Kathie Melocco - Health Activism

Blog dedicated to Social Justice and Health and Wellbeing Activism

February 26, 2010

Ensure your brand essence shines with your social media strategy

Every enterprise has its own unique personality. When it comes to social strategies, this personality shines through loud and clear. Just as we learn to identify and embrace our individual personalities, we must also recognize that no two organizations are exactly alike. Which stands to reason, then, that enterprise social media is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. When it comes to social strategy, there is no universal formula or magic bullet when it comes to driving ROI.

I find this to be a major source of contention with the brands I consult. They've read an article or they've consulted with an "expert," and they've learned all about what they should be doing. But winning internal executive support proves to be daunting, and attempts to sell the concept typically end at a brick wall. Is this because executives just don't get it? To the contrary, it's because in most cases, they're trying to turn the enterprise into something it's not.

To be successful, a brand's social strategies must complement its personality -- not compete against it. The most successful social media initiatives occur when the strategy is aligned with the core values and personality of the brand itself. We don't ask a wallflower to be the life of the party, nor do we expect a social butterfly to thrive without wings. Whether your enterprise is the thrill-seeker or the strong and silent type, this article is intended to provide both the inspiration and the tools needed to start driving value through your social strategies, in ways that are genuine, realistic, and attainable.

Discover your brand's social personality, along with the keys to unlocking the potential within.

You flitter, you flutter. You are drawn to those with the power to increase your popularity. Taking pride in being on the cutting edge, you were probably one of the early adopters of company blogs and Twitter. You like to be where the action is, darting from one trendy application to the next. On the surface, you've created an impressive following and have successfully led your organization through unchartered territories. But when the conversation turns to ROI, your attention is quickly diverted to a new tactic.

The risks:
Every marketer understands the thrill of winning the attention of customers. But a strategist needs to understand what comes next. "One million fans on Facebook" is only important to your business if you can effectively leverage those connections to drive to a conclusion based on your goals as a business.

Consumer networks are constantly changing and highly dependent upon numerous uncontrollable variables. Social butterflies have a tendency to gravitate toward the buzz-of-the-day without considering the ramifications of "here today, gone tomorrow." Banking enterprise strategy on shaky ground, or superficially scratching the surface of what should be a deep strategy, does not promote the sustainability needed for longer-term success. Without focus and dedication, you can end up disappointing your networks, and will likely fail to receive executive support for future campaigns due to your inability to garner and prove results.

The opportunity:
With a widespread social media presence, you have breadth. But do you have depth? Consumer activity is taking place on consumer networks such as Twitter and Facebook, and it is essential to position your brand where the interaction is happening. Your curiosity and open-mindedness ensure your ability to remain on the cutting edge of consumer engagement strategies, usually out in front of your competition.

Anchoring your social media initiatives in an enterprise-wide strategy will help you strengthen your connections and add depth to your campaigns. Consider ways that bridge your vast social interests with your enterprise. Open authentication, for example, can inspire your fans and followers to leverage existing credentials they may already have from Facebook or Twitter to join your own branded online community.

As trendy consumer networks come and go, your brand presence will remain.
You will gain some serious momentum when you can keep those 1 million Facebook fans engaged from one campaign to the next. And when you've shown the rest of the enterprise how it, too, can capitalize -- providing sales with new leads, or identifying customer concerns and proactively handing them over to customer service while the account can still be saved -- you will be the enterprise's rising star.

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To find your passion pulse you must identify your values

When I talk to large groups there is always someone within the audience who is truly longing for something more fulfilling in their lives. Usually this person presents to me at a coffee break and asks where do I start to find what I really want to do with my life.

Always I go back into the room and share with the group this powerful values exercise. Try it and see if you can find the one value that will help you identify your very own passion pulse for how you want to live your life authentically and true to yourself.

The secret to this exercise is to make sure your GOALS are then based on your values. We'll look at incorporating this into your life purpose in the next blog post.

However, a hint- values are not always easy to determine because:
1. They are so much a part of who we are, that unless we have completed some kind of values-clarification exercise, we may struggle to articulate our values.
2. Values-labels are bandied about so often that they lose their meaning – “love”, “peace”, “kindness” etc. What do we even mean by these words?
3. We tend to choose the values we “should” have rather than those we truly do have – especially when presented with a list of values.
In this article, I will help you clarify and describe your top 5 values. I hope to leave you surprised and enlightened!
But first, what are values? Let’s be sure we are all on the same page.

