Posts tagged ‘Ray Welling’

13 February 2014

Visual content: An anecdotal experience

I have been a frequent sharer on LinkedIn, passing on some of the many interesting articles, etc. I see on my news feed. I have been pretty chuffed to see that my posts average about 50 page views each, with the odd like and even more odd comment. Mindful of the research showing that tweets and Facebook updates with images get a better response, I occasionally shared infographics or memes and, sure enough, the view rate was significantly higher. Then I came across this meme yesterday:

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Funny? Tick. Pop culture reference? Tick. Relevance to work? Tick. I shared the photo, and within minutes my iPad was pinging me constantly with messages that people had either liked or commented on the post. I was mildly impressed with the 58 likes and 7 comments I received (I know this isn’t earth shattering, but it’s a great result for my account), but this afternoon when I logged onto my account I saw that the post had nearly 2,500 views – more than 20 times my previous best.

Why such a difference? My educated guess is that this meme in particular struck a chord with people who have ever encountered unrealistic expectations with a client/boss/stakeholder (which is just about anyone who has ever worked or studied!) At any rate, I think I’ll be posting more memes in the future!

2 January 2014

Social inclusion videos

New Year’s resolution: Update the blog more often (gee, that’s original). To start the year off on that note, here are some videos that I produced for Macquarie University back in 2012 which I have been meaning to post:

26 June 2012

The hidden perils of self-promotion online

One of the most amusing (and at the same time sad) Twitter accounts I follow is@humblebrag. It retweets posts from Twitter users which are meant to be self-deprecating, but which actually scream “Aren’t I wonderful?” 

The posts range from thinly-veiled personal self-aggrandisement…
 
    “Stories are everywhere that I’m too thin. When will the media see women for their accomplishments instead of their weight and appearance?” 
    “If one more person asks to ‘take pictures of me’ I’m going to kill someone.” 
    “I gave my noodle store leftovers to a homeless lady and now I regret it so much” 
    “As if I didn’t feel uncomfortable enough, the ticket taker said ‘musclessss’ as I handed him my ticket” 

…to tweets painfully aimed at enhancing their corporate notoriety…

    “The president just called to say congrats. Caller ID was blocked, so at first I thought it was a telemarketer.” 
    “Way too much of my life is spent on airplanes.” 
    “Very humbled to be selected for TIME 100 this year! Had a nice evening at their gala, but their standards must be slipping now that they’re letting geeks like me in!” (This one was accompanied by a photo of a hipster-    ish man standing on the red carpet with his supermodel girlfriend) 
    “ARRRRRGH FML. Now I’ve got a justin bieber shoot i can’t do because i’m already shooting: what’s with these clashes? Grrr” 
    “Look, I know he invented the damn thing. But it freaks me out when I see Zuckerberg posts on my Facebook wall.” 
    “CNN interview went great! Once again, over-prepared but smarter for it I suppose.” 

There are plenty more where these came from – bring your sick bag! 

A little ego is fine, but the problem is, too many people think that ‘humble bragging’ is a good way to build a social media profile for their business. The existence of tongue in cheek satirists like @humblebrag shows that people don’t respond to that approach. It’s important to be authentic in your dealings with people, especially if you’re in small business. 

US marketing expert Jonathan Salem Baskin, who has just co-authored a book on the importance of truth in advertising and marketing (now there’s an oxymoron!), says that customers today are looking for truth from the companies they do business with. 

Read the full story at Smarter Business IdeasImage

28 May 2012

A three-hour tour of Internet marketing

Hands up – who’s excited by the expansion of commercial television into new digital TV stations? Hmmm, as I suspected, not many hands….

I’m still struggling to understand the business model behind digital TV: It seems to be cannibalising your own audience and that of your direct competitors by broadcasting long-forgotten or obscure TV shows.

However, there is one good thing about digital TV; It’s introduced a whole new generation to the shows their parents wasted their time on when they were young.

One of my favourite shows growing up was Gilligan’s Island, the tale of a fateful group of castaways whose three-hour boat tour around Honolulu turned into a shipwrecked adventure that lasted for what seemed decades but was, in fact, three seasons.

Although the plotlines were as shallow as the island’s lagoon, when I watch the old episodes again after all these years, I can see some parallels, strangely enough, to modern-day business. For example, here are five lessons from Gilligan’s Island that can be applied to Internet marketing.

1. Be distinct, and be consistent.

Gilligan’s Island is full of archetypes – the gruff but lovable captain, his bumbling but well-meaning first mate, the unreconstructed capitalist couple, the geek, the glamourous woman and the girl next door.

You might love them or you might hate them, but you know what to expect from each of the archetypal characters in every episode. Gilligan is not going to behave like an intellectual, and Thurston Howell III is not going to become a tree-hugger; they all act in a way every week that matches their distinct character.

Online, as well as in traditional marketing, you need to differentiate yourself from your competitors, by presenting your own distinct proposition to customers. And you need to consistently deliver that proposition, whether it’s your focus on customer service, your playful humour, or even the style and colour of your logo.

