Tag Archives: communications

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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Reputation Management and Appropriation, Lessons in Ethics from Edmond Dantès

My study of communications and public relations was taught by passionate adherents to Ivy Lee’s Declaration of Principles – that it is the ethical responsibility of a public relations practitioner to offer uncompromising truth to the public on behalf of one’s clients. Perhaps because of this, and despite working in high tech for 16 years, it should be un-surprising that I view the use of technology in the form of bots exponentially deployed during the United States 2016 presidential elections, let alone anywhere else, as abhorrent.

My various social media accounts address the complexities of my person; Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram serve as outlets for my professional existence while Pinterest and Facebook are more intimate expressions – at the intersection of these social platforms is my blog. While I have a blog I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself ‘a blogger’ (it is not a commercial venture). Yet my writing on this platform, having gone viral, has had impact – in part responsible for shifting public policy and the proposed exploitation of the pristine waters of the Adriatic in 2015/2016.  While building my own Instagram presence I admit to being thoroughly perplexed as to how (with the quality of photos and nominal content offered) fellow travel specific accounts could possibly have earned followers approaching 100,000 in less than a month. Thus, the clarity offered in reading Jess Gibson’s Dear PRs post referencing ‘bot-gate’ was genuinely appreciated, and it’s also why I take a particular delight at the failure of Instagress.

The truth has always found a way to be revealed, in our connected world discovery of appropriation, fraud or illicit behavior comes down to days, minutes or even seconds with a few keystrokes and keen intelligence. Throughout history there have been individuals whose jealousy, ruthlessness, greed and sloth have risked fortunes and reputations for (perceived) gain or retribution – Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo anyone? Just as Edmond Dantès took full advantage of his time falsely imprisoned to learn every skill imaginable in developing a faultless reputation and re-branding himself, every effort in thought leadership and in garnering a dedicated follower base, and fostering epic levels of engagement takes considerable patience, skill and acuity.

Beyond the Instagram bloggers’ ‘bot-gate’ other more widely known unveilings of deceit relate to appropriation of the resistance movement by Pepsi and State Street of New York City’s iconic bronze sculpture created by Arturo Di Modica.

The Tate Modern offers this essay on appropriation,

[…] to create a new situation, and therefore a new meaning or set of meanings, for a familiar image. Appropriation art raises questions of originality, authenticity and authorship…

All great art is subversive, a commentary manifest with physicality. Co-opting the passion found in resistance to injustice in its many forms, feminism, racism, environmental stewardship, and its related arts for commercial gain by the advertising industry has a vast history in the United States.

Fearless-girl-vs-arturo-di-modica

I don’t like what Fearless Girl ‘is’ specifically because she is contrived by Mad Men to gender-wash their clients’ bottom line. The $2.5 trillion (under management) State Street Global Advisors opted for a publicity stunt on International Women’s Day of instead of doing the long overdue ‘hard work’ of creating a work environment of equality and gender partity or proactively investing in education for girls on a global basis. For the unaware allow me to point out that advertising (in which both Pepsi and State Street engaged) is only related to public relations as it is a part of the greater communication functions in general. It seems to me if you are retained to represent the interests of a seven or eight figure client your responsibilities should include candid risk assessment to any proposal you present. Ultimately this all comes down to proactive reputation management versus putting your client in the rather costly position of damage control through crisis management.

With so much to lose why take a chance in the first place?

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog 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! 

 

The Social Media (non) Crisis Management of Maison Goyard

This is a story of new (money, culture, technology) smashing into old (quiet, refined, luxury) and what happens when the latter doesn’t understand the former. Those brands whose communications teams are not savvy to the nuances of social media court disaster and entrusting the reputation management of your brand to a junior staff member without critical thinking and strategic depth in their portfolio of skills can lead to a public relations nightmare.  Equally so this about how businesses need to be agile in our always on, 24/7, 365 digital world; your five year plan demands flexibility and responsiveness to what happens on social platforms. This is the paradigm shift, social media now drives the success of your business – in real time.