An Example of Stated Values: Tulane University Center for Public Service
Values are:
1. lenses through which we view ourselves and the world
2. the basis for our thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
3. the basis by which we evaluate (judge) ourselves and others
4. standards we hold, and thus we experience them as “shoulds” and “oughts”
5. highly influential in the way we make decisions
6. satisfying when we take part in activities that express our values
7. varied, and so we must participate in many roles to satisfy all our values
8. potentially conflicting – if the demands of one of your valued roles (e.g. work) prevents you from participating fully in another valued role (e.g. creativity), you will experience conflict and dissatisfaction
9. motivating, when you are engaged in something related to them
10. important characteristic of success and leadership, when you know who you are, what you believe in and what you stand for.
Okay, by now you are convinced that clarifying your values is a very productive exercise!
There are many ways to do it. Here is one way that is both simple and very effective:
Write down the 3-5 people you have consistently admired most in the world (famous or not).
1. Next, spend some time writing down the actual qualities they have that is responsible for your admiration of each of these people.
2. Circle the qualities that you believe YOU also have
3. Define and elaborate what you mean by these qualities. Don’t be glib! These are your values.
4. Describe them in your life and how and when they are present or absent.
5. Now pick your top 5-7 values.
When picking your top 5-7 values, don’t worry about order. Just pick the ones that are most important to you. A good way to do this is to list all the values gleaned from the above exercise and then begin eliminating the ones you feel you could live without. Keep eliminating until you get left with 5 or 7.
Those are your top values.
To live a satisfying and fulfilling life you should find ways to express every one of them daily. If altruism and generosity are important, start giving every day. If creativity is important, start expressing yourself. If money and financial security are important, then get focused on accumulating money. If fun and laughter are important, why are you not having fun in your life? If children and family are important, how can you spend more time with yours and create the family you long for?
Bottom line, stop wasting time on activities that you do not value! Or perusing goals that are not based on your values.
I leave you with a quote by Mildred Newman:
“If you know what your values are –
If you know what your standards are –
If you know what is important to you –
If you have a point of view –
Then you have a sense of direction.
Then you know where you are going.”

February 21, 2010

Every CEO must build his own personal brand – what are you doing to manage yours?

In the past few years personal branding has been discussed exhaustively throughout the Net. The difference between today and over ten years ago when it was first mentioned by Tom Peters, is the rise of social technologies that have made branding not only more personal, but within reach.

From the corporate brand (BMW), to the product brand (BMW M3 Coupe) and down to the personal brand (car salesman), branding is a critical component to a customer’s purchasing decision. These days, customer complaints and opinions are online and viewable through a simple search, on either Google or through social networks. There is no hiding anymore and transparency and authenticity are the only means to survive and thrive in this new digital kingdom.

Many people think that personal branding is just for celebrities such as Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, yet each and every one of us is a brand. Personal branding, by definition, is the process by which we market ourselves to others. As a brand, we can leverage the same strategies that make these celebrities or corporate brands appeal to others. We can build brand equity just like them.

We can also have just as much presence as most startups and mid-size companies and products. Social media tools have leveled the playing ground and have enabled us to reach incredible heights, at the cost of our time. Today, I want to share the personal branding process, so you can start to think about what face you want to show to the world and how you want to position yourself for success!

These same tools albeit with a bit more detail are the tactical ways I work with CEO's to hone and develop their own brands. If you are a senior business manager you must consider how you as a brand are marketed. It is not enough just to set up a twitter handle for example and start tweeting - what will be your core message and so on.
1. Discover your brand
The single biggest mistake people make is that they either brand themselves just for the sake of doing it or that they fail to invest time in learning about what’s in their best interests. The key to success, and this isn’t revolutionary, is to be compensated based on your passion. In order to find your passion, you need a lot of time to think, some luck and you need to do some research online to figure out what’s out there. (I also run discovering your passion pulse in work/life seminar which help individuals find their true passion)

Brand discovery is about figuring out what you want to do for the rest of your life, setting goals, writing down a mission, vision and personal brand statement (what you do and who you serve), as well as creating a development plan. Have you ever been called intelligent or humorous by your peers or coworkers? That description is part of your brand, especially if you feel those attributed pertain to you. To know if you’ve discovered your brand, you need to make this equation equal:
Your self-impression = How people perceive you

