The 1980s: A Nice Place to Visit, But…

This morning at the campground laundry, I was asked if we were planning to keep coming back next season and beyond.

“Are you kidding? I’m pretty sure we’ve sworn off the entire summer home thing as a concept.”

I thought it was universal. A thing everyone loves, but it’s basically “Doing chores closer to the beach/woods/mountains.” And if you think it’s just me being the usual boor, I promise you I’m not alone in this.

campground-bikes-summer-1980s-myleftone-blog

The kids, though. They’ve had six weeks of living in the 1980s. They wake up, hop on a bike and go look for their various frenemies, for another day of pushing each other into ponds, scraping themselves up on the pavement, being stung by hornets, having wiffle balls line-drived at them from taped bats, getting locked in the campground bathrooms, taunting, yelling, and generally laughing their asses off.

In other words, they’re summering. Like a boss. With their pals, they kinda have taken over the place, riding like a gang of hardbitten eight-year-olds and terrorizing the population of mostly retirees. I’m sure we’re woefully underappreciated here.

I’d say we’re sticking out like the Massholes we are, but everyone’s a Masshole. Every cabin has signage on it declaring that its inhabitants hail from North Reading, Somerville, Wilmington. The TV screens in every trailer glow with the blue glare of the Pats game (or Sox, natch).

And the word “Masshole” is purely on-point. These are the same people who clog the aisles at Market Basket and get into fistfights over parking spaces back home. Only here there’s more public consumption of alcohol.

Toss in hordes of screaming kids, and there it is, the 1980s.

I’m sure there are a lot of people here who are only going through the motions. They don’t love it, but hey, it’s for the kids. To me, sitting around by a fire and shuffling back and forth to the pool is not an adventure.

The kids have had fun, but they’ll have plenty more back home. It’s far easier to plan and prepare for our numerous adventures back there. The house is a much better base camp. That’s why it was named Camp Lucky.

So in a nutshell, we can’t wait to get back to civilization, where it will be easier to leave it.

From time to time, that is.

A Letter to my Children

A Letter To My ChildrenDear Riley and Connor,

I may never again get the chance to sit down and do this. You are two active, precocious, lovable, beautiful children who create your own energy together, the way an intense fire creates its own whirlwind. You spin and fly and run and think, and the threshold where I can no longer keep up is rapidly approaching.

Before frustration causes me to forget what I believe when it comes to parenting, I wanted to put my promises to you in writing.

Continue reading

How To Share A Company Holiday Card Online

It happens every year. The holiday season.

And if you’re in marketing or HR, that means it’s time to deal with the company’s holiday greeting strategy. Yes, there’s a strategy.

Why is there a strategy? Because everyone differs on how to send holiday greetings in business. There’s:

  • “Let’s send a postcard to customers.” – but who’s designing it? And who will approve it, without insulting anyone, before it’s too late to send?
  • “How about an email?” – but now you don’t have to send to just customers to keep costs down, but everyone. Now you need multiple messages.
  • “Don’t worry about complaints, just blast everyone the same thing.” – but this is outside the best practice guidelines of marketing. Shouldn’t your holiday greeting campaign be as structured as every other?

Well, at KnowledgeVision we tackled one of these holiday campaigns by using a multi-pronged approach. First, by creating an online presentation to appeal to as many people as possible, then sharing it with customers and other groups through different email campaigns, and then by writing a blog post about it and sharing it on social sites (shhh – you’re reading that now).

The result, about a minute long, is called “Happy… from KnowledgeVision”:

Happy... from KnowledgeVision | Holiday Presentation

You like?

Continue reading

I Gotta Admit, I Like Being Quoted

The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement | AgilityAtWork & PR NewswireIt’s a small thing, really.

Earlier this year, I took part in a video project for Curata, a brilliant software firm providing an easy-to-use site where users can find online content for their own newsletter and online portal. They were doing a video shoot at their User Conference, and I wound up being quoted in the Curata Mobile App press release!

Then I published a few blog posts and videos of my own for KnowledgeVision, showing off our product and how I like to use it for presenting interesting topics. It’s mostly about how best to use online presentations, but also industry issues and shifts in technology. Some of our stuff got picked up by Business2Community and the Custom Content Council, and posted all over the social web. I love that.

