Topic: election

Election Buzz

Today is election day.  Over the past six months I have had a similar conversation with several potential new clients – none of which I decided to work with.

It is interesting how people see that Barack Obama has raised money online and they think they can easily do the same with a website.

They see the numbers in a news story and decide they are going to raise money online too.  Usually, it is something like this:  I will raise $10,000,000 and only keep 40% for myself and give the rest to a charity.  I have $500 to spend on setting up a website, but only if I know that it is going to produce big results.

If Elections demonstrate one thing, it is that it is incredibly difficult to create massive, sustained buzz.  Especially in a competitive environment where the buzz is being created against an opponent.

What do you need to create buzz if you want it on a grand scale?  Just look at the elections – it is all there.

  1. Great Product – Your product has to be great.  It has to be better than others on the market and people have to want it more.
  2. Advocates – You cannot create big buzz by yourself.  You need to have an army of advocates willing to go door to door for free for you.
  3. Partners – People that quit their day jobs to join your cause and make less money.
  4. Endorsements – Big name, respected people that are willing to put their reputation behind you 100%.
  5. Commitment – Are you ready to commit to creating buzz every day despite being down in the polls?  Are you able to look people in the eye and ask for money when it looks like your product has no chance of winning?
  6. PR – Constantly seeking PR.
  7. Hard work – Does anyone work harder than a presidential candidate months before an election?  It seems absolutely insane how much they work.

See what I mean?  Barack Obama did not set up a $500 website and make a bunch of money.  This stuff is hard – and there are probably less painful ways to make some money on the Internet if that is your goal.

Why You Need the Virtual Buzz Assistant Network

For years I have been saying, “You can do this.”  and I stand by that.

You can create buzz yourself, but you can create more buzz faster with an assistant that really focuses on buzz.

I hear from people all the time that tell me they know they CAN create buzz, but they do not have the time or could not stick to it long term.

In the past, we did not really have options for these people because you either had to hire me, and I work on only a few projects at a time, or you had to train people in the organization, which many people did not want to do.

So here it is:  The Virtual Buzz Assistant Network

We find great people that want to work from home and be your buzz-only Virtual Assistant.

To do this successfully, we needed to work out a system where clients work directly with the virtual assistants.  So it is a placement system where we look at your project or need and forward you our best members for your consideration – and you pay them directly.  This keeps the cost low for the client and puts the pressure on the assistant to perform well or lose the client.

We stay involved if someone requests monthly oversite by us (yes, there is an additional fee) and we also do satisfaction surveys frequently to help everyone get the most out of the relationships.

Best Use – Clear marketing Goals

The best way to use this service is to set a clear marketing goal, like “I want to increase my email newsletter subscription by 3,000 people.”  If you just say “I want buzz.” it is less likely to succeed.

If you already do SEO, Web Design or Traditional marketing, you can either work with Virtual Buzz Assistants to offer new products, or you can join and add the services to what you offer personally.

Our current biggest need is to get more Virtual Buzz Assistants signed up.  It takes some time to go through the basic certification and we have several clients on waiting lists for when we have a bigger selection of Virtual Buzz Assistants.

If you have questions about either end of the program, feel free to contact me.  Thanks for reading.

How Employee Ambassadors have transformed Kodak

Employee Brand Ambassadors

Read More About Employee Brand Ambassador Programs

I had the pleasure of seeing Jeffrey Hayzlett speak a few months ago.  It was especially impressive to me because Employee Evangelism is something I usually have to dig for, and here was a CMO talking about how Employee Ambassadors are a huge part of their growth.

I got the chance to ask Jeffery some questions about how it works for Kodak and how they implement it.  Be sure to check out the link to their Print Ambassador program.

1) Question:  Kodak has gone through some major changes in the past few years. How has your employee-base changed?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Kodak has gone through an historic transformation from a vertically integrated manufacturer to a diverse supplier of digital and conventional solutions. That transformation was successful due to the enormous talent of the Kodak employees. Now a horizontally lean company, the Kodak employee remains one of the company’s greatest resources…that has not changed.

2) Question: With so many newer employees, has it been easier to encourage Employee Ambassadors?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: I’m proud that two of Kodak’s strongest assets are our people and our brand. Employees have long been ambassadors of the brand. In fact even after retirement, former employees continue to support and tout Kodak solutions. While there have been many change in the past few years, I think one of constants has been both the employees and the public’s desire to see Kodak succeed in its transformation. That support was one of the factors in the success of the transformation to a new Kodak.

3) Question: Can you give me one or two examples of non-sales staff that have been successful ambassadors? What impact did they have on the organization?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: We have recently implemented a program called FAST here at Kodak. FAST is set of operational guidelines designed to drive sustainable, profitable growth.

