Tuesday, March 17, 2009

You Might be a SM S-head If... (SM Swelled Head)

The whole strategy of tapping social media for business marketing is to listen to what the world is saying about you or your company. Then, by being smart, or funny, or a good resource when you participate in online conversations, earning a good reputation. Just like the popular kid in school. I hate to say it's like the George Burns quote, but it IS sort of like what he said about acting:
"it's all about honesty. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
You work on creating a well rounded perception of your brand, your brilliant thought leadership, your trustworthiness, etc. and you hope you get people to talk TO you and ABOUT you (hopefully in a good way!) -- drive digital word of mouth.

All that is great and helps add some soul to a CEO or more lifeblood to a business. We've seen the success stories of the Zappos customer service, Dell's course correction, and Obama central become over-Tweeted parables of bar-raising expectations.

Where I start to get concerned, and believe me I'm no exception, is when we start confusing our
personal value and when we're always thinking or promoting our value as a "brand." We start to measure our own worth by the number of followers, friends and alerts, and turn what should be our more personal dialogues into crafted multilogues.

When did even my personal pages or Tweets become a race to be the first to post the cool link? I mean, heaven-forbid you DON'T include some valuable nugget these days?? Who needs that kind of pressure on, say, Facebook? Can't I just hang out by a wall?

But the world is a great big sheet of cellophane now, so poster beware. (And yes, I WILL stop taking your feeds if you think I am titillated about your lunch choice today.) It's a fine line between being more professional in our personal life online, and starting to drink your own Kool-Aid, believing tons of people are really listening as we try to come across more personally in our professional life.

It's easy to confuse hitting the first few hundred or the thousand mark on Twitter (
@mossappeal, ya'all) with real people who will hang on your every word at an actual cocktail party. I've heard lots of stories of groups with hundreds of fans on LinkedIn or friends on FaceBook using it exclusively to post an invite to an event...only to have lots of leftover pigs in a blanket because of no-shows.

It takes time and it also takes a little humility to promote yourself on every platform and remember to find that balance between your personal and professional brand.

So I offer these Warning Signs.

You might be an S-Head on Social Media (Swelled Head, that is) IF:

  1. You think you can stop Dating and start D@ing. Worse, you try to set up a first date via a D@.
  2. You think your friends want to know your opinion on the state of crude and your followers want to know a crude joke, and you blast all the same feeds to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn .
  3. You try to get a reservation at a hot restaurant by assuming they, too, think 1000 followers makes you A-list.
  4. You're incensed when no one Diggs you, man.
  5. You truly believe your last 23 Q&A answers deserved "Best Expert" status.
  6. You are stunned that Mrs. Kutcher isn't following you.
...And the 7th sign you may have a SM S-head?
Your blogs are way too long because you enjoy expounding and are sure that since there are a billion people online now, at least a million will hang on your every word. ...whoops.

And by the way, I hope you tweet this blog or link it to your profile, because I'm -- I mean, it -- is really smart and funny and resourceful, don't you think?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fueling Disney

In a recent blog, I wrote about a terrific documentary, FUEL, and what I'd learned from it about biofuels.

Yesterday Disney released its most comprehensive corporate
responsibility report ever, and in the section on the environment, I saw this:

They are running their little theme park trains on vegetable biodiesel! Go Disney. They also list "Long-Term Goal #7" as:
Inform, empower and activate employees, business partners and consumers to take positive action for the environment Through the years, Disney's environmental efforts have touched the lives of millions of people directly and indirectly. Going forward, we will seek not just to build awareness but to empower and activate employees, business associates and consumers to take positive action for the environment.
It's really key to green from the inside out. Educating employees will make them aware, and influence the changes they make and home, which will educate and influence their families, which will educate and influence friends....and so on. And as we ramp up that eco-education on an ONGOING basis (this is not a static situation), we'll ramp up a new generation of eco-evangelists. And they'll tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends..... (Loved that Breck commercial.)

To get started, bring me in to do an eco-education seminar and/or produce ongoing internal green communications!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Platinum Letter Day

Last week I did a presentation on green marketing, and in the cab back from the airport (trip somewhat offset with the help of Terrapass), I found a platinum wedding band. It made me a little sad on behalf of the owner, especially since I never got an inquiry to the lost and found notice I posted. Dang... PLATINUM.

The next day, I had another platinum find: the story of the new National Audubon Society headquarters in NYC. I was invited to attend a screening of the before/after video about their office space, which received the highest point total of any commercial interior in the world evaluated for LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The Platinumest of the platinum. Dang!

The teamwork and the thought and planning that went into making t
his a crown jewel of environmental design was truly inspiring...even the very story itself: the 15 minute video by Grandview Island Productions helped earn them a point towards the rating as an eco-education aspect. But a lot of people put a lot of thought into this project. They had the blessing of building owner Trinity Real Estate, and FXFOWLE Architects went to work with some insights from YRG Consulting on sustainability and engineer brainiacs from Flack & Kurtz.

I think the thing that impressed me most -- more than the raised flooring that accommodates an air distribution system...or the handcrafted conference tables and paneling made from salvaged barns or fallen walnut trees...
... or the lights that automatically dim to adjust to the daylight present -- was the responsibility and innovation everyone on the team seemed to show. Some of the vendors were new to the world of sustainability, but were selected in part
for that reason: they learned from experts, and now there are more sustainability pros out there making impact.

I've been a fan of one of the team companies for a long time: Herman Miller, who did the furniture. The before/after video was screened at their LEED gold certified showroom and I was kind of drooling at my surroundings. Happily, though, they are updating their Web site soon, so it should do a better job of showcasing online just how much thought they put into a triple bottom line.

Plus they had some chairs there that looked like something out of Batman VI. I love my vintage 1928 office chair, but my back is reminding me that ergonomics have improved in 80 years. So, in channeling The Secret, I'm just sayin':