Monthly Archives: July 2010

Infographics pack stories – you unzip the meaning

The way I see infographics it’s not just to tell a story. That was the purpose an infographic was originally intended to serve.

I see it performing a different function in a media-saturated world. Fighting the attention economy!

Inception infographic

Take a look at this. It’s not evident first what it’s trying to ‘say’ about the movie.

It’s a way of letting the reader unpack a level of meaning that would be different from the next reader.  It’s perfect for movies and complex narratives, where there is no one universal meaning. Great directors compress ideas and leave it for moviegoers to discover those nuances.

Oddly enough, journalism and advertising works in the opposite direction –even though both like to be also known as genres of storytelling. They like to bring pure clarity, and therefore unpack the details for the audience. (Check this simple, timely one on BP’s spending.) Worked until about five years ago. Today, consumers, newspaper readers (some call them media snackers for good reason!) don’t want that level of explanation.

Maybe you don’t have the capacity to embed an infographic into your commmunictaion, but you could learn the secret of leaving the reader to unzip his or her own meaning.


Quotes for the week ending 24 July, 2010

Resuming my snapshot of the best quotes from around the world on communications, marketing, media and social media.

“An increasingly addictive activity”

SocialMediaAtWork on a recent Experian study that says social networking may be addictive.

“The future of infographics will be about telling stories. Telling them in an interesting and compelling way.”

Charles Apple, on the use of info-graphics

“the journalist isn’t a writer; he is a technician.”

Jolie O’Dell in a gret long post on ‘How to tell a journalist from a blogger.”

“When people feel they have some kind of social relationship with others in the company, there tends to be greater collaboration between them.”

Human Resource Executive, on the potential and perils of social networking in the workplace.

“The $35 iPad lookalike from India”

The rage about the Indian tablet developed by the government of India.

Blurs the Lines Between Online and Offline.”

Guest post by Yael Davidowitz-Neu at Convince and Convert, on the ‘Six degrees of influence’ in C to C programs.


Fragmented Vs integrated? How do you share content?

Fragmented or integrated?

It’s easy to pick the latter, because it sounds like the right thing to do. Depending on what you are trying to achieve it’s not that easy though. Here are two scenarios:

Scenario A: You are launching a new service that is relevant to 30 percent of your audience. You’ve got the usual suspects –um, channels — in place with Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, a blog and two Twitter accounts. Do you make spread your content across all of these?

Scenario B: You a teaching a class, and most of the attendees use Facebook rather than email, but you also have a series of video updates. Do you stick with Facebook, or add a blog to the program which will feed Facebook embed YouTube videos?

I don’t want to say I know the best answer. (It may take a bit of digging deeper into the usage patterns of the audience etc.) But I often lean heavily on closing the gap between communication channels. It takes some planning ahead, but you only have to connect the dots once, and thereafter, it’s easy to pick and chose the channels you like to integrate.

I pointed this out toward the end of the webinar I was conducting last Monday. To demonstrate it…

Continue reading here.


Could PR industry do some crisis PR in post-BP mess?

Now that the BP oil leak has been stopped —or so we hear today — has anyone considered that it may be time to create some good juju for PR, after what BP has successfully done in maiming the industry?

Many of us PR and non PR types have railed against the dark stain that BP’s oil spill is leaving. I have tremendous respect for those who handle corporate PR whether they are consultants or internal PR folk. It’s a tough job getting the organization to say it as it is, and to stop publishing mindless statements just for the sound-byte effect.

So I was hoping to see a coalition of PR agencies coming together, perhaps under the umbrella of PRSA, and the CIPR (British PR association), to bring in some of the largest booms (thought leaders) and heavy equipment (smart technologies) to stop polluting our pristine beaches (er, reputation).

PRSA’s mantra is “Advancing the Profession and the Professional.” Looks like the industry has been mugged by flaks who are effectively planting land mines along this path. Search for BP at PRSA’s web site and you see articles such as “Can the BP brand survive Tony Hayward?” I was hoping to see some folks come out say why “BP’s PR has been toxic for their business.”

Meanwhile BP continues to write about its wonderful response about how it is “Flying higher to get closer to spill response,” and its sea bird rescues.

And nobody in the PR industry seems to mind.


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Blogging and micro-blogging, joined at digital hip

I can’t stress enough how easy it is to connect the dots between your communication channels using digital media, if you plan ahead to do so.

Passport To Digital Citizenship
To “Tweet or Not To Tweet?”  |  2nd Webinar in the 6-part series on Social Media

I pointed this out toward the end of the webinar on Monday (it was Sunday night here in Arizona) as Steve England, Gary Campbell and I were presenting at the second webinar on social media.

While Steve was presenting I took this photo of one of our screens (the one bringing in a Skype video feed from the venue in Colombo). Here’s what I did:

Notice the attendees who had logged in –visible on the bottom left of this photo. Also, on the right is Tweetdeck, through which we were monitoring the hash tag #USELK2010 that we were using for the event.

Cross-posting this from the webinar blog.


How do you market a BP gas station?

It must be one of the toughest brands on earth to market right now: BP gas.

Don’t you think this corny use of Elvis is a true mark of desperation?

Interestingly, boycotting BP gas stations may sound like the right thing to do -emotonally — but I’ve heard it said that BP actually sells gasoline to non-BP branded stations.

I wonder why the independent BP station owners have not come out with an information campaign about their local roots, to ward off more boycotts.

Meanwhile the BoycottBP Facebook page has some 800,0000 people ‘Liking’ it, and 26 albums of photos. Maybe it’s a toxic brand to even get close to, but I wonder why some PR firm doesn’t reach out and assist this helpless group of  independent station owners.

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Posted by on July 11, 2010 in Communications, Marketing


To Tweet Or Not To Tweet?

Ah, that is the question, isn’t it? Especially for many people still wondering if there is any value in jamming conversations into 140 characters of less. I tend to tell people that just as sending post cards, or having non-stop IM chats with six different people throughout the day have different value for different people, so too Twitter.

But — huge BUT here — it’s time to consider Twitter as less of a marketing device, and more as a listening tube.

In the second of a 6-part webinar series I am conducting (check previous one) this one will be appropriately called To Tweet Or Not To Tweet.

Here is my co-presenter, Gary Campbell on the subject.


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