FAST stands for Focus, Accountability, Simplicity and Trust.

In short, the FAST behaviors require us to treat everyone — internal and external — as a customer.

If we treat everyone as a customer — by delivering as promised and making no excuses — the company prospers.

Another initiative is our new BOOYAH Recognition Certificate. It’s a fresh way to recognize individuals at Kodak for exceptional on-the-job performance, dedication, and commitment. Too often we forget to recognize and thank an individual’s contributions – this certificate provides the opportunity to signal our appreciation in a very visible, upbeat way.

The term “booyah” is a spontaneous expression of passion and joy, usually brought on by victory, success, or some other significant accomplishment. For us, it represents the acknowledgement of a job well done – a great idea, an outstanding attitude, or an obvious effort above and beyond the call of duty.

4) Question: How do your encourage active ambassadorship? Is it required or optional?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: I believe Gandhi said it best. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” People tend to model the behavior of those around them. As the Kodak leadership team models the behavior of an ambassador, it fosters that behavior in the Kodak community. Conversely, the leadership team learns from employee ambassadors as well. It is vitally important to the company as it keeps all levels of the organization in true communication.

5) Question: Overall, how has this program of actively cultivating a culture of employee ambassadors helped Kodak?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: The Kodak brand continues to grow stronger, both internally and externally as our employees hold themselves personally accountable for achieving the corporate goals. My overall observation is we have happier employees. As we continue to develop an environment that fosters a personal sense of ownership and commitment, we build company based on pride. The result is a company with a brand that each employee can call their own, a company of employee ambassadors.

Who is Jeffrey Hayzlett?

Chief Business Development Officer and Vice President,

Eastman Kodak Company

Jeffrey Hayzlett serves as Chief Business Officer and Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company. He has responsibility for Corporate and Product Public Relations, Communications and Public Affairs, Brand Management, Corporate Sponsorships, Market Development and Corporate Relationships and Partnerships. Mr. Hayzlett reports to both the CEO and COO of the company.

Mr. Hayzlett joined Eastman Kodak Company in April 2006 as Chief marketing Officer and Vice President, Kodak’s Graphic Communications Group (GCG), leading all marketing activities for GCG. Mr. Hayzlett has nearly 25 years of international marketing, sales and customer relations management experience.

Mr. Hayzlett is currently a member of the board of directors of the Business marketing Association (BMA), the Electronic Document Systems Foundation (EDSF) and is on the advisory board of the CMO Council. He is chairman of the Sales and marketing Executives International (SMEI) Foundation for marketing Education, and is a permanent trustee to the SMEI Academy of Achievement Hall of Fame. He is also a two term past chairman of SMEI. Mr. Hayzlett remains a trustee of Pi Sigma Epsilon National Education Foundation.

Mr. Hayzlett has received numerous honors and awards, including the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from Frost & Sullivan, a global business research and consulting firm. He was recently named one of BtoB Magazine’s Best Marketers of 2007. He was awarded the International Business Person of the Year Award by the International Printers’ Network (IPN), received The British Association for Print and Communication (BAPC) Honorary Life Member award in 2004, and the National Association of Quick Printing (NAQP) Industry Award of Distinction in 1997.

Mr. Hayzlett speaks frequently around the world on graphic communications and marketing, including presentations in 2007 at the Canadian marketing Association’s National Convention and Trade Show, “THE Conference on marketing,” the Direct marketing Association Leadership Forum, Print Oasis, and the National Postal Forum.

To find out more about Kodak, visit and don’t forget to check out that Print Ambassador program to see some examples of Ambassadorship in action.

Is that slacker a hidden leader?

Some small businesses don’t care about developing leaders.  The owner is the leader and everyone else just tries not to piss him or her off.

Organizations that are serious about growing do need to develop key staff into leaders that can take on complex challenges and understand that their effort is measured by results, not hours worked.

 Don’t overlook obvious slackers as potential leaders.  Maybe they have not been inspired yet, or are just bored on the job.

One way people slack is wasting too much time on the computer. 

  • News (Shark attacks surfer, critical news in Oklahoma….)
  • Personal emails (Hi Honey…. do we have milk?)
  • Celebrity Gossip (Britney Spears is losing kids!)
  • Fantasy Football (I am still undefeated)
  • ad infinitum (With billions of websites, you can find something to do!)

Now I want you to tell them to spend more time on the Internet.

That is right.  Pick one of those slackers and we are going to put them to the test.  Try to pick one that, had the Internet not been invented, might have amounted to something.

Now lets elevate them to a newly created leadership position: Employee Evangelist Coordinator.  Let me be clear on one thing first, we are not devising a clever trap for them.  We want them to step up and make an impact with the same kinds of skills that have been big time wasters in the past.

