Tag Archives: Business

Focus

26 Apr

Distractions are a distracting factor; Procrastination delays the matter… Does it matter? Get there faster? More to-do we’re chasing after. (laughter)

Click for a full-size view of this and others like it at my Flickr page

A quick photomontage of a candle I shot along with a macro view of my eye. For a full-size look at this and others like it, check out the Photomontage set at my Flickr gallery.

Musical accompaniment for this post: Incubus – Made for TV Movie

Also, this live version:

Evernote, Three Months In

19 Apr

At the beginning of this year I made it a point to get in the habit of using Evernote. I’ve kept reading its praises and since I’m in the world of collecting ideas for future blog posts, it made enough sense to give it a try.

evernote

I should say that I’ve previously relied on emailing myself ideas, links, images and other content, filing them away under “read later” or “ideas” in Gmail. This has kinda worked, but I don’t really find myself going through that content often. The idea of a standalone app dedicated to capturing ideas and organizing them at least makes sense to me for that reason. I get the concept, but it’s still taking work to make myself use the program.

Part of the adoption curve for me is having content actually in Evernote. Without many notes to search, there’s not much to draw from, so I can see how some users may get turned off if, say, within a week or two they aren’t reaping tremendous benefit.

But so far for me, it’s been at least good for peace of mind, knowing that all the stuff I’d otherwise be emailing myself is now tagged and easily referenced. In fact, it was the process of going through my notes in Evernote that led to this blog post, so hey… there’s something! I’m interested enough to keep using it, and I’m surely only scratching the surface, given the capabilities some of its power users explore. There will be more to come on this for sure.

What do you think? Do you use Evernote or a similar service? What’s your process for capturing ideas, to-dos or things go investigate later? Let us hear from you in the comments.

PR and Social Media News: Ragan and PR Daily

31 Mar

PR DailyA couple of my favorite sources for news and happenings in both public relations and social media are PR Daily, and Ragan Communications (PR Daily is part of Ragan). I’ve been following both sites for years, have attended a couple of Ragan events, and have even been quoted as a source in their reporting. I’ve found their coverage of the news cycle from a PR perspective to be consistently informative and entertaining. Ragan’s daily headlines is one of the few email newsletters I read daily, and in itself, it’s a study in crafting winning headlines with engaging graphics that make readers want to click through to your content.

Stories I’ve enjoyed there recently:

If you’re into PR, social media, – or grammar, online trends, and any of the communication-related other areas they cover – definitely give these sites a visit and consider signing up for the newsletters.

What do you think? Are you a Ragan.com or PR Daily consumer already? Or have you never heard of these sites? Do you have a personal or business interest in PR or social media? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Crestfallen. Twice.

22 Feb

I like making connections. So I’m often on the lookout for them. It’s fun for me to align concepts for an expanded meaning beyond what they may singularly impart. The same is true with writing: symbolism, parallelism, etc. And as a corporate communications professional, connection-making often comes in handy, whether with words, concepts or people.

Crestfallen

Wired February 2013So it was interesting for me to see an uncommon term, “crestfallen” twice in a single issue of Wired this month. The word appeared in David MacNeal’s story on mobile boombox dance parties, as well as Carl Zimmer’s story on sleuthing out deadly mutant bacteria. Both are positive stories overall, but each includes a mention of someone being crestfallen. I think that’s interesting, and am happy to report not being crestfallen at this discovery.

What do you think? Ever notice an uncommon phrase in rapid succession from multiple sources? Do you believe in synchronicity? What are your thoughts on making connections? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Is There Really No Such Thing As Bad Press?

29 Jan

You know the saying, “there’s no such thing as bad press?” Only to a certain extent do I believe this. The phrase would be more accurate if tempered with two qualifiers:

Potentially, eventually.

Lady Gaga, Oscar Wilde

Lady Gaga, Oscar Wilde.
Both adept at capturing press attention.

This is because in the event of bad press, it can be manageable to varying degrees – but it always takes deliberate, meaningful effort, and it definitely takes time.

I absolutely don’t believe, “hey, there’s no such thing as bad press, so let’s just go for it all…” is wise PR strategy, unless the goal is simple notoriety along the lines of Paris Hilton or Lady Gaga. In these cases, I’m reminded of what could be the inspiration for this concept: Oscar Wilde’s quote, “There is only one thing in the world that is worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

The problem with the idea of no bad press is that with today’s A.D.D. news cycle and the everlasting searchability of the Internet, missteps can take an extraordinary effort to overcome, although it can be done. National Strategies Public Relations CEO Jennifer Vickery sums up the concept: “While there is such a thing as bad press, the main take away should be that good press can come out of it, provided the situation is handled properly.”

