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Archive for the ‘Thought Leadership’ Category

3 Types of People to Avoid in Organizational Politics

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

Stick around any organization long enough and you’ll hear a recurring conversation begin to emerge. Regardless of the type of organization––nonprofit, corporation or an interest-based club, where people are, organizational politics will be also. Whether the desire is to grow, build organizational awareness, or create more effective goals, there are a few types of people or stances that will most likely make themselves known. You’ve probably run into one or more of these people a time or two:

  1. The “Millennials-Are-Everything” Person

We get it. Millennials are important. They’re significant to organizations as they become more influential in society, but every group has to analyze its goals, mission, and target audiences uniquely to determine if initiatives angled toward a younger audience would be beneficial to its overall growth efforts. Jumping on the millennial bandwagon just because everyone else is may not benefit your association in the long run and encouraging those that are pushing the pro-millennial bill too fiercely, could aggressively hinder your working relationships with other key audiences and stakeholders.

  1. The “Traditional Roots-Always-Win” Person

While millennials aren’t everything, doing nothing to encourage innovation in a changing society, will also leave an organization with less-than impressive outcomes. There will always be members of the “old regime” and they’ll attempt to stand their ground to see that no changes or advancements find their way in, but this has to be avoided. An organization that never innovates will become irrelevant regardless of how well a tactic worked 30 years ago. 

  1. The “Our-Leadership-Sucks” Person

This can be a legitimate claim and if so there will be more than one person saying it, but steer clear of the people who continuously blame the leadership and never do anything to make the organization better. These are the people who secretly enjoy blaming something or someone that they “can’t control” because it makes it seem as if their hands are tied. While in reality, they’re happy with the way things are because if they changed, they’d actually have to put forth effort.

The moral of the story is that it’s easy to talk about changes that need to be made, but when looking for great people to be part of an organization, look for the “do-ers” not just the talkers. People that are willing to put sweat equity in, will always bring more to the table than those who have lofty ideas but lack the work ethic to employ them.

In the Age of Results Measurement, What Happened to IMPLICIT Value?

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

Impressions, sentiment, engagements, sessions, users, views, clicks… these are today’s units of measurement. We report on these metrics, we use them to make decisions, and yes – of course – they’re valuable. Very valuable. But, what about good old-fashioned implicit value?

Measuring the public opinion or internal opinion of an organization as a marketer will always have its flaws. Why does one feel a warmth in their heart when Starbucks is mentioned? Do people reminisce of road trips gone by when they see a Cracker Barrel logo? We can point to possible causation of our positive or negative feelings towards companies, products, or thought leaders, but in no way are those connections inerrant.

When it comes to raising awareness for an organization or initiative, unfortunately there will always be some success that floats by unmeasured. You can’t measure sentiment on friends using word of mouth to discuss a new product. And yet, that interaction is one of the most powerful channels that exists.

We attempt to measure the digital form of word of mouth interactions using Yelp reviews, social media interactions, and influencer engagement, but as ‘fake news’ is no longer the exception, people are being subconsciously trained to become sceptics of the less-than-honest digital presence that some companies or products maintain.

Without forsaking the recognizable value in digital channels and measurement, we implore companies and marketers to remember the implicit value of human connection and the vital importance of emotion and touching the human spirit.

Algorithms can’t measure that.

Where Style Meets Expertise: Cristofoli Keeling, Inc.

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Cristofoli Keeling, Inc. was founded around the idea that style inspires all. A majority woman-owned marketing communications firm established in 1999, Cristofoli Keeling, Inc. was created when founder, Ann Keeling, paired her seasoned design background with a high level of strategic communications experience. For today’s agile business environment, being comfortable with innovation is a prerequisite. Never shying away from exploring new ways to optimize client marketing investments, Cristofoli Keeling, Inc. embodies the entrepreneurial spirit, while leveraging the expertise and professionalism of an established organization.

