Tag Archives: leadership

Culture, Content, and Social: Five Trends to Watch This Summer

lookout for trends

Photo Credit: KaSandra and Grace. On the Lookout for Trends

I don’t know about you, but I am always on the lookout for what’s happening in marketing. I had the opportunity to attend last month’s Sirius Decision Summit. What’s Sirius about?  Sirius Decisions describes the summit as “a place where attendees can see and hear how organizations can blend the very best of art and science, and leave with ideas for how to get started on – or advance – your own initiatives.” It is a great conference for any marketer or communicator looking for frameworks and research on what happening in the market today. If you didn’t have the opportunity to go, here five trends to watch for this summer. 

Social media beyond the basics

There was a lot of discussing of using social listening to enhance competitive intelligence and beef up prospect profiles. During the breakout sessions, it was useful to see what companies can do with some third party help to bolster current prospect info. One organization appended their prospects and customers’ profiles with social data through a third party vendor to fill in missing information and provide better insights. Social media has become more than a place to post your favorite cat video, it has become a place to take data and build better, more informed customer profiles. Results of adding social data to customer profiles? A better understanding of their customers and prospects, this organization improved its open rates to 28 percent and click-through to 9 percent. How good is 9 percent? Pretty awesome given most industries see on average less than five percent.

Content still plaques teams both on creation and effectiveness.

Julie Ogilvie, ‎research director for strategic communications management service at Sirius Decisions, made a simple, but poignant point about social media “All social media problems are content problem.” I think anyone who manages social media teams can emphatically agree. Lots of nodding from the audience on this point alone. Whether you are looking to increase engagement among key audiences or leverage influencers, you need content. That’s easy, right? Not so much. Ultimately, you can’t create content absent of your audience’s needs and motivation an expect good outcomes. Simple, but B2B companies are forgetting the human in social media and not focusing on what people want to engage with.

The concept of building connections across teams

One of the best quotes I heard was the African proverb, “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together.” How many of you know your team is doing good work, but you’re looking to make more impact within your team or get more budget? Many of the sessions discussed the power of cross-functional sharing and brainstorming with teams to maximize not only knowledge, but also sharing of information. So simple, yet many of us get caught in our own silos and workload. We fail to think about the power of sharing information to better leverage the knowledge of other teams to deliver better campaigns. One session shared how equipping community managers with more information on the onset of a campaign, such as the targeted campaign’s keywords, who are the “right” influencers in the market, and the right content from other marketing teams armed them for social media success. Genius, right? So simple, yet many of us are so caught up with real-time delivery that we forget to take a beat and think about what we are trying to accomplish.

The importance of culture in change management

Often overlooked, but crucially important. It’s not a conference without great quotes, and Sirius Decision is no different: “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” You cannot ignore your culture and its importance to your success. While there was not a whole lot of discussion on the how, I can tell you communications and cross-functional involvement vastly improve your chances of getting your corporate culture to accept your next marketing or communication initiative.

The value of pilot testing

Every campaign at the conference mentioned the value in starting small and narrowing your focus. Rome was not build in a day. By focusing on a pilot and ignoring how you have traditionally done, you can break away from the norms. Do things differently. Not to say all pilots are successful, failure is okay and an opportunity to learn.

It’s only a day into the conference, but I am encouraged and energized in learning the new and innovative approach out there today. Also, there is still time to follow the conference hashtag, #SDSummit for more great information on Twitter.

Are You an Adaptive 21st Century Leader?

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a regional marketing event called North by Midwest in Minneapolis. More than 200 marketers packed Olson’s office to hear many of today’s movers and shakers talk about the new consumer realities confronting marketers and brands. If you didn’t get a chance to attend, check out some of the nuggets from the event. 

Adaptive Leadership

Image Credit: HR.BLR.com

Roselinde Torres, senior partner and managing director, The Boston Consulting Group, led a thought-provoking session on 21st century leadership. While there are timeless leadership qualities such as integrity, intelligence, and vision, Torres introduced four traits that successful leaders have leading their organizations through the ambiguous, uncertain world.

