Monday, December 12, 2011

Occupy Auckland Is Doing It Right

The main objection I hear from people about Occupy Auckland is ‘they aren’t doing it right’. 

They aren’t doing what right?

Supposedly, there is a certain way that you do protests and they aren’t abiding by what people are used to seeing so it must be a bad thing. 

There is no leader!

There are no demands!

They all have different agendas!

Who will think of the grass!

The global Occupy movements are redefining what it means to protest. The rules of engagement are changing and that’s why authorities are getting so frustrated by it. 

Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt touched on this in his Le Web address. Online communities are redefining society and the way that people organise and interact with each other.  The way that the government structures society is not necessarily how people want things to look any more. To me, Occupy is a wonderful symptom of global change in civil rights and the power of the individual-fuelled by the Internet. 

The  fact that it doesn’t follow Protesting For Dummies 101 is what makes it so powerful and why we should all be paying attention and not writing protesters off as a bunch of unemployed deadbeats. 

But what do they want?

People asking what they want are actually asking ‘how do we make them go away?’

Because they haven’t specified what they want, Occupy can’t be drawn in to a negotiation they will lose. Sounds a bit backwards but it’s also quite clever. They are actually getting more attention and conversation because the authorities are working off an old rule book. 

So what’s the solution?

Leave them alone. Yes monitor them and make sure it’s hygienic and safe and all that but the security levels I’ve seen in Aotea Square are no more than what you see on a boozy Friday night with drunk teenagers. Surely, this is a more worthy cause and most certainly a more significant story in world history.  

It has definately made me think about what things are important in life and what type of society I want to live in. One without poverty is pretty high on the list. More power to them. 

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thank For Your Feedback (Arsehole)


One of the most important things you can learn is how to give feedback properly 

When I say properly, I actually mean ‘without being a complete arsehole and having everyone hate you.’

As a recovered (recovering?) blunt, scathing, insensitive giver of feedback, I will now pass on the ‘Wisdom I Have Learned.’ (alternative title: The Wisdom Of Arseholes’). 

Wisdom One: There is a Transactional Outcome and an Emotional Outcome

One of the best sales lessons I learned early on was that that there are two outcomes: a transactional outcome and an emotional outcome. 
The transactional outcome is getting what you want. The emotional outcome is getting people to a win-win where they want to deal with you again. Most people focus on the transactional outcome and ignore the emotional bit.  If you have to stomp all over people and be a dick and have a tantrum; you’ve lost. Always be aware of the emotional temperature around you. 

Wisdom Two: The Two Thirds Rule
(I think this is a Jack Welch thing but he probably nicked it from someone else so I can’t be bothered attributing it properly).

Basically, when you’re giving feedback, say two positive things and one ‘constructive’ thing. 

E.g. “That was a fast turnaround. Thanks for doing it so quickly. I think we’re nearly there. We may just not be able to use a naked picture of Lindsay Lohan for our Christmas cards this time year. Can you please take another look at the creative and maybe stick to Santas and reindeers. ”

Always start with the positive first and make a big deal about it. It’s easy to find fault and criticise. 

Wisdom Three: It’s Never OK to Scribble Crap All over Other People’s Work

I once had an adland creative spazz out at me because I scribbled all over the proofs with a black Sharpie pen. There were arrows and lines and asterisks and scribbles. He was furious. In hindsight, he was right. It is disrespectful to other people’s work. I now get very stabby when I get feedback in the form of dramatic pen slashes, giant question marks (you might as well just write ‘WTF?’ on my work) and huge chunks of angry crossed-out-ness. I’ve noticed that good editors have a very light touch and put dainty dots and dashes in pencil as ‘suggestions for your consideration.” It’s nice and I want to be one of those friendly respecters of people’s work. 

Wisdom Four: Find Out Why

If you’re not getting the result that you want; take the time to find out why.  Get the person to explain their thinking to you before you make a call if the work is ‘a bit shit’ or ‘that guy’s lazy.’

Look at yourself first and try to figure out if you have explained things properly and given enough information.  Just because the picture you have in your head is different, it doesn’t mean the work is necessarily wrong. Is this something new you could adapt? How much experience do they have and do they know less or more than you about what they’re producing?

Wisdom Five: Do Unto Others

My Big Boss gets a lot of things right and this is one of them. Think about why there are certain people that you are happy to work with and do things for and certain people that you dread being in the lift with. Why is that? Often, it because of the emotional outcome stuff. That person has been a pain, given you some rough feedback and been unreasonable. Work to NOT be that person. Model yourself off the people that you do like working with and think about what makes it different. 

That’s about all I can think of for now. Feel free to add your own. I look forward to your feedback (in pencil). 

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Why I'm Not A Huge Fan of Social Dashboards


Guess what?

Organisations had communications functions BEFORE social media. 

The way that some people talk about the moon landings they are experiencing in this ‘whole new world’ of social media I really do wonder what the hell they are doing that I’m missing. 

