Another Marketing Lesson from the Jazz World

Posted on August 29, 2010. Filed under: Communications, Entertainment, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Marketing, Public Relations Marketing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Read on to see why today’s tune is “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” from the new CD “Spiral” by Dr. Lonnie Smith. You can purchase it at your local music store or at www.palmetto-records.com.

As anyone who reads/listens to this blog knows, I’m blown away by jazz. Over the decades I’ve attended countless gigs, jams and festivals. I can’t remember one that wasn’t in some way joyful. Every once in awhile, though, a particular performance stands out from the rest for one reason or another.

Last weekend my darling Jeff surprised me with a Saturday night in New York City to hear the legendary Hammond B-3 organ player Dr. Lonnie Smith play tunes from his new album “Spiral”. Jeff knows I adore the gritty, soulful sound of the B-3 — a throwback to the fifties and sixties.

 "Dr Lonnie Liston Smith - Spiral"

Now, I’ve heard ‘The Doctor’ many times over the years playing with a who’s who of jazz greats. I knew I’d be in for a sweet hour of music. But this performance reached a particularly exciting level.

Why? The seasoned veteran rounded out a classic jazz organ trio with two incredible young side men – Jamire Williams on drums and Jonathan Kreisberg on guitar. The results of this collaboration across generations – both on the new CD and live — are stunning!

Dr. Smith brought to the stage his deep knowledge of jazz improvisation, and of its roots in gospel and the blues. Williams and Kreisberg brought the dexterity and stamina of youth – along with a bag of fresh ideas. They all brought open minds — the desire and ability to listen to each other with attention and respect.

I’ve never heard ‘The Doctor’ sound better! The huge grin on his face showed elation that the future of his beloved jazz will be bright. I hadn’t heard the other two musicians before, but they were obviously engaged in living up to the legend — and succeeded!

So what does this have to do with marketing? First of all, the battle-scarred B-3 and its ancient amplifier reminded me of the manual Underwood typewriter that was the instrument of my early creative writing. Even though I’ve turned it in for a computer, as a veteran counterpart in my own profession do I identify with Lonnie Smith? You bet!

He confirms the benefit of keeping one’s mind open to what’s new. Next month, for the second year, I’ll be attending the Inbound Marketing Summit near Boston. This event explores the evolution of marketing in our online world. There I’ll collaborate with and learn from the best young minds in marketing today. I’ll be listening attentively for new tools and ideas that I can combine with my experience and judgment to raise my work for clients to soaring new heights.

The marketing world has never been more exciting and I’ve never had more fun at my work. Part of the reason I’m writing this post is to use the lesson from jazz to inspire businesses to embrace the now and the future. Jump in and take a look at how the evolution of marketing technology can make your business more collaborative, creative and successful.

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Back on the Content Wagon

Posted on July 31, 2010. Filed under: Advertising, Communications, Content, Inbound Marketing, Internet Research, Internet Traffic, Jazz, Marketing, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Jeff, the love of my life, was practicing his drums this morning to this killer big band tune from George Benson’s Big Boss Band album – “Without a Song.” It struck a chord because content is the ‘song’ of a blog. Enjoy listening and read on for the relevance.

You may notice that it’s the last day of July and this is my first blog post of the month. My days have been full creating content for others and working on a couple of exciting new ecommerce sites that we’ll promote via a content marketing strategy. I, who am thoroughly convinced of the role consistent online content creation plays in business success, fell off the content wagon.

I only created one other piece of content under my own banner this month. It was ‘Working the Web’, the column I co-author for the Fairfield and Westchester County Business Journals with my web development/graphic design partner Bernadette Nelson of Studio B Visual Communication. Ironically the topic was “6 Tips for Getting Over the Content Hurdle.”

What resulted from the column has provided a huge reminder that for my business, content is job one. I’ll share the story, because it’s critical for your business, too.

The first tip in the column is that to begin creating useful content, it’s first necessary to buy in to the fact that this is an important business objective. To support that statement to the Business Journals’ small business audience, I went searching for some recent study data.

Thanks to Google, I found the stats I wanted in the Small Business Success Index, a study created by Network Solutions and the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. I quoted the study in the column.

