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Differentiation Requires Show, Not Tell

The Internet and in particular social media have empowered thousands, perhaps millions, to start their own businesses. One outcome of the social media movement is how easily people become “thought leaders” or topical influencers. As a result, we have many paper tigers running about, almost indistinguishable from the ones with real teeth with one singular exception: Results. Last week for PRSA-NCC and this morning during a keynote at Brand Camp NYC I discussed this exception, and its critical role in creating true market leadership. When content and personal branding techniques online quack and act like ducks, many readers are quick to believe. Yet results are not necessarily associated to the voices, creating a problem. Because we have hit a saturation […]

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How to Become a Thought Leader

“Far more commonly, [futurists are] weird people with weird ideas and practices, and are objects of ridicule,” Bruce Sterling True thought leadership helps people — on and offline — understand the near future, the far future, and often the evolving now. Thought leaders are futurists, people who serve as modern oracles that can help businesses, organizations and societies adapt to the unknown. They break new ground and help us understand how change will impact us, technologically or sociologically. You see blogs titled like this periodically, and they get tons of attention from top online voices. Invariably, the post is how to promote one’s self as a thought leader, not actually how to offer valuable thought. And that’s a damn shame […]

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The Audacity of Corporate Social Media Failure

Image by Rick Audet It was interesting reading all of the social media criticism about Google’s privacy policy changes last week. A measured critical tone offers refreshing context to the usual outrage pundits spout when analyzing the latest corporate social media failure. These dramatic declarations of “FAIL” include the anticipated demise of the brand’s entire reputation, the stupidity of the management team, and a lament about companies “never getting it.” Another example: Last December’s dissecting of Apple’s rigid social media policy that bars any meaningful discussion of the company by employees. There was no great shocker here given the company’s approach to product development and public blogs that leak Apple product news. Yet, the company was painted black and evil […]

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How Instagram Restored My Faith in Social Networking

If you have not played with runaway hit mobile social network Instagram, you should. Yes, it’s become known as a utility for iPhone users to send pictures to Facebook and Twitter, but make no bones about it, Instagram is its own social network, and a very enjoyable one, too. In fact, it has restored my faith in the media form. With more than 13 million people on Instagram, you can see some fantastic sharing. It is innately personal and wonderful. Gone from the mix is the usual social media punditry and sword fighting. Instead you simply have real experiences throughout the average day. It’s just photos, sharing and comments, and nothing more. Instagram exists on the mobile web, and is […]

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The New American Dream: Be a Pundit or Wonk

Pundit: A person who gives opinions in an authoritative manner usually through the mass media Wonk: A person preoccupied with arcane details or procedures in a specialized field We as a culture have moved from doers to talkers, and even our education system seems to acknowledge this. A recent American University ad campaign in the Washington region encourages local prospective students to be a wonk. The ads highlight a subtle cultural shift to a desire to be known as an information source, famous for subject area knowledge. Today, Americans want to be famous for talking about things. In the past, Americans wanted to do things with their career. They wanted to be a fireman, the president, a lawyer, a nurse, […]

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