I watched just an epic fail in the clash of cultures represented by the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards and the 163 year old French luxury brand Goyard. Perhaps it is their storied history, or the fact that Goyard’s own head of communications is not on Twitter, or their (perceived) niche market does not rest with the Wild West of pop music or all three in combination with their Frenchness but when, (quite literally), handed the market expansion opportunity of the century Goyard blew it.

Back Story:

It started with a scarf, le carre en français, and the globally famous hip-hop artist and entrepreneur DJ Khaled (a major social media influencer with nearly 3m followers on Twitter alone) who loves the Goyard brand (whose Twitter account is less than 10K).

Goyard doesn’t make clothes so Khaled purchased several of their logoed silk scarves and had a bespoke, one-of-a-kind jacket made to wear while he hosted the (globally televised) VMAs, you can’t buy this kind of exposure. Mind you we are talking about dropping at least four and possibly six figures on this jacket, and if you recall Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point DJ Khaled is precisely the type of person that every brand covets to maintain their relevancy with changing market segmentations and to drive their brand and in particular revenue forward.

Unprepared, Goyard’s social media account manager started receiving tweets enquiring about the jacket (and other clothing items such as caps) during the VMA.  Sadly the Goyard replies were rude and frankly insulting (amongst these claiming that the scarf jacket was a fake – now all deleted from their feed).  Despite Goyard’s various tweets (it’s the internet so these live forever), DJ Khaled takes the high road and still promotes Goyard and makes nice publicly.

The PR crisis started on social media but it is still playing out in traditional and web-based media two days later. This ‘live forever’ storyboard has redefined the brand’s reputation with publications as wide ranging as Melty Style, New York Magazine, Luxury Daily, W Magazine, HipHopDx and the #SoSoShow covering the story. Maison Goyard just learned the hard reality that Twitter’s 313 million active users serve as a powerful force to be reckoned with; ignoring their immediate enquiries or, what’s worse, insulting them they will never forget and absolutely will find somewhere else to spend their money.

Goyard has been building its brand reputation for 163 years but because they failed to keep pace with societal shifts and the use of social platforms they have undone those efforts in mere seconds.  As the creator of a luxury brand, a connoisseur of beautiful things and as a communications professional the Goyard social media fail was painful for me to witness, inexcusable and avoidable. Goyard can take a ‘lessons learned’ and revamp their business with an agility that its heritage precludes and we, as a global audience, are not witnessing and they should be talking to Commarglo about how to rise like a phoenix from this episode.

 

Le Carre Jacket.png@djkhaled bought a bunch of@goyard

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Visit @Commarglo to learn more about leveraging social media for your brand.

 

 

 

 

Sitting on the #socialmediamarketing sidelines

Every day I witness epic #fails related to the use of social media to market brands, failures to achieve increased sales, to shift perception, to communicate effectively and it is so very frustrating.

sidelines 2Right now I am sitting on the social media marketing sidelines, and to a larger extent the whole strategic planning for the brands involved. Efforts that, oh gosh I wish I was driving – and not being in the driver’s seat is giving me the same level of nausea I get whenever I am a passenger. And, mind you, this is not about my ego and or desiring to stand in the spotlight because every MarComm professional knows that our place is in the background making things happen. But still.

socrates-knowing-that-you-know-nothingOn more than one occasion in every professional communications person’s lifetime can be heard a refrain similar to ‘I’m sorry. “You don’t know what you don’t know.” I should have listened to you.’ Ultimately ‘decision makers’ who always seem to think they know best because, well, they are in charge, who undermine the expressed goals of their business strategies based solely upon ego rather than knowledge and there’s absolutely nothing to be done about it. Being right is no consolation. It doesn’t matter what the vertical is. It doesn’t matter who didn’t listen and whose advice was ignored. When the net result realises something far less than what could have been strategically planned for, and was tactically possible to deploy, the underlying reason for the shortfall is either about ego and/or competency.

spartans2

Photo credit: standard.co.uk

A short while ago London witnessed the most perfect deployment of advance marketing in my recent memory – and yes, it went viral. Funny how washboard abs on a man wearing leather briefs and gladiator sandals will attract attention, get people talking, ENGAGE with the brand. And that is the point of marketing, isn’t it?

