Help a girl and you help a family, a village and the world #becauseiamagirl

becauseiamagirlI’ve been a big supporter of the Plan Because I am a Girl campaign – if you haven’t shared your story do it now!

The other day @uskovic shared this video about the Girl Effect with me:

You Can Help Change the World

Plan International says “There’s no greater enemy of inequality than keeping quiet!”Act now! Spread the ‘Because I am a Girl’ message throughout your network of family, friends and colleagues.

Simple Things You Can Do Right Now …

  • Share your story here
  • Inform people about the campaign through your websites, newsletters, emails and other touch points. Plan can provide you logos and information on the campaign.
  • Host lunches with friends, partners and clients. Depending on the event Plan can provide content and speakers.
  • Plan can work with you to see how your business can build awareness among your customers and suppliers.
  • You can donate to Plan in Australia’s GirlsFund, that works to address the unique obstacles faced by girls.
  • You can sponsor a child with Plan. Over 48,000 individuals and businesses in Australia sponsor children with Plan.  Plan uses funds through child sponsorship to support projects that bring lasting change to a child’s entire community, such as gender equality.
  • For more ways on how you can support the campaign visit Plan Australia’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ website
  • Because I am a Girl Facebook Group
  • Twitter: @invest_in_girls

 

Rethinking a girl’s place in the world #becauseiamagirl

Sheryl WuDunn’s Half the Sky investigates the oppression of women globally. Half the Sky lays out an agenda for the world’s women and three major abuses: sex trafficking and forced prostitution; gender-based violence including honor killings and mass rape; maternal mortality, which needlessly claims one woman a minute.

Her stories are confronting. Only when women in developing countries have equal access to education and economic opportunity will we be using all our human resources.

 

You Can Help Change the World

Plan International says “There’s no greater enemy of inequality than keeping quiet!”

Act now! Spread the ‘Because I am a Girl’ message throughout your network of family, friends and colleagues.

Simple Things You Can Do Right Now …

  • Share your story here
  • Inform people about the campaign through your websites, newsletters, emails and other touch points. Plan can provide you logos and information on the campaign.
  • Host lunches with friends, partners and clients. Depending on the event Plan can provide content and speakers.
  • Plan can work with you to see how your business can build awareness among your customers and suppliers.
  • You can donate to Plan in Australia’s GirlsFund, that works to address the unique obstacles faced by girls.
  • You can sponsor a child with Plan. Over 48,000 individuals and businesses in Australia sponsor children with Plan.  Plan uses funds through child sponsorship to support projects that bring lasting change to a child’s entire community, such as gender equality.
  • For more ways on how you can support the campaign visit Plan Australia’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ website
  • Because I am a Girl Facebook Group
  • Twitter: @invest_in_girls

Thanks to my friend Alli for putting me on to the Half the Sky video.

Does your company have a “message gap” problem?

Burson-Marsteller has just realased a study on Message Gap Analysis where they investigate the cut through of corporate messaging to mainstream media.

Their research indicates some scary results:

“… a 48% gap between the messages a company communicates and the message conveyed by the media. The study also found that the gap is even bigger between a company’s message and bloggers’ messages (69%). ”
Source: Burson-Marsteller

Some other key insights from the study include:

1. “Aspirational” branding language needs to be supported by concrete facts and messages or it will be ignored. Messages that tied back to the company’s core values and identity were more successful.

2. Tell the whole story or the media will tell it for you. While this is age-old advice, companies that focused only on their own message paid the price by having their message become relatively more diluted in the broader story.

3. Avoid using jargon, as the mainstream media and bloggers either ignore it or must create their own explanation of the potentially confusing company message. Make communications as accessible as possible.

4. Press releases are being reprinted extensively, which affects the strategy for the communications professional. Communicators should realise that the audience for press releases is no longer just the media, and their language should be adapted for consumers, financial analysts, and other stakeholders, as well as media.

5. Bloggers are more likely to make comparisons to competitors and to speculate about an organisations intentions and strategy. Because bloggers are more likely to incorporate their opinions and include messages from multiple sources, companies should consider developing messaging that is more targeted for a blogger’s needs.

via News – Public Relations Institute of Australia.

It is interesting to ask how we can apply these insights into our corporate messaging on an everyday basis. How much of our corporate messaging is actually getting through? How much of it is jargon ridden waste?

Time to start looking seriously at our language and the way we present our organisations to the world. It’s time to fight corporate gobbledegook and jargon and to start putting a human face on our organisations.

Making digital marketing work

Much of the digital marketing I see is a bit tragic.  Tragic for the businesses  who are investing hard won income into campaigns that might not deliver a return on investment.

Some of it seems like self-indulgent twaddle done by creative types for their own amusement.  Other times it seems that the marketing manager has signed off on a campaign that they like and suits their needs rather than think for two minutes about the consumer.

Often it is difficult to work out who it is aimed at or what the message actually is. Then I start to question how valid it is for some businesses to create their own social networks or even their own Facebook pages for various brands or products.

It seems that we sometimes forget the basics when we fall in love with new technology. Also the new technology associated with digital marketing means that there is a lot of data available.

Yet many organisations are still grappling with how to filter, interpret and manage the firehose of data gushing their way from these digital marketing activities.

Just because we can do certain things with technology is not necessarily a reason to do them. The fundamentals of marketing still apply!

  • Who is the target consumer? Think about marketing to a single person or series of people, rather than assuming a huge old-fashioned style audience as a blob.
  • Where can I find these kinds of people?
  • Why is my product relevant to them?
  • How can I explain it to them effectively?
  • How can we translate knowledge into action by consumers?
  • How we can we measure effectiveness of our digital marketing activities?

The four foundations for success in digital marketing activities are:

  1. Start with understanding the customer – effective research is the cornerstone.
  2. Set an overall strategy and allow it to be the guide.
  3. Chunk the strategy up into campaign elements for tactical execution.
  4. Define the metrics at the start and then track them relentlessly – use them to work through the four steps to recalibrate activity (the day of set and forget marketing is over).

The other critical element is to realise is that consumers are changing.  There ways and places of consuming media are shifting.  It is no longer safe to assume that traditional media solutions will continue to work as they always have in the past.  For instance we are seeing a continued decline in newspaper circulation.

Digital marketing is not just about buying banner ads and setting up a Facebook page.  It is about creating real value for customers, shareholders and other stakeholders.

Because I am a Girl

becauseiamagirlThere are a lot of women who don’t like to be called a girl. It’s their choice. I don’t mind it and have even been known to refer to myself as a girl – usually as a geek girl.

The interesting thing here in Australia is that I’m pretty much free to call myself whatever I like. And I’m free to do pretty much whatever I want. But it is not like that for women and girls in every part of the world.

You Can Help Change the World

Plan International says “There’s no greater enemy of inequality than keeping quiet!”

Act now! Spread the ‘Because I am a Girl’ message throughout your network of family, friends and colleagues.

Simple Things You Can Do Right Now …

  • Share your story here
  • Inform people about the campaign through your websites, newsletters, emails and other touch points. Plan can provide you logos and information on the campaign.
  • Host lunches with friends, partners and clients. Depending on the event Plan can provide content and speakers.
  • Plan can work with you to see how your business can build awareness among your customers and suppliers.
  • You can donate to Plan in Australia’s GirlsFund, that works to address the unique obstacles faced by girls.
  • You can sponsor a child with Plan. Over 48,000 individuals and businesses in Australia sponsor children with Plan.  Plan uses funds through child sponsorship to support projects that bring lasting change to a child’s entire community, such as gender equality.
  • For more ways on how you can support the campaign visit Plan Australia’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ website
  • Because I am a Girl Facebook Group
  • Twitter: @invest_in_girls

Viral, vile and the growth of guerrilla media #ozpolitics #media140

At #media140 OzPolitics at Old Parliament House today the US Ambassador touched on the issue of the pastor from Gainsville Florida who threatened to burn a copy of the Koran. He noted that this person, who was not terribly successful on the face of it with only fifty members of his congregation.

But with the advent of the 24-hour news cycle and proliferation in 24-hour new channels Ambassador Bleich noted the need for these media outlets to generate more interesting news more often. The general business of government can be a tad dull for the general non-wonk population. Thus 24-hour news outlets face a constant need to ‘sex-up’ such news as there is.

