Category Archives: Strategic Communications

NSW and the ‘Let It Rip’ Leadership

When MP Dom Perrottet was appointed NSW Premier on 5 October 2021, his speech was titled:

A new chapter in NSW’s story, one we will write together.

Just over two months later, on 15 December 2021 – mere hours after the Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced ‘…vaccines alone will not get any country out of this crisis’- the newly-minted NSW Premier and insolvency tax lawyer, Dominic Perrottet eliminated the mandate on hotel quarantine, reduced the number of contact tracers and health workers at Covid-19 testing sites, removed the mandate on mask wearing, social distancing and other preventative measures against the health advice of the Australian Medical Association, and the NSW Chief Health Officer.

His priority: strong recommendation for everyone to vaccinate. Obediently, Perottet preferred to reinforce the position of the Liberal National Party’s chief spokesperson, Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, under a spin that fell awkwardly onto ‘letting the people of NSW to take responsibility for their own health practices’.

Two days later, Covid-19 cases in NSW were reproducing at the highest rate that year.

It took less than two weeks for NSW to register 25,000 covid infections per day.

For the first time in our state’s history a politician actually did what he said he would do. He wrote a new chapter in NSW’s story – single-handedly taking us from a ‘model state’ for health crisis management, to the pin up state for what not to do in a health crisis.

Perrottet’s maiden speech as Premier positioned him as ‘the family Premier’ – I suspect because he has a house full of children and he and his lawyer wife have demanding jobs, so they understand what it’s like to be a hardworking two income family on a guaranteed government pension.

Let’s firstly just take a moment for some perspective, as these are emotional times…

On 23 February, 2021 MP Dominic Perrottet wrote a piece titled ‘State of confidence is Key: Economic indicators show the pandemic recovery…’

“…Australia is among a select group of countries to have kept the spread of the COVID-19 virus relatively under control. In Europe, the USA and various other hotspots, daily new cases are still being counted in the thousands, while here we fret about one or two.

“In NSW the prowess of our health system – and most importantly, the amazing NSW Health personnel who have kept raising the bar for testing and contact tracing – has undoubtedly boosted confidence, demonstrating a consistent ability to contain outbreaks as they arise such as on the Northern Beaches at Christmas.

“The approach taken by our Government in tackling both the health and economic challenges has been very much geared towards giving the people of our state as much confidence as possible in the most uncertain period in living memory.

“The impact of a snap five-day lockdown in Victoria was a stark reminder of the constant challenges of COVID and how far and wide decisions made by Governments are felt….

“The challenge for every Government remains the need to balance the health response with the social and economic consequences with every decision we make.

“That’s what is driving our approach, and it’s an important factor in ensuring the people of NSW can face the future with optimism, determination and confidence.”

Under Gladys Berejiklian’s leadership, he had something to hang a medal on.

#BackInTheGoodOleDays

#LetItRip Leadership has spawned #Domicron #PairOfTits and #LetItRip memes

Can’t wait to see what awaits us on 15 February 2022 …

FB shows it’s claws

Google and Facebook are two Artificial Intelligence behemoths.

To them, we are data points and have been for the better part of two decades.

There is nothing that we think, do, say or act that they don’t have a detailed account of somewhere in the abyss of data that is ‘the cloud’.

So as the Australian Government leads the first real push back on these artificial intelligence (don’t be distracted by the marketing term social networking) companies, we have real insight into the intent of the organisations.

Now while the ACCC approach wasn’t the most refined. It was an unprecedented approach that sort to protect Australian interests online.

The response of the two organisations to the proposed News Media Bargaining Code was telling indeed.

Alphabet (on behalf of an all too arrogant Google Australia) could work with the concerns and come out in support of proactively nurturing locally produced news content.

Facebook, like all great white entities of entitlement, pulled it’s service without prior warning.

In a complete show of disregard let alone respect for the Australian community who have so loyally supported the business since its inception.

So if we’re smart, the question we should be asking:

Is Facebook an essential business need?

While that will take some habit breaking and reshaping across both the facebook and INSTAGRAM platforms, it might be a long overdue worthy consideration.

Facebook dropping the emergency services pages this morning – as part of their decision to cease providing Australians (both individual citizens and publishers) access to news content, following the new media laws coming into effect overnight, is exactly the type of ‘big end of town’ play that media organisations have been doing to advertisers for years.

But they don’t just cut news services.

Bloggers will no longer be able to share their musings via the FB related platforms.

What’s great about it (if you choose to think outside the square), is social media managers and their superiors might actually see how they have been building their brand and adding VALUE to another entities asset ALL THIS TIME. for them to SELL BACK TO THEM!

Question is, will they be ballsy enough to say NO MORE and invest capital in building self managed and controlled assets, trusting in their own capacity and knowledge of market to amplify their messages effectively and efficiently in favour of the convenience of contrived community…?

Wake Up People! This is your time to REALLY shine!

I double dare ALL media and marketing managers to Tell Facebook to f*ck Off. To cut the necessity of them from their advertising budgets and support Australian grown media.

