Social Media #Fail

What is the current obsession with failure?

Why is #fail such a popular social media meme?

How come so many people are happy to ‘stacks-on’ or ‘dog pile’ when someone makes a mistake online?

What possesses trolls to deliberately seek people out and antagonise them?

What possible satisfaction can anyone derive from just finding fault in others?

People make mistakes. I get that.

Companies get things wrong too. I get that.

Sometimes people (and companies) repeat mistakes. Don’t we all?

But when a person or a company makes a mistake, isn’t the public display of that mistake punishment enough?

Is there really any point in jumping on the bandwagon, pointing and screeching for their head to be spiked in the town square?

For what it’s worth, I am over the #fail.

I am for people trying, failing and trying again.

Screw the haters.

‘Climbing Kilimanjaro’ Is More Than A Metaphor.

We have all sat through scores of strategy sessions and offsite planning days where the metaphor of ‘climbing Kilimanjaro’ is used to describe a business journey. It makes sense, right? After all, ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’ – and lots of checkpoints along the way.

It can be both fun and effective to use metaphors, especially in the comfort of a conference room with a blizzard of butcher’s paper to simulate struggle and achievement.

But this time it’s real…

I’m actually ‘climbing Kilimanjaro’ – the one in Tanzania.

The Kilimanjaro Summit climb is a team fundraising effort to raise vital funds for the Guide Dogs breeding programme in Australia.

For those who don’t know, Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak (5,895 meters) and is notorious for its challenging terrain and breathtaking views of the vast East African plains.

Our committed team of Guide Dogs supporters will depart on 25 November 2012 for a 12-day trek to the summit.

I have personally committed to raising $15,000 and I welcome your support either through sponsorship, cash, prizes, and corporate support or product donations.

For example, my dietary preparation is sponsored by Healthelicious who are providing their eXtreme Nutrition Bar for the duration of my training. See

About Guide Dogs

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT helps people with vision impairment to achieve independence through access and mobility. All funds raised go directly to Guides Dogs NSW/ACT in support of their Guide Dog training program. See

Donations and Sponsorship

If you would like to promote your business through sponsorship, donation or product support, please email . Stolen Quotes
is our pro bono PR, media and communications partner.

To donate please visit:

I am privileged to be supporting them and I encourage business and individual sponsors to support the cause by donating goods, services or financial support.

Smart Signage

This is a guest post by Hollie Azzopardi from Stolen Quotes.

Last Friday, we attended AIMIA’s Smart Signage Event – a forum exploring modern-day signage usage, including the use of interactive displays to enhance a brand, and the future of signage as technology progresses.

If you’re thinking signage of the future is all about QR Codes, you are mistaken. Smart signage is much more complex than scanning a sign and pulling up information. Think Minority Report. There are now tracking tools that can track your emotion, age and gender, simply through skeletal and emotional recognition. Scary? Yes. Exciting? Yes.

There are already examples of businesses taking advantage of the technologies available in the signage space.

US donut chain Dunkin’ Donuts introduced an interactive menu that can be updated in-store by the manager via iPad. Menus are able to be adjusted according to what specials the manager wants to promote that day, are synced with the social media activity occurring live and can even recommend a drink according to the outside temperature at the time. This interactive signage was also successful in eliminating the businesses reliability on cardboard and paper menus, ultimately saving them money in wastage costs as menus became dated.

Another interesting concept was vending machines using smile-detection software to encourage people walking by to approach the machine – the bigger your smile, the greater your chance to win a free ice cream.

While options are almost limitless when it comes to how your brand or company could incorporate smart signage into your marketing strategy, there are a number of things that should first be considered:

– Do you have the right people on board to implement a successful smart signage piece? Consider that it is perhaps not the role of the marketing team – is it the IT team’s job? Should consumer psychology be considered? Smart signage is more than just marketing. It requires appropriate data, testing and a balance of the consumer connection and technology at play.

– How will ROI be measured? Do you expect the signage to increase sales, or is it a publicity stunt? What are you offering the consumer other than an experience – free product? Discounted product? Vouchers? Nothing?

– As Executive Producer of Boffswana, Robert Stock, said – just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Consider the sign’s purpose and cost. If it is not likely to produce the results you or your client is after, reconsider. There will always still be a place for simple signage. Unless you’re thinking about creating an interactive dancing bear sign – apparently those are a hit!

Is your small business ‘Investor-Ready’?

I am inspired by the energy, passion and commitment of business owners.

I meet many who are looking to take their business to the next level.

They want more, but they are not quite sure how to get there.

