Sword and the Script

Acknowledgement: One Simple way to Turn Fans into Fanatics



by Frank Strong

turn-fans-into-fanatics

The face was familiar.  I’ve seen that smile many times over the years at the check-out register.  She’s always polite, efficient and makes me feel like a valued customer.  That’s a big reason why I shop there.

It was the weekend.  She wasn’t wearing that same familiar branded polo shirt, but I knew it was her.  I smiled, waved, and started to say hello.

And then it happened.

She walked right past me, looking straight ahead without the slightest glimmer of  recognition.

I was stunned.  It’s not the money I’ve spent in her employer’s store. It’s not the fact I’ve been a loyal customer for five years now.  It’s not even the fact I’ve seen her on a weekly basis that bothers me.  What eats at me is that behavior is not even human.

There are few things in the world as cold as being ignored.  Yet it happens everyday. Read More…

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We are all journalists, but are we editors?



by Frank Strong

 

journalists, editors, citizen journalists

No editors exists on the locks in Paris.

ed·i·tor  noun  1. a person having managerial and sometimes policy-making responsibility for the editorial part of a publishing firm or of a newspaper, magazine, or other publication.

“We’re all editors now.”  So said Mike Huckabee on a satellite radio broadcast of his right-leaning Fox News show, which I heard in between the seemingly ubiquitous advertisements for Reputation.com, and my incessant channel flipping.   The flipping was surely a result of the annoyance with the the sizable volume of Sunday evening traffic on Interstate 95 North.

Even so the contrast struck me as stark.   Read More…

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Social media strategists will be gone in 2 years



by Frank Strong

Britain.  1965.   We’ve had the telephone for nearly 100 years.

The operators in first known (UK) call center proudly call themselves telephone strategists.  Actually they didn’t, but bear with me for the sake of illustration.

The telephone is a tool for conversation. It’s like talking in real life, only callers don’t see each other and they maybe many miles apart.  The term strategist would be a stretch.

When I think of a modern call center, I think of  a support line.  These centers are staffed by customer service specialists or support specialists.  Often they are tiered by experience.  Callers are first routed to lower level specialists; if these first line responders cannot triage, diagnose or remediate a problem, they escalate the problem to the next level.

These people are focused on a well-defined function in business:  service. The tools might change — CRM, instant message, Web chat or Twitter — but the core discipline remains.  Read More…

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Media relations is mission essential for PR



Look closely in the center; who’s on belay?

by Frank Strong

PR pros are loving content marketing.  It’s the chance to create our own audience, to communicate directly with customers and prospects.  That’s all fine and well, but I believe the reason PR pros are good at content is because we are good at media relations.

Consider this:  Army types will understand the concept of a METL — the mission essential task list.  The METL is a guideline to training, where countless lessons learned have proven there are certain essential tasks a Solider must do if they are to have the capability to accomplish a mission if (or in these times when) they are deployed.

For a Soldier, he or she must be able to place accurate fire on an enemy target.  This is essential.  It’s the most basic task in the Army.  Yet the Soldier must be able to perform this task in any condition.  Tired.  Hungry. Wet. Cold.  Hot. Sick. Lonely. Injured.   It comes down to that one task that must be instinctive, ingrained in muscle memory:  sight picture, breathing, trigger squeeze.  Read More…

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PR defined: PR is about third-party validation


PR defined  PR is about third party validation

A rather unfortunate license plate for third party validation.

by Frank Strong

Nothing you say about yourself will have as much impact as someone else saying it on your behalf;  that approaches a definition.

Having just anyone say something on your behalf, won’t carry as much weight as having the right people say it on your behalf; that approaches strategy.

We’ve got to get over the first hurdle if as an industry we’ll ever tackle the next one;  that is a fact.

The definition of PR is controversial in many circles.  In other’s it’s not.

It’s not my intent to rehash the debate.  I’ve done that already here and here and more importantly, long before the debate ensued, here.   You can put lipstick on a pig, but you risk becoming the next pink slime:  an idea communicated so elegantly, that no matter the facts, it the power of the message cannot be overcome. Read More…

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Is attacking a smart PR strategy for start-ups?



by Frank Strong

ReadWriteWeb’s David Copeland addressed an interesting question last week:  How Big Tech Companies Keep Quiet on Big News.   “Some big companies are incredibly forthcoming in the PR strategies, and some startups try hard to fly under the radar,” he wrote.

And that caused me to think of a different question:  do start-ups benefit by going on the attack and criticizing competitors?

I’ve seen this so many times over my career (having spent a majority of it working with start-ups) and yet finding examples of where this worked are few and far between.  Usually such calls are punctuated with a rally cry like, “power to the people,” or something along those lines.

Going on the attack has never been my style, it might work in political communications, but for business, I think it’s a turn off.

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Why you should comment on blogs



by Frank Strong

Generally speaking blog comments are down, meaning it just doesn’t happen as much any more.  I noticed on Brian Solis’ blog tonight, a very good post, with very little reaction. It’s puzzling.  That post has currently earned some 700 social shares, with but just three comments (currently).

Just the other day I was having this conversation with my colleague, about Gini Dietrich’s blog. Gini’s got a fraction of the followers Brian has, but so many more comments (of late). Read More…

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Indelible montage for Memorial Day



by Frank Strong

We cherish too, the Poppy redThat grows on fields where valor led,It seems to signal to the skiesThat blood of heroes never dies. - Moina Michael, as cited by USMemorialDay.org.

I don’t have words for the holiday, but here’s how to observe Memorial Day and the History Channel has some interesting facts. If you work in marketing or PR, here’s what not to do.  I find it distasteful.  Good initiative; poor judgement.   Instead, I’m offering a few things that have moved me this weekend, a montage of sorts. Many of these photos and graphics are items my own friends have shared on social media. 

  1.  “If not me, then who…” writes Tom Manion quoting his son Travis who was killed on his second deployment in the Wall Street Journal. The quote is a reference to Travis thoughts about returning for #2:  if he went again, his service might keep safe a junior Marine.  Manion Senior, it’s worth noting, served for 30 years.  His article details dozens of sacrifices, including Devin Snyder, 20-year old NCO her mother describes as a “girly-girl.”  She was killed by a road side bomb in Afghanistan.  Sen. John McCain, a veteran himself tweeted a link.
  2. “The more I thought about myself, the weaker I became. The more I recognized that I was serving a purpose larger than myself, the stronger I became,” said Eric Greitens in a commencement speech to Tufts University. The author of this CNN post goes on to quote Longfellow, “The life of man consists not in seeing visions and in dreaming dreams but in active charity and in willing service.”  The reference to “man” should be considered gender neutral, as my first post point notes, the veteran sacrifice is without regard to sex.
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When is the best time to listen?



by Frank Strong

There are a lot of posts on the web recently about “when is the best time to post,” but the question that goes un-asked is when is the best time to listen?

Oh, I understand, we all want people to read, share and discuss our content, so it makes perfect sense that we’d want to know the optimal time down to the millisecond to post a link on Twitter, or update a Facebook status.

But what about listening?  Remember that word?  Along with “transparency” and “authenticity” and similar words and phrases that now seem cliche, those words used to be a pillar in social media, but today they strike me more as punch lines.  Read More…

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