Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best Is Yet to Come. Photo by Associated Press.
“You should sing for everybody … it has to be interesting and it has to last … it never becomes old-fashioned. Make people feel good.”
Pretty much sums up what we are all supposed to be doing. Businesses included.
Yet making customers and employees and regulators and recruits feel good feels mysterious these days. Bennett has something in encouraging us to sing for everybody. When we set a tone of inviting everyone to the table, we demonstrate respect. Something everyone is craving right now.
Singing for everyone calls us not just to keep it real but to know what is real — and to find real ways to connect and welcome all stakeholders.
Here is 2017. The best is yet to come.
What a nice evening: the good fortune to visit the wellspring of the great Anne Lamott’s perspective. Funny and profound. As drawn in a lively conversation by the wonderful Fran Moreland Johns, who does a bit of remarkable writing herself.
Anne has a new book: Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair. The theme resounds on so many levels, not the least of which is the sewing. Two generations of our family made a living stitching. In Big Stone Gap, where I grew up, quilters create stitched wonders. And in another bit of serendipity, Anne’s editor at Riverhead Books is none other than Jake Morrissey, friend of Adriana Trigiani and the family and a major writing talent himself.
As it says on this gem’s cover flap, “It’s in these stitches that the quilt of life begins, and embedded in them are strength, warmth, humor and humanity.”
Organ donation helps so many people — the donor’s family, the recipient, the recipient’s family.
The donor’s family honors their loved one and realizes extra meaning from the lost life. The recipient receives a chance to sustain and continue and, in many cases, start over and see life in new ways. The recipient’s family takes a journey that begins with potential loss and continues through both gratitude and the realization that we must live every moment with gusto, humility and purpose.
My father received a liver transplant at Baylor in 1993. The team of specialists in Dallas, who had a level of professionalism one can only be grateful to witness — steely talent, focus and empathy, shared the gift offered by a young man’s family with ours.
While our particular family drama took many more twists and turns in the ensuing months and years, I remain convinced that the gift of this procedure is not just the saving of a physical life. Dad’s organ transplant gave him, my mother, their children, and our extended family and friends the opportunity to consider what we can do with our lives in each day and in every relationship. This is almost beyond description. All are empowered to experience a rejuvenation in perspective and outlook.
While it is up to every person in the circle to take the transplant as an enabling moment of change — the transplant does not always deliver a fairytale ending [something I learned from the friends I made as I did my transplant research] — the act of participating in organ donation is nonetheless an important gesture. In acknowledging that we must try to help each other, either by giving generously or accepting graciously, we are doing the kind of thinking we’re on this planet to do.
Facebook’s decision to illuminate the power of organ donation is a neat personal moment in this regard. The company and its tools play a daily role in my professional world, largely because I decided to take a new direction and come to Silicon Valley in 1997. There’s no doubt in my mind that my father’s health journey sharpened my own sense that destiny is largely within one’s own control. In tying my destiny to technology, I made a huge change. I moved myself to the headquarters of the new age, and the fact that one of the companies shaping the age, not just my work, has chosen to focus a philanthropic act on organ donation is a nice bit of serendipity.
Social networks like Facebook may play a smaller, supporting role in your journey. This is still an opportunity to consider what the people behind Facebook are suggesting we do with their technology. Most definitely become an organ donor, and most definitely consider, every day, what you, your companies and your circles are doing to leave the world better than you found it.
The Content Marketing Strategies Conference is happening in Berkeley May 8 and 9. If you want to get a quick but deep immersion into the topic of content marketing, this is the place for you.
Digital and social tools are changing the way companies of all sizes position themselves to customers. That’s why there are a lot of clichés getting thrown around in the branding/marketing sphere. Content marketing simply means using your company’s facts to connect with your markets online. For the purpose of doing business.
To market your content via all the channels available to you, there are three things you need to understand. And this conference will help you with that, through case studies from companies like SAS, Dell, Ogilvy PR, Kelly Services, HiveFire, and Altimeter Group.
- How your customers and fans gather information about you and your products – so you can share the content they want on their terms
- How your customers use content about your products and services to make a buying decision – so you can engage your customers more effectively
- How to integrate online content marketing practices with your offline sales and marketing activities – so you are delivering a consistent message and leveraging your entire marketing spend
I’m really pleased to have been asked to serve as a media sponsor of this gathering – and I’m even more pleased to be able to share with you a discount opportunity. Just click on the image below to learn more about the Content Marketing Strategies Conference and register using the discount.
In March 2012, I read about a new startup called BrandYourself and signed up. Inspired by one of its founder’s negative search engine results — he was being confused with a drug dealer — BrandYourself is nonetheless about much more than deleting bad search results. The company is one of several new startups that enable regular people to optimize their online activities and/or make their lives easier. I am so impressed with BrandYourself that I talked with CBS Interactive about it.
There are plenty of so-called reputation management plays out there, well-funded, in fact, but BrandYourself represents a super-important shift in technology — what I see as the next generation of startups. It is one of a bunch of companies that were born where their customers live, and they enable customers to manage and optimize their content — giving them a bit of control they did not have. In BrandYourself’s case, you tell them what you want turning up in a search, so the Internet is not just happening to you.
Another new generation startup, Citrus Lane [my client], packages and delivers products for babies and their parents monthly, saving them time and money. This is great, but Citrus Lane also invites customers into a community of parents who share their experiences and wisdom. The so-called mommy bloggers are running with it, taking to their sites and YouTube to talk about their experiences with the brands that Citrus Lane packs — and talking about how Citrus Lane covers all their bases: monthly surprises, good things for their babies, product research.
Wix.com [I use it for my consulting practice], makes it possible for anyone to create a beautiful, compelling, differentiated website for a small business. Their designers and programmers work on the art and the underlying engine, giving you templates to follow that extract the content that makes for a good story. At the same time, you have a creative outlet that gives the world a picture of the real you. This is essential to strong marketing [something I always tell my clients].
These startups use technology to pull ideas from you to shape your presence and your circles online. And while BrandYourself and companies like it do have the luxury of following the quirky programming geniuses who perfected web platforms, they are very wisely taking those innovations a step further, not copying them. They are addressing what regular people need, now that we have Facebook, LinkedIn, et al, and providing services on top of those platforms that meet real expectations.
One of the best aspects of living life digitally is being able to share what I read in a millisecond. I remember copying, faxing and mailing articles to clients. Then I remember emailing them. The tools we have now are an article clipper's dream.
Today, I use StumbleUpon and Google Reader both to catalog my favorites and to share them with followers on those sites. I'm starting to do more on Facebook and LinkedIn as well, mainly through a standing link from my Twitter feed to those networks. My goal is to wean myself off saving things to my computer.
As part of this process, I'm attempting to share five articles, saved and shared to my various networks, here on the blog every week, too. So here they are.
- The obituary of Edward Stobart in The Economist.
- How to hold attention, by the brilliant John Hagel, with John Seely Brown, on Harvard Business Review.
- Figuring out where your buyers are, from the blog by Content Marketing Institute.
- The backlash against the academic Mafia [my phrase!], in The Atlantic.
- Mitch Wagner's take on Don Tapscott's view of capitalism, on The CMO Site.