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Tagless Misunderstanding

12/12/2005

Received a spam email today. Here's the subject line: Get Hanes (r) Tagless From MCR! It was a promotion for Hanes t-shirts.

My first thoughts: Happy Days! someone found away around Technorati Tags.

I think I need to get out more!

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5 Ways To Combat Negative Blog Comments

12/08/2005

The  #1 concern I'm hearing from organizations interested in exploring blogs to support marketing strategies is, "But what about the negative comments? How do we control people posting bad things about our brand or our company or our toilet paper?" Well...perhaps not TP but one never knows.

People. People. People. Marketing has changed. The world has changed. It changed while you were not looking. It changed when the internet and email made it easy for anyone to talk to the anyone in the world. Piazza_2Fifty years ago, my grandma's front piazza (porch) was where her world congregated to kibbutz. Now even 80-year old divas are on-line and writing blogs.

Bottom-line with over 50 million people chatting it up on blogs if you turn comments off you loose the home court advantage. People will talk about your company, your products, your staff and yeah, even your TP somewhere. Why would you not want that discussion to take place where you can easily monitor it and respond?

To turn comments on. To turn comments off. This has be come an old debate in the blogosphere. One of the benefits of a marketing blog is the opportunity to dialogue with customers, prospects and stakeholders.  Sorry y'all, no comments does not make a conversation. It's called a monologue. (see Dad my theatre major came in handy after all!). One person takes center stage with no opportunity for direct feedback. For my money, a blog without comments and trackbacks is an on-line newsletter. And that's not a negative comment.

Great example of highly focused brand kibitz on a non "corporate blog" is McChronicles. This blog about McDonalds welcomed it's 18,000 visitor last night. A Google search for McChronicles pulls 15,900 results. That's a lot of Big Macs! U.S. News and World Report highlighted McCs in an article about customers creating buzz; McChronicles is a live case study of citizen journalism and customer evangelism. McDonald owners are asking McChronicles to review their restaurants and even Corporate McD people have been known to drop by to listen (tracked by referral stats). However, the folks at McD's must be busy chowing down on their burgers since a sanctioned McD blog has not yet surfaced.

If you're still not convenienced that comments on are a good thing, here are ...

5 Ways To Combat Negative Blog Comments
5. Turn off comments
4. Monitor comments
3. Develop a comment policy
Include on your navigation bar and above the comment section
2. Delete comments that do not meet your guidelines

The Number One Way To Combat Negative Blog Comments ...
1. Show 'em what you are made of!
Use negative comments (those that express legit concerns) as a way to demonstrate how you handle customer concerns.

Keep in mind, today's piazzas are not just porches built around our homes but extend to the far corners of the world. That means our customers' sphere of influence is not limited to their around the corner neighborhood but anywhere there is an internet connection.

Since we're friends, I'll let you in a little secret. Understanding that companies no longer control the message (influence yes. control no.) and that customers have more power than ever before in "helping sell your product", you gain a huge advantage over your competition - those that are trying to swim upstream against the current. It's an exciting, new world. Don't be afraid to become apart of it. 

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Interactive Radio Advertising

12/08/2005

You've probably heard of ITV - interactive TV - but what about interactive radio? Jeff Blackman, IQ Radio Blog, has an early holiday gift for an innovative marketeer who's willing to step out-of-the-box when it comes to radio advertising.

IQ Radio will produce an interactive spot at cost for the first radio station that has the gumption (how's that one for an old-fashioned word?)to explore a new concept in advertising.  Contact Jeff at [email protected]

Read more about ITV
Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein's ITV Blog
Sidebar: Dr. Bruce - as his students call him - has been front and center in this space for several years. He's the head of The Universtiy of Georgia's Interactive Research Project.
Interactive TV Reports
ITV Dictionary
ITV Alliance

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IBM Drafts Podcast Guidelines

12/07/2005

Like it or not ... corporate guidelines for blogging are becoming SOP (standard operating procedures).Mic Next up podcast guidelines?  Yup and IBM is the first company, I know of, to draft guidelines for podcasting. Can vlogging guidelines be far behind?

IBM's blogging guidelines were used as a basis and then a few extra podcast/medium specific guidelines were added.  Most are common sense and reflect a standard of professionalism that should not be a big deal within a business environment.

IBM's Podcasting Guidelines

-Do not podcast IBM Confidential material.
Currently there is no way to protect/encrypt audio files in a manner that meets IBM's security guidelines. Files can be easily shared outside of IBM. Don't disclose anything you wouldn't disclose outside the company.

-Be mindful not only of what you say, but how you say it.
Sometimes the way you say something -- the tone of your voice, such as a hint of sarcasm -- can be as revealing as what you say.

-Protect your privacy and the privacy of others.
Make sure you don't record any person without his or her consent and awareness. Surrepitiously recording and distributing conversations is a breach of other's privacy and can have severe consequences for you. Start each audio recording by identifying all the individuals participating.

