Integrated media planning. A vital part of your advocacy outreach.

Photo Courtesy of the Internet Archive C.C.

Photo Courtesy of the Internet Archive C.C.

Picking the Right Tools.

There is an old parlour game called, “I packed my bag to Saratoga.” Seated around a table a group of folks pass along a short story whispered into each other’s ear. By the time the story has been rehashed through six or more participants, its narrative has changed significantly. Socks become nylons and soap bars becomes chocolate bars. It’s not because each player is a bad storyteller, it’s the plain fact that each person hears only what they deem important to the narrative. As human beings, we are used to hearing stories relevant to ourselves and the community in which we live. When it comes to living a better life, we are eager to share with others.

This inherent ability to advocate good and tell an important story is in all of us. Only the dynamic of a community will change. Have you not called your local councillor to promote an increase in play space for your kids at the local park? Discuss an article in the newspaper with your neighbour about yet another tax hike? Or shared a news story on Facebook that challenges the need for more infrastructure renewal – in other words, better roads? These are all forms of advocacy with one critical component, a clear and informed voice promoting enhancement or improvements for all.

Photo Courtesy of Ivan C.C.

Photo Courtesy of Ivan C.C.

Where is your audience?

Finding the right voice to carry your message can be difficult for many advocates. Once you have ear-marked your target audience, where are the conversations happening? Are they on the news at 6, or written as an opinion piece within your community newspaper?

As individuals and communities start their advocacy campaigns, many are now asking where do policy makers get their information so they understand the importance of your position. There is a universe of conversation happening right now due to technologies offering easier access to information. Mining the right channel to receive information is becoming more complex. Especially in many CMA (city metropolitan areas) communities, where multiple languages and customs can add a complexity new to many media professionals in Canada.  Then there are digital platforms representing certain demographic preferences. Is social media the right space to have your voice?

This may sound complex but if we go back to the fundamentals of media relations and its strategies, it makes logical sense.

Photo Courtesy of Andy Rankin C.C.

Photo Courtesy of Andy Rankin C.C.

Media’s Brick and Mortar

When promoting policy and programs to particular audiences, strategic media is routinely used to encourage public conversations and debate. When used effectively, this process will generate an engaged community and aid grassroots support.  Strategizing your media plan will help you define your goals towards developing an appreciation for the policy or campaign. Equally, strategic media identifies what needs to be done to take down all the barriers towards compliance and stakeholder adoption. Media is also helpful when sharing research to arm your influencers and change leaders with facts to support your campaign. Coffee shop conversations with the right facts can be a persuasive tactic when practising grassroots advocacy.

How policymakers and the general public understand and resolve the challenges faced by their communities is guided by the quality of information provided to their advocates. Today, more than ever, media takes a leading role in making this happen. Media relations is no longer hammering out media releases and fostering sustainable relationships with media partners. Each media channel, traditional, digital or social, plays a strategic part when reaching specific audiences and informing potential advocates.

Producing and fostering advocacy through the media involves four key processes:

  1. Build the Foundation

Your media strategy should fully integrate all government, stakeholder and issue planning. It’s imperative that media is a part of these campaign strategies. Not just as a tactical component to implement your plan, but also within objectives, research, key message methodologies and measurement. Media will offer you an opportunity to ‘amp-up the noise’ in each functional part of the campaign or initiative.

  1. Position the Right Partners

Identify the essential supporter(s) of the issue and frame the voice, or narrative, around this person or persons. This is dependent on which supporters are best aligned to deliver the biggest impact. It’s important to note that impact in one media channel, may not necessarily be as ‘loud’ than on another media channel. For example, if we look at a medical issue or policy rooted in senior care; you would use traditional media (broadcast, print and radio) as these audiences represent a conducive community to watch the news, read the paper or listen to the radio. Your spokesperson would be a trusted leader known to stakeholders within this segment.

Conversely, if your campaign is based in teen mental health issues, you are then concentrating on who would be the best to carry your message forward. Social media will then take a leading role in your strategy. Your voice will come from various subject matter experts which in turn offer influence to their followers. They will be trusted by this audience to carry the voice forward. Unlike traditional media, social engagement is more immediate and offers quicker behavioural traits to help modify your key messaging.

