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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

  • Learned

Attachments are the new Fax Machine

It doesn’t happen often anymore, but when someone asks me for my fax number I laugh, loudly. Blackberry users always elicit a light chuckle. Conference call dial-ins are just bemusing in an age of hangouts.

The prevalence of attachments though just baffles me. 

The idea of opening an attachment, adding comments, those comments not being able to be read given application incompatibility, waiting for the attachment to upload, endless searches for the right version of the doc… Attachments are bad. They are an artififact of another era.
Living in the cloud is a beautiful thing. We link to a doc in the cloud, we all edit and live in the most current version of the doc, comments are easy to see and resolve. Cloud docs are a productivity accelerant.

Attachments on the other hand need to be viewed with the same scorn as the fax machine – at one point useful, but today redundant.

  • Connect

The Social Trap & Liquid Brands

 Social media is a trap – that’s the point. What many fail to appreciate is the consequence of the trap – once your in, the echo is so strong you don’t see or hear it. Speaking at a conference recently I called this the narrowing – where we think we are engaging in ever broader conversation because of all we are exposed to but in fact what we are exposed to is narrowing because the network of people posting are all alike.

But most people use social media not to unite, not to open their horizons wider, but on the contrary, to cut themselves a comfort zone where the only sounds they hear are the echoes of their own voice, where the only things they see are the reflections of their own face. Social media are very useful, they provide pleasure, but they are a trap. Zygmunt Bauman: “Social media are a trap”

When Bauman speaks of “liquid modernity” the same is true of our brands – they are, as he says of society, based on “all agreements are temporary, fleeting, and valid only until further notice”. Social media accelerates liquidity by empowering the network to refer, rate and comment at speed.

A fascinating read…

  • Connect

Big Win For The CBA Social Team

 Commonwealth Bank, together won a Bronze 2012 Facebook Studio Award for Community Seeds.

This is a tremendous result given that there are only 11 winners from around the world – and we are the only Australian winner.

Thanks to all who worked on this.

  • Connect

Words that Work

Luntz is one of the best wordsmiths and thinkers on framing in America. Terrific piece in Businessweek on using language during the recession to communicate more effectively with employees and customers.

Focusing on “impact” also makes a listener pay attention. This one word causes people to assume they will see a measurable difference. People want results. Talking about “effort,” or even “solutions,” doesn’t work; Americans don’t care about good intentions. They want to know how well you execute.

Thanks to our growing dependence on electronic technology, coupled with dwindling free time, another word with increasing resonance is “reliability.” When it comes to such products as automobiles, cable television, and personal communication devices, reliability is now even more important among customers than price. In fact, it’s often a crucial factor in determining the price of a product or service. Value is now the sum of price plus convenience plus reliability.

  • Connect

Bloggers gone wrong

Here’s The Economist on bloggers going wrong.

On October 31st Virgin fired 13 of its cabin crew who had posted derogatory comments about its safety standards and some of its passengers on a Facebook forum. Among other things, crew members joked that some Virgin planes were infested with cockroaches and described customers as “chavs”, a disparaging British term for people with flashy bad taste. On November 3rd BA began investigating the behaviour of several employees who had described some passengers as “smelly” and “annoying” in Facebook postings.

Funny, wasn’t it Virgin that sponsored the Delta Airlines blogger that was fired for inappropriate behavior?

It’s still stunning to me that most want to prevent this kind of behavior. Ok, I’m all for not for stereotyping customers in public forums – give them some coaching here. But if I was an executive at Virgin I’d rather hear about cockroaches on planes rather than not at all. And it would tell me something about my culture if this is where I had to go to learn about this stuff.

The irony is that these same companies – who are so concerned about what their employees are saying online pay near no attention to what their customers are speaking about. Here’s a stab on American Airlines who I travel with every few weeks:

  1. The food is disgusting. I dare you to try and get your children to eat it.
  2. Your entertainment system is close to worthless. Go check-out Air New Zealand, Virgin and others. Fix it.
  3. Your employees run on board service in a slightly less friendly way than hospital receptions. Tenure seems to qualify their role, not customer satisfaction.

Lets see if anyone is listening. In a recent blog in which I complained about Air New Zealand and the way they handled loosing my baggage I got a call from their head of baggage services who apologized and explained which of my ideas they were going to implement. Strangely his company policy prevented him from replying to my blog post – I suggested he break the rules and do so – and all credit to him, he did.

At least Air New Zealand was listening. The point of monitoring forums isn’t to prevent employee and customer dialog online but rather to take appropriate action on it, which only in the rarest of rarest occasions will warrant firing someone. BA and Virgin have it wrong. In fact – you want the conversation!

Why in an age of transparency are so many companies looking to muzzle employees rather than unleash conversations? Insight and innovation happens at the edge – and to get at it you have to let the dialogue flow.

The Daily Lark-11
The Daily Lark-5