Thursday, 31 January 2008

Jump In! #10: Ad guy Jerry Beale

(Find out more at Social media is changing everything, including advertising. Today Marie talks with Jerry Beale, strategic and creative director at Radical Alice about: * What's changing in advertising * What marketers can do * How to get started * Why Radical Alice no longer has a MySpace page! Never miss a Jump In! Subscribe at  

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Five steps to Socratic Listening

I've been reading Socratic Listening, a free whitepaper put out by the folks at Communispond, and it had some wise words to say about the process of listening ... really listening.

Here's my cut-down, reworded summary:

  1. provocative question. Not provocative as in "why are you so freakin' ugly?" ... but as in "what prompted your interest in..." - something that elicits a story. Stories are powerful.
  2. listen. Really really really listen.
  3. playback in order to get clarification. Not just parroting back their words, but clarifying the ideas they're expressing, using logic to tie together different things they've said, getting a full understanding.
  4. demonstrate knowledge by asking knowledgeable questions. Don't demonstrate knowledge by saying stuff you know. It only makes you feel good, but can be really distracting.
  5. don't miss the question behind the question. People may not want the answer, they want to learn something else. "why do you ask?"

For example, the author of the e-book once had someone ask if Communispond provided executive training. He launched into a big sales pitch about how many senior execs they'd trained, and at such a high level. Turns out the client actually was sick of companies only focusing on the top, and instead wanted someone who focused on middle managers. The question wasn't what it seemed to be.

Well worth a proper read, if you've enjoyed my little summary.

Next on my reading list, TomPeters!' 111 thoughts about selling.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

The post I posted just to get free stuff

I've heard of Mark Joyner as long as I've been in business, so an offer that would normally raise a question mark instead has me slavishly following it.

All I have to do is post a piece of code like this:

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

and then point them to this post and I'll get Mark's course on blogging - for free.

This is clever because a) I get a free product, but I still know it's valuable because I had to do something to get it, and b) Joyner gets a helluva lot of link love. Happy to send the love your way, man, as long as your blogging course is good! :)

Monday, 28 January 2008

Quote of the day

"Persuasion can never be performed, only facilitated."

From a piece I'm reading put out by Communispond.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Jump In #9: 68-year-old music pioneer David Garratt

Find out more at | Today's Jump In is a little different, showing how social media can help anyone. In 1968 David Garratt and his wife Dale transformed church music. Forty years later, David's still pioneering, using social media to spark discussions on the use of indigenous music in worship. It's really interesting to hear David's perceptions of the benefits of social media. He's seen beyond mere technology to the real purpose of social media - connecting people. Never miss a Jump In! Subscribe at  

Friday, 18 January 2008

Jump In! #8: Direct marketer Ben Goodale, pt 2

Find out more at ... Simon continues the conversation with direct marketer Ben Goodale. Ben sounds off on... blogs (why he doesn't read them) ... podcasting (why they may struggle in New Zealand) and managing your personal brand online. :: Get the latest Jump In for free in iTunes or on the web. Subscribe at  

Thursday, 17 January 2008

What does it take to learn?

It's been a pretty tight January, which is normal for this time of year, but this is the first time we're in an actual office - one with a large rent to pay every month.

Marie and I are using this time to learn as much as we can about planning and budgeting, and it's a very liberating experience. Having a plan, a limit and a goal actually sets us free from worry. We've planned capacity and expenditure in advance, almost for the entire month, so we don't have to think so much abou each purchase.

Which makes me reflect, why don't we do this when things are going really well? Sure, we get all the bills paid when there's plenty of money, but we haven't been too specific on annual, quarterly and monthly goals. 

Sometimes it takes a hardship or a limitation to really teach us something. I think the systems that we're learning are going to stick, even as our income picks up (and it already is). They'll stick because they're fun! And because they work.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Mark lives in Ikea - a win-win advertising model

Marie just told me about Mark is a comedian and filmmaker who had nowhere to stay for a week, so approached Ikea to live in their store. Innovative!

In return, he films it, and provides interesting content. Here's why I think Ikea are very smart to take this on:

* It's short-term
* It's win-win
* It's a great story
* That story will stick around, even when Mark gets to move back into his apartment
* It's funny, and as marketing guru John McEnroe said, "You cannot be serious"
* Mark's already got the production capacity, and (presumably) an audience

It's also great for Mark's personal brand. Like I said, win-win. How many other, similar opportunities are lying around near you today?

