back to basics – a well written allstate spot!

1931
Not exactly a great year to start a business
but
that is when allstate opened it’s doors
and through the 12 recessions since
they noticed after the fear subside
a funny thing happens
people start enjoying the small things in life
a home cooked meal
time with loved ones
appreciating the things we do have
the things we can count on
it is back to basics
and the basics are good
protect them…
put them in
good hands

1931

not exactly a great year to start a business

but

that is when allstate opened it’s doors

and through the 12 recessions since

they noticed after the fear subside

a funny thing happens

people start enjoying the small things in life

a home cooked meal

time with loved ones

appreciating the things we do have

the things we can count on

it is back to basics

and the basics are good

protect them…

put them in

good hands

~ I can identify with these words…one of the best written spots I have seen…wonderful soft sell!

How big is your $ilo?

Organizations right now are having a real hard time telling there story…it is not because they do not have compelling stories to tell, it is because they are not properly equipped to craft and deliver the stories.

Over the past few months, I have been finding large to medium size organizations who are in a new media, operational conundrum. They have for so many years been staffed to handle lots of the traditional means to deliver stories. Now their organizational structure does not support the staff or resources necessary to keep up with the drastically changing movement of audiences to more new media outlets.

Let’s face it…a company/organizations ‘website’ or ‘web-portal’ is now the face of the organization. Now I say this just in the present tense…who knows where new media will take us, because as we know…everyday, new media is old media in this ever changing environment.

Large to medium size organizations are typically staffed (or outsource) with graphic designers, copy writers, and other organizational marketing and public relations professionals. They are trying to rapidly convert these resources to not only meet the demands of the new, mainstream media…but they are also still trying to keep up with their current tasks. We are finding that much of these professionals are not embracing the evolution and not translating their skills to new media standards. For example, the websites and online newsletters look like print publications and print newsletters and press releases.

Today’s audience wants engagement, a bi-direction path of communication.  Organizations can not longer just deliver information in a one way pattern, they must find ways to engage with the audiences and evolve with their needs. Traditional ad agencies are finding themselves caught up in this conundrum right along side with the organizations that they represent. FYI…I do find tremendous value in the combinations of use between traditional and new media(s). PRINT IS HERE TO STAY. Audiences still like to pick up a book or a magazine to read…but these publishers are learning to become lean and targeted with thier content.

So how do organizations learn to not only embrace new media strategies but also maintain the equity they have the traditional sources of delivery. IT IS ALL ABOUT AUDIENCE! We have lots to learn from news organizations. There is a new boss in town and they are now the CCO…the Chief Communication Officer! All information must flow through this person. They must create a new media strategy that funnels all of their information through web portals and use them to promote and support traditional means of delivery.

Organizations also need to re-evaluate their current personnel! They no longer can just be staffed with an IT professional, they need a communications group that supports new media designers & developers, content creators & distributors, community builders, and rich media creators (video/fluid media). Organizations also have to take control of their silos of information hoarders and create internal relationships of trust that allows them to control/regulate brand, and control/regulate release of content. Organizations also have to empower their members to become owners of a bigger plan, to take part in the tribe and be a part of the communication strategy.

So where are these silos formed, how are they created? This has to be understood and examined in-order to create synergies between silos within the organizations. These silos can be found in universities, hospitals, and other large organizations with many verticals under one roof. These silos are created based on these verticals, these internal groups which represent revenue streams. These particular verticals have level of communication strength and represent brands that are well supported financially.

So how do we begin to bridge these gaps of communication?  It is time to find new ways to realign, reposition, and repurpose experts within the organization. Leadership has to be cognizant that the bigger the silos, the more disjunct the umbrella brand becomes, and a smaller vertical becomes the focus of the organization. There is value of telling lots of little stories to reinforce the bigger brand as long as it meets the rhetorical position of the over-arching brand.

They say print is dying…NOT!

There is nothing like getting a package in the mail…something that is fun and exciting. But when I walked in the front door, I was pumped to find my new business cards! It is the little things that get me excited. Who says print is dead, there is something fun and exciting about pulling out a business card to give to someone that you feel best represents who you are and what you are trying to achieve!
business-card-blog-release

My good friend Dave Lee, who is part owner of a group called Pixelmeld, took the time to tell my story in one little card. I think people still like to exchange these little things called business cards. You know that physical piece of marketing that gives the recipient something to remember you by?  Print is not dead…just targeted!

Are you just a story deliverer, a pizza delivery guy?

If you are such a “Social Media” expert…are you a real storyteller or just a story deliverer? Hmm….can you really craft a story or are you just damn good at putting the story in the right hands.

sm-pizza-dudeWhat does a “Social Media” person really do? Do they craft a campaign or are they like the pizza delivery guy? They make money off of the refrequency and the effectiveness of the delivery but have nothing to do with the crafting of that pizza pie!

