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Like a Rolling Stone Music Video Wrap Up
Rolling Stone deemed Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” the greatest song of all-time

Last week [NOVEMBER 22 2013], Bob Dylan released an official music video for his 1965 hit, “Like a Rolling Stone.” It is the first-ever music video released for the song; it’s creation part of a recent promotional push for the upcoming commercial release of Bob Dylan’s 47-Disc Box Set.

Like a Rolling Stone is regarded as a timeless classic amongst music critics and it embodies the spirit of what is most iconic in contemporary American music. Rolling Stone Magazine recently deemed the Dylan tune, greatest song of all-time.

I can’t confirm or deny if RS’ editors are partial to Dylan’s song title, but I am certain that the music video is unlike any we have ever seen before.

It is a first-of-its-kind interactive music video – native to online – that allows web viewers to “flip channels.” Each of the several channels feature imagined stars and characters of faux television programs, lip-syncing Dylan’s lyrics in time with the song, even as viewers ‘flip’ through the lineup.

The video was launched via Dylan’s website, and was first shared externally with Mashable, garnering coverage from the online media titan. There is no functionality to embed the video, but watch it here.

Oh… And, yeah… Welcome your glimpse into the future of content development and distribution.

After watching the video just once, I knew that, inevitably, this would mark the initiation of a new standard in online engagement, coming soon to a content development strategy near you. We’re at the precipice of tectonic shifts in how brands and their agency partners innovate content paradigms and how audiences will (want to) experience media overall.

Content creators who are ill prepared to innovate and, or to disrupt present models will likely suffer, if not worse.

It’s worth noting that in this particular example, the director, Vania Heymann’s creative vision is the key developmental attribute. It’s not always easy to see the writing on the wall – to envision scalability – when dealing with intuition and creative genius. But… What can be read ‘between-the-lines’ here is that a new norm is on the horizon for content creators; we will be forced to intelligently align innovative technologies, creative design expertise and advanced analytics insights across content strategy and distribution models.

This, and all that it implies, fit squarely within the context of W2O’s models in content strategy and development. We believe that great content inherently resonates with audiences in multiple dimensions. Content that fits this mold captivates and galvanizes audiences by creating emotional and psychological connections, holistic in nature and that extend beyond the sum of its parts. Whether it comes down to unforeseen “wow-factor” technology (like in the Dylan video), a tactile experience, an emotionally affective message, etc., we can always identify multiple levers at play when observing content that makes a major impact.

The next step in this evolution will be marked by the rise of content creation models that innately create resonant touch-points in multiple dimensions and that establish a level of predictability with respect to measurable outcomes. W2O Group has already begun innovating content creation models in this way, primarily through the alignment of its content, media + engagement, creative design/UX and advanced analytics practices.

Contact W2O Group to find out more.

Hypothetically, imagine if what I’ve described became the basis of an integrated content distribution framework. In that context, might it be argued that brands dealing with segmented audiences (e.g. regional product/service models) would add value, at-scale, by gaining the capability to surface an interactive content engine with an analytical approach at the core of its design (e.g. Nextworks’ Content Capsule)?

Brands challenged by audience segmentation would benefit greatly if they were better equipped to efficiently create and distribute content, and if they could ensure relevant content effectively cut across audience segments without causing core messaging decay. Therefore, it seems safe to say that a viable solution to this problem could rest upon content development models that apply advanced analytics to identify resonant factors across audience segments, and that innovate distribution technologies allowing users to self-select relevant content  and, or that implement software intelligence for surfacing content based on user attribution.

This possibly represents a means by which brands could aggregate content and audiences – even segmented audiences – around centralized content hubs. How might something like this affect brand P&L? It looks to change the game if brands become empowered to consistently and predictively circumvent pitfalls inherent to communicating with segmented audiences.

What impact would it have if organizations were able to multiply the impact of distributed content, while simultaneously reducing the breadth of infrastructure needed for content development and distribution altogether? The implications go on.

