Talkmarks

July 16, 2007

Talkquote: better honest than polite

Filed under: marketing, PR, quotes, talkmarks — Simone @ 4:35 pm

I’d rather be honest than polite.
jonathan Schwartz, CEO, Sun Microsystems

I’ve already praised the great job Sun is doing to be part of the conversation.
In this post Jonathan explains why too much focus on legal stuff is just that: too much.
I know this is true for my background is legal and there’s a reason if I turned my (professional) life around completely to become a marketer. He also makes a point on how important transparency has become in this world and how how far behind most companies (and departments) are on understanding it.

This decade states the end of the glorious marketing bullshit. Pls take note.

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June 30, 2007

Talking with YouTube

Filed under: media, PR, talkmarks — Simone @ 7:52 pm

You might not talk with me. I have people talking with on YouTube and plenty of ways to spread the word.

June 10, 2007

Zooomr 2 weeks downtime or how good conversation can change the world

Filed under: marketing, PR, talkmarks — Simone @ 10:16 am

Scoble posted what’s maybe his best post since I started reading his blog.

He starts off by linking to a Mashable review of Zooomr vs Flickr to tell a story about Zooomr, a photo sharing site from Kristopher Tate and Thomas Hawk (that’s really just the two of them), competing with the likes of Yahoo (Flickr) and Fox (MySpace).

I can’t tell the story better than Scoble, but I’d like to point out to a couple of things that resounded in my head. Now Zooomr experienced 2 weeks downtime. Needless to say, that’s a MAJOR problem if you host a photo sharing site.

To use Robert’s words:

After all, any other Web 2.0 business that had been down for two weeks would just have been written off. One reason we still care is because Zooomr did pretty well over their two-weeks of hell (they were down for two weeks) by staying visible thanks to live video streaming on UStream.tv.

So, what happened? They basically kept on the conversation. Even in their worst possible scenario, they were transparent and open to discussion. Strangely, people cared.

Why? Because they were part of a compelling story. They weren’t actually experiencing a site downtime. Not at all. By simply being explained what was happening, people became part of the story. They became brave guys helping a 19-years-old kid keeping up his unlikely company against hordes of Goliaths. That’s a can’t miss story if simply you are part of it. I can see Yahoo employees cheering for Kris to succeed. Brilliant.

For the record, now the site is up again (on Zoho servers) and I’d like to know what happened to their registered users count. I’m much more likely to join Zooomr now than I was before the downtime. Of course, having the site up is not the point anymore. Not now that users benefit became heroism.

June 3, 2007

Days of understading + links

Filed under: links, marketing, PR — Simone @ 4:33 pm

You might have noticed I’m not posting that much these days. The reason is not that I’m busy (even though I AM VERY busy). The reason is, I decided to ponder all over again all that I’m saying here. Am I so sure that what’s going on is a real revolution? How do I know? Is it all going to be just incremental stuff in our – already stuffed – life? After all I might as well be wrong on all I think. Well for now here’s some more stuff to feed your informational overflow 🙂

Google Gears is bridging online and offline
This is, I think, a huge step toward having your own life networked (don’t know if it’s good or bad)

SEO found dead in Building 43
I Agree with Seth that getting to the first result position in Google is now more important than ever before. I also agree that Google knows this and is going to make almost impossible to game the system. One thing I don’t know: How much money is it worth being first? Anybody has some numbers please?

The Art of Schmoozing
Guy Kawasaki has a must-read post on how to PR yourself

Hugh on Bill & Steve Show
If you live on planet earth you know they met. Though I expected something more, Hugh Mcleod has a nice post on this.

The Difference Between Marketing, PR, Advertising, and Branding  (via micropersuasion)

May 20, 2007

Applegate and the power of blogs

Filed under: marketing, PR, talkmarks — Simone @ 12:21 pm

On may 16th, Engadget posted that the Apple’s iPhone and Leopard (respectively Apple’s new mobile phone and new version of the Mac OS X) were set for a delay. The post was originating from an actual internal email sent through Apple’s internal system that was subsequently retracted. Shortly after, the post was corrected by Engadget (have a look at Ryan Block’s post for details).