Working the Web runs in the two Journals’ print editions and also on www.westfaironline.com. Yesterday, it posted online. Within hours, I received an email from Shashib Bellamkonda, Social Media Swami for Network Solutions."Shashi Bellamkonda of Network Solutions"

Remember that the reason this content making for the web works so well is that it’s searchable and findable by people with an interest in certain search terms. Obviously Shashi monitors the web to see where Network Solutions’ content is being disseminated. He found, read – and liked — the column that mentioned the NetSol study.

Shashi emailed to say ‘thanks’ for the mention – and to invite Bernadette and me to write a guest post for Network Solution’s www.growsmartbusiness.com blog. He also tweeted the url to the column to his almost 11,000 followers on Twitter – and is now following my tweets.

The takeaway: Well-made content created for a relatively local audience, once put online, can yield much farther-reaching connections and additional credibility for our businesses.

Given that blog posts are highly searchable and that I’m going to tag this one with his name and the study, Shashi will surely see it. So, thanks Shashi, for helping me get back onto the ‘content wagon’ and for a good idea for this post. Looking forward to writing one for you!!

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Welcome to the Promised Land: 7 Online Opportunities

Posted on June 28, 2010. Filed under: Communications, Inbound Marketing, Internet Traffic, Jazz, Marketing, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Today’s musical post is ‘Ac-Cent-Tchuate the Positive’ sung by its creator, the great American composer Harold Arlen in a rare recording. Hope it gets you in the mood to consider this:

The best way to move out of a recessionary mindset is to consider and embrace new opportunity. Projects I’ve been working on lately point up the many ways that today’s web has become a promised land of opportunity for businesses. Let me share a few.

  1. Get an edge on the competition. Several current clients are upgrading websites that were state of the art online brochures when they were built five or more years ago. Their owners have come to realize that these sites fail to deliver value in our Web 2.0 world. These clients are getting way ahead of many of their competitors who haven’t awoken to new online capabilities for driving business. They are breaking from the pack and gaining a competitive edge in the process.
  2. Become more relevant. A bit of keyword research can reveal the shocking reality that none of the words you’re using on your website correlate with how your prospects are searching for services like yours. Paying attention to your meta data – that behind the scenes code SEO stuff – can help them find you at last.
  3. Be a content hero. Once they finally find you in the promised land, those hungry searchers will reward you as they consume the delicious info manna you’ve prepared for them.
  4. Start a business or expand the one you have. The ease of launching eCommerce is a boon to the budding entrepreneurial spirit or to the bricks and mortar retailer looking for a way to expand without more bricks and mortar. It still takes smart strategic planning and excellent marketing, but technology has leveled the playing field for the mom and pop store.
  5. Defend your small bricks and mortar business against huge online competitors. This is the flip side of the #4 opportunity above. My SEO/PPC partner Dave Lostracco specializes in using online tools to help small businesses compete with the big boys. You don’t need as much traffic as they do because your overhead and business objectives are at a different level. You can rank for long tail search terms and get your fair share of online business.
  6. Become a good corporate neighbor. Social networking – the most vaunted aspect of online marketing these days — is about shared interests, shared concerns and shared solutions – ‘shared’ being the common adjective. The communities you build and nurture will help you to grow your business.
  7. Look great in your customers’ eyes. Business has never been more competitive. Put a few online tactics into your customer service tool kit. Servicing customer needs via Twitter tweets and other personally interactive methods can definitely win and keep friends.

 Take-away: Look at the online technology world as THE place to catapult your business into economic recovery!!!

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Hi. Who are you? 6 Steps to figuring it out.

Posted on April 26, 2010. Filed under: Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Marketing, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

As I think about breaking successful marketing down to its most basic elements, the playful Antonio Carlos Jobim song One Note Samba comes to mind. Follow the steps below and your marketing will also become much easier and more fun. Enjoy Ella Fitzgerald’s sunny interpretation accompanied by great musicians including Zoot Simms on sax, Clark Terry on trumpet, Toots Thielemans on harmonica and Joe Pass on guitar.

