See through the noise

May 1st, 2008


It takes determination, vision and a strong conviction of what you do to grow. It takes a lot of agility to adjust to any form of change, whether you’re a start up, successful business owner, entrepreneur or a longtime survivor in the corporate world.

For example, Madonna has earned a reputation as the queen of reinvention, and even at age 50 dominates popular music.

Here are just some of the great examples I see every day, showing how real people, companies and corporates are starting to experiment with social media tools.

Kodak founded in 1888 has a blog written by past and present employees, sharing what they love to do. It features new products and most importantly lets Kodak hear its customers ‘feedback.

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance experimented with web 2.0 tools in 2005 (read more about their case study). A great example of a traditional player testing out the tools on their internal staff.

Australian bank Suncorp decided to bite the bullet and launch a podcast in conjunction with LJ Hooker, a move to get closer to a new generation of customers and bypass traditional media altogether.

Geekzone is a New Zealand online community of people interested in technology. In four short years, they’ve become a very influential group in this space. Feared and respected by the PR departments of both major telcos, Geekzone users are passionate about technology, and not afraid to share their views.

Wiggly Wigglers <— My pick of the week!!
Heather Gorringe, a farmer from Lower Blakemere Farm in rural Herefordshire UK, saw the potential to promote her farm products online to garden lovers. The accountant told her to close the business down. She went ahead regardless, finding out how to best use some of the social media tools. Now she’s running a successful online business marketing to the world. She blogs, she’s on facebook and she runs an audio podcast with her husband and friends that goes worldwide.

Who would have thought compost would be such a great example of web 2.0?

Bonus links:

Because you’ve been such a good reader and paid close attention, I’m going to give you two bonus links. Don’t tell anyone!

  1. Shiv Shingh talks about the mistakes companies make when employing social media
  2. Chris Brogan talks about the difference between pitching to mainstream media and to bloggers

Photo courtesy of massdistraction

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Why one company needed to change their employee blogging policy

March 31st, 2008


The more conversations we have with clients the more they’re saying that most NZ Corporate companies are not ready to blog. They either don’t see the need, or they’re not sure where to start.

It’s challenging but not impossible. The advantage of being in a small country is that we can learn from other corporate companies mistakes and successes.

Here are a few tips by Robert Scoble on starting a corporate blog.

Corporates in the high-tech sector like Microsoft and Telecom have employees that blog, although they make it clear that their views expressed on their blogs are their individual views, not their company’s.

Microsoft refer bloggers to their company policy, which enforces the same standard that would apply when speaking in public.

Other corporates like Vodafone don’t have a blog of their own but they monitor the blogosphere and participate openly in conversations. This I’m sure impresses their customers and no doubt demonstrates their openness, transparency and most of all their online presence.

Last thought:

Corporate companies have been producing newsletters to their clients for decades. The 21st century version is a blog that sends your newsletter messages, plus so much more….

  • You’re the host
  • Get to know your customer
  • They get to know you
  • You can empower them to co-create with you
  • Ask for their feedback- you’d be surprised how much you’ll learn
  • Have a conversation
  • Be present

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A friendly reminder about our competition to win a truely insightful book Join the Conversation by Joseph Jaffe . Just send us a message be it audio, video or by email and say hi.

Drop me a line, let me know what your thoughts are on this weeks topic.

I’ve just started to build my facebook page so if you’re on facebook add me as a friend and I’ll do the same.

I’ll leave you with an example of a Company (outside NZ) that needed to make changes to their employee blogging policy.

(Photo courtesy of cambodia4kidsorg)

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Jump In! #6: Paul Reynolds Pt 2 on blogging, and Gen X’s dark secret

January 4th, 2008

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Continuing from last week’s episode, Marie discusses social media with TV tech talker Paul Reynolds, joint md of McGovern Online.

In this episode …

  • should a blog be part of a corporate site, or separate?
  • Is Social Media a waste of time?
  • … and Generation X’s deep dark secret.

Get the latest Jump In for free in iTunes or on the web. Subscribe!

