Archive | Business

Don’t underestimate the power of your ”invisible” channels

Customer events are an often forgotten, almost invisible communication channel. In the digital era we’re all living in and navigating through right now, it’s easy to forget the most powerful tool and channel of them all – the personal meeting.

Last week I had some interesting discussions with a prospect and we ended up talking about the impact of events. It’s not the first time, neither will it be the last time I’m talking about this topic, because it seems it’s a never ending discussion. Or to be more to the point: what the actual value of hosting an event is.

Good example of a successfull customer event: American Express inviting their customers to Stockholm Fashion Week. Photo: Johan Sjöberg

It’s understandable though, as hosting events won’t always get you those immediate results you and your team might be dreaming about. Most likely – you’ll receive lots of soft values, while the digit version you’re longing for might be delayed for quite some time. In my experience, a lot of times this is what makes people, also us communication professionals, forget about the importance of including the personal meeting into the calculation as well. In case you’re in the middle of finalizing your communications plan for 2019 right now, don’t forget to include customer events and personal meetings with your stakeholders in it!

Lacking inspiration? Tired of trying to come up with practical ideas?
Search no more! Here’s three ideas for your meetings this year:

  • Arrange a tour or a road show – this might of course sound a little bit cringe, but please keep reading. A lot of time, your audience might very well like the quality of your products or the level of service your company provides. However, the reason that they still don’t give a damn about your various ”professional” initiatives is just that. It is too professional, and not personal enough. In case you are in a spokesperson role in business today, you’ll need to shift your perspective on things and be prepared to be available not only 9-5, but also during evenings and weekends. You also need to be prepared to share at least something about yourself that will make people relate to you somehow!  Arranging a tour or a road show is not only a great way to gain experience, get lots of opportunities to gather valuable content for your continuous updates but most of all: you will get the opportunity to meet and greet with the people. You know, the audience you think you know. As you will understand as soon as you meet them though: No, you don’t and that’s why you need to get out of the office every now and then.

 

  • Provide actual value in conjunction with your event – on a low budget? See what kind of games or mingle activities you could try to squeeze in before or after your event. Remember: most of your customers/visitors/audience are obviously not coming to your event just for the pure fun of it. They want to leave and feel smarter in some way, whether it would be by connecting to someone new, learning something useful or perhaps just receiving a useful giveaway. Today, I visited Stockholm Fashion Week. At the moment, I have no connections whatsoever to that event, but one of my business contacts had gotten tickets through his American Express membership. I thought this was a very nice and inspiring perk that they arranged for their customers. Including not only the fashion show, but also drinks and mingle opportunities with lots of interesting people, this was also a great example of an event that really provided value in several ways for us guests. Way to go American Express!

 

  • Engage and include your audience as co-creators – nowadays, there’s lots of great apps that you can use in order to quickly create collective, graphic material, such as Menti for example. If possible, try to engage with your audience already a couple of days before your next event in order to prepare relevant (and good looking!) infographics, data charts that you can use in your presentation. By including your audience as co-creators, they too are more likely to share what they created with their network.Also: do engage with them while they are visiting you! Put away Instagram and focus on the human in front of you instead. Encourage your audience to tag you in their updates and make sure you do stop by their accounts to leave a like and a kind comment if they do. (You would think that this is common sense already these days, but unfortunately, for a lot of corporations it’s just not). Practice what you preach and do remember that you just never know whom you migh end up working for or together with in the future. Remember that in order to receive, you have to give as well.

PS. These are just a couple of examples of what might be good to do or bear in mind when you’re planning your trust building activities. Feel like brainstorming more about what could be done to improve your activities this year? Please feel free to get in touch.

/Malin

 

 

 
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Fuckups, insights, growth – 2018 in review

You might argue that the last thing the world needs is more blog posts about 2018. I won’t hold that against you. Still, I love to read and take part of other people’s dreams, ambitions, fuckups, lessons… So just when you thought you couldn’t stand one more, sorry, but here it comes –  yet another introspective blog post about 2018. Bon appetite!

First things first: why on earth would anyone share personal things about and around their business? Online? For the whole world, haters, prospects and current clients to see? Isn’t that a bit over the top, you know, acting like an attention whore? That’s of course one way of seeing it. My perspective is quite different.

I believe that by sharing experiences, whether they’ve been good or bad, you’re not only becoming more human in other people’s eyes, this is also an essential step on your own learning curve. It’s easy to celebrate good days. The flow days. Looking into the mirror and dealing with the consequences of your own daily habits is, well, quite different. Much harder, nastier. There’s no place to hide. There’s nothing to do – except looking at the evidence of what’s in front of you, what you created and learn from it.

