Monday, October 8, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

RIP marketing?

Nell Happy ending 2006, granite, 90 x 70 x 20 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney.
Good piece that is ranking highly on HBR, Bill Lee's Marketing is Dead. It's all about authenticity. Here's some of Lee's tips:
1. Restore community marketing. Used properly, social media is accelerating a trend in which buyers can increasingly approximate the experience of buying in their local, physical communities.
Companies should position their social media efforts to replicate as much as possible this community-oriented buying experience. In turn, social media firms, such as Facebook, should become expert at enabling this. They can do this by expanding the buyer's network of peers who can provide trustworthy information and advice based on their own experience with the product or service.
2. Find your customer influencers. Many firms spend lots of resources pursuing outside influencers who've gained following on the Web and through social media. A better approach is to find and cultivate customer influencers and give them something great to talk about. This requires a new concept of customer value that goes way beyond customer lifetime value (CLV), which is based only on purchases. There are many other measures of a customer's potential value, beyond the money they pay you. For example, how large and strategic to your firm is the customer's network? How respected is she?
3. Get your customer advocates involved in the solution you provide. Perhaps the most spectacular example of this comes from the non-profit world. Some years ago, with the number of teen smokers nation-wide rising to alarming levels, the State of Florida thought anew about its decades-long effort to reduce the problem. What could be more difficult than convincing teen smokers to quit — a problem that Malcolm Gladwell had said couldn't be solved. Using the techniques for building a community of peer influence, Florida solved it. They sought influential teen "customers" such as student leaders, athletes, and "cool kids," who weren't smoking or who wanted to quit — and instead of pushing a message at them, they asked for the students' help and input.

Approached in this new way, some 600 teens attended a summit on teen smoking, where they told officials why anti-smoking efforts in the past hadn't worked — dire warnings about the health consequences of smoking, or describing the habit as "being gross," left them unimpressed. On the spot, the teens brainstormed a new approach: they were outraged by documents showing that tobacco company executives were specifically targeting teens to replace older customers who'd died (often from lung cancer). And so the teens formed a group called SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) who organized train tours and workshops, sold T-shirts and other appealing activities to take their message into local communities. The result: despite a vicious counterattack by Big Tobacco lobbying firms, teen smoking in Florida dropped by nearly half between 1998 and 2007 — by far the biggest success in anti-teen-smoking in history.

So can you. Traditional marketing may be dead, but the new possibilities of peer influence-based, community-oriented marketing, hold much greater promise for creating sustained growth through authentic customer relationships.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Slow thinking anyone?

I recently wrote a piece for MacShaw a new online mag for Macdonald Shaw produced by The Royals. I wrote about the Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and his brilliant book Thinking, fast and slow. He explores two difference decisionmaking speeds, fast and slow, and the benefits of understanding the risks of always trusting your gut. Read the full article here.
Kahneman’s tips to turn on your “slow thinking” capabilities:
  • Learn to recognize situations in which errors are likely. Slow down the decision-making process and bring in logic, reflection and reasoning.
  • It’s easier to recognize weak decisions in others. As a leader, encourage others to use their system 2s to assist in decision-making.
  • Be wary of decisions that are made purely based on feelings of liking or disliking something. These biases dominate system 1 thinking. This can be at the expense of deliberation or reasoning.
  • Something that is highly salient in your mind does not mean it is or should be a high priority. It is just something easily retrieved from memory.
  • A telltale symptom that the decision is a poor one, for Kahneman, is over confidence.
  • Accept that you have biases (just like everyone else) that can disrupt effective decision-making.
  • Understand that humans overvalue their own opinions, instincts and judgements.
  • Feeling over confident or “certain” does not equate to good decision-making
  • Remember that fast thinking is not prone to doubt, be careful of the desire to suppress alternatives.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Touch of Yoghurt shampoo anyone?

Great article from The Guardian this weekend by Oliver Burkeman about the GfK Custom Research North America facility in Michigan that is widely known as the Museum of Failed Products. It has relics including Pepsi AM Cola, A Touch of Yoghurt shampoo by Clairol,  caffeinated beer and a mint range that inadvertently looked like crack. Burkeman has written a new book The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking.

