Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Yay! I (Kinda) Got a Promotion!

June 21, 2010

Great news!  I recently (kinda sorta) got a promotion!  I am now a Regular Contributing Writer for FourStory, a Foundation-funded, non-profit website dedicated to advocating for fair living conditions for everyone in the Southland.

My feature is entitled In Transit, where I write on a broad range of topics, including transportation issues, economics, government, policy, politics and whatever else comes to mind and / or pisses me off.

You can read my latest article here.  Be sure to check out the other writers as well; they’re very bright and write compelling and interesting stories.  You can follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn or at the website’s home page.

How Can Recessions be Good Things?

May 17, 2010

Recessions suck.  And this recession has been more painful than most:  food banks are depleted, children go to bed hungry and opportunities for advancement are put on hold, if not thrown in complete reverse.   But I’m going to make a counter-intuitive observation today:  that recessions have a significant upside to them, and for those fortunate enough to get ahead of the curve, they can be quite profitable.

For instance, this downturn started just as I was leaving grad school in December 2007.  At the time I couldn’t buy a job, and I found myself in a very precarious financial position.  Growing increasingly frustrated, I began attending networking events across the Southland, at which point I met real, honest-to-goodness entrepreneurs.  These people had taken an idea, brought it to life and sold the resulting firm for hundreds of millions of dollars.   For example, I met the guy who founded Ethos water and sold it to Starbucks, as well as the fellow who founded Atari and, later, Chuck e Cheese.  These folks were truly incredible.

Ever curious, I began looking for trends in their behavior.  One trait they shared was boundless optimism in general, and genuine excitement about this recession in particular.  This baffled and insulted me:  millions are suffering, and these people are excited?  “It’s easy for them to say,” I sniffed, “they are already rich and don’t have to worry about losing everything they own.  How cold-hearted can these people be?”

And then, just a few weeks ago, it made sense to me.  I attended a presentation on cloud computing where one speaker showed a very interesting trend:  every recession saw a correlating boost in technological innovation, thus opening opportunities that were not there before. 

But why do mass innovations happen during downturns?  For one thing, innovation isn’t required during good times because, well, times are good:  firms are hiring, people have jobs and all is well with the world.  But when bad times hit, people become increasingly innovative to avoid homelessness and hunger.  At the same time, firms are looking for ways to increase operational output with less money, allowing these entrepreneurs to sell their goods and/or services to willing firms. 

In a nutshell, recessions seem to spark opportunities, even as millions are hurt.   There’s obviously a lot more to this; what are your thoughts?

“Cards and Cans” Business Mixer a Roaring Success!

May 14, 2010

Last night, the OC Tri-Cities chapter of LeTip (which Synergi is a member) hosted a business mixer called “Cards and Cans,” where people brought business cards and cans of food to support the OC Second Harvest Food Bank.

The event was a blowout success; we had over five times the normal number of guests – by far our biggest event ever – and we filled one huge barrel of canned goods for the needy and presented Second Harvest with a check for $100 for the Food Bank.

If we may boast for a moment: OC Tri-Cities LeTip is also a client of Synergi Communications.  Synergi narrowed the Chapter’s unique value proposition to three words — United, Hungry and Proven — and created a harmonized communication strategy for the group. The result: a huge mixer, lots of great networking and a very grateful Second Harvest Food Bank.  Please contact us if you would like details on how we accomplished this.

(LeTip, by the way, is a business networking group where members pass business leads to other members.  We meet on a weekly basis, and we have a mixer once per quarter.  Conflicts of interest are strictly disallowed, as only one member is allowed per business category.)

This event was just one piece of a much larger plan for the chapter and we look forward to implementing further communications initiatives in the future. Stay tuned!

What in the hoot-nanny is a “Communication Strategy” anyway?

May 12, 2010

Another excellent question!

What on Earth is a communication strategy?  Is it marketing?  PR?  Branding?  Or is it something else entirely?

In a sense, it’s all of the above.

In a nutshell, communication strategy is adding value to your organization through communications.

And what the heck does that mean? 

Perhaps the best way to explain it is through example.  Say your company is looking to buy a new building.  To do this, you need to determine how much the building costs; seek different investment sources; research various properties to purchase; perform due diligence to make sure your business can actually afford the building with utilities, repairs etc… In other words, you have to plan out such a purchase.

Now let’s view this purchase through a communications lens.  If you decide to buy a building, lots of people should know about this in advance:  investors, brokers, local governments, the IRS, etc… Once you decide to buy, your employees, customers, the community you are leaving, the community you are entering, the media, advertisers, maybe local restauranteurs, other local businesses, and so forth, all should know about this move. 

Having a harmonized communications strategy helps to ensure that all of your stakeholders understand what you are doing, and why, in a consistent manner.  It is particularly important for your employees to know about your future plans because uncertainty creates stress which can lead to reduced morale and productivity and increased turnover (more on this in future posts).  Having such a strategy also makes it easier to write press releases, communicate with customers and the media, and generally make life easier in the long-run.

In other words, a communication strategy is kinda like Corprate Aspirin:  if everyone’s on the same page, there are fewer headaches in the long-run.

What do we mean by “Your Unique Value Proposition?”

May 7, 2010

What exactly do we mean by “unique value proposition” and why do you need to know yours?

Your unique value proposition is what you bring to the table that nobody else does. It’s your fundamental promise to the world, the one thing that makes you totally awesome, and ever so much awesomer than everyone else in the world – or, at least, in your market.

Some people say their unique value proposition is great customer service. Others say it’s the experience they bring to the table. Still others say it’s because they work really, really hard and really, really care about you and your business.

All of these things may may be true, but they certainly are not unique value propositions. I mean, who is going to say they don’t offer great customer service, or that they lack experience, or that they really don’t care about their customers?

No, your unique value proposition is far more than these. It has to be. And if you really don’t know what makes you stand out, how can anybody? And isn’t it about time you learned what yours is?

How did you get this “harmonized communications” idea?

May 5, 2010

Good question!  I get this one a lot.

A couple of years ago I met with two women who worked together, full time, in the same office.  Both of them helped run a small firm.

I asked the one woman, “What does your business do?”  and she gave one answer.  I asked the other woman, “What do you do?” and she gave a different answer.  Then, they turned to each other and started arguing!

It occurred to me that, if they don’t know what they are doing, how do their customers, their employees, their suppliers etc…?  The answer was, they didn’t.

So I proceeded to narrow their unique value proposition to three words (I modified an approach that a prominent branding firm used) and created a harmonized comm strategy for them.  And lo and behold, their comms were more consistent, harmonized and effective. 

That’s the short story of how I got started on this path.  So far I’ve used this approach on dozens of organizations and have seen amazing results.  So here I am, plugging away, using this approach on numerous kinds of organizations. 

How did you get on your career path?

Trying to fix stuff

April 28, 2010

Okay, so I’m trying to get this blog, er, harmonized with my website, specifically the font. Bear with me folks.

Synergi Communications Blog is now on WordPress!

March 12, 2010

I migrated my blog over to WordPress since I heard so many good features about it.  Also I understand WordPress makes it easier to track who visits the blog and when.  So, here it is!