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Influence people

Monday, September 26, 2016

Napoleon's Newspaper


A century before Edward Bernays fathered PR, Napoleon fathered his own media channel, the Courrier de l'Armée d'Italie.

The Courrier was no ordinary rag.

Printed on expensive paper, it was handsomely designed, featuring well-laid-out articles and a summary of each issue's content in a box just below the masthead. To ensure that content was top-drawer, Napoleon hired none other than Robespierre's protégé, the accomplished journalist Marc-Antoine Jullien, as editor-in-chief.

But despite giving readers wide-ranging reportage—plus a steady stream of poems, op-eds, and letters to the editor—the Courrier remained Napoleon's mouthpiece, boosting the general's pet ideas, while shredding detractors', day in and out.

No wallflower, Napoleon contributed signed articles, too; not only military proclamations, speeches and orders of the day, but tales of French politics that painted dark pictures of conspiracies, led by pampered minorities bent on destroying good republicans everywhere ("they do not act alone; they have their auxiliaries in every department, their constituents, their agents, their writers, their armed forces, their hired assassins..." he once wrote).


The Courrier was so effective a propaganda tool, it ensured the success of the 1799 coup that made Napoleon emperor.

Sound familiar?

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Imagine what Napoleon might have done with Facebook!

HAT TIP: Thanks to history buff Ann Ramsey for leading me to this story.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

And Now for a Word from Our Sponsor. Us.


"We are quickly moving to a point where brands should now be media first, and producers of products and services second," says Nicholas Korn on RSW/US's blog.

Take Monster.com, for example.

The company now develops and delivers content in three buckets: How (education), Now (news) and Wow (entertainment).

In only a year, Monster's content strategy drove yearly page views up 64%, from 27.5 million to 45.3 million.

"Every brand—whether it be small and personal or massive and corporate—now has the opportunity (or even mandate) to be their own media channel or studio," Korn says.

"As pre-digital media continues to become less effective, new technologies and platforms are allowing everyone to craft their own content and distribute it. And a growing number of brands are beginning to embrace this model—and these are the ones that are going to win."

But pre-digital media are far from dead.

Skift reports Carnival has produced 80 episodes of three original TV shows, which will air Saturday mornings on ABC, NBC and The CW, beginning October 1.

“Many of us have fond memories of the Saturday morning TV programming that we enjoyed as kids,” Carnival's CEO told employees in an email. “This fall, Saturday morning TV will take on an even more special meaning for Carnival Corporation.”

"While not paid programming, the shows will have an unabashedly pro-cruise point of view,"
Skift says.

Killer Phrases


Today's post was contributed by Margit Weisgal, author of Show and Sell: 133 Business-Building Ways to Promote Your Trade Show Exhibit. Margit is managing director of DARE and writes for The Baltimore Sun.

Chic Thompson wrote one of my favorite books, What a Great Idea!, about the way creativity is stifled in organizations by people uttering what he calls Killer Phrases.

Imagine, if you will, someone staring you down when you suggest a new way of doing something and, then, saying, “But we’ve always done it this way” or “It’ll never work.”

You drop your head and wish it were possible to sink through the floor and disappear. “Why,” you ask yourself, “did I open my mouth? Why did I even try?”

Change is scary to a lot of people; unfortunately, we face change on a daily basis because we’ve evolving at an unheard of pace with new everything: new technology, new opportunities, and new competitors, all of which seem to loom on the horizon, forcing us to rethink how we function.

We’d far prefer to play it safe and maintain the status quo. But we can’t stay the same. It’s that simple. Moving forward is the only option. And those naysayers, the perpetrators of Killer Phrases, should be left out of any conversation. New ideas should be greeted with delight. Figure out how to make it work. Not every idea is a great idea, but they should all be considered.

Killer Phrases are nothing new. “The negative voice of 'It’ll never work!' has been around a long time," Thompson writes. "In 1899, the Director of US Patent Office declared, 'Everything that can be invented, has been invented!' and tried to close the Office down.”

Business is about connecting with customers, telling a story that resonates with them. With every new decade and every new generation, we have to change. Thompson says the key to innovation is “abandoning the obsolete, the irrelevant, and the programs without promise.”

It's time to kill the Killer Phrases. The next time someone says to you, “What if…,” respond with, “Let me hear it and we’ll see how we can make it work.”

Wouldn’t that be a nice change of pace?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The One-Minute Millionaire


A corner has been turned.

I for one am pleased.

Content creators have begun to recognize their art is as old as Methuselah; that it's less about hoodwinking Google and automating posts, and more about intriguing readers.

The rules for generating good content are, in fact, the very same ones Associated Press reporters used in 1846, when the organization was founded.