So what is so damn special about us peeps that love using social media…is their a place for us in the market place? Well….if we know how to tell really good stories and then know how to deliver them to the right people at the right time.

So in-order to move up from pizza delivery guy, you have to learn the craft of the delivery mechanism which helps you learn how these stories get in the right hands at the right time. You know that the pizza delivery guy understand when he/she walks up on that porch and can create a great customer experience. He hands over that well crafted pie…and the smell that emerges out of the insulated cover, from around the box reveals the aroma of perfection…one that places the delivery person front and center as the brand deliverer. Yep…they are the ones that get the tip!

So are we satisfied with just the delivery, the craft of placement? Well, we are the new age media planners and buyers. We use our open-source platforms to take stories, and place them in the market place at the the right time…for perfection. Sometimes we are too frequent, placing them all over….in too many different media delivery mechanisms. We flood the market place with our mass media because we want our people to listen.

If you order too much pizza, you get a freaking doubled over belly ache that leads a to a late night rush to the porcelain god!  Do we want this experience for our well crafted pizza pie?

So we haft to craft our delivery strategy.  This is when we move up from pizza delivery guy to pizza maker. We have to value the craft of the pie, the craft of the campaign. We have to put our heart into the message, moving away from being ‘technician’ to ‘practitioner’. The craft is too important to flood the market place…you want some demand.

It is ok to just be the deliverer of the message, if it is your craft…then master it oh swami of pizza delivery. But if you want to be a practitioner of the story, you have to create the story and understand the way that the pie is delivered each day!

So what is your story and how will you deliver it to your target market?

FYI…I know that I am talking about myself…I bet delivering pizzas is all I will do after publishing this post!

Don’t let ‘media’ tell the story!

How do we tell stories using “media”? Hmm…well the latest trend is the idea of using “Social” Media(s)…
The idea of telling stories is becoming an integral part of communication campaigns. People can identify with stories, especially if the audience can see themselves via the stories that are represented in the campaign.
Take for instances the “Loads of Hope” campaign by Tide. Have you seen the television spots where this large bus with tons of washing machines built into the side drives around and allows those who have lost everything wash their clothes. They could have just shown images of the bus and some figure head describing the mission. NO! Instead they let the people directly impacted by this campaign tell the story…and it is repeatable as stated…”everything is better with clean clothes.” Their are so many of us that can in someway identify with that message. We have either lost our homes or have come near, damn close to being in that particular situation.
So how do we tell the stories to effectively, convey the message of the organization or cause? You have to identify the audience that will receive the message then you have to figure out what will impact that audience in a way which will let them see your message through your eyes.
It does not begin with the tool…OH, I have this cool thing that I want to send a message, let’s create something and we will be heard. IMHO, that is not targeted messaging and definitely not telling a rich story.
Stories can be told using video, the written word, music, etc…but the manner at which the story is crafted is most crucial. I am one that is mostly a purest…I like to find the stories that are most palatable, ones that have rich ‘red strings’ that flow through them.
Bob Dotson once told me that anyone can tell a story, but ones that are the most impactful are the ones that have multiple layers, many threads that need to be pulled back and uncovered. Each revealed in a way that brings a new awareness to the table, to help the audience experience a new way of thought, way to see something through a new lens.
Stories also have the most impact if they not only have a richness to them, but are told in a way that are repeatable. Think of the many stories that have been passed down through the years in your family, between your friends, amongst your peers. They have a theme that is morally repeatable…that make such an impact it actually forces you to want to repeat. It comes so naturally when you pull up a chair at the next meeting and share with a new group of friends.
Good stories must be told in  frequency, so that the underlying theme creates a rhythm of awareness. Remember that ‘red string’ concept I was describing with Bob Dotson…well, here you must identify the ‘red string’…the underlying rhetorical position. Use that as the frame work to build micro stories over time, releasing them to your target audience. People not only crave good stories, but they look forward to the next dependable time they can watch another one again…and again…and again.
So…how does media play into this whole storytelling concept? Well, they are just the tools to deliver the stories. Build frequency in the delivery. We use them to generate interest and capitalize on their connectivity, delivering the audiences to the right place at the right time, to find that story.
The story is not the media that delivers, it is the fashion by which the audience is delivered to that story and how ultimately that story is relayed.
We all have the tools to tell a good story, but the great story tellers are ones that recognize the ‘red string’ and capitalize on the delivery mechanisms which insure their story will be heard again, and again, and again!

How do we tell stories using “media”? Hmm…well the latest trend is the idea of using “Social” Media(s)…

The idea of telling stories is becoming an integral part of communication campaigns. People can identify with stories, especially if the audience can see themselves via the stories that are represented in the campaign.

