Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Twombies, Twampires and Twidiots......oh my!

Sometimes I feel like I am glued to an uncomfortable chair, watching a really bad movie…..as if I am an unwilling ticket holder in a theatre of hysteria featuring “Attack of the Twombies”.

Yes….you guessed it…I am reading my twitter timeline.

On a normal day it is a mixture of news from around the world, pithy comments from witty friends (and by friends I mean, mostly people I have never met but feel like I do), annoying automated tweets from jogging apps about someone’s daily jog including the time and distance (you people know who you are), blog post links…..and the occasional Kardashian reference.  But recently…..my twitter timeline has been taken over by Twombies, Twampires and Twidiots!

Darnit people! You see…..this is why we can’t have nice things!

What am I talking about?

“Twombies” are folks who seem normal, but as soon as they log onto Twitter, it is as if they become someone else entirely. They completely lose perspective, their sense of awareness and a will of their own. They say things on Twitter that they would never, ever say at home, at work….in their so-called real life. 

“Twampires” are humans who feed on the misfortune of others – a group primarily comprised of media types around the world. Twampires believe that the volume of information trumps the value and can spin hours worth of coverage from very little information. The recent Boston tragedy created an army of Twampires – many media outlets who forget the rules of journalism: tweeting and retweeting without fact checking, and feeding hysteria.

Sometimes I worry that the Twombies and the Twampires are going to take over…….

Recently we have witnessed first hand of just how powerful and irresponsible social media has become. Honestly…it should come with a warning: Irresponsible tweeting can cause vocabulary leakage and spelling dysfunction, ill advised and misplaced finger pointing, stock market crashes, public humiliation and the loss of potential political careers.

Believe me….would I joke about leakage and dysfunction?

As a self-proclaimed social media junkie, this saddens me. Experts keep telling people: “Tweet responsibly” but many still don’t seem to grasp the concept.

It is bad enough that we have to protect ourselves from Twombies and Twampires…..but there is no kryptonite against Twidiots and I fear they will be the downfall of western civilization.

Twidiots are people who don’t think before they tweet; who think they are funny when they aren’t. 

There is something so……Darwinian about Twitter. I can’t help but think that at some point, a misplaced Twidiot tweet might be responsible for the downfall of Western Civilization: that 140 characters might initiate some kind of launch sequence that could spell disaster.

Don’t be a Twombie, a Twampire or a Twidiot. Remember the rules:

EVERYTHING you tweet or post will remain out “there” forever and ever and ever…..

NEVER tweet in anger. Think before you tweet.

REMEMBER that your personal brand can and will be affected by what is out there on social media. It is very difficult to remain anonymous on social media. Always assume that a picture, comment, or tweet will become available to everyone.

THINK about what your mother, husband, child, employer would say if they knew what you were posting on  social media.

DO NOT contribute to the “theatre of hysteria”. During times of crisis, be careful about engaging on social media. It might be in your best interest to log off/turn off.

QUIT feeding the Twombies. Do not engage with them.

VALUE before volume – think about each and every post or comment you make; ensure that it has value.

REMEMBER to S.M.I.L.E.™ because Social Media Impacts the Lives of Everyone.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

A little bit of "madness" to their method

I had no idea what to expect.

As I sat in the audience the first morning of the 2013 GMIC Sustainable Meetings Conference, waiting for Eric Ryan to take the stage, I simply had no idea.

Was I going to be disappointed?

Shhhhhhh.......it's starting!

Here comes Eric Ryan: blonde hair, winning smile and a boy next-door quality that is immediately endearing. No dark hoodie a la Mark Zuckerberg, no “my generation is smarter than your generation” attitude. We all sat up a little straighter, and leaned in.

Ryan is the co-founder of method®, a line of cleaning products that have been created without using “dirty” ingredients and designed so beautifully that you don’t have to “hide them under your sinks”. (source www.methodhome.com)

A perfect combination of High Design + Deep Sustainability

The savvy method® team of Ryan and partner Adam Lowry, understood that they needed to strike an emotional chord with consumers.

They needed to understand the culture.

“Culture is our only sustainable competitive advantage
Get the culture right, get the product right” Eric Ryan

It can be said that folks were ready for method® products. In a world filled with headlines about oil spills, global warming and other environmental catastrophes, folks were craving a product that they knew was safe.  They wanted to “do good”.

......Weird people are the ones that change the world

When Ryan shared the question which is threaded throughout their company culture “How do we keep it weird”, everyone laughed and then immediately tweeted it. I haven’t checked, but I am thinking that “keep it weird” became the most tweetable three words of the conference.