Secondly, by sharing your experiences you’re also becoming more approachable to people. For me, this is an essential, not to say crucial, part of running a business. Nowadays, as services, products and prices may seem similar, what becomes your USP is YOU. Like it or not, you’ve got to work that to your advantage. All business relations need to start somewhere. And honestly: how many of yours started in a strictly business setting? No? Didn’t think so either. Twitter, Instagram, connecting over silly memes? Probably more like it!

Ok, so now that we’ve got that sorted out, let’s move on and see what went on during my 2018!

 

2018 – what happened?

In order to understand part of the events, a short recap is a must: during autumn 2017, I had a burnout. While still on sick leave in the beginning of 2018 I decided to quit my job. I had a good corporate position, but it was in what unfortunately had become an unhealthy work environment. Although there was a lot of anxiety, thoughts and “what if’s” involved prior to making the final decision, I just knew there was no going back for me. I was done with that part of my life.

And so I resigned during sick leave. I would definitely not recommend anyone to copy this concept of mine, as it certainly adds to your blood pressure and stress levels. However, sometimes you’ve just got to jump to move on. I chose to jump this year.

I’ve rehabilitated and worked hard on rebuilding both my mental and physical strength again after my burnout. Needless to say – this is not a process which you can put a beginning or and end to. It just is what it is. For me, an important part of my rehabilitation is not having to hide it. I’ve had my burnout. It was bad. It will forever be a part of me, but I’ve moved on. I am still actively moving on everyday by making small, sometimes tiny, steps and changes forward into a new direction.

2018 was also the year when I acted upon an old dream of mine and started my own business as a communications consultant.

Insights:

  • “This too shall pass” will sometimes be exactly what gets you through the day
  • I still suck at simply asking for help
  • Complete honesty is a scary, risky, yet also one of the most rewarding business tools

 

2018 – what about the goals then?

  • Attend a “start your own business” course, then register and start my own company
    check!
  • Create a new communications platform for myself as a business owner – check!
  • Rehabilitate myself back to “work mode” by Q4/2018 – check!
  • Extend my network and preferably also make sure it includes new and/or different sectors than just the “ordinary” communications/pr/finance crowd that’s already in it – check!
  • Writing – this was really a topic of its own (which I will get back to later on) but in short, my writing goals looked liked this:
    -start blogging again – check!
    -contribute as a writer for an external website as well – check!
    -regarding topics: stay my own lane, even if it would be very uncomfortable on certain days, also dare to share personal things in order to grow as a person – check!
    -focus on finding interesting and developing writing assignments for Ambaurora – check!
    -attend and complete a screen writing course for the pure fun of it – check!
  • Photography:
    -buy a “real” camera – check!
    -leave for a week’s photography travel – check!
    -receive my first revenues as a photographer through iStock and Printlercheck!

Pure photography assignments is currently not something I’m offering within the scope of Ambaurora’s service. However, as I’m a keen photographer, I think of photography as a way of slowly creating sort of a “passive income” revenue stream for myself. During my spare time, I’m often out capturing shots and as the raw material needed is already there for me to work with, the next step to start selling images is not that far away.

 

Fuckups and lessons learned

  • Challenging my comfort zone is still a necessary evil. Note to self 2019 though: think about when and where I choose to do this. Not everyone will get it and yes, I’ll most likely be perceived as a weirdo a lot of times during next year as well. Be prepared to deal with those emotions.
  • Numbers aren’t my favourite thing. Leave it to my CFO. No “challenging” myself regarding this area. Just stay away and let the professionals handle it.
  • Trying to do everything at once: resign, mess with Försäkringskassan, start your business while in the middle of exhaustion, going through therapy. Yey! We’re gonna party like it’s ya’ birthday….! 2019 will be all about doing ONE THING AT A TIME.
  • Therapy – feels like a huge cost but when you start perceiving the effects from it it will still be the best investment you ever made

I will stop here for today. However, if you’re into goal-setting and planning your year ahead in a structured way as well – stay tuned, as my next post will be about setting goals for 2019!

 

/Malin

 

 

 

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Lär dig att köpa smartare kommunikation

Är du i skriande behov av kompetensförstärkning eller avlastning när det gäller företagets kommunikation? Tycker du att det är besvärligt att få ner formella krav, önskningar och behov i en begriplig brief för att kunna upphandla en extern konsult? Här får du tips från insidan och konkret hjälp att komma igång!

Foto: färgbild med textruta "Hur du köper smartare kommunikation".

Under mina år i näringslivet har jag fått en bred erfarenhet av såväl att köpa den här typen av konsulttjänster som av att vara en del av den sålda konsulttjänsten. Idag vill jag därför bjuda på en del smarta knep som gör dig till en bättre och mer rutinerad beställare.

Tipsen här nedan skapar inte bara förutsättningar för ett bättre samarbete med din kommunikationspartner. På köpet får du också en kompetensutveckling för egen del.

 

Din checklista för smartare kommunikationsköp

 

  • Skriv en så detaljerad uppdragsbeskrivning som möjligt!
    Fundera igenom hur rollen eller uppdraget som du försöker tillsätta egentligen ser ut. Är det verkligen ett heltidsuppdrag eller rör det sig kanske snarare om sporadiskt behov av avlastning? Går det att specificera ungefär hur många timmar per vecka eller månad? Om behovet är stort – fundera även igenom om det här är ett uppdrag för en specifik konsult eller om det kanske är klokare att ta in flera stycken med olika specialistkompetenser.

 

  • Är det verkligen du som ska beställa?
    Är du behörig att beställa kommunikationstjänster? Det vill säga – har du tillräcklig kunskap om området för att veta vad du ska fråga efter? Är du den bäst lämpade hos er att sköta kontakten med konsult eller PR-byrå eller finns det någon annan som borde hålla i dialogen? Ovanstående frågor kan vara känsliga att ta upp, men bör funderas på internt innan ni kontaktar extern partner. Saknas kommunikationskompetens helt i ditt företag? Var då tydlig med det i dialogen och be motparten att vara medveten om det i offereringen.Ett typexempel på var det kan gå fel är till exempel försäljningschefen som plötsligt utan tidigare erfarenhet ska köpa och utvärdera PR- och kommunikationstjänster.

 

  • Våga prata pengar!
    Betalningsvillkor och faktureringsmodell är mycket viktiga områden i upphandlingen. Är ni ovana köpare, be konsulten att inkludera olika varianter på betalningsalternativ som kan bli aktuella. Att en konsult ibland föreslår vissa uppdrag på löpande räkning handlar inte (nödvändigtvis;-) om att mjölka din budget. Står du i begrepp att inleda ett långsiktigt samarbete kan det tvärtom vara ett oerhört bra sätt att jämna ut fluktuationer i kassaflödet genom att använda löpande räkning och kanske en á conto-modell. Att komplettera ett löpande-upplägg med takpris ger ofta en ökad trygghet som kund.
     
    Vanliga betalningsmodeller när du köper kommunikation kan till exempel vara fastpris för tydligt definierade tjänster, vare sig de är av mindre karaktär, som att skriva ett pressmeddelande, eller lite större som att reglera en månatlig kommunikationssupport upp till en viss summa.

 

  • Hur sker rapportering och avstämning?
    Definiera hur rapporteringen ska se ut. Hur definierar du och din konsult att samarbetet varit gynnsamt? När har ni lyckats? Beroende på verksamhet kanske det i vissa fall blir relevant att titta på resultatmål medan det i andra fall kanske är klokare att fundera på effektmål som exempelvis

    • att uppnå ökat antal följare i sociala medier
    • att hemsidan efter uppfräschad text ska generera flera leads
    • att ha fått en viss mängd publicitet i lokal, regional, rikstäckande eller branschinriktad mediaGardera, avdramatisera och professionalisera genom att också klargöra hur ni ger varandra feedback som samarbetspartners längre fram i arbetsprocessen. Då slipper ni att skruva på er när något skaver och föreslå ett utvärderingsmöte.

 

  • Använd sekretessavtal!
    Råder minsta osäkerhet om vilken typ av information som konsulten kommer att få ta del av så skriver ni givetvis ett sekretressavtal, ofta kallat NDA som är den engelska förkortningen. Ett sekretessavtal höjer nivån på samarbetet och visar att ditt företag sätter ett stort värde på sin information.

 

  • Glöm inte IT-riskerna!
    Dagens snabba IT-utveckling påverkar i högsta grad. Cyberangreppen ökar, framförallt mot mobila enheter där mycket av arbetet sker idag. Var inte naiva! Det kan hända er också. Tydliggör därför i avtalet – INNAN samarbetet inleds – på vilket sätt dokument ska sparas, delas och vilka säkerhetsrutiner som gäller.

 

Fler tips om smart upphandling hittar du också till exempel hos Sveriges Annonsörer, PWC och Sveriges Kommunikatörer. Gäller det en offentlig upphandling har även PRECIS (Föreningen Public Relations Konsultföretag i Sverige) tagit fram en utmärkt guide för hur du går tillväga.

