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Wise words from 2008

I had a great time presenting at the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Summit Conference last week.

Nathan Wright and I copresented “Social Marketing 101: Everything you think you should already know…”

Get the handout here (pdf)

I’m speaking…

July 7, 2009 — 1 Comment

from davidalston on Flickr

I had no idea this photo would follow me around

Have you Googled yourself lately? I mean, really gave yourself a deep Googling?

What are people saying about you? What kinds of pictures will your boss, employees or (gasp!) kids discover with a few short clicks? What does any of this mean to your personal brand?

This Thursday I’m co-presenting “The Brand of You in the Digital Age” with Tim Brunelle at an event hosted by the Minnesota Chapter of the American Marketing Association and Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA).

We’re going to talk about the changing face of personal brand, why your online identify matters and tips for monitoring, positioning and saving your digital reputation.

Event details:
The Brand of You in a Digital Age
July 9, 2009 | 5:00 p.m.
Grumpy’s Bar – Roseville, MN | REGISTER HERE

Be sure to check out Tim’s preview post at the MNAMA blog.

Alan Wolk, Conversations About the Future of Advertising

I attended the first 2009 Conversations About the Future of Advertising event (CATFOA) put on by Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) and Minnesota College of Art and Design (MCAD) at the Fine Line Music Cafe (FLMC) last night.

Wow, that’s a damn lot of acronyms there (WTAHOALOAT).

If you’re not already familiar, “CATFOA seeks to improve the quality of interactive marketing and advertising developed in the Twin Cities through enlightening presentations and their resulting conversation.”

Last year’s events were both informative and popular, bringing in a good assortment of nationally recognized media and marketing folks, including Joseph Jaffe (sporting shiny white tennis shoes, mind you) and Adweek’s Brian Morrissey.

Last night’s speaker was Alan Wolk, a New York marketing consultant known for his marketing blog, The Toad Stool, and most recently for his blog series, “Your Brand is Not My Friend.”

Here are a few highlights (captured in <140 character succinct bites, of course):

  • “99 percent of brands are NOT Prom Kings” (e.g., Whole Foods, Apple, Batman, Chicago Bears, Rolling Stones) -@awolk #catfoa
  • “Ads are now all about getting people to Google. Once this happened, tv and print couldn’t close the deal anymore” -@awolk #catfoa
  • “What consumers think is far more valuable than what the brand and ad agency have to say when driving purchase” -@awolk #catfoa

It has to be tough to come in from out of town and have to tackle a diverse crowd of consultants, agency veterans, designers, copywriters, social media gurus and/or recently laid-off folks who may or may not already know lots or very little about what you’re talking about. Hell, I’m still struggling with it. We’re a diverse group.

Unsurprisingly, the questions from the audience showed this diversity — from basic, “How do I know if my company should/should not be blogging?” to the more complex “How you monetize and prove ROI for social media tactics?”

Alan did a good job focusing on top-level concepts and citing a few real world case studies. And since some of us were ready for the 201 and 301-level discussion, his presentation helped kickstart post-lecture networking discussions among attendees, and you know me, I always love the opportunity to bring the interactive marketing community together and pool our intellectual capital (buzzword bingo, ftw!)

CATFOA provided that very opportunity last night (and free food, to boot). Thanks to MIMA, MCAD and Alan!

Check out the upcoming speakers and tell your coworkers they are missing out if they don’t show up (btw, it’s free):

Monday, March 9
Kristina Halvorson

Monday, April 6
Bob Thacker
Senior Vice President, Marketing & Advertising

Monday, April 27
David Armano
Vice President, Experience Design – Critical Mass
(and pundit at Logic+Emotion)

Monday, May 11
Michael Lebowitz
Founder & CEO

photo by @tbrunelle

photo by @tbrunelle

On Wednesday, I had the profound pleasure of moderating a Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) event on the topic Digital Reputation Management, a topic that is a core focus of my company (and me personally) in 2009.

A Weber Shandwick proprietary analysis revealed that over three-quarters (79 percent) of the world’s number-one most admired companies lost their crowns over the past five years in their respective industries.

Reputation loss is also on the rise. Nearly 9 out of 10 business executives participating in our Safeguarding Reputation™ survey agree that susceptibility to reputation damage is a growing threat.

Similarly, a sizable 84 percent of global senior executives surveyed by the Economist Intelligence Unit reported that reputation risk increased significantly over the past five years. When executives were asked to choose among 13 risk types, reputation risk emerged as the most significant threat to global corporate business.

As company, brand and product reputations fluctuate and/or deteriorate worldwide, communicators need to proactively engage reputation radar systems to identify, track and respond to approaching reputation threats, as well as find ways to locate and empower brand advocates.

This is definitely a topic which our interactive marketing community needs to be active (especially proactive) in discussing, exploring and collaborating. What a great panel topic!


Our star-studded panel constsited of Tammy Lee Stanoch, VP Corporate Communications for Delta/NWA, Lela Phommasouvanh, Senior Consultant, Search Marketing for FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters Business, and Steve Bendt, Social Technology Activist for Best Buy, Inc.