It was intriguing to know that there is a little bit of madness to their method® method (yes, pun intended) . They wanted to bring the scarcity of fun to cleaning!

Everyone within the method® organization is consistently thinking, “what would MacGyver do?”.  It is about resourcefulness, combined with a little weird. These folks are not simply thinking out of the proverbial box…no…..they have used a Q-tip, some chewing gum, an elastic band and some duct tape and created a culture of creativity and innovation.

At method®, “everything is a beta test”

Yes…apparently they are always thinking prototype, prototype, prototype! If you dream it, then build it. What an amazing work environment!

Sell a point of view.................

This was a powerful statement. At method®,  they sell a point of view consistent across the organization. They always ask for participation and it is important to keep the ego out of it.  It is a culture of open collaboration and sharing.

We all laughed when Eric spoke to their hiring policies and that they “audition” their applicants.  It is important that they identify behaviours that embody values/culture of the organization - bringing their personal self to their professional life.  

“The soul can not be outsourced”

They also train everyone within the organization how to be a marketer  - everyone is responsible for building the brand. A brilliant use of their most important resource: the people.

.....Everything needs to be visually shareable

When Eric stated that “everything needs to be visually shareable” I wasn’t sure what he meant.  He followed that statement with  “No social mission? No social media” and then it clicked.

They are very strategic when it comes to social media and if you take a look at their website it speaks volumes.

Their humananifesto is a collection of tweetable statements, with the visual appeal of a poster that you could hang in your office. My favourite? “good always prevails over stinky”  and “we exercise by running through the legs of the giant…which is even more fun when the sprinkler is going”. Don’t those scream FUN?

“Welcome to the world of cleaning happy. Come Inside” (source www.methodhome.com)

Sounds like fun right? The videos are fun and light hearted and an extension of the company culture. Titles like,  “give your nose a hug”, “high five a rainbow” , “clean like a mother” and “say no to jugs” immediately scream CLICK ME!

I want to work there

I want to join their team

At the very least…I want to buy their products.....and I will.

At the end of the day, it is about the story and the method® story is remarkable. Truly one of the best keynotes that I have been fortunate enough to attend; creating a spark that will fuel me for a long, long time.

Remember.....we are all in this together (courtesy of method®  & Virgin America):


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Keep Calm and Bl!nk!

Whew! Another GMIC conference has come and gone and all that remains are the gentle impressions (little tiny footprints) left behind in our consciousness.

I would like to think that the 2013 Bl!nk presentations make up some of those footprints. If you don't know what Bl!nk is....click herehere and perhaps here.

I would like to extend a special thank you to:

Julie A. Baylor, CHA
General Manager, DoubleTree by Hilton LAX

Julie reminds us that it is important (when implementing sustainability initiatives) to "Make it Personal, Make it Visible and Make it Possible" in her Bl!nk presentation called, "What's in it for me?"

Tahira Endean, CMP
Director, Creative and Production

In her presentation titled, "What roasts your onion? How we change the world one bite at a time", Tahira thoughtfully shared how food impacts her family and events through a pictorial display.

Michelle Sheldon, President
Eco Promotional Products Inc.

Cowgirl Michelle (she had a hat to prove it) used pictures, props and stories of near eco-promotional catastrophes and reminded us of the importance of education and leadership within the sustainability industry.

Judy Kucharuk (me)
Dedicated blackberry devotee and sufferer of instagram envy 
Social media freak and wearer of green meeting planner cape

I sang a song....yes, a song titled, "Les GMIC: I dream a dream of meeting green". A special thank you to Sarah Brockus from United Methodist Women and coincidentally, an opera singer, for singing along - appreciate it Sarah.

If you are interested in bringing Bl!nk to your next event....I could be persuaded to share :)

Until then......


Monday, April 1, 2013

Wooing Westjet - It Just Made Sense

How one Northern British Columbia Community’s hard work and community-sourced, grassroots marketing campaign created magic and wooed an airline 
Written by Judy Kucharuk

Take one look at the video produced for the “It Just Makes Sense” campaign and you realize that anything is possible as long as you have passion and commitment……and perhaps a savvy brand awareness.

The February 2013 announcement that “It Just Made Sense” for the Canadian owned airline Westjet to call the Northern BC Community of Fort St John its newest base, was not surprising to those of us who had watched the evolution of the creative marketing campaign.

Mayor Lori Ackerman believed that the time was right for Westjet to land in her community of Fort St John.

The campaign was firmly rooted in good data (demographics, statistics, community profiles and trends) to support the initiative, crowd-sourcing ideas (let’s call it community-sourcing), social media (facebook, twitter, youtube), and most importantly, the people-energy required to carry it through.

