Monthly Archives: October 2010

A reminder why I have this blog…

It has been a long-time since I played phone-tag with an athlete for an interview, and yet I remain tied to this business called sport.

By birth (and not through any exceptional athletic prowess of my own) I am intimately woven into the fabric of professional sport.  Not only the public performance part, but the otherside – the ‘support’ network.

Over the past decade (okay nearly two) while dressing for combat in the pre-requisite corporate suit, I oscillated between managing, pitching, sponsorsing and showcasing professionals (a lot of them athletes) in various marketing, communications and media roles.

But I’m not talking about the faux glitz and glamour of the mediatized version of sport.

I’m talking about the skeleton. The place where it’s all about what’s best for the athlete to ensure s/he performs.

Don’t get me wrong…this business called sport is a multi-faceted, highly evolved beast.  So none of what I’m saying is particularly new.  Although…

Managing the brand, as well as, the person in this constantly-evolving, very public intricately networked digital world, seems to be a topic in which very few industry experts in Australia are engaged.

Why? Because very few actually understand how to perform in the new digital media age.

To truly understand the profession of athleticism takes a lot longer than an hour’s interview or a lifetime of observation.  It takes practical know-how.

Professionalism, or sometimes simply, the commercialisation of sports, adds a new dimension to an athlete’s portfolio.

So where can and do athletes go to train in the art of the integrated media network?

Depending on who you talk to, the answer will vary.  Talent managers, media managers, sports unions, lawyers, stylists, university professors, candle-stick makers – it’s really a free for all… or is it?

Speak to a veteran performer and more often than not, they’ll tell you they’ve muddled their way through, with the help of a handful of friends and trusted acquaintances with mixed results.

Then turn to a rookie and watch.  The good ones are already sizing-up every person in the room to see if they are friend or foe, helper or hanger-on.

Understanding is key.  Acquiring knowledge, an assurity of stepping closer to success as a professional; because performance isn’t all training, playing and recovery.

It’s about agility, as demanded by the 24/7 news cycle, the capabilities of new media and mobile technologies, as well as, the traditional key stakeholders: the sponsors, administrators, managers, medicos, team mates, family and supporters.

Managing the person, as well as, the brand is an integrated and highly specialised skill.  One that has evolved beyond knowing the right editor or producer at the various TV or radio stations.

So where can athletes and sports professionals go to train for the new media age?  Or rather, as they say in the corporate world ‘network’ to exchange ideas and share experiences?

I’m hoping they’ll be brave enough to play here… eventually.

Cutting the Trees of Knowledge

Last month I did a presentation on the production of knowledge as a social process. I thought I’d post it here, in the event you found it useful (and I ever needed to access it in a hurry), but I simply don’t have the technological capability available at present to proceed as per my original intent.

So that in itself got me thinking… Access.

Access to ICT is assumed by priviliedged westerners such as myself. At home, at the office, at university. Access to information is ubiquitous. Even in Australia, where broadband capability is slow and charged by the ruling telecommunications network providers per downloadable byte. It is still relatively cheap enough for the majority to afford.

But what happens when you step outside of the ICT, global networked society? Even in Australia. How do you access information when it’s not readily available to you anymore at the click of a button or the press of ‘enter’ on your iPhone 4?

You jump in your Delorian and head back to 1994.

In producing a visualisation of the article: Cutting the trees of knowledge:  Social Software, Information Architecture and their epistemic consequences by Michael Schlitz, Frederick Truyen and Hans Coppens (2007), that is exactly what I did. I took a trip back to my undergraduate days at the University of Sydney and walked through the process of information gathering in the pre-internet days.

Most of my audience had only just been born when I was at university, so the idea of Sydney University having a card catalogue for its extensive collections was beyond mind-boggling for the majority.

Thinking back, it really is quite amazing how quickly we as a global human race adopt technology into our communities and yet, as communities persist with towers like babel where convenient, to maintain divides based on the tried and tested: language, colour and creed.

Required know-how now acquired… enjoy.
Week Nine – T Junee Presentation-2


Will digital media kill print?

Did video kill the radio star?

No, it’s just the default reaction to the arrival of a new form of communications.

The real question is: What do you mean by digital media? Do you want to join in a social networking community? Or start micro-blogging on If so, what do you want to use it for?

Once you know where you want to be and what you want to do there, you can approach like any other mass market communications channel, with a well thought-out and clearly articulated communications plan.
Just be aware of the differences in both function and methodology. For instance: social media is at its core a conversation. So whatever you say, people can say straight back. And if you and your company are not ready yet to take the good with the bad (without creating a scene), stick with the traditional media channels where you can talk at people about what you want them to hear, rather than engaging in a conversation with them.