  1. Research

Having short, clear and factual data to support your issue or campaign is critical for your planning. Cold hard facts rule when trying to put across a point or winning credibility and eventual acceptance. This can only be brought forward by spending the time up front to research your audiences and their behaviours. Utilize stakeholder and government research for segmented behaviours to craft messages and themes relative to this audience. Look for trends through the media that either support or oppose the issue or campaign. On social media, conduct regular audits to monitor issues and tone.

  1. Plan and Measure

With your foundation in place, your supporters identified and your research complete, you are now ready to create your plan. Adding to your foundation work, media planning today often will reflect methodologies of change management. Change is no longer a phenomenon but a fact. Governments, societies, groups, etc., are constantly changing. As a media planner, you must be aware of change within the media and within your stakeholder community. Tie-in your goals and objectives to reflect the capability for change – at any time. Plotting your objectives along a timeline will help you keep the plan time-bound. If change is foreseeable, plot it accordingly. S.M.A.R.T. (strategic, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) objectives offer guidance when developing your plan. Measurement, both qualitative and quantitative, will offer the data necessary to adjust your plan along the planning continuum; then monitor, monitor, monitor.

How Not To Be Seen

 

 

Ageism in the Workforce and What to Do with Harry.

Exit Sign

The Trouble with Harry.

Harry was as loyal as they come. He never took a sick day in over 12 years and was always on time ready to contribute. Harry lived and breathed the company. He understands that the competition for his job is a warring beast but is immensely grateful – every, single, day.  But Harry is now entering his mid-fifties and his company has just been sold to a foreign buyer. Now Harry is known for only one thing. His pricey salary and benefits. Equally, new management has embraced younger more affordable talent as opposed to retaining more senior staff like Harry.

Harry represents a growing statistic in today’s workplace. Companies are paring off seemingly expensive senior staff in lieu of hiring younger professionals with lower paychecks and leaner benefits. All in order to provide a heftier bottom line. Fair enough. Companies have to be competitive to survive; but is it simply the fact of thinner costs, or is today’s workplace trying to find its legs in a new and constantly changing hiring environment?

This is the question being asked by many aging professionals searching for employment today. Making matters worse is the emerging fact that ageism in 2016 means 35 years of age and up.

35 is the new 65.

red lightThe Rise of Ageism.

It has been 10 years since the Ontario Human Rights Commission amended the Human Rights Code to include language around mandatory retirement. Meaning that, “…employers cannot make decisions about hiring, promotion, training opportunities, or termination on the basis of an employee’s age.” The amendment was meant to pave a path of non-discriminatory practices for all Ontarians when working and seeking jobs with employers. No longer were you forced to take retirement. The law now said you can work for as long as you want.

The law now said you can work for as long as you want.

Then came 2009 and the Great Recession. Austerity was rife in most boardrooms and middle management became the reluctant sacrificial lamb. Nowhere could you find faster dollars than within this tier of full-time equivalencies. A trend that continues its momentum in today’s workplace. Business audits provide a sharper focus on trimming older and costlier employees for younger and cheaper talent. A falsehood still being practiced by many employers.

Car

Discrimination or “The Right Fit?”

Human Resources writer Liz Ryan of Forbes argues, “Age discrimination is everywhere. I hear more examples of age discrimination than I hear about sex discrimination, racial discrimination and every other kind put together.” Ryan also states, “…that the number of aging employees continues to grow.”

In the States, Laurie McCann, senior attorney at AARP Foundation Litigation says, “It could be that ageism versus other forms of discrimination is not taken as seriously or viewed as wrong as other types of discrimination, so we don’t attack it with the same intensity.”

Photo Courtesy of James Cullen C.C.

The Generation Gap.

With more and more 35 and over being forced out for younger talent, is this a good thing for businesses? After all, hard decisions are routinely needed to keep business fortunes competitive. But has this momentum delineated the competencies needed to become increasingly competitive? With years of service, comes years of knowledge.By forcing out the boomers and now Generation X’ers, will this permanently supersede practices and policies; thereby watering down experienced talent?

…millennials are changing the hiring landscape.

