Agile Marketing & Communications

Agile Marketing & Communications

It’s hard to juggle planning against the pressures of unplanned work due to change. As a full-time communicator, I’ve found myself trying to balance the organizational needs of planning against the realities of responding to change in a timely fashion, only to realize that I seemingly could not find a way to do both well. Until now. Over the years, I’ve worked with and around software developers and have come to first appreciate and then come to study and use their secret to delivering code quickly and adapting just as fast to new features and bug fixes. A very brief recap of they way things used to be versus how they are now in project planning: Software used to be fully considered, mapped out, documented and planned for a final finished release. This method, called Waterfall, was to do all of the pre-planning and documentation for everything the software would need to do in one, very large and complex project plan, complete with Gantt charts to estimate work over months and even years. Software-as-a-Service (software you use online, in an app, or in a browser, most frequently) changed the need for more iterative software changes that responded to demands and needs of users as quickly as possible – sometimes days or weeks. Agile is a belief that a collaborate team working in short durations together can deliver more often and change more rapidly. Scrum is a methodology for applying Agile that plans all work in chunks (2 to 4 weeks is common) and follows ‘ceremonies’ that organize the work during. Kanban is an Agile method that visualizes work (a...

Scare Tactics?

When was the last time you actually read one of those “Terms and Conditions” or “Agreement” forms that pops up as a temporary yield sign on your way to getting what you want? Almost everyone blindly clicks “accept” to avoid the hassle of reading the mumbo-jumbo; yet the very legal content often tells you that what you’re agreeing to is the sharing, selling or usage of your information. We all know this (or at least choose to ignore it), and click merrily on, glad to breeze past the nuisance that’s preventing our immediate satisfaction. “Our private information is only as private as our level of inconvenience.” – Anthony Coppedge Most of us readily give away vast amounts of personalized information by signing up for giveaways, contests or linking apps, games and other tools to online social media accounts. When we want something or deem something to be worth giving access, the risk is that bits and parts of our information are subject to being traded, sold or abused. We know all of this, so imagine my surprise at Microsoft’s new “Scroogled” (you’re ‘screwed’ by Google) ad campaign, which uses scare tactics to point out that Google’s email program (Gmail) uses information in your emails and from your online browsing to target ads at you. Are we supposed to be shocked that targeted advertising uses information we gladly (or at least impatiently) gave away? Microsoft is trying hard to make Bing, their competing search engine, play catch-up with the Google search juggernaut. But resorting to scare tactics? It seems a desperate move. Here’s the question for your organization: Are you...

Chick-Fil-A: The Day After Statement

August 1st saw the social media channels alight with millions of tweets, status updates, Twitpics and Instagram collages of Chick-Fil-A stores bursting at the seams with people streaming out of the buildings or waiting in traffic-stopping lines on side streets. The numbers are still coming in, but it seems likely that today, August 1st – declared Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day by Mike Huckabee – will be a record-breaking day for the Georgia-based company. After coming under fire for asserting the privately-owned family chain’s values on supporting the Biblical definition of marriage, millions rallied to support the chain in a show of solidarity for free speech protection. Since Chick-Fil-A didn’t seek this kind of public support, I believe they are poised to make even bigger news on August 2nd: give it all away. The private business doesn’t “owe” the millions of supporters who patronized their establishment anything; after all, they were simply the recipient of a show of support. But the company stands to gain even more than the financial windfall of Wednesday’s massive business boost – they can make a bigger statement with the days’ extraordinary revenue. Chick-Fil-A has every right to say a hearty “thank you” to the millions of supporters and add the earned profits of a tremendous day. I wouldn’t suggest it’s not theirs to keep since it was earned through a free market system. However, to help take even more wind out of critics sails, Chick-Fil-A could make an even louder statement than the August 1st crowds. I have a few suggestions: 1) Give all of the revenue for the day away to charity. Perhaps a...

Capturing Culture

When Steve Jobs introduced the Apple iPod almost 8 years ago, the product embodied far more than an elegant design, cool features and some great benefits: it personified the culture of Apple. As he gave his Keynote speech in 2001 at the Apple developer conference, Jobs’ explained that the decision to build the iPod was because “music is a part of everyone’s life”. He then spent the next two and a half minutes extolling the virtues of music, how people feel about music and their experience with music. Apple understands UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface). They infuse their products with the innovative, fun environment that exists in their corporate culture. At Fellowship Technologies, the culture is also a big part of what we believe, what we create and how we work. Since taking on the role of leading the Communications for the company, I’ve been impressed with and infused into the culture. So, when it was time to promote a huge re-design on the interface and experience of using our web-enabled church management software, Fellowship One, I wanted to capture some of this culture, specifically focusing on the software development team. We captured the video on the new Canon 5D Mark II camera, with a variety of lenses, which I shot in full 1080i HD. I’m thankful that Kevin Dooley, a video director at a local church, was able to handle the role of DP for the shoot as we followed our storyboard and script of capturing the culture here at Fellowship Technologies. Here’s the satirical video we created: Culture matters. For churches, this culture starts with...