Can You Establish A Brand In 30-Days?

Captura-de-pantalla-2018-03-15-a-las-20.58.41The travel/tourism/hospitality vertical recognised early on the value which social media could have on its revenue streams and customer relationships. Brands such as KLM and The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and The Ritz-Carlton Company made major financial commitments to ensure their continued dominance with their respective bases, as a result, the latter two have subsequently earned top 50 ranks globally amongst luxury brands using social media.

While it is true that anyone can ‘do’ social media, to generate results in 30-days such as we have achieved demands critical thinking, an OCD-level of commitment, best practices knowledge of social platforms, and yes, an ‘eye’ for creating resonate content helps (a great deal). As offered in my post Zero to Klout 40 in 12 Days we wanted to show the relevance and value of digital communications in building a brand (with absolutely no budget) in exactly 30-days. For those so interested we have the analytics documenting every nuanced gain. And, as I have mentioned previously, this has been an entirely organic, content-driven effort based on SEO and best practices knowledge.

Let’s be honest, a single #Airbnb or #TripAdvisor self-catering rental wouldn’t normally realise much of a digital impact. “Ballyogan”, as it was called when we took over, alone didn’t differentiate the holiday let from our search results which included a city, a horse and his pedigree, a horse race, a recycling park, innumerable streets, &c. &c. The door being the initial point of welcome to visitors, particularly in the hospitality industry, made adding “Doors” to the brand name logical.

At 188 tweets we ‘over-delivered’ against the best practices of three-per-day but it’s hard to argue with the results. Of the top twenty tweets, the first has found special resonance. The top twelve tweets (each with a minimum of 1500 impressions) have earned a combined 45,686 impressions, or 46.1% of our 30-day total of 98,300.

2018-04-17 Day 32 analytics for BallyoganDoors

We recognise that both Klout and Kred exist on borrowed time, but free influence analytics still offer value. (Not sorry) it doesn’t get old when your efforts for a client are apace with a national or regional tourist board.

The profile bio has been rewritten four times to account for achieving SuperHost status, adding the Tripadvisor page, changing the #bnb to #selfcatering, and specifically identifying geographic locations to aid potential guests. We published two Twitter Moments and drafted additional ones for the owner to fully develop as time allows. We did only nominal follower management and used ManageFlitter a total of six times to ensure that Follower and Following numbers were on par. Increased Airbnb and Tripadvisor weekly views are consistent with hospitality industry social media conversion of 11% of the Twitter profile views (enquiries have been received but no bookings as of this writing). 30-days is our hard-stop managing the account, our last tweet was the evening of 15 April.

2018-04-17 Day 32 @BallyoganDoors

In answer to the question of our title, we’ll respond by posting the results from Bing and Google for the search term “Ballyogan Doors” where our various efforts dominate the first five positions against a Dublin-based business (whose customers our client hopes to have as guests).

What Story Do You Need Told?

Grief and Bravery

I have been reflecting on the convergence of grief and bravery a lot lately.

About how death can meet us in 6 minutes and 20 seconds. The power which the silence of a small (almost) woman can have in conveying grief, honouring friends and challenging the political status quo. I cried for the length of her speech and well beyond.

At nearly the same time that the MarchForOurLives protests were taking place around the world I was in Inistioge, County Kilkenny, Ireland – quite honestly a place I never expected to be.

inistogue 027

To understand where I am going ‘with this’ I need to take you, dear reader, back to 1978 and the publication of my favourite book of all time – The Far Pavilions.  It is a brilliantly researched and written piece of historical (romantic) fiction that if read by warmongers in any number of countries Afghanistan might have been left alone following the First Anglo-Afghani War disaster (with an additional 12,000 civilian casualties) in the Hindu Kush in 1842. But The British didn’t learn their lesson, egos got in the way and as part of The Great Game, they tried again, and again, and then America took up where they left off in an attempt to keep Russia ‘contained’. As the story unfolds the Russians have opted for cyber-warfare to claim global supremacy throwing technology at the United Kingdom and the United States (and other countries like Ukraine, France and Germany) where canons and missiles used to be deployed.

