So, who even does this?

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I keep an eye on clever things people do to market their products or businesses. And because not everyone is clever, or indeed smart enough to dress themselves without diagrams or YouTube tutorials, I sometimes see the unclever things people do to market their products or businesses.

Here’s a winner, y’all.

Call it “You Did What? A Saga Wherein Food and Customer Service Collide and Nobody Wins (But Someone Could Have Caught a Case), or Please Never Do This Ever in This or Any Other Universe.”
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So, this will totally be unbiased, right?

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Look, I love Coke. I used to cram my dorm room mini-fridge with the 12-packs, and hoarded those precious, precious buy-one-get-one-free coupons like Smaug hoarded gold. I mean, me ‘n Coca-Cola go way, way back.

But I haven’t been drinking as much of it lately. Because…calories. And high-fructose corn syrup. And beer. Look, you live in the same town as Cobra Brewing and try not to enjoy that deliciousness, ok?

Turns out, I’m not alone in cutting back on the soda. In the U.S., consumption is down for the tenth straight year, with more folks drinking water, even sugary water-type beverages, than diet pop.

But hey! No worries! Sure, we’ve all been told both diet and exercise contribute to health and well-being, but there are some researchers out there saying that what you eat and drink really isn’t that big a deal!   Continue reading

So, does your biz have a social media policy?

 

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Even though we now shop online, bank online, and even find our spouses online, there are still folks out there meeting news of vicious social media attacks with, “It’s just the internet. Grow a thicker skin.”

But let an employee be candid about work disappointments online, and some of those same folks are ready to grab the torches and pitchforks.

We can’t have it both ways. But you know what we can have? Solid social media policies.

And your company needs one.

Need proof? Let’s look at a couple of problems you might encounter, starting with a case that’s been in the news recently.

Y’all have heard of Curt Schilling, I’d imagine. If not, here’s a recap. Let me warn you, though, it ain’t pretty. I usually keep it light around here. The issue I’m about to address is anything but.  Continue reading

So, what do you do when you really screw up?

 

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In my last couple of pieces, I’ve pointed out some examples of what not to do. Like, ever. Under any circumstances. There was a key and creepy difference between these two examples, though.

Both started out as honest, if incredibly short-sighted, mistakes. But one screw up was followed by a sincere apology. The other? Not so much.

It might be instructive to talk about how to say you’re sorry. Like all forms of communication, that’s storytelling. And because it deals with emotions and disappointment, it’s important that it be respectful storytelling.   Continue reading

So, why do we keep having this problem?

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Confession time, my little chinchillas. I’m a nerd. No. I mean, I’m a nerd. A D&D playing, glasses wearing, bad-horror-movie-quoting nerd. Need proof? Here’s one of my four embarrassingly overburdened comic book shelves.

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See? Nerd.

Which means, of course, I love Superman in any and all forms. Even the old TV show the Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves. But something has always bothered me about the show.

It’s the criminals. They’re stupid.   Continue reading

So, again with the creepy, Facebook?

 

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Facebook. Sweetie. Boychik. Come here. We have to have another chat. About the creepy.

You’re doing it again.

I know that you want to be all things to all people, and that now you have stockholders to earn for. And hey, new features build buzz and keep folks in the app, rather than zipping over to Yelp to find restaurants and reviews.

But you could maybe be not so stalker-y?  Continue reading

So, is Twitter gonna get creepy?

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As you’ve no doubt heard, Twitter is talkin’ turkey about making changes. And the user base is…let’s say less than thrilled.

Over at Gigaom, Mathew Ingram dropped the news that at a “financial conference, Twitter’s chief financial officer Anthony Noto suggested that the service will offer algorithm-driven curation of feeds much like Facebook does, in order to try and improve the relevance for users.” Possibly starting by nuking the reverse-chronological feed that Twitterers have been used to since the service rolled out in 2006.  Continue reading

So, what does storytelling require, anyway?

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I’m so glad you asked! You’re my favorite. Don’t tell the others. It’ll be our little secret.

The short answer is that storytelling is narrative and narrative is driven by conflict. The long answer? Let’s dig into the guts of that.

Traditionally, conflict comes in the form of the big four: Man vs. Man, Man vs. Society, Man vs. Nature, and Man vs. Self. (But since this is 2014, I’m just going to go ahead and use the term Protagonist, or even Protag, because c’mon. There’s also some other X vs. Y ideas, and we’ll delve into those too.) What do each of these categories mean, especially in terms of marketing? We’ll take ’em one by one. Starting, in this post, with…  Continue reading

So, this is extra-crispy levels of creepy.

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I don’t usually blog two days in a row, but for poor Comcast, I’ve made an exception.

Slip on over to Fast Company and read about the most terrible bit of storytelling since Spiderman 3 hit us with that dance sequence.

When someone wants to cancel a contract or service, yes, by all means, ask if there’s anything you can do to help change their mind.

Once. Not for twenty minutes.

This is a serious case of narrative fail. Customer service reps have to be able to understand the customer’s desires, interpret mood and motivation. They have to tell the right story in response. Social intelligence, just as we discussed before.

I’m inclined to think this will go viral, especially since the recording is so easily shared via Soundcloud. But if nothing else, said recording certainly is instructive.