Here we are at the last Friday in October. Shel Israel wrote about online global neighborhoods on Twitter in Twitterville, (affiliate link) and over the past few weeks found myself engaged with a smart, diverse and lively group on Twitter. In fact, as more of us got together, it became too difficult to include everyone’s handles along with a message in our allotted 140 characters that we formed #UsGuys to keep it going. And that’s what I love about Twitter – forming connections you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to do – the new kind of neighborhood Shel wrote about. We invite you to join us – stop by some time!

That said, it was a rich week in link land and I had a tough time curating my five top links:

Keep your clothes on: public interest news trumps gossip link bait for generating revenue according to a study by content marketing firm Perfect Market. Certainly goes against what you’d normally think. Hat Tip to @ConversationAge for the link.

Ray Ozzie offers sound advice for leaders on his way out of Microsoft. For starters, it takes time to paint a vision for the future, put your past successes in perspective and know that meaningful transformation comes from within. Great advice for leaders of any company.

Geoff Livingston decries the me-too social media movement and obsession with fame and personal branding. That many business pundits are writing books to boost their street cred versus imparting great ideas. He takes aim at the flimsy metrics like follower counts and influence to suggest there’s a higher purpose to communication. And that’s moving the needle forward on a cause or business that really makes a difference in someone’s life. His riff makes me look forward to his upcoming book. When I saw him talking about this upcoming post I immediately thought of Richard Laermer’s book, Punk Marketing – also a worthy read.

Jonathan Baskin suggests that there’s a competitive advantage in truth – that there’s a big ‘truth gap’ in business today. And that people are talking about brands as much or more as with them – and that the ultimate purpose of conversation is to gain a shared understanding of the truth. This sparked a good exchange among #UsGuys on Twitter – and @TomMoradpour suggested that the argument is flawed – that rather than focus on ‘truth’, brands need to be ‘true’ to who and what they are. Both thoughts have merit in my book. (Hat tip to the #UsGuys for this one.)

I’ve spent more time and money than I care to admit at Home Depot. So I’m pretty familiar with the brand. I must say I was impressed to read about how they’re investing in creating meaningful interactions with their customers. And not just within the store but across the entire company. ¬†They’re embracing the concept of participating is marketing with a model more businesses should consider. But always remember that you can’t just plop a concept from one business to another – you have to understand your customers, your employees and culture and design a program that fits. As a customer and marketer, I look forward to seeing how this plays out.

Comments

  1. Tom Moradpour says:

    Hey Patrick, thanks for e mention :)
    To clarify in mor than 140…
    The article suggested the old days of “telling lies” or “making up” fluffy bramd benefits or competitive advantages were over becaus they’re too eady to call out. It then went on to suggest that the new competitive advantage came from tansparency itself, from the idea of “truth”. A brand that is true and says the truth is advantaged.
    Our debate was around “can we truly be teansparemt” which is where this type of positionning ultimately falls on its swords – you can’t.
    My point was to question the logic of the article – I agree with e first argument: you can’t lie. But I think the conclusion is that only a “real” competitive advantage is sustainable in today’s world. Your competitive advantage has tobe “something true about your business, brand or benefits” not just “telling the truth”
    True vs truth
    See ya in #usguys ;)
    @tommoradpour

  2. Patrick says:

    You’re so right on here. And sometimes 140 can’t convey the entirety. I started out in the days when PR meant more spin, damage control and messaging. It was all one-way and often highly suspect. You can’t be completely transparent and simply telling the truth is not a competitive advantage. In my opinion, truth should be a given (even though I’m not naive enough to think all adhere to that).

    A brand has to discover what’s really true about them – something meaningful to their market. Otherwise they’re just a me too. For some businesses it’s harder than others. It’s something we’ve spent a lot of time thinking, talking and debating as we stepped back to define our company’s brand.

  3. Jason Mikula says:

    Patrick-

    I have to say, I am relatively new to Twitter. I’ve only seriously started using it in the last couple months. But the quality of conversations (even when they’re 140 characters at a time) has been impressive, to say the least. It is definitely possible to achieve a sense of community and mutual respect in a what, at first glance, appears like a cluttered & complicated communications medium. Thanks for being part of #UsGuys & sharing!

    Jason

  4. Patrick says:

    Likewise. I’ve been on Twitter for three years and this year has been the catalyst where I’ve really started connecting with cool people and engaging in more conversation vs. merely sharing info. Recommend Twitterville – it sets the stage for how people are using it in business – consumer, B2B and personal.

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