I’ve worked pretty much 50/50 across marketing and communications my whole working life and one thing I don’t do is sit in front of a dashboard all day looking at metrics. 

I’ve assessed many different social media dashboard type products for various companies and always seem to come to the same conclusion: “this one is good at this thing, not so good at that thing. I probably wouldn’t really use it.” 

Many of the systems being peddled have been rushed out by agencies desperate to lock in retainers with their marketing clients. The ‘reveal’ sessions are seen as a way to pitch social into a company and trigger further consulting work through regular reporting and talking a load of nonsense about ROI.  They are not designed as tools for the practitioner on the shop floor. 

It seems to be a shared sentiment across people that I know and respect in the industry.  They aren’t ‘dashboard’ sort of folk. Good communicators are generally ‘people’ people and they like to look humans in the eye and discuss ideas.  They will pull a big piece of data for a specific project but, day-to-day, most people understand the news and media landscape and have an instinct for issues. 

There are other human beings that work where I work and usually I have meetings with them and try to understand what they’re trying to do and where I can help. I write briefs for agencies, approve things, write communications and talk on the phone.  

Yes I look at research and media monitors much in the same way I always have. Standard issue for a marcomms function. No great giant leaps for mankind over here I’m afraid. 

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Who Owns Your Social Media Identity?


I seem to be pretty much on my own with this one and I'm not sure why. 

People all seem to be comfortable with the idea of having a work email account and a personal email account.  

So why are social media accounts any different?

If you are on company equipment, on company time, using company infrastructure; then clearly it is easier to define a ‘work account’. If you are mucking around talking to your mates about lolcats then do that on your personal account. Same as email.  The ‘work account’ then becomes and online asset that is the property of the employer. If @DaphneTalksBudgies leaves the pet shop then the account can be changed to @CherylTalksBudgies and the community that the pet shop has invested resource in can continue. 

Instead, we seem to see this horrid hybrid of “I’m Captain Awesome In Charge at Some Epic Company ---views are my own and not my employer’s.”

People then proceed to talk about hot topics in their industry (often on company time and equipment) and then try to pretend that a token “views expressed are my own” will wash their hands of any responsibility. 

As a communications panda trained in the ‘old way’ of having defined company spokespeople who are trained and briefed as experts on specific topics I find this ridiculous.

To me, that would be like Paul Reynolds having a spray about telco deregulation on Twitter and then trying to claim that it had no relation to his job at Telecom. You can’t shape shift like that. 

One of the few social media policies that I have seen take this matter seriously is the news organisation Reuters. Employees are encouraged to have a clearly defined work social media account that follows a company standard and remains the property of the company. The account is approved by the person’s manager for work use so it’s all out in the open. Personal accounts are left well alone, same as a personal Gmail account. 

I’m very conscious of what I send through my work email account and readily switch to my personal account if I’m ever in any doubt.  As our maturity around social tools as professional work spaces develops, hopefully more people will start to adopt this approach. 

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Qantas Luxury: What I Would Have Done


Last night I jotted down some thoughts as the Qantas Airways #qantasluxury crisis churned away online. 

I can see exactly how #qantasluxury happened. 

The executive team at Qantas would have been churning out BAU (business as usual) messages to rally the troops in light of the negative media they have been receiving around flight groundings and union standoffs.

So, BAU they did. 

Marketing person fires up the Twitter with her brief to position Qantas as a full-service, flagship brand up against price-fighter Jetstar. 

Giving away free merch on Twitter generally works very well for big brands and you get good, positive engagement results. 

So, marketing person rummaged around in the corporate swag cupboard (I have one myself) and bundled some gear to throw on Twitter as a wee promo. 

All very unremarkable and very common business practises. BAU. 

So where did it go wrong?

Qantas is not trading under BAU and it’s naive to think that they are.  People don’t forget the weeks of negative coverage. It’s the national carrier. It employs heaps of people. It is a very high-touch, high-engagement brand and business. 

Qantas misread the sentiment and the generally higher educated and politically aware, news savvy people that are on Twitter gave it back to them. 

I’ve been involved in a number of crisis comms situations (mainly offline in traditional media) and the difference between a train wreck and a ‘whew I can’t believe we got away with that’ is often the ability of the comms manager to step back and not panic. 

Only someone who has been on the frontline can relate to that sickening feeling you get when your phone rings at 6pm on a Friday night and your project is going to be front-page news in the weekend papers for all the wrong reasons. 

What I would have done

First port of call for me would have been to the CEO.  The ‘Houston-we have a problem’ moment that drains all the blood from your soul. 

Second, I would call/email the entire executive team and tell them not to comment to media. This would include legal and possibly an external public relations firm if you have one too for investor relations. 

The message would be “don’t comment. Act dumb. Say you haven’t seen the #qantasluxury hashtag and you’re not the person that talks on those things.” Put everything through to the comms manager who can protect people and buy time. That’s what they are there for. 

Third, I would order everyone out of the pool on and offline. 