Born between 1980 and the year 2000, millennials now represent the largest employment sector in America. Unlike their cohort Gen X’ers, born between 1960 and 1980, they seem to have a different perspective on their job hunting aspirations. Aabaco at Yahoo! write that millennials are changing the hiring landscape by rejecting the job-for-life route. They are completely aware that social security will be bleak, at best, and practice a more laissez-faire approach to employment. Side jobs, temporary and contract work are more within their job hunting scopes.

Photo Courtesy of Howard Lake C.C.

Age vs Experience.

So where is the need for senior consult and advice going to come from once millennial workers occupy most workplaces? Decisions are based on mature cognitive thinking. Right?

The Association for Psychological Science put this question to the test. Does age affect complicated decision making? Using a Mars gaming scenario, Texas A&M psychological scientist, Darrell Worthy confirms, “…60-somethings showed a clear, age-related advantage in solving the Martian problem, which required higher order, holistic learning about the changing relationships between choices and rewards.”

There we have it. Older participants are better decision makers. A fact overlooked by many hiring managers.

contrails

Retaining Your Leaders.

Statistics state more workers of 45 years and older are staying at their jobs longer – if allowed. This raises the question of why companies are not retraining their aging staff? With the millennial cohort embracing a more casual employment approach, who will be on the job to help train older staff with new digital technologies?

…will they still be on the job to help train older staff members?

Back at Forbes, Karry Hannon says, “The day is coming when employers are going to embrace the value of older workers.” She goes on to add, “People want to keep working for two very core reasons – the mental engagement and for the income.”

Aging workers want to stay and contribute to the bottom line.

Just like Harry.

person-couple-love-romantic_Fotor

The Value of Harry

Harry understands, as with everything else in this world, that experience represents knowledge. Harry convinced his new employers that younger staff look up to him for leadership and mentoring. They ask him questions that only he would know the answer to. They depend on Harry to be part of the team. His employers agreed and re-hired him. Harry knows that for a successful company to succeed, all generations need to work together. Each generation brings its value to the organization. Harry knows that this line of thinking is what will grow the bottom line. Not leaner salaries and meager benefits.

 

The lighter side of ageism.

 

Creative Commons Photo Credits:
Alan Bloom https://www.flickr.com/photos/alan_bloom/

Ryan Rutherford https://www.flickr.com/photos/bryanbrutherford/

James Cullen https://www.flickr.com/photos/27043160@N04/

Howard Lake https://www.flickr.com/photos/howardlake/

Pexels.com  https://www.google.ca/search?site=imghp&tbm=isch&q=Hugging&tbs=sur:f&gws_rd=cr&ei=My0FV-mvL-TyjgT0oqKAAw#gws_rd=cr&imgrc=MNw0VzBYboJbUM%3A

 

 

Is It Time For Charities to Converge?

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons CC
Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons CC

Remake/Remodel

Spurred by downsizing, rightsizing and god forbid, supersizing, organizations large and small are trimming resources and hooking up to maximize their market share. Not a day goes by without hearing about layoff notices followed by inevitable consolidation or merger.

We get it. This is today’s business reality where shareholders pressure their boards to reap greater dividends per share, feeding an economic evolution towards increased profits.

As charity giving is quickly approaching, what about not-for-profit and cause-based organizations? As their for-profit cousins, they both share an empirical need for capital. Are they following this trend?

The need to increase capital can often lead to reorganizing. A modern austerity practice showing its invasive nature within the charity industry.

Some have questioned, “Is this merely to keep ‘business face?'” Or, is the time right for charitable organizations to be more accountable through deeper business practices – as reorganizing or merging?

Have charities embraced the teachings of for-profit businesses?

Mark Brown of MoneySense just released his list of top-rated charities in Canada. Accompanying his list of who to give to, and who not to, Mark assesses the four pillars of (charitable) business accountability: charity efficiency, fundraising costs, governance/transparency, and most importantly, cash reserves.  Each accountability showing its suspected pain-points with talent retention, marketing disclosure, and ethical governance. Exposed through the media or by external audits, many charities continue to show little to no improvement in these areas. Especially with building cash reserves. Insolvency can strike at any time and having the cash to sustain a restructure should be part of any business strategy. Nothing too big, as to draw ethical ire.

A reasonable Cash reserve is good planning.

