Monthly Archives: December 2011

Become an e-publican with InDesign!

So you know InDesign but you don’t write code? No problem.  Well if you’ve got an hour and you want to learn a great marketing tool. Adobe.tv has a very useful tutorial that has only had 800 page views. This is sacrilege! Check it out here. This Adobe Evangelist, Rufus Deuchler, is funny, engaging and smart! He will teach you to animate your pdf documents and format to tablet and mobile devices. So go forth and create great e-publications, no tuition required!

http://tv.adobe.com/watch/max-2011-design/publishing-to-digital-devices-with-indesign-cs55/

You can do it!

Graduation night

Great day Friday night receiving my MBA from Bethel University. My wonderful family breathed a collective sigh of relief. I also have the best support network. I’m sharing because I’m proud, but also because I want others to know that it can be done even while being a wife, mother, manager and professor. So what’s stopping you from investing in yourself?  It will be worth the sacrifice and the late nights. It was for me.  I had the desire to learn more and be a better professional. I woke up at night thinking I was not maximizing my potential. While I don’t have the dream job yet,  I’m happy, confident and sleeping better! If you are “Sleepless” in your career, do it!

Is your business Gmail socializing?

Mine is now! It only took me ten minutes to use an awesome new service and choose a customizable template that I can attach to a business e-mail. Brandmymail.com  is my favorite new tool of the day. I get high quality branded e-mail that incorporates my blog, my twitter feed and other social media. It also looks great on mobile platforms. You know I had to check it out on my iPad and iPhone before I shared it with you! The template does not have to be sent automatically, just on the e-mails you choose. Brand My Mail has separate buttons for sending and previewing your e-mail. Now when you get referrals from friends they can pass on all of your social media and info just by forwarding the e-mail.

This is great for small business owners who want to jazz up their e-newsletter or just have a professional look to a local e-mail campaign. The features work with Gmail now, but they are writing code for more e-mail platforms rapidly. It works from pc’s running the Chrome or Firefox browser (both are free to download.) The email’s that are sent can be viewed properly by anyone on any platform. Best of all Brandmymail.com is free. Check out my new socializing Gmail here.  In addition, check out what Forbes has to say about it.

Caution: Do not go crazy with all the plug-ins you can use, you do want space to type your e-mail!

Yes, photojournalism is great training for business!

In his book, “A Whole New Mind,” Daniel H. Pink makes a great case for the artistic mind in today’s business world, I agree. I am often asked “How relevant are your photojournalism skills in business and new media?” I refrain from the puzzled look then respond, “Extremely!” You need to be analytical, social, open to change, part geek, part therapist and part artist. I am a trained photojournalist, experienced manager, MBA and professor. The first career trained me for all the other accomplishments.

Photojournalists are typically the gadget geeks in the newsroom. This lends itself to ease of learning when faced with new equipment and software. We have also navigated a series of industry changes. The transition from dark rooms to PhotoShop, the near death of the film camera and learning to shoot and edit video all while producing quality audio required a lot of flexibility. The photographer in me has learned to be a Jack-Of-All-Trades and master of many! Simply put, successful photojournalists are fast creative problem solvers with technological savvy and people skills.

Photojournalists have to deal with an awful lot on an assignment. We need to document the news visually and be artistic about it. We meet and relate to new people every day.  Often we deal with people at the single worst moment of their lives, so empathy is a given. Building relationships quickly gains us the trust needed to photograph naturally apprehensive subjects. The deadline pressure is often insane, so the fast pace of new media suites us just fine.  Did I mention you need to find ways to get into places that are not necessarily safe for the general public, and avoid injury or equipment loss?  I’m not going on the record about how useful these skill are! Suffice it to say I’ve been hit by a NASCAR  and still made the picture. We are professional, behaving appropriately on Air Force One.  Photogs are natural competitors, comparing our photo play daily in news outlets across the country.

Photojournalists do much more than this. We have breadth and depth of experience that easily translates into today’s tech heavy business world. New media, no problem.  With the trials of the newspaper industry, it is worth it for photogs to consider a new path. So colleagues, while this is a trying time for photojournalists across the country, have no fear there is a place for your training in the private sector! Employers, it may just be time to start hiring “A Whole New Mind.

So insightful I thought I’d share it on my blog.

Multicultural marketing in a social media world!

Multicultural marketing in social media is an area that is often left unattended. Let’s face it while some larger U.S companies, such as Proctor and Gamble and Target, have poured resources into their marketing budgets for multicultural marketing, very few of those dollars are aimed at social media and multimedia projects for online audiences. There are several reasons to site; lack of available resources, limited expertise and inability to measure the effectiveness of such specifically targeted social media campaigns. South American company, SocialMetrix, has cornered the market on measuring multicultural social media engagement. Its software, Echo, monitors sites using complex language algorithms that are well versed in Spanish, English and Portuguese colloquialisms. This allows the software to give accurate feedback from consumers who interact with brands in any of the three languages even sarcastically.  You don’t need me to tell you this is huge! Now you can gauge how people feel about your product and company when they are in a space where they may use the comfort of a first language to interact with their friends.