 

In my last post I brought up the unfortunate fact that businesses are embracing social media, blogs, online activities, without visiting the ABC’s of sound marketing communications. It’s easy to get swept up in the marketing tools of the moment. Facebook. Twitter. Search engine optimization. You’ve gotta be there.

Whoa!! Put on the brakes!! I am very concerned that marketing basics are being ignored as companies embrace the Web – to the detriment of results.

This post addresses the questions in the first outline topic from my last post. Subsequent posts will address the other outline points.

 Who are your audiences?

This is a question that many organizations don’t pay enough attention to. Years ago I made it the topic of a column for Internet.com and it’s still fresh today. Many companies identify their key audiences too narrowly — customers and prospects. Those are key audiences and for the Web you also need to give thought to them as Buyer Personae with specific characteristics and qualities that you can speak to/interact with.

In reality, the list can be much longer. This has never been truer than it is in today’s Web 2.0 world where you never know how business may come your way. Widen out your thinking to consider other audiences you might want to access/be accessible to: referrers/trusted advisors, friends and families, competitors (mergers and acquisitions anyone?), offline and online media outlets (especially influential bloggers), industry experts, funding organizations – and please don’t forget search engines!! Which other ones can you come up with?

What are your key messages?

If you take the time to identify the most important things audiences need to know to encourage them to interact with your company, it makes all of your communications much easier. These key messages may not be the ones you think of in-house. What you believe is important may have nothing to do with what will turn your audiences on. And the messages will certainly be different for various audiences. Here’s where surveys and good old fashioned one-to-one interviews or focus groups can play a critical role. Keep in mind that messaging can and should change with the changing times. For example if you market for a healthy, community bank that didn’t need to take TARP funds, you’d have done well to develop and communicate messages to this effect to keep existing clients and attract new ones in the banking emergency. So make key messaging an ongoing part of your marketing efforts.

How are you positioned relative to the competition and the marketplace as a whole?

If we stick with the example of the healthy community bank, above, it’s easy to see that, post-economic-meltdown, it had a terrific opportunity to increase its marketshare by recognizing and communicating its market positioning. “Our bank behaved independently and responsibly in support of our stated commitment to traditional fiscal values and our community. As a result, we continue to grow in our ability to provide the services you need.” That would likely attract some new depositors!

Understanding who we are, what we provide, how it compares with competitive offerings and how we meet the needs of our market is at the core of taking advantage of the evolving business scene.

Do you have a recognizable brand identity/personality and do you employ it consistently throughout your communications?

This one’s simple. If you haven’t already, invest in a strong visual symbol of your company. Or take a hard look at your existing logo and assess whether it’s time for an update. Use a professional designer who specializes in corporate identity. Be sure to view the designer’s portfolio to see if he or she has created logos for any companies you’re familiar with or in your industry.

In general it’s less costly to create a typeface treatment of your company name than a separate symbol. Just the process involved in logo development can help you in your thinking about the points discussed earlier. It’s a good idea to establish some standards for how the identity will be used in various applications – print, the Web, etc. – notwithstanding the playful way that Google alters its logo on a consistent basis. They’re a unique case.

Do you have clear marketing objectives?

If not, answering these basic questions will help you see the possibilities for growing the business much more clearly. If you’ve already sat down to decide where you’re going, revisiting the basics will help you get there more quickly and more surely.

Revisit the above periodically.

I’m not just dishing out advice here. This act of thinking again about the marketing ABC’s has been as helpful to me as I hope it is to you. What do you include in your marketing basics?

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What’s Your Online Marketing Plan? A 4-step outline for success.

Posted on April 13, 2010. Filed under: Content, Inbound Marketing, Internet Research, Internet Traffic, Jazz, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Today’s musical post has nothing to do with the marketing post. It has to do with the most beautiful week of the year – and an admitted bout of Spring fever. Everything’s bursting out in bloom. This April is particularly enjoyable as signs of economic recovery are in the air. Enjoy Sarah Vaughan’s upbeat take on I’ll Remember April. You might have to listen and read separately. I’m having trouble multi-tasking on this one!

Lately I’ve been speaking with a number of companies who have jumped into the online marketing world. They have a website, a blog, a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account. Only one problem. They don’t have a plan.