Take for instances the “Loads of Hope” campaign by Tide. Have you seen the television spots where this large bus with tons of washing machines built into the side drives around and allows those who have lost everything wash their clothes. They could have just shown images of the bus and some figure head describing the mission. NO! Instead they let the people directly impacted by this campaign tell the story…and it is repeatable as stated…”everything is better with clean clothes.” Their are so many of us that can in someway identify with that message. We have either lost our homes or have come near, damn close to being in that particular situation.

So how do we tell the stories to effectively, convey the message of the organization or cause? You have to identify the audience that will receive the message then you have to figure out what will impact that audience in a way which will let them see your message through your eyes.

It does not begin with the tool…OH, I have this cool thing that I want to send a message, let’s create something and we will be heard. IMHO, that is not targeted messaging and definitely not telling a rich story.

Stories can be told using video, the written word, music, etc…but the manner at which the story is crafted is most crucial. I am one that is mostly a purest…I like to find the stories that are most palatable, ones that have rich ‘red strings’ that flow through them.

Bob Dotson once told me that anyone can tell a story, but ones that are the most impactful are the ones that have multiple layers, many threads that need to be pulled back and uncovered. Each revealed in a way that brings a new awareness to the table, to help the audience experience a new way of thought, way to see something through a new lens.

Stories also have the most impact if they not only have a richness to them, but are told in a way that are repeatable. Think of the many stories that have been passed down through the years in your family, between your friends, amongst your peers. They have a theme that is morally repeatable…that make such an impact it actually forces you to want to repeat. It comes so naturally when you pull up a chair at the next meeting and share with a new group of friends.

Good stories must be told in  frequency, so that the underlying theme creates a rhythm of awareness. Remember that ‘red string’ concept I was describing with Bob Dotson…well, here you must identify the ‘red string’…the underlying rhetorical position. Use that as the frame work to build micro stories over time, releasing them to your target audience. People not only crave good stories, but they look forward to the next dependable time they can watch another one again…and again…and again.

So…how does media play into this whole storytelling concept? Well, they are just the tools to deliver the stories. Build frequency in the delivery. We use them to generate interest and capitalize on their connectivity, delivering the audiences to the right place at the right time, to find that story.

The story is not the media that delivers, it is the fashion by which the audience is delivered to that story and how ultimately that story is relayed.

We all have the tools to tell a good story, but the great story tellers are ones that recognize the ‘red string’ and capitalize on the delivery mechanisms which insure their story will be heard again, and again, and again!

FYI….Bob Dotson is one of my all time favorite television storytellers, along with Carolyn Mungo!

Follow Bob Dotson & Carolyn Mungo on Twitter!

Brand New Day

I’ve stayed in one place for too long
Gotta get on the run again
I saw the one thing that I want
Hell bent, get outta bed
I’m throwing rocks at your window
You’re tying the bed sheets together
They say that we’re dreaming too big
I say this town’s too small

Dream
Send me a sign
Turn back the clock
Give me some time
I need to break out
And make a new name
Let’s open our eyes
To the brand new day
It’s a brand new day
~ Ryan Star “Brand New Day”

What is right for Anderson?

“There’s a lot of people who talk about doing good, and a lot of people who argue about what’s good and what’s not good, (but there were also some other folks who) just put their lives on the line for what is right.”
– mother of Ruby Bridges (first black child to integrate New Orleans schools) in Robert Coles, The Moral Life of Children

What are you passionate about? Where does your passion lie in this ever changing world of business and culture? I am passionate about telling stories…stories are the foundation for how I do business. I tell stories for my clients, the students I teach, the causes I represent…but does this help the greater good beyond just creating revenue?

I want the community I live in…here is Anderson, SC to be successful. A community that supports entrepreneurship and innovative business…they type of growing innovation that provides local support to big businesses like the AnMed’s, Bosch’s, Michelin’s, and Walgreen’s of Anderson County. It is their best interest that innovation and entrepreneurship live right here in Anderson County, and eco-system of the knowledge wealth that promotes innovation and a prosperous educational, knowledge economy.

Isn’t it in the best interest of the Anderson County School Districts to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, a conversation that resonates at the dinner table every night between families. How about Tri-County Technical College and Anderson University, creating entrepreneurial education for the working class along with the innovative education for the high-school graduate who might want to be a nurse or a teacher, who might have an idea one day that turns into a high-impact business. One that stays local and grows as big as the organizations it supports.

Where are the stories of individuals who have been raised, educated, and become successful right here in Anderson County. The ones that have transformed the way that we view Anderson merely by being leaders right in their own classroom, their emergency room, their business…and have gained that knowledge to become successful right here in Anderson.

It is time to start finding those stories..right here, right now.

