Sunday Roundup – March 30, 2014

Choices are inevitable. What conversations to join, how to participate after joining, and what work one does to earn a living are decisions that everyone makes.

Let’s jump into this week’s articles.

Have a Purpose and Be Social

A classmate put this post together. To reframe his thoughts: Be strategic about using social media. Without a purpose, the task is aimless. Without an understanding of the medium and how it works, the task is unlikely to succeed.

GM Uses Social Media to manage its Customers and Its Reputation

Speaking of using social media for a specific purpose and being social, General Motors seems to be doing a good job. Social media is immediate and easily watched by many eyes (including employees), meaning that it can be an excellent customer service and crisis management tool

Your Story About Money

I shared this because it says something important about the work we do. The way we make money is connected to that money itself. Good work makes for good money, and good money feels better.

Who’s Responsible?

Seth Godin gets two spots this week, as I think both posts are interrelated. This one is a short piece about personal responsibility and things we can control. For example, how money is earned and what we do with once it is earned are within our control.

Over to You…

What do you think about social media? Making money? Personal responsibility? Leave a comment!

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Sunday Roundup – March 9, 2014

Survey data is often relied on as correct, but is difficult to predict the element of choice. Making an informed choice about whom or what should be allowed into power relies on information, and the things we need to know is not always available.

Consumers could give up social media, stronger ties to phone, email.

First of all, I know smoking cigarettes and using social media are two very different addictions. One changes how much of a specific chemical is needed to elicit a response from nerves in the brain. The other is stimulus based on online social interaction (likes, comments, retweets, etc).

I think this survey indicates a prime reason to double-check any data. Many smokers say they want to quit. Many heroin addicts say the same thing. Checking a box in a survey saying that you believe social media would not be difficult to give up is easy – following through is different.

UN report identifies 30 drone strikes that warrant “public explanation” from US, UK, & Israel. The link leads to that report. It’s worth looking over if you have the time. I shared this because I think it is important for governments to converse openly with their people. The theory behind Western democracy is that governments have power because we give it to them through voting, so we have a right to know what actions the government takes. If we don’t agree with that action, then we can exercise our right to remove that government from power. Keeping too many secrets does not allow for voters to make an informed choice.

Over to You…

What do you think about surveys and government action? Did I miss something important? Let me know by commenting!

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Internal Marketing – The Newsletter

Organizations of all sizes often have some form of “internal marketing”. Product/service training, sell sheets, and newsletters are all examples. Even speeches and presentations by co-workers and supervisors are internal marketing.

All internal marketing is important, but I am going to focus on newsletters.

News Print

Most literature on the subject that I have read (most recently, Public Relations Writing by Bivins, T.H.) tells the same story. Newsletters are a piece of internal communication that mixes “hard” (monthly sales figures, product updates, etc) and “soft” (employee X had a child, look at this picture of your co-workers being silly, etc) news. Hard news delivers important facts while soft news implies what behaviour is acceptable in the office and what kind of values are part of the company’s internal culture.

When I began working at a medium-sized (100-200 employees) company, through nobody’s fault, I did not receive a copy of the company’s internal newsletter for the first month and a half. When I began to receive the newsletter, I noticed that it was easier to interact with co-workers and assess my work.

The Inside Track

Have you ever been conversing with two or more other people when an inside joke between those other people is brought up? I find that alienating, and it is even more so if the conversation diverts to follow the thread of that inside joke.

The same feeling crept up on me while I was not receiving the company’s newsletter. I heard references to specific events and images in the newsletter, and I had no idea what was going on. I felt like a temporary consultant rather than an employee on payroll.

My work was also impacted. Most of my work is writing that must represent the company’s culture. That work was stressful – more so than I had experienced with any writing I have ever done. My stress-level dropped after I received the company newsletter regularly: the bar by which I could assess my writing had been set.

Resolution

Newsletters are a simple and effective way to share news relevant to employees (key word: relevant), and they can also communicate the company’s culture. I think there are other issues in my own situation (I was sick for a couple weeks and my previous supervisor left the company), but I am certain the newsletter had a profound effect on me.

Over to You…

Do you have any experience with newsletters or any other internal marketing? Leave a comment and share your story.

Sunday Roundup – March 2, 2014

I have five stories for you lads and ladies this week. Other than the Harvard Business Review article, most of the articles focus on values – yes, even the article about Comcast.

So, without further adieu; feast your eyes on my Sunday Roundup:

Feminism is having a wardrobe malfunction.

This makes an important point about values that can be applied to individuals or businesses. We all have our own sets of values, and the organizations we operate and/or are employed by have sets of values. No matter how good we think our values are, they are ours alone. We can and do believe any number of things, but none of those things are necessarily the “right way”, they’re just “our way”.

Erika Linder is Him and Her in Mesmerizing Campaign for Crocker Jeans.

Androgyny for the win! Gender, as usual, is irrelevant. First of all, I’m impressed at how well Ms. Linder acts the male part – some of her gender swap is makeup, but some of it appears to be how she moves the muscles in her face.

How does this relate to values? Not all genders are considered equal in North American society, whether that gender is the result of good acting and make up, genetics, or bring transgendered. It is well past time to reconsider the value we place on gender.

Human2Human: Jargon or an Old a that Still Matters?

How much value to we place on being “businesslike”? How much to we place on human interaction and conversation?

Employees, customers, and anyone else directly or indirectly involved in a business are human beings before they chose to involve themselves with a business. Even the C-suite of a company is a human being by birth.

From my perspective as a marketer, it is easier to be human. Having a real, honest conversation with a prospective client is far more engaging than acting like a machine. After all, I was born human, too.

How To Make Yourself Work When You Just Don’t Want To.

I don’t always agree with what comes out of Harvard, but I would not accuse them of being poor workers – they seem to get a lot done. How do they do it? Perhaps they do not use the tips in the following article, but I like to think they do.

Comcast doesn’t give a f*ck.

Of course they don’t. By owning almost all of the cable networks in the United States, they don’t have to care about competition or what customers want. Customers have no choices other than Comcast owned services, so Comcast has no incentive to be anything other than self-serving, and there are no competitors offering better prices or service or anything else that I customer would want from their cable network. So do we value our cable television enough to stand up against Comcast buying cable providers? I do, at least I would if I lived in the United States.

Over to You…

What did you read this week? Did I miss something important? Do you have a question? Leave a comment and tell me about it!