Chuck Kent is President/Creative Director of Creative on Call, Inc. the branding and creative services company that helps marketers identify and communicate the simple truth about their brands.
Good points on better mechanisms of internal communications... I think the other stumbling block to getting good reception for messages even when well and thoroughly delivered is perceived intent. Corporate audiences, subjected to constant re-orgs, right-sizings, etc. can be understandably skeptical off the real intent behind a CEOs messages... unless that CEO, like a good pastor, has demonstrated (not just proclaimed) her and the corporation's willingness to listen to and serve.
1 day, 19 hours ago on Internal Communications, Sunday Style
@RobBiesenbach I agree that they/we/me-myself-I all play fast and loose with the whole notion of story these days... However, I think that one way the perversely pervasive invocation of story can be helpful is if it gets an organization to totally shift its mindset for all communications away from corporate-centric and toward customer-centric, in the most human ways possible. This may not turn a food company's packaging copy into Graham Greene or even the latest winner of a Moth story slam (and hey, is that getting over-exposed, too?), but it may earn a better reception for that or any communication and thereby make it more effective overall.
4 days, 9 hours ago on The Five Parts to Brand Storytelling Nearly Everyone Misses
You hit something here that has always confounded me... big bloggers / content mavens with big followings that sort of but don't exactly know what your business-beyond-the-blog provides (I notice that even Mr. Baer, in his most recent website update, made that much clearer). So good for you..I'm off to share this with folks who need to make those plans... and have them work!
3 weeks, 4 days ago on It’s Planning Season! Plan to Work With Us!
Rather than lunge cliff-ward like Thelma and Louise and die "young, beautiful, and happy," may you continue to lunge fear-ward and "live young, beautiful and happy." Oh, what a minute... you've got at least two of the three covered... here's hoping "happy" makes it into your Friday lineup today, too.
4 weeks ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition: Jess Ostroff
belllindsay, So, does this mean I can't swipe all of Gini's selfie's from CM World and retouch them to switch her head with Jay Baer's and Mark Schaefer's? Damn!
Music is a tough one, too. The good news in my case: The Today Show used a song I recorded a few years ago as the opener for a segment for several days. The bad news.. they didn't ask... or pay.. and apparently this is fairly routine, with little practical (i.e., affordable) recourse when it comes to fighting a big company.
1 month, 3 weeks ago on Visual Content, Confusion, and Copyright Laws
@Danny Brown It's tough to tell a convincingly, honestly human story when you've got a committee of storytellers on both the client and agency sides guiding, tweaking and judging the story, so yes, it is, at least organizationally, a seemingly no-win situation for brands. All the more amazing, I suppose, when a big brand actually pulls it off.
3 months, 1 week ago on THIS Is How You Do Brand Storytelling
The best brand stories are true stories; not that you can't use fiction, as McDonald's attempts here, but to your point, the fiction has to be illuminated by a core brand truth. This McD spot is simply an ad agency' stylishly gratuitous attempt to falsely shift the brand personality. The Duracell initiatve may be taken to task as a gimmick, as Howie Goldfarb does below, but Duracell at least constructed a world scenario in which brands and consumers could interact to illuminate a little of each other's truth.
"... most content distribution is just kindergarten." Clay, you've always given the impression of a guy who definitely isn't going to let his clients' content nap.
4 months ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition: Clay Morgan
@KateNolan @creativeoncall Yes, one can hardly argue with the audience-creating value (and industry-show attraction) of a good, hold-it-in-your-hands book (I like them for the ability to mark interesting passages with analog Post-Its... you should see my copy of Spin Sucks. Also, at this very moment, I am knee deep in print projects for the senior living sector... direct mail, big, multi-page broadsheet newspaper inserts... and this for a demographic that I believe is rapidly adopting table use. Keep those presses rolling! (Of course, when I interview people for advertorial inserts, I capture them on video, too, for digital use)
4 months, 3 weeks ago on Four Marketing Tactics that Continue to Live On
@ginidietrich @creativeoncall You mean the 12" high, wide and deep 20 lb catalog? I've been considering a blog post "Is Hubris a Valid Brand Positioning"... in any case, if a medium is still valued as a sign of corporate excess, it ain't dead yet (but that' s not where I see print's value)
I have to agree with Howie Goldfarb on the assessment of the cited post as "silly" (I would also add "self-serving"). And to your list of what will survive, I'd add print. Oh, it may be diminished, but I think he too gleefully ignores, in his digital-business-building fantasy, the continued charm of physical presence and even touch. Yes, print advertising will continue to take a hit, but direct mail... count on your real mailbox to continue filling up.