Each time I have read The Far Pavilions I have wept at the heroic passing of a most beloved character in defending the British Mission in Kabul (1879), a character who I always assumed was fictional, and at the waste and stupidity of ‘governments’. On 24 March on the banks of the River Nore, near Inistioge and his actual birthplace his great (many times over) grandniece Ann Hamilton seemingly randomly mentioned The Far Pavilions, and then Wally etchingshe told me that Lt. Walter Hamilton, VC actually lived, was loved, and was her relative. I am grateful beyond measure for the extraordinary gift Ann has given me by bringing “Wally Hamilton” from MM Kaye’s pages to life for me through her family tree. But by making her uncle ‘real’ I was also swamped with unexpected grief for the man – or a combination of grief – that has left me openly weeping three times in two days. So we are clear it’s not ‘just’ his death one-hundred-and-thirty-nine years ago evoking my tears.

Like so many others, and because I read history, I am frayed and raw by the betrayals of both contemporary and historically broken politicians, diplomats and warmongers whose greed and egos deliver words and the subsequent actions which destroy.  The invasions of foreign lands to pillage (or civilize ‘the heathens’) as we are about to witness in Iran over oil and expanding Afghanistan for their rare earth minerals. It is colonialism, entitlement, imperialism and, of course, exploitation using military means. It angers me enormously for the loss of lives of the people of the regions and the loss of their resources which would benefit their populations as well as when an American dies to fulfill ‘orders given’ just as Walter Hamilton died.

Returning to the #NeverAgain movement, the deaths of the 17 Parkland, Florida (and the 7,000 others in mass shootings in the United States since Sandy Hook) all less than their majority came not because of a choice to enlist in the military and defend a diplomatic mission in Kabul but by the negligence of those elected to the United States Senate and Congress wearing the Republican Party lapel pin. The National Rifle Association (NRA), assuaging the greed that often accompanies career politicians, the has poured tens of millions of dollars into obscene distortions to the Second Amendment  without conscience congress 2substituting the musket ball, pan-fired rifles of the 18th century into contemporary military grade weapons. So I took particular pleasure in today’s news that Remington Guns has filed for bankruptcy.  The NRA’s agenda is profit and nothing will stand in the way of ensuring that every ill-prepared, irresponsible, mentally unstable (mostly angry white men) individual has their right to bear arms maintained no matter the cost to a civil society. That mainstream media and American politicians refuse to name these as the domestic terrorists they are because somehow white privilege precludes doing so.

Since the slaughter at Parkland another 73 teenagers have been shot and only four states have changed their laws making it harder to obtain a firearm; which brings me to the bravery referenced in my title.

“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.”

~ Mary Tyler Moore

I think there is a duality of appropriateness around this quote which we are witnessing.  First, of course, is the loss which the Marjory Stoneham Douglas students and their families have endured and second, the inspiring life of the woman for which their school is named Marjory Stoneham Douglas (MSD)  (from being a Suffragette and civil rights crusader to squarely beating the agricultural and business interests looking to destroy the Florida Everglades as an octogenarian).  Her legacy of fostering change seems in very capable hands.

The MSD students are channeling their grief in taking on the corruption of American politics, the gun lobby and the wing-nuts clinging to the Second Amendment and in doing washingtonso they are seemingly fearless in facing the enormous opposition and accompanying death threats and limitless financial resources. In spite of these obstacles, in the space of five weeks, ‘these kids’ managed to rally hundreds of thousands (est. 800K) to Washington, DC. with protests staged in major cities and small towns everywhere beyond the Beltway.