Multicultural activity in social media online is a dominating force in social media networks. CapturaGroup  published a study in 2009 discussing the growing health and activity in social media by ethnic populations. The SocialMetrix Echo software could be a game changer in your company’s multicultural social media marketing.

Let’s Talk Shop…..PhotoShop!

You CAN fix that non-smiling child on the Christmas card, in PhotoShop and you don’t have to be a pro. It’s easier in PhotoShop. Like a lot of professional photographers I fancy myself pretty good in PhotoShop, but even I geek out when an upgrade comes out that makes my work even more efficient. Teaching CS 5.5 this semester has been so fun. I have been challenged by my student’s to answer so many questions and I have really enjoyed finding and sharing the answers. Often I’m asked if you can fix a smile or change the direction of something in a piece of stock art, and the answer used to be “yes (insert pregnant pause here) but it’s a lot of work.” My new answer is “yes and in PhotoShop CS 5 it’s a snap.” CS 5 has a feature called puppet warp that allows slight realistic manipulations to art you don’t have time to re-shoot. So no longer do you have to search for a passable frame from a shoot, you can actually correct the small things from that shoot that didn’t go your way. Here is one of my favorite tutorials on puppet warp . It’s only 3 minutes long so trust me you have the time then you’ll want to go play with it of course. Might be just in time for your Christmas photo.

Let me know if you find this useful, leave me a comment!

When opportunity knocks….buy it!

One mans falter is another’s opportunity. Russell Simmons saw this opportunity. I believe all businesses can benefit from the faux pas of those that go before them. Social media wise, this is key. Russell Simmons took the opportunity to endear himself to the lost audience of Lowes by buying up the vacated ad space when Lowes pulled out of TLC reality show, All-American Muslim. He then publicly and socially admonished them on twitter and newsites. This is significant because Simmons, @uncleRUSH, has over a million followers. That’s some pretty far reach in the multicultural online community. I’m sure it will pay off royally for him with continued brand loyalty and revenue to his many ventures. ROI like this is how moguls are made and sustained. The multicultural dollar is strong, and Simmons is living proof.

Will anti-social media in crisis hurt Lowes?

Well I don’t think it will kill them but they could take a lesson from the parenting handbook. While controlling your image in the media, don’t let your child run a muck online. After pulling their ads from the reality Show All-American Muslim, which was a bad move in my opinion, they appear to have left their social media unattended, and leaving all of their interactive clients with little interaction. They asked for their clients and fans to engage, so why haven’t they engaged them beyond this post ?  The comments are out of hand and show a lack of commitment to dialogue with online community. While they do say they are sorry, I’m not sure they know for what. When your child hits their sibling and then says they are sorry, You hope they are sorry for hitting their sibling. But upon probing for a deeper response, you might find they are only sorry for getting caught.

When I started this post there were 23,000 comments and there are a lot probing for a little more than “I’m sorry.” In response from other FB’ers they are attacked by rude and ruthless racist remarks in later posts. I believe they should have moderated the comments from the beginning for clean language, while leaving the freedom to share your thoughts ring true. Social Media doesn’t only work for companies in good times it should be used as another method of responding to your audience and engaging their dialogue in bad times. What ever you do, don’t just let it sit there unwatched. I am all for free speech, but as a marketer, I think that the speech you leave on your company social media site unattended, might send the message that your company agrees with those thoughts. Adweek  wrote a noteworthy piece today on the comments and lack of response by Lowes. By failing to moderate them from the start, they let it get out of control. I know it is tough to back edit 23,000 posts. Nevertheless, a couple follow –up posts would be a good start to showing what your sorry for. As of the writing of this post the comments are still visible and not moderated.

What does your toolbox look like?

Yes this is another know your strengths post, but not for you, for your team. As a manager of a technological department in a period of change for our industry, I needed to map out a successful plan for my team. Again I used Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. This time I gave it to key members of my staff to find out their strengths. The results were enlightening. Not only did I discover why certain members of my team were better at dealing with different situations, I learned why they failed miserably in the same situation. Now that I knew the tools in my toolbox, I refined their uses. I began to use a hammer when I needed a hammer  and a learner when I needed someone to use and review new software. I completely realigned my team. I changed their responsibilities in the department to match their strengths. I then began to manage my department in the division the same way. I asked people to see me to determine who should be asked to attend which meeting or assist with which project. I began to assign people according to their strengths. I know you’re thinking well that makes sense, but often it does not happen. I have seen performance  reviews completely focused on making people stronger in their weak areas.  After this personal experiment, I am a firm believer in Strengths based leading. Isn’t it more efficient to use your time to help people excel in their strengths?  I’m just sayin!