What do you do before you talk with strangers? You introduce yourself. You tell them who you are.
Who Are You? The answer to that question is at the heart of any human relationship. It’s the basis of trust.
But before you can answer, you need to ask yourself, who do you think you are?
Organizations are the same way. Your name is just one piece of information. What you do is another. Why you do what you do is the most important piece of all.
Some people call these mission and vision statements.
What do you believe? What do you aspire to? What truths do you hold to be self-evident?
Write them down on paper. Then discuss them with those you trust. In the end you’ll reach a consensus on who you are as an organization of humans . . . and what you want to be.
Once you know who you are and what you believe, you can tell the world what you think.
And you don’t have to invent an entirely new rationale each time you speak.]]>
Adults often find it awkward to communicate through video. That’s unfortunate because video is an enormously engaging communications channel available. But mastering video is easy for a child. Why?
Because children usually have someone specific in mind that they’re speaking to. The camera is just a means for reaching that person. It’s a tool . . . just like a telephone once was.
To communicate like a human you need to have another human in mind when you talk. Demographic groups are not human. Market segments are not human. Millennials . . . they’re not human.
Your mother is human. So direct your communication to your mother. And while you’re at it, make your message simple enough for your mother to understand it. If you can’t explain it simply . . . that usually means you don’t understand the message yourself.
There are scores of video bloggers who manage to communicate successfully as humans every day. Casey Neistat shares his daily thoughts and experiences with more than 2 million humans.
Google has enlisted Nat & Lo to explore the vast Googleplex and share what other humans are working on. Their videos are a vehicle for corporate literacy, recognition, brand development, and engagement all disguised as entertainment.
Video is the most powerful way to connect with other humans electronically because it’s hard to fool. So are humans.
To do it right, pick the person you want to persuade . . . like your mother. And talk to that person directly.
Just like a human would.]]>
Corporate storytelling is all the rage. But before you can tell a story you need to know who the characters are.
Mitt Romney got skewered for saying that corporations are people. But he wasn’t totally wrong. People have enormous influence on the personality and culture of an organization. They give it character.
The great example of that is Apple Computer. Steve Jobs embodied the character of Apple. That was clear when he left the company and Apple became just another 80s tech company. When Jobs returned, so did the character.
And Jobs didn’t just talk about products. He talked about why Apple made the products it did. That way, you knew what to expect from a computer, or phone, anything else made by Apple.
The job of a leader in any group of people is to show what behaviors are good and which ones are outside the culture. When the group knows what success looks like, they can work toward it.
Take, for example, IBM.
IBM is over 100 years old. And for much of that time its stuffy image reflected the personality of its CEO, Thomas Watson.
Fortunately, IBM hired Eliot Noyes in the 1950s to redesign their typewriters. Then he redesigned other products, and their logo, and their buildings so that by the 1960s IBM was the quintessential modern American corporation.
Noyes gave himself the job title, Curator of the Corporate Character. And that character was intelligent, cool, sophisticated, totally reliable.
You can’t really tell an engaging or truthful story about a corporation until you know what the character is of that thing.
Our brains seem to be wired to assign human qualities to non-human things, including corporations. If you don’t define those qualities ahead of time, people will supply their own definition. And chances are, you won’t like it.
A good story begins with a strong character. Once you define the character of the company, then you can express it consistently through actions, words, and images in ways that humans can recognize.
Because the purpose of a good story is not to tell the world what you did in the past.
It tells them what they can expect you to do in the future.]]>
Have you ever seen the Condescending Corporate Brand Page? If not, check it out right now. Then come back to this Inc. post.
Okay, welcome back! It’s hard to be a brand on Facebook. After all, Facebook is primarily a place for connecting with your close (and not-so-close) friends. While that’s happening, companies are furiously competing to get into your News Feed and get you to “engage” with them. And they’re not necessarily wrong to do that. Every day, people are having conversations with brands and 50 percent of people say they trust a company’s Facebook page more than its website. Facebook pages from brands can offer a lot of deals, information, or relationships with employees. But when competing in a crowded marketplace, brands tend to adopt certain personas that can make a consumer’s skin crawl.
Below are five brand personas your company should not emulate:
While studies show that asking for a Facebook ‘like’ or a comment can increase your interactions up to 26 percent, the Beggar does it constantly and at inappropriate times. If your posts are great, you won’ t need to ask for a like for every other one. Use the power of the “ask” when you’re trying to spread an important company message or helps the community. Don’t do it for the sake of doing it. My personal favorite Beggar post is from Oxi-Clean, asking people on tax day to like Oxi-Clean if they’ve filed their taxes. Because, you know, when you think Oxi-Clean, you think tax filing.