An short snippet from the article: "You might have assumed that any consumer product manufacturer worthy of the name would have its own such collection – a carefully stewarded resource to help it avoid making errors its rivals had already made. Yet the executives who arrive every week at Sherry's door are evidence of how rarely this happens. Product developers are so focused on their next hoped-for success – so unwilling to invest time or energy thinking about their industry's past failures – that they only belatedly realise how much they need to access GfK's collection. Most surprising of all is that many of the designers who have found their way to the museum have come there to examine – or been surprised to discover – products that their own companies had created, then abandoned. They were apparently so averse to dwelling on the unpleasant business of failure that they had neglected even to keep samples of their own disasters."

And another: "Another problem with our reluctance to think about or analyse failure – whether our own or other people's – is that it leads to an utterly distorted picture of the causes of success."
Read the full article here 

Friday, June 29, 2012

The ERB annual report

Am doing research for a client on the best annual reports around the world and have been inspired to keep mine very short and sweet this year. Happy new financial year. Read it here.

You asked for it

Top 10 services for clients this fin year:
1. Training sessions focused on YouTube/Vimeo two-minute corporate clips.
2. Pimp up + populate your LinkedIn/Facebook presence in just two hours.
3. 30/60-minute Skype training sessions for key presentations and interviews.
4. Campaign Monitor newsletters from blank page to emailed out in two hours.
5. Keynote address boot camps.
6. Crisis media messaging - dial 000 Emily Ross Bespoke and have plan of action/key messages in under 30 minutes.
7. Website audit and design brief for site upgrade.
8. Website copywriting.
9. Coaching for major broadsheet interview.
10. Internal marketing audit.
Read on buzzwords, video trends, shout outs and more  here

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hallelujah, best tips ever on web content

From the very fantastic The Fetch comes a link to the best collection of pieces on content marketing I've ever read from a site called Attendly. I've harvested some highlights. Writer Corina Mackay deserves a medal for this piece.

A Spectacular List of 240+ Tips, Tricks and Resources for Content Marketing

By Corina Mackay on 22nd of June, 2012 9 Comments
From beginners to old-hats, we all have something to learn about content marketing. We know you have better things to do than spending your days scouring the web for the info you need, so we’ve taken the liberty of doing that for you.
Behold our epic list of the very best tips, info and resources to kick-start your content marketing strategy.
getting started

Understanding content marketing

Using content marketing for SEO results

Tips for setting up an editorial calendar

Building followers on social networks

Building an email subscription list

Creating effective calls to action

video resources

Using video for content marketing


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Authentic, clear messaging is what CEOs need to be able to do at the drop of a hat. Here's CEO of Hagar Australia Kate Kennedy discussing the work Hagar does around Asia. This media performance is not about becoming a slick, spin doctor, but rather being able to deliver key strategy with clarity, confidence and authenticity. This video content is becoming more and more important, not just on news sites, but all across the web, including company sites.

Short, You-Tube/Vimeo video content is extremely valuable marketing collateral that so many companies are ignoring at their peril. Would you rather read a long piece of text online or sit and watch a video?

In a lot of the training sessions I do these days, we film this style of video that is so prevalent in good strategic comms strategies these days.

Here are a few more good examples:

Introducing OpenIDEO's E-Waste Challenge from IDEO on Vimeo.

From IDEO's E-waste Challenge

Ai-Jen Poo is one of Time Magazine's Top 100 Influentials for 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The art of a great communications explained

He's going to have to come to every media training/speech development session I do.

A sneak preview of a new website

Am very excited about the birth of another website Puri Naga Toya, a palatial Balinese villa.
It coincides with new branding and all new visuals as well. I closely collaborated with a very clever jetsetting artist/videographer Hayati Mokhtar and a KL-based web designer Zemang from HandPrintStudio as well as the owners of the villa that is north of Ubud. Working across timezones (thank you Skype), the end result is a site that I believe really sets this villa apart in a very crowded market.

New video content, banners, less copy and more infographics really help to give the viewer a taste of this insanely beautiful place. Of course, the marketing goal was always to make people fall in love with this place.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mumbrella nails it

A brilliant piece in Mumbrella by Tim Burrowes earlier this month on the fundamentals of making an impact on the media landscape. Ignore at your peril.