Before you enter the next step in the personal branding process, you’ll want to select a niche, whereby you can be the master of your domain. For example, Joel Comm has mastered the Google Adsense niche and brands himself using his name, and Brian Solis owns the social media PR niche with his PR 2.0 blog (under his name). When I say domain, I mean an area where there aren’t many competitors and literally, your online domain name. Once you sort this all out, now it’s time to create your brand.
2. Create your brand
Now that you know what you want to do and have claimed a niche, at least in your mind, it’s time to get it on paper and online. The sum of all the marketing material you should develop for your brand is called a Personal Branding Toolkit. This kit consists of the following elements that you can use to highlight your brand and allow people to easily view what you’re about:

1. Business card: It doesn’t matter if you’re a university student, CEO, or a consultant, everyone should have their own business card. The card should contain your picture, your personal brand statement (such as Keynote speaker), as well as your *preferred* contact information and corporate logo if necessary.

You can create your own business card and share it through your mobile phone using mydropcard.com or rmbrme.com. On the web, BusinessCard2.com is a great social network for creating and distributing your person business card.

2. Resume/cover letter/references document: These are typical documents that you need for applying for jobs and when you go on interviews (something over 2 million job seekers will be doing as we speak). Be sure to prioritize each document with information custom to the target position. Take your resume online and add social features to it to make the ultimate social media resume, promoting your personal brand to the world and making it shareable.

3. Portfolio: Whether you use a CD, web or print portfolio, it’s a great way to showcase the work you’ve done in the past, which can convince someone of your ability to accomplish the same results for the future. Figdig.com and carbonmade.com are social networks for people who want to show off their creative skills to the world.

4. Blog/website: You need to own yourname.com or a website that aligns with your name in some fashion. Depending on who you are, how much time you have on your hands and if you can accept criticism, you should either start a blog or stick with a static homepage. Those who blog will have a stronger asset than those who don’t because blogs rank higher in search engines and lend more to your expertise and interest areas over time.

5. LinkedIn profile: A LinkedIn profile is a combination of a resume, cover letter, references document and a moving and living database of your network. Use it to create your own personal advertising, to search for jobs or meet new people.

6. Facebook profile: Over 160 million people have profiles, but almost none of them have branded themselves properly using this medium. Be sure to include a Facebook picture of just you, without any obscene gestures or unnecessary wine glasses in your hand. Also, input your work experience and fill out your profile, while turning on the privacy options that disable the ability for people to tag you in pictures and videos (allowing people to see the ones tagged of you).

7. Twitter profile: Your Twitter profile should have an avatar that is carved out of your Facebook picture and used in your LinkedIn profile. You need to use a distinct background, fill out your profile and include a link to either your blog or LinkedIn profile. Twitterbacks.com, has templates you can use to sculpt your very own Twitter background (Photoshop skills not included). Twitbacks.com is another solution that also lets you promote your Twitter profile.

8. Video resume: A video resume is a short video of you talking about why you are the best for a specific job opportunity. You get about a minute or so to communicate your brand and are able to send the link, once you upload it to YouTube, to hiring managers.

9. Wardrobe: Your personal style is tangible and is extremely important for standing out from the crowd. Select clothing that best represents you because it will be viewable through your pictures/avatars online, as well as when you meet people in reality.

10. Email address: Don’t overlook your email address as not being a significant part of your toolkit. Most people use email over all social networks and when you connect with someone on a social network, you are notified via email, so get used to it. Your email address poses a great opportunity for your brand. I recommend using gmail because of the acceptance of Google and since GTalk allows you to form tighter relationships with others. For your address, use “firstname.lastname@gmail.com.”
What’s next?
After you spend the time on these parts of your personal branding toolkit, it’s time to showcase it to the world, especially your target audience. Don’t be fooled by the myth that if you build it, they will come. Unless you’re the luckiest person on earth, you’ll have to actually communicate everything you’ve created to others.
In the next post, I will discuss how you can take the personal branding toolkit you’ve developed and communicate it to your audience. I’ll give you tips on how to market your personal brand to become known in your niche. Then, I’ll finish by explaining how you should monitor and update your brand over your lifetime.

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February 18, 2010

Growing your business through the power of social marketing - Linked In

When I train corporates in how to integrate and indeed use social media we often spend some time on LinkedIn. Why? So many people use it as static environment and forget the key - it's social, it's professional, it's about building your business network!

So if want to benefit from LinkedIn? Stop treating it as a dumping ground for your CV, blogs and business card!

