Friday, January 29, 2010

Stop: Don't Give Money!

Stanford Social Innovation Review's blog caught my attention with this title: "Don't Give Money to Haiti Now"
The argument is fair.
The tragedy of Haiti requires long term strategies, not quick, gut wrenching responses. Plus, the money that is pouring in now is much more than the immediate need.
The challenge for charities working in Haiti is NOW is the right time to raise money. There is a two to three week window when all eyes are focused on Haiti. Cameras, journalists and executive directors are there now, assessing the situation, snapping photos, getting national coverage.
So they live with the ever present challenge of raising funds. Donors are generous in response to emergencies. In situations like Haiti -- where the natural disaster is beyond imagination -- donors are quick to respond.
In 2006 -- just after the Tsunami -- Keith Epstein published an excellent article on the psychology of crisis giving
He says: "The deluge of generosity following headline calamities, as well as the underwhelming response to quieter sufferings, have their roots in human evolution and the kind of mind that it produced."
Humans carry out a complex dance between the heart and the mind. I have read a myriad of articles in the last week that have reiterated the idea that now is not the right time to send money to Haiti. I agree. The long term sustainability of the funding going to Haiti -- to truly make an impact -- needs to be used with deliberation.
BUT I respond to the child who has lost everything.
And so do hundreds of thousands of donors. In the case of Haiti, mega millions. They see the images in the news. They read about it in the paper. They hear the stories on the radio. Everyone is talking about Haiti. Many families have been affected personally. In my own community, a nurse who was on a two week volunteer trip was killed in the quake. In a real way the earthquake touched Kitchener/Waterloo.
The response to the quake shows our humanity. We give because we are moved by the horrific and sudden turn of events. In just 30 seconds the world changed.
While the giving will be most intensive in the first month, we are undermining the strength of human compassion to assume it will disappear. In the first month the gifts flow quickly and freely. Donors who rarely give to charities will give generously. Donors who give to charities frequently will give just a little more.
We are also undermining the strategic thinking and planning of our charitable sector when we assume they will simply waste our money on the immediate need. They will do exactly what donors expect them to do.... they will use the gifts given to ensure that children are fed, the sick receive medical care and immediate measures are taken to provide a safe place to live and safe drinking water. They will continue working in Haiti, working together to help rebuild the city and the surrounding communities.
While the burst of generosity follows quickly on the heels of the disaster, organizations in the midst of the response are already building strategies for long term assistance and effective rebuilding.
Give generously!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2010 Vocabulary

In 2009 the buzz was all about Twitter.
2010? Social Media just won't go away. Mobile purchase power is just beginning to play a part in the economy of sales -- especially for small purchases. Red Cross raised over $20 million in a few days through mobile donations for Haiti. It's quick, convenient and easy. Blackberry built a special ap for donating to Haiti. A few major charities got into the action.
In 2010 Ad Age suggests we add these phrases to our vocabulary:
Spurned Media: Just like it sounds, earned media that goes horribly negative, invades otherwise pristine search results or bleeds into traditional media. Bad customer service is a top driver of "spurned media."
Brand Tease: A consumer who "friends" or "fans" a brand, only to never return for a second date. Brands feed the cycle by forgetting to court the consumer with engaging, interesting or sustaining content or value.
Conversational Divide: The huge gap between what marketers preach about social media "conversations" and the brand's actual customer service or call centre operations. Stems from cost vs. profit centre tension.
Mobilenecking: The alarming tendency to have our necks tilted down or shifted sideways -- ever glued to our mobile device. Closely related to term "Eyevoidance," where no one looks at anyone anymore.
Wiki Wart: A bad piece of news or an embarrassing brand episode (e.g., an activist protest or a social media campaign that backfired) that just won't go away in a brand's Wikipedia description.
Oedipost Complex: The curious neurosis that compels folks to sleep with their BlackBerry or iPhone. The afflicted can't stop checking -- even in late hours -- for responses to tweets or blog and Facebook posts.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Tribe

Seth Godin started a new language (well, slightly re-positioned an old).
In his most recent blog he says:
Brand management is so 1999.

Brand management was top down, internally focused, political and money based. It involved an MBA managing the brand, the ads, the shelf space, etc. The MBA argued with product development and manufacturing to get decent stuff, and with the CFO to get more cash to spend on ads.

Tribe management is a whole different way of looking at the world.

Deloitte recently released the results of their 2009 study: Tribalization of business (picking up on Godin's insights).
I was fascinated by some of their insights. Here's a few:
1. "Organizations are continuing to struggle with harnessing social media's full potential".... they actually know what its full potential is? Facebook launched in 2004. How much will it be used in 2012? Twitter was all aflutter in 2009. What will it look like in December 2010? "Full potential" is such an interesting phrase. I'm still grappling with what it means.
2. The study suggested that the obstacles from high performing social media can be "easily remedied through partnering and new management practises." The concept is a little reductive, I think. Social Media is the digital equivalent to great customer service, word of mouth and customer satisfaction. Sound business practise and customer service strategies are the real foundation of social media success.
3. They claim this study evaluates the "true potential of online communities." I love the word "true potential" -- as if online communities have the same potential for all products, services and organizations.
4. The final recommendation is to: "Think tribe -- not market segment; think network -- not channel; Think customer-centricity -- not company-centricity."
To those of you who are my tribe... may we re-position our marketing strategies around social media.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

unspeakable devastation

In a moment, a blinking of an eye, the world changed.
Haiti is torn apart -- the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless. Without warning the earth erupted.
We are scrambling to get reports to donors and opportunities to donate and contribute to the intense need. There is little we can say. We can just pause and pray....

unspeakable devastation