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Evolving Brand Stories From Product to Purpose

April 11th, 2014 · All Posts, AnnelizaHumlen

True Story by Kevin Harber


This post series has so far explored five different ways in which brand stories have evolved in recent years to become more humanized and people-powered.  Many of the themes represent manifestations of internal corporate culture, philosophy of leadership, and systems of management and communication.  In contrast, the sixth theme is more granular – pertaining to the origin of the story itself.  It’s about how source and sentiment can make the difference in creating either information that merely explains “what” or “how” versus actual stories that engage and communicate purpose and reason for being.  So what’s driving this defining difference?   There are four key areas of disconnect which fuel or weaken a brand’s story engagement potential.

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Develop an Acute Ability to Listen

April 10th, 2014 · TedRubin

What if your point of difference was an acute ability to listen?

What would that look like?

It always amazes me how many people cut me off mid-sentence, and don’t even let me get my answer out, after they ask me a direct question.

Yes, I recognize listening alone may not set you apart from the competition. From my experience, you may win more business using your ears and eyes than with any other marketing strategy. That’s because, with listening, you can understand your prospect, and that understanding will help you win new business.


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The Shorty Interview with Ted Rubin

April 6th, 2014 · TedRubin

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How much time do you spend online?

Many hours per day… depending upon whether I am in meetings, speaking or at an event or brand meeting.

How do you imagine Twitter changing?

I don’t imagine, but my use will evolve as necessary w/the platform the same as it has with the changes to Facebook. It’s about the people.

Who do you admire most for his or her use of Twitter?


What’s the funniest celebrity tweet you saw in this past year?

I don’t pay too much attention.

How do you pronounce GIF?


Why’d you start tweeting?

Because back in 2008 @OzSultan told me I had to be on Twitter and @rhollander, believe it or not walked me through the basics. [Read more →]


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Small Businesses and Large Alike Need to…

April 4th, 2014 · TedRubin


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Small businesses and large alike need to shut up and listen instead of using social media as an advertising and broadcasting tool.

They are too worried about who has more Twitter followers and about who has more fans on Facebook. They’re worried about who is getting the message out more consistently on those platforms rather than taking the amazing amount of market intelligence available to them by looking at people that are following them and reading what they are writing on their own pages.

Businesses need to spend less time tweeting and posting to Facebook, and more time reading, listening and understanding what it is their customers really want. They can’t expect to use social media only when it is convenient for them and expect customers to remain engaged.

Way too few companies are empowering their employees on social media, seeing it as a threat instead of a benefit. Small business needs to recognize that their best advocates are their employees. Empower your employees and they will power your brand.


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Stories of Leadership: Moving Beyond Authority to Influence

March 18th, 2014 · All Posts, AnnelizaHumlen, business

SocialVoiceBranding_Conductor by  Matthew Stinson

THEME #5 of Post Series on Humanizing Brand Storytelling

A brand’s story is comprised of many elements, phases, and characters.  One of the most important being the leadership story of a brand.  The rise of social networks has played an important role in bringing the stories of great brands, and the leaders behind these great brands,  to life.  Social networks have democratized communication between business and people, as well as the conversation regarding leadership.  Through social networks, anyone can connect to the inspiring words and shared wisdom of leaders everywhere.  Conversely, leaders themselves have access to unlimited sources of inspiration to fuel their vision.   Social networks have also redefined how we perceive leaders – and in the process, elevated our expectations.  Today, it takes far more than the respect for a title, or recognition of authority, to earn the support and trust of followers. People look for reasons TO BELIEVE in the vision of one potential leader over that of another.  When these reasons are grounded in humanizing leadership traits that transcend policy or promise – people can then connect emotionally to a bigger, and unify ideal and story.

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Forget B2B or B2C and Focus on BwB or BwC Instead ~guest post via @BLichtenwalner

March 15th, 2014 · TedRubin




The terms “Business to Business” (B2B) and “Business to Consumer” (B2C) are outdated. These terms imply your business is doing something to a customer. That may be how business was conducted decades ago, but it’s always been better – and is now necessary – to conduct business with your customer. Business to a customer is a transaction. Business with a customer is a relationship.Whether your customer is a business or a consumer, they prefer a relationship over a transaction. [Read more →]


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What’s the ROI of a Smile?

March 8th, 2014 · TedRubin

I sent something out on Instagram recently—a photo collage of the smiling faces of friends—with the following comment: “Smile at your customers, Smile at your employees, Smile at your vendors, Smile at your family and friends, Smile at strangers. SMILE… the ROI will amaze you!” It got over 30 likes almost immediately. I sent the same message (and photo) out on Facebook, with even more engagement.

ROI of a Smile

People commented how good it made them feel, and some said they were taking the message to heart and spreading the word. People want to be happy! And when you send them a photo with a smiling face, it generates warm feelings and a wish to keep feeling happy. [Read more →]


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The Inimitable @markwschaefer interviews Ted Rubin [video]

March 7th, 2014 · TedRubin

Originally posted at

Ted Rubin has been on the forefront of social media marketing innovation but when I asked him what was his exciting him about the future, he had a very surprising answer. I liked the conversation so much that I knew I needed to record it for all my friends on {grow}! It’s a short interview but Ted talks fast so he covers a lot of ground, including:

- Disconnect between agency pitches and business needs
- The glacial rate of social media change at the enterprise level
- The number one reason social media is not being spread to employees
- The need for a small-town mentality on the web

I’m sure you’ll enjoy this discussion. Let me know what you think in the comment section below!


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In Brands We Trust – Why Brands Must Treat Trust Like Gold

March 6th, 2014 · SteveOlenski

Back in January of this year I wrote a piece which spoke to the need for every marketer to remember a certain nine-letter word: Relevance. And while I firmly stand by what I penned then I am here to tell not just every marketer, but every advertiser and brand under the sun as well that there’s a five-letter word that must be treated like gold for when it is achieved, wondrous things can occur.

The word is trust.

Now the word “trust” in it of itself has many different connotations and in the context of advertising, marketing and branding it comes in different shapes, size and meanings, too. [Read more →]


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Important Advice for Reaching Out via LinkedIn and Facebook

February 22nd, 2014 · TedRubin

A little advice for people here using LinkedIn and Facebook, more of a very strong suggestion… stop sending out invites without a personalized note, and best if that note offers a reason you want to connect.

Just saying people… it’s all about building relationships, not just being connected, and the first step of that relationship is the introduction… especially if we have never met!


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