All social media accounts are to stop publishing including personal accounts. Go dark. (note: this is very controversial and I have never been able to convince any company to do it. However, I see public domain comment by employees online as a risk in a crisis situation). 

An email/ yammer to all staff with an equal measure of “it’s under control” and “if you talk to media we’ll bloody fire you.” Serious. I’ve had these chats before. 
Be aware that, especially when you are in a change management process like Qantas, disgruntled employees may forward the messages to media so write for the public domain. 

Fourth, I would call an analyst to start mining the data across on and offline media. 

I certainly would not be talking to anyone without seeing a top-line level of sentiment activity. Remember-when you are trending at number one on Twitter Australia your job is containment. Trying to send clever “hey guys thanks for entering” tweets is like trying to put out a bushfire with a garden hose. What topics can you provide clarification on? What arguments will you never win? Is it targeted at the CEO, unions, service, food, groundings, offshoring? I was very surprised to see mainstream news outlets publishing comments from interviews with Qantas people in the middle of the event. Far too knee-jerk. 

Fifth, I would assess the data and come up with a written statement. The recent Telecom “abstain” statement is an excellent example of this working well. The tone is “whoops we messed up, we tried to be funny but we weren’t.” It’s a big step back. Don’t try and be tricky. Comments suggesting that ‘any publicity is good publicity’ are absolutely ridiculous, lazy and unsophisticated. Bad media ruins brands in the same way that good media makes brands. 

With emotions running high, bad decisions can be made out of ego, blame, and sheer panic. 

Good crisis responses whether you get caught in a rip at the beach or responding to a natural disaster require planning, systems, trust and leadership. 

That’s what I would have done. 

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Cookie Monster Explains #occupy


Anyway, here's a burst of Cookie truth that should be copy-and-pasted everywhere all across the Internet. Today, we are all Cookie Monsters!

Yes, there always going to be rich and poor. But we used to live in country where rich owned factory and make 30 times what factory worker make. Now we live in country where rich make money by lying about value of derivative bonds and make 3000 times what factory worker would make if factories hadn't all moved to China.

Capitalism great system. We won Cold War because people behind Iron Curtain look over wall, and see how much more plentiful and delicious cookies are in West, and how we have choice of different bakeries, not just state-owned one. It great system. It got us out of Depression, won WWII, built middle class, built country's infrastructure from highways to Hoover Dam to Oreo factory to electrifying rural South. It system that reward hard work and fair play, and everyone do fair share and everyone benefit. Rich get richer, poor get richer, everyone happy. It great system.

Then after Reagan, Republicans decide to make number one priority destroying that system. Now we have system where richest Americans ones who find ways to game system -- your friends on Wall Street -- and poorest Americans ones who thought working hard would get them American dream, when in fact it get them pink slip when job outsourced to 10-year-old in Mumbai slum. And corporations have more influence over government than people (or monsters).

It not about rich people having more money. It about how they got money. It about how they take opportunity away from rest of us, for sake of having more money. It how they willing to take risks that destroy economy -- knowing full well that what could and would happen -- putting millions out of work, while creating nothing of value, and all the while crowing that they John Galt, creating wealth for everyone.

That what the soul-searching about. When Liberals run country for 30 years following New Deal, American economy double in size, and wages double along with it. That fair. When Conservatives run country for 30 years following Reagan, American economy double again, and wages stay flat. What happen to our share of money? All of it go to richest 1%. That not "there always going to be rich people". That unfair system. That why we upset. That what Occupy Sesame Street about.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific Corporate Social Media Study 2011

<div style="width:477px" id="__ss_9867062"> <strong style="display:block;margin:12px 0 4px">Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific Corporate Social Media Study 2011</strong> <div style="padding:5px 0 12px"> View more documents from Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific </div> </div>

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Apple Brand Architecture

Excerpt from Richard McManus post

Jobs was ousted from Apple in 1985 in a failed leadership battle with the CEO at the time, John Sculley. In 1997, he returned to Apple and one of my favorite Jobs stories comes from that time. On his return, he reduced Apple's bloated computer product range from about 40 to just 4. This passage, set in an internal meeting, describes how he did it:

He grabbed a magic marker, padded to a whiteboard, and drew a horizontal and vertical line to make a four-squared chart. "Here's what we need," he continued. Atop the two columns he wrote "Consumer" and "Pro"; he labeled the two rows "Desktop" and "Portable." Their job, he said, was to make four great products, one for each quadrant.

via @readwriteweb

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Social Media Is Nearly Dead And I've Got My Mojo Back

I’m back.  Didn’t last long did it?

There are a couple of reasons.
First of all, when I wrote my previous post I guess I was pretty fatigued by the whole thing.  I had spent so much time with companies and individuals writing up strategy documents, training, planning and they just weren’t getting it.  The decision to go back in-house after eight or so years as an independent was a biggie. I knew it would inevitably mean I had to colour inside the lines and be more careful about what I said.

