I attended a great PRSA conference in Salt Lake and I thought I would share a “golden nugget” that stuck out to me. We learned about how Kennecott dealt with a massive landslide at its Bingham Canyon Mine, and how quick reaction and transparent communication can make a world of difference. Due to highly sensitive equipment tracking minute movements in the earth, Kennecott was aware of the upcoming landslide well before it hit. It evacuated employees, alerted the media beforehand, and had all channels of communication ready. This preparation made it so no one was injured or killed, and Kennecott controlled the message.

How many companies have we seen that start to detect minute movements that can lead to a “landslide” of trouble and yet they ignore it until the disaster hits bringing a crisis-comm mess one would only wish upon their enemies? Many times you hear that lower level employees observed a problem and told their superiors only to be ignored. It would be the same as if Kennecott had the equipment to monitor but never did anything with it.

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You know that feeling of having hope, but then having it crash down on you? I just experienced it. I recently took a final exam for a very difficult, but incredibly fascinating class. I studied very hard and had consistently done well with the material in quizzes. I approached the test with cautious optimism, but with my eyes transfixed on the goal of impressing my teacher and most importantly myself.

The exam itself only took me twenty minutes of the allotted hour and a half. Thinking I might have gone a little to quick to answer the questions I reviewed the answers twice and mentally played the scenarios for the correct answer. “I feel good about this,” I told myself as I rocked back and forth in agreement in my chair. I slowly moved the mouse to the submit button and clicked ever so gently as to gently send away a beloved to be approved. The score? 25 out of 50. Not even passing.

My jaw hit the floor and a sense of desperation like an assassin came in quietly into my mind. The hard part was not even being able to see what answers I got wrong.

It reminded me that there are times in life where we are hit with this type of situation. Ones that we are fairly certain will go one way, but then we find out that it didn’t and worse that it was worse than we thought it would be. In that brief instance of calm serenity and disbelief you want to through in the towel, but what are we to do but move forward, learn and try again.

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I recently read a great post by Brian Solis titled “The Ultimate Moment of Truth and The Art of Digital Engagement,” and it got me thinking about why it’s so hard for so many businesses to not just create meaningful or remarkable moments, but also shareable ones. I hear all the time “we need more customers”, “we need them to buy more from us”, yada yada yada. Every business cares about this, but do the “really” care enough to put in the work for it to make it happen?

Creating these types of moments requires creating an environment where it can happen and that is where the work gets hard. You can’t just buy some ads, do a facebook contest, or come up with a slogan and think that customers will come flocking. It takes making something special from the ground up. From the way the business treats its employees to the tiniest of details to delight the customers.

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I pulled the title of this post from Copyblogger because it was very well written. This costume is quite eclectic. It mixes two cliches Halloween costume cliches, Edger Allan Poe and sexy nurse/cop/whatever, into one eye sticking costume. 

So how is it related to creativity?

As my social media professor, Vegor Pedersen, would say as one of the main principles of making good social media: “It’s all about the mashup.” Many times we bust our heads trying to come up with something new and unique to reach out to our customers in a written way, but a great way to come up with new ways to present and mix what is out there. As Copyblogger says:

“Creativity is not conjuring up new dots — everything under the sun has been done, remember? No, creativity is making connections others do not see between the dots that already exist.”

Always be on the lookout for new ways to connect dots that already exit. Read up on the rest of the post on CopyBlogger. Its worth it.

On a Christ Brogan post I was reading recently, my thoughts on this title were validated. One of the simplest things to really connect to your customers, members, whatever, is to listen and respond. It seems that especially today business and organizations are absolutely terrible at it.

Broagan refers to this as “Response Marketing.” All of us have a need to feel wanted since the time we were little. It stays with us. Just think about the times where someone you admires remembers your name or replies to you. How did that make you feel? I can tell you that when Brian Solis replied to one of my tweets raving about his great talk at PRSSANC I was as giddy as a school boy.

That is what organizations need to do. To reach out because the average person is not expecting a response. Oh, and don’t do it just when someone says something bad. Everyone should do that. Step it up and have a conversation with them. Can you imagine if in real life you only talked when someone said something bad about you but the rest of the time you said nothing? Sounds silly right? Well it is in the business world too.

What an incredible third day. First one of the authors that I have followed, Brian Solis, spoke at the keynote speaker and it was great. His perspectives on PR really struck home. Let me go over some of my favorite points:

– the future of public relations is about creating experiences. Brian emphasized how so many companies still focus on one way communication. Even with social media the trend continues. If businesses are to brake through they need to think differently about their entire business altogether.

– Do we make experiences shareable? A typical business may think that a “share” is a facebook shared that someone would do got one of their posts. It’s not even close. To make something truly shareable you need to make it that a customer is so happy with you in interactions that they love sharing those unique experiences with their friends and family. It’s much harder to, but oh so worth it.

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I am always impressed when speakers and panelists take time to speak with students. In as sense they are our “superstars.”