success

5 Ways to Reap Social Media Value

Here are five useful ways of thinking about social media and it’s potential to empower your business.

IBM’s ambitiously-titled Center for Applied Insights ran a study and produced this video that brings focus to five key areas where Social Media creates value for business.

Most of us marketers are pretty familiar with #3, but the other four concepts have loads of potential.

Many of us who are virtual workers miss the spontaneous collaborations in the hallway, elevator, water cooler. The creative power of quick collaboration opens up new ways for those sparks to travel. How can you use your social network to:

  • Collaborate with colleagues you don’t just ‘run into’ anymore?
  • Reach out to encourage and support less experienced team members?
  • Inspire customers to get more value from your products?
  • Source expertise from all your communities – users, colleagues, prospects and maybe even competitors?
  • Create new avenues of feedback and improvement?

Share an example in the comments of how your business benefits from Social Media.

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Great Advice from an 60’s Adman

George Lois “Great ideas can't be tested. Only mediocre ideas can be tested.”

“Great ideas can’t be tested. Only mediocre ideas can be tested.”

George Lois  is the guy who created the “I want my MTV” slogan and invented the concept of Lean Cuisine. Now  81, the  graphic designer/art director/copywriter may be best known for his 92 cover designs for Esquire magazine from 1962 to 1972, which have been exhibited by the Museum of Modern Art.

When asked about the hit TV series Mad Men, Lois dismisses it as a soap opera, and also notes that it missed the real story:

…ignoring the dynamics of the Creative Revolution that changed the world of communications forever…That dynamic period of counterculture in the 1960s found expression on Madison Avenue through a new creative generation—a rebellious coterie of art directors and copywriters who understood that visual and verbal expression were indivisible.

Lois is responsible for quite a few books over the years including The Art of Advertising and Sellebritythe most recent of which is  Damn Good Advice, which is nicely profiled in this article at Fast Company:

7 Pieces of “Damn Good” Creative Advice from ’60s Ad Man George Lois:

BREVITY ROCKS

“I want my MTV” became a generational battle cry after Lois, a pioneer in exploiting celebrity cachet, persuaded Mick Jagger to appear in a TV commercial delivering the line.

LISTEN

Lois says, “When people talk to you about their business and you listen hard, there’s a good chance they’ll say something and you go ‘Son of a bitch, that’s it!’ Then when you show your idea to the guy, he doesn’t even know he gave it to you.”

GO TO THE MUSEUM

“Museums are custodians of epiphanies, and these epiphanies enter the central nervous system and deep recesses of the mind.”

FIGHT ADVERSITY WITH CREATIVITY

Lois shot a TV commercial showing a toddler making photocopies. When the FCC objected that the ad misrepresented the machine’s ease of use, Lois shot a new commercial showing a chimpanzee making photocopies. He invited FCC staffers to attend the shoot.

PAY ATTENTION TO THE ZEITGEIST

When it comes to pulling concepts out of thin air, “It’s about understanding what the hell’s going on around you,” says Lois, who spends an hour each morning poring through the New York Times.

TRUST YOUR GUT

“Ad agencies do all kinds of market research that ask people what they think they want, and instead you should be creating things that you want.  Trust your own instincts, your own intellect, and your own sense of humor.”

WORD FIRST, VISUAL LATER

Lois believes in “writing the idea” rather than trawling randomly for visual inspiration.  “A big campaign can only be expressed in words that lend themselves to visual excitement.”

read entire article

ASK, or Tips for Technophobes

fearItself

With the many ways we have to express our business brilliance these days, it’s all too easy to get boxed in with a secret fear, something we don’t know, then don’t learn because we’re concerned it will reflect poorly on us if we ask.

My dear friend Terry Nicholetti, who runs runs SpeakoutGirlfriend.com, recently helped me with my elevator speech. Terry helps women can learn to overcome fear of speaking in public. She says:

“I’ve always loved public speaking — the top fear of most people. So how can I teach these things? Because I was terrified of almost everything else.”

Terry does brilliant work on overcoming fear. I hired her because while I love technology I get shy in person. Working with Terry has improved my networking and public speaking. Terry used to freeze in front of the computer.I helped her learn to self-manage her WordPress web site. Now both of us have moved on to new business challenges!

So when I saw Michelle Kerrigan ‘s blog and wanted to share it with you. Michelle knows of what she speaks. An accomplished executive coach, she has worked with corporations large and small, now helping people find their optimum performance. She identifies fear and silence as two of the great confidence killers.

Put your mind at ease with a few helpful tips:

  1. First—take a deep breath and remember: no one knows it all. 
  2. Ask and get off the worry treadmill. When you’re afraid to ask, you lack clarity and understanding. Your world becomes a guessing game. Learn what you need to know. Ask!
  3. Find someone who doesn’t speak in tongues. When you have the confidence to ask questions, find someone who can explain in the simple terms. Communication is all about being understood.
  4. Know that, as your skills rise, so does your confidence. Once you’re more grounded in the practical, the hands-on, how-to will cause your fear of the technical to subside.

(Edited list reblogged from Workplace ConfidenceMichelle Kerrigan’s blog: Practical advice and inspiration for more confidence at work. See the complete list and full article HERE)

And by the way, when it comes to spiders. I’d rather go give a big speech!

Too Much Communication

manymediaAll of us wrangle ‘information overload’ but that’s not exactly what I had in mind. I was struck by a story I read this week over at Linked In’s Best Advice column, written by Jon Whitmore, CEO of ACT:

In this tale of a young dean in the mid 90’s, Jon relates this good advice he got from a seasoned mentor.

You Can Never Have Too Much Good Communication. 

This simple advice led him from his sense of overwhelm,  to graph paper, and hopefully quickly to a spreadsheet, in order to map the relationships he needed to maintain, and the channels he had available to reach them.

Constant, clear, transparent communication: it’s never easy, but it will always be critical to your success as a leader.

The secret is to take ‘Too Much’ and turn it into ‘Good’: timely, intriguing, meaningful and in the right place.

TIMELY: Catch your audience when they are receptive, and when they can make the most use of the information.
INTRIGUING: Noticeable amid all the competition, well written and well designed.
MEANINGFUL: Inspires, solves a problem, creates good will, connects ideas or people in a new way, calls the reader to action.
OPTIMUM CHANNEL: Delivered via the right platform, vehicle, media, or network, and combination there of.

I’m reaching for my mental graph paper! You can see why a coordinated strategy is necessary; in order to consistently hit the right notes, there has to be a good plan.

I’ll have more to say about how to reach our audience in the weeks to come, and I’d love to hear your ideas about how you develop and refine your communications strategy. Please, chime in!

 

 

Design Leads Business

I wanted to cheer when I read this headline, and the list of guidelines within. For my entire career as a visual creative in business I’ve championed the subliminal power of design. Here is what we know is true:

Design is Changing the way Business Operates

PIETRO MICHELI

Companies like BMW, Alessi and Apple use design to differentiate their products, but design is not just for luxury goods and elite products. There is considerable evidence for it acting as a mechanism for business growth and innovation. But how do companies utilise design to innovate and boost their business performance?

In his report, Leading Business by Design, which will form the basis of the Design Council Summit at the British Museum on February 12, Pietro Micheli, Associate Professor of Organizational Performance at Warwick Business School, has identified key practices through which organisations in various industries are using design to attain maximum impact, and has made eight recommendations for companies looking to gain a competitive advantage through design. read more