Consolidating Charities

If we look at non-direct charities, charities with no attachment to institutional governance, navigating a competitive business climate can be tremendously difficult. Large institutional charities with massive multi-million dollar budgets command a larger space across all channels of marketing. Calendars continue to be jam-packed with many causes occupying the same date. How do you compete? Is it time for smaller and mid-size charities to merge?

Is it that crazy to start thinking about combined charities?

On a gigantic scale, last week we saw Anheuser-Bush InBev absorb SABMiller. Yes, beer is beer, but look at the product delineations: lagers, ales, stouts, light, low-carb, etc. Is this simply just diversifying its brand, or building market share?

You bet it’s all about market share. Charities should be no different.

For example, let’s transpose this ‘type’ of a merger with two large charities. Say, Canadian Cancer Society, and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Yes, one wide-scoped on their strategic direction and health responsibilities and the other entirely focused on one type of cancer.  Not to disrespect or undermine these two well-regarded organizations, but at the end of the day, we are talking about the eradication of cancer. This means more money is needed for research and programs.

By merging charities, the public would be offered a one-stop shop for gifting. Plus, stakeholders and partner acquisitions from both organizations would come together and increase market share for procuring capital.

As a benefactor, you want to choose how your money is used. Is it education, outreach or research? The opportunity to self-direct your donation can still happen if two charities with the same mission combine. Convergence will command more market share and provide more charitable dollars to the cause.

Not being a tax expert, one thing is very clear to me. Charity giving is deeply personal. How that charity is run is not. It’s a business. With very few dollars available, it’s time for charities to remake/remodel their business strategies by joining forces. After all, it’s your money.

2014. A Year of Inspiring and Controversial Convo For Sure!

Now that I have hung my hook at jbromcom.com, the folks at WordPress.com have prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. This needs to be shared by you as the main reason why I toil and type – most days. You are my community and I was able to share my thoughts around how we communicate during crisis, at school, to others and for others. I questioned the world’s largest micro-blogging channel ‘Is there too much spam?’ and whether social media has been remiss on including the facts. These and other stories helped form 2014 as it was a year like non other. Communications is a wonderful thing and thank you all for allowing me to share my social space.

Have a great 2015 everyone!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 30 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Are we ‘Lost in (Social) Space?’

BELONGING

Do We All Have a Social Destination?

French sociologist Henri Lefebvre, believed human interaction could be coined much the same as a simple Sunday walk. Wherever you went, your journey would be wholly dependant on the many ‘social realities’ that intercede your path. Mr. Lefebvre was convinced ‘social realities’ were everywhere. This included the idea of urban planning, the form of architecture, the conversation of language and even the appreciation of art. His research supported how either consciously, or unconsciously, we allow these ‘social realities’ to influence and guide our course of being.

Short of it, when building community we are influenced by various social circumstances whether natural, man-made or intellectual.

Our simple Sunday walk is anything but.


‘Social Realities’ Help Define Our ‘Social Space.’

Lefebvre’s thinking takes on a new reality within today’s ‘social space’ – the internet. As Lefebvre states, “‘social space’ is a… part of an interaction between subjects and their surroundings.”

Granted, these traditional ‘surroundings’ have shifted from parks and buildings, to today’s digital ‘social realities’ as Facebook and Google+; as this primal need to belong has no qualms making the jump to cyber space.

University of Colorado’s Associate Professor, Harsha Gangadharbatla, supports this belief as published in the Journal of Interactive Advertising’s, Facebook Me: Collective Self-Esteem, Need to Belong, and Internet Self-Efficacy as Predictors of the iGeneration’s Attitudes towards Social Networking Sites. Under the subhead of Belonging, Mr. Gangadharbatla mirrors Baumeister & Leary’s assessment that the need to belong is based on, ‘Fundamental human motivation that is something all human being possess… To form and maintain the least minimum quantity of lasting, positive and significant interpersonal relationships.’ He goes on to say, “Social networking sites offer a space in which people can address this need to belong by using services provided by the sites that enable conversations and information gathering, along with the possibility of gaining social approval, expressing opinions, and influencing others.”

This does make perfect sense. As social networking sites as Facebook, Google+ are more representative of today’s ‘social realities,’ the ability to arrive at our ‘social space’ is more accessible and immediate. It’s a heck of a lot easier to click and scroll than walk and run.