After years of working in design management for international brand design firm LPK, Ann Keeling was asked to add the management of marketing communications for the firm to her client service role.  She observed that the public relations agencies would consistently position experienced professionals in the pitch process, but after winning the business, the execution would be handled by those less experienced who lacked industry understanding.

After seeing this reality become an unfortunate pattern, Keeling recognized an opportunity in the market to do things better. Vowing to provide clients with not only innovative thinking, but a seasoned understanding of their industry and challenges, Keeling founded the firm and stepped into the role that she continues to maintain today.

As founder and President of Cristofoli Keeling, Inc., clients have described Keeling by saying, “She strikes just the right balance between no-nonsense professionalism and setting a relaxed tone in the work-place.” An advocate for both clients and colleagues alike, Keeling has expanded her marketing communications empire, without ever neglecting her original goal – to provide every client with expert guidance and strategic execution.

Offering clients expertise without ever sacrificing style, Keeling lives by the adage, “Do It Right…Do It Big…Do It with Style.”

Social Influencers Debunked: Everyone Wants to be the “Cool Kid”

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

It’s not difficult to understand the draw that social media influencers have. To be human is to understand the desire to be like the “cool kids” and that’s largely the effect that a social influencer has on you. Whether you respect them for their professional success, their athletic achievement, their parenting skills, or their ability to be the most obnoxious contestant on The Bachelor; for some reason you’re watching their stories, liking their posts, and occasionally buying into what they’re selling.

It goes beyond the simple act of an obviously endorsed product, and blurs the lines of what the influencer really likes or what they’re being paid to like. Regardless of your skepticism while viewing their social media, they’ve still been successful because you just saw the hotel they stayed at, the champagne they drank, the swimsuit they bought, and now those brand names will be floating around in your head as you consider your upcoming beach getaway.

The Influence

According to Medium 70% of millennial consumers are swayed by recommendations of their peers buying choices and 30% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger.  And Facebook is the most influential social media channel, with 19% of consumer buying decisions being influenced by Facebook posts.

In light of Facebook’s recent shift in newsfeed content, there may be an even bigger space for social influencers to fill. Recently Facebook announced it will revert back to focusing on meaningful social connections with family and close friends instead of content from brands and publishers. But what if an influencer is also a friend? With these newsfeed changes, companies and brands may place more consideration on the impact a “peer” influence can have.

Trendsetter or Irrelevant

 As we know from our days in middle school, being the “cool kid” takes a lot of maintenance. When someone or something “cooler” comes along, you have to set the trend or you’ll be forgotten. Now that social influencers are less of the “game changers” and more common practice, influencers must stay on top of strategy advancement or they will become irrelevant.

The Startup Culture Secret

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

Startup culture seems exhilarating; the concept of wearing vintage tees to work and being part of something new and cutting edge. Why does this environment seem so attractive and something that organizations try to maintain even after they’ve grown beyond their initial garage-based business stage?

Here’s there secret: There’s No Directional Compromise.

At least not for a while, that is. In most organizations, there’s a directional compromise that takes place and it often boils down to the question of tradition vs. progression. Without a traditional precedent for people to fight for, there is less directional compromise (in startup culture).

It’s natural for industry veterans to hold onto the way they’ve always done things, so often times the “progressive bunch” with new ideas and French press coffee will compromise their cutting edge (maybe too cutting edge) ideas for something that will please those who have been around longer.  This type of generational change happens in all organizations, but one reason startups seem so revolutionary, is because they haven’t had to encounter that situation quite yet.

Innovation and progression are vital to any successful organization with the respect of history and expertise gained along the way. There are many businesses, non-profits, and clubs that fail due to the inability to stay innovative. But, just because a startup seems innovative when it begins, doesn’t mean it will maintain that culture by default.

Somewhere along the line every startup company that “makes it” will become an aging company and the way they navigate that transition will determine whether they’re really a startup at heart. A true startup company will navigate all decisions with innovation and progression regardless of the traditional precedents.