4 months, 4 weeks ago on Four Marketing Tactics that Continue to Live On
@ginidietrich @creativeoncall I remember when I worked in a truck wheel factory during my college summers, one of the full-time guys could say almost nothing else, once employing the F word 7 times in a 14 word sentence. I figured, well, it's lack of education (judgmental, arrogant colllege kid that I was), and that I'd never run into that in an office environment. Ha! But then, like you, I'm just a naive kid from Goody Two Shoes Land (Des Moines in my case)
5 months, 3 weeks ago on Sucks is a Bad Word
Throughout my "not short" career, I've been amazed and disappointed at the use of obscenity in business dialogue, not so much that it's offensive, but that it's so unimaginative. But then, I anything word that is overused loses it's power (could we please get the social-content-digtial world to quite flogging "EPIC!" and "ROCKSTAR!" etc.). In that regard, sucks has lost some of it's power, including negative impact, but in your instance, But as a brand name, it conveys what you're about and the spirit in which you pursue it. As others note here, it may simply help weed out the clients you likely wouldn't have a great relationship with anyway.
So Suck On! (No, no... scratch that... the word does has limits to how it can be spun).
OK, so I'm reading this thinking.. hmm.. bit of confused metaphor in the headline? I mean, I'm not a baseball guy, but I don't think that one typically wants to pitch a home run. That means you let the other player hit it out of the park. But wait.. that's brilliant! In this sort of pitching, you're not adversarial, you're looking for the old win-win.. and, to your point about knowing what the media needs, the perfect pitch is the one that will make the journalist and media outlet a winner. Play ball!(BTW, as I say, I'm not much of a baseball guy.. which may explain why I'm also a Cubs fan...)
6 months, 1 week ago on Pitch Perfect: The Mechanics of Media Relations
@RobBiesenbach "...in business people will call anything a story." Good understatement
7 months ago on Why Marketers Should Write Fiction
I agree... learning, or even seriously attempting, to create art, be it fiction, poetry, a short film or a narrative photo or illustration, makes us better communicators. Over the years I've always encouraged students looking to get into the business to first study how to think (I still like the liberal arts) and share their thoughts creatively before bothering to study advertising or marketing (sorry, but you can better learn that on the job, assuming you bring some human-to-human skils with you).
Another county heard from... you all might enjoy Nick Westergaard's post on the same subject today, illustrated by a very recent personal anecdote involving Garrison Keillor... http://ow.ly/vdI4W
7 months ago on Why We Won’t Shut Off Blog Comments
Nice perspective, Nick (and I'm jealous you got to go see Prairie Home Companion). I think it's also a matter of what kind of media we imagine our blogs being... social media, implying dialogue, or just plain old media, in which case disconnecting comments and proceeding in monologue mode is, I suppose, appropriate. The latter is doubtless more profitable for the copybloggers of the world; most of the reset of us will do well to not only work the crowd but remember to reward it as personally as possible.
7 months ago on Crowd Work: A Case for Not Removing Blog Comments
@jolynndeal @RobBiesenbach @ThePaulSutton I second that!
7 months, 1 week ago on Why We Won’t Shut Off Blog Comments
@jasonkonopinski I think that's just it... they've moved from being social media ( a blog) to just plain old-fashioned media. Not necessarily anything wrong with that... just not particularly appealing if you're into engaging conversations and give and take versus media monologue.
@biggreenpen @creativeoncall Nah, too late... already bought my copy. I'm holding out for a job... hey, maybe I can be Gini's office Stedman, you know, the guy who seems to fill an important role but who is never actually seen doing anything?
7 months, 1 week ago on Social Media Connections and Landing a Great Job
Personally, I think ginidietrich is doing to have to go all Oprah on us and give everybody commenting here a job...
@Eleanor Pierce @creativeoncall Well, that ginidietrich LOVES to sing on-camera (I actually have some video to sort of prove it), so when you come to town I think we should arrange that
Eleanor... good points all, and quite nicely made in the video not embedded above. Let's fix that: http://youtu.be/_H6c86lM6VM
Oh, one other thing to fix... I can clearly see musical instruments hanging in the background of your video. Did Gini not explain that one literally has to sing for one's supper around here? So c'mon, let's hear it. We'll expect a song next week...
Change is good. It's also much more interested than not changing, so thanks. At the start of the year I changed #SocialSong Saturday (largely inspired by one Gini Dietrich, as noted in the first installment) to a once a month affair, featuring one song about an issue raised by one person (who, yes, is worth following)... of course, I'm already a month behind, but that's another story...
Now, on to the Inquisition!
7 months, 3 weeks ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition is Coming!
@KateFinley @creativeoncall What gets my heart? Adoption. I particularly like Jiangxi China Orphan Aid https://www.facebook.com/JiangxiChinaOrphanAid... my daughters were both born in China, the eldest in Jiangxi Province. What get's my time? The family we're all adopted into: church. I love teaching Sunday School (a surprisingly apt application of a career that's taught me to distill messages and make them entertaining enough so people will pay attention). I've also become the volunteer creative department for our church, which is a very open, service-oriented place.
7 months, 3 weeks ago on Are We Too Busy for Compassion? Give … Like a Boss.
Kate, I've dealt with this tension in my own career for, well, the whole career. In addition to finding our own compassionate investments outside of work, I've found it important to figure out how to infuse my capitalistic pursuits with a greater sense of worth. The best counsel I ever heard on the subject – from my pastor when I lived in NYC to all of his successful-or-seeking-success, hard-charging congregants attending church on 5th Avenue – was that we can all give our daily work meaning if we approach every job as being sacred (not a term you hear much in marketing), if we harness ourselves to the task of making our client's, employee's and co-workers days better in any way, however small, that we can... and if we stick to the truth in a world that, at best, is too expedient to pay it much mind. We can "spend our lives" doing something, or we can invest them. It's a daily choice... now, let's see how I do today...
(And thanks for the thoughtful post)
ginidietrich I missed the exchange, and will need to read the full stream of tweets (wishing Storify had a way to streamline it), but I will offer one word of advice about that debate idea... Louis Gudema was one of my debate team partners in high school, and I could rarely keep up. Just sayin'... let the debate begin!
7 months, 3 weeks ago on Where Should You Build Community?
Hey, Gini, I featured her first!!! (And thanks for the shout out). Charm, wit, intelligence... all things we need more of. Good to see you here, Amanda. Hope to see you at Wine and Web.
8 months, 1 week ago on #FollowFriday: Amanda Gant
@belllindsay oh, so THAT's Gini meant when she said she'd slipped between the covers with Mark... whew...
8 months, 2 weeks ago on Join Mark Schaefer for a Special Livefyre Q&A Today
Great post Howie.. and Happy Birthday Gini! Particularly like the kid vid birthday cards. Just wish I could hear Jack Bauer sing....
8 months, 3 weeks ago on Follow Monday: Say Happy Birthday to Gini Dietrich!
8 months, 3 weeks ago on #FollowFriday: Kevin Vandever
Ooops.... Gini kindly caught a big typo (Kevin's name) on my first caption image... here's here caption contest offering... Now c'mon, all you other so-called crazies, let's hear yours...
OK, Kevin and everybody, this is all too polite (even with Howie Goldfarb weighing in)... and that photo just begs for a caption contest.. .so here goes.. my entry is below. Anybody else?
Kevin, Welcome to the most questionable club to which you will ever belong. Now... where's our wine?
@ginidietrich I don't see it (just) as a reward for the long-winded, but for those who are will to dig, and think, a little deeper. It helps get us all past "life in the shallow end," the intellectual short-changing that superficial content creation and consumption can create, a la Nicholas Carr's "The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains,' a book I consider to be scarily brilliant.