Proper handling would mean execution with transparency, honesty and consistency over an interval long enough to shift focus to the present and future more so than the past. In this way, and if done right, bad press can become a real opportunity and cataylst, not just in terms of spin, but also toward doing the right thing.

What do you think? Is there truly no such thing as bad press? What are some examples of bad press being handled properly? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Citigroup Eliminates 11,000 Jobs in History’s Most Corporate-Jargony Paragraph Ever

11 Dec

Hoo boy, this is some incredible corporate-speak – as in, “repositioning” out of the company… (via The Atlantic):

Cittigroup Layoffs Image

Image and link via: Citigroup Eliminates 11,000 Jobs in History’s Most Corporate-Jargony Paragraph Ever – The Atlantic by Derek Thompson.

My heart kind of goes out to the person/team who had to draft this statement – an unenviable task, ripe for ridicule, no doubt subject to hours of agonizing revisions and edits. My heart goes out even more to the newly “repositioned.” But the fact that this missive captures this much attention (mentions on The Atlantic and Twitter, for example) says something – somehow, a nerve has been touched…

Citigroup Jargon on Twitter

It Is What It Is

This is just a lose-lose all around. The company has to do what it has to do, and no amount of careful wording will lessen the blow. Companies can’t stay alive if they have more staff than they need – that’s just a reality of business. And it’s a lousy reality for the newly-jobless that isn’t helped at all by corporate-speak. Maybe there would be less flak coming in if Citigroup at least expressed some kind of gratitude or regret – but would that really have made a difference? Maybe there would be fewer blogs or tales of PR about it, but the repositioning just “is what it is.”

Man, do I hate that phrase.

What do you think? Ever had to be the bearer of grim corporate news? What are your favorite corporate-speak phrases? Let us hear from you in the comments.
Related articles

Foursquare: Do or Die Time?

17 Aug

Here’s something interesting: I often look to the media for blog post ideas, but this time it seems to have happened in reverse. Case in point: a few weeks back I heard a broadcast from Marketplace Radio speaking to Foursquare’s CEO. Amazingly, just a few weeks prior I asked this very question on LinkedIn: “Has Foursquare’s time passed?” There were several good answers and a general consensus that it’s too early to tell.

Not long after I posted my question, Foursquare released a major update to its mobile app and got its PR machine cranking. What’s interesting here is that both Marketplace and I shared the same thought: Foursquare was introduced in 2009, gained massive popularity, and has been gradually cooling off ever since. Is that a sign of its having peaked already or just the fleeting attention span of the digerati?

Life After Death of the Check-In

“Life After Death of the Check In” -Jon Mitchell via ReadWriteWeb

Earlier this year, months before any of this, Jon Mitchell of ReadWriteWeb did this excellent and provocative article on the death of the check in. He rightly notes that it can be overkill:

…it’s a mundane performance of “I’m at the grocery store!” which is annoying noise to one’s friends and followers.

I started using it in early 2011, out of curiosity and to have something to do – like taking photos – while waiting in line at places or making art out of routine trips to places like, well… the grocery store. Hey, at least I try to make my activity interesting – but I sure as heck do NOT post every single update to Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Grocery Store Art

I took all these photos of my local grocery store with my phone for Foursquare check-ins.
I always try to include a photo with each one. Hey, it keeps me entertained.

Businesses Could be Using Foursquare Better

Here’s the secret ingredient: Photos. Include fun photos of your storefront, employees (smiling, preferably), specials, or a behind-the-scenes view of what’s going on. These kind of unique details draw people in, and it can certainly be endearing to customers. I’d love to see an “ask us about this photo” post at some place I check in, then feel like an insider when I take them up on the offer. I’d be getting to know the business better, and maybe even getting a special deal.

I’m glad to see Foursquare innovating and I look forward to what’s next. The real test will be adoption. It won’t be genuinely interesting  until more businesses and users get in on it and get creative. I just hope the next major developments don’t take as long – and with any luck they won’t. I’m sure Foursquare itself has also surely noticed its buzz decline, like Marketplace and your humble author.

What do you think? Are you on Foursquare? Have you been on it and lost interest? Have you ever gotten a deal somewhere because through the app? Let us hear from you in the comments!

Tide Turns Tide with PR

7 Jun

Tide Turns Tables with PRI love it when fiction and real life intersect in clever, funny, or serendipitous ways. I especially like seeing that happen to the mutual benefit of everyone involved – including the public at large – in terms of culture jamming.

That’s what happened this week with Tide and The Onion. The publication ran a faux story on a product that doesn’t necessarily translate perfectly to social media releasing a “cool new viral video.” About… detergent? You get the joke.

Tide Turns Tables on The Onion

It just so happens that the actual company noticed this post and, in what must have been a Herculean effort of corporate teamwork, crafted a brilliant, self-aware response. And they even publicized it via a promoted tweet. Here’s the video and The Onion’s response.

