Connected: The Film (sneak preview)

What does it mean to be living in a hyperconnected world? How is it changing the way we communicate, relate, work and consume – and what impact is this having on our wellbeing, and that of the planet around us?

If you are in Melbourne on September 8, you have the opportunity to attend a sneak preview of Connected – one of 2011’s most eagerly awaited films – with three very special guest panelists, including Annalie Killian, Head of Innovation at AMP and producer of AMPlify Festival.

Presented by Gathering ’11 host David Hood, with the support of the AMPlify Festival and RMIT SEEDS, it’s bound to be a fantastic evening. Book tickets here while you can!

The Brand Book – a Curiosity or Indispensible Guide

Brand books and style guidelines are curious beasts. In a way, they hark back to a time where brands operated in a strange ether – halfway between the world of business and consumer. They told us what the business wanted the brand to be.

Skittles Brand Book

Of course, they were often a great way to get up to speed for new people brought into the marketing team – or the agency. A good brand book (if one was to actually read and absorb it) was, in this way, invaluable.

But things have changed a great deal since I first saw my first brand book (funnily enough I think it was for IBM). If a brand really is in the hands, minds and conversations of your customers (or other stakeholders), what is the role of the brand book? Should it go beyond design and aspiration? Should it help to set the tone for brand engagement and conversation? And should it even be a “book”?

I’m not asking because I have the answers. I just have the questions. And I think that there’s much we need to revisit from a branding perspective. It seems that social media provided some new opportunities for brands and for branding, but we’ve only really scraped the surface. And in some cases, we coming full circle – using social media as broadcast rather than as a competitive differentiator.

Maybe we need to start with the brand book itself. Otherwise it’s just a curiosity – a remnant from a bygone era rather than an indispensible guide for maintaining relevance with our customers.

Saying is Momentary, Doing is Forever

WalkersTalkersStalkersBaulkers Over the past couple of weeks I have been doing workshops and talks and entertaining people with what I call “the magic quadrant of getting shit done”. It’s this chart of “walkers, talkers, stalkers and baulkers” – the four basic behaviours that people exhibit when presented with some kind of change.

This tends to get people talking – which is great. But more importantly, it provides us with a shared language. It helps us identify, from a 1000ft point of view, what is happening for the people who are involved in our projects – and allows us to name a behaviour. It allows us to identify individuals and then develop a plan to shift their behaviour (or to amplify their best efforts as appropriate).

Now, changing someone’s behaviour is never easy. It requires focus and commitment (from you). It requires a plan and often a great deal of time (also from you). Remember, the person, the organisation or the brand you are trying to change has little incentive to change – so the onus is on you.

While I have worked in marketing for years, most of what I actually do comes from the world of corporate “change management”. It just so happens that brands and branding are a great way of curating an ongoing narrative about change. I learned this early on and continue to bring this into every strategy I produce and every tactic that I use.

When I was recently asked about the difference between “talkers” and “walkers”, I realised that sometimes the talkers actually think THEY are the walkers. This is not just a case of drinking your own kool aid – it’s a lack of understanding of the principles of change management.

The talkers believe that simply identifying a gap or a problem is enough. They may even go so far as to point out a solution (which may or may not be obvious). In some cases they can even provide a connection – a person, a business or a recommendation to help. But this is not enough. Success means that even the most articulate and passionate talkers must at some stage shift mode and become walkers (or at least hire or surround themselves with some).

Saying is momentary, doing is forever. In the words of The King – what we need is a little less conversation, a little more action.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. I have delivered keynote presentations, workshops and been part of panel discussions. I participated in podcasts and even spoke at Social Media Club Adelaide. Now, I am just catching my breath and catching up on some reading – and what a collection I have for you this week. Check it out.

  1. The first post is really two – read Anne Zelenka’s Big Ideas Require Social Connection and then take a look at Mark Pollard’s the big idea versus small idea debate is dumb. Here’s why. I love finding these types of connection.
  2. Have you sponsored blog posts or tweets? Do they work? Mitch Joel explains why more and more marketers are paying for blog posts and tweets – and begs us not to make this new medium feel so old.
  3. We hear a lot about “influence” – who has it, how you measure it and why it’s all so hard. Rebecca Denison shares five reasons why measuring influence is elusive.
  4. Danny Brown has a fine rant on Klout, Facebook and other social network platforms and tools. He says, Enough with the opt-out bullshit, Klout.
  5. In social media – and in marketing – we talk a lot about optimising, about refining and balancing. We are looking for the optimum outcome. But are we looking for the wrong thing? Valeria Maltoni thinks so. She says we need more visionaries. What do you think?

Making the Case for Social Media

While recently delivering Social Business Workshops at both the ADMA Forum and the Australian Marketing Institute’s MarketingWeek, I was often asked about how to position social media with your CEO or CMO. Luckily for me, Todd Defren has done the hard work and put together a nice, concise deck that can help you do just that. Just be sure to clearly articulate your case in the language that is appropriate to your industry/company … and then – once approved – get cracking on your continuous digital strategy.

A Special Something

One of my colleagues, Ingeborg van Beusekom is something akin to a social media whirlwind. At one moment she is blogging, the next she’s sharing a link, an idea or a point of view. And then, before you know it, there is email, a piece of advice or a recommendation. She is certainly something. Perhaps that is what lies behind her Twitter handle. But up until now, her efforts have been locked behind a firewall.

Now Ingeborg is sharing her energy, insight and creativity with the world via her blog and Twitter account. The infographic below was shared earlier this week, but as you can see Ingeborg’s tweetstream is chock full of value – and her blog promises more of the same. Be sure to subscribe – especially if you have an interest or particular focus on B2B marketing. You certainly won’t be disappointed.


Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

It has been a full-on week. In fact, I totally expect the whole of August to be “full-on”. I have a raft of presentations to give – at PR3.0, ADMA Forum and at Marketing Week and I am busily squirreling away on the Premier Customer Network for SAP (turning the ideas of social media into action). And just when I thought that it could not get any busier, #londonriots knocks us for six and changes the game in terms of social unrest, social media and community activism in all its true chaotic forms. Maybe the revolution really will be tweeted!

  1. In the wake of riots in London, Umair Haque connects the dots – explaining that this is not an isolated incident – but a Great Splintering that has been coming for some time. Wish I’d read it before writing this.
  2. One of the knee-jerk reactions to the riots has been to suggest turning off social media sites. While China proves that this is technically possible (and is certainly easy here in Australia thanks to the Internet filter), is this an attack on democracy or civil rights? Tiphereth Gloria digs into some of these questions.
  3. I have always been concerned with our society’s focus on metrics – on the numbers more than the people behind them – especially as it relates to education and the creativity of our children. Now, Rachel Rettner over at LiveScience reports that kids are more narrow-minded and “just not as creative” as they were in the 70s. Strong endorsement for Waldorf/Steiner schools in my opinion (HT Tim Longhurst).
  4. Storytelling for Search and Social Media? Well, you know I’m going to fall for a title like that. The good thing? Jye Smith delivers with some sharp insight and a nice presentation that I’d love to hear.
  5. Joanna Beltowska shares John Maeda’s Principles for Creative Leaders. Read it and weep because you didn’t write it yourself 😉

The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

matt-tulk-tweet Some time ago I wrote about Dan Pink’s great TEDtalk on motivation. It is brilliant and well worth the small investment of time.

But this morning I delivered a keynote address at the Australasian Sourcing Summit in Sydney (check out the live blog). It’s a fascinating, emerging profession – and the presentations across the morning showed the depth of knowledge and experimentation that is being carried out in business large and small.

But one tweet reminded me that when we take money off the table, there are other things that really drive our motivation. And this video animation of Dan’s speech – courtesy of Katie Chatfield – explains what that is.