Archive for October 2011

Strategy Matters

It’s a word that’s thrown around a lot. It’s often misunderstood, and it’s sometimes feared. But it can, and should be your best friend. What is that word, you ask? It’s STRATEGY, my friends! Strategy matters. It should always come first, and should always be present in every communication decision and tactic you consider. Without it, you really don’t know where you want to go, who you want to be, or why it even matters in the first place. When there is a lack of strategy, there’s an absence of purpose and synchronicity. There are many questions that can’t be answered (or answered well), like:

  • Who are we really reaching out to?
  • What do they want to hear from us?
  • Why does it matter?
  • How are we different from others?
  • Are we telling our own story, and in a way that connects with our audience?
  • What goals are we reaching for?
  • And many others …

When crafting strategy, you really have to dig deep down and go beyond answers like “because we’re good at what we do and we’re smart!” Yes, I’ve moderated sessions where I’ve heard this before. Put yourself in the shoes in your audience and ask yourself why they even care that you exist. Why do you, or should you, matter to them? Only then can you go on to truly create a set of tactics to move your organization forward – and yes, that means marketing and PR too. Do not make the mistake of delving into marketing and PR without your strategy in place! Having the strategy clearly defined will help you to identify campaigns, messaging and tactics that will be effective.

Good strategy always helps you evaluate tactical options to determine what is a fit, and what isn’t. So always start with strategy and let it lead the way.

Baseball and Young Professionals

Freese steps up to the plate with the crowd roaring behind him in the stands. There are two outs and two men on base. The Cardinals have a bad habit of leaving their players stranded on the bases and everyone knows it. Finally Freese gets the perfect pitch and rockets it towards the outfield and into the stands – it’s a three run home run! The crowd is on their feet, clapping and cheering.

Freese has been working his way up the MVP ladder. During the post season this year for the Cardinals, Freese has had four home runs and fourteen runs batted in. At this point, his hitting in the post season is even better than Albert Pujols!

What does this have to do with young professionals? If you were familiar with Freese’s background, then you would know that he was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals and also sent back to the minor leagues a few times.  Once again, why do we need to know this? It’s because the start of a young professional’s life can be hard. You’re fresh out of school and may or may not have experience in your field yet. You start applying for every job possible. Some of you might even get desperate enough to apply for a job outside of your field to see if you get lucky.

Time and time again you will probably strike out or ground out during the job search game. You might get a base hit and get an interview out of your application. However, you may not get a call back for a second interview and get sent to the minors. I think we could all learn from Freese that it’s okay to be sent to the minors a few times. You get a chance to practice and perfect your skills.

Until you win the game, keep on swinging, striking out or hitting singles. One day you will get your perfect pitch and will hit one out of the park.

Social Media is Like a Puppy

We at KolbeCo are a dog-loving bunch, and as I was reflecting on social media, I started to think about how similar jumping into social media can be to getting a puppy. Think back to when you were six or  seven and you wanted a puppy. What did your parents say? They said that a puppy was a big responsibility and that it wasn’t all fun and games. Well, social media can be similar.

Yes, a puppy is cute, but eventually, it will tinkle on your new fall boots. That isn’t the end of the world – the boots are salvageable, it’s simply all in how you react to the tinkle.

Many companies jump into social media without planning how they will react to the tinkle. I love it when brands interact with me on social media; it encourages me to become a more loyal customer and in some cases can even make me an advocate for them. When I have a good experience with a brand, I want to share it. That is what social media is all about.

What I don’t love is when brands only react to positive comments. Just like the puppy, social media can be a big responsibility. You cannot simply ignore or delete comments you don’t like; learning how to respond and shape the conversation through your postings and comments is a responsibility.

If you need help dealing with the tinkle, drop us a line. We’re pros.