2. Embrace technological change

Just as the Professor improved the lives of people on the island by developing coconut telephones, a bicycle-powered radio and a hot water system, you need to be prepared to continually seek out new ways of doing things. Today, that means making sure everything you do is mobile-optimised; think of how your customers want to interact with your business out of home and develop your online offering accordingly.

Read the full story on Smarter Business Ideas

2 May 2012

John Fogerty and the power of revival

I managed to cross off an item on my bucket list over the Easter weekend by attending Bluesfest in Byron Bay. Great music, interesting crowds, and plenty of hemp shirts for sale.

One of the highlights was hearing John Fogerty performing Creedence Clearwater Revival classics in a tightly-packed two-hour set. It was like being transported back to Woodstock, or a Vietnam War protest rally.

You’d think that, playing songs that he first performed more than 40 years ago, Fogerty would be a bit jaded. But he looked incredibly fresh and vibrant as he hopped around the stage playing the riffs and belting out ‘Proud Mary,’ ‘Bad Moon Rising’ and scores of other classics. That fresh look was no doubt helped by the fact that at age 67, he still has a full head of hair (damn him!)

The main reason for that appearance is because, as he pointed out during his performance, he’s only recently begun playing those old songs again. Due to a combination of overexposure and anger over contracts and credits (Fogerty wrote nearly every hit CCR recorded and sang and played lead guitar as well) he refused to play old CCR songs in concert for more than 25 years, as he tried to make a career as a solo artist.

It was his wife who convinced him to pick up the old CCR tunes again a couple of years ago, and, as he told the Bluesfest crowd, he is now having the time of his life, re-embracing the songs he wrote and sang in his youth, and entertaining audiences who were too young to see him perform them when they were new.

There’s a lesson here that can be applied to nearly any business. Even if you’re truly passionate about something, it may be a good idea to lay it aside before it becomes a rut, and try something different for a while. You can then return to that earlier passion with fresh eyes and insights gained from years of experience.

Did you ever get fed up with a youthful pursuit you thought you really loved, or moved on because you thought it was time to grow out of it? I know plenty of people who started out as journalists, and after a few years moved into management because it was the sensible thing to =do. Many of them returned to writing 20 or 30 years later, bringing a varied life experience to the role and displaying a rich storytelling technique that they couldn’t have achieved 20 years earlier.

Read the full story on Smarter Business Ideas 

28 April 2012

More social media tools than you can stick a pin into

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So you think you’ve finished your studies? You may have graduated years ago, but let me tell you, in today’s economy, school is never out.

If you don’t have it already, you need to develop a philosophy of life-long learning. Things are changing much too fast to rely simply on what you learned at uni or TAFE.

For example, whether you’re a small or a large business, you can’t stick your head in the sand and ignore trends like social media. That means not only mastering existing tools, but staying abreast of emerging tools, as well.

It’s pretty clear that most businesses should have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. But when it comes to using some of the newer social media tools for your business, how do you pick a winner? You need to look at factors such as the take-up rate, how it integrates with other tools, and whether it offers something that is not only different, but hopefully useful, as well.

Google+ is one on the cusp (though, supported by and integrated with the raft of Google tools, it’s a pretty safe bet that it will be there for the long haul).

The location-based tool Foursquare, used by more than 15 million people who check in at locations and share their visits with friends, has had a lot of publicity and has attracted venture capital investment. But how important is it to people to become the ‘mayor’ of frequently visited spots? Are people using it mainly to make their friends jealous about where they can afford to go on a holiday?

A tool that I think ticks more of the boxes is Pinterest, an online pinboard service that, in the words of CBS Moneywatch, “attracts people who need to organize the chaos of Internet-age information overload.”

Pinterest describes itself as a social network meant to connect everyone in the world through the things that they find interesting.

The site lets you create and curate multiple pinboards in any category you can create, as well as following others’ pinboards. It falls somewhere between window shopping and actual collecting. You can log on through Twitter or Facebook, so you can tell your friends and customers about your boards.

At the same time, In contrast to Facebook, Pinterest pinners may end up choosing to follow people they don’t know purely based on the photos they curate, creating seemingly random new networks.

Read the full article on Smarter Business Ideas

26 April 2012

A digital native title dispute

By Ray Welling

In the competition between digital natives – Gen Y, which has grown up with online technology and digital immigrants – those of us who can remember typewriters and phones with cords attached – for primacy online, it seems that the digital natives have gained the upper hand.

Think Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook, and a billion dollar online empire by the time he reached his mid-20s) vs. Rupert Murdoch (MySpace, phone hacking scandals, declining dead tree media empire). Or Natalie Tran (24-year old Australian vlogger with 156,000 Twitter followers, more than 400 million YouTube views and a cozy career in the making) against say, Tony Abbott (50-something Australian politician with 56,000 Twitter followers but no YouTube channel).

If you read the media reports on what’s hot on the web, there appears to be a strong relationship between a lack of history and Internet success.

