May 31, 2010

Remembering The Important Stuff

I am a proud Canadian who feels a tug on the heart every time one of my fellow Canadians is killed in battle. The reason for any war escapes me.

Today is Memorial Day in the U.S. and my thoughts are with my American friends. Today is a day to remember those who fought for freedom.

Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, Remembrance Day have been around a long time because people have been dying in senseless wars for a long time.

Some may be getting a deal at the mall during the massive holiday weekend sale-a-thon, let’s take a moment and think about why that’s even possible.

May 28, 2010

Are You Ready?

Don't Hide Behind Their Excuses

I have been in digital media in one form or another for about fifteen years. But only in the last few years I realized the need to define it, excuse it, defend it, explain it or convince someone about it.

I don’t anymore.

I know Hubble is above us and the rest of the iceberg is much bigger than the part I can see from here.

It’s not about the tools or the sites or the tweets or the blog designs or the interfaces or the anything else you want to point to, it’s about you.

Find The Quiet

Forget the noise; forget the blaming and the stalling. Are you ready to get to work? Are you prepared to put in the time it takes to build a human network of evangelists, customers, friends, advocates, colleagues and people you can literally call on when you really need another human being?

This is not going to be easy – in fact, there will be days when you think it’s just a big waste of time. Eliot Burdett who has been training sales teams for years, nails it when he says; “The best results come right about the time you think you are absolutely wasting your time.”

Unfold Their Arms

Most managers or owners who build the wall to stop the social media discussion are often the same people who are sleeping soundly at night because they have placed their media in newspaper, on radio and television and through the direct mail piece. All too often, we fear the unknown.

Some fear that getting involved - not tinkering with friends online - but involved with social media will require hard work and time. Their fears are well founded. But what part of your business is not work? What part is automatic? What part appears on a silver plate for your complete enjoyment void of effort?

Wait and See

In 1986, I asked my boss about getting a fax machine. He thought it was unnecessary. He quipped there was no need for us to get one until everyone else got one.

Can you be the internal champion that will convince the boss to at least open her mind to possibilities?

Will you remind those who like the good ‘ole days that the average age of users on Facebook, MySpace, FourSquare, Twitter and LinkedIn is about 35 and it's not just a bunch of bloggers and cool kids?

If you get his attention, will you remind him that ‘placing media’ and ‘engaging with other human beings’ are two different things and you can do both?

Are you going to stand up to her and agree that this activity takes time, there are no easy instant automatic cemented home runs with any activity and that includes her current media spend?

Are you now ready to fight for it before everyone else gets one?

@knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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photo credit: pmstudent

May 27, 2010

Seven Deadly Business Sins

"History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives." Abba Eban

Technology has evolved, medical breakthroughs have lengthened lives and new inventions have changed the world.

Some things haven't changed.

"It's not evil to make money, it's evil to make money being evil."
Chris Brogan

We are flawed, help each other, make mistakes, create solutions, smell bad, collaborate, eat too much, save lives, don't get enough rest, consume far too much coffee, need more bran, complain about our lot, can create miracles and wear stress and busy like badges of honor.

If humans run companies, let's treat companies more like humans. If we applied the seven deadly sins to your company, how would it do?

Greed | Desire for wealth

Wrath | Fierce anger

Sloth | Disinclination to exertion

Pride | Inordinate opinion of importance

Lust | Desire for power

Envy | Admiration towards others

Gluttony | Excessive consumption

Again, this is about your business for a moment.

Which would you keep? Which will help build your offering?

@knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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photo credit | spauldingcomm

May 26, 2010

Changing The Lens

Millions are going through significant changes right now and it can be incredibly distracting and destructive.

If you spend any time networking socially online, you know that no one likes to hear about a bad day – they are going online to be lifted up, touch base, share and learn.


It was the end of a weird day yesterday and thought I'd see how others were doing and look for some inspiration. I sent out a simply tweet - What was your wow moment today?

Within minutes, my day was lifted up by others talking about their kids and job interviews, articles they had discovered and people they had met. My wow moment was that others were happy to share what turned their head and made a difference.

This is not about Twitter, this is about humans.

Once in a while, when you know you’re too close to it, would it help to put down your camera and have a look through another lens for a while?



@knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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photo credit: anewmorning

May 25, 2010

Awareness Is Not Enough

The noise is deafening.