Vice Chancellor & Journos Rob Students of Deserved Victory

To Tweet or Not to Tweet, was never the question.

At last night’s debate in the opulence that is the University of Sydney’s Great Hall, the debate between the Students and Alumni centred on one question: Would Shakespeare have tweeted?
University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Doctor Michael Spence, ABC Journo Adam Spencer and Good Living Editor Julie someone or other – all University of Sydney graduates in the past thirty years – (or so we were told) pulled out a solid performance for the affirmative. However, it was the students who provided the real momentum and rich content in a debate which had the eclectic audience bursting into regular and belly-filled fits of laughter.
But don’t take my word for it. Listen for yourself.

Augmented Reality Fashion for a Cause

This is a great campaign by Leo Burnett in Moscow.

It highlights the paradigm shift of marketers from monologue to dialogic interaction and articulates an intrinsic understanding about the way mass audiences access, process and act upon new information.  It’s all about the senses: How does it look and make me feel? How does it sound to me?
Mass marketing campaigns, such as this one by World Wide Fund for Nature, need to revolve around participation and engagement, in order to meet (with an intent of exceeding) audience expectations. Something new Web 2.0 technologies enabled dialogic (two-way) conversations have engaged like never before.
If you’re a marketing manager currently reviewing budgets and 2011 plans put forward by your agency, be sure to remember as you embrace the new forms available, that you don’t forget the value delivered to both your brand and business via traditional communications channels.

To do so would mean a failure to recognise and understand that brand, product and service conversations are held in a diverse number of public and privates spaces, between various groups and sub-groups within your target market.

Afterall, marketing to the masses is not just about engaging with relevant messages at key reception intervals, it’s about the ongoing conversation as much as it is about first impressions.

If you love good sport, the code shouldn’t matter

I hate cricket, but when I see a great catch, or someone caught behind I love the art of it.

As a valued cultural product, sport irrespective of the type or title, when performed by experts is nothing short of art in motion.

Sport creates a universe all of its own. A world with it’s own language, model citizens, groups and behaviours. Not all of them good or beneficial by traditional standards, but logical and intrinsic to the way that particular sport and it’s players and supporters have evolved.

If I was Matilda the Martian just landed in Oz around awards time, I’d think all footballers wore penguin suits at functions; What footy wives and girlfriend’s wore played a significant factor in the performance of cricket and AFL players and that AFL and Rugby league were by far the biggest sports in the world.

I wouldn’t know that rugby league struggles with weekly crowd attendances, that the Australian Rugby Union is currently renegotiating it’s media sponsorships, that football refers to the ’round-balled code’, its supporters cruising along to a tribal beat all of their own!

What would be obvious however, is how pervasive and deeply ingrained football is in the Australian psyche…I love all sport (hmmm… I do struggle with cricket), and I am fascinated by the way the business of sport operates within its own unique paradigm. Increasingly so, nowadays, given the communications challenge posed by the mobility of new media…Watch this space, I can feel a dissertation coming on 🙂

PR & Web 2.0

Running through the electronic archive of my public corporate life at various stages it’s easy to overlook the successes and key lessons learnt.

I recently found this while googling and giggled out loud. Yes, I google’d myself and no it’s not narcissistic (maybe a little), but it’s also Step #1 in proactive reputation management.  

Not surprisingly, I recommend it to everyone who is working, posting, socialising, engaging or remotely interested in finding out what’s out there on the world wide web.

As it stands, a snapshot or digital newspaper archive like the NZ hearld article that you can show-off to those around you, is frankly, irrelevant beyond providing a good giggle and a Delorian-style cruise back to the future.

Why is this?

Someone recently tried to tell me there’s no such thing as a bad experience, only a learning opportunity… I told said person I thought this was an interesting perspective and looked forward to reviewing the discussion after they’d started their internship – their first ever job.

Now the blank, incredulous stare was a given, as was the accompanying, ‘If I don’t like it, I’ll just leave. It’ll be their loss’…

And I daresay, it would have been too… the loss of time wasted navigating the HR necessities of dealing with the uninitiated, highly competent and astute ‘trophy generation’ egos hovering on the bottom rung of the ladder.

Don’t get me wrong, I love generation next. I think they are fabulous assets to a crazed world of societal plaster-cast mouldings of the various castes of prior generations. And they are real contributors to business, if you’re open-minded enough to listen and learn.

After all, mentoring works best both ways #FoodForThought