It’s Not Charity: It’s Social Enterprise-investing in the future

When I give money to charity, I look closely at the aims of the organisation. I listen to the story and look for the downstream impact. And I look at the finances. I am keen to know how much of the money that is donated goes to programs and how much goes to administration.

Over the years my giving has changed. I noticed that I became more focused on this programs/administration split. I would stop supporting organisations as the admin component grew. In frustration, I eventually shifted my entire focus away from larger organisations to Kiva and to Vibewire – a youth arts and media not-for-profit. Through Kiva I have funded almost 100 loans now and continuously roll them over – I see them less as charity and more as social enterprise. In fact, that is what they are.

The same can be said for Vibewire which is entirely focused on providing a launchpad for young change makers.

But through my work with Vibewire, where I also serve as President, I have also learned about the need for administrative – or core – funding. Sure it is important to support programs and to impact individuals, but not-for-profits run on passion, enthusiasm and commitment. The money simply keeps the doors open. In general, NFPs stretch every last cent out of their available funds. On the surface, this is great. But in doing so, they find themselves with very little capacity to innovate.

As a result, the impact of change is more like a ripple than a tidal wave.

And yet, when we give to charity, we want and EXPECT to see that massive, transformational change. As Dan Palotta explains in the video below, charities are rewarded for how little they spend, rather than on the results that they achieve. Surely this should be the other way around.

So next time you are giving to charity, think about your actions and expectations. What happens when you think of your giving not as a GIFT but as an INVESTMENT in the future?

That’s the way I think of Vibewire (which is easier since it works specifically with young people). See what happens when you change the way you think about charity. What impact do you want to see and how can you make it happen – beyond the transaction of donating/giving? Take an additional step. Contribute skills. Expertise. Get involved. After all, it’s your future too.

Convergent Storytelling – or how to tell a mofo of a story

When we think of convergence, we tend to think of the obvious – of like things coming together. “Convergent media” for example is often seen as a force for disruption – yet for me, it’s far from disruptive. In fact, I’d go so far to say that it is assertive.

But what happens when the technology of production and the technology of distribution are brought to the forefront of the experience? What happens when the gaming and comic genres forcefully collide to produce new narratives and modes of storytelling? What happens when music becomes a mode of expression and commentary, doubling in on itself? And what happens when the viewer is drawn into the total experience, emerging gasping minutes later?

That what you get with the Biting Elbow’s official video for their song Bad Motherfucker (yes, don’t play it in the office without headphones).

So now think, what can you learn from the techniques, craft and approach? How would a tamed down version of this drive engagement with your customer base? What would it mean – and would you be ready for a luke warm take on this?

Biting Elbows – ‘Bad Motherfucker’ (Insane Office Escape 2) from Ilya Naishuller on Vimeo.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

What is creativity? How do we link it to business – and how do we make a business OUT of that creative impulse? These are all questions that link the five must-read posts from last week. And interestingly, at least for me, the answer is not what you’d expect.

  1. When Google decided to shut down its Reader product, it sent shockwaves through its community of influencers. So when it came time to launch Evernote competitor, Keep, Om Malik decided it may not be worth the investment. Great article reminding us all that a “Free” product always comes with a cost.
  2. Do you feel that you have the tools, skills and capability to be innovative at work? Do you have permission? If you answered “no”, Glenn Llopis says you are not alone.
  3. There is no doubt that both internal and external forces are bringing CIOs and CMOs together. But how do we recalibrate our businesses? Dion Hinchcliffe looks at the new reality.
  4. Jonathan Crossfield takes a deep dive into marketing statistics and infographics. What does he find? Confusion.
  5. When Bill Bernbach resigned from Grey Advertising to start DDB, he not only left behind a legacy (and created a new one). He left a letter exhorting his colleagues to creative greatness. Read his blistering resignation/challenge at Neil Perkin’s blog.

Brand Storytelling: Teradata’s Case of the Tainted Lasagna

Brand storytelling can be hard work. Not only are there all the internal hurdles to overcome, sign-offs and legal checks and so on – there is also the challenge of subject matter. What do you do if you have a complex product or solution that you are trying to explain? Which channels do you choose – and how do you incorporate social media into the mix.

I was recently speaking with a financial services industry CEO who lamented that they have the most boring product in the world. He couldn’t see how it would resonate with a social media-savvy audience.

But social media is not broadcast – especially in B2B (business-to-business) marketing. You’re not trying to reach and engage millions of people – you are (or should be) focused on the buyer’s journey and helping to ease your customer’s decision making process. That means selecting the most appropriate channel – and delivering content that provides very specific value to your customer at their point of need. And brand storytelling can form a very powerful component of your content strategy and lead nurturing program.

Still unsure of how this might work for you and your brand?

Enterprise software vendor, Teradata, have been experimenting with brand storytelling for some time and have taken a novel approach that you may want to steal (I mean “learn from”). Tapping into pop culture’s interest in forensic analysis (a la CSI), they have created a series of videos that take a new approach to case studies and product/solution brochures. The “Business Scenario Investigations” or “BSI” team dramatize business problems and then showcase how technology can be used to “solve” the problem.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaXpsNATecc

Each of their videos can be found on the BSI: Teradata Facebook page as well as the YouTube channel. They cleverly provide a powerpoint version of the scenario via Slideshare and share the storyboarding process from problem definition to casting through to resolution.  And while the case of the tainted lasagna may not be to your taste, it’s likely to be very appealing to those CIOs and CMOs wanting to understand how data can transform their businesses. And that’s tasty. Very tasty indeed.