Your web site may be sitting there waiting for visitors to come along but not so for LinkedIn because it has 60 million users who regularly visit. The best thing is that you don’t even have to pay to reach these 60 million people. You just need to figure out a way to attract their attention.

The paradox with online networking is that it is difficult to put into practice the usual nine influencing tactics of; reasoning, inspiring, inquiring, make them feel good, strike a deal, swapping favours, using silent allies, authority and force. There are three reasons why this is the case.

Firstly, most people joining LinkedIn are focused on themselves and use a discussion or comment as a disguise to leave their ‘online’ business card. Secondly, most people tend to fallback on reasoning to get their point across and a discussion then ends up as a verbal arm-wrestling contest. Thirdly, they underestimate the time, effort, and skill required to engage in a fluid and dynamic conversation.

To get benefits from online business networking, you need to invest time and energy to build your reputation. It is your reputation that influences and attracts people. People want insight instead of Inmails. The more insights you share, the more people will see you as an expert. The more valuable you become in your network, the more people will be attracted to you and so your reputation grows. Over time, people starts to look to you to make connections with other people. In short, you become more than your CV, you become an invaluable asset in your network. In benefiting others, you become the benefit of online business networking.

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Add a little happiness to the office -Tips for making work FUN!

1. Take 60 seconds to think about your favorite moment at work.
2. Invite a new co-worker out to lunch.
3. Bring an extra dessert for your boss.
4. Eat perfectly ripened grapes.
5. Watch a YouTube video – search “Office Pranks”
6. Come up with a wild idea for the advertising department even if you aren’t in their department.
7. Buy donuts for everyone
8. Bring in orange juice for everyone
9. Find an awesome joke online, memorize it and tell it to everyone.
10. Don’t wear any socks.
11. Bring in freshly brewed coffee.
12. Make everyone a copy of your favorite music.
13. Have a paper airplane contest. Whoever’s plane goes the farthest gets an extra 15 minute break.
14. Wear two different colored socks, see if anyone notices. (step farther – different shoes)
15. Give a friendly wink and a smile at someone that you know needs cheering on
16. Bake cupcakes.
17. Write a poem and print out a copy for everyone.
18. Make everyone gather for a group photo.
19. Compliment everyone that you interact with.
20. Ask everyone how they are feeling (really listen).It is good for YOU
21. Bring in a plant for your desk (workspace).
22. Bring in stickers that a third grade teacher would have i.e. “You are Great,” and pass them out.
23. Ask all your co-workers for their best joke. The best one gets a cup of coffee or beer.
24. Create a “show and tell” every Friday.
25. Have a child paint the office a picture.
26. Stretch at your desk for five minutes
27. Bring in your old magazines and put them in the lunch room for someone else to read.
28. Laugh at yourself.
29. Give a copy of your favorite book to the employee who annoys you the most.
30. Celebrate everyone’s birthday – tailor it to their likes (note: do not buy a generic cake).
31. Dress up like it’s a party.
32. Celebrate a big contract or completion of a project by having music, dancing and a prize of a dinner for two.
33. Wash a co-worker’s car during your lunch.
34. Have a dress-up day on a random day.
35. Switch jobs with someone in your department for a day.
36. Have a fifteen minute exercise break for the whole office.
37. Write a letter to the most famous person in your industry asking for one piece of advice.
38. Do a 1 minute relaxation exercise that makes you look weird (like yoga nostril breathing), but you don’t care because you’re relieving stress.
39. Have a coloring contest – it brings back the “kid in school” feeling.
40. Make a cup of hot tea for a co-worker.
41. Trade sweaters with someone of the same size
42. Bring in a carved design in a piece of fruit (what type of fruit depends on the season).
43. Wear all white.
44. Give a small gift to all your co-workers.
45. Give every co-worker a special rock that you picked for them and tell them why they got the rock that you gave them.
46. Bring in a board game and play it during lunch.
47. Everyone write a “thank you” note to their favorite client, customer, or business.
48. Let someone borrow your favorite pen.
49. Do your boss’s or co-worker’s most hated task.
50. Throw a party for everyone in the office. Give one reason why you appreciate each person and that’s why you are throwing a party for everyone.
51. Bring in face paints and paint employees’ and customers’ faces.
52. Bring in a cool piece of original art from home and display it in the office.
53. Create a company song.
54. Ask everyone what their favorite animal is and why.
55. Bring in Trivial Pursuit cards and ask people questions. If they get it right they win a piece of candy.
What would be number 56? What do you do at your job to make it more fun?