The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement | Tom BishopNow I’ve contributed a segment to an e-Book for PR Newswire, “The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement”. It’s part of their promotion called Agility At Work – It’s a social hub dedicated to sharing tips, tools and best practices to keep up with changes in the realm of earned media. The e-Book is a comprehensive guide for any marketer who wants to find and energize their best social media followers.

My segment is part of Chapter 4, and is called “Turning Influencers Into Your Brand’s Voice”. It’s about what to do once you have been able to work with your most influential followers. I set a few ground rules for engaging them, such as: The most influential people are not necessarily your customers; people use social platforms mostly to converse with friends, not to shop, and; there is a difference between turning a person into an influencer and making them a customer.

PR Newswire did a tremendous job with “The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement”, and I look forward to the outcome of this e-Book and getting some more recognition for me and for KnowledgeVision. That is, after all, what I do.

I should also point out a few other people who wrote segments of Chapter 4: Anne-Marie Kovacs is founder of the BOOMbox Network, an agency focused on marketing for Boomers; Lee Ann Forbes is a former commodities trader and Marketing Manager for Micro Strategies, and; Vatsala Isaac, an experienced Marketing Consultant. Each of their segments are a must-read for turning influencers into brand advocates.

I don’t say this often, but I gotta say I like being noticed in my industry and quoted as an expert on topics related to it. Just once in awhile I can look in the mirror and say, “Hey, I’m pretty cool.”

Storytelling: Applying Art To Video Marketing

Storytelling: Applying Art To Video Marketing | KnowledgeVisionDo you study the craft? No, I don’t mean witchcraft. Though sometimes creating an idea can seem just as mysterious as conjuring a spell.

I mean the craft of storytelling.

When we sell an idea, like a product, or show others how to apply a principle through a training course, we resort to telling a story. Some stories are whiz-bang, like a movie with poor dialogue but brilliant special effects.

Other stories are more focused on character development, witty patter and cleverly-devised situations, but not so much on the explosions.

What they all have in common is a craft.

Continue reading

Online Video Is Trending: Drive Holiday Sales In-Store And Online

Online Video Is Trending: Drive Holiday Sales

Image Courtesy ABC News

As we enter Cyber Week 2012, we know that record numbers of shoppers hit the stores over Thanksgiving weekend. Among the online shopping trends we’ve seen include multi-channel shopping, mobile advertising, and opening times that are earlier than ever.

Social platforms will be a bigger factor than before. 2012 will also be the year that Pinterest really starts to show its worth for driving online purchases, especially with apparel.

Another trend is that stores are pushing for in-store sales, using sales that aren’t available online and by guaranteed price-matching.

But the biggest trend appeared earlier in the year, when 2012 officially became the first year that online clothing purchases, or purchases influenced by the web, surpassed those made in a store. The driving factors in online retail are increased use of mobile devices and tablets, and an increasing emphasis on video. It turns out that 40% of video viewers wind up in the store or on the store’s website.

That’s huge. Do 4 out of ten viewers of television ads drop everything and head for the store? Nope. No way.

Continue reading

Online Training Content: Right In Front Of Your Nose

E-Learning Content is Everywhere! | KnowledgeVision Online Presentation“To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” – George Orwell

George Orwell wrote that in 1946. And it’s true today. It’s one of those timeless sentiments that can be applied to almost any situation.

Here, it’s used for an innocent purpose; to point out that putting together corporate training courses can seem difficult, but if you simply look around, you’ll find the content you need is, well, in front of your nose.

The Current Thought On Training

Elliott Masie’s Learning 2012 Conference was held this October in Orlando, Florida. This is the foremost conference for current thought on learning and corporate training. The event typically keynoted by people of note like Colin Powell, Bill Clinton, Malcolm Gladwell, and Susan Cain.

The topics range from using mobile technology for online learning courses to using video for training in the workplace. The people leading sessions include thought leaders from learning institutions, global companies, software and service providers, and others who specialize in training and leadership.

KnowledgeVision’s Michael Kolowich led an inspiring session on how to create training courses using materials most companies already have. The dilemma that trainers face is that building a course seems to require new content, new video, and a new script. But it’s not true.

Continue reading