Nine problems stopping The Global Mail from getting an audience

Nine problems stopping The Global Mail from getting an audience    Screen shot 2012 05 08 at 8.36.36 PM 100x42While it’s a shame The Global Mail has failed to make an impact on the media landscape, the signs have been there for some time.
I love the concept of a well resourced, philanthropically-funded independent news site. Anywhere in the world, that’s a rare and wonderful thing. In Australia even more so. So I hope that Grame Wood gets to see his investment make a difference.
And I have no inside info on whether Monica Attard’s sudden departure is linked to the site’s failure to find an audience so far.
Regardless, here are nine areas they can easily start to address:
1. Publish more content
Even before The Global Mail launched, I heard gossip that potential correspondents were being hired with the promise that they would not be subject to deadlines.
Which is a decent aspiration – ignoring the 24 hour news cycle to focus on what’s important is almost impossible to criticise.
Except they’re producing very little content. Take the last seven days for example – just five articles.
At the time of writing, just one piece has gone up on the site today. One yesterday too. Nothing at all over the weekend. One piece on Friday, two last Thursday.
As any regular blogger will tell you, the size your audience is directly linked to how often you post. You need to give people a reason for going back regularly. Few readers will be interested in every piece of content you publish, which means you need to overpublish.
Remember the old journo joke?
First journalist: “I’m writing a book.”
Second journalist: “Neither am I.”
I don’t think that freedom from deadlines actually gets the best from most journos. I’ve done some of my best work when I’ve got 60 minutes left to file.
Of course, proper investigative reporting can’t be knocked out in an hour or two. But there still needs to be a point where you have to deliver. With a staff of more than 20 it’s not unreasonable to expect more than one article a day.
2 – Social media strategy
At the moment, the strategy seems to consist of tweeting the articles and chucking them up a link to them on Facebook.
But when there’s so little content to share, that leads to little reward.
Given that whoever runs the Twitter feed and Facebook page probably doesn’t have any say over the low content output, I’d argue they need other strategies to generate more traffic.
I’m not sure it’s a huge sin to tweet an article more than once, if done with a slightly different wording and with a gap of a few hours. But more to the point, they need to find other things to talk about – connect with the audience by updating them on the news list or upload a behind the scenes picture, for instance.
Back in March, somebody was making an effort to upload interesting images to the Global Mail Facebook page. They generated a fair bit of interaction. But for whatever reasons, they stopped again.
It’s also important to make it a two-way conversation. There are examples on the Facebook page where people have left comments or posed questions which have been ignored.
3 – Allow comment
As we’ve discovered on Mumbrella, some of our best content can come in the comment thread that follows an article. I can understand the journalistic instinct – particularly when not many of the team seem to come from an online background – that the journo’s job is to impart wisdom, and the audience’s job is to be the audience.
It doesn’t work like that any more of course. But if the concern is that poor quality comments will drag down the quality of debate, then have an unashamedly strict moderation policy. But at least invite comment.
Comments generate page views and they also give extra reasons for people to link to the site.
4. Promote the email newsletter
One of the biggest hidden weapons for any site to generate traffic is via a daily email. It takes work because you have to gradually build it by pursuading people to sign up. Three years ago I started Mumbrella’s mailing list with a couple of hundred email addresses of personal contacts and it has now built to nearly 30,000 which drives about a third of our Australian page views. (If you haven’t yet done so, you can subscribe to our email for free via the box on the right hand side of this page – see what I did there?)
The Global Mail does offer an email subscribe box, but it’s hidden at the bottom of the page. Until I looked for it last night, I’d never noticed it.
5. Work harder on PR.
Whether new or established, media players need to make noise to bring an audience. So far, their director of communications and media has sent us two press releases – once announcing its launch, and one the departure of Attard.
By contrast, Southern Cross Austereo, probably the hardest working media organisation when it comes to PR, has sent me ten press releases so far this week. Guess which one gets more coverage?
Nine problems stopping The Global Mail from getting an audience    Screen Shot 2012 05 09 at 12.10.12 PM 234x159 
6. Address the user experience.
Users browse the site by scrolling sideways. It’s annoying, and anecdotally, works badly in certain browsers. The site was built by the same team that created music website We Are Hunted which has the same horizontal scroll, but works better for its magazine style content. They also did wotif, which isn’t beloved among its customers for its UX.
As a reader, I find it difficult to quickly browse what little content there is.
I also find it weird that the site dedicates a strip along the bottom of the page to external sites such as The Guardian which it then links to within a Global Mail frame. Considering it blocks those sites’ ads from serving, that looks like a straight case of content theft to me.
7. Do some marketing.
There’s nothing wrong with marketing a product – particularly one you’re spending$15m on. Buy a few ads on news and current affairs sites where you might find the sort of audience you want to attract. Locally, a few display ads on the likes of New Matilda or even the SBS World News news site would spread the philanthropic dollars further and cost very little. Back it with a little Facebook advertising based on clever keywords.
8. Act like a start up
Start ups news sites are usually hungry. They scrap for stories. They grab every opportunity to promote themselves. They establish themselves by working harder than the established players. The lack of a commercial imperative may have blunted that. Find a way to reignite the competitive instincts.
9. Sort out the SEO
Not much thought seems to have been given to optimising the site for search. The meta data – the behind the scenes text fed to search engines such as Google – does not contain high volume search terms. Instead it features the phrase “Philanthropically funded, not-for-profit news”. The search volume for this phrase is pretty damn small.
The sideways navigation also hurts SEO because search engines tend to prioritise information from top to bottom.
However what The Global Mail has going for it is quality. Unfortunately, that’s not enough. If you build it, they won’t come. You’ve got to tell them.
Tim Burrowes