Here’s a typical scenario. The website hasn’t been updated for a Web 2.0 world. It hasn’t been optimized for search engines, there’s no clear call to action or data capture point, there’s no shareable information and the site doesn’t necessarily reflect the personality of the business or the interests of its audiences.

The blog is a bunch of commercials or just offers links to other people’s industry information – and it isn’t connected to the website. The last post was six months ago. The Facebook page has exactly the same information as the homepage of the website. The Twitter account tweets occasionally about god knows what to who knows whom.

Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” So these businesses are definitely on the right track. They just need to figure out the other 20% – the basics. Here’s an outline to start you thinking.

  1. Marketing communications basics still count. First, ask and answer these questions:
    • Who are your audiences?
    • What are your key messages?
    • How are you positioned relative to the competition and the marketplace as a whole?
    • Do you have a recognizable brand identity/personality and do you employ it consistently throughout your communications?
    • Do you have clear marketing objectives?
  2. Start with your website and make it a functional hub for all of your online marketing communications.
    • Redesign to reflect your company’s character and meet defined objectives.
    • Identify the keywords/search terms for which you can realistically hope to rank with search engines.
    • Optimize your site and the content.
    • Make sure your content is updated regularly and includes your key messages, keywords and search terms.
    • Use a variety of content platforms – text, video, audio, PowerPoint, etc. 
    • Add analytics.
    • Make your site interactive.
    • Add a blog or connect the one you already have.
    • Add info-sharing capabilities.
  3. Select social media that make sense for your business by making sure that your key audiences are there.
  4. Integrate and leverage everything.

In future posts we’ll flesh these topics out. In the meantime — Smell the flowers!!!

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When NOT to Link it All Together

Posted on February 15, 2010. Filed under: Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

First, take this Musical Accompaniment Pop Quiz. Why did I select Carnaval in Rio by the incredible Brazilian composer/guitarist/vocalist Djavan? It’s a two-part answer that you can find at the end of the post. Hit the play button to listen. eMail subscribers, visit the blog to hear the tune.

Awhile back, via a tweet by Derek Peplau (@peplau), a member of my Twitter community who is passionate about indie music, I learned about blip.fm. In short, this is the music version of Twitter.

All members become ‘dj’s’ and can upload, search for and share – i.e. blip, or re-blip — tunes and DVD’s in just about every music category – along with a few words about each selection. You can follow your favorite dj’s and hopefully build your own group of listeners. If you’re reading this blog, then you can imagine that I made a beeline over to blip.fm and searched for the jazz devotees and some favorite tunes to blip.

First, I watched the action of some of the more experienced dj’s. I saw that when they were on blip, they shared an almost constant stream of terrific music. Really impressive, the musical knowledge and taste of this group! Prolific!!

Now, when I opened my blip.fm account, I had the option to link my blips to my Twitter and Facebook accounts. I held off until I got the lay of the land. Once I did, my decision was NOT to link up these accounts.

The reason was simple: My Twitter and Facebook communities are about other things — Inbound Marketing/Social Media and Family/Friends respectively. Even though the people who know me in all of my communities are aware that I am a huge music lover and that I ride on the back of a Harley with Jeff, the love of my life, they have their own passions and time is precious. I’m not about to fill up their Twitter streams or Facebook walls with 10 or 20 blips in an evening of music they may not necessarily want to hear.

In fact, as I thought about it, it occurred to me that although I enjoy his occasional tweet about something he’s listening to over at blip.fm and have discovered some cool new musicians and bands as a result, Derek isn’t tweeting his whole playlist either.

Although this follows a post that talks about how to link up and use an array of options to leverage your website hub in other online places frequented by your diverse constituents, this advice represents the other side of the coin. Here’s the take-away: we need to resist the temptation to link up all of our social networks. Just because it may be easy to accomplish with a click or two, there’s a thought process to go through to determine that whatever we share with a particular group will be welcome and add value.

