Write the Theme Tune, Sing the Theme Tune

Dennis Waterman & Jeremy Rent
Originally uploaded by worzelz.

According to Kelly the Startup Princess, every brand/company needs a theme tune. Apart from making me laugh because the name of her blog is so cool … it reminded me of the IBM song. (Of course, the type that Seth Godin was discussing here is more about adopting an existing song rather than composing your own.)

I had been working at IBM for a while, and a colleague started telling me about growing up in the IBM family — his father being a long term IBMer. And the standout section of the story concerned the IBM song. What? I asked!

Yes indeed, there was an IBM song. And while he offered to dig it out of the family bookcases, the vinyl record (yes it WAS pressed) never surfaced. So any of you IBMers out there who have an MP3 they want to share … give me a shout.

When I think about it … it brings a new dimension to Mike Wagner’s "own your brand" approach — closer to compose your brand (only joking, Mike). But despite the ridicule factor that a corporate song can cause, many companies do have them. What about yours? Got a current or past corporate song you want to share? Perhaps we could rig up an online vote for the best ones.

I think I may just have a winner in my bottom drawer somewhere!


Oops … I Forgot It’s Not About Me!

Don’t Forget Me …
Originally uploaded by Dream Girl13.

You may already know that there have been some sensational discussions happening over at MarketingProfs this week. It has been a hotbed of discussion.

I have been battling a little with jetlag so have not really commented as much as I had wanted, but there has been plenty to think about with great posts by Ann, CK (congratulations CK on a great first post) and the prolific Lewis Green.

Mack looks towards the challenging future of digital music here. There is plenty to chew on … and many of the points raised can be equally applied to other industries.

If you have not contributed to these discussions as yet, then head on over and do so … the community is stronger when there are more voices and views contributing. It truly is a case of more is MORE.


Breast Cancer Awareness

Originally uploaded by The Rev Terry Guss.

The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on their site daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman.

It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on "fund free mammograms" for free (pink window in the middle).

It is not everyday that one simple action can change another person’s life — actually it is. And it is this simple.


Get Shouty

Originally uploaded by Evil_Kernels.

Just in case you thought the blogosphere was getting a little quiet, Katie has finally decided to go public. She has come up with a great name for her blog — Get Shouty — and it perfectly matches her personality (as you will see) and capacity for insight.

Never one to take a back seat, it is going to be fun seeing what takes her fancy — post-by-post. When you stop by and visit you will find a number of posts that she has been squirrelling away over the last few months … plenty to read and enjoy from day 1.

Enjoy the noise!


Authentic Beauty

You have probably all seen this video by now … it is getting massive play on YouTube. It shows how the standard processes that agencies use turn a "person" into a "model". Interestingly, the entire brand spirit/promise that has been articulated by Dove focuses around a sense of authenticity — or reality. So how does this type of expose affect our viewing of the brand? I am guessing that it won’t have a significant detrimental effect.

It reminds me of the difference between reality and performance — where a performance is only understood by its audience as "real" when it is larger in articulation both physically and emotionally. Actors and performers also use techniques to appear "real" … they over articulate words to make them sound clear, they extend their movements so that they appear "lifelike" and they apply makeup to help express emotion and engage with the audience. The importance is in articulating the story to your audience … the telling is part technique and part art.

Thanks to Stan for the link.

Opening the Door for Your Clients

Originally uploaded by clarice & ….

For those of us who were not able to make it across the ocean or country to see the newly famous David Armano’s presentations in New York or Boston, Ann Handley has kindly provided a great summation here.

As usual, it sounds like David was at his thought provoking best, working from personal insight through to practical methods for engaging your clients. As David’s own post explains, he wrapped up his presentation with three words — Empathy. Experience. Curiosity. — all of which came to him at the last minute.

I am particularly fascinated by the word "curiosity". This, to me, seems one of the chief roles of an agency … to ignite the curiosity of your client AND their customers. You do this by empathising (with both the client’s misapprehension of new media and the customers who join the conversation), and by dimensionalising the experience … providing many open doors from a single entry point.

