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posted by Will Weatherly Jul 21,2016 @ 12:51PM

Businesses Are Just People Too

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For nearly a year, social media mogul and notorious speaker Gary Vaynerchuk has been honing a message. Infamous in marketing circles for his long history of brash, profane, egotistical-at-first-listen presentations near the cross streets of culture and marketing, Gary’s newest barb is as pointed as always. But now, alongside the release of his new book, he’s jabbing it at individuals not industries.

His point?


Self-awareness.

In his words…

 

“There is something that is rarely talked about in the business world and I want to start building more attention for it.
 
That thing is self-awareness…
 
… Self-awareness allows people to recognize what things they do best so they can then go hard on those aspects of their life. It also helps you accept your weaknesses.What works for one person doesn’t work for everyone. I want people to learn to be at peace with themselves, to understand what they can offer, because everyone’s got something. The key, however, is learning how to find it.
 
Self-awareness can help you do that.
 
Self-awareness is being able to accept your weaknesses while focusing all of your attention on your strengths. The moment you decide to accept your shortcomings and bet entirely on your strengths, things will change. Trust me.”

 

Now, with this idea, Gary openly aims to poke holes in the mythology of entrepreneurism that’s being inflated by the business community, its incubators, accelerators, and startup weekends.

But that’s not what’s interesting to me.

 

What’s interesting are the implications for business.

See, I’ve come to believe businesses are just people too.

Businesses have life in them. When they’re young, they need nourishment and protection to grow. They need relationships with people that love them, who are willing to buy. They need unique parts of themselves to get along with each other, teams to keep things functioning and life flowing. These are all essential to survival.

But what if a business wants to do more than survive?

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What if a business wants to achieve as much as possible? To contribute something incredible to the world, something special, something unique, something only that business has the physical and conscious makeup to create?

 

What might it take to self-actualize such a thing?

Maybe first, it would take esteem.

Maybe first, it would take self-awareness.

The concrete, confident knowlege of what that business does best. To have crystal clarity on its strengths. To embrace its flaws and own its weaknesses. To see vividly into its blind spots. To regularly reflect inward. To understand when, where, and why its elements are not aligned.

If that’s what it took, how might a business get such self-awareness?

Dig around “GaryVee” long enough and you’ll find his best piece of advice for people is to… ask.

So, maybe that's good advice for business too. 

 

Ask who?

Ask the people who love you. 

Ask every part of yourself. 

Ask some strangers.

Triangulate.

 

 

posted by Kevin Smith Jul 14,2016 @ 04:09PM

Loving Your Work

Our annual 24-hour pro bono marketing marathon, CreateAthon, is in the works again. We are receiving applications now for our nineteenth CreateAthon. While skills-based volunteerism existed fifteen years ago, it has been heartening to see it evolve from a concept embraced mostly by lawyers into a national business movement.

Part of that momentum is being driven by A Billion + Change, an organization leading efforts to expand the number of companies committed to skills-based and pro bono service. To date, they have engaged more than 5,000 companies of every size, industry and geography to donate over five billion dollars worth of services. The vision of A Billion + Change is to transform business culture so that all companies in America will respond to the needs of their communities.

The benefits of skills-based volunteerism are many: building morale, improving community relations and fostering leadership skills. Every year, I’m amazed at how staying up all night actually reenergizes our company. (After a recovery weekend, of course.) In fact, when I consider all that CreateAthon has meant to our business, it is difficult to imagine why one wouldn’t lend their skills to a cause. Yet I understand the excuses. “We’re too small.” “We don’t have time.” “What we do doesn’t translate well to volunteerism.”

I thought of these excuses, and how each one applied to “Get Fit for Good,” an effort by Matt Potts, a college student and trainer at Fit Columbia. “Get Fit for Good” is a pay what you want, twice-weekly workout class with proceeds benefiting Innersole, a charity providing athletic shoes to children who are homeless or in need. It’s one guy spending an hour a week doing what he loves, helping people get fit, all the while raising money for kids. Matt reminds me that many times excuses are just that, and you can usually find a way to make pro bono work.

Most companies have charitable programs in place. From blood drives to fundraising and corporate giving, it’s always meaningful to give back. But there is a unique satisfaction in knowing that the skills that provide for your family can provide for someone in need as well. It reminds you of what drew you to your field, and provides a renewed sense of energy and purpose to the work at hand. If you love what you do, figure out how to give it away ­– for good.

posted by Jillian Owens Jul 06,2016 @ 04:33PM

Interacting Out: Channeling the Power of Experience in Social Media

Even the most antisocial introvert requires some sort of interaction in their daily lives. We have to interact with the cashier at Publix, otherwise we don’t get to gnaw shamelessly on a wedge of gouda later that evening. We interact with coworkers, family members, acquaintances and friends. If you stopped to count every time you connected with another human in some way, no matter how miniscule, you’d probably be surprised at how high that number was.

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We recently launched an interactive campaign that challenged fans to declutter a room in their homes and share their successes. By gamifying a tedious chore, we increased engagement and donations for our client, Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands South Carolina.

 

But what percentage of these people do you truly interact with in a meaningful way that you remember for a long time afterwards? It’s probably not that huge of a number (unless you’re just one of those delightful/delighted people that find joy in every connection in which case I envy you and want to know your secret or what meds you’re taking).

All interactions are not created equal in real life, so why would you treat all of your social media interactions as though they were of equal value? The conversation you have with the guy at the deli probably isn’t as meaningful as a heart-to-heart with your best friend.

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The campaign was a success! The client saw a 42% increase in engagement on Facebook & Twitter, and a whopping 270% engagment increase on Instagram (compared to passive content).

 

A new study by Content Marketing Institute reveals that creators of interactive content experiences are shaping the future of digital marketing. And that’s a great thing for our clients and their customers.

In the past, a lot of digital content has been passive. Think of display ads, blog posts, pop up ads, video ads, etc. Like an in-person one-sided conversation, it can be a turnoff. Brands spend at lot of their resources talking at their audience, rather than fostering valuable and memorable experiences for them that lead to brand recognition, loyalty, and ultimately conversions. 

There is a glut of digital content out there and customers are getting fed up with it. They don’t want your content unless it’s helpful, entertaining or both.

Facebook’s recent announcement that it would continue making changes to the news feed ranking to favor updates from people rather than pages has put the importance of referral traffic at an all time high. One of the best ways to do this is by tapping into that part of human nature that wants to interact. We’re kinesthetic. We want to do.

What types of content are interactive though? Quizzes, surveys, calculators, contests, infographics with embedded interactive features (like the CMI one you just clicked on earlier), as well as games are all great examples of how brands can educate and engage with their audience in a meaningful way.

Stats don’t lie.

A conversion study by Demand Metric shows how dramatically more effective interactive content is at educating an audience than passive content.

interactive-content-more-effective-than-passive-content_1.pngI was out for an evening with friends a few weeks ago. When a stranger discovered I was a marketer, he asked me what “the next big thing” is for digital marketing.

My answer?

Brands are going to have to learn how to connect with their customers in increasingly life-improving ways and help them have a little fun by adopting gamifaction strategies in order to remain competitive.

We have be creators of experiences, not just content.

 

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By the numbers

youtube is 2nd largest search engine