Content is produced every minute of every day. The pile grows; there is no end in sight and we all try to find customers and make a living.

What do you offer?

Where can you compete?

How will you tell your story?


Assuming your offer has value – to them, not you – it is time to ensure more people hear about it and in turn buy some of it. This is the toughest part of the gig. You could spend millions to get as many eyes and ears and minds to discover your awesome product as possible.

You can buy email lists and cram complete strangers with messages they didn’t ask for and even get a bunch of people in a cube farm to randomly call people and ask for their money. You could produce a bright shiny pamphlet to put in everyone’s mail box.

Wait! There's More!

Then you can start a Twitter page where you bark out your daily specials while disregarding what others may have to offer. Thousands will follow you and there will be no need for you to follow them back. The same is true with your Facebook and LinkedIn groups. Thousands will love the Flickr pics of all your fabulous products while you will become the biggest viral video in the history of YouTube.

Once in a while, a wave can hit or go viral but that’s not our call, it’s theirs and they will leave us as fast and love us. Possessing awareness means nothing on its own.

Before you want others to be aware of you, make sure you know what you want them to do. What's in it for them?

I am aware of you. Now what?

@knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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photo credit: rlv.zcache

May 23, 2010

17 Ideas That Might Just Work

It's All Up To Us

Share more than take.

Stay positive.

Move your comfort zone.

Be curious.

Ask for an opinion and listen.

No cell or text in the car.

Take a day off.

Have more face-to-face conversations.

Don’t make it about you.

Take the victory.

Do nothing else when you eat.


Accept that you created this.

Turn off your cell phone.

Ask for help and accept it.

Stay off-line for 24 hours.

Don’t be so hard on yourself.

What’s on your list?

@knealemann
strategy. marketing. social media.

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photo credits: filter

May 22, 2010

The Cobbler and the Three Year Old

Up On The Hoist

I wrote about the Cobbler Complex a while back. I am the giving the issue serious thought with regards to my business, client work, fellow colleagues and the tone of meetings with prospects.

Humans have the collective patience of a three year old. When I mention the cobbler and the three year old, I have yet to find someone to disagree.

You Are A Client Too

You are in marketing but you fail to make time for marketing efforts of your business. You are a plumber but your bathroom desperately needs remodeling, or a teacher who never has time to read new books.

We want this quarter to be better than last quarter. We want this year to kick last year’s butt. We want more clients and more revenue. We want it now! Patience is a virtue, not a business plan.

Where am I going with this?

Well, I am here to admit in the open nakedness of the online world that I am ashamed. I have let it go on far too long and it’s time to fix it. I help clients aggregate their web presence and build stronger strategies, assist them with the application of social media tactics to their overall marketing thrust and I wake up every morning staring at one big item on the to-do list.

So after far too long and a few kicks in the pants from dear friends, I am building my new website. It will be on my company's domain - YouIntegrate. It's about you and integrating all that you do with all that you do.

Walk A Mile...

I am putting myself in the place of a client and as one of my clients goes through the same thing, the process has been cool. I am sifting through design ideas and color schemes. Where will this button go and how will I organize hundreds of One Mann's Opinion posts. How long should the bio page be and should I include this widget or that widget.

Feel free to add your thoughts on this space or perhaps some of the fun you had redesigning your space. We cobblers need to stick together.

@knealemann
strategy. marketing. social media.

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photo credit: apple2org

May 21, 2010

Narrowing The Start-Up

Easier Said Than Done

If you’ve ever been involved in launching a company, you have felt the excitement and frustration.

It used to simply be about launching a new company, now many call it a Start-Up.

It sounds feisty. It has hope and velocity. Go get ‘em Start-Up! You can do it!

Imagine

You have an idea which is void of doubt or financial constraint. It’s just a beautiful pure inspiration. The business stuff isn’t even a concern at this point.

If your skin is in the game it can be tough. If you stick with it, it can be rewarding.

Create

You have passed the imagine stage which can be filled with ideas that may or may not work, brainstorming that can go in all directions and the realization that it could just happen.

Then the create stage where you and your team have found a way to begin to realize the imagined idea in to a concrete way. Things are beginning to roll. You may be bootstrapping, you maybe be looking for funding, but all in all, things are beginning to take shape.