The old days of storytelling…

Facebook is such a wonderful thing. It has allowed me to reconnect with old friends and colleagues. When I got up this morning, I did my usual by logging into both my personal & business email. I also check my Twitter and Facebook accounts. I am not sure if this gets you excited, but I love it when there is a little red pop-up in the lower right hand corner of the Facebook screen that lets you know there is an update; whether it might be someone has tagged you in a photo or even commented on a status. Today…I found this, a picture posted from 2000 in Phoenix at the Rocky Mountain Emmy Award Ceremony.

ASU-UA Team Shoot 2000 Emmy's

This is a picture of some of the team that worked together to produce a short documentary from the ASU/UA football rivalry game in 2000, where we had nine cameras all over the place capturing the day’s story. Not the action, but the story from the fans’ point of view. We wanted to tell the story…provide a slice of life…what the fan experienced during the last big game of the season. Nine of us all over, interviewing people from the top of the stands to the bars surrounding Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, AZ. We captured the essence of the day…then that night, we took all of that footage and edited it down to a three and half minute story to air on the Sunday Night Sports Show for KPHO-TV in Phoenix. What teamwork…what away to pull a group of people together with a common vision…to tell a story. Apparently, it must have been good enough to win us all an Emmy Award for Sport Reporting in 2000.

There is something about Facebook bringing communities back together…especially ones that have a common bond and now use a new tool to embrace connectedness. Who knows, we might get back together again, after all this time to tell another story…can’t wait to see where it will take us!

The next wave of entrepreneurs

Take a look…here are the next wave of entrepreneurs, just look below. This is our future…here they are. Have you taken time out of your day to seek them out? Have you taken a few moments to identify them…taken them to grab some coffee. They are all around you.

Business Writing Students at Clemson

These people are young, insightful, and most importantly hungry. They are embarking on the dream of tomorrow and it is our responsibility to ensure that they are successful. They will be the ones that will become our policy makers, our leaders, our nurses, our lawyers, and our providers. Somewhere in that bunch of active minds you will find our next president, the next CEO of Ford Motor Company, the next FDA Spokesperson, our family practitioner, our next Rhoades Scholar, etc…

They will decide to make a home right here in South Carolina, the upstate, and maybe even in Anderson…what are we doing to make sure we give them what they need to be successful. How will they help us raise the average per capita income from $29,084 here in Anderson County to exceed the national average of $38,615?  How will we insure that the density of the Anderson County population (179,964) that contains these successful entrepreneurs/innovators increases the strength of this innovative conversation.

I want the people in this picture, students at Clemson University in my Business Writing Class, to become successful, help me become successful and take us into tomorrow’s knowledge economy.

Imagine this Anderson, SC

Imagine…imagine a place in Anderson, SC where people of like minds could go and congregate, to share common goals and a common vision…a place where new ideas are born, dreams are created, vision is put to paper, and the economic synergy creates an economic surplus for innovation.

Imagine an Anderson, a place where people make it a destination, one that is home for families, home for businesses, and a place that the new wave of innovators want to thrive to create the next creative class in this human economy that leads to economic vision.

Imagine an Anderson where big box organizations, educational institutions, small businesses, and the creative class of entrepreneurs paint the fresco of a thriving community that does not compete but sets the standards for tomorrow’s economic community.

Imagine leadership creating synergistic dialogue  that brings all diverse populations under one community roof where all classes of peoples can thrive, setting the national standard above the average per capita income.

What will it take to create that creative class of individuals, leaders, entrepreneurs, visionaries to take that status-quo and turn into reality base vision…one that promotes quality education and community driven innovation that insures that all can not only afford a comfortable living but quality healthcare.

Where are those visionaries…where are those entrepreneurs…those innovators…those buildings…that house that innovative thought is under one roof…to push and push to make Anderson a bigger and brighter place to live.

It is here…yes here…in Anderson! Where are you hiding? You want more that just the regular membership to the next networking club…the next meet and greet…you want more. You want to innovate…create…thrive…empower…and join together so that Anderson keeps those innovators right here…in Anderson.

Are you willing to drive to other cities everyday to find other innovators…other entrepreneurs…or would you like to bring those innovators right here to Anderson. Build that community of innovation, of economic vision here…so we can be the thought leaders.

It all boils down to this…it takes a few to create a movement…a synergy….a vision.

Imagine if there was one building where today’s class of innovators (here in Anderson) could all work under one roof. A place where we could be successful doing business and feeding off other entrepreneur’s energy. Imagine a place, where we could share ideas, congregate, hold seminars, and paint the picture of tomorrow’s Innovative Anderson…today.

I would want to have my business there…because I could thrive off of the innovation that naturally is created under that roof with other visionary businesses. We could help solve each other’s problems and solve the problems of others around…and allow innovation to take it’s natural course…create a more Innovative Anderson. A place where Economic Impact is directly attributed to the Anderson Innovation.

Imagine that Anderson…a thought leader in a global economy.