Why?

We’ve all given Facebook enough data these past 17 years.

They’ve got more than enough info on how we think, feel and do than they could ever use.

So back yourselves, get creative and stop relying on the convenience of the Facebook algorithm.

Build your own assets and insulate your business – for the first time in a couple of decades!

To those of you who find this a bitter pill to swallow… comment below so we can engage in informed and respectful debate.

Otherwise, it can be assumed you agree with me.

#ThereisNoSuchThingasSustainedOrganicFacebookGrowth #PayToPlay

#ShortTermPain for LongTermGain

#ThankYouFacebook

It’s time to re-think your approach to Social.

I spent a day with some of the brightest young minds in advertising last week.

The similarities

All were fabulous, capable, intelligent, hard-working ‘go-getters’. All were running some of the better social media campaigns in Australia.

Some were from boutique agencies doing really cool stuff, others had evolved to freelancers, some were in-house marketers, while others were clinging lovingly to the structural ropes at some of Australia’s biggest agencies.

All were social coordinators, social leaders, the agencies’ ‘social experts’.

Yet, throughout the course of the day, I felt myself go through all the stages of grief.

I took the next day off to get my head back into production mode and (as luck would have it) I was surrounded by social marketing and social media practitioners who also shattered my new media soul into a thousand pieces when they started telling me How2 Social through buzz phrases, which included (but painfully was not limited to) ‘personal brand’ in the same breath as ‘authenticity’ and ‘social measurement’ as Facebook metrics.

Over two separate days in two completely different environments, my grief was confounded.

Why?

In the short space of two days, it became abundantly clear that current practice is merely a hybrid of the platform ‘certified’ sales pitches. A regurgitation and adaption of the papers we were writing and the presentations we were giving back in 2012…

OVER FIVE YEARS AGO!

(and yes, I know I’m screaming, but seriously…?!)

Discussions around social media have traditionally been driven by the available technology, or social community management issues that have arisen through the event of participation.

Traditionally, advertising and media agencies have worked behind a thin veil of creative agency presenting ‘the solution’ as the requisite bridge between product/ sterile company and desired consumer.

Sadly however, a large percentage of Advertising, PR, Communications and Media Agencies are entrenched in outdated business practice when it comes to production for and distribution on social.

If these company representatives are anything to go by, even the agencies who have re-badged their Art Director to Creative Lead are missing the point somewhat entirely!

This only compounds my grief as Australian agencies should be leading the global creative charge in this space (and no don’t point me to the self-congratulatory industry statues corporations spend millions to win each year).

Creatives have the opportunity to lead, rather than dwell.

Directors have the opportunity to integrate and showcase, rather than merely direct traffic.

Oh.. and to the Preditors (the hybrid being that is both producer and editor) let’s make a concerted effort to lose the jargon.

It’s not about what you call yourself, it’s what you say and do that drives impact.

Is Email the Darth Vader of Modern Business Communications?

In a world where instant communications and engagement is rapidly becoming the norm, email is taking on all the traits of a dark lord in the making.

Electronic mail (e-mail) started out as a powerful and useful tool that brought speed and (for the most part) brevity to industrial and corporate communications. However, it is rapidly transforming into the disgruntled Jedi of communications.

Email is a dark art in workplace solutions. A habitual norm. Administratively heavy, it sucks precious time and resources from your everyday.

and yet… for all its operational inefficiencies it still seems to work for the majority.

Mobility has ensured access to the dark lord of ICT communications. Smartphones have ensured access to webmail a standard… in effect minimising the mobile digital divide, by giving cross-generational comfort on these new platforms and devices.

In this form, email is the connector. The access point for new media platforms and devices.

Convergence can only occur where comfort resides.

For the first decade of ‘social’ it has been email, but what’s next…? 

What’s able to fill the void? Is SMS or IM enough? or is non-regulation the biggest obstacle here…?

Non-regulation, poor regulation and the non-specific zones of the internet environment are our biggest foes.

Not just for business, but for governments and citizens as well.

There are no robust legal structures in place that currently nurture nor protect the individual online, let alone small business.

In over a decade there has been very little movement towards reform as monetising the internet remains the priority.

LinkedIn – the largest professional network where people have been putting their personal information for free for the last decade is now owned by a multinational corporation in Microsoft.

I find it strange that no one is questioning the personal cost of such a merger… perhaps for the majority of us, we’re not switching on to the reality of the evolution of the social networking platform that profiled, connected and enabled market transfers in human terms…. at what cost are we willing to earn a buck?

Let’s hope someday in the not too distant future we all start thinking about and directly addressing the cost of how we ‘settle’ the wild west of the internet.

What are we really willing to relinquish in order to earn a buck?

If so, what is the true cost to the individual, team or organisation… society?

Sadly, it’s a question very few are willing to articulate, let alone address with a view to answering

Why?

Because in order to do so, we’d have to acknowledge and address not only email as the Dark Lord of the internet, but the deeper, now embedded commercial practices of digital decadence and the new norm of dumbing down and relaxing acceptable standards of entertainment, operations and performance.

