Clear Communicating

If brand names always told the truth…

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Brand names are important because, over time, they come to reflect the values of a product or service as perceived by their customers.

That’s why, when you are sending a package that absolutely, positively has to be there overnight, the first company that comes to mind is FedEx. Or if you’re looking for hard-working, reliable farm or lawn equipment, you know that nothing runs like a Deere.

But sometimes brands fail to live up to their values. Or the marketers of those ...

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Outside the marketers’ echo chamber, print lives

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According to B2B magazine, ABM, the trade association for the business-to-business trade press, held a series of panel discussions recently in which participants declared that print isn’t dead.

Wouldn’t we expect them to say that? Of the four pro-print souls mentioned in the article, three of them still make their living by running, editing or selling for print magazines.

I’m not arguing their point either; I believe print is a vitally important communications vehicle and somehow will remain so in the ...

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Sailing and business: #2

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Win your side.

On days when the wind is shifty, the winner of a race usually comes from one side of the course our the other; rarely from the middle.

That means you have to choose which side you’re going to sail. No remorse allowed. Eventually, you may realize you’ve picked the wrong side; the winner is going to come from the other side.

What do you do? Experience teaches you not to cross the course and get to the other side. In ...

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Sailing and business: #1

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nice-start-reducedNever chase the wind.

In many racing conditions the wind is always changing – in both velocity and speed. The boats that are winning are probably those that find themselves in the best patches of wind.

When things aren’t going so well, it’s usually because you’re not in the good air. But if you see another part of the course where the wind looks better, it will invariably be gone by the time ...

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IBM study paints not-so-pretty picture for B2B media

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A new study by the IBM Institute for Business Value concludes that the troubles faced by traditional media aren’t going to go away when the recovery picks up steam.

The study, according to a report by BtoB magazine, concludes that as more and more people move online to get their information, advertisers aren’t willing to pay as much to reach them. Why? Presumably because these prospects become easier for the advertisers to reach – a conclusion that’s hinted at by ...

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A fascinating prediction about the future of media

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In iMedia Connection, Adam Broitman boldly predicts the death of offline media. His skillful headline almost – but not quite – predicts that it will happen in 2010.

Ignore that; that’s just headline-writing 101 – making the message immediately relevant. 2010 will inevitably bring more bad news for old-line media. But it will still be very much alive by the end of 2010.

But Broitman makes a great point, and I think he’s dead on.

His point is that online media will ...

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More on AOL: It’s new content strategy is dead wrong

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A week ago, I wrote about the futility of AOL’s rebranding unless it figures out how to become more relevant to its audience.

This week I have to write about the futility of AOL’s effort to become more relevant to its audience.

The centerpiece of that effort, according to PaidContent.org, is a three-pronged approach to generating new content:

1.

Hire lots of journalists. It’s good news that AOL is trying to generate original content, and I’m pleased that it’s using ...

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What is the world’s smallest deck chair?

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aol-logo-4It’s the period in Aol. As in, America Online’s new branding effort, which changes the company from AOL to Aol. – but doesn’t make it any more relevant in a post-internet-service-provider world.

Seriously, this isn’t like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic; as AOL and Time Warner complete their de-merger, it’s like replacing the rubber pad on a leg of a deck chair so it doesn’t scuff the deck.

I don’t understand ...

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Playing the Twitter shellgame

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I’m not giving up on Twitter. Yet. There are still a handful of people whose Tweets are interesting and useful to me.

But it’s a stupid game.

It has nothing to do with how much you have to say or how often you say it. It has everything to do with how many people you follow. I recently attended a webcast on how to build a social network on Twitter. The basic advice: follow a lot of people and they’ll ...

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In a world of SEO, does content matter?

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Well, yes. If you have bad content then it doesn’t matter how many people come to see it. Consider this visual from Mark Smiciklas.

Wait, it’s worse than that. If you have bad content, then the more people who see it, the worse off you are. Because now you’re simply broadcasting the fact that you suck.

I would argue you’re better off with great content that only a few people see — because at least those few people will have good ...

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