September 30, 2011

Millions Of Years Of Social Networking

The Future of Now

Centuries from now, humans will be communicating through their transponders imbedded in their mechanically perfected brains about the significance of the social interface contrivance. It will be a new shiny toy. Early adopters will be touting its importance, evangelists will be telling all while the naysayers and late majority will remain skeptical.

There will be much discussion over the fastest and best flying transport vehicles while a strong group of intellectual free thinkers will remain fixed on the importance of connecting on a bionic human level.


Every brief moment in time brings with it people who think they invented it all. We use useless phrases like “in this day and age” as if nothing we are experiencing has happened before us. How arrogant. How shallow of us to actually convince ourselves that we are the chosen ones who unlocked the keys to human communication.

Sure it’s fun to play with the newest gizmo and spout off on the best way to use that thingamajig but let’s remember that almost seven billion of us want the same things – to be safe, to be happy, to be warm, to be fed, to be heard, to be appreciated, to be purposeful. And over a billion of us don't have that choice.

We're Not That Different

I help companies grow. But my passion and fascination from an early age is what makes people do what they do. Social business and human networks have been around since we've been kicking around this giant marble.

So if you’re stuck trying to figure out what your customers want, ask yourself what you want. Talk with them in a human voice. Allow them to truly interact with you and see what happens.

Now where’s my flying car?

Kneale Mann

image credit: istock

September 28, 2011

Dropping The F-Bomb

According to the news, no one has any money, everyone is unemployed and we’re all unhappy. It's not fun right now for a lot of people, that's true. We have a lot of work to do. But we spend far too much of our limited time focused on the wrong stuff or stuck in routine behavior. Shoulda would coulda is now.

Give Mel Robbins 22 minutes of your time then let's get going.

Kneale Mann

visual credit: TED

September 27, 2011

Today I Will

Today I will lend a hand

Today I will not compare myself to others

Today I will give better internal customer service

Today I will say yes

Today I will not make it about the money

Today I will honest about my goals

Today I will have think time

Today I will be a good teammate

Today I will find how

Today I will not share my dreams with negative people

Today I will procrastinate no more

Today I will ask for help

Today I will say no

Today I will break the cycle

Today I will lead

Today I will be clear about what I want

Today I will share

Today I will be true to myself

What Will You Do Today?

Kneale Mann

image credit: travelpod

September 24, 2011

Business Strategy | What Motivates Us?

Scientists have tried to explain our existence for as long as we have existed. The gorgeous maple tree outside my office is a welcome companion but I still marvel on how it got to be a tree in the first place. No, I’m not going weird on you but we often fill our consciousness with business talk and economic negativity but forget a key element which is how we interact and grow with each other.

I hear business owners often claim they want to improve the bottom line while playing lip service to the importance of people – which includes stakeholders and customers.

Your Voice Heard

How do you react when someone clearly doesn’t care about you or your opinion? Well, we do it in business all day long and here’s the revelation, it isn’t working. Human business, social business and collaboration are not just hashtags and buzzwords.

I could write many well crafted sentences about Daniel Pink but I’ll just say this – the dude rocks! If you run a company, work for yourself, need to find a more creative way to get your ideas forward, grab a fresh coffee, take twenty minutes and watch Dan’s 2009 Global TEDTalk about the science of motivation.

Go. Watch. Now.

Kneale Mann

visual credit: TED

September 22, 2011

Size Does Matter

Go Big Or Give In?

We’re told at an early age that we need to think and dream big. Trying hard was important but finishing second wasn't as good enough. Of course we should always have decorum and respect of others and speaking from experience, waiting and hoping is not wise strategy.

Chris Brogan wrote a post about choices and it’s one you need to read. We are going through a time when our choices are more important than our tasks and the two are very different. I believe that we want to live a life of purpose from birth but in our quest to stay busy and climb some corporate ladder or chase money, we lose the reason we’re doing it in the first place.

No One Gets Out of Here Alive

I was on a client call recently and my contact was having trouble with her direct report so the three of us hoped on a call. Much to her surprise, he simply said; “Hey, we’re all gonna die some day so let’s find a way to fix this little blip” and it was done. They got off the phone and worked it out.

The size of our dreams and goals cannot necessarily be measured in dollars or market share. In fact, when we do focus on those metrics, trouble ensues. I spent the summer working on a complete shift of myself and my company which continues to evolve.

