Thursday, August 28, 2008


So I haven't written my own post in awhile, but I've been commenting on Mike's blog more regularly. While I tend to play the devil's advocate in a number of my comments and posts I hope those comments don't get interpreted the wrong way. I think in the world of blogging, email, and writing in general many things can be misinterpreted and appear negative. For me, taking the other side of a conversation can help spur conversations or drill down into the heart of the issues being discussed. Unfortunately for some, I plan to continue challenging ideas. This may be annoying, but I hope together we can discover something new and innovative to help our businesses or lives. Don't take me too seriously and feel free to challenge me back.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Testimonials - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly - Part 2

After recently reading a post by a fellow blogger and apartment marketeer, Mike Brewer, about Trust Marketing I thought back to a post I did back in June about testimonials. I like what Mike says in his post about gaining customers trust. We are in a world where our friends, family, acquaintences, and online sources are the driving forces for what we buy. While clever advertising is still fun to watch on TV, it seems to me that more and more people are just entertained by the ads but not influenced by them. There are a few exceptions to the rule, but this is the trend and is reviewed thoroughly by Seth Godin in his most recent book Meatball Sundae. To me, people buy from people and brands they trust.

So, as I said, I reflected back on my "Testimonials - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" post from June and I was curious how many of you are helping to control the online conversation about You? How are you helping to build trust for your brand online? As we read on blogs,,,, and many others, customers are writing reviews. Unfortunately for your company, brand, community, etc. the majority of people that typically write these reviews are ones that are not happy. All this said, I'm writing this follow-up post today to pose three questions that I would love your responses to.

1. What are you doing already to control the online conversation about your brand?

2. Does getting involved in the online conversation about your brand help to build "trust" in your brand or should you just let the cards fall as they may?

3. Is it ethical to solicit feedback from your customers (survey them) and then post that information online while filtering out the bad (as most likely that bad is already being posted)?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Twitter Etiquette

Recently, someone that I follow on Twitter posed the question, "Wondering if its worth it to follow people who only Tweet with personal things that hold no interest for me?" She followed it up by asking, "And, what of, those people you know who you stop following because their Tweets aren't worth reading? Will it hurt their feelings?"

I think these are great questions, and made me think about etiquette that is lost among new technology. Growing up most of us were taught manners. I know that can be a foreign term to some, but most folks know to say please, thank you, excuse me, etc. Unfortunately, Miss Manners, cotillions, and parents have not been able to keep up with today's technology. While you can find some guidelines/opinions for cell phones, cubicles, & email etiquette at sites like, I also did a Google Search for Twitter Etiquette and found some great blog posts.

The general consensus out there is that you can do whatever you want on Twitter. To each their own. Follow 1000 or follow 20 it's your choice. You can also choose to block people you don't know or care to know. I guess the only risk you take is offending someone with pointless tweets, or by following someone for no reason other than to build your "following" count. That said, my response to her questions without much thought or hesitation was, "not worth it. too many good tweets get lost among the gunk." I still hold that opinion, and have found myself being more conscientious about who follows me and who I follow. I think Twitter can be a great forum for exchanging ideas and posting thoughts for business purposes. I also think a few personal anecdotes can be appropriate, but must not take over your updates. As someone else mentioned in a tweet, maybe it's best to have 2 or more Twitter accounts so people can choose which one to follow and you can choose what content is appropriate for each.

Would love to hear others thoughts so I can create a top 10 rules of Twitter etiquette post in the near future. Oh, and by the way, what is up with people's obsession with tweeting what your eating???!!! I know I'm guilty, but why do we do it? Maybe that's an entire post itself.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Are Company Awards a Positive or a Negative?

After another successful event (I think???), I like to reflect on how the evening went.  My company, like many others, recognizes outstanding individuals for great performance.  We reward "Shining Stars," as we call them, in categories for managers, leasers, techs, supervisors, construction, and administrative.  We recognize these associates with quarterly awards, and then at the end of the year we also have an "Of the Year" award for these categories.  We do two events that get the entire company together once in Aug. for the 1st and 2nd qtr. awards, and then again in Feb. for the 3rd and 4th qtrs. along with the "Of the Year" winners.  The events are always a great time and people enjoy being able to socialize with others in the company that they might rarely see.

Generally this is how the evening goes.  The president of the company gives some speeches, talks about the industry, and just gives some words of wisdom.  Then other V.P.'s/Execs may have some other words of wisdom or speeches before we begin the award presentations.  The V.P.'s/Execs share in presenting the awards and we generally sum it up by saying everyone is a winner, but we could only choose one.

This is where the "I think???" comes into play.  Are we creating a positive with these awards or a negative.  While the winners and maybe their co-workers are excited and happy, many others "I think???" feel they got the shaft.  Because these awards are somewhat subjective I can see why some would feel slighted, and in a world of people motivated by rewards I wonder if we are actually doing more harm than helping.  It's not just a situation of someone feeling they are being slighted, but a situation in which people might feel unappreciated or ignored.  Is this a risk we are taking by continuing to do these awards, or is this an opportunity for us to help motivate those "Shining Stars" that really help make a difference in the company.  Should I/we be worrying about the people that think they got the shaft?  Are we missing something?  Is there still value to "awards," or do we just need to make some changes in the way we give/present them?
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