Don’t Fall in Love with Your Campaign

Heart 6You know what it’s like.

The words leap from your mouth. Eyes widen. Smiles broaden and the room comes alive. And as the heartbeats quicken and the enthusiasm begins to mount, you know that THIS project is going to rock. A love affair is beginning, and yet you don’t even notice it.

When we turn our attention away from strategy and planning and take a deep dive into implementation, the challenge is to maintain a focus and direction – to guide and channel the creative energies of your team. After all, we all have ideas; and we all like to “contribute”.

And when it comes to digital projects – whether you are considering a web based advertising campaign, a social media activation of some kind, or even building your own community – you will never find yourself bereft of ideas. But if you want to drive success for your project (and I am sure you do), you need to focus on simplicity – and the best way to do so is to focus on your market. Think about the PEOPLE who you will invite into your campaign or project. Think about the value that they will find, be surprised by, and share. And one of the best ways of doing this, is by STOPPING a focus on functions and functionality.

Ashley Ringrose shares these 15 tips for growing a community courtesy of Ben Huh from I Can Has Cheeseburger. And while the focus of the article is on taking communities to a new level, the same applies to almost any team-based endeavour. Think particularly about your next digital creative project or any Enterprise 2.0 efforts that you are considering (or engaged in), and then read item 5:

5. Stop Engineering and Start Thinking About the Market
People who work in the technology industry tend to over engineer things. Don’t complicate your problems, simplify them. If you need to add a commenting system to your site don’t build it from scratch, download one. Whatever you do, do it quickly.

To an extent, we all fall in love with the projects we work on. Just make sure you don’t overcomplicate it. Keep it simple. Let it connect. Because in the end, true love isn’t about you, it’s about someone who loves you back.

Get Into Your Groove with the KaiserMix

Have you ever wondered what social media is all about? Here, I will let you into a trade secret. It is just TWO things.

  • Being social — reaching out, activating, participating and exciting people
  • Doing things — creating content, sharing ideas, holding events

Now, you might think that this sounds easy. But you see, the challenge is, in a digital landscape and in a social world that crosses borders, timezones (and sometimes even boundaries of common decency – jokes), the crafting of a compelling offer and the telling of an enlivening story requires a broad array of skills and expertise. And you will find that the bloggers and social media participants who do this well have a breadth of expertise that normally resides in a TEAM of people.

Now, Marcus Brown is one such person. I profiled Marcus in my first Mining the Gold post, but that was a retrospective. Tomorrow night (Australia time), we all have the opportunity to actually PARTICIPATE in one of Marcus’ creations. It is called the KaiserMix and it will be a heady mix of music, streaming, photography and live bar action direct from Munich. It is easy to participate, as Marcus explains:

I’ve set up a twitter account (robbed myself of a former Character’s Twitter account) called TheKaiserMix
which you can of course follow. I’ll only be using this twitter account
on the evening and it’ll be tweeting my blips – and through that odd @
functionality the blips of everyone following me. If you’re on the road
and want a song played just send an @TheKaiserMix to me on twitter –
and I’ll play it.


I’ll be taking lots of photos during the evening which will be appearing in the slide show widget you can see above over on The Kaiser Mix
blog (the charming Gentleman in the slide show above is Snoop – and
along with Joseph runs The Schwarzer Hahn). If you’re there, like in
“The Hahn” on the night and you have a flickr account you can upload
photos and if you tag them thekaisermix (just that tag) they
automatically appear in the slide show. Likewise if you’re not going to
be in Munich but you’re listening or watching (see below) you can
upload your version/experience of The Kaiser Mix.


For those of you who are not going to make it to Munich, there is of
course blip itself. If you follow me and use the @thekaiser function
you can send me songs you want played. If I play your blip it’s goes
into the kaiser’s playlist.

Yahoo Live:

OK, as some of you know I’ve been playing around with the video
streaming stuff – and think I’ve got it nailed. You can either watch
the event, live (starts around 21:00hrs C.E.T) on The Kaiser Mix channel (where you can chat with me during the evening – and if you’ve got a video camera stream on the channel as well) or on the The Kaiser Mix.
If you’re especially excited by all of this you can actually embed the
yahoo live widget on your blog.

Hope to see you in Munich … or a screen a bit closer to home!

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Enterprise 2.0: It’s Not Your Dad’s Company

IMG_0971.JPGTake a look around. Look at the people in your office, at the desk next to you. Look into the faces of the people who you pass in the corridor. They look the same, right? The same faces have greeted you year in, year out.

Well, get ready, because the workplace is transforming, and it is happening right under your nose.