Expand

As the imagined idea turns in to a real business you begin to expand. The buzz of progress is now a constant hum, the no’s are taken in stride because the yes’s are coming fast and furious. Revenue negates stumbles and the trajectory is realized.

Narrow

Every company goes through it. You need to let your idea become concrete then expand then you must hone in on the essence of what you are trying to do. It can be distracting to see large corporations like Google and Apple expanding in all directions but that won’t work for you.

Customers are stretching you outside of your offer zone and you begin to wonder if the original idea is still intact. Your short-term greed replaces your long term goals. And hard decisions need to be made. You can’t be all things to all people or you will be nothing to no one.

Source the Crowd

I posed three questions on Twitter and asked for responses via DM. No names or details would be shared, just top line stuff. Answers had to be 140 characters or less.

The questions were: 1. How long in start-up mode? 2. When will you stop calling it a start-up? 3. Biggest challenge so far?

In ten minutes, I received 23 replies.

Here are some responses...

Mar 1 after a year in dev. Probably year after going live. Coordinating a small team where we all wear several hats.

One year. 2-3 yrs or when we can pay bills consistently. Bldg initial infrastructure & exploiting dev opps simultaneously.

3 years. Hard question, probably never. Bizdev w/ trusted partners to accelerate axs to market.

6 months. When I get my investment of $$ back. Delegating.


Thanks to everyone who was open enough to share their journey.

If you want to start a company, do it. It will be hard and frustrating, exciting and freeing and there will be times when you feel completely alone and others when you realize you have cheerleaders where you least expect them.

Work your butt off and walk through walls if you have to and on those days when you feel it would be easier to toss in the towel, look in the mirror and ask that person before you do.

If you have a team, do the same to them. Before you build anything, you need to be able to look each other straight in the eye to see if everyone is watching the same movie. Imagine. Create. Expand. Narrow.

And learn from someone who has been through his share of start-ups and can often forget that he doesn't have to do this alone - don't be afraid to ask for help! Then be gracious when someone offers it.

What are your thoughts?

@knealemann
strategy. marketing. social media.

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photo credit: mirror-us-ga1

May 18, 2010

Social Media FAQs

It Is Not About The Numbers.

You may have them, asked them or answered them but I am asked daily about social media. One of the things I do for clients is help them navigate the space that is full of butterflies and unicorns.

It's scary and exciting and big monsters are there to eat you and you don't know where to start. The best place is with your personal or business strategy. You don't need to embrace it all, you don't need to be everywhere and frankly no one can.

I was going to list some common questions I get with regards to social media but it may be best to start with something from a smart dude. His name is Gary Hayes...



If you are even more confused, breathe and have a look at your strategy. You don't need to boil the ocean, you simply need to find your voice and speak to your target audience.

The purpose of showing you Gary's work is so you can show it to those who don't 'get' social media. It's not about getting it, it's about accepting its existence and figuring out what you will embrace for your needs.

How does all this make you think differently?

@knealemann
strategy. marketing. social media.

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photo credit: Garys Social Media Count

May 16, 2010

Business Spring Cleaning

Here Among The Boxes

You flip the basement light on and the search begins. You swear you bought one last year at that hardware store sale and put it in a place for safe keeping.

No one needs it in September but now that May has arrived it’s time to find it. It’s in here somewhere.


It’s clearly time for some spring cleaning. It’s time to get rid of the junk, clear out what you were keeping for the sake of keeping and focus on the important stuff. What may strike you is that every single item was once bought or acquired. A transaction had to happen.

Venue is Irrelevant

That is the same with your business, your marketing and your social media efforts. Stuff doesn’t just appear in the basement in a box that you haven’t opened in five years. You put it there.

You labelled it and put it with the rest of the ‘I may need this one day’ pile.

We have sadly seen far too many use the chilling term “cleaning house” to mean they are firing people en mass. Some revel in the fact that they can positively affect the bottom line with one ugly Tuesday and some severance packages.

You don’t want to just get rid of all the stuff in the basement just because it’s been in boxes for a while, open them and see what’s inside.

Tweet and Win

You may know that social media are growing in leaps and bounds. You may have heard there are people who can help you navigate this space. You may also know that simply having profiles collecting dust is not participation.

Be aware of those selling snake oil versus those who can help you build your business. We all have boxes in our basement filled with "I think I need that".