Through a friend I heard recently that his point of contact (a marketing person) bemoaned the fact that the owner of her company held disdain for the expenditures associated with marketing and communications, he just couldn’t find value in these activities. As I listened I thought the same thing I have for 30 years, this isn’t ‘if you build it, he will come’. Today (as ever) word of mouth fostered by strategic communications is what drives revenue. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes it is an activity so in-your-face that people gasp out-loud, and often times it is (rather mundane) variations on thoughtfully developed core messaging – but it is always about positioning, brand alignment, and amplification which garners engagement. Simple? Right? Ah, not so much so. Because the other critical piece of this is while a marketing and communications professional knows that they are not an engineer or a doctor for some reason other professionals all think they can “do” our jobs as well as we do.

On another note my business partner Ken Herron and I are the #IstraKT team competing in the #ShareIstria campaign being run by the Istrian Tourist Board for a €10,000 prize (and yes, bragging rights). The only analytics that actually count for us (or any of the teams) are those generated during our respective week of the contest (in our case this is the last week of the campaign starting in Rovinj, Croatia 25 – 31 July). Of course we’d be delighted for you to follow our adventures under the hashtag #IstraKT (on Twitter, Instagram, G+, Facebook, Periscope and our blogs) on Twitter we are @kenherron @teresafritschi and our new business is @commarglo. We haven’t begun to deploy the various components of our plan. For now our efforts are only pre-marketing ones. That is not so say we haven’t netted results – we have, impressive results by anyone’s standards.

The following represents ONLY engagements realised to date (not actual Tweets, not delivery to accounts, not impressions, not blog posts read, Pinterest shared, no Facebook Shares or Likes – well you get the idea) from 24 April 2015, when we entered to qualify as contestants in the ShareIstria contest, to 11AM on 11 July 2015 and were pulled from analytics.twitter.com for each of our accounts.

9815 @KenHerron
4015 @TeresaFritschi
435   @commarglo  (after years of discussing it we finally decided to make our business relationship ‘formal’ and legally incorporate on 29 June)

It should be noted I am not the metrics geek of our team, but we have earned FourteenThousandTwoHundredSixtyFive engagements under the #ShareIstria hashtag for our three accounts on Twitter in SeventyEightDays.

Remember this ‘us’ not fully deployed, this is us sitting on the social media marketing sidelines, queued and waiting for our turn to engage. Let’s assume that the conversion rate of these ka-chingengagements is 2% – meaning that eventually 285.3 people (not factoring in traveling companions) will actually visit Istria, Croatia as a result of our pre-marketing efforts. There, according to Lonely Planet, they will spend on average €316.82 per day (sorry, our messages aren’t targeting the backpacker market segment) and let’s “just” consider our time as the average visit – 7 days – thus adding (at minimum) over €633,000.00 to Istria’s tourism revenues. I feel really good about that.

In the meantime pull your own numbers. Not close to these? Challenge your social media agency or internal team to do better for you and your business and 90 days to up their results. Not happy after that? You know how to find us – @commarglo.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog 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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Politics, NOT as usual, Croatia’s presidential candidate Ivan Vilibor Sinčić

Hrvatska verzija slijedi engligh.

sunset over TrogirEach day starts with a unique promise – to change something about ourselves or the world around us.  I don’t think most people give this too much thought, but it’s always there, the possibility.  For six days I had been trying to break through the first line of contact to offer both my professional communications skills as well as leveraging my political campaign experience to the aspirations of a young man running for president of Croatia – yesterday an early morning Facebook text conversation netted me a phone number, and a path to Split.

