IMC Intuition

Thinking out loud about all things IMC

Archive for February 2011

AARP Advocacy – Where Are Your Ethics?

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I was appalled to read this article in Direct Marketing News today:  “AARP parody e-mail campaign causes confusion among members”   Long story short,  the email was evidently a spoof on what might happen if Social Security benefits are cut.  You have to read the article, at the end the agency said it was a fun way to teach people about the issues – are you kidding?  Are they clueless about how a person skimming the copy could by mislead about something so important?  Hello:  putting people in panic mode by misrepresenting the facts is not fun, it’s irresponsible.  I used to trust the AARP brand, now it makes me wonder what other facts they have twisted to get likes on FaceBook….

 Wow.  One more reason I belong to IABC is their Code of Ethics:

Because hundreds of thousands of business communicators worldwide engage in activities that affect the lives of millions of people, and because this power carries with it significant social responsibilities, the International Association of Business Communicators developed the Code of Ethics for Professional Communicators.

The Code is based on three different yet interrelated principles of professional communication that apply throughout the world.  These principles assume that just societies are governed by a profound respect for human rights and the rule of law; that ethics, the criteria for determining what is right and wrong, can be agreed upon by members of an organization; and, that understanding matters of taste requires sensitivity to cultural norms.

 These principles are essential:

Professional communication is legal.
Professional communication is ethical.
Professional communication is in good taste.

 Recognizing these principles, members of IABC will:

Engage in communication that is not only legal but also ethical and sensitive to cultural values and beliefs;
Engage in truthful, accurate and fair communication that facilitates respect and mutual understanding;
Adhere to the following articles of the IABC Code of Ethics for Professional Communicators.

 Because conditions in the world are constantly changing, members of IABC will work to improve their individual competence and to increase the body of knowledge in the field with research and education.

Visit the website to read the full articles:

Direct Marketing News:

 Article link:



Written by Beth Ryan

February 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Blue Ocean Strategy – Where are You Swimming?

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Blue Ocean Strategy

Blue Ocean Strategy

When I opened to the first chapter of Blue Ocean Strategy, I thought, “Oh brother, product differentiation by yet another name.”  There is a whole genre of business books that give the concept a new metaphor for the same basic idea… boring! 

However, Kim and Mauborgne really got my attention when they point out that most business people really don’t understand the difference between strategy, goals and objectives.  I find this is  true both in my industry and in my accreditation grading and award judging for IABC –  people tend to think of the art in advertising as the goal or strategy, when in fact, good advertising is always the result of a great product strategy and communication plan.

Blue Ocean Strategy provides  the reader with  excellent tools for formulating a true product differentiation strategy that not only addresses the product, but positioning,  targeted cost, price strategy and execution.  

The tools help guide readers to analyze customer attitudes and preferences essential to global marketing in today’s communication environment.  The words, “Focus on the Big Picture, Not the Numbers,” really resonated with me because oftentimes  in my IMC practice , I’ve developed plans that went under expectations of cost.  This is one small  example where value innovation can happen given the right strategy.

The  Blue Ocean Strategy method is to plan the execution phase once the strategy is defined.  This begins with the organization’s employee and the concept of “Fair Process.”  According to the authors, “Fair process builds execution into strategy by creating people’s buy-in up front.  When fair process is exercised in the strategy making process, people trust that a level playing field exists.  This inspires them to cooperate voluntarily in executing the resulting strategic decisions.”

The authors look at three principles in fair process:  Engagement, Explanation and Expectation (clarity).  How many strategic deployments have failed in light of these three principles?  My professional organization, IABC, has published a multitude of case studies and articles that demonstrate that effective employee engagement programs pay-off in higher profitability – all employees are brand ambassadors.

What really rocks is that the authors have generously shared the principles and tools for Blue Ocean Strategy on their website at .


Kim, W. Chan and Renee Mauborgne (2005) Blue Ocean Strategy; How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant.  Harvard, Mass:  Harvard Business School Press.

 IABC Communication World, January 2011, Vol. 1 Issue. 1, Employee Engagement

IABC:  International Association of Business Communicators,


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I’m excited to attend this year’s IABC Leader Institute (LI) in Nashville, TN where IABC leaders come together to share best practices and learn how to create programs and services that keep members active and engaged.

I attended my first LI as a new chapter leader in 2004 where I learned a great deal about leadership, not only for IABC, but for my job and community as well. This year, it is my great pleasure to serve the Accreditation Council as Director of Marketing and I will be attending our board meeting and networking with our international  members and staff. 

Which brings me to my topic, why do I belong to IABC?   Resources

 Watch the video 🙂


IABC – International Association of Business Communicators:

IABC Accreditation:

Are you just talking or do you listen as well?

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You don’t have to look very far to find any one of hundreds of marketing gurus pontificating about the wonders of social media as the flavor-of-the-month marketing miracle.

The reality of the situation is that social media has tremendous value as a key component of an integrated marketing communications plan, however, it is a hollow effort without a sound strategy to drive the tactic.  There are some truly meaningless business Facebook pages out there.

Marketing Sherpa published this chart based on data from their B-to-B Marketing Benchmark Survey and I think it show a realistic picture of how companies are incorporating social media into their marketing communications strategy.   I was surprised that listening to the voice of the customer (VOC) and customer service were not cited as these are key strategies for B-to-C companies.  How does your company compare?  Are your social media strategies really just advertising in a new channel, or are you listening as well?

If you’re not listening, you’re missing a perfect opportunity to connect with your audience.

Social Media Business Strategies

Written by Beth Ryan

February 3, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Posted in Uncategorized