Many are seeking investors in the belief it will help them get there, or at least chart the course to make navigation easier.

Before you decide you need an investor, ask yourself the following questions:

– Is the business ‘investor-ready’?

– Does it have enough customers, revenue or forward sales orders to determine a fair value?

– Are there more things you can or should do before you approach an investor?

– Do you really want an investor in the business? If so, why and for what purpose?

– Are you flexible enough to adapt to a new ownership and reporting structure?

– Are you ready to ‘give up your baby’ in favour of growing it?

– Does the business actually require investment, or is there something else it needs more?

– What do your require from the investor? Cash? Networks? Expertise? All of the above?

– Do you have a clear plan as to how the investor’s money will be applied and what returns it is likely to produce?

– Have you optimised the business revenues, marketing, processes, etc. to maximise the sale price?

– Are you the right person to take the business to the next level, or would it need an experienced manager so you can focus on what you do best?

– Will securing investment deliver your expected outcome of lifestyle, money, time, etc.?

This list of questions is not comprehensive, but hopefully will assist you in deciding if now is the right time to think about investors.

Rules of Engagement

We find ourselves in an increasingly fragmented working environment with global, mobile and virtual teams becoming the norm. Organisational culture is fluid and can be hard to define. Yet we are incredibly connected at the same time with email, SMS, social media, smartphones and iPads.

So what can we do as business leaders to provide guidance and leadership to our people? How do we set the ground rules or ‘rules of engagement’ for a globally distributed team without relying solely on weighty HR policies and procedures?

One approach I have used with some success is to document and circulate a discussion paper on ‘ how we agree to work together’.

I have listed some of the key points from my ‘Rules of Engagement’ document below and welcome your feedback.

1. Honesty
Speak the truth- even if it is an unpopular view, or one that identifies a mistake that has been made, or is about to be made. This is important for a team to be able to resolve issues quickly and make better decisions. Imagine trying to be effective with only half the information.

2. Reliability
Do what you said you were going to do. If you run into any obstacles that may prevent you from keeping your agreements, notify the people involved as soon as possible, and offer an alternative solution.

3. Respect
At all times, treat each person with respect: respect for their role, level of responsibility, position in the company, experience and expertise; and respect for the fact that each person is genuinely trying to do their job to the best of their ability.

4. Innovation
Think of new ideas, and new ways to do things. Remember 1000:100:10:1 (Let 1,000 flowers bloom, be willing to consider 100 possibilities, be prepared to invest and road-test 10 of the most promising and then expect to be pleasantly surprised by 1 revolutionary idea.)

5. Fun
Have fun and enjoy the challenge of what you do. This means enjoying the tough stuff as well! The greatest rewards and satisfaction comes from overcoming big obstacles.

6. No Surprises
Particularly in the presence of other colleagues. If there is some news or development in the business, ensure that your team knows about it. Everybody hates finding out about something last- particularly when it is something that affects them or their team.

7. Maturity
This means doing the right thing, and acting responsibly, even if you have not been asked to (and no one is watching!) It also means accepting that not everything will go your way. Some decisions will go against you or your preferred outcome, and that is just a part of life.

8. Accountability
If you have a problem with a particular person- talk to them about it, not others. Tell the person what the problem is, how it affects you, and what you would like to happen differently. Give them the opportunity to explain their point of view and find a suitable outcome together.

9. Confidentiality
Respect confidentiality at all times.

10. Focus on the process- not the people
This means fixing the problem- not the blame.

11. Questions are the answer
Ask questions whenever you do not understand anything. Even if you do understand, ask anyway to gain a deeper understanding.

I hope you found this list helpful. It is not comprehensive, but rather a guide or conversation-starter that I have found incredibly useful when welcoming new members of the team.

What are your ‘Rules Of Engagement’? How do you welcome new team members and induct them into your organisational culture?

Seasons Greetings from the team at Michael Field

To our valued clients, suppliers, friends and associates,

Thank you for your support and friendship in 2011.

We have had a fantastic year and thoroughly enjoyed working with you and your organisation.
Thanks to your continued support, our business has grown from strength to strength with the launch of two new divisions:

Guns For Hire –
‘The Guns’ is a collective of independent creative, advertising and marketing specialists.

Stolen Quotes –
Stolen Quotes is the public relations, media and communications division of our business.

After such a big year, we look forward to a short break over the holiday season.

Office Hours During the Holiday Period
Our office will close on 24 December 2011 and reopen on 9 January 2012.
If you have any urgent issues please email me on

Have a wonderful Christmas break. I look forward to a New Year of shared prosperity.

Do You Have Time?