civil disobediance

Lead by example – taking on “the system”

At the end of my day I wrote on my Facebook wall, and posted pictures:  “Interesting day. Honour your skills when you’ve no clue what to do and all of the sudden a MESSAGE is really loud. I was invited to share lunch with Croatian presidential candidate Ivan Vilibor Sinčić by members of his campaign team including Jakov Perica on Split’s Riva this afternoon.” As someone with a past history of serving as the finance director for three Congressional races in the United States it takes about two minutes for me to weed out ‘real deal’ vs. ‘fraud’ – Sinčić is the REAL DEAL. Thoughtful and articulate in a way that allows me to express Croatia would be VERY LUCKY to have him (especially because of his youth and track record on human rights and economic issues) as their next president. I don’t believe that I am here by chance over this – I am here because my friend Marijan expressed to me over a year ago “my country needs people like you”. Well, LET ME HELP and then let me make Croatia my permanent home.

Friends know that I never say, nor do I write, anything I don’t mean, and I am in sincere in this Tweet:

@TeresaFritschi #Croatia‘s Prez candidate Vilibor #Sinčić is like #ThomasJefferson #Robespierre

I am sure it is nearly impossible to imagine the intellect and incorruptible nature of two of the 18th centuries’ greatest minds existing in a single man today – but John Vilibor (Sonny) is such a human being.

Corruption is nothing new – every society has been victim to a percentage of its population that always demands more than is ethical, fair or just. On the bus to Split I was informed that Al Capone was actually of Croatian ancestry (keeping in mind that the Italians – specifically the Venetians were here when Marco Polo was a child).  For 800 years (or more) with further and bankfurther influence and decimation of society has come in the form of those behind global banking interests (oh DO watch this ½ hour video to understand that this is not simply in the United States but impacting people across the globe).

Ivan at foot

Touching the toe of Ivan Meštrović’s colossal sculpture of Gregory of Nin for luck

So like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Saunders in the United States Croatia’s presidential hopeful Ivan Vilibor Sinčić gets it and he wants nothing to do with this influence in his country. He has built a record, as President Barack Obama did in his youth, of functioning as a champion of human rights, of being a community organizer deploying small efforts designed to thwart illegal evictions of homeowners by building a ‘living wall’ of protection and both knowing and leveraging the laws of Croatia. He is outside ‘the system’ which makes his efforts underdog in the extreme. He is a quiet presence in the throng of humanity, listening, touching an arm, posing for pictures – a very shy, very sincere, smile gracing his face.  Despite his stature he doesn’t take up much space – that is until he speaks and then he owns the room, fully and completely with his passion, and thoughtful rhetoric. Perhaps it’s because I have worked for my whole adult life making other people look good that in witnessing authenticity of this caliber my breath went completely out of my body – I don’t speak Croatian yet I understood exactly what he said.  But people see it.  Croatians feel at a cellular level and respond to Ivan as if crossing a desert and finding an oasis to quench their thirst. They seem ready to rise up and reclaim their lives and make their whole society better in the process; maybe all of our societies in leading by example. By what those of Nguni Bantu term roughly translating to “human kindness” but most literally means that you cannot rejoice if your neighbor has none – Ubuntu.

My friend Ken Herron has chided me for three years about my unwillingness to prostitute my skills to survive. He knows, because I inherited his role as a chief marketing officer, that I am perfectly capable of making crazy money “doing what we do” but I have never been able to do this. If I believe I will give of myself until I drop, but nothing can induce me if I don’t respect you, your product or your mission.  It’s been less than 20 hours as I write this since posting a 2:30 segment of Ivan’s speech yesterday from Split on Twitter and on Facebook, even as a seasoned communications professional I am stunned by the rate of viewership.

