Posts Tagged ‘storytelling’


Break Through the Content Surplus by Turning Your Brand Into a Media Company

Monday, December 16th, 2013
Michael Brito and Tressa Robbins at Social:IRL event in St. Louis.

Michael Brito and Tressa Robbins at Social:IRL event in St. Louis.

In his new book, Your Brand, The Next Media Company, social business strategist and author Michael Brito discusses the social business transformation that’s taking place (and much more).

I’ve followed Michael (aka @Britopian) and virtually interacted with him for a couple years and but had not met him in real life—that is, until Social:IRL brought him to St. Louis to present “How A Social Business Strategy Can Enable Better Content, Smarter Marketing And Deeper Customer Relationships.”

The book just arrived and I haven’t yet had a chance to read it, but below are just a few snippets from his presentation.

Brito began with the five truths that are shaping today’s digital ecosystem:

  • There is a content and media surplus.
  • There is an attention deficit.
  • The customer journey is dynamic.
  • Consumers have tunnel vision.
  • Everyone is influential (regardless of your Klout, PeerIndex, Kred scores).

To top it off, with all this chaos, business objectives remain constant. This means YOU have to change, and Brito suggests you and your organization start to think and act like a media company.  Change makes sense, but why a media company? What is a media company anyway?

According to Brito, your brand must adopt these five characteristics if you want to break through the clutter.

  • Storytelling: Media companies tell stories. Traditional news organizations also tell stories but theirs are typically recent and breaking news. Your brand as a media company will have to decide what story you want to tell and how you want to tell it.
  • Content: Media companies are content machines with an “always on” mentality.
  • Relevance: Media companies provide content that is relevant to those who are seeking information at a very specific moment in time.
  • Ubiquity: Media companies are omnipresent. They dominate search engine results and their content is shared daily across various social channels.
  • Agility: Media companies are nimble and able to move quickly. They have writers on-hand ready to produce content on any topic at any time, as well as creative teams capable of producing visual content on-demand. They are not captives to brand team or legal counsel approvals.

Brito goes beyond the “why” and details the “how to:”

  • Build a team.
  • Assign roles and responsibilities.
  • Define your brand narrative.
  • Create channel strategy.
  • Establish the content supply chain.
  • Build real-time capabilities.
  • Integrate converged media models.
  • Invest in the right technology.

He discussed his definition of a social business strategy, the pillars of the social business transformation, using social business framework to enable positive outcomes, and more.  I have several pages of notes from his presentation and will provide some additional takeaways in my next post but a couple of blog posts cannot summarize 247 pages of integrated marketing brilliance as well as multiple case studies from brand leaders worldwide!

Do you agree that brands must become, or are already transforming into, media companies? Is your brand (or client) moving in this direction?

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Taking Control of Your Career: 7 Tips From ‘Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office’ Applicable to All Genders

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

by Deborah Gilbert-Rogers*

books_office

As the New Year progresses, I find myself drawn to reading a number of professional coaching, personal finance, marketing and sales books. Being a bit of a book junkie and wanting to reduce clutter, I now download samples to the Kindle app on my smart phone before purchasing a physical copy. (This is one millennial who won’t give up her physical books.)

One sample captured my attention recently, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers, to such the extent that I purchased and downloaded a digital copy of the book right then and there! Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, part of Dr. Lois P. Frankel’s  Nice Girls series, examines the unconscious messages women are taught in girlhood – which may or may not be helpful – that are then continued in womanhood and how these behaviors and messages influence a woman’s ability to progress in her career (as well as other areas of her life).

For Frankel the emphasis is on the word “girl” not on “nice.” Dr. Frankel is the first to point out these learned behaviors are not exclusive to women and that men experience their own set of messages in boyhood that affect them in manhood. However, our culture has an insidious way of encouraging woman to continue girlhood messages and behaviors in ways that differ from men.

Here are some of the “mistakes” I think relate to most business and PR professionals, regardless of gender, and tips for taking charge of your career.

1. Not Understanding the Needs of Your Constituents: Whether it’s our client, CEO, stakeholder, customer or target audience – we all have people that we serve. It is imperative to know what they need and want. Otherwise we risk missing an opportunity by not providing value. “The trap many women fall into is thinking they know what’s best for their constituents and therefore not asking the right questions on the front end,” writes Frankel. One way Frankel suggests to overcome this behavior is to “be more concerned with doing the right thing than doing things right.” In other words, don’t be afraid to shift perspectives as new data emerge and as change is warranted.