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Beat the speaking phobia

Public Speaking with Andrew Johnson is smart, very affordable way to boost your public speaking prowess and deal any level of phobia of public speaking. Check it out on the App Store. I am a bit of a fan of Scotsman Andrew Johnson, he has a suite of insomnia/relaxation apps that are pretty damn effective. (I dare you to try his Relax App!)
This is wonderful for people who struggle with public speaking because it allows people to work on shifting that negative mindset that can be mighty hard to shift. I do work with people at all levels with a real loathing for public speaking and it's great to watch them work through this phobia and make that speech. I will be prescribing this not just for people who dread speaking but for anyone who wants to really set their mind in the right place before a speech.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Fixing the disconnect

New research shows that companies that continually evaluate where its resources (capital, talent and other resources) need to go, aligns resource spend with strategy and adapts spend to market opportunities will be 40 per cent ahead of the company with a fixed allocations strategy over 15 years. 
How to Put Your Money Where Your Strategy Is is a great new piece from McKinsey Quarterly by Steven Hall, Dan Lovallo and Reiner Musters. In essence is examines the dangers of not aligning strategy to resources spend. The distribution of resources needs to be extremely tightly aligned to strategy rather than tightly fixed and inflexible. This is something that really comes out in the audits I do, vast sums wasted on irrelevant communications, leaving no resources for more urgent projects. The McK research proves that this is a very expensive, unproductive way to work.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Go team Open Field!

A shout out for the new Open Field iPad mag created by my very clever friend Kirsten Alexander. It's already gaining the attention of the likes of Margaret Atwood. All proceeds go to CARE Australia.
Contributors include:
Pakistani poet Fatima Bhutto
Australian journalist and writer Anne Summers
New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly
Australian actor and producer Claudia Karvan
New York photographer Lili Almog
As well as writer Alice Garner, restaurateur misschu, singer-songwriter Sally Seltmann, novelists Joanna Hershon and Kate Veitch, body artist Lucy McRae, and more.
Head to iTunes and download here. I'll be reading it tonight...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

This is how it's done

I'll never get sick of covering smart start ups. Read about the guys behind the iTunes bestselling app series Discovr here that I profiled for AFR Boss.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why training pays off

Read a great piece on the plane today in The New Yorker's brilliant Financial Page about Uniqlo's staffing and training strategy that serves as a reminder of the value of not scrimping on training, the value of ensuring that staff know what they are doing and are attuned to customers' needs.   James Surowiecki writes that Uniqlo "hires a lot of people, and spends a lot of time training them."