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” 
― Anaïs Nin

I truly had no intention of ever returning to politics, so traveling 4400 miles to discover that the skills of my lifetime could possibly realise real value for 4.3 million people is at once a stunning revelation, and like slipping back into my most authentic skin. We seek other states, connect with other lives and other souls for resonance, and authentication of who we are at our most elemental. We travel to give of ourselves and to receive. We travel to leave the world and ourselves better than we were before we leapt into the void of the unknown.  I seem to have come home to myself.

Svaki dan počinje s jedinstvenim obećanjem-promijeniti nešto u vezi sebe ili svijeta oko nas. Mislim da puno ljudi o ovome niti ne razmišlja, ali ona je uvijek tu, mogućnost. Šest dana sam se pokušavala probiti  do prvih kontakata kako bih ponudila svoje profesionalne  komunikacijske vještine kao i da svojim iskustvom u političkim kampanjama podržim težnje mladića koji se našao u utrci za predsjednika Hrvatske. Zahvaljujući jučerašnjem ranojutarnjem dopisivanju na Facebooku  došla sam do telefonskog broja i našla se na putu za Split.

Na kraju dana napisala sam na svojem zidu na Facebooku, uz popratne slike: “Zanimljiv dan. Pohvali svoje sposobnosti kada ne znaš što bi i odjednom je PORUKA  vrlo glasna. Pozvana sam na ručak na Splitskoj rivi ovo poslijepodne s predsjedničkim kandidatom Ivanom Viliborom Sinčićem. Pozvali su me članovi njegovo tima uključujući Jakova Pericu .

Kao netko tko je u svojoj prošlosti radio kao financijski direktor u tri kongresne trke u SAD-u, treba mi oko dvije minute da prepoznam tko je pravi a tko lažan- Sinčić je PRAVI.  Promišljeno I artikulirano na način koji mi dozvoljava da se izrazim, Hrvatska će biti vrlo sretna što ga ima (osobito zbog njegove mladosti, ali i dokazanoj borbi za ljudska prava i ekonomske probleme) kao svog sljedećeg predsjednika. Vjerujem da nisam ovdje u ovome slučajno- ovdje sam jer mi je moj prijatelj Marijan prije više od godinu dana rekao: “moja zemlja treba ljude poput tebe”. Pa, dozvoli mi da pomognem, a onda i da Hrvatska postane moj trajni dom.

Prijatelji znaju da ja nikad ne govorim niti pišem ništa što ne mislim i da sam iskrena u ovom Tweetu :

@TeresaFritschi #Croatia‘s Prez candidate Vilibor #Sinčić is like #ThomasJefferson #Robespierre

(Hrvatski predsj. Kandidat Vilibor Sinčić je poput Thomasa Jeffersona i  Robespierrea)

Sigurna sam da je teško zamisliti intelekt i nekoruptivnu prirodu dvojice velikih umova 18. stoljeća  u jednom jedinom čovjeku-ali, Ivan Vilibor Sinčić je baš takvo ljudsko biće.

Korupcija nije ništa novo- svako društvo je bilo žrtva određenom broju populacije koja uvijek traži više nego li je etično, pošteno ili pravedno. U autobusu prema Splitu saznala sam da je Al Capone zapravo bio hrvatskog porijekla (imajući na umu da su Talijani-točnije Venecijanci bili ovdje kada je Marko Polo bio dijete. 800 godina (ili više) sa sve većim i većim utjecajem na društvo i njegovim desetkovanjem, ono je palo pod utjecaje globalnih bankarskih interesa. (Svakako pogledajte ovaj polusatni video kako biste shvatili da ovo jednostavno nije samo u SAD-u već utječe na ljude diljem globusa). Stoga, poput senatorice Elisabeth Warren i senatora Bernia Saundersa u Sjedinjenim Američkim državama, Hrvatski potencijalni predsjednik Ivan Vilibor Sinčić shvaća i ne želi imati ništa s ovim utjecajem u njegovoj Zemlji. Stekao je dosje, kao što je  predsjednik Barack Obama u svojoj mladosti, djelujući  kao prvak u borbi za ljudska prava. Ivan V.Sinčić je  suorganizator zajednice koja je uvođenjem malih napora stvorena kako bi spriječila ilegalne deložacije kućevlasnika, praveći “živi zid” zaštite,  poznavajući i koristeći zakone Hrvatske. On sam je “izvan sistema”  što čini njegove napore u krajnosti uzaludnima.