Is There a ‘Social Space’ For All?

Has mankind achieved its true ‘social space?’ Has this shift to a cyber landscape affected how we continue our need to belong? Does the immensity of our ‘social space’ impede the ability to share, or does it simply speed it up? Is it true that just as we achieve this magnificent ability to connect, others are still unable to complete this basic human need?

Research says, connecting online provides inclusion (circle of friends), affection (loved by these friends – hopefully), and control (over these friends) or the relinquishing there of. These are basic human behaviours for most of us, but what about other human beings that lie outside or reject these basic needs.

Let’s look at diversities. Do they embrace social media to enrich their community and feelings of belonging?

Rebecca Sawyer from the University of Rhode Island offers some thinking in her paper, ‘The Impact of New Social Media on Intercultural Adaption.’ Here she extols the thinking of Devan Rosen of Ithica College and University of Buffalo’s Derek Lackaff where these new media thinkers say, ‘people from individualistic cultures focus on meeting new people rather than maintaining their already existing cultures.’

Sounds about right; being new to a country, you will search for a way to connect that supersedes language and culture. You desperately want to belong in your new country or rejection is soon to come. At the same time, you are able to keep contact with your traditional or existing community.

Digging deeper into social anthropology, Rosen & Lackaff’s findings say, ‘Research shows that people from different cultural backgrounds and gender roles behave and communicate in systematically different ways. Findings suggest that participants who identify with more individualistic backgrounds, tend to self-promote and are better connected and more satisfied with their social lives.’

This is pleasing to hear knowing that social media has allowed new citizens to breakaway from more traditional methods of forming community, so they can be more readily accepted and trusted to belong in their new country.

As social media philosopher Brian Solis mentions, ‘…in short, belonging to a group feels good. It provides support and reinforcement, a strong identity, and a sense that we are part of something…’


Social media marketer Sarah Lee, builds on similar theories in her TedxKalamazoo lecture.


Do All Humans Have the Ability to Belong?

Unfortunately, no.

The result of connecting and sharing within a public, social, personal or intimate space provides only envy and jealousy and ultimately loneliness for some who seek inclusion and cognition. New Yorker Magazine piece by Maria Konnikova, cites various academic studies underscoring how most of us want to belong in a ‘social space’ but provides a directly opposite result. For some, gravitating to this new ‘social space’ has caused only alienation and despair; absolutely no sense of belonging and community.


Allow Social Media To Guide You There.

Now that humans have a better understanding of what to look for when charting our ‘social space,’ we can truly embrace and enjoy our journey. We have the ability to navigate the internet’s many ‘social realities’ towards building and experiencing our need to belong, and the community it brings.

There is no reason to be ‘Lost in Space’ when finding your online place. In the words of Dr. Zackary Smith speaking to his robot, “Now come along with me, you ludicrous lump, there’s much to be done.”

Yes there certainly is.

John K. Bromley

Note by Note, Music is Communicating. Plus 10 Interesting Things of 1990

How music molds our moods and helps provide a common ground to communicate.

There has been no better way to spend the last 15-plus years than understanding, creating and delivering communication and stakeholder strategies. Even in my spare time I will read, watch and listen how folks exchange greetings, information and advice. Yes, there are similarities in how we all communicate and yes, each dependant on various factors as language, geography and culture. All said and done, what’s a person to do when faced with multiple communication barriers? Hand gestures are good. A few grunts can help, but you may find yourself becoming perilously close to insulting your host or community partner. Equally, communicators are faced with very little time to deduce cultural and geographical nuances.

Let’s look into the research behind music and its ability to communicate followed by my own realization how important this lesson is to all communicators.


Altering our Behaviour

Face it. We all love music.

Either cranked and blaring, or soothingly pastoral, our insatiable measure for melody has helped us along the road of life. We have all experienced moments where music has helped form moods beneficial to lifting us out of depression and offering that extra bit of ‘power’ when cleaning the garage. When our own esteem is not enough to change our disposition, we put in the ear buds and let music work.

But hold on, if music is not complex enough, it seems to have the ability to bait more deeper thinking and reflection.