If we mostly agree that the world is becoming more integrated, and not less integrated, then content models that innovate technologies for interactivity and that rely heavily on digital analytics insights to drive strategy and distribution seem central to a plausible vision of the future. We, inevitably, will have Bob Dylan to thank for starting us down the road of the former.

  • The Real Value of PR to IR (published inPR News November 4, 2013)

I recently wrote a new Money Matters column for PRNews.  I like how Matthew Schwartz is leading PRNews.  The tips and how to nature of the publication is always worth a read.  I thought I would share the column with you on our blog, as well.  Enjoy. 

I’ve worked alongside some of the best investor relations professionals in the business.  They are smart, focused and often jaded about the value that public relations can bring to the party.  And in many cases, quite frankly, they are right.  Too often, PR is simply serving the role of echoing the messages of the quarter or year.

The real value of PR to IR is actually quite different.  PR brings tremendous value to the party to help build value for the corporate brand.  It may not be recognized as valuable “this quarter”, but as we all know, great brands are in business for hundreds of quarters, not just one.  Here are six of my favorite ways to ensure PR becomes an indispensable partner of IR.

Identify Your Corporate Influencers – we want the right people to be telling our company’s story to the world.  With today’s algorithms, we can identify the exact influencers, in order, as it relates to each aspect of the corporate reputation.  We can know who matters for sustainability vs. financial strength vs. pipeline.  There are never more than 50 influencers who drive the majority of share of conversation for the largest company in the world.  For sub-topics, there are usually less than 20 people who really matter.  Who are they and what is the right list of people who should be telling your story vs. what you have today?  Hint: your media list is not on target today.

Understand How Search Impacts Reputation — most analysts are not allowed to speak publicly and, if we are honest, most of their coverage of companies looks the same.  It’s pretty generic.  So how are they learning?  One way is via the IR team.  Another way is via search when they aren’t calling anyone.  We need to determine the exact search queries that an investor would ask a search engine to find out more about every key aspect of your company.  Make that query yourself, look at what you find and ask yourself if you like how your story is being told.  Chances are that you are not thrilled with what you see or you’ll see that the basic information is there, just not the real insights needed to shape thinking.  Hint: take your questions from your Q&A, shorten them and use for search queries to get started.  

Share Content 365 – now that you know who has influence and you know what people search for, it is a matter of you sending out the right content into the earned media world, along with the right keyword tags.  For example, if you want to ensure all investors know about your pipeline, then send out an update on a different aspect of your pipeline every month.  As you do this, keep using the same 10-15 keywords related to the search queries your investors are making.  The result, over time, will be that your full pipeline will start to show up in a more uniform way.  Hint: your “corporate speak” is not using the right 15 keywords today.    

Track Issues Differently – more than 90% of issues are known in advance for a company and its brands.  There are few surprises in life.  If you set up the right tracking system, in advance, you will be more knowledgeable about any issue an investor could bring up.  You’ll never be surprised, you’ll know if the issue is real or just a flash in the pan, and they will realize you treat your corporate brand with respect.  When you are surprised, of course, it has the opposite effect.  Investors start to think you are not on top of things.  Hint: create a spreadsheet and list out every issue you can imagine for any product or topic for your company.  Share with a multi-function team to complete. You’ll get to 90% in no time.

Expand Corporate News Flow – we work with hundreds of brands in all industries.  We know, from experience, that a healthy brand has 2/3 of its content flow driven by blogs and twitter.  Mainstream media is a catalyst and blogs and twitter carry that news further.  Your twitter account for your corporation should be following the exact network of people who you believe will care and share your news worldwide.  You can and should set a goal of expanding your corporate news coverage by 25% next year.  You can do it if you have the right followers on Twitter and the right mix of coverage.  Hint: Spend your time on twitter learning who has real influence in sharing corporate news.  Algorithms help.