Let’s stop being happy with average and strive for great and the impossible again.

 

 

‘Tis the Season for Christmas Ads

In the US Super Bowl advertising can make and break careers.

In the UK, the advertising heavyweights concentrate their efforts (and a large percentage of spend) on Christmas.

This year Marks & Spencer (or M&S as it is more commonly referred) released their contribution to the corporate advertising ‘Christmas cheer’… and it’s an absolute winner.

Not only is it beautifully shot, its originality is decidedly refreshing… and VERY clever.

Don’t take my word for it though, judge for yourselves… and enjoy:

#UrWelcome

Snap gains sight, as it farewells chat

Snapchat launches Spectacles – its video and audio recording wearable for funsters

and parents…

While the yet to be discussed personal security implications of Spectacles is yet to be  acknowledged, let alone realised by the majority, they hint towards a very near future of integrated wearables.

Much in the same vein as mobile phones effortlessly transformed into smartphones and an extension of mankind, are Spectacles the next step in new media?

#WatchThisSpace

In other SnapChat news, SnapChat is no longer and Snap Inc. it is.

‘When we were just getting started it made sense to name our company Snapchat Inc., because Snapchat was our only product! Now that we are developing other products, like Spectacles, we need a name that goes beyond just one product – but doesn’t lose the familiarity and fun of our team and brand’ said Snapchat founder (and Miranda Kerr’s finance), Evan Spiegel.

‘Changing our name also has another benefit: when you search for our products it will be easier to find relevant product information rather than boring company information or financial analysis. You can search Snapchat or Spectacles for the fun stuff and leave Snap Inc. for the Wall Street crowd 🙂

Given the recent intro of Spectacles, it seems not only a timely re-brand, but a prelude to a product range of integrated wearables.

Snap Inc.’s approach, also highlights the importance of search in locating company products, no matter what the size, shape or form of your company.

Context Matters

A timely reminder to never underestimate:

  1. the importance of context
  2. the power of media technologies to misconstrue intent

(One does hope the Duke and Duchess don’t mind being used in this instructive context)

 

Up all night thanks to Online Gravity

Earlier in the week I received an inmail via LinkedIn from the overachieving Mr Paul McCarthy, letting me know his new book, Online Gravity  had been released.

Very generously, he forwarded a copy via post.

I first met Paul at a social media conference we were both presenting at last year and I was suitably excited for him.

Last night, before heading off into the land of nod, I thought I’d have a quick look through the newest arrival to my bedside reading collection.

This would soon prove possibly the most enjoyable mistake I’ve made in a long time.

Online Gravity is proof red bull now comes in paperback.
After flying through the first couple of chapters, my eyes were closed for less than 20 minutes before my brain sparked its first ‘must write down’ idea.

Wrestling out of bed and into the office to ‘brainstorm’ said idea, attempts to return to bed proved futile.

What is Online Gravity?
Paul McCarthy’s concept of the phenomenon of Online Gravity – an invisible force driving development (form and behaviour) in the age of the internet (online world) – is brilliant in its simple logic.

Online Gravity – the book,  demonstrates what the phenomenon does, how it develops and how it can be harnessed by individuals.

It marries the science of the universe, technology and business in easily digestible chunks – that makes you want to keep reading, to keep questioning and in consequence promotes deep and diverse, critical thinking.

With the unprecedented rates of change expected in global business structures, processes and workforce in the next five years thanks to digital ubiquity and the Internet of Things, Online Gravity is a tool every good educator should want to share with their students today to prepare them for a more evolved and much changed tomorrow.

While I still have a couple of pages left to read (full review to follow in due course), what I do know is Online Gravity should be on every digital media, communications and business syllabus.

It is an articulate, accessible guiding text on what we as digitally dependent individuals and businesses can expect in terms of process and practice. While articulating as a workforce, how best to harness the phenomenon of online gravity.

It is what true thought leadership looks like on paper and in practice.

What Online Gravity has given me
As someone who has been struggling with refining my PhD research question (just part of the joy of the process so I’m told), thought leadership such as Online Gravity motivates this humble researcher to stretch beyond convention in articulating the synergies and antagonisms of the new social business frontier and beyond.

As the principal mentor at How2Social.com, Online Gravity feels like a supportive hug as I jump off the new business precipice, confident in my ‘hunch’ of the ever-present need for and cultural importance of proactively enabling humans in and around new social and digital technologies.

Thank you Mr McCarthy for sharing the phenomenal read that is Online Gravity!

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Online Gravity is published by Simon & Schuster Australia and is available in paperback ($32.99) and e-book($17.99) formats.

If you are looking for a copy to call your own, Paul’s website provides the following guidance:

A number of eBook versions are also available including:

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Storytelling at its best

The creative arts enable us to feel, be, dream and learn all at once.

An Hungarian shadow theatre troupe had a story to share and thanks to the commercial platform of reality television, they could.

As could a Ukranian couple who also practice the art of storytelling with their bodies and hearts.

#TheGrandStoriesOfLifeToldMagnificently

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