The responsibility of this person is to do the following:

Coordinate online evangelism with a team of employees that increases website traffic by 100% in 6 months without any dip in productivity.

Before you turn them loose, you will have them write a plan, write guidelines for what employees can and cannot say and test various approaches for performance.  Then they can choose a few people and put together a team that will have clear goals and guidelines.

Let them know exactly what you want to see each month, including ways they have increased productivity for the team so that more time can be spent being online evangelists.  Quarterly, have the team, lead by the slacker, I mean Employee Evangelist Coordinator, do a presentation to senior managers on the results.

If this works, you are going to have increased sales, increased visibility and new leadership skills developed with key staff members that were underperforming.  If it does not work, it has put the slacker on notice that they must report their online activity to you and show results, which will make them very uncomfortable.

Not sure how to get started?  This eBook has all the worksheets and tips you need, and a copy of Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing for each staff member will make it super clear.

Anatomy of Your Online Presence – Part 3: The Nose

This is part 3 of a 13 part series on the anatomy of your online presence.

See Part 1: The Brain and Part 2: The Eyes

The anatomy of your web presence, the nose, represents your ability to sniff out new opportunities. The days of websites are over. Things are changing at rapid pace and new opportunities are coming up all the time to increase your links, visitors, exposure, etc.

The reason you have to develop your nose for sniffing out new opportunities is because you will usually get more buzz with less effort if you find some new, upcoming opportunity vs. jumping on a bandwagon and competing with everyone else.

Take Digg for example. It is a great site and getting on the first page is very valuable, but it is also not something you can easily accomplish because so many people are trying to get on the first page of Digg too. If you were an early adopter of Digg, before it was so popular, it was much easier.

So how do you discover the next Digg for your industry?

#1 It is not about technology.

The first thing to understand is that it is not about technology.

The tools for developing web-based applications have gotten better and easier. You can now go to eLance or a similar site and hire a consultant that can often build you something great for a few thousand dollars if an off the shelf open source (free) application does not meet your needs. Technology is only a barrier to entry if you let it be.

So if it is not a “latest greatest technology” issues, what is the issue?

You are the issue. How do I get you and 1,000’s of people just like you to use common tools and communication channels to create a community of people that pay attention?

#2 Community is the Future, and the Future is Now.

Your best bet is to become a major force in driving a community to success that is populated by your target audience. Notice I said a major force in driving a community to success. You have to find the right community online and help it grow, add value to it, be a major player and make it a better place for people to succeed in.

Can’t find a great community around your industry? Form one and commit to promoting it and adding value.

Here are some technologies to build an online community. Remember, the technologies are less the issue, and getting people to come an participate will be your challenge.

Wiki – A Wiki is a group of web pages that a community can contribute to, build and comment on.

Online Groups – For years there have been online groups consisting of message boards, profiles, email lists and image uploads. The obvious ones are hosted by the major search engines.

Online Communities – Many magazines and other online properties have their own community centered around there topic. Why don’t you? It’s Free.

News sites – News Sites are where the community posts and votes on the best news in their industry. Because you can also build a group of friends in these sites, you can build your own group around your common interest.

Blogging – The biggest advantage of blogging is the community you can build around it. Not only can you participate in other’s blogs, but you can build a great community around your own ideas. Add some of the following tools to your blog.

But do you really need to create a community?

But before you use any of these tools to create your own community, use your nose to sniff out other opportunities. Do some searches and sign up for some other people’s communities and lurk around a bit. Here are the questions to ask yourself when assessing the value of participating in a new online community that you have found.

  1. Are people in this group interested in what I have to talk about?
  2. Do I like them?
  3. Is the community active and growing?
  4. Can I stand out in this community is I participate regularly?
  5. Can I contribute valuable information regularly?
  6. Will this group be curious about what I am selling? – Since you should not sell directly, will the group be interested and explore who you are?

Don’t join too many. Find the best and commit to helping the group grow and you will have an impact and get more results.

How do you find new opportunities?

There are a variety of tricks to sniff out new opportunities.

Search Engines – The most obvious is search engines. Doing searches on your industry and words like community, profile, members combined should bring up some interesting reading.

Follow the leader – A great way to find valuable resources is follow likes from respected resources. For example, an article in your trade magazine or a popular blogger may point you to a great new resource.

Find lists – There are many websites that rate and list good resources. A good list can be very valuable to you. Here are a few examples.

Read Web 2.0 in the news – Keep an eye out for news items mentioning buzz and web 2.0. Things like this article –

Word of Mouth – If you know some geeky tech entrepreneurs, I can assure you that they find out about these new things before they become wide spread. The first time I heard about Digg was from a podcaster. I wrote it off as not a big deal but should have jumped in back then. Ask your tech friends what is new.

