Archive for July, 2013

Why Content Is King and Community Is Queen

July 19, 2013

yin yang

This month’s marketing blog is part of a three-post segment on the theme of ‘The Ying-Yang of Content and Community’.  This month’s thoughts are on why content is king and community is queen. Next month, we will drill down on what it takes to create quality content, and the following month, we will extend on our September 2012 Rules-for-Customer-Engagement post and cover the strategies for engaging a community.

It’s that perennial story of Ying and Yang – Content is King as it provides the information and data that informs, educates, and supports and Community is Queen as it provides the people, context, and connections for that content. Community provides the context for the content – defining what relevant and important and worth knowing. Content provides the information and stimulus to facilitate conversation, activity and connection. In this age of personalization, where content and community both become increasingly more important, it’s even more important to think about both sides, while drilling down on either way.

Below are some thoughts for doing so.

Why Content Is King

1. Content provides information key for decision-making. Creating that content might involve research, data-collection, opinionating, and communicating.
2. Content stretches the thinking and flexibility of the communicators, which benefit all. Content creators are tasked with understanding what they are communicating, to whom they’re communicating, why it matters, and what the implications might be for creating that content.
3. Content provides food for thought which leads to new ideas and new thoughts for people with similar and different interests. Ideally, content creation also brings new thoughts and insights and information and that communication benefits the recipients in planned and unplanned ways.
4. Content creators cull from the massive volume of information available and frames it in a way that is relevant for the community. Fresh, relevant, thought-provoking content is essential for the health of a community.
5. Content connects people with similar interests. Content creators ideally connect with others adding similar value to the ecosystem, and serendipitous relationships, connections and happenings often occur.

Why Community Is Queen

6. Communities qualify the relevance of content.
7. Communities raise the bar for communicators, ensuring that the content remains fresh and relevant.
8. Communities connects communicators and helps them think about what they’re communicating and what the needs of the community are.
9. Communities review content and information so that collective decisions can be made.
10. Communities leverages content to further develop relationships and connections

In a perfect world, there’s an ebb and flow between the ying of content and the yang of community, the give-and-take between the left and the right, the constant review of what’s relevant and what that means for you and others. Content pushes the comfort zone of communicators and community alike. The converse is also true. Community pushes the comfort zone of the content creators. Either way, communications working in community and communities working with communicators encourages and supports the growth of both.

E-mail us with your thoughts, stories and best practices about creating content and engaging communities.


The Like-ability Factor

July 19, 2013


Everyone wants to be liked and accepted. In business the likeability factor is a core indicator of success, for all levels, for all roles, for all industries.

But whether you’re just starting out or been around the block a few times, no matter our best of intentions, we inadvertently and proverbially stub our toe, do a faux pas, let the cat out of the bag, or in other ways socially disgrace ourselves or offend others.  Life happens. Even to the best of us! Below are some ideas about increasing *your* like-ability factor, despite the fact that stuff happens to all of us.

It’s About YOU

1. Be authentic: Accept and be who you are. Don’t try too hard to be likeable, especially to people who may not appreciate who you are and/or want you to be the way they and their friends are.
2. Stretch Yourself: Know who you are, what you like and don’t like, but also be open-minded to new things that will stretch who you are.
3. Renew yourself: Encourage, support and appreciate who you are and where you fit. Find ways to get centered, get connected, be comfortable with yourself as that will make you more likeable to others.

It’s About the Other Person

4. Accept others as they are: There is a strong correlation between acceptance and likeability. Be open minded about what ‘normal’ is, and flexible about how things should be done, how people should behave.
5. Support others: Support the success and growth of others – the more people succeed, the better off everyone is. With that said, be genuine and sincere with your support, for if you’re not, you will be viewed as manipulative, untrustworthy or worse.
6. Put others first: Show others they are important to you by putting their needs first, but only if you’re sincere in your desire to do so, only if there’s enough to go around, only if everyone benefits from this mindset.

It’s About How You Interact with Others

7. Share: Your parents and your preschool teacher were right – Share what you have. Be generous with your knowledge, skills, time and resources. But share more often with others with a sharing mindset.
8. Look on the bright side: Bring positive energy and perspective no matter what happens. The resilient, resourceful person will be most likeable and ready to lead, particularly when the going is tough.
9. Always do your part: Nobody likes a slacker. Be industrious and helpful, even if you think that nobody’s looking.
10. Express appreciation: Appreciate the little people, the little things. Appreciate how others in your life make your life fuller, more meaningful, more rewarding. True that some others make life more challenging that it could have been, but wouldn’t life be boring without them?

