Category — conversations
Conversations, how we love and hate them(at times). Our lives are filled with conversations of sorts, some meaningful bust mostly meaningless. Even the most introvert people can’t do without engaging in conversations and there’s little chance that one can do away with not having any conversations at all.
Conversations, like money matter more in certain places than others. So much so that in certain situations conversations are the most crucial element. Running a business is one such case in which having conversations is one of the core aspects of operation.
Day in and day out, an entrepreneur needs to engage in conversations of all sorts with their fellow co-founders, investors, employees, partners, vendors and others. From the vision of the company, its direction, targets to execution plans these conversations not only discuss the functioning of the company for also decide how even the smallest of peg in the machine called a company will run. Since these conversations are that important one needs be really good at handling them (kinda like story telling).
It’s fair to assume that all great entrepreneurs must be great and doing conversations across the wide spectrum of their stake holders.
Over the last few months I’ve noticed that certain people (including business owners and well to do professionals) are noticeably bad at handling *difficult conversations*. By a difficult conversation here I mean a conversation which involves either saying “NO” to something or “to negotiate” its details. I’m excluding the cases where one has people below them in the ladder to play the bad cop or do detailing/negotiation.
Certain conversations by their nature or the nature/situation of people involved can be difficult. Think a girl wanting to break the news of ending her relationship with a guy because she feels she doesn’t love him (anymore?) or a manager who has to tell his subordinate that he’ll have his paycut or worse be fired from the organization. The examples of difficult conversations are abound, they vary across the personal and professional lives.
From saying No to something/someone, breaking bad news or negotiating terms for a deal, difficult conversations often find very few takers. People’s response when faced with a difficult conversation could range from avoidance till limit or experiencing emotional turmoil and more. Many a times, people’s response catches many by surprise and keeps them wondering what happened.
To keep things succinct, we’ll limit the scope of the post to that of ‘Difficult conversations’ related to work/business.
Consider This: A guy from a services company approaches a business owner to offer their services and after a couple meetings and deliberation for whatever reason the business owner decides against the deal. Quite a few people which I know (including myself sometimes) would stop answering the calls/emails from the services guy. This I feel is totally weird and uncalled for. The most obvious and the best way to go about this is to simply communicate the reason (briefly maybe) on why you have decided against their offer/proposal and clear the air instead of leaving them guessing and needless to say feeling treated badly. There are many more cases like these and I feel having a lack of confidence in breaking the bad news or the fear of someone forming a different impression about you could be the reasons.
Are there more reasons for this? Why do you think people avoid difficult conversations?
April 21, 2013 No Comments
If you are an Indian and watch Hindi movies, chances are you must have heard of the hugely popular film “Munnabhai MBBS” starring Sanjay Dutt(as Munna) and Arshad Warsi(as Circuit). I too like millions others watched and re-watched the film to cherish the beautiful message of putting the human touch in Medicare and focusing on improving patients quality of life.
While the film was great, I (and most others) didn’t know that it was inspired (not copied, ok?) from Hollywood film Patch Adams. The bad bit is that Vidhu Vinod Chopra and co didn’t even bother to give credits to the film or the man himself at the end of the film.
Me and my brother happened to see the film yesterday and loved it to tears. The best thing about the film however is that it’s based on real life story of Hunter “Patch” Adams . There’s nothing more beautiful and inspiring than a honest pursuit of simple philosophy which one holds dear.
My immediate reaction after finishing the film at 1:30AM was to read more about the real Patch Adams and here’s what I found. There’s indeed a Gesundheit Institute (you can read more about it here http://patchadams.org/) and Dr Patch Adams is alive and still trying to revolutionize the system.
While some of us might expect that after two films by two of the biggest film industries (Hollywood and Bollywood) things would have changed for Dr Patch Adams and Gesundheit Institute for good but sadly none of that happened, no big donations came forward their way and their team had to struggle to get the project off ground.
This talk shares more details about the real deal
What’s disappointing really is the fact no big names and not enough smaller ones came forward to support such a noble cause. Is it too Utopian to be true?
What do you think is the real reason? What would it take to catch fancy of the Social Media Generation?