What can be more relaxing than unwinding to Sarah Vaughan’s Misty?

Yes, her flawless cadence and vocal range reduces our stresses, but if we listen carefully to her lyrics, something deeper is at work. Misty actually tells a story of loneliness and love (soon) to be lost – common themes in jazz music. A few minutes later you find yourself relaxed, but a little gloomy.

Is music that powerful to transcend you from relaxation to melancholy?

You bet it does! Music directly communicates particular behaviours clearly and succinctly.

What is it about music that helps to us communicate without ambiguity?

According to Ujfalussy J. of the Institute of Musicology, Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary, his study details a more contextual understanding. He says, ‘It has never been doubted that music is a kind of communication, the mediator of human relationships, but it has been a question what music wants to express.’ 

Makes sense and solid rationale for ‘Misty’ sounding sumptuous upon initial listening but teary eye’d by the end. Has the song communicated what it ‘wants to express’ to me? Ujfalussy goes on to state, ‘simultaneous combinations are suitable for erecting the audible, dynamic models of human relations and types of behaviour.’ If I’m hearing him correctly, this means combining music and lyrics are suitable towards building a sound common to particular types of human relationships and behaviours. Each musical piece, whether with lyrics or not, is directly relatable to many moods and behaviours.

This research is telling us, music and the emotions it brings with it, effectively represents a common vehicle for communication.

Julian Cespedes Guevara at the University of Sheffield, sews this up in saying, ‘…a person has a musical emotion when the changes induced by the music in her core,affect (i.e. her arousal and affective levels) are implicitly “categorized” by the information she has at hand about the about emotions (e.g. the emotional vocabulary of her culture).”

So what Mr. Guevara is saying, its hard-wired into all of us through our individual cultures.

Back to communications management and stakeholder relations, today, many clients are based within diverse communities and strive to bring a ‘common ground’ in order to communicate what is important to them.

Richard D. Lewis in When Cultures Collide, although not directly referencing musical cultures, says, ‘…the behaviours of the members of any cultural group is dependant, almost entirely, on the history of the people in that society…’

Music is indeed a singular platform for exchange between cultures unified by an inherent need to communicate.

Looking back over my life, I was taught this many years ago while tramping across the globe.


Happy #throwbackthursday and the day I clearly understood the power of music and communication.

Napier NZ_FotorDateline: February 1990, Fox Glacier, New Zealand 

Before a career in communications, I travelled the world to find amongst other things –  good and enriching conversation. Don’t get me wrong, food was the main catalyst for leaving, but I always loved people. Travel offered me the agency to explore and comprehend how people in many countries act and react with each other.

It’s 1990, you are young, say pushing mid-thirties; after all being in your mid-thirties equates to mid-twenties – right?

It’s Friday morning and you reference your trusty Lonely Planet ‘yellow bible’ for the first stop on the Indonesian leg. Blankly you stare at the pages with little interest as you are exhausted from day after day of laborious backpacking ritual. Lock your goods, eat your provisions (as sure as heck it will be gone within the hour) and stash your money! Minus a few bucks for snacks and beer. Yup, just one ale tonight as your five month journey has barely cusped the two month mark and money is precious.

By now you are very familiar with all the different languages being spoken at the backpackers but yearn for a conversation with more than one.

An 80 year-old Italian gentleman sits me down at breakfast to inform me, in broken English, ‘You walk five miles a day. You live as long as me!’ Sounds like good advice but others at the table had a hard time with his English and left him half-sentence.

As Germans hung out with Germans, and French hung out with French, I felt a little peeved at them for not trying harder to communicate. His story although fragmented was interesting and lead me to trek the Fox Glacier the next day.

Upon arrival back it was the afternoon and through a sigh I whispered, ‘What will pull me up on this lazy Friday afternoon?’

Then out of the blue there lies a red sun burst no-name 6-string. Duck taped body, worn fret board, mother-of-pearl inlays missing and old – really old – strings. But what the heck, you need a distraction on a long day and you pick it up.

Tuning is relative but if you play loud enough who cares. I had just picked up The Smiths’ Meat is Murder cassette tape and really liked the song, ‘That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore.’ Can’t be that hard to strum on this relic?

 

Thank god for tabs of which my good friend Chris Robinson taught me to use and a couple of G chords later – presto! We’re rocking.

