Don’t Hold Charlotte Back: Erase the Good Ol’ Boy Network

As an outside observer, I have been watching Charlotte’s economy for a while. From the banking industry, to construction, to consulting, and to politics, Charlotte’s economic community is as diverse as it is difficult, and as dynamic as it is comedic. Let me explain further.

“It’s not what you know but who know” as the old adage goes. Like I said, I am an outsider, and never have I seen such a “Good Ol’ Boy” (G.o.B.) network. For one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, does it really matter who is related to who, what the last name of that person is, and what their grand daddy did for a living? So one of Charlotte’s sons has a business, other businesses are going to be shunned out because the owner’s roots aren’t kin? Now, in few situations, that doesn’t bother me. What I think is appalling is that a majority of Charlotte’s economic community is like that, and NO ONE says anything. Sure, some people might whisper it during lunch, or IM it to each other across the office, but really? I thought that kind of network was dead and gone. Not yet.

Charlotte is experiencing growing pains, that much is clear. What isn’t clear is how much of that pain is self-induced.

For example, if the political powers-that-be finally realize that green technology is not only better for the environment, but better for the city, jobs will grow and Charlotte could be the green technology hub in the southeast. If those same powers agreed that the light rail is actually a huge success, it can lay down the foundation of a highly efficient public transportation system; and Charlotte could pass Atlanta in as little as three years as one of the South’s best cities.

And what about Charlotte’s nightlife? The G.o.B. network is holding that back from growing as well. If those responsible for bringing in musicians, artists, comedians, etc. treated the talent with any sense of decency, those performers would come by the hordes to the Queen City. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of supporting the lesser known performers, but you have to bring headliners for those lesser known to be discovered. Let some events be held later in the evening. Allow a few nightclubs to stay open later. I’m not saying that Charlotte has to stay up all night, but she should be allowed that option. Give Charlotte some breathing room; don’t strap a strangling electric collar around her neck. Don’t act like it is a privilege for performers to come and visit Charlotte; we should be thanking them for helping our city grow.

I am not bashing cliques. In many cases, cliques are good- they establish a sense of identity and those within the group create roles and a little society. But for a city like Charlotte to grow, I recommend that we abandon the G.o.B. clique and create a New Charlotte clique; a clique that recognizes that growth and innovation, the acceptance of non-conventional ideas and the willingness to get out of this “old south” comfort zone will make the city more prosperous than we can imagine.

If not, we can just carry on with this good ol’ boy nonsense, and those with big ideas and big hopes will leave the city and Charlotte will be that “city-that-could-have-been.”

And who is to say that those Good Ol’ Boys don’t want that? Actions speak louder than words.

Reading Ruins the Mind….

Haha, just kidding.

One of my favorite hobbies is reading. Nothing is better than having a hot cup of coffee, a nice warm blanket and a book all at your fingertips (not at the same time, naturally).

The book that has had my attention for the past month is William Bonner’s book, Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets: How to Avoid the Public Spectacle. What a read! Absolutely exhilarating. If you enjoy a mix of sarcasm, economics, marketing added with a twist of bashing Mr. Thomas Friedman, you won’t be able to put this literary work down.

I love a book that lets me know that there are in fact smart people in the world.

My advice to all “business” people out there. Pick up the book, read it, and love it.

Cheers!

Challenging Our Current World

“Don’t Bite the Hand that Feeds You”- True, I certainly won’t bite the hand, but I would certainly warn the hand to getting too close and comfortable to a full set of teeth.

“Don’t Count Your Chickens Until They Hatch”- Unless you sell the eggs before they hatch, then you’re guaranteed a 100 percent return. Who ever said the egg was more or less valuable than the chicken?

“A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush”- But if you own the bush too, you have three birds. Therefore, economically speaking, you have a total value of four birds.

“Keep Your Friends Close, and Your Enemies Closer”- Questionable. Why must your enemies be so close? If you have good friends, shouldn’t they have your back as well? And what exactly are you doing so well/poorly that you have enemies? One should even have competitors on a cordial level. Bad blood is unnecessary.

“Hell Hath no Fury like a Woman’s Scorn”- Have you ever seen TWO pissed off women? What do we call that? Surely that’s not foreign territory. Unless, those who’ve seen it refuse to talk about it, or is not around to tell the tale.

“The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree”- Surely it should! If the seeds end up in the ground and another tree begins to grow, then the roots of both the trees will suffer. The tree should send the apple as far as possible so they both receive enough nutrients to flourish. That’s just a dumb phrase.

“All Publicity is Good Publicity”- Right, and I’m sure getting caught beating your spouse and having the news spread across the nation will improve your image. Again, a phrase that is out-dated and not thought out.

“Better to ask for Forgiveness than for Permission”- So I sent an email to over 1,000 people under your name, and forgot to take that pornographic link out. Sorry?

“Just Do It”- Make sure they’re of age first.

“The Sky is the Limit”- Not with jetpacks.

“Shoot for the Moon, and if you miss, you’ll land among the Stars”- Really? And settle for second place? Is that what schools are teaching our next generation? If you want the Moon, you get the Moon.

No matter how silly it may be, no progress can be made unless conformity and our current world is challenged.

Mainstream Marketing America isn’t Listening? Join a (Marketing) Cult

There are cult movies. There are cult musicians. And of course, there are those infamous, elixir drinking, pill-popping, religious groups. But now ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you- a marketing cult.

A marketing cult isn’t that bad, who knows, it may be the exact thing you’re looking for. Avoid this mainstream garbage and interact with this small group of people that share the same idea. The same people that believe the current leaders of communications are on the decline. The same people that believe new communications and techniques can’t come unless there are new ideas and new people. The same people that believe this whole politically correct phase is disgusting, and love controversy, open communication, and the weird and whacky.

Join the marketing cult.

Come to the organization where the only brainwashing is providing you the ability to communicate to whomever, wherever and however you want. No politics in this group. Want to offend someone? Please do, as long as it’s the truth, this cult won’t stop you. In fact, we’ll do our best to support you. Hell, we’ll even dare you.

I know that Mainstream Marketing America doesn’t accept you. When you want to do something innovative, or change a company’s mission, they just brush you off, don’t they? Some may even say nasty things like “our model has worked for decades,” or “nice thought, we’ll keep that in mind,” and even “there’s no way to measure it; it doesn’t provide any value.” We understand that we have an uphill battle to fight. You are not alone.

Join the marketing cult.

But sometimes you sense hope, right? You find someone who proclaims change and innovation, genius and no-holds-barred tactics. Only to realize that you’ve been tricked into the same old, traditional communications models. Or you meet those “thought leaders” that are honestly trying to implement change, but refuse those who represent the change to take the lead. Have no fear, we’re here to fix that.

This marketing cult represents the newest wave of marketing communications. A wave that will not rise above the noise, but will be the noise. Some trends fade out as quickly as they shined through. Unfortunately for those “thought” leaders that believe that, they are sadly mistaken. This is not just a wave, but a movement. Either join the marketing cult-the new minds of marketing communications- or be moved out of the way.

Join the marketing cult.

A Lesson: Why the U.S. Govt. is Horrible at P.R.

As we begin pounding the path towards a career in communications, we learn about the several audiences an effective communicator must reach and persuade.

First, the internal audience.
Then, the external audience.

When the theory relates to goverment, the words turn from “internal audience” to “the public” and the “external audience” to “the world” or other “sovereign nations.”

I am not touching the external audience segment, we all know too well what grade the United States would receive. Apparently school doesn’t matter much to these folks…and there’s the problem.

If the U.S. wants to be successful in winning the PR battle at home, then it needs to beef up the civics, government and social sciences in the classroom. In short, the U.S. is failing miserably in upholding one of the most fundamental institutions that “americanize” its citizens.

For example, in school, if I was required to know the first 100 words in the Declaration of Independence, the opening for the Constitution, and a brief history of the wars America has been in, and repeat that for a few years, wouldn’t I be more likely to be more patriotic than someone that knows nothing about our government?

Wouldn’t people be much nicer to the French, knowing that without them, the American Revolution would have been lost?

Wouldn’t people be more accepting to immigration reform, knowing that NONE OF US actually have roots here?

Because there are so many different and conflicting messages going around the education system, no wonder people in these times have little to no loyalty to Brand America. I would never support something I knew nothing about.

People are living in America who have trouble naming all 50 states, the three branches of government, and the past 10 Presidents.

And then America expects people to simply rank-and-file when the time comes? Really?

It really sucks when your own policies bite you back, doesn’t it? Karma gets everyone sooner or later.

Focus on Your Business! Let Us Do the ‘Dirty’ Work!

As an “up and coming” business partner, I now understand how freaking difficult it is to juggle everything at once. Here are a few things that can run through a business owner’s head at one time:

-Are my partners happy?
-Are my employees happy?
-Is my business following the federal guidelines? If I get hit owing the govt money, I’ll be furious.
-Will I hit my sales forecast?
-How much of my liabilities can I pay off?
-How much can I leverage my business before I get in deep?
-When will my business break-even? Get debt-free?
-When can I do what I want to do with my business, instead of what I have to do?

Notice what takes a back seat- your business’ marketing and communications. If you have to concentrate building capital and increasing your revenue by going out, wining and dining clients, and then going back to the office and actually do work, of course polishing your organization’s image will be second tier.

Get an agency to do your marketing and communications. In one of my previous posts, I outlined the benefits of not throwing away your marketing. Now I’m showing you how you can keep your marketing, and work on your business.

Agencies, whether they are a concentrated practice or an integrated one, can let you outsource your communications, and leave you all alone in your office so you can do what you were born to do. And plus, if you get a great agency, its efforts will keep you in the office- because you’ll be busy with new clients!

Now Watch Our Government Unravel on Twitter! Woohoo

I love social media.

I thought the day that Congress and our lawmakers would use social media would never come. Oh how I have wished-nay, prayed- for this moment!

From Congressmen having YouTube videos, to twittering during President Obama’s speech, seeing our lovable and dysfunctional group of leaders incorporate social and new media makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

So now the question is raised: will new and social media progress or hinder the legislative process? In my opinion, it would depend on how one looks at it.

On one end, incorporating this new technology will far improve two-way dialogue between an elected official and their constituents (with the assumptions the official will read all the feedback, and that the constituents care enough to even reach out) and therfore propose laws that actually help people (and therefore secure votes for re-election).

 

On the other end, this is a representative republic, therefore meaning that the elected official is empowered to do whatever they themselves feel is right for their district, so is all this attention on new media even necessary? Shouldn’t officials spend less time on making cool videos to post on their facebook profiles, and more time making our country the best place to live in? In that case, if they feel like more time is necessary on new technology, perhaps we are asking the wrong questions.

Maybe the real question is: what is more important to you, Congressman: making the country safe and prosperous, or showcasing the awesome media tools you have at your disposal to get attention –> to get bodies –> that’ll give you votes–> that will keep your power-hungry toosh in office?

Come on. It’s almost the same reason people use facebook. Make a cool profile (and either a funny or wise status update) add almost everyone you know so you look cool and connect with other cool people (I know this…I DID this!).

So adding these new media tools to the arsenal is nothing but an attempt to win votes for election. Besides, those constituents that actually contact their representatives via those tools, are the ones who will be voting anyway. The passive political audience is huge, and no matter how catchy your twitter message is, they STILL won’t vote for you. Unless its a facebook application.

Thoughts?