MAD Perspectives Blog

Women Inspiring Women

Peggy Dau - Friday, September 30, 2011

Next week I will be participating in the Women's International Networking (W.I.N.) conference in Rome.  I'm excited to be joining 950 talented women from enterprise, non-profit and entrepreneurial businesses.    The goal of the conference is to empower, develop and connect leaders with a feminine, authentic and global vision. I am pleased to be part of a forum of women sharing their experiences in defining the "Future Room".

What is the "Future Room".  At the moment I can only speak for myself as I won't hear comments from my colleagues until next Thursday.  For me, the future was defined as I left HP 2-1/2 years ago.  My future leveraged many of the business practices I learned at HP - business planning, unique uses of technology, managing customer relationships, business development, clarity of communication.  My business today helps companies plan and identify their use of digital media to tell their corporate story.  It helps individuals amplify their reputation as it relates to their business.

The path to what the business is today was not a straight line, but I found clarity by listening to signals from those around me.  I navigated choppy waters by finding balance in how I pursued business and provided value. I'm eager to hear how other women have succeeded in attaining their goals.  This conference is social networking in the traditional manner, meeting colleagues face to face.  I'll be posting comments from the conference using the social networks that have become so pervasive.

Stay tuned!


Social Media Disrupting Broadcast News?

Peggy Dau - Thursday, September 22, 2011

Social media has been at the forefront of many major events over the past few years. Flight 1549 landing on the Hudson River, the Arab uprisings this past spring, Hurricane Irene's path up the U.S. east coast are just a few. Some might argue that social media has displaced broadcast news as the primary source for immediate news.  They may be right, especially if thinking about the youth audience.  However, broadcast news is not in competition with social media, they are incorporating social media into all aspects of their operations.  The important factor for both social media outlets and broadcast news is that - news is immediate!

Newsrooms recognize this and are leveraging social media for news gathering, public opinion and new content.  Many newsrooms, such as the BBC, have implemented User Generated Content teams to monitor, validate and incorporate news generated on social sites to complement their broadcasts.  Differentiating between fact, fiction, rumor and speculation are the challenges of social news gathering.  (Just consider today's rumors about the potential replacement of HP CEO Leo Apotheker with HP Board Member and former EBay CEO) Meg Whitman.  Newsrooms around the globe are monitoring and listening to online and social news outlets not only to gather news, but to understand how their own news is being received and interpreted.  Social media can provide them with guidance on how to present news, while still maintaining journalistic integrity.

The other opportunity social media presents to broadcasters is the ability to distribute their content to a wider audience, that may not watch their scheduled broadcasts.  In fact, many premium news outlets, such as CNN or the BBC,  recognize the different characteristics of those watching their broadcasts vs. consuming news online vs. following them on Twitter or Facebook.  The ability to share news directly and indirectly (as happens in the social arena) provides news organizations with greater influence.  That influence comes with an ongoing responsibility for impartiality, truth in reporting and meaningful storytelling. 

News content will never go away.  News is now available via apps on your tablet on smartphone.  These devices will again create incremental impact in the presentation of news, if not the actual content.  News will continue to be immediate and relevant because of its immediacy.  News gathering organizations will not disappear as long as they continue to evolve and capitalize on the complementary nature of social and whatever comes next.

What's your perspective?

Is Your TV Connected and Why Should You Care?

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September has been all about IBC for me for the past 10 years. In light of the dynamic nature of the broadcast industry and its influence on our daily lives, this is my second of three blogs that will examine the intersection of the Internet, Social Media and TV.

Connected TV has been a growing conversation over the past few years.  At the most simplistic level, Connected TV means that most new TVs have an internet connection.  At a more complex level, it's interesting to think about what that internet connection brings to the table.  Business models shift, new content providers emerge and consumer interaction increases. Connected TV merges what have been called the "lean forward" PC experience and the "lean back" TV experience.