Those peppy Gen Y kids who were brought into the business to inject some life and energy are moving up. That’s right, they have been steadily building their experience, lobbying the line management and pushing through the KPIs in the yearly 360 degree reviews … and guess what? They are now making business decisions. Yes, indeed, Gen Y are reaching the management level, and working the matrix — and they will bring a new style and a new approach to your business.  This will transform the way that we all work. Indeed, it has to. 

Picture 080.jpgAnd one of the biggest transformations will be right there on the desk in front of you. That locked down desktop that has served you well for the last couple of years will soon be replaced. Gradually that sparse Desktop will be replaced by a series of icons and widgets … and horror of all horrors, you will find the work computer looks increasingly like your kids PC (or dare I say it, a Mac!). The new management will be prising the dead-hand of the IT group off the controls and installing new applications and adding new links. There will be Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and Friendfeed. There will be various shades of SaaS (software as a service) delivering on-demand enterprise scale business processes and systems that you can reach no matter where you are, all courtesy of “the cloud”. Sure there will be the in-house enterprise systems … but they too will play nicely with whatever you need them to. After all, it’s not your Dad’s company anymore. 

Fin de siecleBut while this sounds like a madhouse of change for the sake of change, stop again, for a moment. Get up and walk down the corridor. Your workplace is about to undergo a large-scale transformation … millions of baby boomer workers are set to reach retirement age in the next few years, and the next wave of Gen Y knowledge workers are stepping in to replace them. It’s not that the systems, processes and business models are being changed on a whim – they are being changed because the people who DO the work are changing. Like any living organism, the organisation is also transforming … shedding its skin in a kafka-esque tribute to the new age.

And while these new systems and processes may raise your eyebrows and your blood pressure, there is actually some as-yet unrealised business value in platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Aaron Strout and Joe Cascio clearly explain where micro-blogging platforms such as Twitter can deliver business value:

  • Emergency broadcast system
  • Knowledge management
  • Training
  • Expert identification
  • Seeing the connectors
  • Inclusion of external stakeholders

All of these elements will be of increasing strategic importance as the composition of the global workforce turns over on itself. And while there will be issues and questions around security, scalability and so on, they pale into insignificance against the larger challenges of global competition, attracting talent and delivering value to customers. And who knows, the widespread adoption of these tools may well inadvertently fullfil the promise of the Cluetrain Manifesto — "humanising" the brands and businesses that we come in contact with every day.

It really is not my Dad’s company.

Update: Marigo Raftopoulos has a great post encouraging us to understand this business transformation as a change from economies of scale to economies of (I presume personal/professional and social) networks.

How to Search Online

Before the web, I was a great researcher. I could walk into a library and find the best, the most obscure and interesting information. Sometimes it was intuitive — like walking through an aisle of books on my topic of interest, pausing and the grabbing the first book to hand. More often than not, I would find just the right piece of information that would make my work stand out from my classmates. Now, this was not really magic or intuition … it was connecting ideas and words.

But along came Google and I thought that this ability would be neutralised. Interestingly, many people still complain about not being "good with Google". However, there is no longer any reason for this. The CommonCraft folks have come up with yet another great explanation for our Web 2.0 world — this time explaining how to search. In a little over two minutes you will understand how to craft "intuitive" and targeted searches that will yield very focused data for your next presentation, lecture or dinner date 😉

Social Media Saturation Sees the Rise of the Business Designer

While we continue to see cycle after cycle of new applications and services arrive in the Web 2.0 space, it seems for the most part that we are seeing incremental innovation. This type of innovation builds a new step on top of an existing innovation.

yea, i look good in a suitWe are also reaching a certain maturity in the way that marketers work with social media. There are now case studies on the effectiveness of social media, there are tools that help us measure and react to conversations and there are an increasing number of corporate roles for "community managers" or even "directors of social media".

So where does innovation go?

In this environment, the focus is no longer on learning the tools, but on refining the way that we interact with them. It is about bringing social media into our businesses, integrating it with our other marketing efforts and focusing efforts in a way that deliver business results. This will see ongoing debates about "where" social media belongs — PR, corporate communications, marketing, customer support, innovation etc — as well as a scramble amongst agencies to deliver "social media services" to clients.

It will also see a rise in the importance of the "Business Designer".

The MillionaireThe Business Designer does not sit in a creative studio. Rather, she operates across business units — touching marketing, customer service and new product design. The BD has a finger on the pulse of finance and lives cheek-by-jowl with the legal team. There is the touch of the management consultant in the way that the BD navigates the org chart — but also the fervour of the evangelist. She may be T-shaped. She may be a green egg. But above all, she is an experienced business professional. That’s right — she knows how to get things done.

standing outSocial media saturation is not going to kill innovation in the Web 2.0 world. It is simply going to commence the heavy lifting required to move social media with all its benefits, some of its quirks and much of its energy into the "enterprise space". The BD will perform the important role of "change manager" or perhaps "transformation manager" — for the domino-like changes that will occur in every facet of a business will change the nature of the enterprise. What has been rough and ready in the consumer space will become refined and repeatable in the business world for the BD will select and orchestrate the practices, tools and approaches that correspond with a company’s business strategy. Of course, this will breed a whole new round of innovation in the technology space — we have already begun to see this with Yammer, the business version of Twitter.