PS: Really bad of the film maker Tom Shadyac and co for not doing anything for Dr Patch’s work
January 29, 2012 No Comments
Almost every business irrespective of the stage it is in finds itself in a situation where the customer demands/expectations in terms of service,urgency or flexibility are way beyond what you offer. Young businesses find it particularly tough to cope up with customers like these who demand the best of everything and in many cases least willing to pay anything(extra) for these services. Because of the inherent lack of resources(in a young business especially the self-funded/bootstrapped ones) and other reasons the question that occurs is of which customers or their demands to relent to and which ones to let go. All this is despite the fact that nobody wants to lose a customer or an even an order from them.
When such decisive moments occur regularly the business has two(obvious) choices
- Drawing a fine line of what can and what cannot be done(A policy)
- Stretching themselves to accommodate the extra needs/demands of the customers (A policy of not having a policy)
I have an intuition(and some experience too) that most businesses though try for option 2 but settle for option 1 sooner than later. Pragmatically speaking it makes perfect business sense but I feel for some businesses it makes sense to bend a little more and choose option 2. The option to accommodate all the whims and fancies of a customer to the extent of them being unreasonable. Yes, in short “let your customers be unreasonable”. While this might sound unreasonable itself I feel its worth giving a try. The rationale(A bit optimistic and Utopian) behind the same being
- If you offer the kind of services which are really tough to deliver, your value in eyes of the customer is quite likely to get a raise. Do this again and they will set you up a notch up than others in your market and will most likely return to you again and again.
- By wowing the customer you stand great chances of them spreading the word about you. This works particularly well since no competitor of yours would have offered that service to them and you did.
- You test your limits and that of your system
- By accommodating all sorts of customer needs regularly you get some unexpected insights on how to do certain things or how to do them better or even better that of a new/better business Idea.
What do you think?
PS: I was inspired to write this post after our team at Dial-a-Book completed a book delivery around 9:45 PM to a place quite far from our office and home. The customer wanted the book after 9 PM in the night or before 6:30 AM in the morning and we were happy to push our limits
December 16, 2010 2 Comments
that things started to fall into place. The info of this page (Electronics and Communication Engg. IIT Guwahati) reads
Our goal is to make this Community Page the best collection of shared knowledge on this topic. If you have a passion for Electronics and Communiation Engg. (Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati), sign up and we’ll let you know when we’re ready for your help. You can also get us started by suggesting a relevant Wikipedia article or the Official Site.
Guess that says it all
- Make this Community Page the best collection of shared knowledge on this topic (Regularly updated/active Content? )
Think of it, if there were to be a decently popular fan page(community page) on anything, say Yoga or Soccer then it would get updated regularly and would have tons of discussions going on it. This page on Soccer would have far more content than any other page on the same topic and it shouldn’t be difficult to guess the SEO juice it will derive and how advertiser friendly that page is going to be.
- If you have a passion for Electronics and Communiation Engg. (Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati), sign up and we’ll let you know when we’re ready for your help. (Wikipedia?)
Yes, another community driven page which could have a few administrators or content curators that’ll ensure that the activity on the community page is sustained.
So while everyone happily takes care of the content and discussions, facebook sells the ad space at a premium to advertisers and earns $$. That’s not it, to facilitate the creation of numerous community pages like the one on E &C IIT Guwahati, Facebook has started to automatically create community pages that are up for grabs and might be promoted via ads or news feeds in future.
So what do you think about this move by Facebook? Should Wikipedia be scared?
Update 1: There’s something more to the move by Facebook around Community Pages. Apparently they’ve started re-categorizing the generic pages(non brands/company pages) as Community Pages. Here’s an email I received about one of the pages I had created a while back
Does this move worry all those who created pages around various social objects/activities? I think so.
Update 2 (1/5/2010):
While logging on to Facebook for the first time yesterday, I saw this notification
As expected Facebook is indeed on a big mission to turn all the information into community pages. So now all the interests, favorite shows, books etc in my profile are linked to their respective community pages.
Another social wiki in the making
Update 3 (23/8/2010):
Just saw this.
April 25, 2010 No Comments
Ok, before I start. I am not sure about you but I love the title of this post
Despite beind sold err reminded weekly by @Mashable
I never really got FollowFriday and I don’t think I will. As Damien Basile puts it nicely
Let’s relate follow friday into offline terms. You’re at a party (I know, because social media is one big party) and someone walks in saying that everyone there MUST know Zoe, Duncan, Jack and Jane. Now that’s not exactly social is it? The person literally just disrupted the party to tell everyone who they SHOULD know. It doesn’t matter if you know the disrupter or not. What matters is that the disrupter decided that their opinion was worth more than yours. They didn’t think of you first.
this is, what it is. A real life equivalent of #FollowFriday and what follows would be(in a party)
1) Person ‘A’ announces/broadcasts to their set of friends to know a guy(actually a bunch of guys). Mind you it’s a generic broadcast message thrown out blindly and you can’t avoid it.
