Own your media…build the team

I am continuing my thought process surrounding how we as organizations/businesses have to own our media. But this takes on a fundamental thought process and radical shift in how we do business…we have to truly own our media by building our team.

For so many years…large organizations have allowed agencies and firms to own the “brand’s” message. They were tasked and empowered to do the brand research, create the strategy, build the message, construct the media, distribute the media, and track the results. As we move into the digital world, ownership of media assets is coming more and more key to the success of organizations.  This is from ownership of URL’s (domains), website access, video content, and now social media ownership.

I have always advocated that organizations and business should take an ownership role in owning their media and communications. They should not be restricted by third party vendors how to access the online tools that support their brand. This goes all the way down to who owns the right to update social outlets, who can change the website copy, share a Twitter update, create a video message. Organizations (specifically brands) should own their media and how they share this message…but to support this philosophy, their has to be a staff in place to push this philosophy forward.

Large organizations like hospitals and higher education institutions are battling this issue. Who creates the Facebook updates, Twitter updates, video messages, blog posts, etc. Should it be the people that work inside the brand or the vendors that support the brand. I think the vendors should help brands create a strategy and create workflows for organizations to own their branded message and build a community.

1) You have to have a new media/social staff in place. These people inside your organization have to be able to not only understand the marketing/pr initiatives but also be able to have the skills to design, develop, implement, and share the content created. They have to be the ultimate brand ambassadors who not only help create the community…*but* empower others in the organization to share the message. A Community Manager is a good place to begin but you also need:
– New media staff that can create and update web properties (from design to programming).
– Video professional(s) that can create video messages and manage video content managements systems like YouTube, Vimeo, and other private portals.
– Creative writers who not only can create copy for online properties, but help write scripts for video content. 

2) Create an advisory team to support the organization. Hospitals are a prime example of this silo based organization. As a consultant, I spend more time working with service lines and departments that are creating social/web portals that do not meet the organization’s goals. This advisory team empowers, educates, and helps implement organization strategy so the online properties are successful. This team can be made up of representatives across the organization that directly interface with the part of the organization that manages these online spaces. Let them be a part of the strategy help empower them to build the community.

3) Have an senior new/social media team in place that builds community strategy goals and initiatives. This team is a part of the visual branding process and also implements strategies to track success for this online properties.

Owning our media has become ever important, one that is harder now is to wrangle a team together. So many times I walk into an organization and I ask, who updates your website, your Facebook page(s), domains, etc. How can we control our message and be a part of the community when we do not even have controlling access to our digital properties. The organization many times knows their brand message the best…why not empower the branded organization own the process, the media that is shared.

Story vs. Slogan – Invoking or Addressing our Audience?

I have been watching and reading a blog conversation between a few colleagues of mine surrounding the idea of Story vs. Slogans (Spike Jones and Amy Taylor). This topics absolutely fascinates me and actually plays a role in the discussion I have been having with another colleague Mack Collier surrounding do we address our audience needs or do we invoke our audience.

This discussion takes me back to a piece of scholarship that was written in the early 80′s surrounding the topic: audience addressed and audience invoked. As I re-read the article, I always find myself referring to one final point of Edes and Lusford’s conclusion…

“A fully elaborated view of audience, then, must balance the creativity of the writer with the different, but equally important, creativity of the reader.”

We write in tension but I think we have to find a balance between invoking the audience (creating a division in the writer and reader’s roles) and addressing the audiences’ needs (the reality the audience exist and that the written text is created in concert).

So what does this have to do with Story vs. Slogan…well a lot. But I want to look at something that Spike said in his post from December 2008:

Stories live forever. Slogans live until the ad agency gets tired of them.
Stories are real. Slogans are made up.
Stories pull you in. Slogans try and push out a message.
Stories are deep. Slogans are shallow.
Stories are personal. Slogans are impersonal.
Stories are passed on by word of mouth. Slogans are passed on by ads.

This dichotomy between “Story vs. Slogan” and “Audience Addressed vs. Audience Invoked” has me thinking…are we addressing the needs of our audience by pushing slogans down people’s throats? It sounds more like we are trying to invoke something that is unnatural and detached.

So what really makes a story different from a slogan? Spike wrote that “Stories are real. Slogans are made up.” What makes stories real and slogans just made up. Well, it is the act of listening…because stories are told over and over again: they recount a place and time in history. They connect the very fabric of our being with human emotion. When we tell a story, we are sharing something that is tangible in our hearts and minds that invokes emotion and connection.

I am not a slogan person or a person that relishes the task of creating positioning statements and branded tag lines. I like to capture stories as they happen, capture that moment in time that are true moments, those that help us remember.

