On craft, games, destinations, important calls and deliveries

The wonder of craft. (Hat tip to Jackie Ng for this one.) We move so fast through our action items that there’s often little time to spend refining the craft. Especially on the ‘little’ things like emails and Tweets. Let alone many of our presentations. I’m talking about the details – the fit and finish of the type we use, the style of our charts to inspire understanding rather than just showing the numbers. Making each word in that inter-office email count. So I appreciate this post of craft featuring  Steinway Pianos – how each takes a year and how they don’t know exactly how the construction process works but it just does, or playing instruments and tailoring fine clothes. I’m wondering if we paid a little more attention to the craft of our communications that just maybe we’ll have a better shot at cutting through the clutter and communicating meaning versus noise.

I’m a fan of connecting dots and exploring different ways to look at everyday tools and delight in a-ha moments. While most of us were talking about how Twitter was a Network and Podium drawing the ire of Dan Perez, Tom injected to really fresh thinking that ranks as my ‘a-ha’ moment of the week. Up to now I appreciated the value of Twitter for connecting, sharing and learning from people across the globe via the many neighborhoods you can join. But making a game out of it – particularly a virtual corporation is more than a little intriguing: “Maybe you’d start as an intern (mission – go to a store to take  pictures of competitors products) and work your way up to CMO (mission – organize other players to create a full ad campaign). All the way to CEO.”  A-ha!

As marketers we cannot just think about social media tools as just platforms. We need to think about where they’re taking us. How they’re helping achieve our business objectives while packing a ton of value for our customers (otherwise they’ll go elsewhere of course). I generally think of Facebook more as a personal connection tool rather than business, and am more than a little skeptical at how much they’ll respect my data and privacy. (What privacy?). But thinking in terms of Facebook as a platform rather than destination and what they are really doing is important. Allowing the parts of Facebook like the Like button to be placed off of the platform has some powerful implications this post hints at-especially the notion of it being everywhere. It makes me think about how you can create a platform with your brand, and that it’s something really important to do still so you retain some control as to how it evolves rather than turn it over to Facebook. We’re not fully evolved so it’s a delicate balance between integrating all of the social tools and making sure should any change radically, that your brand has continuity. That it’s able to quickly adapt along the way.

“Your call is very important to us.” How many times have you heard that? Yet as a marketer, how many times have you let that pass as acceptable in your company? Generally speaking, it seems many marketers would rather focus on developing cool campaigns rather than deal with the tough job of helping transform their company into one that’s customer centric. That’s hard work – it requires breaking down silos, patiently converting the skeptics and fearful, and uniting the senior team, customer service and everyone else on a singular focus to delight the customer. You know, the one that pays all of the bills! It’s so much easier to launch a new campaign – and be able to point to an accomplishment.  And in the short term, more rewarding. Maybe that’s why Tom’s cartoon resonated with me, particularly his thought: “…all the marketing dollars invested in animated TV ads and direct mail mail pieces can be evaporated by a couple bad service experiences.”

Since my daughter is now 9 I missed the smart phone revolution, and ease of capturing/sharing carefully selected moments from the hospital, but this post about hospitals banning  photos and video in the delivery highlights an important point: the ulterior motives veiled in the name of protecting your privacy. In this case it’s likely, as Jenn writes, protecting the hospitals from litigation should something go wrong and have it captured on video over patient and staff privacy. I have nothing wrong with developing necessary policies and guidelines, but think as a company and a marketer, it’s important to be clear as to the why. Because customers will find out one way or another – and in most cases they have options. Why squander your hard-earned trust?

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