On je tiho prisutan u gomili ljudi, slušajući, dodirujući ruke i pozirajući za slikanja- vrlo sramežljiv, vrlo iskren, s osmijehom koji krasi njegovo lice.  Unatoč svojem statusu, on ne zauzima puno prostora-barem dok ne progovori, a tada je prostorija samo njegova u potpunosti, s njegovom strašću i  promišljenom retorikom.  Možda jer sam tijekom cijelog svog odraslog života radila čineći druge ljude da izgledaju dobro, svjedočeći autentičnosti ovog kalibra moj dah je potpuno napustio moje tijelo–ne govorim još hrvatski, a ipak sam razumjela točno što je rekao. Ali, ljudi vide. Hrvati osjećaju na baznom nivou i reagiraju kao da su prelaskom pustinje naišli na oazu koja će im utažiti žeđ.  Čine se spremnima uzdignuti se i ponovno preuzeti svoje živote u svoje ruke te učiniti cijelo njihovo društvo boljim u procesu; možda i sva naša društva, prednjačeći kao primjer.  Jedan od Ngunu Bantu izraza je ugrubo preveden kao “ljudska dobrota” ali doslovnije znači da se ne možeš radovati ako tvoj susjed nema ništa- Ubuntu. Moj prijatelj Ken Herron me tri godine korio zbog moje nevoljkosti da prostituiram svoje vještine kako bih preživjela. On zna, jer sam ja naslijedila njegovu ulogu glavnog marketinškog službenika, da sam ja savršeno sposobna stvoriti velik novac “čineći to što radimo” ali, nikad to nisam mogla učiniti. Ako ja vjerujem, ja ću dati sve od sebe dok ne svisnem, ali ništa me neće natjerati ako ne poštujem Vas, Vaš proizvod ili misiju. Prošlo je manje od 20h kako ovo pišem, a otkako sam postavila dio Ivanovog jučerašnjeg govora u Splitu na svoj Twitter i Facebook. Čak i kao iskusna komunikacijska profesionalka, zapanjena sam brojem gledanja

“Mi putujemo, neki od nas zauvjek, kako bismo vidjeli druge države, druge živote, druge duše. “― Anaïs Nin

Zaista nemam namjere se ikada vraćati politici, stoga putujući 440 milja kako bih otkrila da bi moje životne vještine  mogle možda realizirati stvarnu vrijednost od 4.3 milijuna ljudi odjednom je zapanjujuće otkriće, i  poput klizenja natrag u moju najautentičniju kožu. Tražimo druge države, povezujemo se s drugim životima i drugim dušama zbog reznonancije i autentifikacije  onoga tko smo u našoj srži. Putujemo kako bismo davali sebe i primali. Putujemo kako bismo ostavili svijet i same sebe boljima nego što smo bili prije nego li smo uskočili u nepoznato. Čini mi se da sam došla k samoj sebi.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog 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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Comms 101: You won’t hear the message, if you don’t respect the messenger – Earth Day

Anyone around teenagers for 20 minutes will recognise that nothing creates a impenetrable wall of resistance faster than talking down (or worse, raising your voice) to a person – and yet authorityso much of the most critical information we need to make informed decisions is mired in incomprehensible rhetoric, charged with alarmist emotions, divided along preconceived ideals or coming from a talking head.  For all of our sakes we need to stop, now.

