One of the most interesting things about working at a “small shop” is that everyone tends to have a range of responsibilities and interests that extend past their job description. If you’re good at something, you’ll likely get a chance to do it.
This also tends to come up in how we hire new team members: we look for people who have diverse experience and interests, who show initiative in making things happen (even if it’s a little outside the parameters of their role), and who value collaboration in all things.
Everyone has a voice, so we want to make sure we bring in people who have good ideas—and who listen (and get excited) when other people come up with them, too.
Right now, we’re in the midst of hiring two key positions to fill out our team: a Brand Strategist, and a Designer.
In the time since we’ve been on the hunt, we’ve learned a few things (well, we kind of already knew…):
(And that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s why we’ve been around for 32 years.)
We’re “system thinkers”: we make sure everything we create—from top to bottom web projects for financial companies, to postcards targeting potential applicants of a summer high school program—strengthens our clients’ brands. If the visual elements don’t jive with their other communications… if the message doesn’t ring true to the organization and their goals… if you can’t point to where it “moves the needle”… well, we’re wasting an opportunity.
To us, a “brand” isn’t a logo or a tagline or an eye-catching color you choose. A brand lives in the hearts and minds of an organization’s constituents: it hinges on how people perceive them and what they do, both in the context of the communications they create, and what others are saying (in the press, via social media, through word of mouth… and beyond.)
And no matter how big or small an organization might be, they are only so much in control of their brand—which means that at the moments when they are in control, they need to do a great job of sharing who they are.
That’s where we come in…
We’re seeking a Designer who makes beautiful things—beautiful things that do what they’re meant to do, within functional, smart, compelling systems. You will work on a wide range of projects—across an equally wide range of clients, both for- and nonprofit—in print and electronic formats, from worldwide brand identity systems to multi-year capital campaigns. Versatility is a must (if you couldn’t tell already!)
… then we’d love to talk to you. Scroll down to learn how to get in touch!
We’re seeking a Brand Strategist who sees both the forest and the trees: you understand how brands are created, maintained, and loved, and how every aspect of an organization’s communications can reflect and strengthen that brand. You’ve ideally worked with both for- and nonprofit organizations (because we do!), and see each one of your clients as a unique, complex entity with their own needs and goals. In fact, you’ve thrown out all your cookie cutters… because you haven’t used them in years.
This isn’t an “account exec” position or a “brand manager” position or a “project manager” position, though all of those things are wrapped in to what you’ll do with our team.
… we’d love to talk to you. Our ideal candidate has 5+ years experience in and around branding, business and communication strategy, marketing, and website development. Experience in nonprofit marketing and fundraising wouldn’t hurt, either.
Ready to join us? We’d love to meet you—and we think we’re pretty fun to work with, too.
Please send your resume (directed clearly to one of the positions above) and some words about who you are and why you’re interested in being a part of our team to Human Resources, Sametz Blackstone Associates, 40 West Newton Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02118. You can also email hrATsametzDOTcom (no phone calls, please!)
The best people to invite to a dinner party? Great storytellers.
The thing that brilliant novelists are that okay novelists are not? Great storytellers.
The best people to be stuck next to on an 8-hour train ride? Great storytellers.
The thing that virtuoso directors are that leaves a movie playing in the back of your mind, long after the last reel? Great storytellers.
Oh… and the thing your brand needs more of?
Great storytellers internally — who communicate using ideas and images that resonate, instead of relying on corporate-speak — get everyone in your organization excited about what you’re going to do next.
Great storytellers externally — who bolster your value by sharing their positive experiences in passionate and public ways — spread the word in a manner that those around them are genuinely inclined to trust.
Great storytellers at the marketing helm — who convey your offerings by crafting a compelling narrative, instead of another pitch or a tagline — generate genuine curiosity and desire in your potential customers.
Great storytellers from the top down — who motivate with something more visionary than a list of your Q4 strategic business goals — advance the kind of mission-driven culture that leads to uncommon success.
Great storytellers from the front lines — who can tell you who your customers truly are and what they truly need because they’ve met them, and they care — keep everyone focused on the real reason you’re doing what you do… and the right way to do it.
Are you a great storyteller?
If the answer is “no”, don’t worry — you can learn to be.
Do you know what stories you should be telling?
If the answer is “no”, don’t worry — you can find them.
As with the funniest person at your dinner party, or a fantastic traveling companion, or those rare movies and books you can’t make yourself turn off or put down, great storytellers are remarkably unforgettable.
And that’s definitely something you want your brand to be.
Here at Sametz Blackstone, we’re big fans of The Community Roundtable: a network for community managers — and anyone else working in the social business field (a growing area, to say the least.)
“The CR” (the common shorthand for their name) provides information, collaborative events, and a sort of ongoing “digital support group” for people who are taking part in online conversations on behalf of an organization.They face a unique set of challenges — and the CR has responded with a unique set of solutions and resources.
