How Fatherhood Has Made Me a Better B2B Communicator

Another year and another father’s day. I now understand why this was my father’s favorite holiday (mine too) and why he kept all of the cards and gifts we made for him (I do the same). And there’s a lot about fatherhood that has made me think about how it translates into doing my job better. Here are four things I’ve learned about being a father that have

Happy B2B Communicator Day too?
Happy B2B Communicator Day too?

helped me professionally (hopefully moms feel the same way).

Storytelling is Important. For the past several years reading stories has become a daily ritual. What I like about children’s stories are the themes and lessons learned. They have a purpose. This clearly resonates with what we do as communicators as we work to have stakeholders better understand our purpose. Good storytelling in business help make the complex simple and give better meaning to what we are doing. What’s your favorite childhood story (I like Curious George)? Can you make it relate to your brand?

Test Your Creativity. What do you do on a rainy day at home? How can you pass time on an airplane? When you go to the park are you engaged and play and how? Being a parent pushes the boundaries of your creativity and allows you to both experiment and test your thinking. It also helps your children better understand and appreciate fantasy and fun. I’m convinced the concept of brainstorming meetings is the result of parenting (think about all the times you sat down with your kids and ask, “What do we want to do today?”). There are many benefits to thinking differently and I like that as a parent — and work colleague — I can help be creative. Even playing games can help you become a better strategist.

Be Patient. Parenting and patience are hard to separate (impossible even). As communicators, it often takes time to see the full effect of our work. As social and digital projects continue to consume our daily workload it’s easy to get caught up in the immediate impact. Don’t. Even though news and information is traveling in real time 24/7, it’s important to understand the value of taking your time to have the best campaign at the right time and to measure it over a set period. Getting caught up in the

Have fun. Social and digital are changing the role of we do as communicators. Just like digital is changing the way we communicate and teach our kids, we need to cope with the complexities at work. What I’ve learned from all the demands of being a parent, and as a manager/colleague/partner, is to have fun. This is something I make sure my kids understand — it’s important to take work and deadlines very seriously, but every day make sure you enjoy what you’re doing, laugh and do the best you can.

If you enjoyed this post you may also want to read the following:

 

Getting Your Degree in Business Acumen

You are What You Read

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Need a Strategy? Start by Playing Games

Blogging isn’t supposed to be easy

How Well Do You Know Your Social Network? Probably Poorly

Five lessons learned after five years of B2B social media

Are you ready for a real-time B2B world?


Are You Ready for a Real-Time B2B World?

The past two weeks may have been an eye opener for firms who tend to ignore the “real time” world.  In fact, we may be reaching a tipping point as more and more data comes online via social media. That tipping point comes in the form of a competitive advantage for some. Some companies, like StockTwits, took this trend seriously three years ago and developed ways for B2B firms to use social media. We are now seeing more and more B2B companies, such as the hedge Fund Derwent Capital, put this data to use.

How are you managing "real time"?

And while companies like Twitter and Google (search only since Google+ brands pages have yet to officially launch) have been leading the way for B2B brands to look at and use real-time news and analysis, recent changes at Facebook are now under scrutiny by brands. With these three firms firmly racing to be the platform of choice for sharing information, as communicators in the B2B world we need to think about all of the options to meet the needs of our brand.

A number of stories and posts have come out in the past week showing how the mining of real-time data is making many companies and brands take notice. Here’s a sampling of the stories you should read:

The Economist: What’s in a Tweet

But companies that mine the stream of tweets for marketing and other purposes (see article in this week’s issue of The Economist) get much more information.

The Economist: Sipping from the Firehose

Fed through clever algorithms, a torrent of microblogs can reveal changes in a nation’s mood. Hence the excitement about a new market: the sale and analysis of real-time social-media data.

Think Quarterly (Google): Predicting the Present

Using the publicly available tools mentioned above, we’ve uncovered a number of interesting relationships.

Google: Predicting the Present with Google Trends

Can Google queries help predict economic activity?

Business Insider: What Facebook’s Changes mean for Brands

The key takeaway for brands is that the News Feed matters ⎯ a lot. For most brands, the News Feed is their best chance for interacting with fans (aka consumers).

UPDATE: This story from the WSJ also takes a look at real-time data analysis.

WSJ: Decoding our Chatter

Want to monitor an earthquake, track political activity or predict the upds and downs of the stock market? Researchers have found a bonanza of real-time data in the torrential flow of Twitter feeds.

So what can you do now armed with this info? Here are two takeaways from the recent news:

  • Now is a good time to take another look at your social media strategy and reassess what you are doing and what you are posting. We do this on a regular basis as new trends and technologies are introduced, but also as we connect with new users.
  • Share this info internally. But don’t just share this with the marketing and communications team, make sure the right technology and research managers know that you are watching this trend. You want to continue to push these changes internally and to ensure you can help evolve the business case around real-time information.

One objective of this blog is to continue to raise the business relevance of social media in B2B communications. We continue to look for examples and ways that companies are doing this in order for all of us to learn. Hopefully, we’re helping accomplish that and we can continue to build on this objective. Stories like I mentioned above add further evidence to the important of real-time information, which is taking place more and more online in public forums. As these stories develop we will share our thoughts with you and look for your comments.

If you enjoyed this post you may also want to read:

The Beat Goes on at StockTwits

Need a Strategy? Start by Playing Games

Using Social Networking Sites in B2B Businesses