Sword and the Script

10 leadership tips for 1:1 meetings with employees



10 tips for 11 meetings with employeesThe military places an enormous emphasis on “counseling” — 1:1 meetings between leaders and subordinates that define the tasks, conditions and standards.  That is to say clearly defining the job to be done, the conditions in which those tasks will be carried out, and the standard or measurement to be achieved.

The same leadership principles are easily transferable to management in the civilian world, and I always enjoy writing about how my part-time work in the Army relates to my full-time work in PR.

To that end, here are 10 tips for 1:1 meetings.

1.Be disciplined.   The best thing that manager can provide to an employee is their undivided attention.  Turn your phone off…whatever it is can wait 30 minutes. Read More…

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Smart things: From Giraffes to CMOs (2.3.12)


New numbers from Facebook, a toddler with marketing genius and the CMO Council’s lastest survey are part of this week’s “Smart Things” post — a weekly wrap up with commentary of some of the most interesting things I’ve seen, read or heard about marketing and PR this week.

1. The 3 year-old brand manager.  Sainsbury may be the oldest retailer in London, but it’s clearly open to new ideas.  According to The Telegraph, Sainsbury renamed it’s fresh baked bread from “Tiger” to “Giraffe” after a 3 year-old, with parental help, responded to a Facebook campaign aimed at re-branding the product.  Reportedly the little girl felt the delicious spots on the bread bore a stronger resemblance to a giraffe’s spots than tiger stripes. The company has enjoyed positive coverage in trades, the HuffPost and at least 145 comments in one Reddit thread. Add Sainsbury’s efforts to similar campaigns, like well-conceived contests, to the line up of especially effective and creative PR moves (Photo credit:  Sainsbury’s Facebook page).

“It should be called Giraffe bread.”

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Fewer corporate bloggers means more opportunity


corporate bloggers

Less bloggers? More opportunity?

by Frank Strong

A new study out of UMASS Dartmouth suggests that blogging among the Inc. 500 is down. The percentage of corporations blogging dropped 13% from 2010 to 2011 and marks the first time a decline has been spotted since 2007.

There’s irony here since 92% of those using a business blog say it’s successful and that’s up several points from last year.

Conclusion?  The companies that are blogging are doing so with good success, but blogging overall has fallen from favor as compared with the previous years. Read More…

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Smart things: buzz and snappy science (1.26.12)


Smart things – bookmark them, write them down and turn them into a blog post.  In hopes of sharing some content I’ve found interesting and noteworthy, here are five smart things I’ve heard lately.

1.   Negative buzz vs. crisis on social media.  “Brands with social media experience know they don’t need to respond to every ounce of negative buzz in the social sphere; often, letting consumer brand advocates do it for them can address the problem while also showing how loyal some customers are to the company.”  eMarketer: Do Social Media Postings Always Require a Brand Response? 
2.   The few dominate the many. “Twitter provides both an overwhelming amount of data and is dominated by a minority of influential users.”  Melissa Parrish‘s Forrester blog: Twitter: Is Anybody Doing It “Right”?
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5 Creative PR and Marketing Ideas



Seven creative PR and marketing ideasNot everyone gets feedback from David Pouge or Robert Scoble for their PR pitches, but creative PR and marketing ideas do have a way of earning the right attention all on their own – and hopefully from customers.  I like to keep an eye out for those really creative ideas, but the reality is they don’t come along every day:   The list of seven below was nearly a year in the making.

1. Earning more blog comments.  “Commenting seems to have decreased over the past six years,” wrote Geoff Livingston on his blog recently.  You wouldn’t know it by the number of quality comments on Adam Singer’s blog, The Future Buzz. Perhaps that’s because Adam does something very clever in rewarding great commenters:  every so often, he turns the best comments on his blog into a blog post.  It’s a savvy tactic I’ve also observed elsewhere, like Mack Collier’s blog.  People like to be acknowledged for their thoughts and this is certainly a nice way of doing it; bonus for re-using great content to develop an easy, but value added blog post. Read More…

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Prediction #3: Marketers regain sense of control



Note:  this is the third and final prediction in a series of predictions I’m making for 2012.  The first two can be read here:  Prediction #2: Favor tips towards credible media and Prediction #1: Social media slides down the pedestal.

Marketers are no longer in control of their brands.  Do you believe it?  I did.  But as in my first prediction, my thinking is changing. 


As I’ve spent nearly a year away from my day job in PR, I’ve found the distance has given me a new perspective.  Sometimes we need to step back to see things in perspective.  Geoff Livingston’s post (the photo credit also belongs to Geoff via Flickr), The Customer Is Not Your CMO, made it click in my mind: Read More…
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Prediction #2: Favor tips towards credible media


Note: this is the second of three predications I’m making for 2012.  The first one is out and can be read here:  Prediction #1: Social media slides down the pedestal.

There’s a growing backlash against infographics.  The backlash scale ranges from the inevitable call for the death of infographics to mere issues with aesthetics, but I think The Atlantic was the most scathing.  It classified infographics as a plague.  

“95% of infographics from unknown sites are full of distortions and lies inserted by internet marketers to get you to link to their websites,” reads a presumably satirical infographic. The article continues by pointing out the factual in accuracies of several popular infographics including the “Hazards of Hospitals” and the “Prison/Princeton.”

To PR pros, this criticism is similar to that of surveys (here’s a little anecdote about the Pope and surveys that sums it up this criticism).  However, this time I think it’s different – and it’s indicative of an underlying theme:  a trend towards credible media.
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Prediction #1: Social media slides down the pedestal


Blog posts on predictions are predictable and common.  Forecasts range from what sort of content will flourish, what networks will thrive and how the behavior of consumers – and by extension marketers – will change are plentiful. 

Many of these predictions are well-grounded, but even as a social media enthusiast, I’m beginning to get a sense that the allure of social media is waning. 

In making predictions I offer a caveat:   social media will continue to be an important part of content consumption and marketing.  However, I tend to think of social media behavior in the context of Tuckman’s stages for group development.  
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Media coverage drove Twitter’s growth, report says




Media coverage drove Twitter’s user base, which now rests at about 300 million. That’s the conclusion of a new report which analyzed the site’s growth pattern from 2006 to 2009.

In case it’s overlooked, it wasn’t a self-anointed PR measurement guru that drew this quaint conclusion, but rather MIT civil and environmental engineers that used the analogy of contagion, which epidemiologists and viral marketers alike, will find familiar. Contagion is the process of how diseases are transmitted.

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Twitter’s aimpoint centers on clients


Several years ago, a client of mine and venture capitalist said to me there were three reasons for one company to acquire another:  to acquire technology, to acquire customers, or to kill the competition.

Few were surprised then when Twitter acquired Tweetdeck for a reported $40 million because they were addressing a trend:  more and more users were using unofficial client applications to interact on Twitter rather than using Twitter.com.  Actual numbers were conflicting.  At the low end, about 40% of users were estimated to be using clients (i.e. Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, CoTweet, listing), while at the high end, insiders at Twitter said that number was upwards of 90%.  In any case, at least 40 million users enjoyed the service, but avoided the interface.
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