The Stock Boy
No, this isn’t the guy filling the grocery shelves at your local supermarket. It’s the guy who purchases stock photography of random smiling people and uses them for every single post. I wish the Stock Boy would invest in an iPhone and Instagram some pictures of his company’s products, behind-the-scenes at the office, or himself and his employees–anything other than a photo that has nothing to do with his brand. Stock imagery looks like advertising. And advertising is something people have been trained to ignore.
Many brands struggle with how to handle tragic current events. Not this dude. This guy cannot resist mentioning the latest recent catastrophe. Not only does he mention it, but he attempts to use it for his benefit. Check out Kenneth Cole, who is infamous for this. During the revolution in Egypt, he tweeted “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available.” He then deleted the tweet and apologized after negative feedback. You would think that the brand would have learned its lesson, but just this April, it posted an albeit less offensive but still controversial commentary about gun control. Here’s a tip: Not every world event is necessary for you to comment on. Express what’s in your hearts, and how you feel as an organization. But whatever you do, don’t use a national tragedy as an attempt to game engagement. It’s simply bad taste.
The Long-Winded Lady
You know her. She talks a ton, but listens very little. She writes lengthy, meandering updates with three calls to action in the same sentence. Then she doesn’t understand why she’s not getting people to ‘like’ or comment. I’ll keep this persona description short because the thought of those long-winded, text-heavy posts makes me want to stop talking. Now.
Have you ever seen a brand throw up a picture of a cute kitten or a baby despite the fact that it doesn’t sell a pet or infant product? Images like these definitely resonate with the Facebook community. But the Cheeseball is all sentiment and little substance. The Cheeseball may garner a lot of ‘likes,’ but its community doesn’t identify with the image of a puppy, or know what it has to do with the brand. It’s okay to use images that are likely to be popular–just don’t go totally off-brand for the sake of being cutesy. You’ll get likes and shares–but then see a ton of unsubscribes when you show up in consumer feeds talking about something they’re not interested in.
If you recognize the personas that consumers shy away from, you can make your content a lot better. And stay tuned for next week’s post: The 5 Best Brand Personas on Facebook Today.
As a consumer, what brand activity on Facebook annoys you the most?
Carrie Kerpen is the co-founder and CEO of Likeable Media, which she grew from a husband-and-wife consulting firm into a global social media and word-of-mouth marketing agency. She led her team to more than $15 million in revenue and landed the agency on the Inc. 500 List in 2011 and 2012. @CarrieKerpen]]>
She doesn’t rush her words. She is well-rehearsed to ensure there would be no stumbling on the ancient syntax. She looks up from the text to make eye contact. She is aware that the occasion is not about her but about the audience. These are simple techniques but combined they can transform a dry recitation of words into a memorable moment.]]>
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Estimative Intelligence — This is an approach to assessing uncertainty traditionally used by military and national security analysts. It referes to intelligence that identifies describes and forecasts adversary capabilities and the implications for planning and executing military operations.
Soft Risk Probability and Consequence Analysis — We can help you quantify subjective information by applying a proprietary methodology to various events to measure not just their impact on your reputation and operation but also the probability of those events occurring.
Contingency Planning — Effective planning and management can unlock value in companies beleaguered by adversaries and legacy issues. Understanding each adversary’s unique motivations and barriers can reveal ways to leverage influence in order to resolve issues and realize greater value.
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|The Invisible Hand is a Connecticut-based corporate communications agency specializing in strategic message development, editorial advocacy, and speechwriting. Offering a rare combination of business insight and creative talent, we help senior executives articulate their vision to employees, partners, clients and investors in order to achieve their business goals.We help you develop your key messages, craft articles and place them in publications where they can persuade your most important audiences, inform public opinion and build your reputation.For medical, legal, and architectural professionals, The Invisible Hand offers an intelligent and disciplined way to market professional services without resorting to crass advertisements.|
Words, as much as numbers, are the building blocks of business. Well-chosen words can describe a value proposition, build consensus, and convince your partners to join in. Before clients buy your service they must buy your vision. And communicating compellingly to employees, colleagues, customers and investors ensures that no good ideas get left on the table.
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Making your case before a group of colleagues, customers, or partners is a key function of the leader of any organization. An effective speech can motivate a team, inspire confidence and build the consensus necessary to move a group forward. An ineffective speech is a missed opportunity to do any of those things. When the stakes are high, your words must count.
Innovative ideas are inherently unfamiliar to the rest of the world. That’s why it is vitally important to be able to explain your new idea in terms investors, customers, and partners can understand. We can help you translate your ideas into words that engage, inform and persuade so that everyone understands the value you’ve uncovered.
Offering a rare combination of business insight and creative talent, we help senior executives articulate their vision to employees, partners, clients and investors in order to achieve their business goals.
We help you develop your key messages, craft articles and place them in publications where they can persuade your most important audiences, inform public opinion and build your reputation.
For medical, legal, and architectural professionals, The Invisible Hand offers an intelligent and disciplined way to market professional services without resorting to crass advertisements.