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Posts Tagged ‘engagement’

Engage Your Audience like Dove Does

With over 54 million views in two months, Dove has a winner in this Real Beauty Sketches video series.

 

I’m not here to argue the merits of the campaign with regard to beauty. In my opinion, however, they’ve struck a chord with the general public. The result is a winning content marketing strategy. They’ve challenged people with how they look at themselves and managed to attach their brand to the process.

I think what they’ve also been able to do is intrigue and the engage the audience. From the moment Gil Zamora announces that he is a forensic artist and that he worked for the San Jose Police Department, the viewer is hooked. From the music selection to the loft gallery feel, there’s a calming and inviting sense about the setting. As participants enter, there’s a mystery surrounding the process and what exactly this has to to do with Dove. As they describe their experience further, one can’t help but think what it would be like to be in their position.

We each have difficulty in seeing ourselves for who we are. We may be too critical with small areas. This exercise allowed some to see themselves in a brief but tangible way through the eyes of a stranger. We each come away wanting to know what that moment of realization must be like.

What are the lessons you see from Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches series? What are the ways your organization can use content to better engage your employees, members, and customers? What are the topics or trends in your industry that your brand could be more effectively associated with?

The Avengers: A Model Organization

Nick Fury: There was an idea to bring together a group of remarkable people, so when we needed them, they could fight the battles that we never could…

Fury is talking about The Avengers, of course. When I look at this quote from Samuel L. Jackson’s character in the movie blockbuster of 2012, a few words jump out at me: together, remarkable, needed, and fight. Let’s take a closer look to see what the lessons are for us and our organizations.

Remarkable– Some of the synonyms for remarkable are exceptional, noteworthy, impressive, outstanding, and super. What remarkable is not: normal, ordinary, typical, usual. With The Avengers, just one look at their uniforms lets you know that you’re not dealing with typical people. What kind of people are in your organization? Are remarkable people lining up to be a part? Or are they taking their talent, knowledge, creativity, and insights elsewhere? Forget everyone suddenly becoming remarkable. What if just 10% of your organization was considered remarkable? Or what if they could be 3% more remarkable tomorrow than they were yesterday? There’s a good possibility that your organization holds the keys to this progress through professional development, community engagement, and collaborative endeavors. And, as the people in your organization grow more remarkable so too will your organization.  They may not need to save the world from an alien attack, but they can achieve more. Make it your singular focus to give them the keys.

Together– What I found most intriguing about The Avengers is their ability to be petty and egotistical and to fight with each other. What I wanted to stand up in the theater and yell is, “Hey, guys, could we all focus on the task at hand?” (Perhaps it reminds you of some meetings you’ve been in.) Near the end of the movie, I’m left with these doubts: “Are they really going to come through? Can they save humanity from total annihilation? And what is that thing that looks like a big serpent, fish-type ship that’s swimming through a dark hole in the sky?” I don’t want to give away the ending in case you haven’t seen the movie yet (and perhaps you stumbled on this post and thought it was a movie review), but let’s just say that The Avengers were clutch (to use an often-used sports term). They communicated. They responded. They assigned team members to tasks suitable to their strengths and skills. They helped out and didn’t care who got the credit. Are your team members responding at the right time to advance the cause of the organization? Or are individuals still caught up in what their title is, whose responsibility it is, or who gets the recognition? Initiatives in social business and communications and community engagement need all on board. Is your organization in this together?

Needed– Needed is an interesting word. In this context it implies that there are times when they are not needed. Those are the times when Dr. Bruce Banner can be in India or Tony Stark can run his multi-billion dollar company Stark Industries or Steve Rogers can get a nearly 70-year nap. But needed means that it’s imperative. It’s now. There’s no one else who can do this. Are you asking so much of your employees, members, supporters, and/or customers (do this training, buy that, go to this event, be in Tuesday afternoon’s meeting), that when they’re really needed, they can’t respond? They’re weary. They’re overburdened. You can’t always operate at Code Red. Be selective in your appeals. Less is more. Give them time to get refreshed.