-Set the bar as high as you can for audio production and content quality.
External podcasts that present topics or points of view relevant to IBM's business or broader corporate interests inevitably reflect on the company's brand. To put it bluntly, if it does not sound good, even the greatest ideas may not be enough to hold a listener's attention.
 
-There may be some invitations to participate in non-IBM podcasts that warrant IBM Communication's involvement.
You should treat these the same way you would treat an interview request from a reporter. If you're in doubt, be sure to talk to your local Communications people to discuss the opportunity before agreeing to participate.

 -Identify your podcast as the voice of an individual or small group within the company, not the "official" voice of the company.
This is similar to the standard disclaimer in IBM blogging guidelines -- but in the case of a podcast, it's necessary to make such a declaration verbally.

 -Before you initiate a podcast, ask yourself if it is the most appropriate method to communicate with your audience.
Before creating a podcast, listen to some. Experience what podcasting is like from the audience's perspective. Go out and listen to some podcasts. What do you think works well? What do you dislike? What is it that you have to say -- and is this the right medium in which to say it?

IBM also reminds its folks that MP3 files (like blog posts) can remain accessible for a very long time. Aint that the truth!

Read More: Corporate Blogging Guidelines

Heard it from: Christopher Hannegan's Blog Employee Engagement

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Innovation

12/06/2005

There are so many smart people in the blogosphere and this morning I had the pleasure of having breakfast at the OK Cafe in Buckhead (yes, Divas Buckhead is a real place - located in Atlanta) with Marc Babej, Being Reasonable.
Sidebar: Marc has the coolest metal biz cards. 

I "met" Marc when he commented on a post that I wrote about innovation which he found by playing follow the link from a link on Fortune's Business Innovation blog. Marc has posted highlights of many of the sessions from Fortune's Innovation conference.

Sound Bytes
On Branding - Tim Bennett, Harpo - "We don't use the word brand at Harp. Ours, really is Oprah. We have a brand we can talk to and it talks back."
On Innovation - Horst Schultze, The West Paces Hotel Group - "I have to innovate around what people want, not what I'm hoping people might want."
On Innovation & Change - Fredrick Smith, Fedex - "If you're in an organization whose leadership will not embrace change, the organization over time will not succeed. If you are an employee and see that situation, then jump off the train."

My dear friend Yvonne DiVita, Lip-Sticking, also covered the Innovation Conference. Yvonne was granted a press pass to blog the event. Her posts provide a peek into what it was like to be an attendee at this high-powered conference from "..noting the women in their high heels (we did not wear high heels this time), and the men in their business suits" to noting that a few of the speakers could use a bit of Toastmaster training. Her reporting is a front row seat!

Sound Bytes
On Creativity - Sir Ken Robinson (this is one smart! divo), Professor Emeritus Warwick University and J.Paul Getty Trust  - "Creativity is as important to this century as literacy and numeracy were to earlier ones. We are headed for a revolution- pushe by technology (the Internet) and the aging of Western Society."
On Creativity - Brenda Way, ODC Commons - "Creativity begins in the dark; you think if you show up and work hard, the dawn will come.
On Innovation - Linda S. Sanford, Enterprise on Demand IBM - "It's all about innovation that matters, that solves real business problems."

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Holiday Maketing To Women

12/06/2005

Banana_republic_xmas_1205_3The holiday season is about magic and stories and people. Banana Republic has created a unique ad campaign combining traditional print (see insert)and interactive. Holidaystory.com takes you to a gentle world of 4 romantic, holiday stories.

Roll your mouse over an item a price appears.Banana_website_1205 At the end of the story you're directed to the Gift Shop where you can purchase must have pieces.

Girfriend, it's rather lovely to get away from the hard sell giggle jangle. Nice reminder that creativity and an integrated multiple channel marketing strategy can cut through the clutter. Nice execution of a strategy that targets women. My only suggestion would have been a direct landing page vs. the link on the home page. 

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Friday Fun: The Odd Couple Blogs

12/02/2005

OddcoupletFriday Fun takes us to classic Hollywood and Broadway. A 2 for 1. One of my favorite movies and plays has to be the Odd Couple. No matter how many remakes there may be, Jack's Oscar and Tony's Felix will always be favorites.

As a tribute to his dear friend Tony Randall, Jack Klugman is blogging and podcasting. The blog is called Tony & Me. Jack's stories are touching, giving us wonderful behind the scene glimpses of Hollywoods stars like Lee J Cobb, Jackie Gleason, Judy Garland and Old Blue Eyes.

However, this is very much a marketing blog. The blog is part of an interactive sales strategy to promote Jack's new book - Tony & Me. Each podcast ends with a pitch to buy the book. It's a little too aggressive for my style, but what the heck Oscar was very much an in-your-face kinda guy!

Heard it from: Micro Persuasion
Sidebar: Steve Rubel's blog Micro Persuasion has lots of interesting tibbits about blogging. How the guy finds them all I have not a clue. Well worth a visit or two.

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