Sparkle and Shine

Spring and Clean are great words – they are fresh and optimistic. You can feel the warm sun beaming in the spotless room.

A clean physical office may not mean your strategic business plan, marketing execution or social media activity is in order. And taking stuff to the dump before you examine its effectiveness may not be wise strategy either.

When was your last business Spring cleaning?

@knealemann
strategy. marketing. social media.

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photo credit: apartmenttherapy

May 13, 2010

Start Less and Finish More

Too Much Content

Hundreds of thousands of books are published every year. Some think the publishing industry is dying. They are incorrect.

Publishing is going through the same transition the music industry has experienced for fifteen years.

What it looks like a few years from now remains to be seen.

There is a ravenous appetite for information that seems to be more pronounced than in any other time in history.

There are over 250 million blogs according to Technorati. Another 100 new websites were published during the time it took for you to read the first sentence of this post. Anyone with a keyboard and an Internet connection can publish information. It may be inflammatory or incorrect but seems irrelevant.

Theories are espoused and experts are self-created in a time when the loudest and most prevalent can infiltrate the grey matter of millions from the comfort of their sweat pants.

On the plane ride back from SOBCon last weekend, I made a short list of objectives – not wishes, not it would be cool if’s, objectives that I will accomplish. One is to read more, skim less.

While building and programming radio stations for years, the less is more approach was often the way to tighten things up and create more time spent listening. Play the most popular songs more often, upset your super core but grow your overall listenership. It sucks for us music heads but it works.

Are you reading or skimming your business?

Are you starting more and finishing fewer objectives? Are cluttering your day and blaming it on being busy?

Business owners and managers have far too much to deal with and it can be overwhelming. Leads must be followed, the online information explosion is impossible to keep up with, there certainly is no time for employee development while that proposal is the last email of the day as the clock approaches midnight.

Perhaps we need to get a little quieter. Maybe we need to start less and finish more. What are your thoughts?

@knealemann
strategy. marketing. social media.

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photo credit: trendir

May 12, 2010

Have To or Get To?

Change Just One Word

Like you, I'm running fast.

I have to prospect and work with clients. I have to constantly do research and learn new stuff. I realize I am not unique.

I have to give myself a pep talk in the morning. I have to make the get done list as no one will get it done for me.

Sound Familiar?

I have to push myself when I am tired. I have to be there when my clients need me. I have to reach out and meet new people. I have to develop pipelines of opportunity and I have to network often.

I have to motivate myself. I have to prospect for new business. I have to contribute to the conversation. I have to engage and create. And so do you!

Then a friend sent me an email and reminded me how fortunate I am. She changed one word that changed everything.

Think about your situation. You have to do a lot of stuff but what if you lifted the weight and looked at things from a much more positive stance. I get to run a company. I get to help clients. I get the freedom to do what I want to do for a living. I get to understand that it’s up to me to improve my situation.

It can be tough to ensure your business is successful. We have bills. We have deadlines. We have stress.

We don't have to connect with new people on Twitter. We don't have to write a blog post today. We don't have to put ourselves in to new situations with new people. We get to do all that cool stuff.

Think about that the next time you say you have to do something.

Can you change one word and make all the difference in your business and career? Do you have to or do you get to?

@knealemann
strategy. marketing. social media.

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photo credit: despair.com

May 11, 2010

Your Message | Your Medium

Send Me A Voice Mail.

Think about how you exchange ideas and connect with colleagues, clients, friends and family on a regular basis.

There may be days when you call someone’s land line, cell phone, send them an email, text them and meet them in person.


If the medium is the message according to Marshall McLuhan that would five messages. But it could be five parts of the same message and the medium is less important.

Content Is Data.

It is the raw ingredients to the meal and alone isn't enough. It's the reason restaurants can't charge us $300 for a bunch of unprepared ingredients on a bare table in an empty room.

Imagine if someone wrote a book but put all the words in the wrong order. Without sentences, structure, story arcs, characters and development, the content is useless if not confusing.

The pillars I use are: content, context and community.

You need data that connects to people.

Sell It Before You Build It?

We all sell a product or service that brings benefit to clients. But if we treat them like a commodity, we shouldn’t be surprised if they treat us like a vendor.

If you are in retail and you look at each person coming through your front door as someone who may get rid of that extra inventory, you may be up for disappointment.

You don't want them to do business with you. You want them to tell their friends and visit again.