If you’d like to, you can follow me or Derek on blip.fm! @elliebecker @peplau

Answers to Musical Accompaniment Pop Quiz:

  1. Carnaval in Rio is in full swing as I write this. So I’m in the mood. It ends tomorrow, Feb. 16, 2010.
  2. Djavan starts with DJ – a tribute to all of my fellow blip.fm dj’s! ;-}
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Buyer Personae, Meet Brand Personalities

Posted on February 12, 2010. Filed under: Advertising, Inbound Marketing, Internet Traffic, Jazz, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

To celebrate the end of the week and get us groovin’ into the weekend hit the play button for pianist Gene Harris’ version of ‘Put it Where You Want It’. More about why this selection at the end of the post. If you’re getting this by email – visit the blog to listen.

In inbound marketing we encourage clients to imagine their important audiences as Buyer Personae – individual types with particular qualities, characteristics and personality traits. Subsequent marketing to buyer personae becomes more focused and resonates more authentically with customers and prospects.

Lately, in consulting with a number of small and mid-sized businesses, I’ve started formulating some thoughts about Brand Personalities. Beyond the visual identities/logos, and overarching brand promises/values that marketers work hard to put forth with consistency, brands have personalities.

Like humans, brand personalities are comprised of a variety of traits and behaviors that can and should be displayed appropriately depending upon the audience, the interaction and the venue.

A brand may be dead serious about R&D and product safety. It may be playful in marketing promotions and intellectually curious in establishing thought leadership. It might be daring – or risk averse. It could be an advocate for its employees and a kind neighbor that gives back through voluntarism or philanthropy. It could be a no-nonsense negotiator in protecting investor value.

Companies need to consider their own personality traits when establishing their online presence. The array of social media and Web 2.0 tools offer ample opportunity to share various brand personality attributes in different ways.

For example, a firm’s website might present its most formal face to the general array of possible visitors: prospects, customers, referral sources, prospective funders, industry analysts, media, etc. There might be a calendar page listing upcoming events, speaking engagements and so forth. There might also be a page where the company’s philosophy of community involvement is described. Other pages would present products and services.

Offsite tools can make the personality traits associated with each aspect of your company and its activities come alive. Put the photos from a recent speaking engagement or community service event on Facebook, tagging noted guests, officials and employees. You can also share fan-only promotions, offers and contests there.

Post PowerPoint decks from analyst briefings on Linked In and solicit comments and questions. Share comments that highlight your understanding of your business on blogs and sites that cover your industry.

Use Twitter to tap into issues of importance to your key audiences, then comment, showing concern as well as expertise and sharing information that adds value to the conversation. Leverage your brand’s knowledge base on your blog, sharing insights from employees in various roles and commenting on industry developments, company issues, and customer concerns.

Regardless of the venue, link every part of your online presence to every other part so that over time those who engage with your company will get a fully rounded picture of your rich and diverse brand personality.

I chose the Gene Harris tune ‘Put It Where You Want It’ from his album Alley Cats for two reasons. First, the album notes say, “Soulful, bluesy, swingin’, hard-bopping, funky – which of these best describes the two-fisted jazz piano stylings of Gene Harris? Answer: All of them!!” So it is with multi-faceted brand personalities. And, second, you can take the online content that best represents each aspect of your brand and – you guessed it – put it where you want it! Enjoy and see you soon!!

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Take-away From Toyota’s Woes: Smaller Can Be Better

Posted on February 5, 2010. Filed under: Crisis Management, Crisis Response, Jazz, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Please click the audio player right below for today’s tune — Duke Ellington playing Lotus Blossom — and see end of post to learn why I chose it. For email subscribers, please visit the blog to listen.

The largest company in the country that gave birth to the notion of ‘falling on one’s sword’ just gave itself a belated slap on the wrist for the results of abandoning its brand commitment to quality. Toyota president Akio Toyoda finally spoke formally about the company’s woes at a press conference today.

He apologized to consumers and shareholders and vowed that Toyota would refocus on quality, which has suffered — apparently since Toyota’s strategic decision to become the world’s largest motor company. The #1 spot didn’t do General Motors very much good from the standpoint of innovation and quality. It did indeed lose top billing to Toyota, which, ironically, has now dropped to #2 behind Volkswagen-Porsche – the result of global recession production pullbacks.

According to reporting in the New York Times, Mr. Toyoda said, “I deeply regret that I caused concern among so many people. We will do our utmost to regain the trust of our customers.”