Know Your Rankings – when I was at Novartis awhile back, we evaluated all rankings with importance to the global corporate reputation.  It turned out that there were 43 rankings at that time (2003), of which 22 were quantitative and 21 were qualitative.  We couldn’t impact the quantitative rankings, since those are based on results.  However, we did dig deeper into the qualitative rankings, some of which we were not even on, and figured out, over time, how to build the most relevant position for our company.  The key is that we took the time to figure out what mattered….and, equally, what was a complete waste of time.  Hint: the majority of rankings have nearly zero impact on your company’s reputation.

There are many more ways to create value for your corporate brand that will help build long-term value.  If you stay focused on how to impact hundreds of quarters while IR works their magic for the current quarter, you end up improving the reputation of your company and enhance its value.

It’s certainly good to partner with IR for the quarter’s news, but just keep reminding yourself that this is not unlocking the real value you have for your company.

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Sidebar

Become a Storytizer

I believe that Storytizing will replace advertising in importance over the next 3-5 years.  Storytizing relates to how we can share our full story directly to the person we are targeting.  We live in an era where we don’t need to “wake people up” with an ad, move them to a site and then hope they can navigate to the right information, once they are there.

Today, we can already deliver our corporate story directly to our target audience.

I know that when we talk with Wall Street, we talk with PowerPoint.  If we didn’t have slides, we would probably forget how to walk and talk at the same time.  For better or worse, that’s how we roll.

When we talk with Main Street or the larger investor audience that could not make the presentation or call, there are new ways to share our full story directly to our target audience.  One example that we make is the Content Capsule (www.nextworks.com).  Imagine discussing a new addition to your pipeline.  You have a video from the presenter, surrounded by FAQ’s, key slides, text with further insights with links back to your website, a white paper and images of how the product works.  All of that can be provided directly to an influencer or the general public via an email, Facebook post, your website or even a banner ad.  Here is an example from our work with BMC Software.

We can also liven up our websites.  Your IR colleagues know how to tell the company story.  Listen to what they say and then take your images on your website and liven them up.  For example, imagine you have a photo on your site of a new product you just launched.  When you touch the image on your website, you get additional information via embedded links right in the image.  You are now giving a virtual tour of the product without making the audience do much work at all.  Here is an example for a new book.

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I enjoyed participating at the Global PR Summit on Monday for the Independent PR Forum.  Our firm, as you probably know, is part of PROI.

To end the day, I was asked to speak on a panel with Aarti Shah of The Holmes Report as our moderator and fellow panelists Salvador da Cunha of Lift Group, Fraser Hardie of Blue Rubicon and Tom Lindell of Exponent PR.

If you would like to see our panel, here’s a video of our session.

Enjoy, Bob

At the inaugural W2O healthcare leadership event last month in New York, we had the chance to ask some notable clients, healthcare leaders, and journalists the following three questions:

  1. Does Amazon’s purchase of the Washington Post signal a new era coming for newspapers?  And what is the future of health/medical journalism?
  2. Do you think reporters have all the resources they need to cover complex health/medical topics?  If no – How can we improve the situation?
  3.  “Who is the must-follow person for healthcare on social media?  How active are you online?

Their responses reveal some interesting insight on how social media in particular is having a strong influence on how developments in the healthcare industry are reported on by journalists and absorbed by readers.  And we at W2O, continue to gain insight from our sponsorship of this unique event. Learn more here.

Jim Larkin/Lauren Barbiero – W20 Earned Media Team

For many of us, the relationships we have with our mentors have been invaluable. They helped us land our first job; a first promotion; they’re a sounding board for innovation and advice. But how many of us have reversed the role? How many of us have moved from mentee to mentor lately? I always assumed mentoring was something done by those veteran in the industry. That changed when I was asked to take on a couple tasks from my alma mater, Syracuse University. One of those tasks was to guest tweet from a university run Twitter handle, @workingorange. My job was simple: tweet about what I do, offer advice to current students and answer any questions that came my way. While I wasn’t expecting much, it turned out to be extremely rewarding. Here’s a sample of the day’s work:

While I expected the day to end and the dialogue to cease, I was surprised to find that each of those I conversed with had followed me on my personal handle to continue talking. It’s then that I started analyzing the importance of mentoring from a company’s perspective. I began to ask myself, what’s the ROI of mentoring?

