Category: Business

John Spence Fall Conference Keynote

CMMA’s fall conference keynote presentation was from John Spence.  At the age of just 26, John was named CEO of an international Rockefeller foundation, overseeing projects in 20 countries and reporting directly to the Chairman of the Board, Winthrop P. Rockefeller III. Two years later John was nominated as one of the top CEOs under the age of 40 in Florida and Inc. Magazine’s “Zinc Online” recognized him as one of America’s up and coming young business leaders.

>> My Presentation Notes

John Nese Soda Pop Shop Inverview

This is a very good video interview with John Nese who is the proprietor of Galcos Soda Pop Stop in LA. His father ran it as a grocery store, and when the time came for John to take charge, he decided to convert it into the ultimate soda-lovers destination. About 500 pops line the shelves, sourced lovingly by John from around the world. John has made it his mission to keep small soda-makers afloat and help them find their consumers. Galcos also acts as a distributor for restaurants and bars along the West Coast, spreading the gospel of soda made with cane sugar (no high-fructose corn syrup if John can avoid it).  The part where he talks about CRV is interesting as well.

Building A Better Post Office

I recently participated in a LinkedIn discussion and I wanted to open it up to the world (or anyone who wanted to read or contribute to it).  It is partially edited so it reads better in a blog format.  I thought what John Clarkson commented back was brilliant.  What do you think?  Any brave souls out there?

What’s the “State of the Industry” for corporate video and creative services?

As the recession lingers on I believe that most companies are continuing the trend of downsizing their corporate video and creative services departments. Those areas are always considered dispensable by corporations when the economy goes sour and the last to recover. What do you think? Are companies hiring? If so, what types of positions?

Social media’s value is that it is created and communicated by the people for the people. If you look at newspapers, broadcast television, and FM/AM radio, it is now well understood they worked well if you wanted to hear one point of view. It was also great if you didn’t want to provide your viewpoint or ask your questions back to the communicator. Let’s face it; it was great because it was all we had. Now communicators all over the world have extremely powerful communication tools to have a conversation with practically anyone of their choosing for next to no cost. Companies are likely downsizing the creative services departments because they aren’t seeing a direct ROI. Why aren’t they seeing an ROI? I’m not sure this works in all cases of course but maybe where we get ourselves in trouble is I don’t personally think a creative services department should always be a 100% dedicated “support organization” to others.

The reason I say that is people will come to you with what they want to throw your way but if what they throw your way isn’t valued by those consuming the content, you won’t have long term value, or a long term career. Instead, I’d be interested in hearing if anyone has focused a portion of their team on finding a problem and using their creative organization to pitch solving a real world business problem so you not only solve problems given to you, but you also help identify and offer a solution to those problems you have helped identify or address from people “in the field”. High profile projects are nice because they get you exposure to those who may promote you or sign your paycheck. However, if those giving you projects provide you a subject matter that content consumers don’t want or need, your services are wasted and you are looked at as a department that can be eliminated when things get tight. By the way, shouldn’t businesses always make smart decisions regardless of whether times or tight or not?

Social media can also provide its own problems when communicators create or produce content that doesn’t solve or help a real world need. Social media is full of babies and animals doing cute or funny things, people tweeting about what they are having for dinner, and professionally produced content is full of dry and boring content (let’s face it these tend to be the stereotypes). Whether it is professionally created or not, I think if your creative department solves a real business problem, makes it engaging, makes it usable, measurable, and informative, you have a winning combination of long term employment and success.

Has anyone stopped being a service organization that provides what the customer wants 100% of the time, and started being a partner with the business to solve real world business problems? If so, I’d love to hear more and any lessons learned.

John Clarkson • Amen to that! Could we say: What’s Expired is being a “mailman” (the commodity provider, delivering other people’s messages for them without regard to value to the enterprise), What’s Tired is being a “letter-writer” (the artisan, trying to pretty-up up other people’s messages, then delivering them, in hopes they will have some value for the enterprise), What’s Wired is “building the new post office” (the entrepreneur, innovating apps, data bases and information fields to solve problems, and demonstrating value to the enterprise)?

Marketers Fall Into Two Categories

“Marketers fall into one of two categories:

  • A few benefit when they make their customers smarter. The more the people they sell to know, the more informed, inquisitive, free-thinking and alert they are, the better they do.
  • And most benefit when they work to make their customers dumber. The less they know about options, the easier they are to manipulate, the more helpless they are, the better they do.

Tim O’Reilly doesn’t sell books. He sells smarts. The smarter the world gets, the better he does.

The vast majority of marketers, though, take the opposite tack. Ask them for advice about their competitors, they turn away and say “I really wouldn”t know.” Ask them for details about their suppliers, and they don’t want to tell you. Ask them to show you a recipe for how to make what they make on your own, and “it’s a trade secret.” Their perfect customer is someone in a hurry, with plenty of money and not a lot of knowledge about their options.

You’ve already guessed the punchline–if just one player enters the field and works to make people smarter, the competition has a hard time responding with a dumbness offensive. They can obfuscate and run confusing ads, but sooner or later, the inevitability of information spreading works in favor of those that bet on it.”