   Fight– The Avengers are an intelligent, talented group of individuals. But what they are mostly is powerful. They were called on in this time of global need to bring the fight, and that’s what they did. No other police or military force could do what they do. When it came down to it, it wasn’t the brilliant scientist or industrial leader or any of their other personas the world needed, it was the fighters. Chances are that your organization is not calling on your constituents as fighters. Recognize your employees, members, and/or supporters as multi-faceted, but focus like a laser beam on what it is your organization really needs from them. Realize too that the needs may vary from time to time, but play to the strengths of individuals. They’re not all the same. They’re not merely cogs in a machine. If you want a responsive, energized, and engaged organization, you’ll ask them to bring their strengths and you won’t bog them down in bureaucracy or mindless tasks.

What lessons do you see for organizations from The Avengers?

Thoughts and Readings on Collaboration, Innovation, and Engagement

I’m sitting here on a Monday afternoon, and I’m trying to synthesize the various things that I’ve learned about over the past week or so.

First, Kent Allaway asked at the end of his PCMA blog post on Blurring Lines, ” If information truly is the key, how do we share knowledge among the community, in order to benefit ourselves and our customers…?” In this post Kent talked about competition, cooperation, and co-opetition. More and more, organizations need to find ways to add value to the lives of their customers. They made need to go outside their four walls. They may need to provide wins for others while staying focused on their own goals.

It calls to mind a recent chat I had with Hilary Marsh. We were talking about content management, content curation, content strategy, content marketing (you get the idea… content). Hilary gave me this great illustration which has stuck with me. Imagine a museum. Suppose 70% of their exhibits come from their own holdings. To make up the difference and provide their patrons with a great experience, they have to “partner” with museums and other entities and borrow from their collections. Who wins? Both do! The local museum is not looked down on because they had to borrow from a museum in Philadelphia or Chicago or San Francisco. Rather the perception is favorable. The curator made the efforts necessary to expose the local audience to exhibits they might not otherwise see. And if those individuals find themselves in one of those cities, they might be more apt to visit that museum and see the rest of what they have on display. In my thinking it’s giving up control to gain prominence.

Interestingly enough, I heard or read two references Friday to 3M, historically known as one of the most innovative companies in the US. In 5 Ways Process is Killing Your Productivity, Lisa Bodell, author of Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution, wrestles with the question, “When people’s jobs depend on meeting metrics and maintaining the status quo, can you fault them for their reluctance to expend any energy toward creation and invention?” Process keeps people in meetings and writing reports. How do we create, foster, and nurture an environment of innovation, collaboration, and engagement? (see how I used 3 of my 5 MIICE words for 2012 right there?)

The other reference to 3M came from a recent Bloomberg Radio interview with Thor Muller and Lane Becker, authors of  Get Lucky: How to Put Planned Serendipity to Work For You and Your Business. Their perspective is that one has to have a commitment to goals while having an openness to other ideas and directions. Muller and Becker believe in training oneself to be able to “link together unrelated concepts in order to generate meaningful insights”. An individual also has to be in “motion” to get out of a routine and be able to “run into new ideas in new contexts. 3M has put itself in a position to be innovative by creating this kind of work environment. Thus, by following these kinds of approaches, the “accidental” discovery of Post-It notes was not really accidental.

And, of course, I wouldn’t have gotten to this without reading Dave Lutz’s blog post on Creating Planned Serendipity For Your Conference Success. He has some great ideas on how to foster engagement and connections at conferences. I like his take on an “army of connectors”. Putting attendees in proximity to other people and connecting them and then creating an environment conducive to conversations are key components to this concept of planned serendipity.

What additional insights can you share on collaboration, innovation, engagement, and planned serendipity? What has challenged you recently to think differently about your organization’s goals and strategies?

My 5 Words for 2012

December 22, 2011 5 comments

I was inspired by Shelly Alcorn‘s post on this concept of 5 words for 2012 as well as Lowell Aplebaum‘s subsequent response. Basically, the idea is selecting 5 words you want to use to help guide your priorities, time, reading, professional development, etc. You then post these 5 words in a visible place as a reminder.

For my 5 words I’m sticking to concepts that are relevant to my professional development while not necessarily being central to my daily tasks. In other words these are primarily areas of interest for me while also having a bearing on my work life. Lastly, each of these concepts is of some importance to the circles I move in and as a result I’ve had opportunities over the past year for learning and discussions around these. I expect many more in 2012.