But it’s not that simple.

It can be useful to have a long-term view of the online world, which only a seasoned digital immigrant can have. If you can combine that with knowledge of traditional, pre-Internet business principles, you can look past current fads and build a business model that’s sustainable.

For example, the current obsession with whatever is the latest online application exploding in the public consciousness ignores the fragile nature of web success.

With all the current talk of community-building and developing personal relationships, you’d think the concept was invented by Facebook. Digital natives may be too young to remember, but digital immigrants will recall that when MySpace burst on the scene, it was seen as the long-term future of social media. That is, until Facebook came along.

Early digital immigrants can go back even further and remember GeoCities, an online community where people could create personal pages and create a following of fans, which was all the buzz way back in the 20th century.

And consider the power and ubiquity of the Google empire. It may be hard for digital natives to fathom a time pre-Google, but digital immigrants can remember when Yahoo! was seen as the impregnable leader in search (As an aside, it used its cash reserves to buy GeoCities back in 1999), a crown it took from the equally-invulnerable Alta Vista.

Read the full story on Smarter Business Ideas

22 March 2012

Sh*t My Dad Says: On Joining The Creative Economy

I’ve started a new gig, writing a column/blog for Smarter Business Ideas, a magazine and website for small businesses who use Telstra services. Here’s an excerpt from my first post:

When I was at high school, the adults in my life told me I could be anything I wanted when I grew up. By “anything”, they meant a doctor, a lawyer, a professor or a business tycoon.

Instead, I chose to go down a creative path and studied journalism. For this I blame Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman and their representations of crusading journos Woodward and Bernstein bringing down President Nixon.

After graduating from uni I spent months looking for a job, and ended up taking one as a technical writer for a management consulting firm – not at all what I had imagined to start my career, but at least I was using my writing skills.

Since then, I’ve had a series of creative and not-so-creative jobs, in a variety of industries, always related in some way to writing, and now I run my own consultancy. I’ve never regretted my career choice, but I sometimes reflect that life would have been easier if I’d just become a more traditional desk jockey in a more lucrative field.

Fast forward to 2012, and the sins of the father have been revisited upon the children. Both of my kids have just finished uni, with creative-type degrees, and they’re now trying to find a role that fits with their passion and what they’ve studied.

So from the perspective of someone who has worked in the creative space for a generation, what advice do I have for my Gen Y kids as they start their careers? In the spirit of “Sh*t My Dad Says” (but with less profanity), here are my words of wisdom:

• Regardless of what you read about successful people, a creative, stimulating job that starts at 9 a.m. and finishes at 5 p.m. is probably non-existent – at least I haven’t discovered it yet.

• Chances are you will feel caged in by a ‘normal’ job and will want do your own thing. But though you may hate working for The Man, it pays the bills….

Read the full story

20 February 2012

Build a business that is good for you

You’re no doubt aware that marketing is about creating something that people want and convincing them to buy it from you. But in small business, do we take too narrow a view of it?

Consider the ‘official’ definition of marketing as presented by the American Marketing Association: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

It’s easy to understand the first part about creating and delivering value to customers. But take a look at the last part of the definition: it also includes doing things in a way that creates value for our partners and society in general.

This is a part of the equation that big businesses forgot over the years, as they selected suppliers based on the lowest possible price, regardless of how those suppliers had to slash their own margins or screw their own employees to do that.

They also closed local factories and went offshore to source ever-cheaper goods, and tried not to think about conditions in those factories. In terms of affordability, this was great for the customer: think about what you pay for clothes and electronic goods compared to 10 or even 20 years ago. But it was not so good for local suppliers, or workers in those factories.

When businesses realized the damage this approach caused to their reputation, they went down the path of corporate social responsibility, investing in ‘good works’ to restore their reputation.

Read the rest of this article on NETT

20 September 2011

Jim Morrison and the importance of relevance

From my NETT blog:

What are the most important factors to consider when you’re communicating ideas to people? How do you get your message across successfully?

From my days as a journalist writing for newspapers and magazines through to my current work presenting digital marketing messages or lecturing to students, a few common themes have emerged in terms of what works consistently.

Actually, I exaggerate – there is really just one fundamental rule in successful communication: make your concept relevant to your target audience.

This is expressed as a couple of acronyms:

• WIFFM – what’s in it for me?
• WSIC – why should I care?

If you can understand what matters to your audience and work out how to relate your message to their concerns, you’ll get your point across.

This principle isn’t limited to written, visual or verbal communication messages: it extends to the communication of ideas, and can include the dissemination of those ideas through a variety of media.

Take music, for example. My favourite band of all time is the Doors, led by the late great Jim Morrison. The Doors tapped into the Zeitgeist of the 1960s with music that protested against traditional mores.

Their sometimes dark messages about love, fitting in and pushing back against parental barriers struck a chord with young Baby Boomers who were just starting to flex their muscles and question the structures of the world that they were inheriting.

Read the full story

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