I guess I thought it would just be easier to shut the whole thing down. One less thing to worry about.

I was wrong.

Having a voice and giving others a voice is fundamental to who I am as a person.

It is fundamental to my faith. It is fundamental to my political ideas. It is the most powerful agent for social change as we’ve seen recently in the Middle East with dictators falling and the peasants taking back the keys to the palace via mobile phone.
People around the world and around the corner here in Auckland are occupying what is rightfully theirs. People are being encouraged to speak up and demand accountability and respect for all human beings. Suckers like me that were taught macroeconomics at university by right-wing professors bought the lie that it would all just ‘trickle down’.

I read this article about two weeks ago and magically, I got my mojo back.

I realised that I am very lucky to be alive at this point in history and that the changes going on around me personally, globally and spiritually are not to be feared. I realised I need to lift my eyes away from guru spats and rubbish like ‘gamification’ and think about what my Big Boss is doing up in the iCloud.  He’s giving people a voice.

Change is in the wind. Social media as a concept is dying. People whose thinking I admire such as Kiwi Andy Lark (Dell and now Commonwealth Bank of Australia) are all heading back to safe harbour to regroup and prepare for battle.  Brian Solis has announced the end of social media 1.0 in his latest book. It’s going to be a wild ride and I have no idea what is going to happen next.

So I’m going to draw a little line --------------------and everything before it was me and everything after it is still me just with a bit of “views expressed are my own and not those of my employer” etc etc. You know the drill.

God wants all of us to have a voice. Me included.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cue The GoodNight Kiwi Music


A few of you have been asking what I've been up to lately as the prolific blogging has stopped being prolific and has turned into a black void of darkness that makes your soul weep with lonely. 

That's not actually true. And when I say a few I meant one person. And that was my Mum. 

The FOR REAL version is that I have decided to put my big girl pants on and go back in-house to work as permanent employee. Permanent like Vivid but not so permanent like a tattoo because, as my good friend Jo explained to me, it's not like having a kid: you can undo it.

Some people have been surprised at my decision. Some people have been frightened by my decision. The thing is, I never went out to talk about and advise in Social Media. I've studied marketing and business. I first vanity web published for a wonderful little site called Home Biz Buzz in around 1999 and started blogging on Typepad not long after. I've always loved amateur publishing and I saw that most of the discussion about social media was being had by folks that either came from a tech background or worked in smalll business. Nobody was really talking about the environments that I worked in everyday- big business and government departments. 

I set up a little Blogger account and started writing into the abyss. Turns out a few ad agency guys around NZ saw my stuff and got me along to help them with some ideas. That's how that happened. 

Do I think there is a future in social media advisory? No. 

Do I think there is a future for dedicated social media agencies and services? No. 

Will there be a demand for people that can produce ideas, work strategy and generate content for paid/earned/owned media models? You betcha. Big demand. 

Did I take a permanent role for financial reasons? Short term: No. Maybe in the long term yes because I don't think social media advisory is sustainable. 

It's been fun but I'm changing course a little bit now and working on more of a fun thing just for me over at walls are pretty bare at the moment but I'm really looking forward to writing about stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with marketing, social media or business for a while (I'll be doing plenty of that during the day).

So on that note, I hang up my SMEG badge and hit PUBLISH. 

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Friday, July 29, 2011

How Much Do Artists Get Per iTunes Download And A Pirate LolCat


So while you're all getting exciting about streaming music services, think of the poor-arsed artists. 

Artist payouts per stream:

Spotify=0.2865 cents


iTunes/$.99 download payout = 70 cents

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Don't Try


"What do you do? How do you write, create?"

You don't, I told them. You don't try. That's very important: not to
try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if
nothing happens, you wait some more. It's like a bug high on the wall.
You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach
out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks you make a pet out
of it." Charles Bukowski, American poet and novelist.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

OMG:Justin Bieber Won't Fix Your Zits


When I was a teenager I had horrifically bad skin.

The nasty bright red scarring variety that is impossible to cover over
and makes you feel like one of the lepers that star in the Bible.

Well meaning folk told me I was eating the wrong things, using the
wrong skin products and just generally- doing it all wrong. What an
awesome boost to the ego when you are already feeling crap about your
self-image as a teenager with braces on your teeth and a lumpy body
that you’re growing into.

I bought every zit remedy from every snake oil marketer. Janola-based
junk that torched my skin and made it flake and feel like sandpaper
with a light salad dressing of oil.

When I was 17 I finally went to a doctor and was told that I had
‘small pores’ and that my skin could be easily cleared up in four to
six weeks with the right medication. He was just a GP, not a
dermatologist and I didn’t have to take steroids or any of that
hardcore stuff like Roaccutane.

It worked.

The reason I’m thinking about this is because I saw a teenage girl on
the train today with the same nasty skin that I had at her age. I
could see the yucky dry patches and crusty cover-up makeup splotches
that I used to also battle with. I wanted to go up to this stranger
and tell her that it wasn’t her fault. That her skin was just made
that way and that she would be grateful when she was older because us
‘small pore’ freaks age really well (according to my nice doctor man).