Then a very interesting thing happened. People started to gather around to listen, hum and sing.

This out of tune guitar mixed with a little chord and lyrical improvisation, had produced genuine language parity. A common ground to communicate.

Germans, French, British, Spaniards and Americans joined together and struck down all language barriers with one contemporary song. Some spoke English but all knew the rhymes and rhythms of rock and roll and this popular British band.

Music had eclipsed all languages and offered one unified voice.

Today when working with communities, more times than I can remember, a song will break an initial language barrier and provide a commonality of interest and enjoyment. This doesn’t mean you have to break out in song, but it’s understanding how we use common elements, as music, to bridge language gaps and provide a clear and resonating voice.


The Top 15 Other Happenings in 1990 (2014 realities)

  1. Dow Jones hits record 2,800 Dow Jones average hits a record 2,821.53 (TSX hits >115,500)
  2. Panama’s leader Gen Manuel Noriega surrenders to US authorities (served time and now back in Panama)
  3. China lifts martial law  – imposed after Tiananmen Square massacre (social disobedience still punishable by law)
  4. South Africa says its reconsidering ban on African Natl Congress (ANC continues as a relevant political party)
  5. “Bradys” return to TV for 6 episodes on CBS TV (Really? Cindy is 51!)
  6. Nelson Mandela released after 27 years imprisonment in South Africa (Mandela left us last year)
  7. Angela Bowie reveals that ex husband David slept with Mick Jagger (David is a recluse and Mick is still struttin’)
  8. “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer peaks at #8 (He lives at Oprah’s)
  9. Boris Yeltsin quits Soviet Communist Party (Sadly, in his death, he is a You Tube star)
  10. US, England, France, USSR, East & West Germanys sign agreements allowing 2 Germanys to merge (Roger Waters is still making dough)
  11. “Godfather III” premieres (They keep pulling Al Pacino back!)
  12. Right to Die case permits Nancy Cruzan to have her feeding tube removed, she dies 12 days later (The right to die is not law – yet)
  13. TV movie “Return To Green Acres” airs (is Arnold Siffle starring?)
  14. “In Living Color” premieres on FOX-TV (Is Handycap Man PC?)
  15. Bob Goodenow succeeds Alan Eagleson as NHL players association exec director (Gary Bettman is a mighty mighty man!)

John K. Bromley

Are Community Managers Lobbyists?

This way... please.

This way… please.

Tried and true lobbyist have a new title – Community Manager. Well it’s not really a new title as in the U.S. many community managers are indeed lobbyists, but up here in Canada you can clearly see a transformation of sorts regarding the profession of social media/online community managers.

In his book, Government Relations for Canadian Associations; How to Be the Voice of your Members with Government, public affairs expert Huw Williams explains,

‘The internet is revolutionizing the way the public interacts with government… Associations are putting detailed advocacy positions online… available to anyone including government policy decision makers.’

Huw goes on to say how technology has made policy development a much more open and available forum to discuss or argue when developing positions and association goals. Thanks to the availability of online tools and channels, lobbyists can now successfully tweet a position statement tied back to an e-book detailing the statement paper on which the position was gleaned from. How about posting a ‘brief’ on a constituent’s Facebook page? Don’t forget to cut and paste a press release on a community blog. Let’s hold a good old Town Hall – online of course.

Welcome to public affairs and building affiliations in 2014. Sound familiar? It should. After all, are affiliations not communities?

In my research, the advancement of today’s online or social media community manager is focused on much of the same. The prospecting, initial development and shepherding of key influencers to gain opinion or behavioural change on behalf of their client’s needs. Done by working with other aligned professionals towards developing strategic plans to execute a public relations and communications campaign. Marketing Magazine columnist Russ Martin reports in October of 2013,

‘Today smart, forward-leaning brands have brought on qualified community managers with backgrounds in digital marketing, public relations and communications.’

Arguably, their accountability will lie in social media key performance indicators but still use traditional lobbyist methods when developing and fostering communities towards advancing policy or gain.

Wether a theocracy or democracy, community leaders have always used communities and groups to advance their cause. Why is today any different.

What are your thoughts? Let me know on my blog : www.jbromcom.com