Archive for October, 2011

The Purpose-Driven Show Rolls On

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

We had another successful event in San Francisco featuring John Seely Brown as part of the OpenText Purpose-Driven Speaker Series.

Brown is a visiting scholar at USC and the independent co-chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge. During the talk he shared his thoughts and research on intrinsic motivation, incentive systems, learning organizations, organizational design and facing new challenges.  He had a touch of laryngitis, but was able to carry on. His voice isn’t normally quite this gruff. The video below contains a few highlights.


What Can We Learn From RIM?

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

By now just about everyone knows about RIM’s little mishap last week with Blackberry email. Outages like these can hurt the reputation of any company, but for a tech company I think it’s much worse, especially for a company like RIM that is all about connectivity. Just to pile on a little more, it’s even more problematic for a company like RIM that has been losing market share for a long time.

While I haven’t followed every aspect of this story nor read every blog post that is available, it’s clear that RIM made some mistakes in handling this crisis. And believe me…it is a crisis. Years ago this issue might have gone unnoticed but in today’s world, where social media rules, how come RIM wasn’t better prepared to handle the crisis?

Just like the Boy Scouts say, you need to “be prepared.” Most companies I’ve worked with have policies and procedures in place in the event of a crisis, and I’m sure RIM does at some level. Considering that RIM has experienced outages before, you’d think they would have been better prepared. And I’m not talking about being better prepared to address the technical issues but being better prepared in getting their message out to customers in a more timely way.

Why did it take three days for the CEO to post a YouTube message concerning the problems? Did RIM monitor customer reaction on Twitter or Facebook? Did the company proactively address the issue or reactively reach out to customers? I’m not sure about the answer but from an outside observer’s standpoint they didn’t seem to be prepared at all.

A few thoughts about getting your crisis management plan mapped out.

  • Be prepared. Have a crisis communications plan in place and update it each quarter.
  • Make sure that you now have plans in place that address social media outlets.
  • Investigate the issue and get your facts straight. Guessing doesn’t make the situation any better.
  • “No comment” won’t cut it. And I’ve heard that RIM takes a “we don’t want to talk to the media about anything” stand which makes the situation even worse.
  • Have a chain of command of spokespeople ready. You don’t want the wrong person sharing the wrong message with the public.
  • Empower your communications team to move quickly and cut through the layers of opinion and second guessing so the response doesn’t take days to materialize.

In this day and age I find it highly unusual that companies still can get caught off-guard when a crisis hits. So how should companies like RIM approach these types of very public problems? Do you think that RIM addressed the issue effectively enough to minimize the damage to their reputation?

Portland AMA — Some helpful resources

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Thanks to all of the Portland AMA members who attended the luncheon on Tuesday at Bridgeport Brewing Company.

If you were there , you know that Megan McKenzie provided a number of example of about how companies are using social media – both good and bad.  The key take away for me is the importance of building trust before embarking on any social media campaigns.  It all comes down to have a clear purpose and knowing your Why.

One of the questions that came up had to do with additional resources. For those of you who are working with your executive teams to increase social media activities, sadly there is no magic bullet.  Social media is one of those things where you gain experience by launching a program and building insight and expertise about what works for YOU over time.  It truly does not come with an instruction manual, and the landscape is changing quickly. While there are no easy answers, it does pay to stay abreast of trends and study up on what others are doing and see what applies to you.

Remember that in all cases, social media must be approached with a clear understanding of your Why along with a heaping does of quality, truth and integrity.

Here are a few resources we have found helpful:


Portland AMA talk slide deck

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Here’s the slide deck from the talk Megan Mckenzie delivered at the Portland AMA’s monthly lunch meeting today. We had a great time meeting many of the smart marketing folks from around the Portland area and look forward to hooking up with you again at future events.

Stop social media madness from McKenzie Worldwide


Register now to see John Seely Brown’s talk in San Francisco on October 18

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

John Seely Brown, a visiting scholar at USC and the independent co-chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge, will be sharing his unique views on technology in the human context during his upcoming talk at the Westin San Francisco Market Street hotel on Tuesday, October 18th. His presentation is part of OpenText’s Purpose-Driven speaker series. Part scientist, part artist and part strategist, his views are unique and distinguished by a broad view of the human contexts in which technologies operate and a healthy skepticism about whether or not change always represents genuine progress. He will be sharing his thoughts and research on intrinsic motivation, incentive systems, learning organizations, organizational design and facing new challenges.

This free event is sponsored by OpenText , a global leader in content management and social software, including OpenText Social Work Place which helps purpose-driven teams assemble, stay connected, and achieve breakthrough results.

Register online at and follow the event on Facebook.

Watch John’s keynote on YouTube here.

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