2) Person ‘B’ (who has a seperate set of friends) broadcasts to their set of friends to know a guy(actually a bunch of guys). Mind you it’s a generic broadcast message thrown out blindly and you can’t avoid it.
3) Person ‘C’ on receiving the broadcast from Person ‘A’ makes another broadcast to his/her set of friends to know a guy(actually a bunch of guys). Mind you it’s a generic broadcast message thrown out blindly to everyone and you can’t avoid it.
A ripple effect sets in where everyone in party forgets what they were talking and start making these broadcasts but that’s not it
4) Person ‘D’ thinks of this as a nice way to gain attention from someone they’ve been following(a bit better than @repling) so they make a generic broadcast to their set of friends to know this guy.
5) Person ‘E’ feels they need to return favor to Person ‘B’ who recommended them so he/she makes a obligatory broadcast to his/her set of friends to know Person ‘E’.
6) Person ‘F’ starts feeling leftout as everyone else is busy recommending people but nobody is recommending him so he makes a couple broadcasts to know x,y,z hoping to catch someone’s attention and get a ego massage err recommendation in return.
These are some of the things that happen when everyone in party starts recommending everyone else and in no time the party is a mess with loads of noisy reommendations doing rounds.
Coming back to the T-World, not everyone is happy with #followfriday
some people start taking #followfriday too seriously
and for some it’s added pressure/responsibility/obligation
A few questions for #FollowFriday junkies
1) Aren’t you following people you are for a reason? Aren’t they all interesting, useful or helpful ?
2) Why wait for a day to recommend people ?
3) Why recommend even a day after ? Or is there a deadline for recommendations ?
Love #FollowFriday or Hate it ? Tell us why
June 22, 2009 3 Comments
The invention of a tool doesn’t create change; it has to have been around long enough that most society is using it. It’s when a technology becomes normal, then ubiquitous, and finally so pervasive as to be invisible, that the really profound changes happen.
Social Software has been around for quite a long time for us to ask the question “how has its use changed us” or rather “how is excessive use of social software changing us”. To crowdsource views , I asked this question on the social networks I use i.e LinkedIn,Kwippy, Twitter and Facebook. While a lot of people took the question in a different light and shared how is social media helping them etc, here are some of the interesting replies(network wise)
“While I was a very private and secretive person before, I’ve found that opening up on social media via non-threatening means has given me the ability to be more open in my real world relationships” - Shamoz Shah
” With increasing interaction over social media my faculty for thinking and rationalizing has increased. Because of my writings, discussions, posts I have a ready audience who interact. As a result of it I get motivated and write/discuss/post more and it’s a cycle. It has definitely improved my writing skills, thinking skills, rationalizing faculty (being open to various thought processes).
In negatives, I have become more reclusive because I am glued to my computer for more number of hours. Impacted on eye-sights (natural I suppose).
Thirdly, the anonymity provided by cyber-media and through certain Social Media sites, such as ‘fropper’ you tend to fantasies or possibility of personality distortion.” -Devasis Chattopadhyay
“I communicate more. Like now. It is good that this communication is non-intrusive and you have more choices to connect personally or professionally.” – Bama Ramesh
“The thing I noticed I started doing more and more, is to double check if I am not offending anyone with my replies / posts. I’ve learned that there are some quite sensitive topics, where it is not appreciated if you express yourself in a frank way, even if there is no purpose in attacking a certain group” – Ives De Busser
Sushaantu Mathur repeated the same thing – “Living an online life just makes you more accountable in public eyes”.
Shawn is right when he says “Social networks have lessened my patience a bit . Think about how fast information flies around the web and the speed at which we receive breaking news. When we’re plugged in, we’re able to get what we want almost instantaneously. I have to sit back at times and remind myself that many things in life don’t work that way”
“Bigger bags under my eyes!” – Mark Porter
“The evidence we do have from reliable studies is that social networking software is helping people become more social. The most active people on Facebook, for instance, are the most active socially in the “real world”. And as some of the answers on this page suggest, people who have social fears or difficulties are finding that online social networking is helping them overcome such issues.
