The Wizard of Four “Ahhhhs”: LESSONS FROM THE WIZARD

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Remember, as a kid, being scared out of your mind watching The Wizard of Oz – especially at the wizard’s big alien head or the witch’s face or those creepy flying monkeys? Most of the time I remember having both hands over my eyes and then separating my fingers so I could take a peek and then, yikes!

It’s funny looking back at what scared us so much when we were inexperienced. It all seems so juvenile and comedic that we would find it so scarey. But isn’t that what we do in our adult world when we aren’t familiar with how something works?

Case in point:  the universe of web and social media for marketing business.

Yes, we’re big talkers on the front end – “I’m not afraid of it,” and “Sure, we’re going to use social media as soon as I get the money and the time.” But the reality is, most of us are afraid of four things that keep us from jumping in:

  • being left behind and finding ourselves in a vortex of indecision
  • starting social media and looking stupid
  • spending the money and not getting ROI
  • getting so far away from what we know and not finding our way back home
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1. We need courage – like the lion, if we don’t just get in there and try it, we will never know if we can do it. Worrying about being left behind is what we call insanity – doing the same thing and expecting different results

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2. We need a brain – have you read some of the postings on your facebook and twitter? (some people need to be a little more concerned with what they say and how they appear!) It’s really a “no brainer” – if you are talking about your company and what’s happening and you’re concerned with helping people (content for free!) you are significant and relative to your audience. It’s the “advertising” that turn people off. Just be yourself, talk to the people, help them and interact – they’ll love it!

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3. We need a heart – have you ever heard of the adage “you have to spend money to make money?” How can I say this . . . get your courage on and do it! You’ll never know how much of an impact it will have unless you try it. Spend the money to hire someone or better yet a company that can do it for you! It’s cheaper to hire a marketing company that can do it all (Kroma Marketing – sorry had to plug it) i.e. traditional-print, advertising, etc. as well as social-web, social outlets, etc. No hassel -No worries! They’re the experts.

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4. We need a home – As long as you remember who you are, as a company, you will never lose your way back from venturing out into new territory! What is your product/service? What is your mission? What is your culture? What do you believe in? What do you want to accomplish for your customer/client base? Just continue those same things but in a new realm like social media.

So, click those heels three times and say “There’s no place like home.” Home IS where the heart is – if your heart is in it, you’ll make an impact, an impression, a contract, a sale . . .

What’s holding you back?

What are you creating – Tree of Life or Death of a Salesman?

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Sometimes I wonder . . . is what I do bring life or death? Do my words or actions create something positive as a result or something negative?

I was watching a movie with my family last night, “RIPD” – Ok, it was the only one we could find that was halfway decent (emphasis on half-way), new on the list, and we hadn’t seen it. Anyway, in one part of the movie, the Rest In Peace Division are looking for undead guys and the only way to find them since they still look alive is by the path of death they leave behind i.e. dying flowers, TV screens flipping, lights flickering, elevators not working, etc.

What kind of a path are you leaving behind . . . destruction or creation?

“IN NATURE THERE ARE NEITHER REWARDS NOR PUNISHMENTS; THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES.” – ROBERT GREEN INGERSOLL

Now, there are situations where to end something is the best alternative like eating a bad apple, watching an inane movie, or writing a “leave it open for interpretation” email.

This blog is unusual this week; it’s as general as possible. In that attempt, hopefully, you’ll be able to apply it to your life.  I believe there are basic truths in life – that have been set in motion and no getting around them. They’re these huge boulders that ground us – they won’t be moved.

“EVERYBODY TALKS ABOUT WANTING TO CHANGE THINGS AND HELP AND FIX, BUT ULTIMATELY ALL YOU CAN DO IS FIX YOURSELF. AND THAT’S A LOT. BECAUSE IF YOU CAN FIX YOURSELF, IT HAS A RIPPLE EFFECT.” – ROB REINER

For instance, do you believe that what you do creates something as a result? I guess we need to start there. It seems easy to compartmentalize what we do – to justify our actions as individualistic, not affecting anyone. We put our words and behavior in a box and say, “See, it fits nicely in it’s own little package – it’s completely encapsulated. This bomb is going to go off contained.”

“EVERYBODY, SOON OR LATE, SITS DOWN TO A BANQUET OF CONSEQUENCES.” – ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

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Speaking of bombs, they don’t usually go off in a box, placed there ahead in a uniform, regulated fashion! And when they happen – we’re not usually ready for them. So, as a result . . . REACTION! Another bomb – like in a bomb factory. One begets another explosion! Anyway, I regress! That subject is another blog!

So, do you create life or death?