I'm soon to reach my 10th anniversary as a blogger. The blogosphere 10 years ago was a trash heap of get-rich-quick schemers bent on selling stuff.

A few pioneers—Chris Brogan was one—proclaimed at the time content marketing was a permutation of PR; that it was all about educating customers, connecting with them, and earning their trust.

But that was the view of outliers.

The herd chased fads and went in for cheap and tawdry tricks.

My gut told me the outliers were right and that the rest of the crazy world would catch on one day.

It took 3,650 days.

"In a world of zero marginal cost, being trusted is the single most urgent way to build a business," Seth Godin says. "You don’t get trusted if you’re constantly measuring and tweaking and manipulating so that someone will buy from you.

"The challenge that we have when we industrialize content is we are asking people who don’t care to work their way through a bunch of checklists to make a number go up, as opposed to being human beings connecting with other human beings."

If you create content and haven't caught on yet, you still have time.

A little, anyway.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Lost Generation 2.0




                                                
You are all a lost generation.
                                                                                  ― Gertrude Stein

How ironic: history's most connected generation may be its least connected.


Research by Gallup shows that, while Millennials are 11 times more likely than members of older generations to use Twitter, they have dramatically less attachment to employers.

"Millennials are the least likely generation to be engaged at work," say analysts Brandon Rigoni and Bailey Nelson.

Only 29% of Millennials are committed to their work; 55% are indifferent; and 16% are decidedly disengaged.

Gallup's findings also show Millennials in large part are detached from coworkers and nonchalant about their employers' mission.

"Unless organizations focus on and execute the right tactics, Millennials' lack of engagement at work will continue―along with their tendency to job-hop," the analysts say.

Twenty-one percent of Millennials have changed jobs in the past year; 60% are open to new job opportunities; and only 50% plan to be with their company in a year.

The fix?

Face time.

"Gallup finds that employee engagement is highest among employees who meet with their manager at least once a week," the analysts say.

"Millennials want to understand how their role fits in with the bigger picture and what makes their company unique. The emphasis for this generation of employees has switched from paycheck to purpose."

User Meetings: Sweat on the Walls

The landscape's littered with lackluster user meetings. How can you produce one so deliciously audacious there's sweat on the walls?

Experiential agency Cramer recommends eight steps:

Create "micro experiences" within the experience. Take a page from consumer festvals like SXSW and introduce things like rock climbing walls and Ferris wheels.

Become "one with the destination." Don't go to a killer host city, then lock your attendees in a hotel ballroom. Make your meeting a microcosm entwined in the location. Provide local musicians, performers and food.

Offer a "next-gen environment." Don't just brand the space, tie every part of it to your organization's purpose. Introduce collaboration walls and local artists who custom-make takeaways tied to your product.

Design with courage. Quirky and unexpected moments can go viral. The G2 Conference let attendees climb above its floor, circus style, and hold meetings suspended in chairs.

Deliver on your theme. Use a "message map" to assess every aspect of the meeting, to assure they all articulate your theme. Every physical and digital touchpoint should carry the theme.

Embrace event tech. Livestreaming, virtual reality, the Internet of Everything, audience response, li-fi, directional audio, and attendee tracking should all be deployed.

Cultivate communities. Think beyond "technical support." Your users want to know where their industry and your brand are heading. Offer the sparks needed to launch new communities around new ideas. Provide platforms for continued content creation, conversation and collaboration after your meeting. And be purposeful and exclusive.

Learn from startup events. Go back to your roots and original purpose. Experiment with fresh formats. Show users you're listening by treating each one as an early adopter. And, last but not least, spend wisely. Resist the big-name speakers, lavish parties and flashy moments and emphasize instead networking, conversation and opportunities to collaborate.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Event-Tech Tsunami


You can't stop the wave, but you can learn to surf.
Jon Kabat-Zinn

Event producers who resist event tech "have their heads in the sand," angel investor Marco Giberti told the event producers gathered at CEIR Predict in Washington, DC, last week.

The field is swelling at a rate of 25% annually, with more than $1.5 billion invested during the past five years.

Spurred by investments by angels, venture capitalists, private equity firms and general service contractors like Freeman and Fern, event tech companies continue to automate event planning, event marketing, registration, lead retrieval, audience response, and other core functions.

What's driving investors' interest? Three factors, said Giberti:
  • Billions of marketers' dollars have shifted from print and broadcast to digital
  • The $565 billion event industry is prime for disruption
  • Tech startups represent immense ROI opportunity
Freeman, for example, has invested in mar-tech firm Feathr and lead retrieval provider DoubleDutch, whose CEOs appeared at CEIR Predict with Giberti for a panel discussion of event tech's headlong trajectory.

The same week, Fern announced its investment in audience response provider KiwiLive.
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