Internal Mentoring Programs

Large corporations continue to invest money into mentoring programs matching young professionals with industry veterans in hopes of developing the next generation of talent. However, these programs often feel forced and fall flat of achieving the goals. Today, companies are trying a couple of different tactics to improve mentoring. A couple of examples are:

Reverse Mentoring: The idea of flipping mentoring on its head. Using this approach, it’s the young professionals offering the advice to senior professionals. Consider Citibank who’s recently partnered with University of Miami’s School of Business Administration to launch a reverse mentoring program. Citibank hopes this six month program will, “tap into the digital wisdom of the younger generation,” providing Citibank executives with a prospective they might not have thought of. These types of programs are becoming extremely popular as companies attempt to stay savvy to evolving trends. It’s also a growing method of recruitment for companies. As one executive put it, “If we understand the next generation better, we can motivate and cultivate talent better.”

Peer Mentoring: The idea of like-minded professionals meeting together to offer advice and share experiences about their given niche. This tactic mirrors that of “lean-in circles” made famous by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. These groups, ideally 8-12 people who are in comparable places in life, meet regularly to share experiences, ideas and solicit advice. Peer mentoring fosters long-term relationships with colleagues that are meant to develop over time to be mutually beneficial relationships.

With these two examples in mind, consider the following statistics published by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association:

  • Lloyds TSB implemented a mentorship program that “increased the number of women in a management role from 15% in 1998 to 39% in 2007. Over the same period, women in senior management positions rose from 9% to 21%.”
  • “A case study by The Gartner Group showed that the benefits accrued to Sun Microsystems employees beyond mentees had a business impact on mentors in salary grade, retention and promotion rates. In fact, both mentors and mentees were at least five times more likely to be promoted than those not involved in the program.”

 External Mentoring Programs

Mentoring extends beyond the walls of the workplace with programs like Big Brother, Big Sister and other mentorship opportunities. These mentoring opportunities provide us with the chance to make a difference much bigger than job promotions, salary increases and talent acquisition. Consider the following from Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota:

  • Quality youth mentoring programs can expect a $2.72 return for every dollar spent on effective mentoring programs in the state.
  • Reduced truancy than those not in a mentorship program – resulting in reduced school costs and, ultimately, reduced high school dropouts.
  • Improved school attendance and performance than those not in a mentorship program – leading to increased graduation rates, increased post-secondary education, and higher lifetime earnings.

External mentoring programs provide us with the opportunity to realize an ROI greater than we can imagine. It’s certainly an ROI you won’t be able to place a dollar value on. And who knows, maybe that external mentee comes full circle and lands a job with W2O. Couldn’t get any better than that.

Whether it’s internal or external mentorship, it’s clear that the ROI is worth the time. It’s time for us to begin to give back and make a difference. So, where will you start?

Over the past several years, the success of our Health Practice has enabled us to diversify and develop new practices, offerings, clients, companies and leaders.  Despite many changes and our continued evolution, rest assured, Health is central to the future of W2O Group.

It is my long-standing belief that there is nothing more important than one’s health and that the ultimate consumer products and services are those designed to improve it.

Its economic importance in nearly every country in the world is indisputable, and we don’t see that changing anytime soon with Obamacare coming and as the population ages around the world.

Whether it’s Consumer products (Nike Fuel), Technology (Health IT), Government (health exchanges) or a myriad of other industries, strength in Health will be a key differentiator for the firms in W2O Group.

