March 1st, 2013
Experience has shown us how easy it is for organisations to become so caught up in the “minutiae” of social media, that losing sight of the Holy Grail – brand awareness – can sometimes be the result. We spend enough time in cyber space to be acutely aware of the level of “social” noise out there. We witness organisations big and small, vying for the attention of their target markets, implementing ever-evolving creative strategies to capture their hearts and imaginations.
Intimidated or overwhelmed by social cyber space, some organisations overthink their strategies to glory and then sit staring bemused at their stagnant Facebook insights from the last month. Others back away entirely, preferring to run for the hills and watch the show from afar than pirouette into the lions den for a piece of the action.
Certainly, social cyber space is one big hustle, and it’s no secret it’s getting busier daily. But what organisations mustn’t forget is the same basic principals always apply, no matter how dazzling they make the fireworks display. For social media to work its magic – and you’ve heard this countless times before – it all comes down to engagement. It isn’t rocket science, and it isn’t an uncharted new realm of “cyber human psychology”. Sure, consumers are cyber savvy, but they’re not space cadets – you can bet your bottom dollar the one thing that will always turn them on is quality content.
Whether you’re Coca Cola or the local doctor, if you’ve taken the step of using social media, you’re doing it so more people will hear about you, or else the bandwagon just isn’t worth the ride. It’s completely intuitive (when you think about it) to give yourself the best chance of getting people talking about you, you must provide them with content they care about.
Think of it this way, it’s just the old fashioned word-of-mouth (on speed). Just because it’s done behind a computer screen or shared via mobile, doesn’t mean the same basic social rules don’t apply – it’s just made the process a lot quicker, freer and easier. We’ve all met people with different interests, who can talk like spitfires and fail to sound out their targets before assaulting them with useless information. The result? We either tune out, make an excuse to leave, or endure the onslaught and avoid them at all costs from that day forward.
The same rules apply in social media– we pull away from brands that bombard us with redundant material because they fail to understand what we want or haven’t invested time in accurately pinpointing their target market. Don’t feel like you need to create the next Ben & Jerry’s or DKNY Instagram campaign, just distinguish who it is you’re trying to reach, know how to speak to them and take time to “get” them. Once you nail it, sit back, relax and watch the engagement begin. And the best part about online W-O-M? Rather than just being your regular coffee date, there are flies on the wall, hundreds of them, with lots of friends. One conversation can ricochet off into cyberspace and reach thousand likeminded peers with the click of a button.
Think of it like a dinner party. If you were trying to win popularity among strangers you wouldn’t host them in the tool shed and serve up Weet-Bix and apple juice, you’d bust out the foie gras and French Champagne and entertain them in the best space in the house. Your goal would be to have them walk away not just thinking “wowee, that was bloody delightful”, but you also want them telling their friends about what a great host you were. The same rules apply on social media – always give them what they want and they will lead you to the Holy Grail – brand awareness – by starting their own conversations about you.
It’s wonderful your 20 guests now think highly of you (first step), but if your goal is to have more people who like dinner parties hearing about your prowess, you need to rely on those guests to spread the word. It’s also not ideal you having to constantly walk the streets telling strangers “hi, people think I host great dinner parties, please read my dinner party hand-book.” The way to really get the town buzzing is to have the guests of your last soirée do your “marketing” for you. When it’s coming from a source without an agenda, others are more likely to buy into it and ask for an invitation – in cyber world this means user-generated content, power to the people! That’s how you drive awareness of your fabulous dinner parties, the same rules apply on social media.
At the same time, when you host the dinner party think of yourself as Edgerank – he’s the host you want to impress on Facebook that decides who and what does and doesn’t show up in the newsfeed (or at the dinner table). This means you’ll be keeping your eyes and ears open to the guests in the room bringing quality conversation and great stories to the table, the ones who get the other guests excited and conversing. These are the people we all want at our dinner parties. You definitely won’t be inviting back the slimy or straight laced salesman who tried to sell a pyramid scheme to your colourful, valued guests. You want them to have a great time and spread the world, so you’ll be inclined to blacklist those who ruin the experience for everyone else. Always remember, the same rules apply on social media!
February 1st, 2013
Where did January go?