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Storytelling and jobseeking

I recently posted to the WorkingStories group about the link between storytelling and recruitment.

After helping someone with their resume, I wondered if there wasn't a more powerful, even mythical way to sell talent.

Here are a few thoughts I've had since then. This is lifted from an email to someone else who asked me about storytelling and selling yourself:

hard to tell your own story. Roy H Williams, the Wizard of Ads, says
it's because it's hard (if not impossible) to read the label on a
bottle... from inside the bottle!

So it always helps to get some help, whether from a professional
career counsellor or wordsmith, or just a close friend, family member
or your spouse. Someone who can give you honest, relatively objective

It's also helpful to keep in mind the structures of the greatest
stories ever told - from ancient legends to blockbuster movies. They
generally follow what's called the Hero's Journey, and you can read
more about that in a book of the same name by Joseph Campbell. I haven't read the book myself, but have come across these principles in many workshops and seminars on storytelling.

They are:

1. The call to adventure - eg Luke Skywalker has an opportunity to get
off Tatooine and make a real difference, but...

2. Reluctance prevents him answering that call. The status quo is too
comfortable, the call is too risky. But then..

3. The inciting incident happens. Something happens that just propels
our hero into the action, almost inevitably.

4. Trials and troubles. Drama is all about conflict, and these trials
and troubles show what our hero is made of.

5. Returning with the elixir. Many mythologies have a solitary hero
returning to the status quo situation in the beginning, with something
that will make a lasting difference. For example, the holy grail,
excalibur, the fountain of youth, etc.

I've really cut these down to bare basics, but that's the kind of
formula top Hollywood screenwriters use to tell their whole story.

What on earth does this have to do with career and resumes? That's the
connection I'm trying to find. Obviously the hero's journey takes a
bit of a long time, but here's the formula I'm picking will work:

1. Problem meets passion. Who are you, where do you come from, and
what do you see about the world differently from everyone else? What
do you want to see changed in your world?

(For me, it's communication. I see so many people misunderstanding
each other, and I can see both points of view. So that's led to my
passion to communicate clearly and in a way that breaks through
stereotypes and assumptions)

2. What was your inciting incident? When did things kind of "click"
for you? Particularly in a career change time, what can you take from
your old career that will enhance your new career?

(For me, I began writing in the fields of advertising, marketing and
journalism. A few years ago I decided to focus on entertainment and
the arts instead, only to realise that the lessons learned in the arts
were incredibly powerful for marketing and communications. It's like
finding a familiar landmark through another path.)

3. What's your vision for the future? The Hero's journey shows the
hero bringing home the holy grail (etc) in the past tense, but you're
right in the middle of your journey/story. What are you going to do?
When you do it, what will be the result?

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Jump In #7: Direct marketer Ben Goodale

Visit us at ... Simon Young speaks with Ben Goodale from 1:1 agency justOne about ... how social networking changes everything ... fake blogs ... and what Second Life means for kiwi marketers. Part 1 of 2. ... Get the latest Jump In for free in iTunes or on the web. Subscribe at  

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

37Signals still sucks, but at least they have an exit survey

I've found that in the web 2.0 world I expect companies to listen to me, even though only a few actually do.

A while back I blogged about how 37Signals makes it nearly impossible to downgrade your account once you've signed up to a paid one. I got no response from that post, or from the email I sent them, so today I cancelled my account.

They have one redeeming feature: an exit survey. When I have cancelled is exactly when I want to give you a piece of my mind. So hopefully 37Signals really reads and takes action based on these exit surveys.

But it does beg the question - why couldn't they listen before?

Friday, 4 January 2008

The difference social-ity really makes

I'm writing an article, usually a very solitary job and not my favourite thing, even though I'm a writer.

But this one's different.

This is a piece for February's Idealog Magazine about social networking, and I'm getting all Meta.

One of the features is a top 10 list of things you need to know about social networking. I could figure it out myself, or I could ask the community.

So I did! I just Twittered.

This makes the whole process much more interesting, much more like a conversation - which, ironically, is what I've always been striving toward in my writing.

I look forward to seeing what the community comes up with!

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Jump In #6: Paul Reynolds part 2

Visit us at Marie Young discusses social media with TV tech talker Paul Reynolds. In this episode ... should a blog be part of a corporate site, or separate? Is Social Media a waste of time? ... and Generation X's deep dark secret. Get the latest Jump In for free in iTunes or on the web. Subscribe at