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Ten Tips to Add Passion and Purpose to your work


You may have found yourself needing a little help in bringing the passion back into your work.You might be ready for a little inspiration to get you through the rest of year, a core focus if you like. You might need an incentive to remember why you work so hard making all of those deadlines.


We all need some inspiration at times to bring back the passion and purpose of our jobs. Here are sure-fire steps that you can use any time of the year to raise your spirits and lighten your load.

1. No daring – no growth.

If you become bored easily, it could be that you have not been challenging yourself. Follow your heart and select a project that ignites your passion and purpose but also scares you a little bit; this will be a project that you will grow into and that will stretch you a bit. Be willing to be uncomfortable enough to go just a bit beyond what you think you can do. You’ll be thrilled at your success.

2. Don’t be afraid of what’s different or unknown to you.

If you find yourself in a rut or without passion, you may not be trying new things. Something as inconsequential as ordering a new dish at a favorite restaurant will give your life a spark. Try a new product, visit a strange place, or befriend someone who is far from your age, occupation, or religion. At work, take a fellow employee to lunch that you’ve never met. Strike up a conversation with a client you don’t know very well. Try a new method of working, or attend a new conference.

3. Let other people play.

Are you tired of doing a particular task? Delegate your tired task to an employee who would love to learn the new skill. Now you will have another person who is cross-trained on that task and can pitch in to relieve you any time.

4. Look at things from a fresh perspective.

You will always gain a new idea or point of view when you can put yourself in your customer’s or employee’s (or someone else’s) shoes. Think about what the situation is like for them. In a customer service setting, this tip is probably one of the best things you can do to improve service. It will allow you to solve a problem in a more creative way.

For example, right now I am having a problem with the hardware on my laptop. The laptop is unusable. The customer support technician thinks that the memory chip is bad. He could have just sent me a new memory board. But he is going the extra mile: rather than just sending a new memory card, the technician has ordered several parts, just in case there is another or different problem, which will save me potentially several days of downtime and several service trips. By putting himself in my shoes and solving the problem the way he would have liked it solved for himself, the technician has gone the extra mile.

5. Praise generously.

Find something awesome about every person you meet, and tell them about it. Warm up your praises by practicing on the coffee shop barista and dry cleaners attendant in the morning. When you get to work, be ready to compliment your employees, your boss, and your peers. Give gratitude to the waiter at lunch time, and continue the day by sharing a kind word with your customers, even the ones who might not be your favorites. You’ll not only light up your day; you’ll light up everyone around you. The passion will be flowing.

6. Be flexible and take things in stride.

When situations feel difficult, it can feel overwhelming at the time. To diffuse the tension, think of how you will feel a week later. Is it really that important in the grand scheme of your life? When a crisis comes my way, my friends know I will always say, “As long as no one has died, it’s not too bad of a problem.” Everyone smiles or laughs, and we’re on our way back to passion and having fun in the workplace.

7. Self-confidence matters.

Dress the part. Act the part. Look the part. Feel the part. You’ll feel better for it.

8. Power up your perseverance.

Some things in life just take more determination than you ever thought possible. If you’re doing 50 situps without the result you want, it may just mean you need to do 75 or 100. When I come to this realization, I steel myself and say, “OK I can do this.” And I do.

9. Manage your emotions.

You choose to be happy or sad every minute of every day; you’re in charge. You can choose to spend the rest of your life grumpy or ecstatic; it’s up to you and the attitude you create for yourself. We’ve learned from scientists just in the past few years that our brains, and therefore our personality traits, are changeable. Even if you are a “negative” person, you can turn that trait around to neutral or positive if you work hard enough.

Create and manage your emotions in the way that they work best for you. For me, I choose to laugh a lot, even in the face of adversity.

10. Say what’s on your mind.

Upsets can occur as often when something isn’t said as when it is said. Don’t let an issue simmer below the surface and create a bad feeling that lingers. Clear the air by being brave enough to have the tough conversation. It might be the conversation between you and your boss on why someone else got promoted before you did. Perhaps it’s the conversation between you and your teenager about a boundary that was violated. Or it could be some old stuff between you and your partner that you need to let go of.

If there is something you need to get off of your mind that has been simmering below the surface and crushing you passion, then take a deep breath, say it, and get the passion flowing again.

Try these ten tips one at a time – perhaps one a week -- in your workplace or your life, and see if your purpose and passion return with a renewed delight.

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