Last summer I found myself in Andrews, NC working on a project for the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church… telling stories of rural churches. Every Thursday night, the Andrews UMC has a dinner for the community called the Welcome Table. The illustration of this blog post is not the story of this video, but one little moment in time when I am interviewing the pastor. One of the children walks up and gives him a hug in the middle of the interview…at the most appropriate time. This pastor will be telling this story for years…thus reinforcing the mission of “The Welcome Table.”

We can advocated for stories over slogan’s everyday of the week…but we must be willing to open our hearts so that we can capture those moments in time to share. This is what invokes our audience to share.

Here is the video of “The Welcome Table” for your to enjoy!

Lion and FCP 6 – Friends After All!

So last October, I was bitching and moaning about the concern that Final Cut Pro would not work if I upgraded to Lion. I did not want to switch over to FCPX…so I decided to figure it out.

Bottomline…I have been able to install FCP 6 on Lion OSX 10.7.3. How did I do it?  Well, I have a Mac Mini that I used as my little test case. I did not want to go through this whole installation process on a system that was critical to my business workflow.

So, I installed Lion OSX on the Mac Mini and ran all the updates. Then I pulled out my Snow Leopard installation disc and popped it in with the sole purpose of only installing Rosetta from the optional installations. Once I installed Rosetta from the Snow Leopard OSX installation disc, then this allowed me to install FCP 6 from the Studio edition.

I installed one program from FCP Studio disc…one at a time starting with FCP and Compressor. Then I installed DVD Studio and the rest of the studio programs one at a time. Then after running the FCP installation, I checked for updates from Apple Updates and completed the updated installations.

The result, I am running FCP 6.0.6 on Lion OSX 10.7.3…all of this on my Mac Mini. I have noticed lots of hits on my website looking for an update from my previous posts about this issue, so I thought I would give an update. So, I will be migrating this to my MacPro’s Lion partition, which is a dual boot system with Lion 10.7.3 and Snow Leopard 10.6.8. I am also going to be upgrading to Avid Symphony 6 on my Lion 10.7.3 Partition.

Do we tell too much of our story…online?

Do we over tell, over pitch, over blog, and over share? What are the pieces we leave for those to research, find, and ultimately meet us during this storytelling process.

Some of the best storytelling is done in person, offline, and away from digital indexes.

Has the social share captivated us in a way that we are competing with the search engines and our competitors…online. Specifically, we schedule to write our blog posts, schedule the updates, upload the pictures, create the video…we are spending lots and lots of time creating online content to share.

So what are we saving to share during the events, the in-person meetings, in the offline conversations.

I think back to my televisions days when we would cover the daily new stories and when we found a great story…everyone wanted to share it immediately. We would capture a wonderful story that would be perfect for the 6pm newscast yet we were telling in all day saturating the news space, sharing the prime nugget of the story. We would tease it all day, but instead of teasing to watch…we would tell the whole story…all day. By the time it was 6pm, the story had been told over and over with nothing left to share.

There are just some parts of our business, our story, ourselves that are worth saving to share offline conversations. Is it our goal to build lots of fans, followers, “Likes”, etc…maybe? But what happens after that…what more do we have to say. Is it our goal to create lots of videos telling every detailed part of our story…why? Do obtain lots of views…is that awareness?

Those who do a wonderful job with their social/digital spaces build community around a conversation, a dialogue. Sharing our story is like telling a story. We share just enough to tease and engage the conversation. Once the conversation begins, then we share the nugget that creates lasting conversations and relationships.

So I wonder, are  we telling our story just for the search engines or to build a community to have a dialogue?

There is something special about Jupiter

It has been one of those days where something un-expectantly happened…something that has not happened in a long time. As I was working on some emails, I received a note from a client. Steve Mudge of Serrus Capital Partners sent me an email congratulating me for being awarded SCPRSA’s Inaugural Jupiter Award.

I was thinking, how the heck did he find out…the awards ceremony was just last Thursday evening. He sent me a link from an email newsletter he receives daily from Midlandbiz.com with my picture at the top. It has been a while since I did the awards thing…so long, that I actually forgot what is was all about.

Back in my television days, I was a member of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) and numerous other organizations that hand out awards for broadcast television excellence. I have been a part of the judging committees for numerous regions including the Carolinas and the West Coast. It was a part of my culture every year to submit for awards…basically taking the time to pick my best work, fill out the applications, pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars, and sit back and wait.

I have been on numerous judging committees across the country and was even the person that put together all the television station’s entries, making sure everything is edited correctly, applications were correct, the right amount of money was included, the correct categories corresponded with the entries, and so on. It was a part of my television culture… at-least I was a part of this television culture of competition.

