Tag : Beyond Buzz

Have I got a story for you

“I’m so tired of  hearing about corporate storytelling,” a corporate communications manager confessed to me recently. “Really, what does “storytelling” mean for businesses? What am I suppose to do to create “stories.”

“There are nine story themes that people like hearing about from companies,” I explained. “If you create content  based on those themes you’ll  be turning your messages into stories.”

I introduced these nine story themes four years ago when I published the book Beyond Buzz. This simple model is used around the world by companies and agencies of all sizes to get unstuck and come up with fresh ways to connect with customers, employees and analysts.   Guy Kawasaki included these themes in his new book “Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions,” writing,

“These story lines from Lois Kelly, author of Beyond Buzz, will help you craft a story that does your cause justice.”

Sean Moffit and Mike Dover also include them in their excellent new book “Wikibrands: Reinventing Your Company in a Customer-Driven Economy,” saying:

“People love to tell stories. When repeated they reinforce a message; when told well they become viral. Lois Kelly suggests nine types of stories in her book Beyond Buzz that get talked about.”

The 9 themes

  1. Great aspirations (Patagonia believing a company can grow big and sustain the environment in innovative ways)
  2. David vs. Goliath (Southwest Airlines taking on the big, established players)
  3. Personal stories (Fred Smith on why he started FedEx, and why investors funded the company after they met the janitor)
  4. Contrarian/counterintuitive (BestBuy deciding to fire some of its customers. What? A company doesn’t fire customers?!)
  5. Avalanche about to roll (Spotting, forecasting early trends before they’re big and in the mainstream)
  6. Anxieties (Does your child have what it takes to get into a good college?)
  7. How-to (How to do things related to your service/product to help customers)
  8. Glitz and glam (What you can learn from Sara Jessica Parker about investing money)
  9. Seasonal/event related (Financial and tax advice leading up to April 15; vacation deals just before he summer)

Download the eBook, check out Guy Kawasaki’s post

Not in the mood for reading books to learn more?  Click here to visit the Foghound resource center, and download a copy of the eBook, “Beyond Buzz: Let’s Talk About Something Interesting.” Or check out Guy Kawasaki’s post, “How to Change the World: The Nine Best Story Lines for Marketing.”



Responses to Marketing News Radio questions

Really enjoyed the great questions from Wednesday’s  AMA Marketing News Radio program, “Beyond Buzz: Succeeding in a Conversational Marketing 2.0 World,” hosted by the gracious and smart David Kinard. Here are responses to questions that we didn’t have time to get to during the show. Thanks for tuning in!

Can social networking marketing strategies work for B2B industries?  If so, how do we find the relevant networks for our industry (in my case, it happens to be architectural and commercial development)?

Absolutely. Set up several Google Alerts with key words about your industry to begin to see places. Think about using key words that will bring up social networks, like “Industrial architect forums” or” industrial architect blogs.” To see how large the community or blog might be go to Compete, plug in the URL and it will tell give you the # of unique site visitors. Another tip: when using Google use search term “top ten architecture blogs.” I find those top-ten lists a good way to find good sites.

Is there somewhere I can go to learn the practical how-to’s for setting up Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and other similar web programs?  Every talk I hear seems to say how important they are, but none take the time to walk through exactly how to set them up or use them.

Here’s a great list of “how to” blog posts on those topics. Very detailed.   Another source can be found here. (Great little instructional videos.)

I work for a contemporary art gallery and our Internet service currently rests on the city’s server. Therefore, we are blocked from such sites as Facebook and MySpace. We’re not even allowed to post pictures on flikr or Kodak gallery, etc. The city sees them as non-work related sites, understandably. Any suggestions on how we should “pitch” to the city how necessary it is for us to have access to these social communication tools?

Here’s a BBC report on why “Bosses should embrace Facebook” based on a new study.  To make your case find additional data and examples to show how governments – city, state and local – are using social media to be more effective, responsive and citizen-friendly. Build they case for the trend; create a Google Alert “Government use of social media.” (Here’s one example)  Gather the best facts and examples and enlist other organizations like yours who feel the same way. Maybe even start a local social movement, using a blog or Facebook, to raise visibility of the issue. Get some ideas on how to force change from this post, Social media lessons from union organizers.

What tools do you use to track conversation re: your product on the web?

There’s a whole host of tools you can use to track conversations, from the free Google Alerts to Radian6 (low-to-mid) to TruCast from Visible Technologies (mid-to-high). The right choice depends on your business needs. If you’re not doing anything yet, at a minimum set up Google Alerts about your company, your category, industry trends in your field.

And to track conversations on Twitter try services such as Twilert, which will email you once a day with mentions of the keywords you care about, or set up a dashboard on Tweetdeck or Tweetgrid which you can configure and bookmark in your browser to track keywords about your company, products and competitors.

