Archive for March 2011
I spent my teen years working for my father, an entrepreneur who owned the Commercial Business Agency (get the joke?) whose product mix included telephone answering service, collection agency, Western Union, printing/direct mail business, temporary office personnel and any other business he could think of where we could make a few extra bucks. One day, before I could buy my first legal drink, he told me to go over to the local industrial furnace manufacturer to work as a fill-in for a two week vacation. A month later they called me back with a job offer.
Fast forward to 30 years later, as I prepare to leave the same company, I can’t help but think about what smart and interesting people engineers are to work with. Mechanical, electrical and chemical engineers, male and female, some practical and methodical, others visionary and creative, but without them, manufacturing as we know it, could not exist. The visionaries typically are in sales or work in R & D, and the pragmatists do all of the heavy lifting, getting things built and making them work.
I have been frustrated and vexed working with engineers both on the operations side (purchasing, expediting, estimating) and on the sales/marketing side of the business, typically with communications and decision-making, but as I sit and reflect on it all, I am very grateful for the experience of working with engineers from all over the world who have enriched my professional life and taught me that everything I touch and use can be traced to its true origin in the mind of an engineer.
Want to know “how it works?” Ask an engineer. I’ve been doing that for 30 years now and never cease to marvel at their response.
On a recent post about Content Management Systems, I received this insightful comment, one that really sparked my imagination:
“…We are trying to mix up the B2B and B2C concept, and thus are working on B2A, which is simply Business 2 All. — Isabella from Qalixa Announcement Team (
I will be embarking on a new career in April, Marketing Manager for Gannon University where I will broaden my focus from strictly B-to-B to Business to All. Thank you, Isabella for your marketing inspiration, and to Gannon University for this opportunity to serve.
I’m a huge fan of Ragan Communication’s PR Daily. This video interview of speech writer Bob Lehrman was quite interesting to me because Bob is a corporate speech writer, but what captured my attention was his mention of using Monroe’s Motivated Sequence for persuasive speeches. So, I started digging and this is what I found:
This is a simple sequence of steps for persuading that John Monroe developed in the 1930s and which was based on John Dewey’s original work.
A simple attention grabber is their name. You can also demonstrate emotion (‘Oh no!’) or physically grab them (if it is socially valid). Longer attention grabbers include jokes and dramatic stories.
Attention can be very brief, so once you have it, you need to move on quickly. Attention-grabbing should also move them towards interest. If you annoy them, then you will have your work cut out to recover the situation.
The next step is to trigger a need that the listener has. There are many of these, although the CIN Needs Model helps simplify this. A stimulated need leads to the person seeking a solution.
This is not about creating satisfaction, but proposing a way in which satisfaction may be gained by meeting the need that you have just stimulated.
Now that you have proposed a solution, the next step is to move the listener to see it as the right answer for them to meet their need. Help them visualize the solution in place, such that it is complete and successful. If it involves them doing something, get them to see themselves in action.
Finally, you need to prompt the person into action, implementing the solution that you both now know is the right thing to do.
Monroe’s Motivating Sequence (n.d.) ChangingMinds.org. Retrieved 3/9/2011 from
Seeing this video could not have happened at a better time. I have a presentation coming up in June and will see how this model works. Ragan also has an excellent video interview of Kennedy speech writer, Ted Sorensen:
You can never learn enough about good writing.
Sarah Mitchell really nails it in her post on the Content Marketing Institute’s daily post entitled, “ Produce Local, Distribute Global: 3Keys to your Content Marketing Localization Plan.” In truth, she identified many of my pain points as veteran of these very issues, first as a corporate communicator at the US headquarters, and now as the local communicator with headquarters in Europe.
You need to read her article, but in summary, Sarah’s three keys are:
1. “…establish ownership of the content. When you’re working across markets, and very likely across time zones, it’s imperative the head office takes ownership of the whole project. Without a strong management focus from the originating source, you cannot be sure your message is being delivered at all.”
2. “…Every single market I’ve ever worked in makes purchasing decisions based on business benefit. What is different is how they expect to get their information…Cultural differences abound from country to country. That’s why you can’t conduct a localization project without the input of the local market. What works in the USA, may not work in Italy or Tokyo.”
3. “…allocating budget for localization in any content-producing project up front. A well-planned effort delivers many benefits including buy-in from your foreign distributers and enhanced brand image in the international market. Often these tasks are only considered at the end of a project when everyone is ready to move on and the money is used up.”
I agree with all of this, and I would like to add two more points:
1. A headquarters in transition will be more successful utilizing a Change Management Communications Plan complete with measurement metrics for both internal and external audiences. Global companies need a senior level communicator in order to accomplish this. The end result will be a huge savings in time & financial investment in deliverables. As Sarah points, there’s nothing worse than investing big dollars in print that local offices will not use. Been there, done that.
Good resource: This month’s Communications World
2. The Best Practice of all of the world’s great brands is for the headquarters to develop a useful Style Manual to be used throughout the global organization to maintain consistency in the brand. The graphic design and templates should be sufficiently well designed to be readily localized.
Best example, the highest valued brand in the world, Coca-Cola
So here is my question: In a world where you say aluminium and I say aluminum, and you measure in meters (or should I say metres?)and I measure in feet and inches, how does one localize web copy when the world gravitates to the USA website as the primary English source? If you don’t have the resources of General Electric to produce two to three localized pages in English (USA, UK, Australia), what do you do? Do you think users actually care?
In my work, I generally use British spellings in meta tags and occasionally in body copy, then Americanize print publications. I am very interested in how others approach this problem.
Links in this post:
Content Marketing Institute (CMI), their daily newsletter is a must read for me:
Produce Local, Distribute Global: 3 Keys to Your Content Marketing Localization Plan By SARAH MITCHELL | Published: MARCH 2, 2011: