Connect Now roundup #1 – servant of chaos

April 21st, 2010

What was Connect Now like? It was a blast. It was also an absolute privilege to be involved, as MC and also as a workshop presenter on the third day of the conference.

I’ve tweeted and blogged about it elsewhere, but I thought now was a good time to sum up my personal highlights of the conference. I haven’t included everything, just the things that stood out to me most as I surveyed the clouds on my trip back to NZ.

One of the things I discussed with friends on the trip was the slow food movement. I’m going to take the same approach to these blog posts. One thought at a time. Here’s the first thought … are you ready?

Gavin Heaton – Servant of Chaos

Gavin Heaton (@servantofchaos) with Brian Solis' brand new iPad
It’s the second time I’ve met Gavin Heaton, and I am constantly impressed by how thoughtful he is, in both senses of the word.

Gavin’s thoughtful in the way he sees the strategic implications of social media (see his presentation here). And he’s also thoughtful in the sense of being considerate, recommending the Posterous blog for last year’s conference (which continued to be a valuable resource this year) and using Twitter to curate the conference experience, rather than just amplifying it.

It wasn’t anything that Gavin particularly said that struck me, it was who he was in the conference.

There’s something in that for brands.

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iJumpTV 81: Deb Schultz and what is Tummelling?

April 15th, 2010
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I had a blast at the Connect Now Conference in Sydney last week. This episode I speak with Deb Schultz from the Altimeter Group. Deb’s a Tummler, and she’s going to explain exactly what that means!

(Watch all the way to the end, it’s worth it!)

Also check out Tummelvision.tv, interviews with Tummlers from around the web.

What do you think? How do develop your own inner Tummler (or cultivate your Tumularity?) – and how does a company groom and prepare Tummlers?

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What do you do? Let your customers tell you

April 13th, 2010

Branding can be a pain in the ass, especially if you do something new and/or unusual.

The whole “fit in/stand out” thing can be a real headache – stand out too much, and nobody knows what to do with you. Fit in too much, and you’re redundant.

Over the years with iJump and then with sy we’ve struggled to articulate just what we do, and still, apparently, we’re not hitting the mark.

But we’ve made a decision about branding: by the end of the year, sy will no longer have the term “social media” in its name. It’s a phrase that raises hackles as much as it excites people. Worst of all, it gives an incomplete idea of what we do.

What are we going to rebrand to? I don’t know yet. Our customers are going to tell us.

Last week at Connect Now, Gary Vaynerchuck said he listens to everyone, but also ignores everyone when it comes to setting strategy. One of his quotes: “If you let your customers define you, you’re f**ked”. And he’s right.

So let me clarify: we know what we do, we just don’t know how to describe it in a very short sentence. We know the actions, we just don’t know the words. We’re too close. And probably, so are you.

So this year we’re collecting. We’re collecting great stories from our clients, we’re collecting their hopes and dreams and working with them to achieve those dreams, and we’re going to listen very closely to how they describe our part in their dreams.

Because we have some very cool clients, and we want to work with more people like them. So if we use the terms they describe, we figure like-minded people will be attracted to work with us.

This way, we can spend less time brainstorming our brand, and more time doing great work with our clients.

For the record, here are some of the things we do:

  • Create content for clients that buzzes with humanity (copywriting)
  • Help clients create their own content
  • Facilitate clients to create their own culture, rules and guidelines around social media
  • Help clients understand what they could do with social technologies, and then what makes the most sense for them to do using those technologies.

How do your customers describe your business?

(This post has been rolling around in my mind for some time, but Ben’s post on elevator pitches helped activate it)

(I’ve got to acknowledge the work of 7degree and Joi Design in getting us this far in our branding journey. This post doesn’t reflect on their abilities at all, the core of branding has to start with the company that owns the brand, and that’s us!)

(Photo from amboo who?)

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iJumpTV 79: Does your work have meaning?

March 29th, 2010
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Does your work have meaning? If you run a company, is there meaning in every piece of work?

Equipped to Lead talks about how to create an organisation that treats every stakeholder – from staff to suppliers to management – as real humans with real needs.

What does this have to do with social media? Social media often acts as a window on an organisation. If a culture is unhealthy, that will come out. If the culture is healthy, and people are doing what they love, that will come out – through official and unofficial channels!