As one of my learned colleagues mused this morning, “before we know it, it will be time for the KDPR Christmas party again”. I think that’s a sign we do festive well around here. It is about this time every year many people start to doubt their ability to follow through on their resolutions, their big plans for the next nine months. Don’t even suggest it is a 12 month plan, we all know that in Oz it’s all over for the year from Melbourne Cup Day.
For many, this year will be the one for conquering the digital media landscape; for finally getting a grip on the many and varied social media platforms available both personally and professionally. For facing up to the need for a corporate online strategy, integrated across the digital world. There are a very few companies that would not benefit from a digital strategy, let alone need one to maintain and protect their corporate reputations.
And there is another trend I am witnessing as being top of the pops for corporate development this year, and it is as far removed from technology as possible. And that is a keen desire to gain confidence in public speaking, whether it’s in the boardroom, on stage or on camera. I always quote Jerry Seinfeld in my presentation training workshops, who observed that speaking in front of a crowd is considered the number one fear of the average person. And number two was death! “That means to the average person if you have to be at a funeral, you would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
How true for so many people, but it really doesn’t have to be that way. With the tools for developing a powerful speech structure, and some coaching to get the best out of your own style, speeches can be something you actually look forward to. Apart from being a key corporate skill, being able to pull out a cracker speech without notice at a Wedding or birthday, is also a great thing.
And given how competitive it is for business out there, and the fact that it is how you say it not what you say that counts, it’s hardly surprising the gift of the gab is on everyone’s wish list for 2013.
November 16th, 2011
Getting a kick out of word play
Words, for me, are an aphrodisiac. Delicious. Luminous. Intoxicating.
How joyous then it is to be working in a field where language is at the very heart of what we do. This is not to say that corporate communications is always about the language of love, but there is unquestionably an irresistible rhythm that kicks in when the words flow to help clients tell their stories.
I have just come out of one of our regular creative brainstorming sessions, chalk-boarding ideas for a client’s rebrand. What a wonderful language we have, so many words with so many subtle distinctions of meaning. Words that conjure up feelings and emotion and that inspire and challenge.
And yet, how easy it is to have words misconstrued, especially the written word, in a text or an email. How critical it is to choose the right words? Ones that truly resonate with your audience.
It got me thinking about some of my favourite words that say everything you need them to, some of them well overdue for a revival.
Shemozzle. How good is that word? “It’s a bit of a shemozzle this party isn’t it?” Not a complete disaster. Not necessarily a flop, just a bit all over the shop, a shemozzle. Let’s bring back classic Australian words snazzy and frock, and while we’re at it, let’s pack ports not suitcases, take smokos, and tee up a pash.
I love the words divinity, bespoke, sublime and sundown. Munch and crunch. Bespoke and birdsong. Resilience and ambience.
And borrowed from the French, the original language of love: soiree, charade, protégé, formidable.
Frank Sinatra crooned that he “gets no kick from champagne”. For me, I get a kick out of wordplay, a clever turn of phrase, a little alliteration . And possibly a Sancerre at sundown.
September 21st, 2011
September 7th, 2011
James Surowiecki: The moment when social media became news
James Surowiecki pinpoints the moment when social media became an equal player in the world of news-gathering: the 2005 tsunami, when YouTube video, blogs, IMs and txts carried the news and preserved moving personal stories from the tragedy.
September 5th, 2011
The Truth Hurts
From small businesses to the largest corporations, managing a consistent and reliable image to staff, clients and customers is paramount.
All of your key stakeholders need to know who you are and what you stand for, in order to maintain a relationship of trust.
And while you will often be communicating a myriad of messages at any given time, the key is ensuring there is a consistent corporate message underpinning those.
Three questions to ask are:
1/ Do you have a corporate tagline that encapsulates key messages about your organisation?
2/ Is there an established language style applied to all external communications?
3/ How robust is your brand and its application? Do you have brand protocols for how the logo can and cannot be used in printed communication and online / email communication?
Organisations that have grown quickly are often the ones that benefit from a comms audit, to bring everything into line. Sometimes the truth hurts, when you discover the inconsistencies that creep in. But it's worth it when you end up with coordinated, dynamic communications that reassures everyone why you are worth doing business with.