So rate yourself – how likeable are you right now, to those who know you best? What will you do to improve your own score? Would those who don’t know you think that you’re more likeable? What can you do to improve your first impression on them? What can you do for yourself to be more authentic, stretch yourself, renew yourself?

If you’d like to share your story about how to be more likeable, please e-mail us at

Leveraging Social Media for Work and Play

July 13, 2013


FountainBlue’s July 12 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Leveraging Social Media for Work and Play. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have a wide range of perspectives on our panel, and that our panelists shared their insights, suggestions and advice with poignant humor and candor. They spoke from a broad range of perspectives, learnings, trainings and experience and each humbly brought their insights and advice on the whole new frontier of social media, and how each is bravely making a mark and shaping the evolution of communication-as-we-know-it.

Our panel represents professionals from communication, engineering, media, training, and other areas. Each panelist traversed a range of roles in an assortment of tech companies of various sizes, and finds herself working in a corporate setting leveraging social media to communicate to a range of stakeholders. Each also has been actively involved in creating and maintaining a social personal preference as well. Below are some guidelines and advice for leveraging social media for work and play.

Remember that social media is a whole new frontier – there are no experts, and the early adopters and leaders are helping to define guidelines, policies and rules for optimizing communication. Below are some guidelines for doing so:

  • Be clear about what you want to communicate to whom, and how you go about doing so, in alignment with your objectives.
    • Be authentic in your communication.
    • Jump in, but only after you’re ready with your message, and ready with a response from the community.
  • Remember that there are a range of stakeholders, and a range of communicators.
    • Help communicators at all levels message to their target audiences and help them align their messages with corporate standards.
    • If you set up a social media presence, maintain it and be there for each target audience. Follow up and follow through to serve your customers.
    • Do the research beforehand to know who your customers are and how best to communicate with them.
  • Train the communicators and help them understand the impact and range of their communications.
    • In the end, you can have policies and standards in place, but you have to trust the judgment of the communicators.
    • Set limits on communications – look at worst case down-sides of a message-on-the-edge-of-protocol.
  • Mitigate risks, but remember that life happens. Be prepared to address any downsides of communications which may have inadvertently damaged relationships.
    • Have a plan for when bad things happen.
    • If life happens, try to make the best of it, and see it as an opportunity to build alliances and relationships.
  • Build communities of stakeholders and target communications to these niche audiences, while empowering their active engagement.
    • The keys to a successful community are continuity – people have stable, consistent ways to connect and communicate with each – and dialogue – people actively talk to each other, following established guidelines for the group.
    • Building an actively engaged set of communities helps corporations understand and connect with stakeholders at all levels.
    • Empowering communities to participate in product definition, feature requirements and to communicate their evolving needs will help companies continue to meet the needs of the customer. It is more effective and more cost-effective than the one-on-one surveys or user group input.

Social media tools worth considering:

  • LinkedIn: get your profile up and connect with your colleagues
  • FaceBook: important for social and personal connections
  • Instagram and Pinterest: important as social media evolves toward more graphics and video oriented tools
  • Twitter: Tweet about your activities and follow influencers
  • position yourself as a content expert by curating and retweeting what others are writing about
  • Blogs: express your opinion and gather a following
  • Google+ and Google Circles: targeted communications to pre-defined niche audiences
  • Radiant6: tool for measuring social media impact
  • Hoot Suite: helps you coordinate your social media presences and communicate selectively to them

Social media opportunities:

  • Enterprise solutions around social media
  • Graphic and video solutions for social media
  • Efficient ways to leverage communities to define customer needs and product direction

In the end, the message is clear: the social media landscape is new and evolving. Choose to be social-media literate and know how social media will impact you and your company, for it is here to stay.


Thank you to our panelists for FountainBlue’s July 12 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Leveraging Social Media for Work and Play:

Facilitator Kim Wise, CEO, Mentor Resources

Panelist Perrine Crampton, Community Programs Manager, CITRIX

Panelist Aimee Kalnoskas, Worldwide Community Digital Editor, Texas Instruments

Panelist Shveta Miglani, Deputy Director for Training, Globalfoundries

Panelist Olivia Shen Green, Manager, Business Ops, Engineering Talent and Culture, Cisco

Please join us also in thanking our speakers for taking the time to share their advice and thoughts and to our gracious hosts at Cisco.