While our business has changed in light of the technology and digital revolution over the past few years, the need for accurate, reliable information has never been greater in the age of reform, cost-consciousness and the “consumerization” of healthcare.  Education, access and advocacy are more critical than ever, and now we have the digital tools and technologies to leverage to reach those in greatest need more effectively and efficiently than ever.  It’s a great time to be in this business.

So many here have played an integral role in building out our Health capability and Practice over the years and we expect many more to join us as we enter this next stage and iteration of the Practice.  We have never had as many tools, talented people and expertise to tap to serve our clients than we do today and our commitment to and passion for this sector of our business remains as deep and robust as ever.

Now is the time to bring it all together and take it to the next level.

As a holding company in the best sense of that phrase, the W2O Group supports, nurtures and powers entrepreneurialism, innovation, talent and growth in WCG, TWist, BreWLife, NextWorks and future companies — from the ground up versus from the top down.

To maintain focus and leadership and to differentiate, compete and grow like we always have across our operating companies in this important area, I am going to be playing a more hands-on leadership role in Health.  Our President, Bob Pearson, will continue to be a major partner and driver in this essential business that is at his core, but we will divide and conquer so I can focus here while he focuses on building our Next Practices, partnerships, technology and innovation — all of which will further enhance our Health businesses, as well as our other mission critical areas of Technology, Consumer and Corporate.

I’m pleased to formally announce that Diane Weiser will also assume a new(ish) role as Leader, W2O Health, and join the W2O ET reporting to me to help accelerate, coordinate and facilitate the operational and growth aspects of our Health capability so that every client, company and practice benefits from it.  As she transitions, she will keep her direct reporting relationships and account assignments, although this is likely to morph in the future (as it always does).

To be clear, Chris Deri still leads WCG, Jenn Gottlieb leads TWist and Paul Laland leads BreWLife, reporting to Bob.  All those firms will have their own health practice/revenue stream leaders and client relationship leaders (CRL’s) reporting to them while they also build out other diversified practices and services.

In the meantime, Diane and I will be partnering (with many others across the long hallway from SF to LA to NY to Austin to London, Minneapolis, Chicago, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Wilmington, North Carolina and Lincoln, Nebraska) to “connect the dots” to truly Become the Best in Health — driving, supporting and coordinating optimal integration and collaboration; fostering business development that maximizes new business wins and organic growth (which rules); facilitating conflict resolution and coordination, and, above all, optimizing talent and career growth and development so that our Health clients get the best teams, services and innovation that we have to offer each and every time.

Not only does Diane bring a unique historical perspective that will be important as we continue to integrate and scale the Practice, but her passion for and knowledge of the business, strong relationships across our internal and external networks, and track record of experience partnering closely with me are key ingredients for success.

Diane already led an offsite of key leaders over the summer, and she continues to spearhead the Health business development process with colleagues across the firms.  We will also continue to partner with our innovators to adapt current and develop new tools and offerings to keep our Health clients happy and engaged and attract many new and exciting ones.

The continued growth and development of current and new offerings and business focus areas such as Pharma, Device & Diagnostics, Biotechnology, Digital Health, Clinical Trial Recruitment and more will benefit from focused support and leadership at the W2O level.  Diane and I in close collaboration with our operating company (WCG, TWist, BreWLife) and Practice (Analytics, Media & Engagement, Digital, Software) leaders will do just that to Become the Best and establish What’s Next in Health.

Our firms were built on a health-oriented foundation and these moves are meant to ensure our continued leadership and preeminent position in the industry and further improve our ability to develop and optimize all of your career opportunities, hire new talent and identify, create and build thought leadership, value-added strategic partnerships and client engagements.

We have and will continue to set up in-person meetings, office visits and videoconferences to answer your questions and go into much more detail on this in the coming days and weeks. Diane and I are always available to you to answer your questions by e-mail, phone or on The Hallway or W2O Haps.

Together, we will Go.Ahead and improve Health information delivery and access in the digital age.  Everyone is invited to join this movement as it takes shape!