Overall, it is clear to me that social networking software is a substantial help to people. It deepens existing relationships, makes people more social (not less) and helps individuals with social anxiety come to terms with their condition.
So, I’d encourage people to use it even more.” – Graham Jones
“My friends don’t tell me anything directly anymore. I constantly hear “Oh, you didn’t see my post about it on myspace?” and “Well, I invited you on facebook!” I can’t keep up, frankly.” - Tarasa
It definitely has. Soon there will be internet/social media rehabs! – Riputapan Singh
The virtual world has made me more real. I was in an island before, now i know of the ocean. – Harish Iyer
“Its ensured my ‘breaking news’ sources are not the newspapers or the websites anymore. Also, I am more clued into ur life” – Asfaq
To each according to their own, while for someone it’s about opening up more, for someone it’s about being more visible and ultimately more accountable. Here are a few inter related ways in which I think Excessive/Continued use of social software is changing us.
1) Increased thirst for knowledge:
The use of social software has not just helped us meet new people easily and regularly or stay in touch with old friends. It has made us more hungry for knowledge/information. Thanks to the exposure(over ?) of information on most social sites(think no of hyperlinks/update in your twitter/friendfeed stream) and various social pressures of sorts, most of us have become addicted to know more and more.
2) Increased Voyeurism:
Facebook Feeds and Twitter Streams are best examples of the increasing levels of voyeurism as a side effect of our increased usage of Social Software. People who replied to my question on various social networks, directly or indirectly touched upon this facet. It’s a lot easier to keep an eye on what’s going not just in one’s personal life but in their overall/complete life. The underlying principle of social networks is to keep people in your network updated about what you are doing. So not only your actions but those of your friends that invole you(for ex: you being tagged by someone) will be broadcasted to your entire network. Such things further fuel people’s voyeuristic tendencies. Whose single or whose relationship status just went to “It’s complicated” was never more visible or sought after.
3) Increased Sharing:
We might not realize this but due to easy of sharing and the culture(s) of most social sites, we are increasingly sharing more stuff with people in our online circles. Hyperlinks, songs, videos, pictures,news we now share pretty much everything that we get our hands on and like(dislike too in some cases). “Sharing anchors community”, while most of us don’t realize this consciously, we have a sense that sharing adds value(or gets you attention) and thus you’ll find more people over sharing than under.
4) Increased Transparency:
It is one of the interesting ways in which social software is transforming us. What started of as a small change with people starting to share more about themselves and other people, things they know has gradually raised our expectations to the level that we now demand more and more transparency/openness from our friends and others on the network as if it’s our right to know what they are upto. Not only this we now expect much more transparency from public organizations and governments.
5) Compulsive Broadcasting/Life Streaming: Everyone’s an exhibitionist
If you are active user of facebook, kwippy and twitter like me chances are you too might have those moments when you are out somewhere doing something and you think in terms of what should be a relevant status update for it. For ex: While watching a movie, I tend to think and come up with the most relevant update for this experience, which in a sense distracts me(as I divert my attention from the movie to say updating my Facebook Status that my friends can see) from the experience. That’s not it, this habbit of continously throwing up on the web what ever comes to your mind is a really addictive habit but not without any side effects.
6) More Social:
If man was a social animal before than he’s now become a social beast. There will be very few people who would feel/say that they’ve become less social after using social software because the whole set up is geared to make you socialize. You get social objects which act as ice breakers, you get automated updates on people’s activites and a lot more. It is really difficult for someone to not make new friends or to not get more involved with one’s existing friends.Friends of Friends are now a lot more discoverable and accessible thus adding more links to your network.
7) Bloated Egos:
“Social Media is all about your ego” casually remarks a friend and I won’t say he’s completely wrong. Being in the space for about four years now and you sorta know what works for Social Software and what doesn’t. It’s not just Twitter or Facebook ,every social site that you use or have used has some inbuilt features to let the system massage your ego(think featured users) or let other members of the system massage you(think testimonials by friends). Be it the follower count, number of retweets, number of comments and likes your posted items receive, it’s all a big boost to one’s ego. It’s human, whether you like it or not most people prefer sites/networks/people/lifestlye(online or offline) that massage their egos to those who don’t. I believe if there’s something called a threshold or default level for bloated ego then we’ve left it miles away as a result of excessive usage of social software.
8.) Rise of the Marketers:
You are a marketer deal with it. That’s indeed the case, with the tools we use and how we use them we all are much better positioned to spread the word about ourselves or our products. Though the scale at which we all do things may vary we all atleast are better equipped than what we were before social software.