They have already faced the greatest possible fear that anyone could – dying as bullets rip through their young bodies, and watching their friends die.  Walter Hamilton faced that same death by choice, the NRA and American politicians stripped nearly 7100 teenagers of any choice since 14 December 2012. #NeverAgain, #EnoughIsEnough.

If you enjoy my blog please consider sending me the price of a cup of tea in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and do share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Largesse.

Largesse: “generosity in bestowing money or gifts upon others”.

Whether we realise it or not gifts are a complicated. Like everything in our world every nuance of a gift, the intention behind it, its actual giving and the manner in which it is received, has a corresponding energy attached.  I am not going to discuss the ‘obligation gift’ (and its sometimes less than fully positive corresponding emotions) but rather focus upon the exquisite (unseen) beauty of a gift infused with mindfulness.

ottersLast night, standing in my girlfriend’s kitchen chatting she pulled a new £10 banknote out of her wallet. There was a back story about a book not being bought with the tenner, and then being purchased by someone else so it could be kept. On its face are two otters and it is issued by the Bank of Scotland.  Rachel and I met as seatmates stuck in a grounded plane on the Aberdeen tarmac for three hours fourteen years ago – the country is special to both of us for a variety of reasons. Otters (which, I happen to adore) are the Native American animal symbol for my horoscope.  She had been holding onto the note and made a gift of it. Sometimes money isn’t really money, in this case it is something much more powerful. This carries the energy of Rachel’s thoughtful intention and really seeing me. The otters will eventually be framed between glass bound in copper and sit on my desk.

Rachel, in her largesse, has made other gifts to me this last month. On the surface these might appear to be tied to enhancing beauty (haircut and massage) but they were more than that in that both Felicity, the stylist, and Nia, the masseuse, are enlightened beings – taking in and amplifying universal love and energy with their gifts before channeling it into their stoneslabours. It’s telling that on both occasions in which Nia has applied her skills, intention and heated black lava stones to my body she has commented on how ‘cold’ I was. Yesterday, after my session I asked her what she meant as I generally feel rooms are too hot. Within her experience (and storied expertise) people who are ‘cold’ give all their energy away failing to keep anything in reserve for themselves.

I believe that being a recipient is more complicated than simply receiving. Respecting, actually honouring the intention behind the gift, knowing you are worthy of the gift itself and then giving something of it back along the energy continuum is paramount.

Receiving has been my singular lesson the last couple of years.  Just a few months ago I could never imagine ever being back in Colchester let alone meet Nia and have her be the critical deliverer of such an important message for me.  With my mantra of ‘leaving the room lighter than it was when I walked into it’ I have not been very good about holding the light in reserve for my own benefit.

Full Moon

Super Blood Blue Moon over US Capitol photo: NASA

So while I address the topic of ‘light’ let me share that when Rachel came home she shared Nia’s warning. Unbeknownst to me Nia had charged her black lava stones in the Blue Moon with a full lunar eclipse (the first time such has happened in 152 years) and she wanted Rachel to know that I might be a bit more emotional than ‘usual’ as a result. Well, yes.

Which made reading my girlfriend Kirstie’s post this morning SO timely:

“Creating ourselves out of our experiences. […] the experiences and lessons some painful, full of conflict, some full of flow and contentment, which through time, reflection and work become skills, knowledge and wisdom. […] Our experiences become our gifts.”

Think about that. Our experiences become our gifts. Not success measured in any conventional capitalist theory tied to money but rather being who we must be based upon our life lessons and our growing wisdom put to the benefit of the world around us for the net gain of the collective but remembering to hold something in reserve for ourselves.

Go. Be. In largesse.

If you enjoy my blog please consider sending me the price of a cup of tea in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and do share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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“Reindeer Games” at Davos

I have expressed my opinions about the current president of my country on various social media platforms for nearly three years but I have never actually written about him. This is largely because as a communications professional I never wanted to contribute to satiating his hunger for his name and photo to be widely shared,

“There’s no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.”

