conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

Posts Tagged ‘marketing communication

Burning Down the House: Stop. Drop & Adopt.

with one comment

How social greases the gears of change

One way we begin to dispose of our sheltered and separatist clubs and churches and work is to talk about them out loud. When we start to tell a stranger about a sacred ritual inside the walls of our church, we stop and realize, “Wait—this probably sounds like nonsense.” And so we back up to start earlier with the “Why?” and “What for?” And then we drop the insider words and adopt common words.

Same with our work: when someone asks how we spend our day, we don’t use our office or shop-talk words. Most people don’t understand lingo of the workplace (especially folks in the workplace). So we stop. We drop the shortcut words in favor of the basic words used by the rest of the humans that speak our language.

And then we paint that ritual or work or favored topic in the best possible light. It’s a little rhetorical flourish we do without realizing. I want you to be excited by what excites me, so I talk it up. I punch it with bits of enthusiasm and look for ways and words that help you get the same vision I have.

Do what you must to pull in the stranger.

Do what you must to pull in the stranger.

Getting others interested by telling the juicy bits of what interests us is one of the basic ingredients of any social media. It also happens to be a basic expectation of story-telling.

What’s that?

You don’t have contact with strangers?

You only talk with other insiders?

Is it time to reconsider your circle of friends to pull in outsiders? There’s much to be gained from relating your passion to someone who has no clue what you are about.

###

Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

November 3, 2014 at 9:09 am

Are Doctors “Ethically Obligated” to Tweet?

with 2 comments

No.

Although Wendy Sue Swanson, MD (@SeattleMamaDoc) feels that way about her social media presence (as demonstrated in this clip).

There is one piece of the Hippocratic Oath that calls for casting a wider net in “all my acquirements, instructions, and whatever I know” to those within the physician’s circle. The original oath also called all gods and goddesses to witness and observe, but these days the NSA serves that function (despite HIPAA).

PrivelegeSpokenBegin-12022013

Yesterday’s MedAxiom post by Ginger Biesbrock (“Has anyone seen my Dictaphone?”) makes the excellent point that any new technology adopted should make taking care of patients easier. New technology should not get in the way of treatment, it should not be another hurdle to jump. Instead, technology should simplify meeting the patient’s need. That’s why I’m pleased with the movement to hire medical scribes to complete the electronic medical records in the moment—freeing doctors to treat patients versus keyboarding.

Dr. Swanson’s strong feeling about casting a wider net is likely shared by many if not most physicians. And it just so happens that putting correct information out where regular folks might read it may also be a way to grow your practice—which has been the capitalistic promise of social media from day one.

Sure: doctors are busy. But I cannot help but wonder if more and more physicians will make outward communication (blogging, tweeting, connecting) a priority as they work to free themselves from some routine tasks.

Many already are.

###

Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Should a Doctor Blog?

with one comment

Only if they want to grow their practice. Or connect with other physicians. Or with patients. Or provide thought-leadership.

Greg Matthews, author of Missing the Forest for the Trees, has been studying the online presence of physicians for years. He’s found that the credibility of their position and the connections within that position can translate to large and devoted followings today.

But all that was counter-intuitive in 2007.

Back when Mr. Matthews was formulating his questions about physicians online.

TwoTrack-2-10222014

Back then he was sure—we all were sure—that talking about health information online would never fly. It’s just too personal. What kind of nut would diagnose and prescribe in public/online?

Plus, well, HIPAA.

But some physicians found a way to talk with regular folks (that is, us non-experts who live on the web) about pressing topics. Diagnosis and prescribing on the web was a non-starter, but presenting topics in a way that made sense to regular people did happen. And as we all took to the web to sort our maladies, these authoritative, personal voices became trusted sources of information.

According to Mr. Matthews, today 61% of physicians access social media weekly, 5000 physicians post daily to blogs and Twitter, and 50 physicians are followed each by more than 500 other physicians.  Some physicians even feel “ethically obligated” to share on the web.GregMatthewsReport-10222014 Download Mr. Matthews PDF for more stats.

In this blog (conversation is an engine) we talk about conversation. We’ve noted how conversation is a two-way street: not just in words exchanged, but actually causing conversation partners to go and do different stuff. We leave our best conversations changed and with new resolve for the most important things facing us. It’s a sort of speech-act theory for anyone willing to take a dumb-sketch approach to life.

And even physicians and even patients can gain from this. And what they both gain is far more than mere information.

It makes me wonder what paths might open for collaborative conversations in lots of different work settings.

###

Clothe Your Team with Inspiring Briefs

with one comment

Creatives are natural problem-solvers. Start them with a tantalizing puzzle to solve.

In stark contrast to the meeting where the boss wanted creatives morphed into analysts, Adrian Goldthorpe (Lothar Böhm London) has such faith in the creative process he thinks creatives are proper problem solvers. All they need is the right question, which turns out to be a really good puzzle to solve.

Clocks-3-10132014

One Artist’s Solution: 262 Studios, St. Paul Art Crawl

The creative brief (as you know) provides a quick take on a new assignment. All too often the brief is prepared and presented as a sleepy, non-essential document. But for copywriters and art directors, that brief can and should be a vital link to starting with the right focus.

Goldthorpe laments the mindless filling of briefs and checking of boxes, which is how many creative projects begin. Instead, at a meeting in Moscow earlier this year, he recommended short, informative briefs that facilitate (versus block) creative solutions. The brief should succinctly answer five questions:

  1. What should the creative do?
  2. What do we want to achieve?
  3. Who is the audience?
  4. What is the brand proposition and how is that supported?
  5. What is the tone of the voice?

