Social media is a lot like improv

Canadians are naturally good at improv. Look at Second City, SNL, Kids in the Hall and all the standup talent from Yuk Yuk’s.

Maybe it’s part of our DNA: the feeling we’re always gazing at something we can’t have. We’re also polite, happy to give people the benefit of the doubt and generally comfortable going where the flow takes us.

Social media’s a lot like improv. To do it well, a brand has to think on its feet and perform! Sometimes you click into the prevailing ethos and it’s pure magic – like when Oreo dunked in the dark. But mostly it’s TV-ad-dull unless it devolves into that can’t-believe-you-went-there dumb behaviour. U.S. restaurant chain Dave and Buster’s recent racist tweet comes to mind. 

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From optimist to optimize – a way forward for PR

The PR profession has long relied on ‘the kindness of strangers’.

In fact, I’d venture to guess that if you’re in PR and of a certain age, you’re probably an optimist.

Or were at some point.

How else could you survive in an industry with no guarantees, a lot of hoping, and an unwavering belief in unbalanced relationships? 

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Experience turned to arrogance is never a good thing

Should a PR person ever call a journalist? In many cases, the answer is a resounding NO. Yet it’s something senior practitioners tell juniors all the time. ‘Why are you emailing, pick up the phone!’

We live in an age where relationships and trust are more important than ever. And the border between offering useful info and being a spammer is getting murkier all the time. So what can communicators do to stay helpful, relevant and not be perceived as a pest?

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Get into the Zen of content marketing by finding your inner Ps

Summer may be over, but if you’re like me, you’re still feeling more centred and relaxed… In a bit of a Zen-ish state. Though one that will soon be replaced by the hustle and bustle of fall.

Which got me thinking about communications and how we agonize about so many things. And no wonder.

Marketing communications – especially on the agency side – has long been considered a stressful path to follow. You work endless days (and nights), often at warp speed. You’re bombarded by deadlines as well as questions and requests from clients, suppliers, partners and colleagues. And that was in the olden days of legacy media.

Now, with content marketing added to the mix, not to mention the daily social media updates (or the new platforms that haven’t even been dreamed up yet), we’re under even more pressure.

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Social Media Barometer at the IABC World Conference

Earlier in the month, I had the opportunity to present my Social Media Barometer to a roomful of communicators at the IABC World Conference, an event with a truly international flavour and smart people from around the globe. And I’d like to thank Zora Artis, who managed the marketing stream, for being such a good host (and for the photo in this post).

I’ve presented versions of this talk a number of times before and each one is a little different than the other because, as we all know, we’re in the midst of a vast transformation to the way we discover and share news, information and interests. And to the way we connect.

And who knows where we are in the change continuum – beginning, middle or end?

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COPYRIGHT 2014 - MARTIN WAXMAN COMMUNICATIONS. DESIGNED BY A NERD'S WORLD. Slider photo by Darryl Ginwright.