results?"

The only guarantee anyone can make is if we live in doubt and inaction, nothing will happen. And that spans beyond digital and business.

Make the leap, the water's fine.

strategy. marketing. media.

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August 14, 2010

Are You Curious?

Curiosity is an emotion related to natural inquisitive behavior such as exploration, investigation and learning, evident by observation in human and many animal species.

The term can also be used to denote the behavior itself being caused by the emotion of curiosity.

Stay curious for learning.
Stay curious about improving.

Stay curious through searching.
Stay curious like a child.
Stay curious about now.

Stay curious in life.

Stay curious for you.
Stay curious through listening.
Stay curious in business.

Stay curious about others.

Stay curious for next.
Stay curious in leadership.

Stay curious always.

Are You Curious?

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August 12, 2010

Stop Calling It Marketing

A couple of days ago I posed the question – who needs marketing?

If you own a business, you have a lot of expenses involved and you can’t always afford to do it all.

Marketing often suffers because priorities are given to other expenses deemed more necessary.

How Will They Find You?

I received an email yesterday from an colleague who asked if I had any data on the success rate of a campaign that was executed exclusively online verses one that had a traditional media component as well.

Anytime you can access a wide range of options you stand a better chance of success. But if you point your camera at the wrong audience, the amount of time, effort and money you allocate to a initiative is mute.

No time. Tight Budget.

The first line of defense is often "we don't have much money". It's usually followed closely with, "I'm too busy". So everyone is broke and has no time. Cool, now what?

Billions are wasted every year on misguided crap on the wrong medium. Advertising is only a portion of marketing. I was watching TV last night and every single spot was terrible. Well, maybe that one spot was okay, nah, it sucked too.

Focus on The Idea, Not The Dollar.

The explosion of social media and the fact that only a small fraction of companies have yet to embrace its true potential make it a perfect time to get in.

Dive in the deep end and have a look around. Experiment, have fun, ask a lot of questions and shelve your preconceived notions. Make the time.

Just for a moment, stop looking at your budget and time constraints. Think long and hard on how you interact with people in and out of your organization. Ask what they want, not what you think.

And let's stop calling it marketing and call it life.

Think it'll work?

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August 10, 2010

Who Needs Marketing?

Marketing is the process by which companies create customer interest in products or services. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication and business development. Wikipedia

We can explain away our behavior.

We can justify anything.

We can even view marketing as an expendable item on the ledger.

If you run a business there are certainties no matter the size of your company.

Ring Ring

You have to have some sort of phone system. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It doesn't have to be wired to everyone’s smartphone, but you need phones.

Unless staff will be sitting on the ground, furniture is probably a good idea. It doesn’t have to be glass desks and Aeron chairs but you do need something to keep your stuff and your people off the floor.

Did You Get My Email?

You don’t need to get everyone a MacBook but you need something that resembles computing devices to get the job done and apparently this Internet thing is quite the craze so you have costs involved in that service.

And there's also salaries, perhaps benefits, training, supplies, utilities, office space, running water, plumbing and other operational items.

Now What?

Assuming you have a great product or service and a business plan, you now have office space and people. But unless your company has self ringing phones, letting people know what you do is imperative to your success.

Marketing is more than advertising. It is how you cement relationships, build referrals and create long-term customers. It is in everything you do and is as essential as keeping the lights on.

Tighten Too Tight

Many have been through tight times and have had to look at ways to cut expenses. All too often the marketing budget is the first to see the knife. The perception is that it is money not yet spent - unlike phones, salaries, computers and furniture. Marketing is so much more than money.

Is it wise to voluntarily lose your ability to show people how you can help?

strategy. marketing. media.

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August 9, 2010

Is Your Business Social?

They're talking about you anyway.

Relationship and conversation are mentioned relentlessly on the social web but what do they really mean? Are we friends simply because we follow or connect?

Imagine if you arrived at a private party where you only knew the host and began to hand out business cards. Or worse, how would you feel if you were on the receiving end of this sales pitch?

In Six Pixels of Separation, Mitch Joel refers to praising slow.

These channels are not one-night stands and your business is not a campaign. If you are in the space, spamming and yelling won't work. Simply "being on" Twitter or "having a" Facebook page is not participation.

What Will They Say?

There is a common fear that opening yourself to online scrutiny is dangerous.

The issue is not whether these channels will discuss your business or industry, that's already happening. So do you want in or would you rather hide?

The Power of The Web.

As witnessed by the story of Tanner Bawn last week. Air Canada dismantled his wheelchair on a trip to NYC and were unable to reassemble it.

Then the bumbling began.