~ Brendan Behan

In his address at The World Economic Forum at Davos Emmanuel Macron referenced ‘snow’, climate change and skeptics and that got me thinking about Rudolph and how he had torudolph prove his value to the clique of ‘regular, flying reindeer’. At some point, in most of our lives, we will face similar challenges of inclusion where we need to offer the best of ourselves to prove we are worthy. The concepts, and application, of justice and equality mean a great deal to me personally.  The WEF, widely and erroneously referred to as ‘Davos’, has the capacity to test the mettle of most confident and seasoned of intellectuals and thought leaders. Women are still in the minority, with improvements this year and an attempt to appropriate the #MeToo movement.

Based upon initial reports it would seem that, once again, the 45th president of the United States put his bravado before expertise. He attempted to thrust himself into rooms where he was unwelcome, and was physically removed according to some of his handlers in attendance. (I belong to some private social media groups where this has been ‘the topic of the day’.) After a year of his MAGA rhetoric the world has moved on, and away, from including the United States. Self-protection and mockery have replaced diplomatic deference. (Selected from many similar ones) these words from Nicholas Dungan, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, sum up the current climate as told to CNN “…Trump is going for show rather than substance.” Continuing Dungan said, “the rest of the planet is moving quite swiftly to fill the void of US leadership in the global system which the US itself created.

I grew up in New York state. Just enough younger to be aware of the shady real estate and other dealings of Trump. As the global elite jetted and helicoptered into Davos I recalled how passionately ‘The Donald’ has always aspired to be included in the upper realms of polite society. Some of the media headlines allude to Trump’s acceptance by the attendees at the WEF (based on the packed auditorium which also heard boos and hisses during his speech). I believe, as many do, that the real power in those rooms still find him insignificant to their plans for globalization and the eventual elimination of the nation state altogether. More so, political leaders have made it clear that a wide swath of current American policies are not welcome and they are advancing without the United States.

The ‘shade’ which the Guggenheim just threw at Trump speaks volumes about how little regard their storied institution has for him. I have no doubt that had the 18kt gold toilet goldhad not been used by 100,000 people mysophobic Trump would have delighted in putting his Forbes smacked butt on said throne. Perhaps they recognised that his insistence that the fake Renoir hanging in Trump’s property was real was sufficient rationale to deny his request (notwithstanding the lending restrictions of the Thannhauser Collection) as he does have a history of associating with criminal elements.

In a relatively short period of time Rudolph provided value to his peers and everyone around him, no greater good has been realised by ‘the election’ of Trump. Enough already. For the world it’s been a long two years. We are all doggedly tired of the lies, of the self-aggrandizement, of the abuse of power, of the systematic efforts to rape and pillage America and the rest of the world for his personal gain, of the scandals, of the divisiveness and the rising violence prompted by his hateful words. I don’t want to believe that 45 was enthusiastically invited to Davos where the accomplished in a great many spheres at least go through the motions of setting an agenda for the greater good. Rather I suspect that through a series of backroom phone calls and manipulations he was able to insert himself there to assuage the pervasive emptiness of his ego. Like a spoiled child constantly interrupting adult conversations it has become a moral imperative (even if it will impact shareholder value in the short-term) to reign in this incompetent and dangerous man. Just as (some) politicians have recognised that Trump is irrelevant, media bosses need to stop sending journalists to ‘cover him’. Please. Stop feeding the beast.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and do share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschi. To order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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‘Know Thyself’ – Applied To Your Brand

Like any worthy communications geek, I am a firm believer in the value which authenticity creates for a business and subsequently in establishing a brand’s reputation. The creative process is vast and nuanced. The ‘thing’ that drives a creative person forward is their passionate commitment to manifest their vision. Perseverance, certainly a measure of luck, but mostly (I believe) it is infusing authenticity into every detail which makes the rest of us take notice, purchase, and eventually become brand ambassadors. Creative people don’t (necessarily) set out to win accolades, while those are very nice and certainly add to financial success, innovators simply mean to honour their passion and provide those like-minded with their solution. “If you build it…”

I’ve recently encountered two Scandinavian businesses creating global buzz within their respective niches. So completely have Sweden’s ASKET and Norway’s Maaemo gotten it right I want to share them with you as a sort of litmus test for building your own brand efforts. The online identity for both companies is austere Scandinavian – clean, contemporary, timeless, and compelling.