These are some of the ways in which social software has changed us. How do you think has social software changed you ?
June 10, 2009 5 Comments
Despite being a cool service with a solid team behind it, I’ve always looked with skeptism at any talk about FriendFeed going mainstream. Before talking about FriendFeed or any other service going mainstream it’s imporant to be clear about what going mainstream really means.
Crossing million mark for number of users ? Regular mention of the service in mainstream media ? Presence of brands and celebrities on the service ?
To each according to it’s own, for some a service is mainstream if all their colleagues have accounts on it while for some a service is mainstream if national daily/magazines talk about it regularly but, for me the parameter that can help to decide if a serivce is mainstream or not would be by seeing what % of people who go online regularly( excluding the likes of those who check their emails only when someone informs them over phone about a new mail) are using it. While fixing an exact % would be a bit hard, lets say roughly that a service that manages to get 1/5th of the regular web users is mainstream.
Coming back to FriendFeed, a service started by Paul Buchheit(creator of Gmail and the guy who gave Google it’s Don’t be evil motto) . No matter what it means to people, for me FriendFeed is an aggregator for various social services, a mighty good one at that. For the uninitiated , it’s a service that lets you store and share your activites across various social platform. Be it bookmarking on delicious, uploading a picture on flickr or posting an update on twitter, FF captures it all and more.
Whether FriendFeed will go mainstream or not is just one part of the problem, if FF does go mainstream when will it happen being the other. If this post by TechCrunch and this traffic comparison with twitter are anything to go by,
the chances of FF making it big(at least in immediate future) are kinda bleak, here’s why
1) Friendfeed is catering to a need that isn’t really there yet:
For most people who are still learning their ways around blogs, nings, and ims, an aggregator like FF is not really a need yet. Don’t believe me ? Ask around. There are lots of reasons for this including the fact that most people aren’t on that many services that they need an aggregator, and not so interestingly using a service like FF increases the time needed instead of decreasing it. By opening another channel for my content I need to pay attention twice as much, which isn’t cool for many.
2) FriendFeed isn’t simple or intuitive:
Call me what you want but I honestly feel that the idea or the implementation(if it’s possible for such an app) isn’t for the simple minded. Getting people who can’t seem to get enough of poking or taking “what fruit are you quizzes” to start using FF is a mammoth task. Did I hear someone say, FF isn’t meant for them ?, that’s mainstream baby.
3) FriendFeed isn’t strongly positioned:
How a service is positioned in a segment/sub-segment is extremely crucial in determining if it will be BIG or not. The fact that it’s first in the game or that it doesn’t have to worry about other services stealing their thunder(traffic) is quite important in determing the course of action for its future. What features to add/remove, how to design/not design, what should be the core offering or target audience etc could be some of the difficult decisions if you have to look around before deciding anything. While FF might not agree but quite a lot of people think FF is trying to go Twitter way(at least in terms of looks) and in this pursuit might have hurt itself. The fact that after doing an upgrade users aren’t sure if the changes are useful or not tells a lot.
4) Information Overload:
Filtering might be the next cool thing but not for mainstream noobs. Look around, do you seriously think the guy sitting next to you or on the other side of Facebook/Myspace/Orkut would need to see what you are doing just on delicious and what your other friend is doing just on flickr, maybe that too with just a particular tag ? No, I don’t think so.
Most people (including me) stand a good enough chance to be overwhelmed by the amount of information that starts flowing on your home page. Now that you’ve invited the problem yourself, you are expected to fix it but either reducing number of people you want to subscribe or doing selective/service based subscription.
These are a few basic reasons why I think FriendFeed won’t be going mainstream in the immediate future.
What do you think ?
May 30, 2009 3 Comments
People love connecting with others who share the same tastes, goals, beliefs, lifestyle, social status, locality and even dislikes. Essentially (most) people are on a lookout for new groups to join and satiate their innate desire of belonging, of being a part of something along with others for all sorts of reasons.
Brands are one of the many possible threads that connect people in many ways and it’s not limited to just those who like the same brand of alcohol or the same brand of cigarette but even to kids who like the same brand of candy.
Brands, because of the way they are intertwined in our daily lives offer tremendous ways(even unconsciously) for their customers to connect and luckily for them, people want to connect with the brands they love. They connect to find like minded people, to know more about the brand and their latest offerings, in hope of availing some offers/discounts or just to broadcast their choices to the world. Since the advent of social software , the grouping of people into communities/tribes has peaked a new high.