He said that he hoped to restore Toyota to profitability and help revitalize the economy of Japan, but he would put restoring trust above profits. That makes sense. If trust is restored, profits will follow.

After reading the Times account, I decided to mosey around the Social Web a bit to see what people are saying and to check what Toyota is doing online to help turn around the situation.

On the Toyota Facebook page, there was a scary war of words going on among some of its more than 70,000 fans. Brand loyalists were chastising those who were concerned or angry about quality issues – even folks who had actually experienced serious accidents as a result of sudden acceleration.

Particularly heated were comments from a few fans with a political agenda who were putting forth the notion that the US government is pursuing the Toyota situation in an attempt to help GM return to the dubious status of ‘world’s largest.’ They must not have read Japan’s transport minister’s remarks, that he suspects Toyota delayed too long, putting profits before safety.

On Twitter, there were far fewer positive comments about Toyota and far more criticism of its delays and its departure from its quality ethic. However it was on Twitter that I found a link to Digg’s announcement that this coming Monday Jim Lentz, President and Chief Operating Officer of Toyota Motor Sales, USA will take part in a Digg Dialogg.

Members of the Digg community are posting questions for Mr. Lentz and he will be asked to answer the ones most-voted-on between now and then. I took the opportunity to ask a question about whether the drop in quality standards would cause Toyota to retreat from the “Let’s be the largest” strategy.

Personally, I’ve never believed that bigger is better. I’ve seen too many tiny client companies make incredibly valuable contributions to the world, their customers and their employees. It’s great to grow and achieve efficiencies and economies of scale, but it’s also critical to have open eyes about what might be lost along the way. If I thought I might lose the very values that define my brand, I’d definitely choose to keep it small. Thanks for the reminder, Toyota.

 Today you’re listening to Duke Ellington playing Billy Strayhorn’s haunting tune Lotus Blossom. A song inspired by this iconic image of Eastern culture seems a fitting homage to Toyota and Japan. Out of curiosity, I just googled Lotus Blossom Symbolism. A result from WikiAnswers® informs me that the Lotus Blossom is a symbol of having come through a hard time, on the way to better times. The lotus begins its life in the muck and mud of swamps and works its way through the water to become a thing of beauty floating on the surface in rarified air. Wow! How perfect is that? Toyota, may you be a lotus blossom.

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‘Getting’ Twitter – An Aha! Moment

Posted on January 12, 2010. Filed under: Inbound Marketing, Internet Research, Internet Traffic, Jazz, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Click the audio player!

Last week I was speaking with my longtime friend and colleague Keith Reynolds — a career-long technology guy who is now in the radiation security business. We were discussing a presentation I’m giving to the Stamford Cell of the Connecticut Technology Council Innovation Group with my graphic/web design partner Bernadette Nelson of Studio B/Visual Communication.

Not surprisingly, she and I had proposed the topic Re-Thinking Your Website: Tips for Making it a Business Magnet Using Web 2.0 Tools. Keith, who chairs the group, asked if it would be better to make it a talk about using Twitter, something he was particularly interested in and had made a New Year’s resolution to learn more about and implement.

I explained that Twitter is just one of many inbound marketing tools for engaging with audiences online and that it would be interesting for the group to hear about the bigger picture. Everyone’s talking about Social Media and Twitter, but it’s important to understand the context into which they may or may not fit – depending upon individual company goals.

 Keith persisted, saying that he didn’t really ‘get’ Twitter. How does it work? Why is it important? What does it do for you? He had opened an account but hadn’t yet jumped in.

 I decided to be a good friend and take the opportunity to offer Keith a little demonstration of Twitter’s powerful searchability and the access it gives to online communities that are already interested in what you’re offering – and who can share their helpful information and experience in return.

 After a few minutes of playing with keywords in Twitter Search, we typed in ‘Radiation Safety’ and were rewarded with a rich Twitter stream being produced by people discussing the topic. There were a number, to be sure, who were worrying about radiation danger from new airport screening machines. But there were also radiation security professionals and people from companies that put their employees through radiation safety courses and are concerned with security for a variety of reasons.

 Aha! There they were. A community of people who can benefit from Keith’s expertise and services.  But how, he asked, could he get involved with this group?