My 5 words for 2012 are (drumroll please)…

Mobile- More and more statistics show what kind of computing is being done via mobile devices. More email than ever is being sent via mobile. e-Commerce on smartphones is seeing dramatic increases. I was astounded to learn from a presentation by Luke Wroblewski (@lukew) at ASAE Tech ’11 earlier this month that many people around the world are using only mobile devices. In other words what they see in the palm of their hand is the only way they see that information. They never see what I take for granted on the larger screen of a laptop. If you’re not thinking mobile, you’ve been asleep Rip Van Winkle-style. The phone is not used much as a phone much anymore. The implications for conferences, social networking, e-Commerce, geolocation, etc. are huge. I want to give more thought and attention to mobile, what kind of experiences I’m looking for in apps, mobile sites, functionality, and how that translates to people I talk with regularly.

Innovation– It seems to me that the recent death of Steve Jobs has only served to bring the concept of innovation more to the forefront. Jobs, seemingly the patron saint of innovation, is referenced frequently in discussions on the topic (I’ve even done it myself, not because I’m an Apple fanatic but because his life, methods, and products bring out great illustrations). More organizations are having discussions around streamlining. Gone are the days when an association tried to be all things to all people. We’ve seen how large businesses can fail because they didn’t focus on their core competencies. The public is crying out for more customized experiences. They want- no, they demand to see value for hard-earned dollars. This will force creativity and innovation from otherwise complacent organizations. I like what I heard from Scott Steen and Jeffrey Cufaude (@jcufaude) at an ASAE InnovationTalks Day. basically that how one frames the question will help to determine the results. Are you trying to build a better mousetrap? Is the problem getting ride of mice? Are you trying to create a safe and clean environment? Are you a problem solver or an innovator? In 2012 I want to think more along the lines of being an innovator and be an integral part of discussions with organizations that are willing to look at their missions with fresh sets of eyes.

Improvisation- Because, after all, how much of life is scripted? Through the work of Jenise Fryatt I’ve been exposed to more concepts and principles regarding improvisation. It’s not just for comedy clubs anymore. Improvisation has applications related to sales, customer service, social networking, etc. and for interactions with members, colleagues, customers, prospects, and partners. Companies, associations, and even governments can no longer hide behind well-scripted statements and press releases. Teaching the skills of improvisation while giving employees appropriate training in other areas and empowering them to make decisions leads to responsive individuals and organizations. I’m looking to learn more in the area of improvisation and apply to my interactions with others. And, it’s just so darn fun!

Collaboration- I’m all for any tools, resources, or methods which allow people to work more closely together. Technology is some of the answer, but it’s not all. Corporate culture dictates whether a collaborative spirit thrives or is moderately successful or dies despite the rhetoric. As I heard Jeff De Cagna say recently, “No one person in the room is smarter than everyone in the room.” We give mental assent to this kind of notion but then go back to departments, divisions, or agencies and then act as solitary agents, never seeking best practices, never asking for the input of an experienced colleague, in effect never tapping into the expertise that is all around us. In 2012 I want to do my part to be more collaborative, to learn more about collaborative technologies and techniques, and to set the tone for others in collaborative endeavors.Engagement- I try to be engaged wherever I am, whether it’s in a one-on-one discussion, at a conference, online, or on the phone. I respond to others’ ideas and acknowledge their contributions. I take note of what interests those around me, and I myself have varied interests. In short I’m engaged. So, why is this a word I have selected for 2012? Because the name of the game for organizations moving forward is engagement: customer engagement, membership engagement, community engagement, constituency engagement, etc. You get the idea. Social media has only expedited and elevated this concept. Social media could go away tomorrow, and I’m convinced that we’d still be left with this sense that engagement matters. The public no longer wants to be talked to, lectured, sold to. They want to interact- with athletes, with actors, with elected officials, with brands. They want to provide input. They’ve been talking to their friends, neighbors, and co-workers for years, offering opinions and insights. Now they’re just willing to make them public, a part of a permanent landscape of online feedback. Tapping into this power of engagement will be key for all types of organizations. And I, for one, want to learn more and offer more in the way of engagement.

If I had to choose a sixth word it would be gamification. Why? Because it has some interesting applications and potential. And it’s just fun to say. Say it with me now: “gamification“. And now try using it in a conversation with someone today. Do they know what it means?

Anyway, so those are my 5 words for 2012. They make a great acronym: MIICE. So, while I’m watching the MIICE in 2012, what will you be watching? Have you selected your 5 words for 2012?

Oh, and if you have any reading material, blogs, conferences, etc. related to any of the letters in my MIICE, send ’em my way. After all, I’m here to learn as much from you as hopefully you are learning from me.