Check out the four traits and summary on Olson Insight Blog.

Note: This event is hosted by the firm I work for and I was sent to blog about the event.

The Undervalue of a Thank You

Very excited to write about the undervalue or under appreciation of a thank you. It something I have noodled on for a while. A recent experience reminded me of the importance of saying thank you and how it can benefit you personally and professionally.

Last week, I attended Vocus Demand Success conference at the National Harbor. If you missed the conference, check out these Storify links of day one and day two that covered a lot of great information on marketing, social media, public relations, search engine optimization, e-mail marketing, to name a few.

At the conference, I had the opportunity to meet Arianna Huffington, as she was the keynote for the conference this year. If you don’t know who Arianna is, she is chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of thirteen books. Essentially, she’s one badass lady and a powerful businesswoman.

Rachel Metscher Undervalue of Saying Thank you

Arianna Huffington and Me

To say I was excited to meet her is an understatement. When I met her, I blurted out a lot, but from what I remember, I mentioned how much I enjoyed her talk and then explained how my company contributes to Huffington’s new blogs, Girls in Stem. I couldn’t help myself and let’s be honest; I wouldn’t be a PR person if I didn’t, right?  The next phrase out her mouth was completely unexpected, “thank you for contributing [to our blog].  You are doing great things.”

Wow, I thought, how awesome is that! But there are a few things to note: First, I am confident that she didn’t know me or the company I represent. Two, her compliment and appreciation was not fake, but genuine. Those few words meant a lot and I shared those with my coworkers and my team. But, it also reminded me how we, as managers, employees, and leaders forget about the value of just saying, “thanks.” It didn’t take a whole lot, but boy did it leave an impression

Is this act of kindness an anomaly? What type of impact does showing gratitude have on a business? Mark Goulston wrote an article for Harvard Business Review back in February covering gratitude. My favorite part of the article was research by Adam Grant and Francesca Gino that showed saying thank you not only results in reciprocal generosity — where the thanked person is more likely to help the thanker — but also stimulates pro-social behavior in general. In other words, saying “thanks” increases the likelihood your employee will not only help you, but also help someone else.

If it takes so little effort to say thanks then why is saying, “thank you” not valued? Here are a few observations, at least from my perspective:

  • You have to mean it.
  • You have to care.
  • Too many folks are focused on their interests or getting what they need done first without consideration of the other person.
  • People don’t think outside of themselves. Goes back to caring and nurturing.
  • It takes extra time. Those valuable seconds seem like eternity for some.
  • There’s no priority to show gratitude. Foolish really if you think about it. Everything you do involves people. Saying thanks doesn’t always have to involve monetary terms.

Gratitude cost nothing and more people should stop and thank the people they interact or work with. If you just took a moment to say thanks, imagine what type of reaction you would get in that moment. Imagine how much easier future interactions  would be? I bet those would be a lot more pleasant.

Are You a Disruptive Diva?

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading the WSJ and an interesting article appeared on Why Divas Need to Make No Apology. The premise of the article was that healthy divas make the workplace better.

Interesting that there was such a description as “healthy diva.” I think when most people think about divas, it is mostly in a negative connotation. I would include myself in the group, but maybe I was biased. I decided to poll my network to see their reaction on “healthy divas.”

Poking a little fun at the thought of divas, I made a side comment to my coworker, “ha ha, I wonder what kind of diva I would be?”

Is disruption bad for business?

Are you a Disruptive Diva

Are you a Disruptive Diva?

Without a beat, my coworker said, “you would be disruptive diva.” Wow, that can’t be good. Hoping this was a compliment; I began to think more about being disruptive. What made me disruptive? Disruptive by definition means to destroy usually temporarily, the normal continuance or unity. The act of disruption is to question the status quo. To raise the concern whether this project or idea is a good idea. Questioning past protocols and its impact. Check on all of the above. I do that and most meetings begin or end with, “how is this going to help us achieve our organization’s goals?”

