Tag Archives: collaboration

Exploring trends in Branding and PR without men

We ran another very successful PR Boot Camp on Thursday, 20 March. The theme was “Exploring current thinking and trends in Branding and PR.” We covered a wide range of branding and PR information and each participant shared their experience and knowledge on the topic and then got down to actually reworking their own strategies based on their new insights.

Marcel, Lindy and Des hard at workParticipants hard at work

Some of the key questions and issues raised included the ones I’ve listed below and, over the next month or two, I’ll be dealing with each one in a separate blog. However, here I want to focus on the last one: Why is it so difficult to draw local men to PR and Branding workshops?

The PR Boot Camp attracted a group of highly professional participants, including an attorney, two marketing managers – one from a large private hospital, the other from a firm of lawyers – a graphic designer and website builder, a business coach, an owner of companies, a human resource manager, and an online networking business operator. They proved to be a facilitator’s dream because they contributed constantly with insight, expertise and questions. The only thing was – they were all female! We had to ask ourselves, where are the men of Maritzburg?

No rest for the Marketing Manager Boot Camps are hard work

This opened the way for a deviation to an interesting discussion on workplace gender issues. Several of the women there had experienced a sense that some – NOT ALL (no need to get your jockstraps in a knot now!) – men in business still showed ‘traditional’ attitudes towards women. Examples included not taking seriously suggestions on business management that came from a woman; men would pay thousands of rand to go to Johannesburg to attend a seminar when facilitated by a man, while not attending a local one run by a woman of equal calibre; corporate men are generally slow to change or implement new ideas or procedures that are initiated by women.

What IS the reason for these attitudes and behaviours in 2014?

Feel free to comment…………..  while you await the blogs on:

1. Why Brand? Is branding only for cattle?

2. Why a Mission Statement?  Read this article: http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/mission-statements-are-a-joke.html

3. Why Ethics and Values in business?

4. How to outplay the Competition?

5. Why Social Network platforms?

6. Why a Communication Strategy?

7. How to brand and market a coaching business?

8. Why is it so difficult to draw local men to PR and Branding workshops?


Speaking about the corporate revolution….

website people 1There is a corporate revolution going on! Complexity and chaos theories abound, and things have to change. Businesses need to take note of this and listen to the thought leaders’ appeals to start adapting before it’s too late.

As with all change in thinking and behaviour, there comes a change in the language we use to reflect our new beliefs and actions. Here are some of the current buzzwords in business, branding and corporate communication:

Organizational change involves “deconstructing the silos” or structures of business past and means making the necessary strategic shifts to meet the demands of the changing times. One of the most fundamental changes is in the balance of power between consumer and producer.

Power to the people, not corporates – people know more, they have more freedom, more access and more voice. They expect more and want to be treated accordingly. It is people who build brands and reputations, not companies themselves.

Customer is now audience, so-called because people are watching, listening and responding now, not just buying. If this relationship is audience-centred and managed well, the audience becomes your ‘community’ and advocates on behalf of your brand and builds your business with you.

Sustainability and Social responsibility – these concepts focus on conscious decisions and long term commitments to social, environmental and economic issues that affect ALL people, not just short-term CSI campaigns that gain company kudos.

Truth, Vision Transparency, Collaboration? Unfamiliar terms in business? But soft skills are now core skills. Developing these soft skills within a stakeholder engagement strategy means working on BOTH an emotional and a rational level. After all, we are dealing with people who really want to know who we are and what we stand for. And as with all relationships, we need to unpack our true purpose and seek collaboration partners to share it with. So now there’s more use of ‘us’ than ‘them’.

Spin is replaced with real content – spin attracts and lures people into believing what you say, based on the company’s needs or agenda. Relevant content and story-telling engage people and build relationships based on audience needs. It’s an ‘outside-in’ approach that values content marketing, instead of just product marketing, and connecting, not just selling, using conversations about the business and its products and services to build meaningful, long term relationships with the audience.

Ethical branding not just advertising. Every brand has its unique story about what it stands for, not only about its products. And even the products are ethical now. The question of image versus façade highlights exhibiting an identity based on purpose not profit, and mindful actions, not pretty packaging. People trust businesses that believe in what they do and value integrity rather than those with nice appearances and words.

The authenticity revolution? Carla Enslin calls it an evolution – wherein organisations become…. “responsible for creating legacies based on sound social and economic values and authentic practice”.

Learning to live with conflicting myths

Learning to live with conflicting myths

Learning to live with conflicting myths

Learning to live with conflicting myths

Let me clarify, at the start, in Media and Cultural Studies the term ‘myth’ does NOT mean ‘a lie’. It means ‘stories or beliefs we live our lives by’. These myths contribute to and/or are influenced by our belief systems which drive our decisions, behaviour and lives.
Having spent the past 12 months setting up my own consultancy where I have to ‘sell’ myself to everyone I meet and to consciously go out and network with others to get my name ‘out there’ has got me tapping into one of the myths we live our lives by. In this case, the myth that is driving me goes something like this: “you can do anything you set your mind to; you are the captain of your ship and therefore your destiny; it’s up to you what you make of your life”. And I am finding it is working for me – that is, until another myth pops up and alters my attitude, making it quite difficult for me to move forward on my quest of self-promotion and success.
That myth goes something like this: “you are but a grain of sand in the whole terrain; what you do is subject to forces moving against you; in the greater scheme of things you are nothing”. This type of myth creates a mind-set that could stifle one’s growth, sense of adventure, risk-taking and possibly one’s belief in self.
However, instead of living my life with a ‘one-or-the-other’ approach, I have decided that, because deep-seated myths like these can’t be totally eradicated from the psyche, I am going to use them both appropriately at any given point in this journey.
There are times, I have found, when self-promotion is absolutely necessary in order to inform and build credibility around who you are and what you do. However, choosing a collaborative approach to what and how I do things, stemming from the belief that alone I can only do x, while together we can do x^2 plus more, has certainly proved to be very rewarding and satisfying for all involved.
Shifting the focus from competition to sharing can become an effective means to achieve one’s goals.
So, I maintain the myths we live our lives by are not mutually exclusive, they can work together, complementing each other in a way that gives our lives more meaning, purpose and satisfaction.