Rachel Happe founded the The CR with Jim Storer, and they both bring a wealth of marketing and social media expertise to the table. This is evident in a recent piece Rachel wrote for Information Week: “The Third Leg of the Social Business Stool: Technology”. Here’s an excerpt:
“Social technology is everywhere, and often it’s the place where companies start because it’s the most obvious new element, particularly for interacting with external audiences. Businesses see most of their customers using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking channels, so building a presence there seems to make obvious sense. However, adopting the technology starts a company down the slippery slope of social business when that may not be its intent, so it’s unprepared for the risks.
Marketing departments, for instance, will start a Twitter or Facebook page to reach more customers directly, but in the process they’re setting the expectation that they’re speaking and listening. Most organizations don’t have the processes and governance in place to effectively listen and respond to individual consumers in meaningful ways. As a result, crises can emerge.”
As more and more social media firms rise up to promise big things to organizations, and social media conferences haul in millions every year preaching the value of social tools and platforms and “being a part of the conversation”, and more and more companies fear that they’ll be left behind if they don’t “get a Twitter and a Facebook.”
That’s why I’m so pleased when someone who works actively in social business advocates for building a presence only after you’ve taken the time to learn:
Some of the biggest brands out there have found themselves in hot water after diving into social because they didn’t want to be left behind.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that you should minimize the importance of social as a part of your integrated marketing plan, of course. But remember: the cost of looking foolish is considerably greater than the cost of staying silent until you’ve got the right thing to say.
One of the courses I was required to take in junior high (or ‘middle school’ as they call it now, and as I think they’ve always called it here in my newly adopted homeland) was simply called, ‘Electricity.’
I’m not sure why it required a special course, frankly — we discussed electricity in our science classes every year, and we’d all had some hair-raising times with the Van de Graaff Generator by the time we were in seventh grade (and don’t forget ‘The Electric Company’!)
(To this day, I am very handy with a light switch.)
Several times a week, we’d gather in a classroom to learn about charges and currents and magnetism and potential… and a bunch of other things I don’t remember. What does stand out in my memory (besides the experience of electrocuting myself once a month or so during experiments) is the discussion of series circuits versus parallel circuits.
Here’s the sum total of my understanding of this concept: in a series, the current through the components is the same, and the voltage across the components is all the voltages across each component, combined. In a parallel, however, the voltage across all the components is the same, and the total current is the sum of the currents through each component (okay, I got part of that from Wikipedia, but only because my explanation had the word “thingy”.)
The classic example that comes up when you discuss series versus parallel circuits is the type of ‘stringed lights’ many people put up during the winter run of holidays (and around here, usually take down in March (April? May??), when the snow melts):
These lights used to be based on series circuits. If one of the bulbs burnt out (thus eliminating a ‘component’), none of the bulbs would glow red or green. This, of course, was the cause of many a breakdown at the tops of frosty ladders, precariously balanced on roof edges — not to mention despairing sighs indoors when plug met outlet, and nothing happened except… dark.
Nowadays, many stringed lights are based on parallel circuits (which means a broken bulb only creates problems for obsessive-compulsive folks like me, who will notice the tiny dark spot before they see all the pretty lights.)
So why am I dragging you back to the seventh grade (and possible electrocution?)
I want to ask if your marketing plan is a series or parallel circuit.
Ideally, when you set up an integrated marketing plan, you spend some time to figure out where your potential and current users eyeballs and ears are, where they’re actually hanging out, and how they want to interact with you there. You figure out where to disseminate what content, and how often. Then you connect it all with consistent messaging, consistent visual elements, and a consistent level of output and response.
But what often happens — either because of the natural bent of the people implementing the plan, or the ease of a particular platform — is that focus ends up in one venue, and the lion’s share of time and attention ends up going there.
Maybe you’ve got an SEO nut in charge, and all their time goes into Google AdWords, and optimizing your site for the search engines. Maybe you’ve got a crack blogger who loves sharing ideas and facilitating discussion. Maybe you’ve got a social media junkie who loves to talk to your customers on Twitter, or post links to your Facebook group. Maybe you’ve got a PR pro who believes the key to success lies in getting a mention the New York Times.
And those are all good things. For now.
But what if your primary platform stops getting results? What if all the buzz and conversation aren’t translating into actual leads for your business? What if you discover a portion of your audience hanging out somewhere else — somewhere you haven’t even made a dent? What if the main keeper of your marketing torch moves up… or moves on?
Are you agile enough to transition to a new focus? Are you keeping an eye on the best marketing platforms for your industry — rather than just the ones you know best, or the ones where your favorite friends and colleagues are lurking? Are you responding to your community where they spend their time?
Or in other words, if a bulb burns out… will your plan still shine?