The social community had gathered in NYC as a fundraiser for Tanner and the same people created online outrage when this happened. The story quickly spread through the larger Twitter community and Air Canada couldn't ignore it.

Use stories like this as fuel for how you respond to the online reality.

Get involved in the conversations of your customers and potential customers and initiate new ones, then give it time and patience and be human.

Social media are not quick fixes or cheap campaigns to boost outbound messaging but rather essential to business, research, education and integrated activities.

People are social, media are not.
David Armano

It's interesting to note that after all this talk of gadgets and channels, the old adage rings true - treat me like you want to be treated. Your customers concur.

Patience is a virtue not a business plan. It is up to us to change that.

What says you?

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August 6, 2010

Are You Roger Federer?

Roger Federer is the real deal. He is a solid dude. Happily married to the lovely Mirka Vavrinec with twin girls Charlene and Myla.

In 2003, he started his own charitable foundation to help disadvantaged children, has done work with UNICEF and organized a charity initiative with other top players entitled Hit for Haiti.

The Guy Is A Phenom

His work ethic is resolute and until some injuries in the last couple of years, his winning streak was not of this world. He was consistently winning or at the very least in the semis or finals of virtually every tournament.

Fed was the world’s dominant number one tennis player and it seemed he could stay there for as long as he wanted. He has slipped to number three but clearly won’t settle for that. Go Rafa!

One For The Record Books

Roger Federer has won 62 titles including 16 grand slam singles and 8 grand slam doubles championships. His lifetime professional match winning record is 701-168 and let’s lob in a gold medal from the Beijing Olympics.

The man is not just a professional tennis player; he is an elite athlete and will forever be on the best of all time list. But until recently, he was alone in one curious category.

Calling Your Own Plays

Throughout his career, he has gone long stretches without a full-time coach. Fed has agents and trainers and lawyers and other staff but often not a coach.

Who at this level doesn’t have a coach? What individual or team member, playing at the peak of performance in the highest level of sport, does not have another pair of eyes on them? Just imagine the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks winning this past spring without Joel Quenneville behind the bench.

But Things Have Changed

The only elite athlete on the planet, who didn’t have a coach, now has one, for now. Paul Annacone was Pete Sampras’ long time coach and also coached Tim Henman who made it to number four.

As a pro, Annacone made it as high as number twelve in singles’ rankings. After his playing career he was the managing director of the USTA then the head coach of the Lawn Tennis Association and the British Davis Cup Team.

Give It A Shot

Federer has asked Annacone to work with him on a trial basis. An accomplished coach has the biggest challenge of his career and the best tennis player in history is now paying someone to tell him how to improve his game and get back to number one.

Have a look at your career. Who is your coach?

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August 4, 2010

Our Gadget Laden Lives

The Power of Next.

If you read or follow or even skim any technology news you know there is a new thing to ogle over several times a day.

Yesterday, RiM announced the BlackBerry Torch. It's in stores in the U.S. August 12th, no Canadian date announced yet.

The iPad took over the news channels when Apple released it. Then Jobs & Co. released the iPhone4 to mixed reviews. Don't worry, the iPhone5 will be here soon.

No less than six manufacturers are working on a tablet solution. Android beat iPhone in sales. Some reports say the Apple Cube in NYC has more visitors each year than the Empire State Building. Uncrate has over a quarter of a million daily visitors, Mashable has just over three million and Gizmodo has almost five million.

We love our toys, we love reading about them, sharing our thoughts about them and comparing them.

Most under 20 year olds use texting and messaging more than phoning on their mobile device and it's growing with older demos.

We have choice and price, options and colors, touch screens and qwerty. And other than wondering if we'll ever get to a truly wireless world or if a battery will ever last more than a few hours, one question remains...

Is it about the gadget or the community?

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August 2, 2010

Inflating Expectation

Do you know how customers or clients perceive you?

Do you know how they talk about you? How they feel about you? What they tell others about you?

Create or Deliver.

You may have heard the story of Frank and Bob - the managers of two different oil and lube places.

Both got the idea of offering a free car wash to every customer.

Frank printed up pamphlets, put a sandwich board out front, painted the window, put another sign by the customer service desk and devised an abrasive advertising campaign, all to tell the world about his special offer.

Bob simply washed customers' cars.

Who got more complaints?

Which guy had a line-up of satisfied customers who told everyone and which guy had to endure complaints from customers who were unhappy about their less-than-perfect previously promised car wash?

Bob exceeded expectation. Frank created inflated expectation.

Surprise and Delight.

Perhaps tuck in a little something extra when merited without making a fuss or a previous promise.

Possibly the under promise over deliver model is alive and well.

If you do those unexpected things your USP will become a lot clearer.

Do you think it will work?

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