Ridiculously easy group-forming matters because the desire to be part of a group that shares, cooperates, or acts in concert is a basic human instinct that has always been constrained by transaction costs. Now that group-forming has gone from hard to ridiculously easy, we are seeing an explosion of experiments with new groups and new kinds of groups – Clay Shirky, author of “Here Comes Everybody”
What does all this mean for brands ? Yes, if you are a brand that people love/like and you’d like to take your relationship to the next level then you should also think of having your community.
Here are the top 5 reasons why your brand should have a community.
According to me, the most important thing a brand can get from a community is honest feedback. Be it a new product or a new ad campaign, it’s extremely important to know what your customers feel about what you are doing. Forget market research, a community gives you a direct channel to know more about your customers, what are they like and what they like. This can be immensely helpful in improving the existing products and services and building better ones. This group can also be used to beta test a new product/idea.
Community, means audience that likes your brand and wants to stay connected. A small but focused audience is a lot better than large but unfocused audience. The difference here is that this audience wants to know more about your brand/products/services as much(if not more) as you want to tell them. This means the conversion rates for any campaign here would be higher than that of a campaign aimed at a randomly chosen lot.
3) Brand Image:
Everyone loves a social brand, a brand that’s closely connected with it’s customers scores better over one that isn’t. Having a community around a brand will better the brand image in general and lend more trust and loyalty to it . If a brand is spending resources to build and foster a community it shows that it cares. Cares for its customers and is willing to give them back some love.
Will you feel nice if you get a birthday greeting from your favorite brand ?
Will you feel nice if you get a discount offer on the latest product from your favorite brand ?
Will you feel nice if you get a sneak preview about the upcoming range of products from your favorite brand ?
If the answer to any of the above is yes, you are highly likely to talk to your friends(online and offline) about it and that’s how buzz starts to build and spread. The way communities work naturally supports word of mouth. In a group even small things aren’t small. Also, there are other factors associated with a brand’s community that add more credibility and virality to the buzz ,which in turn helps it to spread faster and wider.
5) Crisis Aversion/Management:
Think about it, would things have been a bit better had dominos already been on Twitter or Youtube ? I am sure things would be been better(even though slightly). By having an account on any of these services would have helped them in connecting with a small fraction of their customers who spend considerable time online and if there online interactions with the brand had been good, they would have definitely(on their own) taken on the task of dozing the fire and maybe prevented it from snowballing and this is just a small community on a third party tool.
I am by no means suggesting that every brand should have a community, these points are just to share why I feel it’s important for brands to have communities. What do you think ?
Pic Courtesy: http://www.ccfa.org/
April 24, 2009 11 Comments
One fine day while browsing at a bookstore I stumbled upon this rather intriguingly titled book “The Anatomy of Buzz“. I acted on my hunch, picked this book up and started reading it’s blurb. Half way into the blurb I realized I should buy this book and I did. “The Anatomy of Buzz” is a book about “Buzz aka Word of mouth” and it’s undoubtedly one of the finest books on the subject. A couple of months back Emanuel Rosen, author of the book, released “The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited”, with lots of new content and case studies focused around online buzz. I so liked the book(first one) that not only did I decide to buy the new one but also to Interview the author of the book for all of us. Here’s the interview, as it is. Thanks Emanuel for sparing your time to answer these questions for us.
Mayank: Why a book on Buzz ?
Emanuel: A lot of our decisions on what to read, watch and buy are influenced by buzz. There are thousands of books about advertising, but only a few about word of mouth marketing and buzz. It’s important for marketers to learn about how they can stimulate customers to spread the word.
Mayank: How has “Word of Mouth” changed since you wrote your first book (back in 2000)?
Emanuel: The basics have not changed, but now word of mouth is no longer just about words. We have many more opportunities to show our friends the products we like and not only to tell them about these brands. This is done on Facebook, flickr, Myspac, YouTube, and other forums.
Mayank: How are online and offline “Word of Mouth” related ?
Emanuel: They are both part of what I call “buzz” which I define as all the person to person communication about a brand. Most of this communication still happens the old fashion way–in face to face conversation. But online buzz is still very important because it accelerates the process.
Mayank: How did you try to build buzz for your first book and what all are you doing(plan to do) to build buzz for your new book ?