But what’s really important is what happened in the time between the post and the correction. From TechCrunch’s AppleGate post:

Four billion dollars in market cap was wiped off of Apple’s stock price in six minutes as the “news” hit the market.

So a post from a blog costed some people $ 4bln. Let me say it again: $ 4bln.

Now this really makes a point on how important is to have an open conversation with your users (something that unfortunately Apple still doesn’t do properly). This is – I think – the biggest news we’re facing today: you ain’t starting the conversation anymore and, even when you do, you’re not controlling it anymore.
To a certain extent it always happened (you could still go to a newspaper bringing your printed email) but todays everything is so much quicker (minutes vs weeks) and easier (huge newspapers and TV broadcasters become blogs, sometimes even personal blogs).

But let’s also make one point clear: this is not a crisis in a traditional sense. This is simply the ongoing conversation with your users (and general public) gone wrong. It’s not that something went wrong and you had to take action. This is somebody saying something and your company not responding.

So what should you do to avoid negative implications and make this new media scenario an opportunity? In my opinion it all boils down to 2 things:

  1. Quickness
  2. Transparency

1. Quickness

I already wrote on the inefficiency of current decision process to post an official company position (mostly needing a yes/no decision from the senior management and involvement of the PR agency), but this point is worth another couple of words. There’s NO WAY you will ever be able to respond to such an issue in less than 6 minutes. Don’t waste time arguing that this or that device could help, this is not a technological issue, this will NEVER happen in a big company. Actually, if this needed a formal position from Apple, it could have taken hours. Engadget vastly outperformed Apple on this.

So – again – you have to embrace Chaos and let go the decision making.

Does this mean that you run the risk of having important informations leaked? Yes, but you can significantly reduce the risk to almost zero by releasing a clear blogging policy. Does this mean you’ll have to sometimes correct your people’s post overtime? Well maybe (just make sure to understand that an open internal conversation could be healty for your company first), just remember that the price of not having to could be huge.

What would have happened then if any Apple employee had a blog? Simply, somebody would have posted a correction in less than 1 minute. Why would they do that, you ask? Well, simply because a correction to an Engadget post will bring you a shitload of traffic. And having a high-traffic blog is – at least – a pleasing feeling.

2. TRANSPARENCY

Transparency is not necessarily a good thing for a company in itself. If you ask most executives, they’ll tell you that being transparent means revealing stuff that may very well help your competitors, and who am I to argue such smart people’s opinions? I definitely agree that such a risk exists.

So why am I preaching transparency anyway? Because with transparency comes trust.
I can believe what you say only if I can see who you are and understand if and how you may be biased on something. And if you have to say that a blog followed by hundreds of thousands of people is wrong, you’d better be trusted.

So what is transparency? Well, if you trust Wikipedia more than your college teachers as I do, is:

Transparency (optics) is the property of allowing transmission of light through a material. It is the noun form of the word transparent (for example, glass is usually transparent.)

Now what does it mean for a company? In my opinion this is all about 5 simple rules regarding what people is allowed to do with you. In other words:

  1. I have to be able to reach you (possibly 24/7 but I can understand some exceptions);
  2. Pls let me know who’s speaking and how she could be biased on what we’re discussing;
  3. No bullshit allowed (marketing bullshit is no exception);
  4. If there’s anything you can’t say, fine. But pls explain why.
  5. If there’s anything you don’t know, fine. Either tell me who I can ask to or I’ll find it out myself.

I think that if you respect those 5 rules you can get enough trust to be able to handle a conversation with your users (and stockholders) and being trusted.

If you feel like it, listen to this podcast from The Social Customer about transparency, lots of food for thought there (btw I guess it’s the first time Talkmarks has been featured – ok, very briefly and at the very end 🙂 – on a podcast)

So what do you guys think? Is being quick and transparent (and thus trustworthy) enough to handle a situation like Apple’s?

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