Victims and Memes

Brogan writes about how we make choices even when we think it’s not our decision. And he’s right. We play the victim or it becomes easier to think someone else gets to be judge and jury. Millions of people on this marble don't have a choice so if you do, cherish it. I know I've begun to do so much more carefully lately. We have a finite amount of time and we seem to be very good at wasting it on the trivial.

Michael Port has built the Think Big Revolution. Marcus Buckingham focuses only on helping people realize and work where they are strongest. Anthony Robbins inspires thousands simply saying - yes you can. There are people who inspire you and there are people you inspire. That's the stuff we need to pay more attention to and not those who don't know us or don't have our best interest at heart.

New Direction

The next time you are faced with an issue at work or in your business, take a moment and breathe. Then look at two options – doing it the way you’ve always done it or trying it the way you've always wanted. Shoulda woulda coulda is right now.

Let's actually think, dream and do big. Let's actually take some chances. Let's actually help each other get there. Let's actually stop worrying so much and live much more. We're all gonna die some day so what's the downside.

You In?

Kneale Mann

image credit: flickr
I am available for a 30 minute complimentary introduction call to discover how
I can help your business. Feel free to contact me via email and let's chat.

September 19, 2011

One Simple Way to Save Your Economy

We All Want It. Do We All Give It?
You've done your online research, you asked some people who already have one and you are now at the store with money in hand ready to buy one. The guy behind the counter has never heard of it, the person in aisle 27 can’t find it and the manager looks annoyed to be interrupted for something so trivial as a paying customer.

That familiar generic voice on the customer service line says they are experiencing a high volume of calls. You have to endure 17 minutes of some instrumental soft rock nugget until Bernie gets on the line. You explain the problem and he tells you he has to transfer you to another department. Another 11 minutes of another ditty and Jennifer picks up the phone. She informs you that Bernie was incorrect and back to yet another snappy number while you wait for George.

You Give Up

It begins to make more sense to toss the thing in the garbage. Your time is more valuable than what you spent on the it, it never worked properly, the claims in all the advertising were misleading and it's time to cut the bait.

Clearly many of us are giving terrible service. Is that really the best way for us to turn our economy around? Should we not give a crap and hope people buy our stuff? If we really really really want them to pay us money, it won't matter that we don't care, right?

Serving Customer Needs

Have a complete look at your business. Have someone outside of your business have an honest look at it as well. Then actually ask your customers for their feedback. This is not to tear it apart but rather to find the weak spots. It will help stop the head scratching when revenue dips. You may think it’s a product issue but it’s often something deeper and much more human.

It’s sad that we are resigned to the fact that the bar for customer service is so low it’s scraping on the pavement. Lift it up a few inches and you will slay your competition. If we want to turn your economy around, actually care.

Do You Think It Will Work?

Kneale Mann

image credits: despair | robotnine
I am available for a 30 minute complimentary introduction call to discover where I can help your business. Feel free to contact me via email and let's chat.

September 16, 2011

Social Networking Explained in Two Minutes

Seth Godin is recognized as one of the brightest business minds on earth. His daily blog posts are read by hundreds of thousands people and he consults large business clients. He is a celebrated author and speaks in front of hundreds of thousands people all over the world each year.

In order to help business grow, we must be able to show actual growth or it’s just a bunch of scores and counters and unusable data. Godin demystifies business, relationships and the web in 90 seconds.

If you haven’t seen this video, watch. 
If you have seen it, watch it again.

Kneale Mann

September 14, 2011

Measuring Business and Marketing Results

We All Want Revenue 

We seem to be good at tossing around buzz phrases. We can talk to each other about the ROI of digital engagement through the internal customer service of community development. Managing expectations and deliverables are a way of life. And yet we seem to often get stuck while waiting for quick wins.

In the world of marketing and business development (the new catch-all for sales), there is no shortage of chatter about the social web. Of course, it’s the moving target and still the new shiny toy. Anyone with an Internet connection can publish their opinions. That does not mean it’s a sound business opportunity.

Marathon Meet Race

Budgets are tight, jobs are on the line, there is no time to try stuff and hope it will work. And as someone who consults business and has worked in every medium, it remains challenging for me to remind owners and managers that this stuff takes a while and no campaign will sustain them forever. Moreover, you can only measure your return if you are honest about your actual monetary and human investment. Throwing up a Facebook group, buying a bunch of television advertising and stuffing mailboxes are not tactics that will automatically bring results.