2. Skipping Meetings: Attending meetings is just as much about personal branding and marketing as it is about the content explains Frankel. She suggests, “Using meetings as an opportunity to showcase a particular skill or piece of knowledge (provided it’s not note taking or coffee making.)”  Additionally, “Ask to be invited to a meeting where you’ll have the chance to meet senior management or make a presentation about something for which you need support.”

3. Ignoring the Importance of Network Relationships: Years ago people believed that showing-up for work and doing a good job would be enough to protect their careers, explains Frankel. Unfortunately many still buy into this belief today and have been taught that building relationships at work wastes time and distracts from the job at hand. Frankel suggests actively participating in a professional association and developing relationships before they are needed. If you wait until you need the relationship, it is too late.  

4. Making Up Negative Stories: As PR and communications professionals we understand the importance of storytelling and the power it has to influence audience perception and behavior. However, as women we have a habit of creating negative stories and assuming we’ve done something wrong in order to explain a mistake or why something didn’t go as planned, addresses Frankel. In the workplace, this negatively affects our ability to take positive risks and trust our intuition. Frank suggestions beginning to “replace negative stories with neutral ones” and to look at “alternative scenarios that could explain what has happened that have nothing to do with you doing something wrong.”

5. Failing to Define Your Brand: Just like corporate branding and marketing, personal branding involves defining the value you bring to the table and how you stand apart from the competition. Frankel advises coming up with three to five things you enjoy most about your position as a way to start defining your personal brand. The reason? “We tend to be good at what we like,” notes Frankel. Then relate these strengths to your position and what you bring to it. Having these statements in place will help set you apart from the competition, whether that is within the organization or externally when delivering a proposal to a client or prospect.

6. The Inability to Speak the Language of Your Business: While there are times when it is best to avoid jargon, you must still be able to use the language of the entire business. “Influence comes from knowing the business, and one of the best ways you can exercise your influence is to use language unique to your industry and profession,” writes Frankel. Beyond your area of expertise and department, familiarize yourself with the ROI, bottom line, and other performance indicators of your corporation or client. BurrellesLuce offers a great newsletter on Finance for Communicators which is available in our free resource center.

7. Using Gestures Inconsistent with Your Message: Presentation is everything. Your “gestures should be integrated with your energy,” remarks Frankel. Don’t be afraid to take up space – a behavior that runs counter to what many women have been taught. Frankel suggests “allowing gestures to flow naturally from your spoken message” and to “match your gestures to the size of your audience.”

What professional books have you read lately that you’ve found helpful? Share your recommendations here on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

***

Bio: After graduating from Rider University, where she received a B.A. in English-writing and minor degrees in Gender Studies and French, Deborah joined the BurrellesLuce Marketing team in 2007.  As a marketing specialist she continues to help develop the company’s thought leadership and social media efforts, including the copywriting and editing of day-to-day marketing initiatives and management of the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog. Facebook: BurrellesLuce Twitter: @BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: dgrogers

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Visual Storytelling: Who Knew It’s Been Around For More Than a Hundred Years?!

Friday, January 25th, 2013
Flickr Image: josefnovak33

Flickr Image: josefnovak33

Marketers and public relations practitioners have long known that storytelling is critical to any campaign. Storytelling is about relating to people, about making a connection with your audience.  PR has long been a text-based, word-driven method of communicating messages, but it’s no longer enough to simply broadcast these written messages.  “PR historically has been about words—telling. Now it’s show and tell,” says Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman in a recent AdWeek article.

I’ve read copious articles in the past year on the “new trend” of visual storytelling. Articles that point out we are a society of “visual learners.” Visual storytelling classes have recently been added to university course catalogs, professional development and continuing education workshops and webinars are abundant. Infographics have become a popular way to socially share messages in the past couple years. Some say this shift is due to how we consume information and communicate in the digital mobile age. But I say this is a trend that actually began more than a hundred years ago!

Over the holidays, my husband and I watched the History Channel mini-series “Mankind The Story of All of Us” that we had DVR’d. In the final episode, they talk about the Congo rubber trade in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s under King Leopold II’s dictatorship and the brutishness of forced labor. A common occurrence was to physically maim children as a warning to villagers. Enter Alice Harris, a British missionary, and her camera. (I know you were wondering where I was going with this J).