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iJumpTV 78: The Art of Engagement Book Review

March 22nd, 2010
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The word “engagement” gets thrown around a lot, especially in connection with social media. The Art of Engagement by Jim Hauden has nothing to do with social media, but everything to do with getting everyone on the same page.

Hauden’s company, Root Learning, helps companies engage their staff through collaborative drawings that then get transformed into paintings by professional artists. It’s a unique take on collaboration that overcomes a common communications problem: we say the same words, but mean different things!

How does this connect with social media? Social media has the potential to create the same kind of powerful collaboration, not through paintings but through photos, videos, wordles and other visual stimuli. And again – like last week’s iJumpTV – it comes back not to the technology but to the new skills we must learn.

Have you ever been in a situation where a drawing would have made the difference between success and failure?

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New Zealand’s most engaging websites

March 16th, 2010

This just in from Nielsen:

From the press release:

The rankings do not show which websites have the actual highest traffic numbers (ie total number of unique browsers) of this demographic, but instead show which websites have the highest percentage of their traffic consisting of people who have contributed to a message board, online forum or blog for the month of February. For example, publicaddress.net is the number one ranking because 54.6 percent of its unique browsers meet the demographic requirement, but their total number of matched unique browsers equals 8,556. gameplanet.co.nz on the other hand, in second place, has 50.9 percent of its unique browsers that meet the demographic requirement, but their total number of matched unique browsers equals 28,273.

To put these numbers into perspective, the proportion of overall New Zealand Internet users who say they have contributed to a message board, online forum or blog for the month of February is 30.8 percent.

These are fairly helpful stats, but they also miss out on the interaction going on off the site, using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. Without getting into jargon (too much) it’s the difference between web 1.0 (all about the website) and web 2.0 (all about the connections between … well, everything).

On a related note, these stats show the intriguing, kind of symbiotic relationship between blogs and social media.

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Conversations that Matter with Toke Møller

March 16th, 2010
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Social media has great potential to change the way we do business, and even run countries. But technology alone won’t get us there. In this interview I talk with Toke Møller, one of the people involved in the Art of Hosting, a way of thinking about communication.

The Art of Hosting is a bit hard to describe briefly, so I asked Toke to sum it up. His reflections are quite profound, not only for how we “do” social media but also how we “do” life.

I’d love to hear what you think.

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Exciting events coming up in March and April

March 10th, 2010

If you want to learn about social media, you landed in the right time period!

Social media learning events coming up:

March 24th: Marie Workshops in Auckland

An intimate workshop for people new to social media. You’ll learn how to tweet, blog, Facebook and YouTube. Register here.

March 31st: Social Media 101 at The University of Auckland Short Courses

Get the 30,000 foot view of social media as it pertains to business – specifically your business. Register here.

April 7-9: Connect Now, Sydney, Australia

Featuring social media thought leaders from around the world and MC’ed by Simon Young, Connect Now is a major event for the Asia Pacific region. Together we’re exploring the future not just of marketing but of business. Register here and let us know you’ll be there!

Auckland Social Media Club – every month

Hear from others who are regularly using social media at the Auckland Social Media Club meetups, on the second Tuesday of each month. Keep in touch by becoming a fan on the Facebook page.

Find out what else is on and happening on the #sy social media consultancy events page.

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iJumpTV 76: put some play in your work!

March 9th, 2010
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Work needs more play – and not just because it makes people feel good. Play can make a person – and a company – more resilient, more creative and more innovative.

The Red Rubber Ball at Work does a great job of saying why play is important – from the points of view of many different people in business, from product designers to salespeople to Seth Godin.

For more information on play and its role in the growth cycle (from chaos to competence), see chapter one of the Jolt Challenge, an excellent book I’ve just finished. A review is coming your way soon!

Meantime, enjoy this review and I’d love to hear what you think!

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Latest artsy posts at The Big Idea

March 8th, 2010

Recently I’ve been guest posting at NZ’s arts hub The Big Idea about … what else … social media.

Read about how intention is shifting to social media, but not budget – and why I think that’s happening.

Find out how to get a job in social media.

And check out my contentious post about the Save Radio NZ Campaign. Deliberately provocative? Just to get a response? You decide.

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