I could go into a lot of philosophy, religion, even physics (in fact, I went down a lot of philosophical bunny trails to bring you this blog). I think I just want to keep it simple. Sometimes words from the most unlikely of sources can be the most impacting:

“REMEMBER THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A SMALL ACT OF KINDNESS. EVERY ACT CREATES A RIPPLE WITH NO LOGICAL END.” – SCOTT ADAMS

What do you think?

In Denial?

“Delay is the deadliest form of denial.” –C. Northcote Parkinson

De · ni · al:  a river in Egypt; refusal to admit the truth or reality. (Merriam-Webster)

There isn’t any upside to denial at all other than blissful apathy until the realization of what the denial has wrought. It really is bad news all around.

In business, denial will most likely lead to financial failure. Yet businesses are still in denial regarding not only the need but the necessity of social media on a daily basis. Harvard Business Review Analytics Services report “The New Conversation: Taking Social Media from Talk to Action” [Report PDF; sponsored by SAS] discovered that most of the commitment to social is future-oriented. The report went on to say, “Although 79% of the 2,100 companies surveyed are either using or planning to use social media channels, a measly 12% of those firms feel that they are using them effectively.” Only 12%. Pitiful, when you think about how brands are being represented on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, to name a few.

But is it just the non-use of social media that makes business efforts ineffective or the fact that there is still not an “all in” belief in the necessity of social? Rob Ployhart, a professor of business administration at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, believes there is a “skepticism” in social media because companies haven’t seen the data showing the return on investment from social media. Ployhart says the ROI data will most likely be available within the next three to five years, making social media more credible in the eyes of some businesses.

Until then, what does a company have to do to engage in the social impact of business? Believe. They have to put their faith in it and engage in it daily or they’ll be left standing on the sidelines in their cynicism.

The facts are all there. Businesses engaged in social media are investing in their own future. Ployhart says, “In today’s world, we are all interconnected. Companies that are thinking about this proactively are the ones that are probably going to have an advantage in leveraging this technology. I’d be surprised if the first few companies that get in there don’t have a lasting competitive advantage.”

The experts are all saying the same thing:  businesses that are engaging in social media have the upper hand.

It’s almost 2014. What’s on the horizon, then, for engaging in social media in business?

According to Simon Mainwaring, New York Times bestseller We First and social branding consultant to Fortune 100 brands, “Every company or institution must now function as a social brand due to the mass adoption and penetration of social media in our lives as citizen and customers (and by social brand I mean an organization that uses and engages in a real time dialogue with its customers using mobile, social and gaming technologies to build its reputation, profits and social impact.)”

So, if you are in business and you are in denial of the social media bull breathing down your neck, don’t turn around. Just get on the social media train and ride it all the way into the station. That’s where you’ll find relevant business being done. Welcome to the new world.

Welcome to my portfolio!

Thank you for visiting my portfolio. The home page photo of a forest is a representation of the journey I am on at the present in the Ph.D. program in Communication from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, as well as preparing for a future teaching position in communication in higher education. The body of knowledge I have is a rich “soil” of over 30 years of experience in teaching adult and traditional students in the field of communication as well as a wealth of experience in digital marketing. The forest of trees is and will be the result – the advancement of the study of communication through research, writing, and publication; the growth within students of the awareness and knowledge of the study and application of communication; the connections created with colleagues in an ongoing dialog of communication pioneering and propagation.

Some of the research I find interesting and have done some work in:

Family communication through political discord focusing on triggers through sign, symbol, and verbal “hot buttons”

Indirect communication with humans through various contexts i.e. facilitated learning, therapeutic, etc.

Rosie the Riveters in history, creating connections between family and the current times.

Ideographs creating emotional standoff i.e. the use of the American Flag in Hong Kong

Thank you for visiting!

Elizabeth (Beth) Rose, ABD

Homecoming – the Way Things Were

Tony the Tiger in the Homecoming Parade – Olivet Nazarene University circa 1983

I hate to even admit it but it’s been 30 years since I graduated from my alma mater! 30 years! I remember thinking, while I was in college, that all these people coming back to homecoming, class of such and such, were OLD people! Now that I’m here . . .

I know it’s called “Homecoming” but it almost seems like homegoing, going, going . . .

IF WE TRY TO REST ON OUR LAURELS, WE WILL BE SORELY DISAPPOINTED; OUR LAURELS HAVE WILTED.

Who was the genius who thought it would be a good idea to get people to go back to days gone by when they’re more wrinkled, fatter, and balder?  And the foggy brain syndrome! To remember names of people we knew umpteen years before is more challenging than those chem exams! Thank goodness for name tags!