If you’ve been active in the social business space for longer than a minute, you’ve heard of Radian6. They’ve set a high bar for social media monitoring, listening, measurement, and engagement — and their client list includes some of the biggest, most well-known brands in the word.
Now they’re bringing their team to Boston to host the “Social 2011″ User Conference: an information-packed, two-day event with an expert lineup of guest speakers and panelists from a wide range of industries.
We’re (Tamsen and Meg) excited to take part in this unique event as “livebloggers” and “livetweeters” during the conference sessions. If you’re planning to attend the event, make sure you come say hello — and if you’re not able to join us, be sure to keep an eye on the conference site for blog updates, and on our respective Twitter streams (linked above) for full event coverage. You can also search on the conference hashtag — #social2011 — to get the latest from all the conference participants, including Radian6 staff.
The program is designed to give attendees a glimpse into the future of social media and social technologies — as well as valuable insight into the trends that are changing the way we do business right now. You can check out the keynote speaker list here.
We hope you join us there — or follow along online!
As more and more organizations begin to embrace social business technologies, the role of community manager is rising in importance every day.
This “front lines” role interacts directly with customers and constituents, and is tasked with providing an open ear and a responsive voice over public channels — and with crisis communications, should a problem arise.
It takes a unique type of person to engage on behalf of an organization for better or for worse, which is why The Community Roundtable was founded: to offer support, resources, and (fittingly) a community for those who foster community elsewhere.
This week, “The CR” released a report based on data and feedback culled from their members over the past year: the 2011 State of Community Management:
“Last year social business came of age as organizations got serious about executing in a new, more interactive and collaborative way. These organizations understand that using social technologies successfully requires both business process adaptation and people that understand how to manage these new social environments – at both a tactical and a strategic level. The conversation is no longer primarily about technology but about doing business effectively in a new communications environment. Community management is a critical element of managing networked environments effectively.”
From best practices to recommended tools to key strategies, the report delivers the kind of down-to-earth, straightforward advice and ideas that anyone working in community management or social business need to do their jobs more effectively.
Here’s to another year of building community and trust — and supporting the folks who support others across social networks every day!
When I was “trained” in marketing and communications starting 20 years ago now, I was taught — by implication as much as intention — that marketing was something that happened after.
After the business was defined. After the structure was put in place. After products or services were developed and tested.
Sure, maybe a package design or a campaign would be tested prior to an official launch, but by and large, “marketing” was about taking something that already existed and then finding, or creating, the market for it.
It didn’t take much time working in marketing and communications within organizations (and eventually as a strategist here at Sametz) for me to realize that “after” was too late: true marketing comes — has to come — before.
Whether it was a higher education institution trying to make a go of a redundant offering, a museum trying to “sell” an exhibition unrelated to its collection (and thus its audience), or being called in as a hired gun to help a company “fix a marketing problem,” the pattern was the same:
When marketing comes after the strategic and operational decisions have been made, it, at best, requires a highly inefficient use of resources — and, at worst, is a waste of them.
As a result, I’ve spent a lot of time championing something I call “Operationalized Marketing”: marketing that starts before, at the beginning, when core decisions about the business, its structures, and its operations are being made.
But perhaps more importantly, Operationalized Marketing keeps going and recognizes that marketing shouldn’t originate from from just one department, or exist only through a campaign. Marketing’s true function is not solely to find or create markets and prompt those markets to act, but rather to serve as a translator of the companies’ products and services for the marketplace and of the needs of the market back to the company… prompting action on both fronts.
The challenge, of course, lies in changing the prevailing understanding of marketing, in helping leadership and key decision makers within an organization see the truth: what may have been a good idea before is now a required mindset for success in our highly connected age: That “marketing” isn’t a surplus function, it’s a strategic one — and core to the building.
So, I’m curious: Do you see marketing this way, too? How have you seen it work? How have you made it work?
Image credit: Loren Sztajer
Categories: Strategy and Management
Sametz Blackstone Associates is honored to be taking part in the “Bridging the Gap” conference presented by the Sawyer Business School at Suffolk University tomorrow, February 18th, 2011. Our Director of Strategic Initiatives, Tamsen McMahon, will be on hand to moderate two panels on social media use for business, and Meg Fowler (Associate, Business Development and Public Relations) will be attending as well.
From the conference website:
“Social Media and Inbound Marketing are making their way through business and culture. This migration of ideologies creates opportunities and complexities within all organizations. Bridging the Gap between academia and real world practices, strengthens the connection between the frameworks preached in schools and the practical applications being used in organizations.”
We’re looking forward to some great sessions and conversations!
Unfortunately, the event is sold out, but If you’d like to participate in sessions virtually, check out the #btg11 hashtag on Twitter, and follow Tamsen (@tamadear) and Meg (@megfowler) to follow their live tweets of the conference.