Of course there is more to say in a brief and we all experiment with different ways to communicate this information. But I like Goldthorpe’s succinct, concrete statement of the problem. It is enough information to provide a frame to begin the creative process.

Naturally the creative process is not just for “creatives” at an ad agency. Presenting our problem or opportunity for others to consider and collaborate with is something authors deal with, and parents and professors and bosses. And coworkers.

It behooves any of us to consider how we succinctly introduce a topic to others, especially if we want help.

###

Via POPSOP

Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

October 13, 2014 at 9:53 am

How to Make Your Message Permanent

leave a comment »

A tip from a prehistoric consultant

First: Forget about it. Nothing is permanent—at least not in the way advertising mavens augur.

Second: OK—if you insist—make your message about someone else. Make your message give back more than it takes in. “GE” branded on a rock would never last. Even the Apple logo will be chiseled away by Microsoft rebels. But a man with jointed wings, well, who can resist that story?

Who can resist the story about the “Thunder Being”?]

Who can resist the story about the “Thunder Being”?

Prehistoric peoples stopped by these ancient rocks to tell their version of the human condition. So they carved/picked/incised/abraded their messages into the exposed Sioux quartzite outside Comfrey, Minnesota long before there was a Comfrey or a Minnesota or a U.S. of A. Maybe before the pyramids and Stonehenge. Ancients left messages here to direct and entertain passers-by.

Why make your message permanent? We understand marketing communications for companies—it’s about keeping the wheels of commerce turning. But you personally—what messages do you have to communicate? And why would you make them permanent? I argue that your take on the human condition comes out in the way you do your work, the way you interact with family, friends, colleagues, and even the way you see/refuse to see the homeless guy at the end of the exit ramp. And all these daily interactions amount to a carving and incising that is far more permanent than any of us imagine.

The Jeffers Petroglyphs tell a story that became a destination.

The Jeffers Petroglyphs tell a story that became a destination.

Our conversations have an enormous (cumulative) effect on the people around us. An effect that may move through generations.

What exactly is your message, anyway?

 

###

Image credit: Kirk Livingston

“Viral” is Fool’s Gold

leave a comment »

People often have legs and feet. So do collaborative ideas.

Years ago we noticed the threshold to globalization falling to the point where anyone could step over it. Back then advertisers talked about music or images that could transcend language with television and radio. And it was true: cloak your message with a mainstream song and off your product flew to sell among lands and languages previously unknown.

Feet1-2-09222014

Today we routinely interact with people across the globe. Tweets and Tumblrs and blog posts and comments can and do come from anywhere at any time (because it’s always 17:01 somewhere). It’s mostly asynchronous. But not always—my WordPress friend in Hong Kong responds to my morning posts (his evening) and I respond to his evening posts (my morning) and it feels like real time.

Marketers and advertisers want to promise a viral result from the work they do for clients. But the bar for viral gets higher every day: interweb participants stand amazed at less and less.

More realistic: go back to the old way of focus on the important people. In this we make sure our message can be carried in a style to which our target audience is accustomed. Making sure our messages are sticky for the primary and secondary audiences we care most about is better than shooting for viral. And the first step toward sticky ideas is to simplify (not the same as dumbing-down) so the idea is quickly grasped and possibly even elegantly presented.

Feet2-2-09222014

This simplifying process is a natural result of collaboration. Just explaining an idea in the course of a normal conversation is a step away from Teflon toward sticky. That simple act of saying it aloud helps you realize what works and what doesn’t: it’s all written in the face of the person you are explaining it to.

Start with a simple collaborative conversation to begin to move toward sticky.

###

Image credit: Kirk Livingston

We Landed a Medtech Account—Now What? 3 Understandings

leave a comment »

Bollixed and castrated and then we begin

Advertising agencies and marketing firms are eager to land medical device accounts. These prestigious accounts are much desired and would seem to enlarge the status of an agency because of the exacting, rigorous work that helps the human condition. It doesn’t hurt that they seem to pay on time. But having worked with a number of ad agencies once they land such an account, there are a few common threads that surprise principals and employees:

GreenGiantCloseUp-4-09152014

  • You’ll need experts: people who know how to work within a regulatory framework (“Claim this.” “Never claim that.”). People who know the words that soothe lawyers while still making sense to humans. And especially people who know their sinus node rhythm from their rhythm method. You will stay on message and every claim must be neatly tied to an article from a respected (first or second-tier) journal.
  • Your creatives are (already) wringing their hands. That’s because creative solutions lie on the other side of a legal/regulatory/corporate culture grinder.
    • Yes: the company has come to you for creative solutions.
    • No: they cannot/will not back-off their own internal legal/regulatory controls. Their own internal machinery will bind and castrate many of those solutions you have used in the past. What a great beginning point!
  • There will be rounds of changes. Many rounds. Way more than you are used to. Far more than you can reasonably put in your bid. They will seem…unmanageable. Taming revisions will take your best customer service manners and may take you deep into the internal relationship structure of the firm. But that is exactly the kind of partnering that is needed

If your agency can come to grips with these three understandings without imploding or driving sane people mad, you’ll begin to build a reservoir of expertise.

###

Image credit: Kirk Livingston

%d bloggers like this: