Category: Events

3 Lessons from 3 Months of Prepping to interview Michelle Obama

3 Lessons from 3 Months of Prepping to interview Michelle Obama

2017’s professional highlight without a doubt was interviewing former FLOTUS Michelle Obama on stage for the Spredfast Summit in October. Before we go further, the answer to your first two questions are: “Yes, she’s as amazing and warm and brilliant as she seems” and “No, I was not freaking out, I was extremely honored.”

While I learned a lot from Mrs. Obama during the interview (some takeaways here and here), the process of preparing for the day itself was rich with lessons. These are heavily informing my 2018 personal goals and I’m sharing in case they might help others as well.

Review the Game Film – The Spredfast Marketing team who pulled off the coup of securing Mrs. Obama in the first place started me on a steady diet of looking at available previous interviews with Mrs. Obama to critique and second guess everything from editing to question flow. The major challenge is that much of what is available are other celebrities conducting the interviews. While everyone is interested in the FFLOTUS and Oprah comparing notes, I was well aware that the audience was there to hear from her, not me, so I needed to take a slightly different tack.

Preparation sets the table for Serendipity – I ritualistically prepare for keynote presentations by building muscle memory. The better I know the material, the more I can be present in the moment to connect with the audience and perform on the day. While I have done a number of onstage fireside chats previously, I have never actually acted out rehearsals or done technical practices – those I prepped by “warming up” the interview subject in prep calls which was not on the table here. Thus, we needed to rehearse with surrogates. I’m not going to lie, I felt a little (ok, VERY) silly at first. However, knowing that I could juggle interview cards and a handheld mic and had practiced the questions over and over meant that I had more mental bandwidth in a very adrenaline fueled moment to try to actually LISTEN and simply guide the course of the conversation. My favorite moment of that hour was riffing with Mrs. Obama about her comments about making sure to review tweets – a moment only made possible because I wasn’t obsessively trying to remember or get to the next question.

Leadership is Everywhere –  Mrs. Obama was amazing, but truthfully, I learned a something from everyone who stepped in to help me practice and polish – including WPEngine’s CEO Heather Brunner and my own husband who got dragged into the prep process in the final week. Turns out, I don’t turn to the man I walk through life with and ask him hard questions about leadership every day, but he’s pretty wise. While its amazing to be able to ask the former First Lady serious questions about how social media has changed the electorate, what it will take to get the next generation into politics, and how to tell a story through a team, we have leaders in our midst whose perspective is similarly valuable. We should be asking hard questions of everyone.

As I think forward to 2018, I am spending a lot of time reviewing the ups and downs of 2017 – not what happened, but how I reacted and chose to act, to speak, to prioritize, to spend my time and to behave. This year my goals center on being more thoughtful about how I spend my time. I wish to spend more time proactively investing in myself, my children and my community and far less of it in my comfort zone of reacting to incoming items. And I do want to spend more of my time with my remarkable friends, colleagues and my spouse discussing about things that will make a difference in the world or right here in Austin, TX.

Exciting Update, Article & W20 SXSW Video

Exciting Update, Article & W20 SXSW Video

A lot has happened over the last couple of months.  Most importantly, Spredfast and Mass Relevance merged this month to form a 350 person Social Marketing Platform company, for which I am pleased to serve as Chief Customer Officer.  Lots more to come on that and the marketing at the speed of life made possible by the combined technologies.

In March, the folks at Entrepreneur were kind enough to publish me.  Please visit them here to read the full text of Woo Loyal Customers For Life with 4 Winning Ways.

And during SXSW, I participated in the WCG’s W2O Group Pre-Commerce Summit.  The video and slides from this 10 minute talk here:

Bonus: I address my very loud green jacket IN the video.

WOMMA Summit 2012: Advocacy & Social Evolution

WOMMA Summit 2012: Advocacy & Social Evolution

Wednesday night, we closed the book on another WOMMA Summit (disclosure: Spredfast is a governing member and I serve on the board).   Having now had a few hours to reflect, there were some major themes.

Back to Advocacy – In session after session, we heard a focus from brands on meeting the needs not only of their X million fans, but creating content, experiences, and value for their hard core fans.  One of the greatest examples of of approaching this came from Jackie Huba’s preview of her forthcoming 2013 book Monster Business.  Lady Gaga’s marketing strategies focus on the 1% of her fans that want to have hyper-engaged relationships with her.  The 6 Lessons of Gaga’s loyalty strategy are a fantastic reminder that this advocate strategy needs to drive platform choices instead of the tail wagging the dog.

Big Businesses are Dissolving the Social Pillar –Nestle Digital & Social Global Head (and WOMMA co-founder) Pete Blackshaw,Greg Gerik of 3M, and “Turbo” Todd Watson of IBM all shared the communications pillars of their organizations – none of which include standalone “social”.  Instead of being a siloed initiative of a few trained marketers, social has permeated the way the company communicates on all fronts.  This is a beautiful thought, but paying off on it requires investment in socially empowering hundreds of brand managers and SMEs, measuring the results of their efforts, and getting engagement and feedback data to the right places in the organization in a way that energizes the organization.

The Paid/Owned/Earned (and sometimes Shared) media model is here to stay as a meaningful model.  No longer is there questioning about the validity or value of WOM that gets stimulated by ad dollars as the changing dynamics of what it takes for users of social platforms to actually see a connections’ recommendation.  What does differ is how people are handling the integration of paid. Whether it is a new skill being picked up by the brand, executed through specialist agency collaboration, etc. – it is a skill set that must be added to your integrated WOMM team’s arsenal molto pronto.

Measurement is becoming more sophisticated and scrutinized.  Many of the success metrics shared in sessions were about the “quick win”.  This seems to be a result of the continued ROI pressure that social initiatives, along with the entire marketing mix face (backed up by data shared in the IBM CMO study.  But elevating social activity to “business value” needs to incorporate the value of both the quick win and the long game for which social is so uniquely designed.  Dr. Walter Carl shared some great guidance on how to look at the full value picture of social in a more holistic way – giving social credit for some of the “long game” communications objectives it achieves instead of short term sales, coupon redemptions, etc alone.  We need to move beyond activity metrics and the “short game” and start thinking about how to give social credit for the more complex role it plays including soliciting feedback, cultivating offline WOM recommendations, and developing brand advocates who will spark to action in a crisis.

The Legal Socialpocalypse – The Summit closed with some amazing and well-timed reminders from lead legal counsel/cyberlawyers for Coca-Cola, American Express, and USAA.  Reminders included the need for a higher level of rigor in terms of sharing rights-protected material to basic security in the way that social accounts are being managed by individuals in the company (personal logins to control corporate Facebook, anyone?).  Above all, the guidance was to get legal involved early and often so they become involved in shaping a program instead of the late stage “no” guys.

It’s great to see so many companies that were early pioneers in social continuing to evolve and willing to share their lessons along the way for the benefit of the entire industry!  For more details and sharable nuggets, visit WOMMA’s curated tweet and photo highlights the summit sessions: Day 1Day 2Day 3. To see more of the WOM that took place at Summit, check out the Summit Social Hub powered by FeedMagnet.

We Need More Tweets!

We Need More Tweets!

(this cross-posted on Ogilvy’s Fresh Influence blog)

Image by John Moore @brandautopsy

On a panel last week for a WOMMA event at Chicago’s Social Media Week, I had the pleasure of sitting with Keller Fay’s Ed Keller, Brains on Fire’s Robbin Phillips, and Social Media Today’s Robin Carey to discuss social media measurement under the heading of “Is WOM worth it?”.  In the context of that discussion, I talked about the siren song of social media counting (vs. measurement) and the trap that we too-frequently see: social media “cases” that end by rattling off 20 different social media metrics that do not track to a meaningful business metric.  To illustrate, I mentioned that no CEO is not banging the table looking for more tweets (which BrandAutopsy riffed into the above), he’s looking for shareholder value – sales, market share, preference, purchase intent and a legion of other measures that can not be ripped off the back of Facebook insights.

So, with that in mind and the voices of my esteemed co-presenters in my head, I put together a list of 4 potential measurement pitfalls that can kill your social media measurement program before the horses have left the stable:

1) Setting the wrong objectives.  This sounds silly, but often an activity or “client brief” will be mis-translated as an objective.  For example, “run a high-impact event” is an activity, but “increase consideration and share of voice among X audience” attending that event is an objective.  TEST: Can it be measured?  If the answer is no, it isn’t an objective.

2) Determine the meaningful (vs. diagnostic) KPIs before you begin:  Chances are, meaningful KPI’s will require measurement techniques beyond simple, spoon-fed social media metrics like likes and shares.  Take a walk through our Conversation Impact(TM) white paper to determine how to craft meaningful Reach, Preference, or Action KPIs.

3) Find where your audience is interacting on a relevant topic: Yes, Facebook has 800 million people and likely some of them are in your desired “audience” but they may not be on Facebook to discuss their mother’s prescriptions or whatever topic that you may have value to add.  The important second step to “going where the party” is already happening is not just determining where your audience is, but how they are using social media for different things – where do they share recipes vs. look for snowboot recommendations?  While they could light up for FB, Twitter, Flickr, etc it will be critical to understand the relevance of those platforms to their lives to put together a measurable strategy.

4) Plan to measure: If you put together a measurement plan after you’ve already begun, you have lost your chance at a baseline and being able to know the true impact of your efforts.  Ed Keller admitted that he often gets calls halfway through campaigns at which point, there are limitations on the types of measurements that can be taken.  The baseline is going to be the key to your “winning” metric such as “Increased purchase consideration by 45%”.  That is the type of metric that CEOs do care about and will keep your social media efforts on strategy and in budget in 2012.