OK, I’m sounding very grouchy at the moment. My apologies.  I just want to go back to the way it was!

Here’s the point. We go back to our alma mater thinking the “back in the day” days will magically reappear through the people and places where we made all those great memories to begin with. Instead, we are met with grandparents and renovated buildings we no longer recognize having been converted to accommodate the booming student population.

My question is . . .  what do we expect? Time marches on my friend. And it is no respecter of persons. Have you seen Obama lately?

. . . IN BUSINESS AND LIFE, THERE IS NO ‘HOMECOMING’ – ONLY MOVING FORWARD.

In life or business, we tend to do that same thing. We create, generate, and propagate, thinking “We’ve got it!” – for all of time. But then we look up and realize, things have changed! If we try to rest on our laurels, we will be sorely disappointed; our laurels have wilted (or fallen from gravity:).

Keep yourself from holding on to what worked in the past because, in business and life, there is no “homecoming” – only moving forward.

How DO  you stay in the now? How DO you stay relevant? How WILL you “bring it” today?

Stay fresh, my friend.


The author, third down from the right, on Homecoming Court, circa 1983.
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Mulching a Business

Are you a mulcher, a weeder, or do you sheet your garden?  I said “sheet,” people!

Let me explain. There’s a method of gardening whereby one takes the easy route and just throws mulch down over the weeds. However, when the weeds start reaching their little ugly heads toward the sun (which they will), you’ve got thousands of little green sprouts you still have to pull! And it’s a mother if you have to pull them around roses!
If you just weed your garden without mulch, you’re just asking for trouble—you’ll have a garden of weeds in no time!

But if you take the time and lay out that black or brown plastic or paper (I feel like I’m in a grocery store all of a sudden), you won’t have squat! No weeds for miles, as long as that sheeting or fabric is down; no weed can get through. I love that stuff!

What is this, gardening 101? Yes, for businesses. Gardening is a lot like tending your business—you have to give it love or the weeds will take over. The weeds, my friend, are stronger, more prolific, and hardier in the drought. They’re like cockroaches—you can only kill them intentionally and with napalm!

  1. The weeds . . . I liken weeds to the ugly attitudes or the annoying habits in the office. Weeds can also be lack of care in terms of a client or not taking responsibility for a mistake. Weeds are anything that pop up and aren’t taken care of right away. That’s mistake #1.
  2. The landscaping fabric . . . I liken it to paying attention to details and being in the moment with your business and clientele. It’s taking time to focus on what’s most important – people. It’s taking responsibility for your actions whether you are a leader or an employee, and right away. It’s BEING PROACTIVE!

What’s in your business garden?

  • Little issues that seem to continue to annoy you and won’t go away no matter how much you ignore them.
  • A few bad attitudes around the office that aren’t being dealt with AND won’t go away no matter how much you ignore them.
  • An employee that just isn’t giving at least 100% like everyone else and gets away with it.
  • Clients who think you must grovel in the dirt in order to earn their business.
  • A technical issue you have ignored long enough!
  • Apathy.
  • Spinning wheels.
  • Lack of growth.
  • Etc.

They’re not going away. Do something about it!

Head in the Clouds?

Head in the

We just went “cloud” at Kroma Marketing. That’s right – we are now cloud-based. No more hard drive headaches! We’re stream-lining and actually streaming more efficiently and cost-effectively.

I read an article today that struck a chord, “The New Cloud Stack: Here’s What the Company of the Future Looks Like” by Dan Lyons. In it, Lyons says companies need to learn to build a modern company, building it for the future and not being stuck in the past. He talked about the cloud stack—working in the cloud with whatever software will serve your company purposes.

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Lyons stated, “If you’re trapped in Legacy Land, you need to get out. But how? If you’d like to read about one company’s journey from old to new, you can check out this case study from The Wall Street Journal about an old-guard tech company called Enterasys that made the transition to cloud-based software programs.” He also quotes Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, in a blog post titled, “The Rise of the Cloud Stack” and talks about how Oracle, who just announced cooperation with Salesforce and Netsuite, a company that’s nearly 40 years old, has finally recognized that the world is changing.

Levie basically talks about rebuilding your business around a stack of new software programs he calls the “new cloud stack” (others refer to it as the “new enterprise,” meaning it’s enterprise computing but you don’t have to run any of it yourself).

The New Cloud Stack

Some possibilities of a cloud stack, according to Levie:

Are you in the cloud yet? How’s it working? If not, what’s it going to take to get you there so you don’t get left on the ground?

The Passing of Traditional Marketing

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TRADITIONAL MARKETING HAS A DEATH NOTE. It says, “You no longer run the game by demanding that businesses spend millions on advertising.”