I was even a part of the competitive culture that work harder on stories that we knew had a tremendous opportunity to win awards. It was a part of that competitive culture of validation. The trophy case led to bigger jobs, promotions, bigger raises, bigger projects…and ultimately the ego boost.

Over the years, I have been awarded numerous regional Emmy awards, AP Awards, NPPA Awards, and many other awards across numerous organizations. I have won international competitions as an academic and presented at numerous conferences to share research from my graduate school days. But none of this compared to what happened last week…nothing.

A few weeks ago, I found out I was going to be awarded something special from the South Carolina of the Public Relations Society of America. Kelly Davis dropped me a note asking if I would be available on May 3rd to come to Columbia. Shortly after, I received an email from Karen Potter of Greenville Hospital System and Patti Smoake of South Carolina Hospital Association sharing the news. They had nominated me for the inaugural Jupiter Award to be awarded during SCPRSA’s 2012 Mercury Awards Ceremony. I was shocked.

Fast forward to Thursday’s event at Columbia’s Springdale House and Gardens. What an evening. It started out like most awards ceremonies, passing out statues for hard work. Each award probably had numerous applicants competing, sharing their best work from the past year. Sarah and I sat at Greenville Hospital System’s table with Karen Potter and Patti Smoake among many others. The anticipation was rising.

When it was time for the individual awards, I thought I was going to be asked to stand to be honored. Not the case…I sat an listened to a long write-up about me. First of all, this is the first time I have ever heard someone share this much about me in such a public forum, among so many distinguished guests. The more that was read, the more I was unsure what to do…I was humbled.

It is one thing to spend a whole year working to do you best work, then compile it all together with application fees and persuasive write-ups to encourage the judges to choose you. But is it another thing to have someone (a friend, colleague, and client) take the time to write something special and submit for an award. I had no idea what was written. I had no idea I was chosen. I had no idea.

The Jupiter Award “was presented to three individuals for exceptional contributions to the use of social media as a communications tool. SCPRSA presented three awards in this category, representing each of the chapter’s regions.” As a former broadcast journalist, my career was surrounded professionally telling stories for television. Now, my business helps organizations use social and digital media to tell stories. Now that I am no longer in the broadcast industry and work for myself, this award is pure validation. A sense of validation for me and my business. I am humbled!

Here is the article from Midlandbiz.com – CLICK HERE
Here is the press release from SCPRSA – CLICK HERE
Here is a link to SCPRSA’s website – CLICK HERE

 ***The top image is from SCPRSA as seen on Midlandsbiz.com.

Own your media…new social/digital leadership needed

Where are the leaders? where are they and where are they pushing this social/digital space forward?

There is a big conversation happening right now and it is repeatable…so repeatable. We are just repeating the same stuff over and over and over again. We have a few innovators in this digital/social space and they have done a great job monetizing…monetizing the paradigm of followers.

I have to admit, I blame twitter and the “UI” they created with twitter. The idea of “follower” has permeated the social space. There were and still are so many leaders who embarked on a journey of how to use the space…to build their business. And yes, they gained a hell of a lot of followers and now they are repurposing their blog for books. The best part…they are still talking about the same stuff since the early craze of the social space. The same stuff over and over, no new innovative thinking.

We are still following, retweetting, and resharing the same information and it has a velocity of epic proportion…this velocity is not creating new thought leadership and new innovative concepts. This following, retweeting, and resharing is filling their pocket books and limiting the innovation need to push this space forward. So why are we still depending on yesterday’s innovators for tomorrows wave of new thought leadership?

Conference after conference I attend…we are still having the same conversation…so where are the new wave of social innovators. Who is pushing the envelop? Who is pushing the space and proving that they can build communities and make money.

I think the innovators are the ones that are not the social/digital consultants…they are the real business people who have figured out how to use these tools and are now leveraging these spaces to solve their business problems. And guess what…they are not using the conversation of fear…they are creating and innovating. They are creating great content, solving big problems, and using social/digital tools that we share, retweet, pin, and leverage.

So…where are you innovators. You need to be leading these conferences and teach us consultants a thing or two. Why, because you are the innovators, creating new communities, solving problems (your problems) because you are owning your content.

It is all about owning your content and innovating yourself. We consultants are leveraging your case-study to share with the world to act smart, but you are the smart ones. Owning content is fun because it your tangible result, and you are obtaining a return the metric you have figured out.

I have thought about it over and over again. If i was to build a social/digital conference…I would not let one single social/digital consultant speak or share a presentation. I would bring real practitioners to the table, from different industries, and let them show us how they built “THEIR” communities. Why…they have owned their content and learned how to monetize their work.