Ann provides a nice step-by-step explanation of some of David’s points. In particular, she focuses on the steps that we all must take to help soothe the concerns of brand owners who are concerned at placing their brands in the hands of their consumers — the Five Bs:

  1. Be transparent — let your client and all the stakeholders know what they are signing up for
  2. Be prepared — what happens when things go REALLY good or really BAD
  3. Be honest — admit that you are new to it all too
  4. Be authentic — don’t provide a canned response
  5. Be diligent — watch what goes on in the community as it grows

Remember, it is all very well to open the door for your clients … but you also need to help them negotiate what they find inside.


Type for the Web

Typesettingkeys Perhaps it is my background as an editor, or perhaps it is my interest in words, but this great site on web typography is really a hit with me. I particularly like the explanation of em and en rules … you can probably see my double hyphens scattered throughout this site — they are my version of an em rule. When I first started doing some online editing, we used the double hyphen to denote em rules … and they would be automatically filtered by the typesetting system and replaced with proper em rules — just like this one!

Of course, to do this in typepad means editing the HTML and adding the code. But as I am a little lazy, I simply revert to my old methods.

But whether you are lazy or not, A List Apart is a great site for writers and editors who use the web. Thanks to Russell for the link (sorry Russell I lost the exact page).



Small Ideas Are Fast

I was reading Russell Davies’ blog as usual and came across this great post from June. I remember at the time of first reading that I loved the title "The Tyranny of the Big Idea" as it seemed to capture the strange attraction we all have with "big ideas", and how we stop and wait until one arrives.

One of the reasons I enjoy blogging is that it allows you to start with a small idea. You can explore and create episodically. You can jump from one idea to the next and you can link out to other people and their ideas effortlessly. And the more you blog, the more that ideas and stories begin to coalesce. And as you follow the links, you come face-to-face with emotions, habits and brands. And importantly, you come up close to people … because it is clear, in blogging, that you are dealing with an individual. As Russell says, it is not about big ideas …

This isn’t about phrase-making. It’s not about the actual words, it’s the bundle of ideas, activities, history, products, people, attitudes, emotions, habits that the words represent.

And as usual, Russell gives away a secret. He generously gives us some insight about HOW you can work with ideas in this context. There are five steps to get started:

  1. Start doing stuff
  2. Look for patterns that emerge
  3. Try not to write too much
  4. Don’t be media neutral
  5. Something else …

My favourites are "start doing stuff" and "look for patterns that emerge". The important thing to remember is that small ideas are fast … they are fast to devise and work with, they are fast to get to market and they are quick to show returns. And the good thing, if they aren’t living up to expectations, then you can manage, modify and move them. And because they don’t take 12 months to work through and execute, you don’t need to run through research because you run it through your ACTUAL market.

Of course, the first thing to do is to let go of the big idea. Sure there is a tyranny … but there is also a level of addiction. We are drawn to the power of the big idea … now we just need to refocus and find a love of FAST.

Remarkable Chicago

It was warm when I left Sydney. A friend did suggest that I pack for snow … but really, it is October, and even Chicago does not have snow in October.

Coming from a country where snow is rare means that any snowfall is miraculous. It also means that I have no idea how COLD snow makes things. Well, I know that snow is cold, but that knowledge does not have an innate connection to understanding. So, sitting in an office on the 21st floor, I was watching with wonder at the clouds closing in (yes Mr Armano … even snow clouds can be wonderous) … and then the wind hit and a flurry of snow slapped the windows. I laughed. It was great!

But then I had to go outside. The cold wind hit me like a fist. My light coat was no shield and I watched as the snow hit and melted into the fabric. I knew it was cold and I knew it was snowing … yet still I smiled at the unpredictable weather. I smiled also at my own willingness to suspend belief …

There are many things that we can “know” in this world. But if a message has to break through to us, it needs to work not only on the level of fact. It needs to work experientially. It has to thrill our senses. It has to give us goosebumps.

After all, we are all seekers of unexpected experiences. Whether it is a snow storm or something more manufactured, it is the experience of a moment that creates a memory. That is what is remarkable.


Flying visit

I am making an unexpected flying visit to Chicago. I am sitting in the plane ready to go … Knowing that I will be back in just a few days, it feels strange and chaotic. Of course, my last post was exactly about this sort of thing! So I am keeping my mind and senses open … And waiting to see what chaos ensues! S