Thus, as Ambassador Bleich so charmingly put it, it’s better news when some “wingnut” totally disagrees with some relatively innocuous government policy and threatens to “paint themselves purple at 3 o’clock”.

For example, it is only the die-hard wonk community that watches or listens to Parliamentary Question Time. The rest of the population remains blissfully unaware of this and instead take their news from mainstream television and radio news.  Admittedly the Twitter community is likely to have a significant cross-over with the aforementioned political wonk community.

But, as Malcolm Turnbull so presciently noted, most ordinary people arrive at the television news in the evening already aware of most of the important news stories for the day. And it is the realtime web that is driving this proliferation of news.

News stories are breaking on realtime web platforms such as Twitter. They then evolve into mainstream news media stories. The ALP spill of Kevin Rudd for Julia Gillard that precipitated the recent Australian election is a good example of this phenomenon.

But the thing that is happening alongside this is the ability for smaller, less powerful groups to use social media in disruptive ways to mainstream political discourse. Thus the pastor mentioned above got airplay far wider than his small church would normally be able to garner.

John Robb has written extensively about the nature of guerrilla insurgencies using disruptive tactics.  This trend is also perceptible in digital media.  There is the possibility for non-official actors to participate in political discourse in ways that were impossible in the heyday of broadcast media.

And because these groups have less to lose than incumbent players they can afford to take risks in the use of new technologies.  An example of this is President Obama during his election campaign.  He took many risks and use social media in ways that other candidates did not. Viral material like the now famous Yes We Can video arose.  The Obama campaign drove an exceptionally sophisticated use of social media and social networking because of its challenger and outsider status.  We did not see Hillary Clinton or John McCain using the same tactics. They did not perceive the need to do so.

Thus we can expect to see outsider groups to harness the power of social media and insert themselves into political discourse in disruptive ways. Guerrilla media is now in the hands of the populace and we’re into a time of fragmentation of messaging and proliferation of niche groups. Looks like even more of the “wingnuts” will get to have their 15 minutes of fame thanks to the 24-hour news cycle and the proliferation of social media.

Why things don’t change – or the tyranny of ‘THEM’

Over the years I worked as a senior manager in large organisations and, more recently, as an educator and business coach for senior managers across private and government organisations. A fascinating phenomenon that comes up in all of those places is, what I’ve come to call, “the tyranny of them”.

A recurring theme while talking with senior people about how we can enact change within their organisation is a mysterious barrier to change called “them”. Often it is said that “they” would not like the change that is proposed. Or that “they” don’t like that kind of thing.

It is always fascinating to deconstruct who “they” are – these disapproving and negative people. It is especially fascinating because the people who are speaking of “them” are often reporting directly to C-level or Executive Management team.

Why is it that even at very senior levels within an organisation there is a paralysis in the face of change? And why does that paralysis take the form of a fear of “them”?

Think about how many times you’ve used the amorphous “them” as a reason not to do something at work.

It’s time to deconstruct “them” whenever they are called upon to reject action on change. Ask instead:

  • Who in particular will object to this change?
  • Why will they object?
  • Are their objections or concerns valid?
  • What can we do to address them?

Thus to be a successful changemaker one needs to understand the various objections to change, and more often than not realise that “we” are the barrier to change, not “them”.

The audience is dead! Long live the participants!

I’ve been speaking at events around the country recently and have really felt a change in the way that many people are approaching media. A key learning for me has been that those people we have long considered to be the audience have changed.

Their behaviours are shifting to a more active involvement in the process of consuming media – whether online or offline at a conference.

Just by calling people “the audience” we place them in a box. They are not actors in a process, rather they are recipients or hearers of the words of others.

Go back to the root of the word audience, the Latin audentia – it is about people who listen.

But with engaged people who already have their own ways of responding, sharing, remixing and reporting what is going on they can hardly be called an audience any longer. That is why I now tend to refer to people as participants rather than as the audience.

Because passive and polite listening is not what is happening any longer (except perhaps occasionally in Melbourne where politeness still rules 😉 ). The erstwhile audience is now commenting on what happens while it is in progress, they are demanding a right of reply and they are taking control of the conversation in all sorts of interesting ways.

It will be interesting to see the evolution of the Twitter stream for Media140 Oz Politics to see just what the participants will be saying about events as they unfold. The hashtags are #OzPolitics and #Media140.