51: CSI: Investigates! Kit via Compfight

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

Over the last week there have been dozens of brilliant articles published. But these five posts really caught my attention – with original thinking and expression and a point of view that is hard to ignore.

Hope you enjoy them all!

  1. A welcome return post by Rob Campbell delights us all.
  2. Paul Wallbank shares yet another way businesses damage their brands by outsourcing the customer experience. Here’s what he has to say about Energy Australia and AGL.
  3. Neil Patel explains how we need to think like Google.
  4. A great new Tumblr arises thanks to James Sims – a great repository of digital campaigns that don’t suck
  5. I’ve long been suspicious of TED, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Umair Haque gives voice to my misgivings with the excellent Let’s Save Great Ideas from the Ideas Industry

Hands-on Guide to Social Media Channel Selection

I have always been a fan of the CMO.com guide to channel selection. Each year for the last few years, the CMO.com folks have put together a handy guide that explains exactly how each of the main social media channels can be best used.

This year, rather than producing an infographic (as in previous years), the guide has become interactive.

You simply select a social network and mouse over the various good, ok and bad options to learn more about how they can be used effectively.

CMO-landscape2013

Unfortunately, the guide only covers Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube. Which is a shame, as marketers seeking to put their content to work are likely to find niche social networks will deliver more bang for the buck. However, if you just want to validate your tactics and share that with your boss, this hands-on guide to social media channel selection may be just what you need to share internally.

SocietyOne Eyes Off Disruption in Personal Lending

For decades, many Australian business sectors have been asleep at the wheel – underinvesting in digital technology, employee skills and strategic thinking. Which sectors? They’re the ones people complain about on Twitter and Facebook – retail, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and financial services. And you can add utilities into that list (but that’s a subject for a future post).

In many ways this is what we’d expect. In the industrial era – business was designed to maximise the profits from investment and expenditure – and that’s what they were doing. We call it creating “shareholder value”. But times are changing. We are no longer living in a world where industrial era business models rule. They are the dinosaurs of the 21st century and those companies and industries that don’t look to reinvent their business models will not only face declining revenues – they’ll risk disappearing altogether.

Don’t think it can happen to you? So did Kodak.

When Google created their own financial services division, they fired a shot across the bow of the slow moving personal lending businesses in the UK. What Google understands is speed to market – and disruption. And remember, they have the inside view of what we search for, what we click on and how long we stay there. The shift to digital – the massive transformation in the way that we think, shop and live has largely been driven by access to Google’s services – and financial services is just the next step in a long journey for them.

But it’s not just global internet giants who will disrupt the market. Smaller, agile players are entering the market – rethinking the old business models and out-flanking them. Take a look at SocietyOne. Connecting borrowers and investors in a peer-to-peer fashion SocietyOne takes “crowdfunding” to a new, more knowable level. It’s designed to match investors and borrowers in an interest rate/risk online pitch-off. Check out their introductory video. Looks like no bank that I know. And that’s the point.

Closed slimmer_jimmer via Compfight

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

These days we see a lot of blog posts masquerading as news – about the industry, media, technology and so on. But there is often not a lot of insight, or action. There’s opinion and sometimes a few ideas – but precious few wrestle with what it means to live in media-saturated, always connected age. Here are five posts from last week that do. I hope they kickstart your brain for the week!

  1. Mark Hurst has an unusual point of view about Google Glasses – and it’s not about the technology. It’s about the experience. But it’s not what you think. It’s the feature no one is talking about. HT @ozdj
  2. Katie shares images from a photographer’s point of view. And how does he see the world? Framed by the view of his girlfriend. Great storytelling.
  3. The world is changing – but we sometimes forget that it changes at different rates for different people. Becky Lang shares some advice for college kids – what they don’t hear, but should.
  4. Great article from Edward Boches reminding us that social media isn’t about reach, controlling or drowning out the message, but about participation. And here’s what can happen when you do it right.
  5. Finally, powerhouse marketing innovator, CK has delivered a knockout transformation with her new website AllThingsCK, complete with mobile experience, an eBook and a range of new services designed to help you and your business. Get the full details on her blog.

It’s Not Risk. It’s Gaining Trust

We often (still) hear stories of businesses and individuals fearing social media. And if you listen closely to what is being said, you will hear the fear. You will hear anxiety.

And when you hear about those folks who brave social media – who push the envelope within their organisation, you will hear them talk about managing risk. Engaging stakeholders. Dealing with the randomness.

But this great TED Talk by Amanda Palmer reveals a new way of thinking about this.

What if, rather than managing risk, we were to think about “gaining trust”. What would that mean for the way we approach our customers, audiences, stakeholders and employees?

And how would it change what we do.

IMG_9400 bluedance via Compfight

Scale Your Digital Marketing with Marketing Automation

In these challenging times, we are all asked to do more with less. For marketers, this means coping with an explosion of channels, transformation in the expectations of our customers and an abundance of data that can, in equal parts,  obscure or facilitate insight.

So where can you turn to scale your marketing efforts?

The first generation of marketing automation software provided a great way to deal with an increasing volume of broadcast style communications. But in this digital – multi-directional world, marketers must be more responsive, engaging and yes, social.

My just released report, Scaling Up with Marketing Automation, provides a birds eye view of the marketing automation landscape, presents the key strengths and features of a range of vendors and examines how these solutions can help marketers do more with less. You can download a snapshot of the report here.

laughing cow chotda via Compfight