I didn’t have the guts to do it but it did get me thinking how we can
go through life beating ourselves up about things that are outside of
our control and not your fault. I was born with the skin I was born
with (no this isn’t a Lady Gaga song about sexuality -little
monsters). Sometimes, you’re just not getting very good advice and
well meaning people in your life can actually send you down the river.
Sometimes you need to step back and really qualify the advice you’re
getting and ensure that shoot–from-the-hip stuff isn’t making you

PS: If you’re the girl on the train. Go to your GP and stop buying
crap from the supermarket or those Justin Bieber Proactiv ads. He has
naturally great skin.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

There's A Customer And She Wants Some Service


Yesterday, I had a really good service experience.

Shocking I know as blogs are usually vehicles for passive aggressive
rants about emo staff and business processes that have been designed
by a mentally challenged ostrich.

So what made it so good?

1. Listening: The consultant sat down with me and asked me open-ended
questions about my own lifestyle, needs and expectations. She then
relayed back to me what she had understood so I had the confidence
that I’d been heard.
2. Preference: At all stages, I was asked what my personal preferences
were and I felt in control of the situation. Preferred contact method,
preferred drink, and preferred time of the day for an appointment.
The experience was being customised to my needs.
3. Expectations: My expectations were managed all through the
experience. I was given three pricing options and asked about my
budget. I was told how long it would take and what results I could
expect. I was then given time to make a selection and assured that
there was no pressure for me to take the most expensive option.
4. Good business processes: Before the appointment, I was sent a text
confirming my scheduled time and the location and contact phone number
if I needed directions or help. I was greeted on arrival by first name
and sent a thank you email with a request for rebooking or feedback
when I got home.
5. The people were 'people people': Most importantly, the staff were
all friendly, could make polite conversation and were attentive to
basic things such as making sure I was comfortable, had a drink and
that I had found the place OK.

Simple things, executed well, and I walked out the door with a
reasonable dent in my bank account and yet still, a plan to return.
The owner told me they had a 90% customer retention rate so the payoff
speaks for itself.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Top 100 Social Media Brands By Industry

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Thursday, June 9, 2011

You're In The Army Now: Message Force Multipliers


Want to multiply your message?

Try some army-issue ‘message force multipliers’. 

In 2008 the New York Times again returned to the issue of hidden public relations agendas with a series of stories in which Barstow showed how the Pentagon was using retired military officers to deliver the miltary’s message on the war in Iraq and its counterterrorism efforts.  
Barstow described how the officers were presented on the news programs and independent consultants offering unvarnished opinions.
After being stonewalled by the Pentagon for two years, the Times eventually sued to obtain records about the Defense Department’s use of retired military officers.
Barstow found evidence that the officers’ appearances on television were not happenstance, but a carefully coordinated effort of what the Pentagon called ‘message force multipliers’.
Sullivan, J (May/June 2011), ‘True Enough: The Second Age of PR’, Columbia Journalism Review.

Horribly unethical? Makes you think who you are really listening to on the news doesn’t it?

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Like Twitter Jail Except More Like Real Jail


To the person who tweeted me and asked me ‘Are you dead? I’m most
certainly alive and well and back at the keyboard, ready to light some
more fires that may get me in Twitter jail but hopefully not in the
real one.

In real life, my lag is over and I’ve been released from Mt Eden
prison after a fascinating few months in the Big House.

(Just to clarify: It was a Department of Corrections job, not a court
order that put me down in the men’s jail).

Security restrictions mean that you don’t have a cellphone inside the
wire (that’s prison talk), and I must say after a few years in on-call
media relations, it’s been nice having a breather from ringing phones,
beeping text messages and constant emails.

I’ve never heard more fascinating work stories and seen more
interesting things in all the places I’ve worked. From the ghost in
the abandoned cell to escape attempts, riots, a guy who though he was
Elvis, hunger strikers, homemade tattoo guns and five year-old kids
that ‘gang sign’ to their Dad in visits; it’s certainly been an

Corrections Officers are fantastic storytellers and they love to shock
and entertain you with dramatic tales no Wellywood scriptwriter could
ever concoct. People are naturally fascinated with the Underworld
(count how many police/crime/gangs shows there are on TV) and I’m no
exception. My behind-the-scenes look was like wandering around inside
a Discovery channel doco. Old Mt Eden prison is like nothing you’ll
ever see again in this country and I feel privileged that I’ve
experienced it as a working jail and met some of it’s characters. My
attitudes toward crime and punishment, treatment of prisoners,
forgiveness and rehabilitation have also been radically challenged but
that’s a bit heavy and I’ll get in to that another time. Anyone who
thinks being in prison is like a holiday park is obviously going to
some pretty grim holiday parks. Prison is shit and I certainly never
want to be one of Corrections “clients”. It's nice to be able to walk
out the front gate at the end of the day.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Will ‘Like To Enter’ Kill Your Facebook Fanpage?