In the business world the sole function of marketing and communications is about getting the message ‘right’ and having it resound with its targeted audience to bring about action on their part and yet, the peril of the Earth, something critically important to each of you reading this and all the oceans and animals and plants and insects and birds, hasn’t garnered the kind of action so needed.  A WHOLE BUNCH of reasons exist for this, let’s start with greed and end with indifference, and the hundreds of variables to be found in between. But there are two basic components which serve to explain our (very nearly) collective lack of actions: the first is that the audience must identify that the messenger is ‘like me’ but be regarded as a respected authority and the second is pope-francis-selfiesthe inability of ‘real smart people’ to craft their stories (and yes, they are all stories even when non-fiction) and cut through the noise to create resonance.

First example, I don’t believe that there is a credibility issue with those represented on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (more likely an awareness or priority issue) which just concluded its Fifth Assessment Report – it isn’t happy news (the press release is also available Arabic, Chinese, Russian, French and Spanish use navigation at the upper right side of this page). The press release is long and dry – no surprise given that the two report(s) which the press release supports had to be written to ensure multinational agreement (by all participants) and publication in a marathon 28 hour session recently held sciencein Berlin. And while NPR did a fabulous job reporting the IPCC results the uber-right believes that NPR has a left bias, thus not a ‘like me’ trusted source. And so, unless you are a policy wonk, climatologist, or eco-warrior you probably are not going to read or listen to these two outlets.

In terms of successfully conveying complex science and culture, in succinct language easily understood and embraced by large swaths of the English language speaking populations the folks at the National Geographic Society have no peers.

“The world is not ready for the impacts of climate change, including more extreme weather and the likelihood that populated parts of the planet could be rendered natgeouninhabitable, says the planet’s leading body of climate scientists in a major new UN report.”

But if you are an Evangelical Christian (roughly 13% of the 32% of the worlds’ population who identify as being Christians) you are not going to put credibility in the painstakingly researched and documented science offered by Nat Geo scientists ~ all of the climate shifts, Polar Vortex, drought, earthquakes and tsunamis are the direct result of an angry God.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks ‘the same language’ as this Christian population: “It is a responsibility that begins with God commanding the first human inhabitants of the garden of Eden “to till it and keep it“. To keep it; not to abuse it, not to destroy it.”, and this should guarantee resonance, comprehension and action – will his call for a universal boycott of the companies which most severely violate our planet actually happen? Or is the dominion of money still too compelling for such sacrifice?

The use of common language spoken by a respected member of a specific community is why I was particularly interested in the way that the producers, the director and the very high profile actors and journalists have come together in Showtime’s new 9-part series entitles Years of Living Dangerously.  I watched the first episode as a result of an email from Upworthy – they thought it important to share (as I do) and went a step further by including the Grist’s exhaustive effort in coalescing the counter-attacks presented in various op-ed pieces. Striking is the genuine effort put forth to listen and to speak in languages (various core audiences) that would be UNIVERSALLY EMBRACED and understood – and I do mean natural-disasters-7650127universally! – around the most complex issues our world is facing:  food and water security, climate change, war, natural disasters and those made by man and his greed and indifference.

If I have one fear about its viewership numbers, of the seven billion people on the planet, they are based solely upon the immediate impact  of those cozy and warm as well as those already overwhelmed and trying to cope.  Yes, it’s an hour in length, and no, it is not entertaining.  Actually it’s rather exhausting and painful but the contrast to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth is palpable; most of us who watched Inconvenient Truth in 2006 were already aligned with the message whereas Years of Living Dangerously the respect for differing opinions, those in denial or attributing our planet’s destruction to an angry God are given a gentle hand in guiding them toward enlightenment.  Successful communications (and marketing) doesn’t ‘talk down’ to or yell at constituent audiences and in this Years of Living Dangerously embraces the model of a trusted best friend, devoid of real or perceived bias the value proposition of this first hour (seems to me) conveys exactly what it needs to regardless of what side of the issues presented you might stand. multiracial_planet

We are one.  There will be no need for a vengeful God bringing forth the Rapture if we don’t stop screaming at one another and really begin to listen beyond our personal filters because our ignorance, apathy, and intolerance will be successful in our own undoing, destroying the fragile Earth we call home and all life as we know it. It really is time for unity and action of the most passionate and positive kind! Earth Day must be everyday.