Want to hear it, not see it? Subscribe to our audio version and Jump In while you’re on the run.

You can find more info and archives here.

Can’t see the video? Try it at YouTube, Yahoo, MySpace, MetaCafe, Revver, DailyMotion,, Veoh, Vimeo or Viddler. (If you can’t get any of those to work, your computer needs help!)

And as always, we’re waiting for your comments! Please have your say below.

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Jump In! #5: Paul Reynolds on blogging

December 27th, 2007

Paul Reynolds, joint md of McGovern online and TV tech commentator, talks with Marie Young about blogging and social networking. Find out:

  • How he started blogging
  • How to discover your voice
  • How your company can incorporate blogging

This is part 1 of a 2 part interview. Next week Paul takes on Generation X’s dirty little secret! Get the latest Jump In for free in iTunes or on the web. Subscribe!

Can’t see the video? See it on YouTube, Yahoo!, MySpace, MetaCafe, Google, Dailymotion or Veoh.

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Who’s really in control?

November 22nd, 2007

If you haven’t already noticed, I ask a lot of questions. One morning as we were walking through Titirangi’s majestic bush scenery, we discovered a new track. We took our chances, walking and then stumbling through the steep track. I felt gravity pushing me like a bully, and soon gravity and I were in a wrestling match.

As I made my way to the office I couldn’t stop thinking about how much we like to think we’re in control. But we think we control far more than we actually do.

When you participate in social media, it’s like life. You don’t really have control of the outcome.

But any form of marketing where you do feel you have control is an illusion. The social media world is where your audience is increasingly going to be. These are people, with views, opinions, preferences – and a voice.

It’s your choice whether you engage with these people, or just remain in your illusion.  Here’s how Avis Uk has started to engage.

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Childs play or Big Business?

November 19th, 2007

Lockhart Steele founder of

In 2001 he started simply telling stories on the web about his neighbourhood.

Now his site is a must read for potential real estate buyers, with 200,000 of them viewing his site every month. Now the New York Times is one of his key advertisers. Mainstream media, advertising on a blog.

He never focused on the numbers, he created conversation.

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Fold or scrunch?

November 12th, 2007

Do you have a certain way of doing things? I do. I’m fussy with how my food is arranged on a plate. I like to control the amount of sauce I have on a main meal. (I promise this blog is going somewhere).      

Millie Garfield (82) has a video blog which does ethnographic research into problematic design of consumer products from an elder video blogger’s point of view.  In other words, Millie talks about brand experiences that the elderly face everyday.  These experiences vary from toothpaste, dental floss, shampoo, food packaging, perfume but they often come down to “I can’t open it”.

Millie hasn’t talked about toilet paper yet but it’s probably only a matter of time. Why does she say it? Because these are real issues for her age group.  And social media gives her a voice.

I wonder if the people that make toothpaste, dental floss or toilet paper are listening.  It’s not just Generation C using social media- it’s everybody.

Except maybe your organisation? 

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Web 2.0 doesn’t have to be sexy

November 5th, 2007

Judging by the comments on Jon Beattie’s presentation on web 2.0, there’s still a sizeable gap between those in the know and the rest of the world.

One of my theories is that people still put blogging, podcasting etc in the “technology” part of their mind (which for some is a scary place). It should be in the “people” part (which is also scary, but part of our jobs).

Maybe I can do my bit today by debunking one thought – that web 2.0 has to be uber-cool and aimed at a youth audience. Two recent blogs show that to be wrong.

Can you think of anything less exciting than insurance and home buying? (Okay, getting a home is pretty cool, and I suppose getting an insurance payout is exciting – but paperwork is not fun at all!)

New Zealand companies are harnessing blogs, not to do anything especially new, but to get closer to their customers in a way they couldn’t before.

It’s not about whiz-bang technology – it’s about predictability and things working properly. It’s not about the coolest new thing – it’s about the most relevant. It’s not about who can get the most traffic to their blog – it’s about who can make the best connection with the people who do come.

This is a conversation-starter. Want to join the conversation? What do you think a blog is for?

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