We noted the hashtags – for the uninitiated, a keyword phrase preceded by a # sign that helps track specific topics – in some of the community’s tweets. Keith is now keeping up on comments among the group and following certain leaders he’s identifying. When he attends an industry conference later in the month, he’s going to live tweet gems of information and include the hashtags we identified so they’ll find their way to his Twitter community, providing value to the group. He’s also deciding what free app he’ll use to manage his Twitter streams – TweetDeck or Seesmic Desktop.

At the end of the presentation next week, we’re going to share Keith’s Twitter Aha Moment and begin an experiment to see if and how his activity on Twitter contributes to business success. Will keep you posted!

I remember my Twitter Aha Moment – when a Friday afternoon tweet about enjoying the weekend fall weather on a Harley got me found by several Harley Davidson enthusiasts and organizations within a few hours. Do you remember yours?

 In honor of Bernadette’s and my collaboration and the Innovation Cell, enjoy the tune “What’s New?” from the Carmen McRae-Betty Carter Duets live album. Hope B and I are a fraction as entertaining together as these two!! See you soon!!

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Tiger: Sad to Say

Posted on December 14, 2009. Filed under: Crisis Management, Crisis Response, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

This is a follow-up to my last blog post, Tiger Woods: A Social Media Perspective. I just watched yet another one of Tiger’s self-proclaimed ‘romantic interests’ interviewed on a national morning show, which got my Monday off to a pretty depressing start. Click on the music player to listen to an apt accompaniment, jazz saxophonist/composer Benny Golson’s poignant tune, Sad To Say.

Early on in what we now see as an ‘unraveling of the Woods brand’ his response to an emerging sex scandal appeared authentic based on his past history. It was my feeling that it would be his golf fans who would pull him out of this career ditch and that he would do well to further connect with them on social media. As he works to rehabilitate himself with his family and sponsors, this admittedly unsolicited advice could be even more significant.

Here’s why I think so. The central factor in this whole unhappy scenario is rebuilding trust. First and foremost, Tiger Woods broke trust with his wife and children through serial marital infidelity. The love of my life, Jeff Levine, is a talented and skilled psychotherapist who treats relationship issues including infidelity and sexual addiction. We’ve discussed this problem many times in the past few years as one politician or celebrity after another has offered emotional apologies, hied off to rehab or been out-and-out dumped by wronged spouses for similar behavior. I’ve learned from Jeff that overcoming the personality traits that cause people to flee from true intimacy/commitment to others and act out sexually can take many years. Sometimes the marital relationships survive and sometimes they don’t.

Business relationships can be easier to repair if monetary objectives remain aligned and public relations issues are overcome. But there’s a sense of coldness that’s emerged about Tiger Woods in all of this. From pre-nups to high-powered law firms retained to keep indiscretions out of the media to speculation about pay-offs to women for their silence, there’s a sickening quality to how Woods has used the wealth garnered through the mastery of his sport. What we wish to perceive as wholesome has somehow resulted in immoral license.

In what may be a helpful sign for the next phase of Tiger’s crisis, the Twitter stream has slowed long enough that I was able to capture a link to a post from Australian blogger Brian Giesen that presents a Nielsen Online Brand Association Mapping comparison of Brand Tiger before and after. I re-tweeted it and here it is again for all of you interested in marketing geekdom.

When I mentioned, above, who Tiger needs to rehabilitate himself with, I left out his fans. As I perused the #TigerWoods Twitter feed in the past few days, it’s the golf fans who are sticking by their man. They continue to focus on the best of him – his singular athletic ability – and to wish him well. It would be nice if he could summon some personal warmth and turn it toward them. The social Web giveth and it taketh away. It could also serve as a human laboratory for Tiger to learn how to assess, build and keep trust.

Although it’s written in a minor key, today’s tune resolves to a major, providing a hopeful sound. In addition to composer Golson on tenor sax, Art Farmer plays magnificent flugelhorn, Curtis Fuller is on trombone, Mickey Tucker on Piano, Ray Drummond on bass and Marvin “Smitty” Smith on drums. The album is titled The Jazztet – Real Time.

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