So, how do you deal with setbacks?

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Look, I love me some Google. I use Gmail. I think G+ is superior to Facebook. Google Maps has saved my bacon more times than I can count given that the roads in DFW seem to exist in a state best described as “a non-Euclidian construction nightmare that would terrify Clive Barker.”

But Google? Darlin’? Sweetie-cakes? You suck at transparency.   Continue reading

So, here’s Thought Experiment #12

Time for a Thought Experiment

There’s always time for lateral thinking.

In previous Thought Experiments, I’ve asked you about everything from coffee to evil. But as a card-carrying nerd (No, really — I have a S.H.I.E.L.D Agent ID I got from the Marvel Experience, and if that isn’t a nerd card I don’t know what is), I think it’s time we got down to the good stuff.

Comic books.

Oh, comics. How I love you. From the goofiness of the Golden Age to the grittier-than-thou late 80s and 90s, that four-color art form warms my heart. Cliche monthly titles or sprawling graphic novels that challenge the form. Sophisticated storytelling like Neil Gaiman’s epic Sandman. Insightful coming-of-age work like Ted Naifeh’s Courtney Crumrin. Inspiring brilliance like Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel. And I can’t forget artists and inkers…

I’m going to stop before I start babbling.

Comics are having a serious pop culture moment, and they owe a lot of that success to the idea of the superhero. There are all sorts of other stories, of course, but when we think of comic books, we think of fluttering capes and quips made under pressure and feats of superhuman coolness.

So here’s the experiment: If your brand was a superhero, who would s/he be? What sort of costume, powers, and backstory would set him or her apart from the others? Maybe your brand is a driven anti-hero detective. Or a conflicted beacon of righteousness. Or a compassionate, regal visitor to the world of men.

Why would I ask this?

Because you, buddy, ought to be thinking about what makes your brand unique.

Go ahead. Give it a think. See what you get.

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 Andy Beal and Wil Wheaton have in common?

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The folks at DFWSEM, who are professional but refreshingly un-phony, have a meeting the second Wednesday of each month. And said meetings aren’t just fluff and filler. They bring in some heavy hitters to speak on a wide range of online marketing and social media topics, cats like Bill Hartzer and Roger Dooley and Dallas Search Engine Academy superheroine Beth Kahlich.

Last week, they snagged Andy Beal, who’s more entertaining than a dachshund in a cardigan, to speak on what not to do online under any circumstances and then how to fix it when you do it anyway.

I blogged about it for Argent Media over at the [Ag] Search Blog, but here at Stately Studer Manor, I wanted to concentrate on one point he made. One, because it neatly dovetails with my personal philosophy of Don’t Be Creepy. Also because it was a profoundly weird story. And because sometimes, hey, we all need to be reminded of certain rules. A particular rule often called Wheaton’s Law in the nerdier sectors of the intarwebz. Y’know, Wil Wheaton? Ensign Crusher of the Enterprise? Nemesis of Sheldon Cooper? Yep, he’s got a Law. Which is this: Continue reading

So, ready to get your graphics on?

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As anyone who’s ever seen me try to decorate a cake will tell you, I am not a graphic designer. At all. And if you’re wearing a lot of hats in your small- or medium-sized biz, I’m guessing you’re not a designer either (unless you run a design firm, in which case you don’t need this post). But not being a graphic guru is bad news for both of us, buddy, and I’ll tell you why.

Gmail grid view.

Now, I’m not saying that those three words should cause you a bowelquake of panic. But I am saying you should check it out.  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.

ComixShelf

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