If you think a ‘like to enter’ competition on your company Facebook
page is a cunning way to grow your follower numbers you are probably
right- in the short term.

There seems to be a proliferation of the little thumbs up competitions
rolling through New Zealand at the moment and excited marketing
managers are finally ‘doing’ social media. Or so their agency tells

The promotional mechanic is not new. It’s the modern version of
putting your business card in a bowl for a $50 bar tab draw. As
customers, we all know how this goes down. They company will then add
your details to their database and send you offers via email or text.
Continuously. To the point where you can’t take their noisy crap
anymore and you unsubscribe.  Or, in Facebook’s case, hit the ‘hide’

If companies continue to treat Facebook as a loyalty database they
will end up with the same problems that direct marketers have fought
with since Claude C Hopkins first started busting out coupons in the

Getting the balance right between engagement and spam requires people
driving the accounts to understand their community and have a sense
for what they will tolerate (in commercial messaging) versus making
them find your company unbearably annoying.

You need to keep an eye on the stats running in the background of your
Facebook fan pages and keep an eye on your exit and hide rates; not
just your engagement rates (likes and comments). All standard issue
loyalty marketing stuff that you need to report on as you would with a
Farmer’s Beauty Club or a Flybuys card database.  Watch your campaign
flight planning and make sure you aren’t fatiguing the community with
stuff that is exciting for you e.g. ‘check out our new TV ad!’, but
that is of no interest to your punters.

In the tips for new players category, read the Facebook competition
terms of service and stick to them. Big brother is watching you and
they will kindly send you a warning email that you should kindly
comply with or your fanpage will be disabled.  ‘Comment to enter’,
‘upload to enter’ and ‘like to enter’ have to be setup a certain way
to meet Facebook legal requirements and it pays to educate yourself on
what’s in and what’s out.


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Monday, March 21, 2011

Air New Zealand's Bizarre Higher Ground


It seems people affected by the tsunami aren’t the only ones
clambering to higher ground.

Air New Zealand’s Robbie Fyfe has decided to waggle his finger at a
few news organisations for alleged sensationalist coverage of the
Japan nuclear issue.

Not only is it a boring and petty issue that a CEO at that level
should not be entering into; it opens them up for criticism of some of
their own media management. Finger-pointy-glass-housie-stone-throwing
is not cool. It might even cause a cynical Monday morning member of
the typing pool such as myself to question the company's jealous
outburst at Mike Pero for daring to take some of the sunshine off
their media gush-fest to Erabus in 2009?

Or perhaps their stage-managing the return of Air New Zealand plane
crash victims in full view of the media complete with soundtrack? A
nice touch or a publicity stunt?

Shouting down 'The Listener' for daring to criticise the organisation
in an editorial piece? Clever campaigning or corporate defensiveness?

Take your hand off it Air New Zealand and keep your top talent out of
handbag arguments.


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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bring The Noise: Social Media and Contact Centres


A few comments from yours truly on the mega-topic of social media channels and their interaction with call centre. Excellent analysis and write up by Keith Newman. 


Newman, Keith. Telecommunications Review, February 2011. 
Social media transforms the business feedback loop and contact centres geared up to deliver customer service through these channels will leave their competitors in the digital dust. 



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Friday, March 11, 2011

Is it easier to be liked as a man than as a woman?



Prince Willy is a likeable toff and I’m quite excited that he’s coming
to New Zealand next week to waltz  around in a high-viz  and kiss a
few babies in Christchurch.

John ‘smile and wave’ Key and Saint Bob Parker will be completing the
royal flush of warm fuzzies.  The golden triangle of current media
darlings. The three nice guys of news and current affairs.

I’m a fan of all three but it has lead me to think: does it make a
difference that they are guys?

Is it easier to like a man in a leadership scenario than a woman?

Note I said ‘like’. Not ‘respect’ or ‘admire’ or ‘submit to’. To
genuinely like them.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Premier Anna Bligh did an excellent
job of fronting the Queensland floods issue and I was impressed by
what they did. But I can’t say I get the ‘awwww didn’t he do well’
factor I get with Saint Bob.

Is gender a contributing factor to likeableness or is it just a matter
of personality?

If we subbed out Lady Diana for Prince Willy would the Christchurch
like-fest have continued? Probably. If we subbed out Helen Clark for
John Key would we still be as enamoured? Probably not. Julia Gillard
cried during the floods and got mocked for faking it. If John Key
cried, every woman in New Zealand would probably rush to Christchurch
to give him a hug. Women look quite silly in hard hats, look frumpy in
flat shoes and can come across as being bossy when issuing key
messages. Everything just seems to work against us.

As a child raised on a diet of Women’s Weekly royal covers, Disney
handsome prince movies and TV1 6pm news, maybe it’s just how I’ve been
socialised and the familiar makes me comfortable.