In so many successful businesses I have written about and worked with, this really is the case. If the team is nurtured in a way that celebrates skill building, learning and knowledge sharing, it's a huge motivator and can translate into bottom-line success. The article cites a recent HBR study that looked at low-price retailers including Costco and found that these businesses, while they offer cheap prices, have higher labour costs than competitors. They have more sales people on the floor and they invest more in training them. Read 'The More The Merrier' (The New Yorker's March 26 issue) here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gettin' busy with it

my work

Quick update on EMILY ROSS BESPOKE  projects
Lots of Tumblr client blogging | Media audit and marketing strategy for new app firm | Media training sessions for new online start-up | Some spooky ghost writing | New collaborations with fashion/online retailing powerhouses | Media audit for major healthcare company | Research around toxic leadership practices | Series of interviews with red hot entrepreneurs for AFR Boss (sorry under embargo) | First interview with mega-brilliant internet start up | Chief information office profile for major ASX 100 | Major keynote address training | Website development, production and coordination for super dooper cake man | Media strategy work for hot consulting firm |

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Guardian nails the new media landscape

love this take on open journalism by the guardian. Expect it to win truckloads of awards in the next 12 months. I will use it in sessions with clients, especially those that feel that they can control information once it gets out into the "open".

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Helping out the business bitch and the power of the pause

I made it into the Agony Aunt pages of SmartCompany, helping out with some um, err tips. Umming and erring happens to the best of us. Addressing the ums/errs is a key part of the media training work I do. Becoming aware of this habit is a start. From there, I like to slow down speaking, stop rushing and work to eliminate the errs and ums. They occur when someone is trying to work out what to say next. The umm/err punctuates that thinking time but doesn't serve any purpose. I offer a simple alternative. Take a breath, pause and think of what you need to say, then say it WITHOUT the um/err. I do fun Q & A exercises where the goal is not to say um/er. You'd be surprised how quickly you can break the habit. Embrace the power of the pause, President Obama is the pin up for this. Check out his pausing techniques.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ah, that's better

Here's a preview of a work in progress for a leading consultant and coach Sean Spence who works with CEOs and executive teams in a range of blue-chip companies. This project involved rebranding, website concept, competitor analysis, copywriting and designer liaison with Philip Campbell Design. It's almost finished but I can never resist a BEFORE & AFTER.

Before: Stuck in the 1990s!

After: Now that's better.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First [web] baby of the year is born

I am very excited to see the interior design firm Elsie + Betty's website go live. This has been a fantastic site to work on. Clients are very clear of what they need, have brilliant images and clear strategic direction and designer Phillip Campbell has such an innate understanding of the aesthetics for the brand. Love it!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy new year and a resolution or two worth keeping

Happy new year to everyone. Hope 2012 is richly rewarding time for you personally, professionally and, most importantly, healthwise. I'm not a big fan of new year resolutions but I have to say this McKinsey Quarterly piece is rather excellent, it has surfaced again as one of the most read of the last quarter. It discusses the perils of multitasking, the dangers of "overeating at an interesting intellectual buffet", the importance of a good filtering strategy, protecting personal time and the benefits of being able to reset. As the piece says: "multitasking is not heroic". I think I need to learn this piece off by heart. Here's a sample and a link to the full PDF. Happy new year!
organization practice
Recovering from information overload 
Derek Dean and Caroline Webb
Always-on, multitasking work environments are killing productivity, dampening creativity, and making us unhappy.
For all the benefits of the information technology and communications revolution, it has a well-known dark side: information overload and its close cousin, attention fragmentation. These scourges hit CEOs and their colleagues in the C-suite particularly hard because senior executives so badly need uninterrupted time to synthesize information from many different sources, reflect on its implications for the organization, apply judgment, make trade-offs, and arrive at good decisions.
The importance of reserving chunks of time for reflection, and the difficulty of doing so, have been themes in management writing for decades. Look no further than Peter Drucker’s 1967 classic, The Effective Executive, which emphasized that “most of the tasks of the executive require, for minimum effectiveness, a fairly large quantum of time.” Drucker’s solutions for fragmented executives—reserve large blocks of time on your calendar, don’t answer the phone, and return calls in short bursts once or twice a day—sound remarkably like the ones offered up by today’s time- and information-management experts.

Read the whole piece here.