Once we’ve established a presence on a social network, and have the current social networkers buzzing, how do we drive potential customers to that network?

Promote the value (and URL) of the social network to your customers in all the ways you communicate with them.  Emails, brochures, sales presentations, “on hold” telephone message, on employees’ email signatures, etc. Also make it easy for people to tell others about the network by including a lot of social sharing tools in the network to- email, delicious tags, Digg, Twitter, Stumpleupon, Facebook.

Also keep an eye out for particularly engaged members who you can enlist and empower to act as ambassadors for the network.

You referred to the Air Force formula to use as a guideline. Where would I locate that?

You can find it here.

What the pitfalls or key things to look our for when using Facebook or LinkedIn for recruiting and positioning/branding?

The pitfall is using it as a one-way message board promoting your company.  The way to get value is to provide value. You have to give to get.

Use these networks to provide information that’s helpful and interesting to your audience. Or use it o ask questions, like “we’re looking for a sales executive with xx years experience in the xyz industry; compensation: $120-150k.  Know anyone?”    Guy Kawasaki offers this good advice, “Ten Ways to Use Linked In for Business.” Note, however, that Facebook and LinkedIn do have their limitations. For many businesses, there’s not a whole lot of value for them with Facebook.

I suspect that there will be discussion about social networking sites and their effectiveness as a relationship building/marketing tool.

Most definitely. You can find much more information about this topic in this free e-book, Marketing in 2009.

Any other questions? If so, please add them here and I’ll get back to you. Again, thanks for listening.

Sun's Schwartz: not about blogging, but what you say

[photopress:Schwartz_1_2.jpg,full,pp_image] The novelty of blogging is about to wear off, said Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz at this week’s Web 2.o Expo in San Francisco. It’s becoming just another way to communicate.

The bigger point, said Schwartz, is having something provocative to say.

“If you say undifferentiated things that are expected, then you shouldn’t expect anyone to care.”

Amen. So many businesses are obsessed about how to use blogs or social networks that they overlook the fact that you have to have something interesting to say. The point of my book Beyond Buzz is just this:

in today’s “talk” world — online and in person — having an interesting or provocative point of view is as essential, maybe more so, than traditional marketing and communications “messages,” elevator statements, value props, etc.

A provocative point of view gets attention, gets people involved, and speeds understanding. As Schwartz knows, if you want to get interest, be more interesting.

wowOwow and enough is enough

Here are a few of items from my guest blogging duties today over at the Word of Mouth Marketing Association blog.

wowOwow on crisis communications and much more

How to respond when your reputation is under attack? Writing in the fabulous new online community wowOwow, Leslie Stahl offers this advice: “The best way to respond when your reputation has been sullied is to get real LOUD. Go on offense with a noisy, unrelenting, niggling, persistent, bellicose warrior’s attack. If you’re swinging and kicking, that’s what people will see (and the press will cover). And the besmirching of you will fade like an old scar.”

Check out more from wowOwow, now in beta, and featuring conversations among cool women celebrity professionals like Candice Bergen, Whoopi Goldberg, Joan Juliet Buck, Peggy Noon, Joni Evans and Lesley Stahl.

Measuring online community success

Generating word of mouth is the reason many organizations start online communities, but they find much more additional value once the community has been up and running, like lots of new ideas from the community members. That’s an early finding of a new industry study on measuring online community effectiveness. To share your experiences — and get a free copy of the results in April, check out www.communityeffectiveness.com

Rude is rude, enough is enough

Some of the biggest buzz this week was around the audience heckling during Mark Zuckerman’s keynote at SXSW in Austin. A big round of applause to Michael Rudin for his post about the event over at Marketing Profs, “Enough is enough. It’s time that we as a community — especially the A-listers who get quoted everywhere as so-called “experts” — stand up and call it like it actually was: rude and unacceptable.” Go Michael.

PS: Beyond Buzz + Made To Stick honored

One other highlight of the week: Beyond Buzz was selected one of the best business books of 2007 by Library Journal. Beyond Buzz and Made To Stick by Dan and Chip Heath were the editors’ top picks for marketing and branding books. Nothing like a little award news to jump-start the weekend. Enjoy all.

Beyond Buzz wins gold prize


I’m so honored and thrilled that my book Beyond Buzz has been awarded a gold prize in the 2008 Axiom Business Book Awards in the Advertising/Marketing/Public Relations category. I’m especially honored to share the gold with Andy Sernovitz’s Word of Mouth Marketing. Here’s a list of all the winners.The awards are sponsored by Independent Publisher, Inc, Jenkins Group, and Padilla Spear Beardsley.