More Than 35 Examples

9 09 2008

In late July, Aaron Uhrmacher, posted 35+ Examples of Corporate Social Media in Action at Mashable Social Networking News. I’ve been meaning to write about this post for awhile now.

This is an extremely valuable collection of stories you may find very helpful in sharing with clients and prospects. Most of us have few examples, if any that we can share, of how companies have used social media to their benefit. What’s more, this post offers a wonderful range of ways companies used it to underscore their particular brand.

If you have clients who are hesitant about engaging in social media, send them the link. No pressure, just send it as an FYI and see how they respond. For the PR agency pros out there, read the examples, commit your favorites to memory, and use them to illustrate your point the next time you’re speaking to a prospect or client about social media. Finally, and arguably most important of all, send this link to your colleagues and schedule a brown bag lunch to discuss the content, identify your favorites, and shape your own point of view.

What are your favorites?

Cross-posted from Client Serivce Insights…(CSI/Season 2)


OK, Now You’re Ready for Advanced Creativity

26 08 2008

As you toyed with Crayola, I hope you reached back into your childhood and tapped into the creative fearlessness so endearing of that age.   Assuming you were able to do so, now may be the time to step it up.

The Jackson Pollock-a-scetch will offer you a formidible creative outlet.  Just start dragging your mouse and change colors with a simple click.  Enjoy!


Creativity Begins At Home

24 08 2008

Creativity isn’t just something we turn off and on when we come to work; we have to live it all the time. It’s about seeking solutions beyond the obvious, showing you care beyond the expected, and finding simplicity in the complex.

Rather than just talk about being creative though, let’s do it. To facilitate this exercise, I’ll offer a link to the modern day way to create your own card/art project at home. When I was a little kid, we just grabbed a handful of Crayolas. It was the way we “competed” against Hallmark back in the day. Today, you can reach out to Crayola online.

Visit the Card Creator or Arts & Crafts . As opposed to stating: “Do not try this at home,” I might suggest that’s exactly where you should try it. We don’t need anyone to get fired over playing Crayola in the office.

You’re welcome to submit project entries. We’d be happy to assemble a set of judges and carefully evaluate all submissions. What does the winner receive? I guess we’ll just have to get creative!

Social Media’s Three Rs

19 08 2008

What are they? Reading, Writing, and Relationships.

I’ve spent several posts on writing blogs and reading content from others online, but the most important R of all is relationships. It’s what makes social media social. From the comfort of your own home or office, you can build real relationships with customers and countless other stakeholders anywhere in the world. You can share ideas with the terrifically smart individuals you’ll discover and build lasting friendships with people whom you may never meet face-to-face.

It’s actually amazing how well you can get to know someone online. To illustrate the point, one of my former learning team members in Seton Hall’s MASCL program is a dentist. He told me that he got to know his online classmates better than he did the students he sat next to everyday in dental school. It’s kind of like the difference between staying in a hotel and taking a cruise; there’s something about everyone being in the same boat that promotes an entirely different level of interaction and sharing.

Social media provides a plethora of reading, writing, and relationship resources. Let’s face it, the three Rs of social media and the three Rs of PR are two sides of the same coin. Now you just have to convince the rest of your colleagues.

*Crosspost from Client Service Insights…(CSI/Season 2)

Uncle Rico’s Client Service Lessons

12 08 2008

Here’s a post that I thought I’d bring back because of its timeless relevance to client service excellence. Several years ago, I was practically forced to watch the movie Napolean Dynamite. Most people know the film for its popular, cult-like following. I see it as much more. Client service professional development film perhaps? I’ll let you decide as I review what Uncle Rico (John Gries) teaches us about client service. Here are just a few quotes from Uncle Rico:

On building a relationships:
UR: “My friends and clients, they call me Uncle Rico.”
On managing expectations:
UR: “How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?”
On the importance of understanding our clients’ business:
UR: “Do you know it backwards and front?”
On time management:
UR: “Might as well do somethin’ while you’re doing nothin’.”
On budget stewardship:
UR: “Napoleon, you know we can’t afford the fun pack. What, do you think money grows on trees in this family? Take it back! And get some Pampers for you and your brother while you’re at it.”
On asking good questions:
UR: “Kip, I reckon… you know a lot about… cyberspace? You ever come across anything… like time travel?”
On fighting for your client:
UR: “Oh, I wrote him an e-mail sayin’ I’m gonna contact the authorities if I don’t get a refund in full.”

Of course, I could go on and on, but I’ve probably given away too much already. Now for those of you who saw the film, you’re probably thinking that Uncle Rico may have faultered a time or two – like the time he fell victim to Rex Kwan Do. But in the end, Uncle Rico was the big winner.

Listen to Uncle Rico. You and your clients could be the big winners too!

Client Service Surveys

9 08 2008

Clients service surveys should not be used simply as measurement tools, they’re really relationship tools. If you plan to conduct your own survey to measure client satisfaction, then don’t just look at it from a standpont of asking for data. Use the fact that you’re conducting the survey as a means to strengthen your client relationships. Here are a few thoughts to consider:

Thank your clients for their business. We don’t do so often enough.

Send the message that client service excellence is a priority for your firm. Don’t worry about overpromising or raising expectations. Clients want to know you care and that you’re trying your very best on their behalf.

Don’t be afraid to ask. Sometimes agencies get bashful (scared) about conducting formal surveys, making the excuse: “my client is too busy.” Rubbish. It’s like saying you won’t invite someone to a party at your home because they may not be able to make it. People like being invited and can get really offended if they’re not. Be sure to ask; they’ll appreciate it, even if they are too busy.

Involve all your client contacts. Don’t just ask your primary (favorite) client contact. Ask everyone who works with your firm – on all fronts. Also remember that the secondary contact of today may be the primary contact tomorrow. Talk to everybody.

Share the results. Let your clients know that you’ll share the results with them. Do not make the mistake of asking for their opinions without follow-up. Promise to share the results, and be sure to follow through on that promise.

Develop an action plan. Regardless of how good the results, develop an action plan, or at the very least a communication plan. Discuss your progress on an ongoing basis. If you do this, you won’t have to wait until the next survey to uncover an underlying problem that could compromise the relationship.

If you’re considering a formal client service survey, then show your clients that you’re not just client service measurers; you’re client service champions. Strengthen your client relationships beyond measure.

If The Baton Gets Dropped, Who’s Responsible?

6 08 2008

This will be a running/client service post of a different sort. This post is a bit of Wednesday therapy, as I dredge up an unfortunate chapter in my life as a ninth grader at Broad Meadows Junior High School. I ran track for only one year, largely because back in those days I hated running. I only did it for that long because our rather large phys-ed teacher at the time made me do it. This was back in the day when teachers/coaches could cause you bodily harm without any repercussions.

I typically ran the mile, but at the last track meet of the year I was asked to fill-in as the third leg on our undefeated one-mile relay team. (You’ve probably already guessed where this is going.) No problem I thought. Well, to make a long story short, I ran the third leg, starting slightly back in second place. By the time I was ready to pass the baton I had taken the lead. Our anchor leg was the fastest kid in the city. No way could we lose. As I was passing the baton, I felt a brief moment of excitement, until of course the baton hit the ground. Ouch!

After the race, when I was searching for answers as to how it may have happened, the coach told me in no uncertain terms that it was my fault. The rule is that you don’t let go of the baton until you’re certain the receiver has grasped it.

It’s hard to miss the relevance to our business. Like it or not, the responsibility lies with those delivering the message, not those receiving it. We can’t just say, “it was in the newsletter” or “sure, it’s right there in paragraph 8.” We as communication professionals should never let go of the baton until we know that our target audiences have received the message. It’s only at that point that we can relax and let them run with it.