I’m just pleased Willy’s won’t be bringing that tart that ruined my
chance of becoming a Princess.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why Virtual Workforces Are Virtually Impossible


"This trend will, in turn, encourage the increasing virtualization of the

organization. As 24/7 connectivity, social networking, and increased

demands for personal freedom further penetrate the walls of the

corporation, corporate life will continue to move away from traditional

hierarchical structures. Instead, workers, mixing business and personal

matters over the course of the day, will self-organize into agile communities

of interest. By 2020, more than half of all employees at large corporations

will work in virtual project groups." Roman Friedrich, Michael Peterson, and Alex Koster, Generation C at Work


The concept of virtual workforces is very appealing yet highly unlikely.


In some industries, it works well and online collaboration ensure that the best

heads are put around a project regardless of their geographical location.


For the most part, I don’t see employees ‘self-organising into agile

communities of interest’ mainly because existing power structures are still

locked into a 1960’s mentality of spending 8am to 5pm, bolted in a cubicle

with half an hour for lunch.


One of the most frustrating scenarios that inevitably crops up with the project

work I do is the ‘where were you?’ conversation or worse still, the ‘what time

do you call this?” conversation.


I make it very clear to all my clients that I’m contactable 24/7 but don’t expect

me to sit at a desk and pretend to look busy for eight hours per day.


(If the meeting is at 10am, I’ll turn up at 10am, not 8am and then read the

paper and fluff around and have a coffee until 10am).


What’s the point?


The reality is, most of the people that sign my invoices (and their employees)

ARE required to clock in like good little factory workers and they don’t see

why I should be treated any different.


Often, the C-suite have been with the organisation their whole career and

have come up through the ranks by being the first to arrive, the last to leave

and aspiring to climb the corporate ladder. The complete opposite of a flat,

egalitarian, trust-based structure that virtualisation requires.


Human beings are naturally competitive and any opportunity to tar a

colleague with the ‘slacker’ brush is often taken by middle managers trying to

make themselves look good in the ascent.


Some people make their whole career out of crowing about how busy and

important they are and making sure that the other bees in the hive know

about it.


You just need to go to Friday night drinks at a large corporate to hear ‘ Jason

had two hours for lunch today’ or ‘Sue is always on the phone organising her

house renovations’ moans of injustice.


Virtual workforces are a nice idea, but a long way off and certainly not

something I expect to see dominating in the next 10 years. What are your thoughts and experiences?

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Are You A Sheep, A Shepherd Or A Dog?


If it’s one thing that the recent uprisings in the Middle East have
taught us it should be the shocking price individuals and society pay
for fear.

Perceived power rules the world.

Perceived. In reality individuals such as Mubarack or Gaddafi or even
John Key started out with no more or less power than anyone else.
Gradually they assert leadership, gather authority over others and
create power structures with money, armies and political regulation.

We, the sheep, go along with things and take our instruction from the
shepherd and the dogs he employs to bark at us. In reality, if the
sheep get organised, they could easily roll the shepherd and trample
the dog but our individual fear keeps us running. And it's often not
in the direction we want to go.

After watching the uprisings and the terrible scenes from Christchurch
it has made me think about how important it is to really get into life
and not let perceived power stop me from doing things. Some of the
things I asked myself were:

What am I afraid of?

Who am I afraid of?

Who or what is asserting authority over my life that is causing me fear?

Who are the people speaking fearful words or warnings into my life? Is
it useful or is it holding me back?

Where could I be using my power more effectively to change things? Am
I a sheep, a shepherd or a dog?

Tony Robbins uses the phrase “design your life or someone will design
it for you” and I’ve found the process of pondering and consciously
removing the sources of fear and perceived authority quite
fascinating. It’s made me realise how much power I have and how much
energy I waste being afraid of silly things and letting people impose
their fears on to me.

Staring down power structures is strangely, empowering, and it's
energised me to kick down a few doors, laugh at a few people and laugh
at myself.

Give it a go. If the shepherd doesn't have your best interests in
mind, ignore him and his barking dog.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Have You Got Social Media in Your Emergency Comms Plans?


Many New Zealand companies and organisations have rushed onto Twitter in the scramble to communicate through the Christchurch earthquake.


Thankfully, the large enterprise angst around social media policy and usage was outweighed by a genuine need to help people that were (and still are) in real trouble.


The lack of experience is obvious on some accounts but that really doesn’t matter. Real-time communication is critical during an emergency response and I’m pleased to see that corporate hand wringing hasn’t stopped people keeping the flow of information going.


I hope this has proven the case that social media tools aren’t for kids and early adopters. I hope that people can see that including social channels in emergency response planning is not just a gimmick and that it is as important as press conferences and media alerts.  I’ve written a few emergency management communication plans in my time and not yet have I been able to include a line for social media response. Empowering people to connect and help each other at a hyperlocal level is critical and saves lives.

Use the tools that are there and make sure that it's tabled at your next EOC meetings. 


Hang in there Christchurch; we’re thinking of you.