The evolution of social media from something “your teenagers did” to something that brands use to connect with key stakeholders has been nothing short of amazing. As evidence of that evolution, take a look at the audience figures for the last couple of months for some of the most popular social networks

It is those latter two statistics that have brands buzzing these days. Regardless of what conference room we are in, or what client we are talking to, the conversation inevitably leads back to content marketing and the importance of visual content therein. Why do brands care? Sites like Instagram and YouTube are still seeing tremendous growth, while Facebook and Twitter have stagnated. Millenials, a key target for many brands are flocking to these sites in droves instead of Facebook or Twitter. Most importantly, sites like Pinterest are proving successful in driving people to websites where customers can ultimately make a purchase. ROI…ROI…ROI.  Bob Pearson, W2O Group President is fond of asking, “If we were to take away all of the written text about your brand online would the visual content still tell the story you want told?” In case you were wondering, the answer to this question is most often ‘no.’

So how do brands start to answer ‘yes’ to the question that Bob is posing, aside from using channels like Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube? One of the ways brands can leverage multiple visual assets within unit is a Content Capsule. The Content Capsule is the brain child of Tim Bahr, CEO of NextWorks, a strategic partner of W2O Group. The content capsule is a unique platform for content delivery across the PESO model of media (paid, earned, shared and owned). Tim and I sat down to talk about the content capsule, and how it fits into broader content marketing program.

Why do you think marketers are showing such strong interest in Content Marketing?

Smart marketers realize that consumers are not interested in ads and promotional material; especially when they are online or on mobile devices.  A .01% click through rate on display ads pretty much tells that story. Online and mobile consumers, who are in a buying mode, are most often seeking information to help them make a buying decision.  Marketers now recognize this as a huge opportunity to provide valuable and relevant information on their products and services that can help people buy their products.  That’s exactly why content marketing is the top priority for most marketers today, and why many believe it will be the most important area of marketing in the future.

What do you think of the trend toward content marketing?

I think the move toward content marketing is a very significant advance in marketing and the entire business/customer relationship.   We are finally starting to recognize the intelligence of our audiences.  We can’t just talk at them anymore with promotional messages that they have not requested and have no interest in.  They can just simply turn those messages off.

To successfully deliver a message to an audience in the digital world, where the user controls the receipt of messages, the message must be informative, relevant and provide value.  That outcome of this new means of communicating will be greater engagement and stronger customer relationships.

What do you think is key to successfully delivering content to an audience?

First you should know what the audience wants.  Today’s social media analytics can give you those insights.  Then you need a distribution platform that can deliver content to the audience wherever and whenever that want to receive it in an engaging and interactive manner.  Finally, you must be able to monitor all interactions with the content so you have metrics that can help you continually update and alter content to meet the specific needs of your audience and ensure you remain timely and relevant.

How does the Content Capsule platform deliver this type of audience engagement and measurement?

The capsule platform is an interactive canvas that allows marketers to tell complete stories with videos, images, presentations, links and transactions in one self-contained, branded and highly sharable unit.  An audience can be taken on a journey from assessment through engagement to conversion without ever leaving a company’s content.  Capsules allow marketers to easily launch content campaigns across owned, earned, shared and paid media on all devices.  And, because every piece of content within a capsule is monitored and measured, a marketer can respond in real time to audience interactions and update content while a capsule is in distribution.  When content is updated, capsules embedded and shared across the digital ecosystem all update.  This creates an opportunity for ongoing programming of relevant content to multiple audiences across all platforms. Here are some examples of content capsule platforms we have built for other clients.

BMC

P&G

During this week’s Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Ohio Tim and the NextWorks team will be demonstrating the capsule platform for attendees. Make sure you stop by and check it out.

We are in the process of creating a next generation firm that provides software and services as a service to our clients anywhere in the world.  The result of building a firm like this is that we realize we need to have three important language skills.

