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A few weeks ago, I bought an Amazon Echo Dot.
Complete impulse buy.
If I remember correctly, we were at Best Buy to purchase something for my son. But, I walked out with an Echo Dot.
A few weeks later, I hadn’t touched it. Until earlier this week, when I added it to my office environment.
Really, I just wanted to experiment with it professionally. That was my whole MO for buying the darn thing. But, as I started playing around with it this week, I’m starting to think: Every PR/social person should have one of these things in their office.
Why? Mostly for the multi-tasking capabilities (and really, the novelty). And, as PR people, we love our multi-tasking.
But also, for the improved productivity. As a one-man-band, I thrive on productivity (don’t tell my wife that–doesn’t translate to personal life :). Not to mention, they’re pretty cheap–just $50 for the Dot.
So, the Echo Dot intrigued me.
And, so far, it hasn’t disappointed. I’m just one week in, mind you, but Echo has helped improve my office environment and productivity in the following ways:
I still read the newspaper every morning (one of the few left, apparently), but when I have a few minutes of downtime, I’ve found it useful to “hear” the national news via Echo. Multiple ways to do this–the most easy: Simply saying “Alexa, what’s in the news?”
Obviously, this is one the functions most people use Echo for. And, as a power Spotify user, I’ve found it very useful. Not much different than using my Jambox, but I like that I can get my news, do research and get my music in one spot with Echo. I also like that the example on my Alexa app is “Alexa, play Taylor Swift.”
Again, all I have to do is click and I can see my calendar, but it’s all about multi-tasking, right? For example, let’s say I’m on a call, and I can’t remember my schedule for the afternoon. A simple, “Alexa, what’s my calendar?” will tell me what’s coming up, at what time and who I’m meeting with. All I had to do is sync up Echo with my Outlook calendar. Pretty slick.
Now, to be clear, this isn’t going to replace more hard core research. But, for easy research requests, this is a nice option. For example–you get a question from a client on a call about how many users are on Facebook these days? Simply mute your phone and ask: “Alexa, how many Facebook users are there?” Boom–answer in seconds. You look brilliant. Amazon magic in motion.
I do a decent amount of work during the day to music. But, one thing I can’t do with music in the background is writing. And since writing is such a big part of my day, that’s an issue for me. Enter babbling brook and thunderstorm sounds via Echo. A simple “Alexa, open thunderstorm sounds” and I’m instantly transported. And, if you haven’t tried this yet, believe me, it’s worth it (warning: You may fall into a deep, deep sleep, but after you wake up you’ll be so refreshed! :).
Those are just a few of the “skills” I’ve found useful in my first week. Do you have an Echo (or Google Home or similar tool)? Have you used it for business? What skills and tips would you share?
Make no mistake about it: Edelman’s Trust Barometer is a fantastic resource each year. I love it. It’s usually full of great content many people use in blogs, e-newsletters, and client recommendations throughout the year.
But, don’t forget, it is a sales tool. And, this year in particular, it’s a fear-based sales tool.
It’s actually designed to scare the bejesus out of you. At least, that’s always been my take (Note: I am not an Edelman employee nor have I ever worked for or with Edelman).
And, this year’s report is no different. If you read the report, you might actually think the world is coming to an end.
But here’s the thing: It isn’t. In fact, I could make a pretty good case that not only should the report not scare the pants off you–it should make you feel pretty darn good about your work.
In a few spots, at least:
Sure, it’s not great news that our exec partners are no longer trusted by the masses. But, let’s be honest–that’s been a long time coming. What’s more the fact that “people like me” ARE trusted is pretty good news for corporate communicators. Think about it–what is one audience that corporate communicators frequently use to reach the employee masses? MANAGERS! And managers are, you guessed it, “a person like me.” We’ve been communicating via mid-level managers for YEARS. And, frequently, it’s one of the more effective communications channels we use.
So the media is trusted by fewer people than anytime in recorded history, apparently (actually, it’s only down three percentage points since 2012, so let’s not get nuts here). That’s not so great on multiple levels. But, it’s not the worst news in the world for brands because this isn’t 1984. Brands have had access to all sorts of publishing tools for years that allow them to tell their stories directly to consumers without going through the media. And, according to the Trust Barometer, trust in “owned media channels” is actually up 2 points from 2012 to 2017. So, for those who have been investing in corporate blogs, podcasts and other owned media for the last few years, worry not, you are just fine.
When it comes to financial performance and operational performance, 38 percent of survey participants said they’d trust an employee–while just 20 percent said they’d trust the CEO. That’s absolutely shocking, considering many employees have no idea how to read a financial statement. But yet–there it is. What about in times of crisis? 37 percent of participants trust an employee, while just 21 percent trust the chief exec. These stats are alarming–but they also provide an opportunity for us communicators: To educate our rank-and-file employees on issues from financial performance to business goals to crisis situations. Again–something we’ve been doing for quite a while. It’s just time to up our game.
What about you–thoughts on the relatively recent Edelman Trust Barometer?
Hypothetical situation I’m sure is playing out with clients/companies every day:
Client says they want to reach a “younger audience.”
Client says they need to engage these folks, raise awareness for their brand and sell more (insert widget/service here).
Among other ideas, you suggest influencer marketing as a potential tactic, given: 1) Most influencers ARE the younger demographic and definitely attract it, and 2) Trust levels are high in “a person like me” at the moment.
Makes sense. The client agrees. You go about researching and pitching influencers. You find one that’s perfect. Huge audience. Very engaging. Big millennial audience. Open to a partnership.
Not so much.
Upon pitching the influencer and opportunity to the client, they decide to “pass” with the following feedback:
In my experience, this is a fairly typical reaction. And, I’m always surprised–especially given the litany of articles, posts and research that have been written about the power of influencer marketing.
But, clearly, some people are still skeptical. In some cases, it’s for legitimate reasons. But, for the most part, I still think there’s a big misunderstanding about the goals and overall approach with influencers.
Let’s tackle the above theoretical comments one by one:
When it comes to personal and professional social media use (and those are the same for me), up until about two weeks ago, I had to big rules.
#1: Never discuss religion.
#2: Never discuss politics.
As a consultant, I saw no upside to discussing either in a public forum. For one, there are so many extreme views shared on social media. Obviously, we’ve seen that the last year-plus on a grander scale.
But, the rules also existed (to a larger extent) because I didn’t want to offend a client. Or, a potential client.
After all, you don’t know everyone’s political or religious affiliations online.
But, a little more than a month ago, something switched for me. It’s not necessarily because I lean hard to the left and that the president leans pretty hard to the right.
It’s not because everyone else is talking about politics online.
And it’s not because I’m necessarily prompted to act based on the current president’s actions.
I just started thinking a bit more about my current policy. Why was I so stringent on not talking about politics publicly? Would that really drive a client away? Would it really offend someone to not work with me, if I presented my arguments and opinion in a rationale manner?
I kept coming back to one answer: Not really.
So, why not talk about it? Why not share my opinion from time to time? Why not comment in spots where I would have never commented before?
I decided to wade into the murky and dangerous political waters online. Here’s my thought process:
So, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it–for now. Hoping to hold myself accountable (this is a good way to do it). We’ll see how this goes…