One company offers a permanent (non-trendy, wearable) collection of things men want to wear (and women will likely ‘borrow’) in 15 different sizes, the other gently guides your perspective about sustainability, localisation and cultural heritage through gourmet (nearly private dining) experiences. What these three men, August Bard Bringéus, Jakob Nilsson Dworsky and Esben Holmboe Bang, have in common is their openness about their philosophies, they take us on their journey and they put their names ‘on it’.

ASKET tOf course, there is an element of personal branding to this but less than might be found outside of the Nordics. Resonance drives our desire. We want their end products (or experience) for ourselves because authenticity and transparency (even so far as breaking down precise costs) are so integral to their brands.

I had multiple windows open on my laptop when the Maaemo movie began playing. Thus, my initial exposure to Maaemo’s story was through the thoughtfully selected ‘sound’. I knew (without looking) I was about to experience something reverent, primal and ancient, something which would awaken my intellect and senses and move the needle on my perception of Nordic gastronomy. Something the storied Michelin guide recognises in Maaemo having awarded Esben and his small team its third Michelin star.

 

“To me, the smell of Norway is fire, smoke, salt and drama. There is a useful pain and nerve in the history of the Norwegian people that affects the food in a good way.”                                                                                                                                  ~ Esben Holmboe Bang

asket pileEqually so the perfection offered by August Bard Bringéus. He wanted a white t-shirt.

What both August and Esben have in common is that they view themselves as ‘outsiders’ (either to the culture or the industry vertical) and their efforts are their personal interpretations which they offer for our consideration.

So much about ensuring we even have a planet to call home is about making conscious purchasing choices, buying less but of great, lasting quality – equally valued whether experiential or material and aesthetically exciting. We don’t get to that purchasing decision without the creative efforts of others. Without their peeling away the layers of their journey we are stuck with simply buying a sweater or eating a meal. As the spectre of mediocrity runs rampant perhaps in 2018 examples such as Maaemo and Asket can serve to remind us, might ignite our collective consciousness, to elevate our consumption. Regardless, the way they have aligned their brands with their respective ethos sets standards worth emulating.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and do share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschi. To order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Today feels like Komorebi

1 May, the biopsy is done. It isn’t good news.

After six months of being a human pin cushion, pumped full of poisons, cauterized, purging, taking a plethora of pills on a daily basis on Thursday, 9 November 2017 in Beverly Hills my friend Jeffrey had his last chemo treatment.  He set out to be cancer free by Christmas and, over achiever that he is, he has succeeded more than a month and a half early.

Cancer

MacMillan Cancer image

No one should face cancer alone. Admittedly, I was probably the very last thing he wanted to contend with while dealing with lymphoma but I couldn’t let him go through this alone, and to his credit he ‘let me in’.

It is a remarkable thing to be part of the healing process for a man that at his diagnosis was ‘only’ a virtual connection and remains someone I have never met in person. I shared this journey with him – at distances between 4000 and 5000 miles via Skype. Calls that were at times expletive abundant, painful, joy-filled, tear-infused and often laughter rich. We have spent hours (and hours, hours, and hours) discussing life, philosophy, food (those on the naughty list, those permitted and those from memories that we lust for but are temporarily out of our reach), the pain, the incompetence and indifference of American health care, politics, humanity, the oceans and the environment, bullying, movies and books, war, sexual abuse, violence, and, of course, nearly all of the gory details related to eradicating Lumpy.