The campaign, organized at the invitation of Mayor Ackerman, involved key members of the community.

“When Fort St John was invited to present to Westjet, we pulled together a community committee to put a campaign together. It was decided at that time to show Westjet the “community” and that the infrastructure at the airport is supportive of growth.” Mayor Lori Ackerman

Intrigued with their process and wanting to learn their secret to “community sourcing” and marketing success, I approached both Mayor Ackerman as well as then Chamber of Commerce President Brent Hodson, and asked if they would answer a few key questions about “It Just Makes Sense. 

Where did the tagline, “It Just Makes Sense” originate?

Brent Hodson:
It was one of the executives from WestJet that actually coined the phrase after a discussion with Mayor Ackerman. So it just made sense to use "Its Just Makes Sense" as our campaign motto. From there, we set out to create a cause the entire community could get behind to improve the services to Fort St. John.

Secret #1: Leverage Social Media

How did you weave a social media campaign with traditional marketing methods?

Mayor Ackerman:
Fort St John is British Columbia’s youngest community.  Social Media is easy to use and a natural fit for any communication. We also knew that Westjet, like other savvy corporations are very active on social media.  We encouraged our community to let them know whenever possible that “it just makes sense”.

How important was the use of Social Media in the campaign? Facebook and Twitter?

Brent Hodson:
Social media was very important for the campaign.  Whether it was Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram - these tools were essential in getting the message out to the community.  We set up an email address: Business members could send in their comments, but also send video clips of them, their community groups, companies and others showcasing the community and that Fort St. John just made sense.  Facebook was a huge part as more people in the region are using Facebook more.  The City, Chamber of Commerce, Media and other groups reached out to their fans to gain more support.  From there, we had comments, videos, respective travel budgets from companies and more.

It is important to note that the campaign did not use traditional marketing methods like television and radio. Word of mouth and the viral nature of social media assisted with spreading the message throughout the community.

Secret #2: Understand the value of Word of Mouth advertising/messaging

 What role did Social Media Influencers have in the campaign?

Brent Hodson:
Social media Influencers were there to spread the message.  Twitter is still 'new' to this region and the people that are on it were the ones who got behind the cause from the get go.  These were the people tweeting, using Facebook and more to really get the message out which was important in getting the comments, video clips and more back to the group.

What other factors played into the success of the campaign?

Brent Hodson:
Other factors that played into this campaign was the demographics of the community of Fort St. John, and the region.  The industry, the growth the area has seen and will see and how the region is full of families who will / want to travel as well as companies looking for that connection to Calgary which was an essential part to the campaign.  The North Peace Economic Development Commission was also a huge part to the campaign as they had the stats, figures, community profiles and trends part that we used in our package that was given to WestJet to showcase the past, present and potential future of the region.
How was it received in Calgary (Westjet Headquarters) when you premiered the movie?
Brent Hodson:
The movie was showcased to three executives in our presentation. When it was shown, their attention was focused on the movie as they saw a broad spectrum of the community from families, to businesses, churches, local groups, and more. This gave them the feeling that the community was behind the initiative and how WestJet's values were similar to those of the community.

Secret #3: Aligning the brand and values

Do you think that by demonstrating that YXJ was creative and fun (much like Westjet) that it played a role in the decision?

Mayor Ackerman:
I think it played a part.  I think the strong, small airport infrastructure with room for expansion, a strong community with steady growth and  being the second largest community north of Kamloops helped too.

Would you have done anything differently?

Brent Hodson:
The campaign lead to a very successful finish where WestJet did end up choosing Fort St. John for WestJet Encore. I don't think I would change anything as it really was about a community getting behind a cause and making it happen. Fort St. John has a history of doing this, and it amazes every time the goals are accomplished.

What are some of the comments you have heard about the campaign now that Wesjet has confirmed that it will be traveling into YXJ?

Brent Hodson:
People were thankful that a group came together to make this happen. It may have started as a select group of community members but it was the community who got behind the initiative. Social media played a huge aspect to getting the message out and it worked!  

“When WestJet came to Fort St. John, you could see their pride talking about the company and in return you saw the pride in Fort St. John who welcomed WestJet with open arms.” Brent Hodson

Mayor Lori Ackerman believed that the time was right for Westjet to land in her community of Fort St John. She and her team of “Do’ers” successfully:

  1. Community sourced support and ideas
  2. Accessed relevant resources and data
  3. Leveraged Social Media
  4. Understood the value of word of mouth messaging/advertising
  5. Aligned the brand and values