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Showing posts from November, 2009

Subverting the marketers of evil things

Like many Americans I've been spending time with family and friends
these holidays, shopping the Thanksgiving sales, seeing a movie,
watching some interesting TV. And though I try not to think about work
stuff too much, I am always in the end a marketer, and I often process
what I see through the lens of "what can this teach me?" At the same time, I also tend to reflect on what I see through the
lens of right and wrong, or at least my personal beliefs about that.
And though I don't believe in being preachy, when I see what to me are
"bad" products being marketed extrarodinarily well, I tend to think
about how I'd love to launch my own marketing campaign to put them out of business, or at least minimize them to a small corner of the market. A big example is fast food and the sugary beverages that go with them.
Now, let me be the first one to say that I am no purist when it comes
to food. (Try to take away my french fries and you will definitely
emerge with some b…

Branding and Social Media: “I Now Pronounce You Man and Wife”

Over the past several years, with the explosion of freely available social media tools and the corresponding increase in the public’s use of these, I’ve become more and more consumed with a central challenge that social media presents to branding. Specifically, with these two disciplines we have two seemingly opposing rules of communication at work. Let’s put them in Ten Commandments form, since they are so important:

1. “Thou shalt communicate consistently.”

2. “Thou shalt communicate authentically (and increasingly, support authentic and transparent feedback to you from your customers).”

In the “olden” days (for me the “olden” days are roughly 2007, before I started actively studying and engaging in social media myself) simply obeying rule #1 was enough, and even that was tough, for two reasons.

--First, companies didn’t have a handle on all the touchpoints between themselves and the public that had to be controlled in order to create a consistent image. They understood that the ads…

Dealing with social media users' inner conflict re: sponsored content

I wrote this comment in response to an article written by Marian Salzman, President, Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, North America. (Transparency note: I worked for Marian a decade ago as VP and Editorial Director of the Intelligence Factory, she introduced me to branding, and I consider her a genius.)It's called "How Should Marketers Use Social Media Now?", and it is aimed at marketers, not government folks implementing social media, of which I am one.

Nevertheless, I think the article is still of interest to us in the government community, not just to private sector marketing firms, because it provides some research-based insight into how people actually use social media. If the government is going to use social media to reach the public, then it is better to develop fact-based strategies for doing so rather than a shotgun, based-on-a-whim approach that may win big or fail miserably depending on mostly pure luck.

As far as my comments go, they are really aimed at anyone who is t…

With trust ratings like these, why are leaders still talking?

According to a new study (the "2009 National Leadership Index") released by Harvard's Kennedy School, 52% of Americans mistrust what leaders in the federal government say.

This suggests a serious problem, no?

For in order to lead effectively, you have to have the trust of the people you serve.

At the very least, when you say something they should believe you.

Maybe it's time for government leaders to start listening more, rather than focusing so much on what it is that they want to say.

Something to keep in mind when developing social media tools...ask the question of how the tool will facilitate citizen engagement, or at least a conversation, rather than just providing a new and shiny kind of microphone.

Why “The Biggest Loser” in Government Is Actually The Biggest Winner

The Federal Times covers today’s Gallup event announcing the results of a survey they did this summer on citizens’ perceptions of the federal government.

I was fortunate to be there today when Gallup released the important findings and hosted an equally vital discussion about them. It was a rare opportunity to hear directly from an impressive panel of thought leaders, including Jim Clifton, the CEO of Gallup; the editor-in-chief of the Gallup Poll, Frank Newport (who was instantly recognizable from his presence on CNN), the president of the Partnership for Public Service, Max Stier; and Patricia McGinnis, a Georgetown professor who is also a White House advisor. The head of the Gallup Government Practice, Bernadine Karunaratne, led and moderated the event and was also very well-spoken.

It was also nice to be among other dedicated federal employees at this event. Their questions showed a great deal of genuine commitment and an obvious desire to improve how their agencies work. Americans…

My Top 10 Picks from the New "Cluetrain Manifesto" for Gov 2.0

Writing for the Social Computing Journal, Steve Radick, offers "Twenty Theses for Government 2.0, Cluetrain Style"

Here are my favorites:

1. Every agency can use social media - no exception."Your Government agency/organization/group/branch/division is not unique. You do not work in a place that just can't just use social media because your data is too sensitive. You do not work in an environment where social media will never work. Your challenges, while unique to you, are not unique to the government."

2. Expect to confront skeptics, careerists, and other difficult people."You will work with skeptics and other people who want to see social media fail because the transparency and authenticity will expose their weaknesses (and) you will work with people who want to get involved with social media for all the wrong reasons...These people will be more dangerous to your efforts than the biggest skeptic."

3. Look inside the organization for expertise first."…