Marketing Genius from Maple Creative

Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Don't Let Social Networking Damage Your Personal Brand

The following were actually posted by employees on social media sites from their workstations, during business hours:

“Staff meeting is over. Thanks for sucking the life out of me–again.” [Brandon]
Ummm, hello, Brandon. Are you really that unhappy? Are you aware that your message can be read as: Brandon is a reactive, whiny drama-king who lacks the gumption to leave a job that sucks?

“Just hanging out here on Facebook – waiting for them to give me something to work on.” [Allison]
Really, Allison? Did you leave your brain at home this morning? I’d suggest you will find it hidden underneath that sack of ambition, which you also forgot to bring to work today.

And this now-infamous example from of a young woman who was fired by her Facebook-friend-boss:
OMG I HATE MY JOB!!! My boss is a total pervvy wanker always making me do $hit stuff just to pi$$ me off!! WANKER!!

Obviously, she forgot that she had Friend’d her boss. Do take a moment and click over to read the boss’ response, which is classic!

The stories of so-called professionals getting fired, suspended, or disciplined as a result of what they posted, Tweeted, updated, chatted, or shared on social media sites are becoming more frequent and more outrageous. An article last Fall on Mashable, citing stats from a Proofpoint study, indicate that roughly 1 out of every 8 companies (12%) have fired an employee for reasons related to social networking. The rate of occurrence has doubled in a year’s time.

This is only going to worsen as GPS/location-based apps (like Foursquare and Brightkite) that run on our iPhones and Blackberries tell the world (and our employer) where we are.
Remember: In many cases, your phones are paid for by your company so it’s not hard to imagine the following exchange in the all-too-near future--

Boss: Dave, you weren’t really attending your aunt’s funeral yesterday, now were you?

Dave: What do you mean?

Boss: Well, unless they had the funeral at Wrigley Field, it looks like you enjoyed a Cubs double-header.

Dave (now perspiring): No way. I swear.

Boss (tossing a screen print at his soon-to-be fired employee): Dave, it’s all right here on the GPS report that we get from your Blackberry. And you might want to think about turning off Foursquare when you’re playing hooky – from your next job.

Do you know your company’s social media policy? Are employees allowed to spend time on sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube while at work? Or are such practices forbidden?

We can complain about “Big Brother” policies by employers. We can cry about how it’s wrong for management to “spy” on us. But here’s what it all boils down to: when you are on company time, you are on the company dime. The employer makes the rules and, when you accept a job, you accept their rules. So don’t allow your social media activities to undermine your success. Be smart and be informed – or your next Tweet may be in search of a job!

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Friday, April 09, 2010

Maple Marketing Campaign for CAMC Garners National Recogntion

Our campaign for The Fertility Center at CAMC was recognized by HealthLeaders as the "Best Service Line Marketing," earning the Platinum Award (pictured at left) in the large hospital category. This is great news! We're pleased to share this honor with our client. From our view, it's fine to shine--but making our clients look good is a far greater accomplishment.

Details about the awards and the campaign are included in this story from

There seems to be a universal formula for hospital TV ads: a reassuring voice speaking over sappy music while static stock-photo images of faux doctors and patients flash across the screen. Radio, print, and outdoor spots are cut from the same cloth. But when hospitals lighten up, the resulting advertisements are often more memorable and water cooler-worthy than their stuffy counterparts.

Of course, not all hospital ads can be lighthearted—there's a fine line between humor and bad taste. But there are some service lines—even sensitive ones—that, if handled carefully, can be advertised in an engaging, playful way.

Charleston (WV) Area Medical Center (CAMC) took a fun approach to marketing its fertility program, which I covered in the March issue of Healthcare Marketing Advisor. The ad promoting its male infertility solutions sports the tagline "strong swimmers" and features a baby wearing blue swimming goggles. The ad promoting its female infertility solutions uses "a good egg" as a tagline and features a baby crawling out of an eggshell. [Full story here]

There's antoher chapter to this story. We'll share that with you next time!

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Friday, April 02, 2010

Queasy feeling?

File this under the category of "reach for something new and big." I posted this essay over at Professional Studio 365, where I do some blogging alongside co-author and former Mapleonian Emily Bennington, as advice for young professionals. Once you read it, you'll see that the lessons are equally relevant for marketing professionals and business owners, too!

When is the last time you felt such pressure, such adrenaline and such anxiety that you were literally sick to your stomach? If your answer is, “Not recently and thank goodness for that,” hang on just a minute. You might want to question your response.

In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “Do one thing every day that frightens you.” I buy that. I have her slogan on my favorite coffee mug. In fact, I have taken Eleanor’s challenge and adapted it. In the words of yours truly, “Do one thing every six months that nearly makes you puke.”

My theory is that queasy can be a very good thing. If you are stretching yourself to grow and develop…if you are pushing and expanding your personal boundaries…you need to feel queasy once in a while.

To be clear, this discussion is about more than nervous apprehension. This queasy thing is far beyond a quickened pulse and sweaty palms. (Although those are cool, too.) We all feel a little nervous adrenaline from time to time: a first date, doing the scripture reading at church, an important sales presentation or a training seminar that you are leading.

By contrast, I am talking about fear, i.e. being so scared you feel like someone has dropped a couple of lead bars on your stomach. Maybe even a pronounced ringing in the ears. Nervous apprehension times 50. The queasy feeling happens when we are threatened… with failure, injury, embarrassment, ridicule or rejection.

So I ask again, when is the last time you felt queasy? For me, it was just a few days ago on the eve of the 2010 CrossFit Games VA-WV-DC Sectional Qualifier. I had entered this competition, designed to test elite athletes for the purpose of determining the fittest man and woman in the world. Let’s be clear: an elite athlete I am not. A writer? Sure. A marketing expert? You bet. Admittedly, I have always played sports, but any progress or accomplishments for me have always been hard-fought and slow in coming. Despite such personal limitations, I set a goal to compete in the games back in April 2009. It was an intentional plan to push myself and to stretch for something big.

Cut to the grocery store last Friday night. Produce aisle. Out of the blue, my field of vision gets weird, and the surroundings start to go swirly. Something in my stomach suddenly weighs 50 pounds and is pressing down unbearably on my guts. I tell my wife, “Let me have the cart. I’m either going to throw up or faint.” A minute later, as I’m shuffling along the supermarket, clutching the shopping cart for dear life, I realize that I am very afraid. The next day, I would be thrust into an intense situation, competing against guys half my age (and not just any guys – the most elite athletes in the mid-Atlantic region), doing intense activities that might cause me to fail, get hurt, or embarrass myself.

Regardless, I smile and say to myself, “Hello, queasy. I’m glad you’re back.”

When we push ourselves out of our comfort zone and strive for something new and great, we truly grow. Our confidence increases. Our mood improves. We pump our bodies full of endorphins and other positive neuro-chemicals. Most of all, we suppress our fears and erase doubts. The queasiness, of course, goes away, but the confidence remains, spilling over into the rest of our lives, boosting our performance across all our domains.

How can you make yourself queasy? You might start by focusing on conquering a fear. Take a public speaking class. Go skydiving. Show up at open mic night. Go climb a mountain. C’mon – what are you afraid of?

P.S. – I completed the CrossFit Games competition, finishing respectably in the middle of the pack. A week later, I am still sky high, full of confidence–and still smiling.

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