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Hack ~ innovation to global happiness

To hack used to be something I did ‘to be useful’ out in the “back forty” with one of these – you swing it back and forth thus ‘hacking’ the weeds down to something more manageable for a mower unit on a tractor to cover, or to till the earth without having all the seed heads getting into Imagethe dirt and creating even more work in the long run.

Hacking hasn’t been that for me for a very long time, primarily because in the early 1990s I landed a MarComm Manager role at a tech company spun out of the IBM, MCI and Merit called, then, ANS CORE Systems, Inc., shortly thereafter, changed to ANS Communications.  At that point, amidst towers, air conditioned closets, vast pyramids of empty cans of Mountain Dew and Coca-Cola, my awareness of hacking shifted dramatically; hacking became something our team of programmers protected our Fortune 500 client base from happening to their information systems with firewall and VPDN solutions.  Each and every one of my colleagues possessed the technical skills capable of breaking into, rather than protecting, IT systems but each had the moral compass to ‘do no harm’.  They were (and continue to be) innovators – way ahead of the technology curve that most of us deal with on a daily basis and obsessed with achieving perfection in code – my job was to shine a spotlight on the product suite they developed and have it gain adoption with our core audiences.

The general public is a bit more aware of hacking today – security breaches abound from crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, to Forbes and Neiman Marcus – it’s generally a rather nefarious association to hack something.  But thankfully hacking is emerging from doing “a hack job” to something about fostering positive disruption of a less-than-ideal status quo by applying the creativity inherent to each and every one of us.

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To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.

 — Albert Einstein

Several months ago I sat enraptured watching Logan LaPlante’s TEDx presentation on hacking his education – I am not a mom, but had I been such I would so want to create an environment for learning and living life for my kids as his parents clearly have.  At the end of the day it is Logan doing the heavy lifting on his life with a maturity that far too many of us (insert any nationality) do not possess. Self awareness, discipline, creativity and curiosity drive him (as much as his love of skiing on fresh powder).  The seminal article by Dr Roger Walsh referenced by Logan encompasses eight building blocks of a happy and healthy life and are referred to as Therapeutic Lifestyles Changes (TLCs) and I can’t help but wonder why (like Logan) this path to living has not become more mainstream – well, in fact I do know why, as do most of us.

The paradigm of happiness is treated like a Holy Grail instead of something common to our experience and when our reality fails to ‘live up to’ the perception drilled into our psyche by the media we chose ‘medication’ (pills, alcohol or on the psychiatrists’ sofa) rather than stepping into the void. The core outcome of hacking is innovation ~ seeing the possibility of doing something easier, with greater style or more efficiently, fostering positive impact for ourselves and the world around us all of which exist at the core of social responsibility.

ImageThere are hundreds of thousands of ‘hackers’ whose efforts have produced totally cool end results, but I want to share two extremes of creative thinking with you that I believe have real possibilities of fostering paradigm shifts in many of our lives.  Though I don’t personally know any of these people the term lifehack comes immediately to mind when I think of Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin of the Swedish firm Hövding who have created a cyclists dream come true – a bike helmet that is essentially a personal airbag, and the disruptive microfinance and financial inclusion technology model created by the Croatian firm Oradian‘s co-founders Antonio Separovic, Andrew Mainhart, Julian Oehrlein and Onyeka Adibeli.  I think it is a reasonable assumption to write that their quality of life is enhanced because each recognised in themselves creativity begging for outlet and then, as a fundamental principle of their businesses, they engaged in work that both stimulates them and which also incorporates ‘service to others’.  

Yes, I realise that my perception of any of these, and thousands of others, individuals might be skewed toward something larger than reality but in believing such perhaps the resonance of innovationpositive carries forward to inspire more creativity, catalysing innovation and fostering change.

As the Buddha is credited with saying, “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.”

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 @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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