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Friday, February 11, 2011

Pizza Hut Social Media Team Live Superbowl 2011

Thanks Jeremiah Owyang

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What To Do When 'Shit Happens'?

If you haven’t seen the Channel 7 ‘shit happens’ video, you are missing out on one of the most awkward and bizarre political interviews you’ve probably ever witnessed.


The odd, trembling, bobble head motion and raw agony of one minute and ten seconds of dead air is horrifying.


Time and space are suspended as Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott has an outer body experience and watches his political career being swept out to sea.


The interview with Channel 7 reporter Mark Riley screened yesterday and had Tony accused of making the insensitive ‘shit happens’ remark while being briefed about the operation that lead to the death of Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney while on a visit to Afghanistan in October last year.


The catch-phrase instantly went viral online with Twitter and Facebook users delighting in the leader’s gaff.  Some vented their rage at Riley for perceived entrapment and using a soldier’s death for media attention. Some shared designs for Tony Abbott ‘bobble head’ merchandise designs.


So what went wrong and what should Tony Abbott have said and/or done?


Was Mark Riley being a scummy reporter and was the interview an ambush and bad taste as some suggested?


Would Tony Abbott have punched Mark Riley in the head if the camera wasn’t rolling? (I say yes).


It is believed that Tony Abbott’s office had worked for three months to prevent the release of the video so it can be argued that they knew the questioning was coming.  Abbott came very close to becoming Prime Minister last year so I have limited sympathy; he really should be able to handle hard questioning, even if caught on the back foot.  


Tony obviously knew he was sunk and stopped talking, hoping that the Channel 7 interview grabs would cut out the dead air. But the supernatural shaking death glare just made such entertaining telly and it was left in.


So he tried to play the standard ‘out of context’ line. You can get away with that on a 30 second radio grab, not when there’s a full video of the exchange.


‘I’m sorry’ would have been my first port of call. There’s no doubt he was busted and said what he said. Humble, grovel, apologise.


“I didn’t mean to cause any offense and any I have caused etc etc.”


Extend sympathy to the family. Chastise yourself for being stupid.  The full naughty puppy that just pee’d on the carpet deal.


Easy to say in hindsight, but again, when you run for Prime Minister you need to gear up for the thunderdome.


All sorts of shit can happen.
















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Monday, January 31, 2011

Brave New World: Social Media Takes Down Egypt

I love this first image showing a lone, stone-throwing protester going up against an armored vehicle. 

An anti-government protester throws objects at a riot police vehicle in the port city of Suez, about 134 km (83 miles) east of Cairo, January 27, 2011. Police fired rubber bullets, water cannon and tear gas at hundreds of demonstrators in Suez on a third day of protests calling for an end to President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year-old rule. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany. 


I've gone through and grabbed a couple of screens I saw throughout the night as the overthrow continues. 

New sources use a Tweetdeck screen and Trendsmap to show citizen journalists reporting live. 

The Egyptian government cuts internet and mobile phone access yet Al-Jazeera is determined to keep Tweeting; broadcasting through landline conveyed messages until their satellite is restored. 

Someone offers medical assistance via Skype and users share screens so that locals can see international, non State-controlled media via the web. 

Egyptians organise around Facebook groups and the world supports their profiles with messages of solidarity. 

User mock the Eqyptian regime and work to restore communications and send out information. 

Welcome to the brave new world of social media. 

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Friday, January 28, 2011

How Many People Are On Facebook In New Zealand?

courtesy Facebook NZ Jan 2011

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Monday, January 24, 2011

User Generated Content: The Unicorn Poop of Social Media


Nothing you could ever possibly create inside your company is as important as something your users create. Everrrrr.


User generated content is the holy grail of social conversations and I’m always shocked to see page admins dismissing photos, videos, comments and interactions that their users take the time to capture and upload.


It’s as rare as unicorn poop so embrace it and thank the social media powers for gifting you with such as amazing blessing from above.


Interactions on your pages should have you climbing out over the firewall and pashing your users- with your tongue.


Most recently I heard the story of customer Jane Username who experienced a product for the first time (no it’s not me).  Ms Username had a positive service experience, took a photo, edited it in Photoshop, uploaded it to Flickr and shared it with the company on Facebook and Twitter.


Page admin (let’s call him Senor Droppedonhead) responded by saying ‘that’s nice but ours are better’ and sending Ms Username a link to commercially shot catalogue imagery on his employer’s website.  What a dumbass. 


Ms Username got sniffy, pulled down her images and vented at people like me about how stupid Senor Droppedonhead and his stupid company was. I think we can call that a fail and a massive ‘missing of the point’.


Thank your users, encourage them and the unicorns will flourish and spread their germinating dung of awesome on your company lawn.



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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

We Love You Steve Jobs

Prayers and wishes are with you and your family Steve.

You are our tech leader and you have touched everyday people in an amazing way.

We want to see so many more years out of you and your genius.

Written on iPhone

We got you Steve


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