Recently a friend posted a desperate request on Facebook  for ‘more hours in the day’.

If anyone has worked out how to fit another 4 to 5 hours in every day can you let me know,” she pleaded.

This really struck a chord with me as I often find myself muttering the same thing:

“Where am I going to find the extra hours I need to complete all of these jobs?

I stopped myself from indulging the thought for too long and reminded myself we all have exactly the same amount of time… It’s how we value it, allocate it, save it, protect it and share it that determines the effectiveness and quality of our lives.

Masters and minions alike all have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and a life as long as God and health allows.

How do you value, allocate, save, protect and share your time?

Do you have time?

Secrets of Successful Networking

Networking can be a dirty word. It can conjure up pictures of nightmare scenarios:

  • Lots of people standing in a room and nobody knows each other. Awkward!

… or

  • A room full of squawking self-promoters frisbee-ing out their business cards like samurai stars.

Of course it isn’t always that bad, and many of us have had very positive networking experiences, but in reality, most people find networking challenging – yet they love meeting *interesting people!

* Definition of an interesting person: they do something you find personally interesting or you believe they can provide value for you, your business, family, friends etc.

So let’s firstly examine why people don’t network. In truth, most people don’t want bigger networks. What they do want however is more meaningful relationships that can improve their lives – personal, professional, financial, social etc.

Most professionals already have established friendship groups and professional associates. Depending on their career and life stage, they may not be recruiting new people. Many (including myself) already have enough trouble maintaining their existing friendships – even professionally!

So, to break through, you need to differentiate yourself by demonstrating how you can add value to another person’s life – either personally or professionally.

At this stage, it is worth mentioning that you simply can’t afford the luxury of feeling self-conscious if you want to be a successful networker. Assume that nearly everyone else feels self-conscious – and thinks they are the only one who feels that way.

The best way to be a gun networker is simply by showing interest in other people first, and resisting the need to talk about yourself – unless you are asked, or you have determined it is appropriate.

Your ‘elevator pitch’ is an ‘acid test’ to see if there is mutual potential in furthering the discussion. It should be designed to encourage the listener to respond with a relevant ‘matching’ elevator pitch, for example:

‘My name is Michael Field, I run a strategic marketing consultancy. We work with medium sized business-to-business, not-for-profit and member services organisations to help them grow their business. What do you do?’

You may also want to resist the urge to whip out your card too soon. It can be better (and more polite perhaps) to ask for their card. Good manners suggest they will ask for yours in return.

Some people struggle to end a conversation at networking functions. But if you want to get the most out of the opportunity, sometimes you just have to move on. It doesn’t need to be awkward. You can just say, “It has been lovely meeting you. I need to catch up with Mary now and hopefully we will see you soon. It has been a pleasure meeting you. Have a great night.

Above all, follow up! Many networking efforts are wasted through failure to follow-up. It does not have to be a chore.

For the best results:

– Connect on LinkedIn

– Add them to your CRM

– Email a short thank you note acknowledging your meeting

– Send a relevant news article or link

Try this out at your next networking event and let me know how you go.

Sharing a Coke with a mate or drowning in the bubbles of narcissism?

Coke has recently launched a new marketing campaign in Australia encouraging you to ‘Get Together and Share a Coke.’

The campaign kicked-off with personalized name labels on Coke bottles. See

Coke has utilised an age-old marketing strategy of personalisation. It positions the campaign as being about sharing with your friends. In reality, the human behavior is quite different. Just like in group photos, everyone looks for themselves first. The appeal of seeing your own name in print on a global brand such as Coke is pretty enticing.

I have no doubt consumers will buy personalised Coke bottles for their friends also, but only after they have searched for their own name first.

The social media effect has also been extraordinary. People are proudly publishing photographs of themselves with their ‘prized’ personalised coke ‘buddy’.

I imagine the Coke sales and marketing teams have also become best ‘buddies’ as a result of this campaign as it has achieved a rare success in social media/viral campaigns. It has gone beyond merely creating brand awareness – or even preference – it has crossed the chasm and driven direct sales.

By doing this, Coke is reaching a new market. Consumers who wouldn’t normally buy a Coke are intrigued enough to search the supermarket and grocery store shelves for a Coke bottle with their name on it.

In their mind, they are doing it just ‘for fun’ and the novelty factor. Most are probably aware they are responding predictably to a well-orchestrated marketing strategy. They just don’t seem to care.

They have become ‘brand advocates’, providing free marketing to a global corporation.

Whatever you think of Coke, their company, marketing or product, this campaign is clever and on all accounts is producing extraordinary results.

%d bloggers like this: