PR + Social ---> Boom

Why you build a brand: to add value to your company.
How you build a brand: advertising, marketing, PR, events, social media, publications, web, mobile, apps, sales, email, conferences customer service, internal communications...you name it.
A top-priority, critical intersection you're likely overlooking: the connection between PR and social media.
The connections between your disparate activities generally.
Why you should focus on PR and social media specifically: because the one has an exponential force multiplier effect on the other. Almost nuclear.
Just to review for a second.
1) Why you do PR:
  • Short-term proactive: Get the word out among influencers, who then tell the rest of the world
  • Long-term insurance: Build your reputation for current and prospective investors, and in case of a future crisis
  • Reactive: Minimize damage in case of a crisis
2) Social media's rationale:
  • Community-building, channel - agnostic - i.e. a content portal or a unique social media brand across distinct tools
  • Community-building narrow-targeted by channel - i.e. reach the audience that consumes a particular type of tool, i.e. Twitter
Now consider how coordinating PR and social media multiples your opportunities for positive exposure and awareness:
  • PR folks get "influencer" media coverage - social media professionals drive that coverage online. They drive traffic from that precious interview elsewhere, multiplying your audience, attracting new customers for your business.
  • Social media professionals know how to talk to particular online communities - translating influencer impact across digital cultures. That article in a technical publication may impress other technical professionals, but imagine the possibilities if you establish a presence on platforms that reach either a broader or a completely different audience. 
  • Cross-pollination of print and digital; audio, video, visual, experiential and living projects. So much time, effort and money goes into the focus on one particular event, publication, medium or channel strategy. The PR expert can zero in on the most important print and online channels for a particular audience, and the social media professional has both the technical skill and pop-culture sensibility to work across stovepipes, appeal to the commercial mindset and turn on a dime while doing so.
If you're going to focus on any two areas to promote your brand right now, I would urge you to integrate PR and social media.
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Photo credit: U.S. Marines via Flickr. All opinions my own. Check out my author page on Amazon.

I Am Strong When You Are With Me

"He wants to hold my hand. But I'm short."
"So walk side by side."
"He wants to hold my hand. So I said to him, 'I'm short. I can hold your arm though.'"
"What did he say to that?"
"Once I put it that way, then he calmed down."
* * *
Paradox:
  • We seek to grow and evolve as individuals.
  • We live to walk arm in arm with our significant other.
* * * 
"OK, you're in voice change mode."
"Good morning."
"So is it really true that 1 in 3 women keep their ex's phone number in their phone, and are even still secretly in love? Because I think about my wife, and frankly that scares me."
DC's Hot 99.5 was holding its daily morning discussion of relationships. Around the microphone: Kane, Danni and Intern John.
"Absolutely, Kane. I'm getting married on Sunday. But if Brandon were to call, I'd leave my fiancee in a heartbeat." 
"You're kidding."
"Absolutely. And he cheated on me."
"He cheated on you? And you still love him? We don't judge, we just observe. But that's crazy."
"I love him though."
"Can I tell you something please? Please don't get married. Why are you marrying him?"
I can't remember the response.
* * * 
I work in a startup. We have our own office space. Yet much of the time, we operate by posse.
Meet, hash it out, read the draft, knock it out, rehearse the presentation and comment before things go out the door.
  • Yes, it's quality control.
  • Yes, it's time-efficient.
  • Yes, it's engagement, culture, and morale.

But there's something else at work too. We are flying out there on the high wire.
We need each other there for moral support.
Because we will screw up, but we still have to go on.
We need to know we can fall and get back up without losing face.
* * * 
The other day I had to give a branding presentation, and I didn't know the crowd at all. And I was scared. Throat locked up. Legs shaking. Sweaty.
I looked out at the audience. Tight-lipped. Expressionless. No read.
So I imagined them sitting there in their underwear.
But the visual was fairly distasteful. I couldn't see it through.
"They're a tough crowd, aren't they? You'll be alright though."
There, a member of my team. I must have looked really bad.
"Yeah," I cranked the corners of my mouth up, even though I couldn't smile. "I'll survive." 
* * *

They called me up. It started out badly.
"I'm the one standing between you and lunch, hahaha. Not a great place to be."
You could have heard a feather flying in the air, the air was so dead. Not a sound.
I am dead. I'm sure of it.
And then, out of nowhere. An invisible hand pushed me out of the podium area and toward the u-shaped table in the middle of the room. 
Now, out of nowhere I was Liza Minnelli.
"Who here likes McDonald's coffee?" 
Some startled expressions. Hands went up.
Hey, this is fun!
"Who here likes Starbucks?" 
A wave of energy blew through the room.
"NEITHER!" somebody hooted.
"BUDWEISER!" a third.
And then the room went wild. 
The monologue became a dialogue, a tri-alogue, a multi-athlon.
My guardian angel had given me a tip:
"My child, you're not alone. Bring them into the circle with you."
For that half an hour, we had a posse of our own. Unbreakable.
What I learned that day:
  • On your own, you are undoubtedly an ass.
  • But in a group that accepts you, you're an ass with class.
There is no presentation without a frame. That frame comes from the context, from the culture. But you don't know the natives till the natives let you in. 
So change the way you approach your business - your brand.
Don't think of it as you on your own, the isolated one who has all the ideas.
Instead ask your stakeholders how.
How can we move together in unison?
How can we become a small, tightly knit team?
* * * 
We are each of us aspects of the Divine.
What I lack, you have. What you need, I can supply you.
We work better in small teams. Humans are a series of concentric circles - overlapping circles - together.
A great relationship is one where you stand on your own two feet, but can finish your partner's sentences.
In the end, the strong brand is co-produced. It is branches, roots and wings. 
_______
All opinions my own. Check out my author page on Amazon. Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr. 

What The Kabbalist Told My Dad

I asked my dad to consult a Kabbalist because I kept seeing "6:13" on my iPhone and other clocks. 

This happened at least 8 times by the time I called my dad. It wasn't my imagination - noticed it enough to take screenshots.

Also note: Normally I don't even notice the time. Only recently bought a watch! 

Still, I wasn't going to call or consult anyone.

My family worried. They thought it might be a warning, as I am less religiously observant than them. (Significance: There are 613 commandments in the Torah.)

Initially I brushed them off. Then one night I picked up the phone. Because many years ago my life was in grave danger and I survived after some very intense prayer on my behalf.

So. A few weeks later, last night, my dad visited with the Kabbalist. I am going to share some of what I was told - the part that is relevant to a wider audience. It is a spiritual message, and spiritual messages need to be shared. 

A I do this I understand some of you will be cynical. But I think I am supposed to write it down. You can do what you want with the information.

1. "Your ancestors are pleading with you to return to the fold." My ancestry goes back to Rabbi Yosef Caro, a Kabbalist and the author of the Shulchan Aruch. This confirms to me that our souls are immortal and connected.

2.  "Do not let the prayers said over you be in vain." I almost died back then. Something was said that kept me alive. The merit was invoked for me somehow.

3. "You don't have to do everything at once." Specifically I should keep kosher, Sabbath and go to a mostly observant synagogue with the family Sabbath morning.

I didn't feel I was being attacked with these comments. Rather I understood that although some things I am doing may be positive, others are not. Specifically the commandments between humans and G-d. Been arrogant, spiteful and rebellious.

There is no scientific way to prove that the Kabbalist's words are accurate advice for me. But they feel accurate. I am going to listen.

Give the honor to the Creator.