Brian Williams, of NBC Nightly News (and one of the commentators in the series) says, “The invention of photography and the means to get them in front of people held more power than its inventors ever imagined. Photos don’t blink and they don’t go away. Once you’ve seen that image, you can’t rewind.”  Harris took hundreds of photos of the atrocities—photos which were then published in newspapers across the world, shocking millions of readers.  These photographs were so horrific and communicated so broadly that it transformed public opinion and changed society, forcing King Leopold to quit the Congo rubber trade.  I would argue that this was the beginning of visual storytelling—at least in the modern mass media age. (Visual storytelling actually dates back to more than 30,000 years ago with cave paintings.)

In addition, “Once you’ve seen that image, you can’t rewind,” Williams went on to say, “The expression ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ –that’s a low ball estimate. A picture, a good picture, is worth so much more than that.”

This is especially true in today’s digital age. As PR and communications professionals we are increasingly tasked with disseminating messages in a crowded online space. The content we produce must not only gain the attention of audiences – but keep it as well.

Like our ancestors, we must create stories that paint pictures – either via our words or via images – to sway public opinion and, perhaps more importantly, persuades people to respond to our calls to action.

Check out this BurrellesLuce Storytelling newsletter for more helpful tips.

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TED Talks: Joe Sabia – The technology of storytelling

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

 

View the original video and transcript here.

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The Changing Media Landscape: What It Means to Public Relations

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

This post first appeared on CommPro.biz 5.9.12 and is cross-posted with permission.

Recently, I spoke at two PRSSA regional conferences about how the evolution of digital and social media is changing the media landscape. In particular, the discussion revolved around how news is now immediate and information can get lost in the shuffle and, perhaps more importantly, how this all affects our role in PR. I wanted to share some of what we discussed with you. 

According to The Pew Research Center and the Project for Excellence in Journalism (Pew PEJ), the Internet surpassed newspapers and radio as a primary news source back in 2010. In fact, the explosion of online content (via blogs, social networks, new online-only media outlets, video portals and other venues) is coming not just from traditional media companies, but individuals and organizations from every walk of life. It’s a development that invites an entirely new way of thinking about how companies can get out their message and amplify their brand.

We keep hearing “Chicken Littles” spouting that big media is dead or that social media will soon replace traditional media. Poppycock, I say! On the contrary, “old” media still provides most of our news! The percentage of original content found on social media pales in comparison to traditional media. The Pew PEJ studied one typical American city (Baltimore), and reported that a whopping 92 percent of new content came from “old” media, proving that the published story is just the beginning of its life cycle.

There seems to be no shortage of those that believe the press release is dead. I’m in the opposing camp, as I believe it continues to be a useful tool for public relations practitioners. Don’t get me wrong, every circumstance is unique and not all situations will warrant release to the media, but the press release is still an integral part of the PR toolkit. Actually, social media has created more — and more effective — channels for companies and brands to communicate. Regardless, the press release will always have a place in your online newsroom. I’ve heard both Sally Falkow and Steve Momorella say it well—don’t underestimate the power of that news release, it has great SEO value.

So what does all this mean in terms of media relations? Considering that 98 percent of journalists say they start a story with a Google search (per the Pew PEJ State of the Media 2011 report), it means your news needs to be optimized for search engines. Make it easy to find as well as easy to access. In other words, don’t make journalists register to get into your newsroom. Instead, include embed codes for video and images, publish text as text (versus as images where it’s difficult for a journalist to copy and paste from), include links to all your social media accounts, and make your news available in a feed so they can follow if they’d like and get your news pushed to them.

We also discussed digital storytelling as a key core aptitude for public relations and marketing professionals. We frequently hear that good writing skills are the single most important attribute for a PR pro, and that’s true, but storytelling is a very close second. Some things to keep in mind when telling your story is that more is not always better. Be sure you’re speaking your audience’s language. In this multimedia environment, text is not always enough. Engage their senses—use images, podcasts, videos to amp up the virtual volume. PR professionals must adapt to the “new” journalism, more as a service rather than a product that is platform or format specific. 

I think John Steinbeck said it best in East of Eden, “If a story is not about the hearer he will not listen. And here I make a rule—a great and interesting story is about everyone or it will not last.” Read that again. It’s so true!  

Another wise person, my colleague Johna Burke, says, “Remember Captain Sully (the US Airways captain who emergency landed in the Hudson River saving hundreds of lives)? Every organization has these people and stories, your job is to find them and leverage them.”

What techniques are you using to find and leverage your story makers? How has your role in PR and communications evolved along with the media?

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