How is your message and your medium working to build your reputation?

@knealemann
strategy. marketing. social media.

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photo credit: sto resonlin epro

May 7, 2010

Social Media Revolution 2

If you or your boss or your neighbor or your co-worker or your friend is having trouble grasping social media, let them watch this from Erik Qualman who wrote Socialnomics.



@knealemann
strategy. marketing. social media.

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May 6, 2010

Technology | Time vs. Tools

Convenience Meets Conventional

I have great admiration for road warriors. If you've seen Up In The Air, you know it takes a special person to live on the road.

I am also a fan of technology when it helps us. Having worked on radio station builds, large scale events, digital marketing campaigns and even written for newspapers, I know we don't all share the same comfort with technology.

Mom Has Never Owned a Cell Phone.

This is not an age thing. Last week at lunch, one of my colleagues was talking endlessly about his iPhone. He added that his 10 year old wants one.

You see people of all ages on smartphones and netbooks. You can get a printed copy or one can be sent via email or text. If you have your confirmation number and your passport you can go right through.

Please Enter Your Code.

While fighting with the technology at an airport recently, I was trying to access my ticket at one of those handy kiosks with smartphone in one hand and passport in the other and luggage and a line-up behind me.

If you travel at all you know that in most major airports you don’t walk up to the ticket counter any more. You need to punch in codes and numbers and blood type and if you have trouble someone who used to work at the ticket counter will help you.

I Missed My Flight

After being told I was on a different airline by two airlines and back to the original airline, the woman politely told me that I had missed the deadline to get through security to my flight. For $75, I got the next plane.

I noticed later that the reason I missed my flight was because the electronic ticket that was emailed to me didn't get to my phone in one piece so I was missing a code.

Technology can help us but it can also hinder us. I worry about mom who has never had a cell phone and looks at her email once a week. This was simply an example and is not about airports, it's about knowing your customers.

Technology can work in your favor, but it can also hurt you if you get too far ahead of your customers. How do you strike that balance?

@knealemann
strategy. marketing. social media.

photo credit: interairport

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May 4, 2010

This Is What Change Feels Like

What do you do?

It’s the second question we ask each other when we first meet. The answer is usually related to work. Imagine if the second question was who are you?

Millions have had to ask that question in the last two years. Some have had to find out who they were and some have discovered they are not defined by a job title or position.


A Game Changer or Life Changer?

I attended an event in Chicago this past weekend which was a chance to work with 150 really smart people and I’m so glad they let me sneak in. To some this may have appeared to be a social media convention. Social media are tools. This was not a tool convention. This was a gathering of passionate people taking about business.

SOBCon was founded by the irresistible Liz Strauss who has helped me beyond words along with her partner Terry Starbucker who is a loving and engaging guy who doesn’t mind singing in front of 150 people. That alone deserves admiration!

Thanks Liz and Terry for the privilege of attending SobCon 2010.

Nice To See Ya

We often go to “conventions” to learn stuff, do some networking and take away some additional nuggets to help our career and our business. All too often we return to our work with a renewed energy that lasts until Wednesday.

Then the old ways and the pressures of the system weigh us back down to where we were before we got on the plane. The binder collects dust, the bag of business cards is lost forever, the best of intentions to stay in touch fades and life goes on.

SOBCon is about full participation. If you attend, you work. And magic happens. You make new friends and business associates. I had numerous discussions with people who were asking my advice right after I sought theirs and it was a soft place to land and share.

I was reminded of the old sales adage that we are not selling hammers; we are selling you the ability to put a nail in the wall to hang your favorite picture.

SOBCon was not social media convention, it was not a discussion about how cool we are that we understand the power of the Internet and digital media. Who cares about all that crap if you don’t have people to put valuable information on these channels?

SOBCon was about people who work in large companies working with large brands sitting right next to sole proprietors navigating the scary world of business all on their own.

Find people you want to work with who will care about your ideas. Unearth those who want to help you while you help them. Don’t stop until you can follow what you know you should be doing and pay no attention to those who disagree.

SOBCon was not about social media and this post was not about SOBCon. This post was about finding ways for you to improve the collaborative nature of your work.

When did you last look inside yourself and those around you and ask the tough questions? Who are you, not what do you do?

This is what change feels like.


#sobcon stream on Twitter.

@knealemann
strategy. marketing. social media.

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