8 months, 4 weeks ago on The Role of Long-Form Content in Brand Journalism
I'd glad there's this general "liberation of long form" going on. It's more fun to be able to break out of a 500 word box and let posts go (meaningfully) longer... it's also better for everybody. Jonathan Salem Baskin has a great book on the benefits of forgoing brevity: "A Thousand Words: Why We Must Fight the Tyranny of the Brief, Vague and Incomplete." Going long(er) certainly helps.
Good to see you here Jason... happy #FF!
9 months ago on #FollowFriday: Jason Roberts
@jenzings Great illustration of consumer disappointment (leading to distrust) when content misrepresents itself
9 months ago on Brand Journalism: How to Use Sponsored Content
@RobBiesenbach @creativeoncall @ginidietrich I agree... no one likes to be fooled
I can't find much research. A NYT article on the FTC and native advertising includes this blurb: " David J. Franklyn, a professor at the University of San Francisco law school, said preliminary results from his research showed that as many as 35 percent of the consumers in groups he has studied could not identify an advertisement even when it said “advertisement” on it. Roughly half, he said, indicated they did not know what the word “sponsored” meant.
Perhaps more important, he said, is that one-third of consumers say they do not care if something is an advertisement or is editorial material, and many would be more likely to click through to an item if they knew it was an ad."
So perhaps my aversion to the willingness to employ confusion between ads and editorial is irrelevant if consumers don't care... but I still suspect (or at least want to think) that it has an impact on trust, at least long term.
The article also notes that the FTC is likely to more heavily scrutinize native advertising in the future:
@ginidietrich @creativeoncall I guess it's a matter of how clearly you say – and make yourself understood – that it's an advertorial. I have no issue with any of us making money (that is one of the larger points to our careers), I just worry that getting comfortable with "maybe they know it's an ad, maybe they don't" will undermine the already low opinion people have of the content we all provide
@ginidietrich @creativeoncall Yes, but do you disagree?
You mention a variation of the whole problem with disguised advertorials, er, sponsored content: ""...other than that a change in color, you wouldn’t know it’s an ad." Not much of a trust builder there, and not as honest as just selling ad space in one column of your blog (OK, it's an old business model, but at least more straight-forward."
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for advertising... let's just call it what it is. Advertising can and should deliver great content. It's OK to pay to put that out in front of people. It's the whole obfuscation of "where's my information coming from and why" that makes me less than excited about the trend.
Sorry, but "sponsored content," when it comes down to meaning "not clearly paid for and produced by" is just one more way to confirm "brand journalism" as the oxymoron of the year.
(Did I wake up on the wrong side of the keyboard this morning or what?)
@annelizhannan @creativeoncall @ginidietrich Excellent... I'm sure Gini will crank out a video of that by days end :)
9 months, 3 weeks ago on #FollowFriday: Anneliz Hannan
Nice to meet you Anneliz... though I do think Gini could at least warble you a welcome as well as write one (respect is great, @ginidietrich, but where's the love?) Maybe one of these days... Of course, Gini was caught singing once on camera... sort of: http://bit.ly/KIyKCs
I think content overload will be a (or the) big theme of 2014. It's been building for a while... Mark Schaefer wrote about it this week, though is hardly the first. He also spoke, as did David Armano at Edelman when I interviewed him last fall, of how it's all becoming a paid game again. Well, yes, the field is crowded, it was never really "free," and the more personal the messaging and attention, the better. The smartest content players – the ones still playing in 2015 and beyond – will be those who figure out the most creative ways to provide not just content but actual, personalized help (always one of Gini's strengths, from the blog to FB questions to personal interactions).
9 months, 3 weeks ago on Content Marketing: Too Much of a Good Thing?
@Digital_DRK Thanks,Daryl, and a Happy 2014 to you.
9 months, 3 weeks ago on #FollowFriday: Follow the Dreamers
@manamica @manamica Glad you like it (I was afraid if you didn' t that I'd have a fighter jet swooping low over my home office...). Maybe one of these days we'll have at least a Chicago-area meet up IRL
9 months, 4 weeks ago on #FollowFriday: Follow the Dreamers