Emanuel: To promote my first book, Doubleday sent advance copies to over 2000 people, and it worked very well. The seeding for the new edition was more modest because we could afford to send the book to only about 300 people, but it’s working pretty well. I’m also running a unique book tour on a bus powered by recycled vegetable oil. This bus is mentioned in the first chapter of my new book, and it is being used by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) to promote their organization and alternative energy. You can read about the tour on my blog at http://anatomyofbuzz.blogspot.com/
Mayank: Are you working with a team/organization for spreading the word about your new book or you are doing it all by yourself ?
Emanuel: There’s a team at Doubleday that helps and provides resources and I do a lot by myself.
Mayank: Are you just relying on “Word of Mouth” or do you plan to advertise the book too ?
Emanuel: I’m a great believer in advertising as a supplement to buzz. Sometimes you have the budget to do it, and sometimes you don’t. My publisher advertised the first edition in the Wall Street Journal and New York
Times. The new edition may be advertised in smaller trade publications and online.
Mayank: How are you measuring Buzz for your new book / How can one measure Buzz(online and offline) ?
Emanuel: There are tools such as Scoutlabs.com that allow you to measure online buzz. You can also search Twitter, blogs etc. separately. We’ve made a lot of progress in this area and I added a chapter to the new edition
on measuring buzz. I also talk to many readers face to face before and after my lectures
Mayank: How has been your experience with Twitter and Blogs ? Are you using other tools too ?
Emanuel: Of course. I use both Twitter (@EmanuelRosen) and a blog to let people know what’s new. I also regularly search these tools to hear the buzz about the book.
Mayank: Where do you see Buzz(online and offline) in the next 5-10 years ?
Emanuel: Online buzz will increase as more people on this planet get better access to the Internet, but face to face will still be the dominant form of buzz.
Mayank: Do you plan to write another book on Buzz ?
Emanuel: I think I will.
“The Anatomy of Buzz” is one of the books I recommend everyone to read.Here’s the list of other books I recommend.
April 19, 2009 1 Comment
It’s been a few days since that appalling video of Domino’s employees tampering with food at their outlet got attention of social media users and started spreading in a viral manner. A crisis like this can easily get worse if things are not handled correctly and in a timely manner but luckily(mostly) for Domino’s that’s not the case. Despite the huge wave of disgust that the video generated, it feels like things are under control now and the negative buzz which was generated will subside in the next few days.
1) Initiate action against the culprits:
The folks at Domino’s were quick to realize that “actions speak louder than words” and thus their first step was to initiate an inquiry into the matter and punish the guilty. Not only were the employee involved terminated from their jobs, they are now in custody and face felony charges.
2) Stop the negative content from spreading:
Stopping new people to talk about negative content and trying to control the spread of negative content should be next on the agenda. Domino’s got this right(though it took some time) and got the video off YouTube.
3) Participate in social media conversations:
Domino’s guys were decently quick to realize that they were getting a lot of bad PR in Twitter and thus they jumped into the scene by creating an account on Wednesday afternoon and started engaging with disgusted people. This works well for various reasons including pumping out positive things which otherwise don’t spread that virally as the negative one’s.
There is nothing more important or sacred to us than our customer’s trust
While the firefighting efforts had started on Twitter, Domino’s guys opened another front on YouTube by posting a nicely drafted public apology by Patrick Doyle, President of Domino’s U.S.A. The apology helped in re-affirming brands commitment towards it’s customer’s trust. Patrick also mentioned the steps they plan to take to avoid future happening of any untoward incident like this( sanitizing stores, tighter recruitment process, daily audits etc)
While Domino’s did open communication channels on a few Social Media Tools they didn’t announce anything on their official web resources and didn’t do a press release as they feared this will lead more people to know about this debacle and invite more embarrassment for the brand said Tim McIntyre, Dominos spokesman. So domino’s websites remain the way they were, as if nothing happened. While I see the point, I would have still preferred an official “what we are doing about the incident” channel.
Update: Domino’s site has an official update for their customers
While these efforts will definitely help in dozing the fire, it will still take a lot of continued effort on Domino’s part to keep the fire from spreading.
For example: It will take them a while to realize that while they have removed the video from YouTube, goodasyou still has that video and a few even gross one’s and some explaining for this(assuming it’s not fake)
and ensuring that people don’t start talking about other things which can further take down their brand value
The next few days would be interesting, let’s see how the situation stands then.
April 16, 2009 No Comments