Tag Archives: Ragan Communications

Epiphany Half-Life

On the heels of the Ragan Communication 2nd Annual Employee Communications, PR and Social Media Summit, I am officially facing what CIO Magazine recently dubbed the “Epiphany Half-Life” – the time that passes between an inspiring event and the implementation of new ideas.

You feel it as the opening speaker of a conference psyches you up with new campaigns and best practices – yes, Microsoft spent millions on a Cirque de Soleil marketing spectacle to launch Kinect for Xbox 360, but if they sell
five million units this holiday season, the risk will have paid off as the company’s biggest Xbox product launch – wow!

Microsoft-sized dreams do feel possible, particularly when you’re away from the office and listening to some of the leading minds in marketing and communications.

Every speaker talked about transparency, honesty and consistency as core to effective employee communications. These attributes are now more important than ever before as social media and the 24/7 news cycle are driving new ways of connecting with people and sharing information. Today, no one can hide, so why try?

Sara Tatchio, global integrated communications manager for Ford Motor Company, shared that CEO Alan Mulally asks his executives to invite an employee guest to staff meetings – brilliant! And to think he didn’t even need to invest in new technology to put that idea into action. It’s actually not a coincidence that he was recently recognized with the Fortune Magazine
Businessperson of the Year award; Ford used internal communications channels to rally employees together to vote for him.

But, technology can be helpful, and the conference highlighted a handful of new ways to use familiar tools – such as
Dell’s use of Saleforce’s CRM Force.com – into employee communications campaigns.

My former employer deployed Microsoft’s My Site to more than 5,000 employees nearly three years ago – no small undertaking – and it stalled. The lack of employee buy-in was not the fault of the technology, but rather the way we used it. Beyond the initial launch, we never created any incentive for employees to return to the site.

To think we could have done something as simple as hyper linking to employee My Site pages from feature articles on the company’s Intranet. Doing so would have directed eyeballs from more familiar Intranet pages to My Site, while also encouraging employees to keep their My Site content up to date. My Site could have helped a company sometimes struggling with employee morale to create a greater sense of connectedness and shared understanding of everyone’s contributions and expertise. Again, brilliant – thank you

With all these fresh (and doable) ideas ripe in my mind, it’s time to avoid the distractions of the holidays and year-end deadlines to share them with my peers and more importantly, our clients.

The Epiphany Half-Life challenges that if inspiration isn’t “put into practice by the end of the first half-life that it will fade into wistful daydream.”*

I’m of the mind that with 21 pages of notes from the event and closing keynote David Pogue’s Britney Spears-inspired jingle, “Oops, I apped it again,” seared in my brain, I’ll have a good chance of extending the first half-life beyond New Years and well into 2011.

~ Kimmie Greene

*Source: CIO Magazine, “How to Keep Your Team Fired Up,” Bob Lewis, Nov. 1, 2010.

Always Continue to Learn…

I recently attended the Mayo Clinic and Ragan Communications’ second annual Health Care Public Relations, Marketing and Internal Communications Social Media Summit in Jacksonville, Fla., and it got me thinking about the value of professional development. It’s so easy to get so wrapped up in our day-to-day work and our hectic schedules – and often, taking time out for professional development falls to the bottom of our priority list. It sounds like a lovely idea, but who has the time???

My experience at the Mayo/Ragan conference reminded me of the importance of stepping back and taking the time… the time to learn from renowned leaders in the field, the time to share ideas with industry colleagues, and the time to get re-energized about the work we’re doing.

For me, the conference was extremely valuable in that it served to validate that, as an agency, GroundFloor Media has stayed on the proverbial leading-edge when it comes to counseling our health care clients about social media. At the same time, I learned a variety of new tips, tricks and tools from both the speakers and my fellow attendees as we discussed approaches we’ve taken, issues we’ve faced, etc. And, indeed, I returned to Denver energized and excited to share this expanded knowledge with my co-workers and apply it to strategies for clients.

I am grateful that GroundFloor Media places such an importance on professional development – whether it’s membership in a professional organization or participation in a webinar, a local industry group luncheon, or a multi-day workshop in another city. We are encouraged to identify opportunities that will help us strengthen our expertise – and then to take the time to participate in them and share what we learned during a subsequent internal staff lunch & learn.

In addition to the conference I recently attended, one of my colleagues is currently at a conference focused on internal communications. Three of us will be attending a monthly breakfast for health care communicators next week, and yet another is planning to attend a travel-focused social media conference early in 2011. Many of us are also active members of professional organizations including the Colorado chapter of PRSA, Colorado Healthcare Communicators and the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN). All of these activities are invaluable when it comes to ensuring that we continue to stay abreast of the latest trends and developments in the PR/marketing communications industry.

~ Amanda Brannum