And there will be a corresponding transformation in the process of business, and the goals and approaches of groups charged with managing brand touch points. This goes without saying.

But by far, the most radical transformation will be the one thrust upon us by the generational change that is now under way. With 60 million baby boomers about to be replaced by 60 million Millennials, the workplace will never be the same again. Managing the "knowledge transfer" that needs to take place over the next 5-10 years will be a fundamental responsibility of the Business Designer.

Tianamo — Interactive 3D Search

One of the things that I dislike about most search engines is that they do not provide any context. You don’t get to see the connection between various sites and topics. However, this new search engine, Tianamo,  looks set to change this.

When you use Tianamo, you get to see the topics that match, the sub-topics and the relative connection between them shown in a 3D-style frequency map. The map itself is interactive, meaning that you can interrogate the data and the links by rotating, zooming and clicking. It would be fascinating to see this style of visual mapping applied to tag clouds.

While Tianamo is currently in beta, you can try it out by following this link.

Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 Bloggers

Years ago, while working at IBM, I began to see the convergence of a number of disciplines. I had spent quite some time learning about, product managing and implementing an Internet-based community publishing system and could see that the publishing model was being turned on its head. And while this phenomenal, integrated, web-based system built by a company called appeared to me, to be the future of newspapers for the digital age, it was clearly well ahead of its time. More than 10 years ahead of its time.

What I learned about this community-oriented technology business, however, seemed more easily digested and activated within a closed community. In particular, it seemed to apply more readily to business.

As my career progressed, I moved into roles which focused on change, knowledge and innovation management. Each time I applied what I had learned about communities, about activating them online and the power that comes from allowing connections between people to thrive. I remember procuring machines and application servers, stashing them under desks and cobbling together interfaces that linked instant messaging, wiki-style collaboration and whiteboarding applications. Hooking into address books and intranet search engines meant that secure, trackable access became available to the worldwide workforce, and put our small projects onto the global (if internal) stage. My focus, however, was on the people who used (and needed) these systems … and by ensuring the systems were user friendly AND helped people deliver over and above their KPIs, we saw system adoption accelerate faster than word of mouth. Back then, e-mail was our friend. These days we would call this "web 2.0", or "social media" — perhaps even, "enterprise 2.0" — but back them, I was just trying to find a new way of achieving an outcome.

Ever since that time, I have kept one eye on the world of knowledge management. I have also been fascinated by the concept of business innovation management — how the process of strategy can, in fact, deliver competitive advantage. And in many ways, the opportunities offered by Enterprise 2.0 occupy a similar space for large scale businesses that social media offers for business-to-consumer brands. My interest lies in how these all overlap — understanding how, where and why our various business, professional, consumer and producer "roles" merge, and what that means for the brands and businesses that we engage with.

Recently, Bill Ives has pulled together a great list of 40 bloggers who write on the Web 2.0 and/or Enterprise 2.0 space. Many of these bloggers cover this murky area. There are no great surprises in the first 20, where the blogging heavyweights converge, including TechCrunch, Mashable, Om Malik, Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin, Robert Scoble and Steve Rubel. However, the second 20 (of which I am counted) reveals quite a few blogs which are new to me as well as some old favourites. These include:

  • Nick Carr — Rough Type — well-known author of Does IT Matter
  • Lee Lefever — CommonCraft — the team who work to bridge the business and tech worlds through quirkiness, storytelling and experience design that is based on … experience.
  • Valeria Maltoni — Conversation Agent — well known for her marketing insight and focus on conversation and storytelling

Be sure to check out all 40 of these blogs. Try thinking about them from a B2C and a B2B point of view. This dual vision will multiply your insight into the challenges we are facing in our personal and professional lives. And while the technology makes our lives easier in many ways … it now also exposes the complexity with which we live. 

One Message Many Languages


One of the great technology driven innovations is real-time translation. It opens up the opportunities for us all to communicate across languages, to make language less relevant to the spread of ideas.

Today I noticed that this post about Greg Verdino was garnering attention from an overseas audience. Now while I doubt that the subtleties of the language translate fully, I find it fascinating that there is even the slightest chance that these words/ideas have drifted not just across geographic boundaries but into new cultural spaces. And while I expect this will become an ever more increasing aspect of blogging, at the moment it feels novel and strangely astonishing.