The social web is not the only place to spend your effort but reading and tweeting about direct mail or telemarketing just doesn’t seem to be as sexy. But judging from the mound of three-color print designed pieces of cardboard and paper overflowing from my recycle bin, it appears to be alive and well. Television and radio advertising remain viable channels to extend your offer and external or outdoor advertising is still around too. But opening your wallet and demanding results is dangerous sport.

Nothing Is Free

My colleague, Drew McLellan wrote a post recently about the importance of channel selection and more importantly he reminds us that social media are not free or even cheap. It takes a shift in your organization to account for any outbound marketing. In fact, in my humble opinion, marketing is not a department but rather a part of all that you do in business.

No amount of advertising or external collateral will save a bad business. So if you think you can buy your success, save your money and spend it on developing your actual offer. I have lost count the number of prospects who tell me they don’t need marketing, they need more revenue. It’s like saying you want to run a marathon but aren’t prepared to buy shoes and train.

How Do You Measure Your Business Expectations?

Kneale Mann

image creditfantes

September 12, 2011

Shake Up Your Ideas

There is no doubt the marvel of a child’s mind. It is full of possibilities and wonder. It can imagine worlds that may not exist and it doesn’t limit itself by self-doubt and profits. We take art classes in grade school where we can express ourselves yet as we get older we are told to get serious and competitive.

Running a business is hard work and eyes on the revenue line must be constant. Our perspective is often the single reason we have conflict instead of collaboration.

Raghava KK is an artist, an idealist and a creative spirit who has gone through a lot in his life but has retained his childlike spirit.

He explains in his TEDTalk that we need to shake up our ideas.

Kneale Mann

visual credit: TED

September 11, 2011

Ten Years Later

It’s difficult to grasp it happened a decade ago but it’s impossible to grasp it happened at all. There are plenty of reminders, visuals and newly released material elsewhere so the only thing left to say is for us to remember so we don’t forget.

The images of a crisp bright morning shattered by hate are seared in our grey matter. And ten years later, the people lost remain in our consciousness. When faced with a life threatening scare, people take stock of their lives and what is important. One nagging question remains, have we done so since then?

3,650 Days

This week, we've seen news reports and additional new information. There are "where are they now” programs and follow-ups with families and friends. And as much as it remains a topic that seems to come up almost every week since it happened, the feelings of that day in 2001 become especially vivid on this horrible anniversary.

All our talk about revenue and branding, media and marketing, let’s remember the important stuff. Let’s do our due diligence for it not to repeat – anywhere, ever.

Let's Keep Our Faith in Each Other

Kneale Mann

image credit: flickr

September 10, 2011

How Can You Help?

Beyond the Business Card

It's the second question we ask someone after their name - what do you do? I prefer to answer the question - how can I help? In more than 25 years in marketing and media, I have had the unique pleasure and privilege of overseeing the launch of two major market radio stations, working as executive producer of large scale events, consulting media professionals, overseeing promotion and marketing departments, managing multi-level advertising campaigns and assisting companies in the areas of marketing, business development and revenue generation.

We all have tools to choose from but let's not forget to focus on people. Much has been and will be said and written about the social web, we can't forget the human web. When a company is maximizing their internal customer service, their improved external customer service will grow the business.

Business owners and managers may understand that certain tactics and channels will help their business but through research, data and measurement, we can look at outcomes more accurately. Without a strong revenue line, blogging and tweeting isn't enough. Having lots of "likes" on your Facebook group and a lot of page views on your website without commitment to engage your customers won't magically bring in money.

I enjoy assisting business owners and managers with business strategy, marketing communication initiatives and internal customer service to drive revenue.

You may know what you do, but do you know how you help?

Kneale Mann

image credit: rotsu

September 8, 2011

Selling the Hobby Farm

Collaboration: Working together to achieve a goal, a process where two or more people or organizations work together to realize shared goals.

In the last four or five years, I seem to have met more entrepreneurs than the previous two decades. Some is through my work and some is the time spent on the social web.

We can get intoxicated by the numbers and paralyzed by the activity. Many have confided that they have spent a lot of time trying to build their online presence yet business isn’t where it needs to be and it’s time to get serious. Building business takes time and hard work. Building a strong online presence for your business can seem like an endless climb.