Make a habit of sniffing around

Your Internet presence will be enhanced when you participate more. You will create buzz if you get comfortable nosing around online communities and new web 2.0 tools and giving them a try. You may even have some fun too.

Buzz Marketing and Politics

I did not have any big clients this time in the elections.  It is not something we advertise, but we do help people create positive buzz and win elections.  Several weeks ago we got 4 leads for people that wanted to use Buzz marketing to win.  Guess what…. it was too late.

So how do you start today and create a relationship with your constituency so when a new election comes up, it is not something to worry about?  Dave Ruller is the city manager where I live and he uses a software package our company owns to create buzz.  It is a blog/website combo where he constantly publishes his thoughts and work.

Does it open him up to criticism?  Absolutely.  Can you accuse him of not communicating with people?  Absolutely not.

His post today lists how he prioritizes his day and what things he is working on.  Get what is in the top quadrant?  Blogging!  His blog is as important as downtown revitalization because he understands the importance of letting the community know what he does.

Is the world talking about him?  Maybe not.  But he is the most accessible city manager the people in this city have seen.

Word of Mouth in Elections

Obviously word of mouth is powerful in elections.

I am just overjoyed that our first work in that field was successful. The local school system here passed the levy, thanks to a lot of people.

We did a limited engagement and met with most of the 600 employees to talk about the importance of creating a positive connection with the community. Most of them were already aware of the effort, but we helped put it into a brighter light and gave them goals and stories to work with.

The levy passed last night by under 500 votes, and the staff reported 1,677 instances of creating buzz and word of mouth over the last 3 months. I am sure a lot were not reported as well, since creating buzz can easily be slipped into one’s life but filling out forms cannot.

Whether our effort tipped the vote is hard to judge, but in a close one like this, it must have helped.

Selling is Dead eNewsletter Nominees

Selling is Dead Authors asked me to participate in naming their eNewsletter, which is going to be packed full of innovative sales advice. Their book is very good and talks about how to sell to people that are not in the buying mode, instead of people who are in the buying mode, by creating dissatisfaction with the status quo. While brilliant, I am a little worried that eventually the whole world will be unhappy and buying lots of stuff because of their book.

In the interest of full disclosure, they are not paying us and at best we both enjoy this kind of thing and creating a little buzz back and forth.

SELLer’s Edge

Greg Swan
Goliath’s Bible – Chapter X (each week you increase the number, number the subcategories as “verses”)
Tales from the Grave
Willy Loman Report

Dustin Staiger

The Selling GraveMarker
Old Sales Graveyard
The Sales Death Certificate
Selling: DOA (Dead On Arrival)
The Selling Obit
-Sales Obituary
-The Sales Obit
Epitaphs of Selling
Cause of Death: Selling

Russel Perry
Sales Buffet is Dead
“A Right Angle”

Now the trick for me is to come up with the nominees. I like memorable, but not too gimmicky. I also don’t like the obvious as much as the fresh and clear.

One interesting note here is that the authors were thinking about Sales Buffet themselves, so Russel should get nominated for being right in there with them.

  • Sales Buffet
  • Selling: DOA – (I like short and sweet.)
  • SALEutions – (A bit of a gimmick, but says what it is in a clear way.)

Thanks to everyone that participated, and now Anita Campbell is going to be taking over to run a public election so that you get to pick which one wins. These three nominees will run against one that Sogistics picks.

Naming Contest – I get to choose the Buzzworthy

Selling is Dead authors asked me to take a look at nominated names for their new eNewsletter they are going to launch. If you want to help them name it, check out their post and the rules.

It is going to be an election, once the top nominees are selected. Should be fun.

Word of Mouth & Media Clouds

So you think you have the perfect word of mouth marketing campaign planned? Make sure there are no clouds to get in the way.

Regardless of the marketing format, keep Media Clouds in mind. Media Clouds are news that obscures the vision of the normally approachable media and public.

Today is election day, and I was going to send some things out. Then I realized those people are involved in politics and there is no way they would pay attention to my message today. Unless I can tie my message to the cloud, there is no chance they will notice it, let alone talk about it.

What are some other bigger Media Clouds?

  • Disasters, such as the Hurricanes – One person I know postponed his marketing plan by two months
  • Holidays
  • War News – especially when something new has happened
  • Local News – Such as a company closure
  • Competitor marketing Push – Don’t do something right on their heels that may get them noticed.

If you can tie your message to the cloud, it could result in more exposure. If you cannot do this, postpone your effort a short while to not get lost in the fog.

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