THE GAME HAS CHANGED If you are throwing brand advertising at the masses and hoping something will stick, you are playing a game that is already over. Sure, multinational companies are still swinging for the fences that are no longer there, but they have millions to blow on creative ad campaigns, for now. And spending millions feels good. Seeing your billboard downtown or your commercial on TV seems like a strategic win. At least you are doing something, right?

If you think that throwing money at media is the only way to reach your prospects… IT’S NOT. Think about Jared Fogle, the Subway guy, who told a compelling story of how he lost so much weight, simply by eating Subway. During the duration of the Jared campaign, Subway sales more than doubled to $8.2 billion. His story was useful. It was inspiring. It was educational. It was not “brand advertising”. It was relational marketing – people could relate to Jared.

According to Amy Hall of Social Chorus, “Millennials are the most important consumer generation. They are the largest generation and have more combined purchasing power than any other generation. However, they are fundamentally different than previous generations, which is a challenge for brands that are trying to market to them. These digital natives grew up with technology, have fully embraced social media and are living in the age of connectivity. One of the most significant challenges that marketers face is the fact that millennials don’t trust brands’ advertising.”

So what are the practices that are dead and gone? Not all traditional marketing is but here is a list to place on a death note to traditional marketing – what to avoid:

  1. Big dollar traditional marketing – you’re throwing those dollars to the wind when the wind isn’t listening
  2. Ads in any form – Millennials aren’t paying attention – they skip the ads
  3. Any spamming in any form – again fishing for anything to bite but no takers – it’s wasted effort and wasted time

What other practices would you put on the “death note”?

Great Expectations . . . or are they all that great?

I’m going to try and balance this blog with some perspective since I think not only my own but also others’ perspectives on expectations can be skewed.

There’s probably no greater detriment to a person’s ability to operate on a daily basis than for expectations to be unmet. Yet if we don’t have expectations, how does the bar get raised and accomplishments are achieved? That’s where balance comes in.

ex·pec·ta·tion  [ek-spek-tey-shuhn] noun

1. the act or the state of expectingto wait in expectation. 2. the act or state of looking  forward or anticipating. 3. an expectant mental attitude: a high pitch of expectation.

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This definition and various modifiers seem rather neutral – neither good nor bad. So, it’s safe to say that in and of expectations themselves, they aren’t the culprit to creating issues. What is the problem then?

In my own analysis of creating expectations, I see them as both useful and dangerous. It’s really a two-sided coin that just comes with the territory. If you have an expectation of something, you may find yourself being pulled in by disappointment if those expectations aren’t met.

I’ll give you an example: a clean kitchen in the work room. My expectations USED to be that I would arrive at work with a pristine kitchen in which to make my coffee every morning. That was until I started working with four others, to remain nameless and genderless, who insist on placing their lovely used, crusty dishes and numerous plastic containers in the sink (which is all of 12” X 12”) and on the counter when there is a fully functioning dishwasher at their disposal.

Yes, the expectation to have a clean kitchen is a good expectation to have. Otherwise there would be a mountain of dishware and nothing clean to use when you need them! Let alone, it’s less of a health hazard! However, the problem lies in the fact that I can have this expectation but that is not going to change the behavior. I can complain and crab about it, but it won’t necessarily make a difference. I can beat them over the head with their own Tupperware to get them to change, but that’s not my goal! My goal is to have a clean place to look at and not worry about cockroaches doing the backstroke out of our Keurig! (I do have to give props to one, lone cohort in the office that has begun to feel bad that I’m the only one cleaning up—thanks TC.)

When I acknowledged that it was more important for me to come to work and see a clean kitchen than get certain people to clean the kitchen, I came to a peaceful, resolution within myself. My expectations had to change, otherwise I would be miserable. Now I come in every morning expecting to see something in the sink. I happily move it to the dishwasher, make my cup of coffee, and get to work.

If you’ve ever read the novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, you’ll recall that one of the main themes of the book is that Pip is driven by his own expectations of self-improvement and achievement; a good thing. Right? Yet, Pip realizes that even after he torments himself about his lack of morality of performance and he arrives to live a higher class life, he finds there is not more happiness on that level than when he was a blacksmith living in poverty.

I used a rather inane example of the kitchen of how expectations can either hinder or move one to action. Expectations also live on much deeper planes i.e. performance, relationships, finances, etc. If you are miserable right now, in some way, in your job or at home, more than likely, expectations have something to do with it.

What’s out of whack? Why? Start by looking inside at your expectations of the situation or people. You probably know the answer already. What’s it going to take to be happier in this situation? Life is TOO short to be miserable! Do something about it. It’s within your power—it always is.