Focus Focus Focus

I was speaking with a colleague a few weeks ago and we were discussing how to do a better job articulating offers and reaching prospective clients. She said, "It’s time to sell the hobby farm”. It was a metaphor that relates to figuring out how much time we are spending building a business versus how much we are spending messing about and calling it business.

Contact someone and offer to help. Contact someone and ask for help. Let's actually collaborate and sell the hobby farm.

Let's Connect, Not Collect

Kneale Mann

image credit: freefoto

September 6, 2011

Call Me In September

Let's Do That Later

It begins with the usual signs. Traffic is a bit more congested on the way to the office in the morning. Ah yes, school is back and the unofficial end of summer is upon us. Depending on your region or level, school goes back on different dates but school is back for everyone as of now. The dog days of summer will soon be replaced by turning leaves and cooler temperatures if you live in a part of the world like I do where four distinct seasons is normal.

Call me in September. Let’s do that after the holidays. Once summer is over we’ll get back to that. We’ve all used them. The kids are back to school, summer vacations are over and we have four months left in the year. I am in no hurry to see or speak of snow (as we get here) but this is more about our focus on what we say we want to do versus what we will actually do to accomplish it.

September is a month of transition and rites of passage. It is a time to remember school summers of yore or the one that just passed. It is the month that turns summer into autumn and projects into deadlines.

As the Halloween displays begin to crop up in stores (I know!) we see a lot more people on the roads and while we drink the last few drops of nice weather let’s have a look at all the stuff we said we wanted to get to in September.

Are You Ready?

Kneale Mann

image credit: toastmasters

September 4, 2011

Too Busy For Each Other

Semi-Colon Closed Parenthesis

You are a busy person doing busy things. After all, the job description said you would have to work independently in a fast paced environment handling many duties at once with a calm demeanor. Emails come at you all day and you’re expected to respond to that urgent text you received last night at 9:37 during your one hour of television this week void of interruptions. The promise of a paperless world with a four-day work week has been replaced with much busyness and still no jet packs.

There are meetings and deliverables, research and decisions. And when you get a moment, you check on your social streams. You haven't tweeted in well over an hour and people may have commented on that article you shared on Google+. Your friends on Facebook want your thoughts on the best sushi in town and there hasn't been a fresh blog post on your site in almost whole two days.

Here's Where We Get into Trouble

We are so afraid to miss something we tend to skim over everything. You're probably doing it with this post. Our lives are 140 characters or acronyms on the smartphone. It's okay, they're busy too and we added that semi-colon and a closed parenthesis so they know we're kidding, right?

In your quest to stay on top of everything, shortcuts are taken and suddenly a friend contacts you through one of the eleven ways they can and mentions that your last response seemed a bit dismissive. Suddenly a dozen messages back and forth could have be more enjoyable and far less misunderstood with a phone call.

A Mile Wide and an Inch Deep

There is certainly no time to have a meaningful conversation, we are far too busy for that. And we wouldn't dare show up for that dinner engagement without our mobile device so we can check it half a dozen times before the appetizers arrive.

The tools are great yet we are missing the important nuances that come with human interaction. Tone and feel have been replaced by texts and tweets. Call a friend, meet in person and put the technology away for an hour. It's okay, the earth will continue to rotate. Then you can stop using busy as an excuse not to spend quality time with friends and colleagues.

Or perhaps you are far too busy for all that.

Kneale Mann

image credit: google
I'd be happy to spend 30 minutes with you on a complimentary introduction call
to see where I can help your business. Feel free to contact me via email and let's chat.

September 1, 2011

27 More Business Ideas

This began as a personal list but thought I’d share here.

• You are your USP
• Do your most dreaded tasks in the morning
• Book think time every single day
• Be crystal clear on what you offer
• Really wanting it, is not a strategy
• The best social network is talking with people
• Build a strong mastermind group
• Opinions are a distraction
• Choose with whom you do business
• Trust is earned not bought
• Stop asking for permission to be successful
• Get out of your own way
• You can't change the past
• Take breaks
• Focus on your business
• Yes you can do it
• Your Klout score is irrelevant
• Playing it safe won’t get you there
• Keep your energy on positive momentum
• Work with the best, period
• Don’t let distractions take you off your game
• Ask for help
• Deliver what you say you will deliver
• Avoid naysayers at all costs
• Collaborate with the best people you can find
• Trust your gut
• This is supposed to be fun

Kneale Mann

image credit: educatorslife
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