This morning, 11 November 2017, after a sake and sushi dinner and high on the pure joy of living again, Jeffrey and I had our second (multiple-hour) Skype call in less than 14 hours. His gorgeous, resonate voice started my day at just after 7:15 London time with drunken happiness filled hiccups and, it was PERFECT. A gift of success, survival and jeff laughingcelebration shared. I got ‘throat clench’ and cried. I am helping him with one final aspect of this journey to refine the design of his first (and likely only) tattoo – does life get any more intimate? And so, with Runrig’s “Maymorning” to serve as the soundtrack to inspire me I search for images of runes and their meanings (as suggested during our conversation) and this song seems particularly appropriate given the sheer joy I am feeling. I am blessed, honoured, thrilled, and, beyond anything else, grateful. When we are at our most vulnerable it is a very brave thing to open oneself up to a complete stranger.

sunlightToday feels like sunlight filtered through trees. THIS IS WHAT WE LIVE FOR. There is nothing more important than to be kind, to extend the universal love that we are all anointed with, amplify it and then give it away – at which point it comes back to us in a different form to fill us up as we require.

Nanny McPheeLike a real life version of Mary Poppins or Nanny McPhee (at the end of her own transformation) I await to be ‘called’ to where I can next be useful.

Congratulations and thank you letting me ‘in’ my friend, #CancerFree4Xmas.

If you enjoy my blog please share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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What Influencers Don’t Do

#Mindsphere - Twitter Search 2017-11-06 20_26_25

Twitter analytics for the hashtag Seimens #MindSphere at #GartnerSYM Barcelona

Here’s a hard truth about your digital presence. Despite the fact that you, or your boss, want someone with 20m+ followers to manage your corporate social media accounts not only can your budget not afford such, but they are not interested. An influencer is only interested in expanding their personal brand and driving revenue from their influence. On the off chance you have an unlimited budget and are able to establish a relationship the content they develop will reflect that priority, putting them in the spotlight yours will be residual benefit by association.

I speak of this with experience in both participating in the inaugural, and observing the second, #ShareIstria campaigns. Getting all starry-eyed over an influencer will not help you accomplish your business objectives for brand awareness, driving revenue, reputation management, supporting employee recruitment and retention or launching your new offering. What does help your business succeed in leveraging the digital landscape is strategic content coupled with best practices for platforms relevant to your specific business. Whether it’s a tweet about an egg, or tech related, a communications professional should be able to generate the kind of results I share here (there’s no messing with third party analytics).

It used to be that everyone thought that they could ‘do’ corporate communications. In every tech start-up I ever worked in I invariably inherited a less than optimal corporate identity, messaging that failed to convey the actual business case for the product suite, and really unfortunate collateral materials. Now, because we all walk around with a Smartphone and we have multiple social media accounts everyone thinks they can do social media. Sorry, doing and succeeding are too different things.

Yesterday was the first day of Gartner SYM (Symposium) in Barcelona. For transparency sake I am not physically present, but I have been remote curating. The screen shot as the leading photo for this post is an example of what a marketing communications professional can (or should be able to) do for your business. The top ranking, just as tens of thousands of impressions, or double-digit engagement percentages do not just happen. These are made possible because the content development has years of strategic thought behind it.

#Mindsphere Open #IoT at #GartnerSYM 2017-11-07

16 hours, analytics for my curated tweet of Siemens #Mindshare 

What’s interesting, even for me, is that my tweet is re-written from various parties tweets including that of the original creator Siemens and yet my tweet ranked higher than any others. These results are not an anomaly. I manage this repeatedly, in Dubai, in London, on the ground or remotely (as evidenced by this Twitter moment screen from a follower’s feed).

The global average rate of engagement is 1.6%. The generally accepted success benchmark for a tweet is 1000 impressions. If you have questions, I am happy to spend some time with you via Skype. Ping me.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and do share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschi. To order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 
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