The State of the World…In a Few Sentences

Flipping through the November 27th issue of PR Week and I saw the article on the front page, “Implants get nod of FDA.”

In short, the FDA is allowing two companies to market silicone breast implants commercially for the first time in 14 years.  The I came to the end of the article where Wendy Lund, Manning Selvage & Lee’s EVP of global business and client development (representing one of the companies) is quoted.  The quote is what got me.

“In so many ways, it’s really a historic health event and definitely the biggest healthcare PR event of 2006,” said Lund.

The biggest healthcare PR event of 2006.  Bigger breasts.  That’s what our world sees as major news.

Not curing disease.
Not improving healthcare.
Not major advancements in the fight against deadly diseases.

Bigger breasts.

That’s the biggest event.

Well, Hugh Hefner can sleep easy…we’re watching out for him.

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The State of the World…In a Few Sentences

Wow, Unbelievable Service by AT&T

So, I check back from time to time with the local phone and cable company to see if there’s been any developments that will make broadband internet available to me at home.

So, I checked on the AT&T website today to see if their offerings have changed.

Entered my address, phone number, etc.

Waited

Waited

Got an error message that their system must be having problems.  Try again later or call this 800 number for assistance.  I figure that I have a few minutes, so I dial the number.

Obviously I get a menu.

Answer a couple of questions that I am looking for the High Speed Internet Sales department. 

The friendly, hollow voice says “she” will transfer me to sales.

Then I get those three familiar tones and a voice says, “Your call cannot be completed as dialed.”

Between departments

At the PHONE COMPANY!

Boy, that just makes my confidence in my local phone company soar!

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Wow, Unbelievable Service by AT&T

The World is Changing….I mean CHANGED!

First things first, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend.  Mine was busy, but nice.

Friday, before I left the office, I was walking around Crayonville Island in Second Life.  Happened across Divo Dapto (aka Joseph Jaffe) and Meatball Mangaroon (Rob of robtheexplainer) and got to chatting for a bit.

Now, when I try to explain the concept of Second Life to my wife, she looks at me like I have lobsters crawling out of my ears.  If you’re not part of the circles that “get it,” Second Life seems uber-geek like.  If I wasn’t in marketing, I’d probably think the same thing.

But here’s the cool part.

I was talking, real time, with someone for whom I have great respect and is one of the leaders in the world of marketing.  Tell me when that could have happened before these new technologies came around.  Sure, talking to an avatar is strange, but I think the concept is cool.  If I wanted to, (and had the ability) to talk via Skype, I could have said so to Joseph…because I knew he was available.  Plus, I never would have met Rob, who I think has a great blog. 

These things are all about connecting, conversing and finding like minds. 

Does it make me geeky?  Maybe.  But, I know exactly where to find people who are just as geeky as me!

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The World is Changing….I mean CHANGED!

I’ll trust/love/buy/work/etc when I BELIEVE

Gaping Void Cartoon

I keep coming back to this cartoon by Hugh.

This says something that is becoming clearer every day to me.

For every aspect of business, believing in “it” is critical.  For the customer, for the prospect, for the employee, the president, EVERYONE needs to believe in what you, they, we are doing.

The problem I see is there is a disconnect between this thought process/way of living and many of the companies that are out there now.  Too many of the companies that we work for are stuck in the “old” world of business.  You know it.

This is how it’s always been.

This is how we do it.

We’ll tell people what to like.

We have to perform for the stockholders.

Am I against companies making money, performing for stockholders, etc?  Absolutely not.  That opportunity is what makes this country so great and drives our economy.  It’s when the sole focus of business becomes making money that we have a problem.  The love of money is the root of all evil. (Seems to me I’ve heard that somewhere!)

In this month’s Business 2.0, there’s a fake interview with Michael Scott from The Office about motivation.  Basically, he says he motivates because he’s the boss and he tells people what to do…by any means necessary.  While that’s fictional (or supposed to be!) it’s all too common.  People work and work to get to a position of “power” and then just tell people what to do because they control that person’s future (or think they do).

What would it look like if motivation came from the source that really motivates…belief.  What if companies strived to create something that their employees, customers and markets could get behind because they believed in it?  Not because it was a little better than the guy up the street, but because they TRULY believed in what the company stood for.  What if companies actually stood for something instead of “performing well for the shareholders.”

With the open communication of social media etc, also comes responsibility.  That responsibility is working our asses off to stand for something.  No communication tool, new or old can do ANYTHING for a company without a great message to communicate.  Otherwise it’s just white noise.  This starts from building something that excites the people who are charged with managing, communicating, nurturing it.

They say that “love is the killer app,” but how do you love something you don’t believe in?

I’ll trust/love/buy/work/etc when I BELIEVE

A PR and Marketing Mash Up

How has social media affected the PR and Marketing world?

Well, I’m not nearly smart enough, or “free-time laden” enough to fully address that question.  But, I have had some thoughts lately that I think deserve to be shared.  (Plus, it’s my head and my blog, so deal!)

One important thing I think it’s done has blurred the lines between PR and Marketing.  Sure, they are still distinct positions with distinct fuctions, but I don’t think it’s as disctinct as it once was.  It used to be that (oversimplification ahead!) marketing went out to the customer/prospect and PR went to the media.  With the advent of social media, these lines no longer exist in the same way.

PR can and does go to the customer
Marketing publishes and often ends up providing content to media.

It’s a mashed up world.  The fun is just beginning.

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A PR and Marketing Mash Up

Content, content, content

Why are so many businesses content to just play catch up and “Me Too!”?

I understand that pushing the boundaries of tradition is painful.  I understand that safe often feels better, more comfortable.

But, I can’t think of one company that got great by just sitting back and making minor improvements to their offering that don’t challenge the status quo, or their competitors.

To that end, it’s amazing how many people want to jump on this “Social Media” bandwagon with nothing to offer.  If there’s one thing that blogs, podcasts and the like do it’s reveal a fraud quicker than ever before.

We need to make sure that what we’re communicating is actually of value.  It needs to scream out, “Pay attention to me.”  Not because it does such great things for us…but for the customer. 

Why should they pay attention if it’s just a boring, sub par copy of your competitor?

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Content, content, content