Everyone had a camera by miss_rogue, on Flickr

What does “US NOW” mean for brands?

As one that is always on the for great documentaries, I’m always glad to make a new find. In the category of social media documentary, I have a few favorites: We Live in Public (link to my post from 2012) Page One: Inside the New York Times PressPlayPause This semester I came across strands of this social media documentary produced by Banyak Films in 2009 called Us Now. I say strands because the once vibrant link culture around the films is now broken and incomplete. Anyway, I watched the film as a possible “kick off” for the spring digital media marketing class, and fortunately, it is available in its entirety online if you want to give it a watch. Us Now from Banyak Films on Vimeo. The Shift This social media documentary explores some of the real issues originally presented in the firehose of factoids from the original “Shift Happens”…

Permission to Disrupt

    You have permission to ask dumb questions. You have permission to push a square peg into a round hole. You have permission to resist everything that is telling you otherwise. You have permission to disrupt.   If you don’t disrupt, dumb things happen You may have seen some variation of this story on the web. “This old boy down home” His wife sent him to the store for a ham. After he bought it, she asked him why he didn’t have the butcher cut off the end of the ham. “This old boy” asked his wife why she wanted the end cut off. She replied that her mother had always done it that way and that was reason enough for her. Since the wife’s mother was visiting, they asked her why she always cut off the end of the ham. Mother replied that this was the way her…

Building a Social Media Strategy [Updated Jan. 2013]

In my digital media class, we have been working through the often theoretical foundation of building a social media strategy. Starting with Cluetrain Manifesto, which changed several student’s perspective of the power and use of social media by empowering consumers and having companies enter the conversation. Written in 1999, this book is certainly forward looking to the way the social web should work. Then we built on that foundation with Here Comes Everybody. Written nearly ten years after Cluetrain, this book offers a retrospective as to how different technologies have been executed. One of my students did a nice job of pulling out a few of the nuggets. Now, we are reading Groundswell, which for good reason, is part of the canon of digital marketing strategy. Groundswell is definitely one of my favorite reads, and while it is dated by about 5 years, the focus and approach is still as…

Forget the Marketing Smoke and Mirrors…Just Give Me the Mirror

Don’t get me wrong, smoke and mirrors made P.T. Barnum a fortune. The Greatest “Show” on Earth was indeed a brilliant show, but what he created was a “show.” Magicians and showmen allow the audience to see only what they want them to see. That’s what makes it a show. I tell my clients, “if I do my job well, then marketing is easy…it will be simply holding up a mirror to your organization and reflecting it to the world.” That phrase strikes fear in the hearts of some and surprise in the minds of others as they process the reality of transparency. Organizations often want to smoke out the areas of the company that they want to hide from the world and “advertise” the aspects of their business that they want the world to “buy.” This point is well illustrated in the twenty-eighth thesis of the Cluetrain Manifesto. Most…

What’s Your Keystone Habit?

I fell in love, almost immediately, with the words of Charles Duhigg in the Power of Habit–even though I felt a bit like I was cheating on Malcolm Gladwell. I’m sure he’ll get over it. If you haven’t checked out the book, do it now. Here’s a little nutshell video about the habit loop: Anyway, there’s one story that I use quite often during strategic planning sessions: When Paul O’Neill took over as CEO, the relationship between managers and employees had long been fraught — some 15,000 workers had recently gone on strike. “When he first got hired, everyone expected him to come in and say, ‘I’m going to concentrate on profits and efficiency and making people work harder.’ But instead what he said was, ‘My No. 1 priority is transforming worker safety habits within this company, so that we have zero injuries’ — which is a big deal in…

What’s Up With “Why?”

I spend several days a month facilitating retreats in high intensity, high energy rooms with executives of my clients’ organizations getting to the “core” of their business. Jim Collins pioneered much of this work of Core Purpose, Core Values, and Brand Promise in his 2001 book Good to Great. While others over the years have built on the foundations built by Collins, the basis of building an organizations core ideology has remained relatively unchanged. Over the past few weeks, I read Simon Sinek’s Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. While Sinek points at many of the same basic tenets as Collins, the ease of his explanation, works very well to explain the need for the core purpose, or as he says “the why.” Take a few minutes to see Sinek’s TED talk.

Coaching: Understanding Perfect “if only” Execution

I was thinking about Pat Head Summit, the ladies basketball coach for University of Tennessee, this afternoon and how her goal of the team is perfect execution of the plays. And you’re welcome for stating the obvious, but this really sank in today in a very different way than ever before. I view coaches as motivators, recruiters, promoters, but I have never really thought of them as visionaries of perfect execution. In this sense, the coach may think “if only…player A runs down the left side of the court and player B dribbles to the defender and player C follows behind player D, etc. then we will score..” However, often in business we toil away with so many of the tactics that the “if only” strategy is seldom considered. Especially in small business/entrepreneurial situations, we spend all of our energy acting and very little thinking, which reminds me of an…

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