I hope other corporations can enjoy and learn from this as an example of PR done right. Keep the funny videos coming, Tide.

What do you think? Was this the right move on Tide’s part? Have you heard of the story elsewhere, or does publicity like this actually amount to anything? Let us hear from you in the comments!

P.S. I really love embedding tweets. That’s awesome, Twitter.

Stuff You May Have Missed: March 2012

1 Apr
Skulls, Bugs, Flowers, Cats

When I do a photo exhibition, it will probably be called this. For accuracy.

To make sure I stay on track with blogging, I’ve set myself the goal each month of writing at least one major post about each of the categories covered here at rsmithing.com. Early on, I didn’t even bother with categories, but as the amount of my posts grew, it made sense to, well, categorize them. Doing this in WordPress makes for an easy navigation menu, and that’s a blogging best practice: including navigation to give visitors a sense of what the heck your site is about.

I’ve done this successfully for three months now, and since you may be a follower, you might be interested in at least one of these posts (and if you aren’t following, consider signing up at left like all the cool kids are doing). Whether recent or from way back four or so weeks ago, your comments are very, very much appreciated, because, well, you rule for reading this.

Seriously: Thank You, from all of us at rsmithing.com (i.e. me and the cats). And now, the rundown:

Photography

Single Image Sundays: The Emerging Dog (Detail)
Single Image Sundays: Moth At The Door
Single Image Saturdays: Spring is Springing
Single Image Sundays: Skull Pendant

Social Media

How to Talk About Social Media In Business: 5 Points, Video Interview

PR

Homeless Hotspots? What Could Go Wrong?

Technology

Digital Ancestry: an iPad Forerunner

Music

iPhone Video Editing: The Black Keys Live

Writing

Blog Post Artwork

What do you think? Should I keep doing this every month, or have you already seen all the posts here? If so, which was your favorite? Want me to comment on a post of yours? Just share your link in the comments below or at the posts listed and let’s do this!

How to Talk About Social Media In Business: 5 Points, Video Interview

20 Mar
Social Media Business Talking Points

Image created on iPhone with Decim8 & Photoforge2 apps

So I’m reading “9 Tips That Will Change How You Use Social Media” by Jay Baer, and I go to his Google+ page (that’s one of the tips, btw). There, I see this video interview from Blogworld with Bryan Elliott of Behind the Brand and Amber Naslund of Brass Tack Thinking.

 

Social Media Jobs

If you see social media as part of your career, consider the points Naslund makes. As a new media enthusiast, I relate to what Ms. Naslund shares here: direct talk about making the business case for social media, along with general advice on getting buy-in. If you’re in the social/new media world – or if you’re looking for a career there, or if your career now involves understanding social media, check out this video to hear it described in plain English by one who knows of where she speaks. Ms. Naslund is formerly the VP of social strategy for Radian6. Her book with Baer, The Now Revolution has structural guidance (rather than tactical, as many other books do) for businesses considering social media.

What is Social Media?

According to Naslund: “If I had to encapsulate it in something, it is…

Reducing the friction in individual communication. 

“That has long reaching implications. Think: Arab Spring, Occupy Wall St. We’ve removed barriers to communication and information in a way that is completely unprecedented. So now geography and circumstance aren’t part of that equation anymore. People can communicate and connect with each other halfway around the world in an instant, and it has profound impact on the decisions, choices and actions we take.”

5 Social Media Business Talking Points

Credit: Amber Naslund of Brass Tack Thinking

  1. Advice to many businesses getting into social media: Slow down. It’s important that you do this, but put together a strategy first.
  2. On ROI: If you’re doing something new, you have to look at success differently. We take hugs to the bank all the time in business. Because we don’t demand necessarily that every effort turn a profit from day one – not that it shouldn’t eventually. When you’re talking about innovation, disruptive technologies, or rethinking a new business model, you have to think of success in different terms.
  3. Incremental change makes up the big change. You have to be willing to settle for – sometimes – small, tiny shifts toward the right direction. Everyone wants to change the world, but not everybody wants to take the first step.
  4. We as new media enthusiasts see a future no one else sees quite yet.
  5. Collaboration is a word we’re good at giving lip service to, but aren’t as good at putting into practice. It’s about making people feel invested in the outcome, and that they’ve got a collective reward from the result.

BONUS POINT (from me): Item #5 also applies to customers interacting with brands, as well as employees feeling a part of something bigger and seeing the rewards. How rewarding is it for a superfan to interact with a favorite brand? Ever met a celebrity or one of your heroes? Exactly. There’s value in all interactions.

What do you think? Is this a reasonable way of talking about social media? Or are we just in the “Summer of Love” at this point? (credit to Brian Solis for that). What is YOUR definition of social media? Let us hear from you in the comments!
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