We know that we need to be proficient in languages that humans speak and machines use. They are equally important.   We know that we need to speak ten languages to reach 82 percent of people online and closer to 27 to provide true global support in most key countries.  And we know we need to understand how words work together to shape behavior.  Here’s more on each of these skills.

#1 – The Big 3 of Human Language — for each language, we strive to have industry expertise, cultural knowledge and language fluency.   It’s not enough to translate language.  If we are to provide enterprise-level insights for the top brands in the world daily, our team needs to know the ins and outs of a country and a market category.  Industry, culture and language fluency…..

Today, our team speaks 21 languages and we’re rapidly building out the big 3.

#2 – The Top Machine Languages (and technologies) — We know that it is equally important to be fluent in programming languages that drive enterprise-level insights and effective use of big data.  Our growing team of 20 software developers and engineers are expert in many languages ( Java, Python, PHP, JavaScript, Perl, SQL and C++ to name a few) and key technologies/database/query tools, ranging from Hadoop to ElasticSearch to PostgreSQL to IQuery and NGINX).

It’s not enough to be a developer that simply works hard and cranks out code.  The big 3 apply.  Our team needs to understand the needs of the industry/clients we serve, understand how to integrate well with our clients (cultural fluency) and know the language or technology fluently.  Innovation and intimate knowledge of a client’s needs are related.  Our software developers are as important as the creative directors of any agency.  Both develop great ideas and solutions that we had never thought of before.

#3 – The Words that Drive Language – often referred to as natural language processing, it is time for firms like ours to build our own taxonomies that show patterns of word choice that are aligned with each phase of behavioral change online.  NLP does an excellent job of focusing on the choices of words in a sentence, ala how nouns, verbs and adjectives work together to make a statement.  We can now go well beyond this to see repeatable patterns of word and phrase choices associated with inflection points in a behavioral cycle, ala what the impact of a product review is on changing the dialogue or leading to a purchase.  Does the language towards a purchase accelerate due to a review?  When do we see an issue forming and why?  And on and on…..

We know that computer code knows no boundaries and neither do our ideas.  The only barrier to a firm like ours is the speed at which we can combine our expertise in human and machine language with our knowledge of which words matter.

The firms that know what is happening in locations thousands of miles away will be more valuable than the teams with people on the ground who are doing what worked yesterday.  Together, of course, these same two groups can team up and build advantage for clients, regardless of whether they are in the same firm or network.  After all, it’s the brand that matters, not the network of the agency.  And its why we are always willing to be the best partner with our client’s agencies.  Always.

Insightful knowledge is borderless.  It’s also not easy to achieve.  Firms that can intelligently speak with anyone, anywhere in the world about the insights they are seeing in a local market and figure out what it means together, will build partnerships that are game-changing.  When we can provide those same insights at an enterprise level, in the cloud, via any device, even better.

Through effective use of language and technologies, we are on a journey to unlock the full potential of today’s brand.

All the best, Bob

Full article published in PRNews Aug 5, 2013 issue

Companies have always been good at leveraging and monetizing the moment of transaction. The only problem is that “the sale” represents less than 1% of the time we spend online in our entire lives. Roughly 99% of our online time is spent learning, sharing, educating and deciding what we will do or buy next. The core skills of the communicator have never been more critical, provided that we deploy these skills and knowledge in new ways.

We call the 99% “PreCommerce,” a concept at the center of digital transformation for leaders in the Fortune 1000. Those who understand how to shape behavior, share content to catalyze storytelling and become a relevant member of their customers’ communities will win big. Those who continue to “talk at” customers will become dinosaurs.

During the last eight years, I’ve had the pleasure to meet, teach and develop strategy with thousands of leaders from hundreds of companies and organizations.

When I step back and look at what successful leaders are doing to transform their organizations, I end up with 10 key lessons that apply to the CCO as much as the CMO.

To see the entire article and side bar, click here