/Malin

 

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Have we completely lost it?

Phot: black and white image of a cute cat, looking a bit hyserical while hiding behind some flower pots.I swear to God that if one more of these “Preaching Wannabe A Unicorn Entrepreneur™” self help articles pops up in my feed, I will slowly strangle myself. It seems to me like 2018 became a year when we finally completely lost it. Social Media Collective Stupidity VS Human Intelligence: 1–0.

I’m going through my different social networks. As could be expected, LinkedIn is undoubtedly the worst at the moment, but the trend remain strong throughout all platforms. All I can feel is “Congratulations Gary V, Oleg, Branson & Company!”. Please don’t get me wrong: I’m sure that all of the above mentioned entrepreneurs are both very good at what they do, and nice people as well. I don’t have issues with them. But I do have issues with trying to understand the sheepish behaviour of their followers.

Maybe it’s the unstable times we’re living in that sort of forces this development upon us? When most things out there in the great wild world seems to be either about climate disasters, nuclear threaths and forest fires: why even bother anymore? Perhaps it’s just easier to go to church and get your daily dose of religion. Learn the 13 Things Only Successful People Do! Learn all about how Business Leader XYZ structures his time. Hint: yes, it will include one of those “get up at 04:30 and be done with everything by 9 a.m.” tips.

Forget about originality and integrity, just copy and adapt to someone else’s life concept instead.

I can’t of course point out exactly when all of this online stupidity escalated, but at some point, the large masses started to visit the Digital Church of Entrepreneurship and Success Stories™ for their daily preachings. And there they’ve stayed.

Maybe I’m just keeping bad company, but I can’t help but notice that more and more people around me have started to actually quote, spread and firmly seem to uncritically believe in various of these “success stories”. It’s as if it’s the religion of 2018. It’s just as if all of their common sense has completely left the building. And before you ask: No, I’m not talking about teenagers but actual adults. And no, neither am I talking about people in desperate need of education. On the contrary. And I worry about the effects when too many, once intelligent, grown ups start to spread this propaganda into our work places and public organisations.

Whatever happened to believing in your own values, trusting your own, unique experiences and beliefs? After all, you’ve got them for a reason. Based on what you’ve been through. Not based on what generated the most clicks for an Oleg, Branson or a Gary. Why would you need several strangers out there to tell you how to live your life and conduct your business? I’m desperately trying to understand this phenomenon as I seem to be the only one NOT wanting to play along in this little emperor’s new clothes game, i.e. ancient universal truths, wrapped in an updated package.

The emperor has been stripped so long in front of my eyes that I don’t think I can take it anymore. It’s just as if humankind has completely lost its intelligent mind.

As I’m a child of my generation (-86) as well as a product of my industry, I’m aware of the “danger” of publishing a post like this. It is certainly not in accordance with any global brand manual to post this kind of whining online for all search motors to index for all eternity.

Still I can’t help but wonder: where did all the grown ups go? Whatever happened to critical thinking? (Probably not snappy enough, nobody would know how to best adopt such a dinosaur idea into a juicy SEO package).

So yes indeed, I wonder: have we completely lost it?

I sincerely hope not.

/Malin

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Celebrations: The Birth Of My Business

After a couple of intense months, things are finally starting to come together! Last week, I got the final approvement needed from the Swedish authorities to be able to actually call myself ”business owner” now. Such a happy, yet freaky feeling for someone like me, who’s always been employed.

A bright color image of balloons on a bridge

Celebrations and some bright balloons are in order when you start your business, am I right or am I right? 😉

This week has been intense too, as I’ve been working hard on finalizing the details and the texts for my website. You would think that things would be easier when you’re working for yourself, being able to have the final say on everything, right? Ironically, it turns out that instead it’s the other way around. Or at least for me, a never ending Virgo born critic…

It certainly seems that for every text finished it’s possible to immidiately find a new one that requires attention and corrections. On the other hand – definitely not complaining as this is really something that I love to do! As of right now I will still have to have some patience before I officially ”launch” my website and this blog to a broader audidence, as I will need to sleep on some texts and details before hitting the ”go public” button.

Stay tuned though, as I’m not only excited to get my business started but also being back as a blogger! Primarily, my blog will be written in English as I have lots of English speaking peers and stakeholders in my network with whome I want to be able to discuss. Still, I am based in Stockholm so I think that there will be a mix between English and Swedish blog posts here as I most likely also will want to comment on current events within Sweden.

Welcome to my blog, hope you’ll enjoy spending time here with me!

/Malin

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