Is questioning the norm, an indication of intelligence? For me, if I didn’t question the norm then I wouldn’t be doing my job. Sometimes shaking things up helps change your perspective and in turn create solutions you hadn’t considered and that’s the point.

Disruptive Checklist

So here my checklist if you interested in being disruptive. It is not about being a contrarian, but rather question “business as usual” to ultimately keep improving your business.

  • Do you raise your hand to ask why?
  • Do you share your vision with others?
  • Do you question the norm?
  • Do you challenge your colleague’s assumptions?
  • Do you push the envelope?

Wear your disruptive badge of honor. Without folks like you innovation would never happen. Disruptive is vital to creativity and innovation.

Final thoughts: There are lots of articles tying disruption and change management. In 2005, Harvard Business Review wrote about secret change agents. The essence of the article was there are “positive deviants” who are challenging their organizations for the better. Perhaps the next time you’re in the meeting and your colleague is questioning you, you will reconsider this challenge as an opportunity. It is an opportunity to change your line of thinking potentially for the better.

Mr. Fix-It’s Guide to Public Relations

Dad + Garage+ Stuff Breaking = Powerful #PR Lessons

Sitting at my desk the other day, I began thinking about how working in my dad’s garage helped me prepare for the somewhat unpredictable, stressful career in public relations. My dad was Mr. Fix It. There wasn’t anything that he couldn’t build or fix without ingenuity, duck tape, and nails. I spent many summers working with my dad on his “diamond in the rough” truck, housing projects like updating the bathroom, or anything that struck my dad as needed to be fixed.  This is exactly what every girl wants to do: get dirty, use tools, and hangout in the garage. But looking back at it now, I can appreciate some of the lessons I learned during my “on the job training” courteous of my dad.

Keep Calm and Carry On.

How many times have you picked up the phone and on the other end is some type of crisis. Big or small, it will most likely derail your day. The equlivant to this is when my mom would say, “Hey, the drain isn’t working and <insert something exaggerated>.” Calmly, my dad would go into the garage, grab his toolbox, and come back into the house. Of course, dad needed an assistant. My function was super important; I was chief flashlight holder looking on as my dad tapped, bang, and cursed his way to a solution. He didn’t complain. He looked at whatever the problem was and fixed it. Few words in between, but in the end it was completed. Now, I address challenges in the same fashion: no theatrics and maybe a few expletives along the way. You can get frustrated behind closed doors, but in front of your clients or stakeholders, calm and collected will get the job done.

Mr. Fix It PR Guide

Problems? Duck tape is your answer to everything.

Creative Solutions.

Any homeowner knows that things are bound to break. Our house was no exception, but instead of calling a professional, my dad tried to fix it himself. These were the days before you could type in “fix <insert item>” on YouTube. My dad without fail would bring the toolbox out, take a look at what ever was “broken” and attempted to fix it. Sometimes with duck tape, sometimes banging on it, or creating some type of DIY solution. Crazy enough this worked. Many times, PR folks have to make things happen and fast. Last minute interview and no expert? No problem. Creativity is one of the best assets a professional can have in their tool belt. Learn to think on your feet and be prepared for anything. Sometimes it is the crazy ideas that work and get the job done.

Be Fearless, but not Stupid.

Working in the garage had it benefits. I learned how to hammer a nail, use a level, and change my own oil. All great skills to have, right? Most importantly, I learned when to take a risk or when not to. Dad may have been Mr. Fix-It, but there where a few things he didn’t touch: electric, demolition, and electric (twice because you can’t be too careful). Similarly, you can be fearless, but don’t take unnecessary risks. Early on in my career, I definitely took some risks that I probably should have not. Like learning when not to say, ” I told you so” to your boss or sharing your “honesty” to a coworker. Like dad said, “don’t be stupid.”

I had no idea that helping my dad with his weekend projects would help me build vital skills for my  career. Thanks dad for teaching me I could do anything if I put a little elbow grease and tenacity behind it.