More than 250 attendees absorbed tips about tracking buzz, making the business case to leadership and the imperative “Set Up a Google Alert for your name and your clients’ names” mantras. If you missed the event, you can stream the archive here.

Gems from the discussion:

  • Be authentic
  • Be transparent
  • Be cautious, but fearless
  • Don’t be stupid
  • Don’t be unethical
  • Trust your employees and your customers
  • Realize you don’t have control, but put forth measures to proactively inoculate detractors and engage advocates

The panel put together a list of suggested reading links on here, and also mentioned the following resources to research, check out, use or peruse:

  • Best Buy Connect (BBY Employee Aggregator)
  • Blue Shirt Nation (BBY’s Internal Social Network)
  • Spy (can listen in on the social media conversations you’re interested in)
  • Twitter Search (Twitter search tool that includes RSS feeds)
  • RipOff Report (central place to enter complaints about companies and individuals who are ripping people off)
  • Yelp (User Reviews and Recommendations of Top Restaurants, Shopping, Nightlife, Entertainment, Services and More)
  • Radian6 (tools for real-time social media monitoring and analysis designed primarily for PR and Ad agencies)
  • Trakur (online reputation monitoring tool designed to assist you in tracking what is said about you on the internet)
  • FlyerTalk (the world’s most popular frequent flyer community)
  • LinkedIn (a networking tool that helps you discover inside connections to recommended job candidates, industry experts and business partners.)
  • ZoomInfo (a Web-based service that extracts information about people and companies from millions of published resources)
  • Spock (the world’s leading people search engine)
  • Cluetrain Manifesto (suggestion from audience that everyone should read it, and I concur)
  • Addictomatic (suggestion from the audience)

I also recommend:

If you have others to share, please include them in the comments.


Steve Bendt has a recap post here.

Tim Brunelle has a recap post here.

Hello Viking has a recap post here.

I’m moderating…

January 7, 2009 — Leave a comment

…the next MIMA event panel on Jan. 21. The topic is Digital Reputation Management.

Event Description:

Remember telephone? Where you’d say “apple” and it would come out the other end as “elbow fireworks”?

Well, these days, controlling your online reputation is akin to playing telephone. You’ve got to speak clearly. You’ve got to listen carefully. And if someone misrepresents your message, you’ve got to speak up. Sound easy enough? It’s not. With so many online communication channels – blogs, social networks, wikis – it’s getting harder to track who’s saying what.

But not to worry! We’re gathering some fine folks to talk through common problems, offer advice and answer your questions. Cool? Cool.

Panelists include:

* Tammy Lee Stanoch, VP Corporate Communications for NWA
* Lela Phommasouvanh, Senior Consultant, Search Marketing for FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters Business
* Dawn M Bryant, Manager, Corporate Public Relations for Best Buy, Inc.

We’ll discuss key issues related to online reputation management, including:

* SEO practices
* Active listening
* Response techniques
* Personal brand
* Customer and employee communities

You’ll walk away with practical tips and smart strategies you can put to use right away. If you’ve got clients, customers and competitors who A) know how to type B) have Internet connections, seriously, don’t miss this discussion.

Register here.

This was my first Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) Summit, however, I told numerous people that I had super high expectations going in.

I’ve had the opportunity to go to South by Southwest (SXSW) numerous times, BlogWorld & New Media Expo twice and a handful of other social and interactive conferences.

I was at BlogWorld just last week doing the panel/party/networking thing. It’s one of the favorite parts of my job — meeting new and old friends, learning about new and emerging media and strategies, and evangelizing/proselytizing my take on what’s hot and what’s next.

I’m no stranger to marketing conferences, and for the cost and investment in time, it’s important to get a lot of these events. I’m happy to report the MIMA Summit blew away my expectations, and not just because the speakers were (mostly) high quality, the panels were (mostly) well structured and the chicken wasn’t dry. It was the attendees’ contagious passion for what they do that sealed the deal for me.

MIMA presents an opportunity for the interactive marketing community in the Twin Cities to build and grow our collective intellectual capital.

Because of our midwestern familial culture, our nonchalance about what’s cool and trendy versus strategic and effective, and perhaps more importantly, the diversity of creative opportunities, outlets and clients exhibited by the Minneapolis-Saint Paul social and interactive marketing community, we are on the brink of something big.

MIMA president Matt Wilson feels it, and said so at least twice during the Summit. Former president Kristina Halvorson feels it. In fact, lots of you whom I spoke with at the Summit mentioned it. And I know Lee Odden feels it, because we talked about it in the airport after BlogWorld last week — pre-Summit.

You, my friends and peers, feel it. I know because I’m reading your post-MIMA tweets two days later, and you’re still buzzing off your MIMA high.

After five years in the cities, I’m finally feeling like I understand and am a valuable contributor to the marketing community here. Maybe I’m naive, too fresh or haven’t had enough of my dreams crushed yet, but I’m excited about 2009 and what we can do together.

We — the Minneapolis-Saint Paul marketing community — are on the precipice of a marketing revolution steeped in social media tools, authentic storytelling and a genuine interest in putting the “interactive” in interactive marketing.

The MIMA Summit was simply a milestone in a journey we’ve only just begun, and I’m going to live-tweet the whole trip. See you online.

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