The manner in which we consume broadcast content has been changing dramatically since the 1990s.  Cable television change the model, here in the U.S., forever.  We were OK with the concept of paying for access to wider range of content.  The Internet introduced us to online content and while porn and sports paved the way for meaningful online revenue models, we did not enjoy this content in our comfy living rooms.  IPTV shifted the landscape once again, with telcos able to offer television services on par with and competitive to services provided by Cable and Satellite Operators.  We also got used to watching our favorite programs on our schedule, not the broadcasters schedule, thanks to VCRs, TiVO and DVRs.

Now we have connected TV, meaning that content destined for the PC via a broadband connection can now be delivered to your TV.  However, what is more likely to happen is the emergence of apps on your TV screen.  The iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad have forever changed our expectations of how we will access content.  Pay a reasonable fee (or nothing!), download the app onto your device and enjoy the content of your choice.  Broadcast program schedules and content available as an app - imagine that!  I actually like the idea of doing away with tiered payment programs and moving to an a la carte menu represented as apps.  I'm happy to pay $1.99 for the USA network programs.  Now, take the next small step and imagine the value to advertisers.  Real, meaningful insight into who watches each network and its programs.  Add in, social media integration and Nielsen ratings will seem archaic.

Vendors are already lining up to enable the development and delivery of apps to television manufacturers.  At this year's IBC, Cisco was a premier sponsor of the Connect World Zone and hosted a discussion called "Lessons Learned:  Implementing New Business Models".  Here are a few tidbits that reinforce the shift in digital video and online content:

     - By 2014, each home will be receiving video on an average 10 screens (e.g., TV, tablet, smartphone)

     - Broadband will see a 4x increase in speed allowing even faster connections

     - More non-media content will be available from traditional and non-traditional sources

A slew of vendors made announcements in the past month highlighting their capabilities for Connected TV.  The initial focus is to enable the representation of content as an app and get that app on all Internet enabled TVs.  The battle is on to see who will dominate the the operating systems of these TVs.  Watch closely to see which partnerships are announced and what new products emerge.

How do you want to access and consume content?  Will Angry Birds fly onto the Big Screen?  Yes!  Are you already a dual screen household, meaning you watch TV while also consuming content on your tablet or smartphone?  I know I do.

What's your perspective?

TV - it's More Social Than You Realize!

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, September 07, 2011

September has been all about IBC for me for the past 10 years.  In light of the dynamic nature of the broadcast industry and its influence on our daily lives, my next few blogs will examine the intersection of the Internet, Social Media and TV.


IBC is underway, this week, in Amsterdam.  The intersection of social media, Over-the-Top TV (OTT), and Broadcast TV are some of the hot topics being discussed.  Social TV is a term that has risen to the forefront in the 2-3 years, especially since it was named as a top 10 trend to watch in MIT’s 2010 Technology Review.  You may be wondering, what is social TV?  Hasn’t TV been social for years?  Yes, it has.  Social TV, today, is the technology that supports online social interaction in the context of watching TV or influencing TV viewer behavior.

Two years ago, at IBC, I noticed that many of the TV middleware vendors (those vendors who provide the applications that manage your subscriptions, on-demand content, channel guide and other applications viewed on your TV screen) were presenting demos of Facebook and Twitter integrations.  They showed how you could view a Facebook or Twitter feed onscreen while watching programs.  You would be able to connect to your social networks and share content while watching the program.

Today, the goal is not necessarily to communicate on your TV screen.  The increased use and adoption of smartphones has given rise to mobile social networking while watching our favorite TV programs.  New technologies from Miso or TVGenius provide integrations between access devices simplifying sharing and receiving content recommendations.  In short, technologies are emerging that mimic old school water cooler conversations.  In addition, companies like Bluefin Labs are collecting and correlating statistics about which programs are discussed most frequently on popular social networks.   It adds another dimension to the concept of Nielsen ratings.  In turn, digital agencies like Razorfish, use this data to identify which programs and which time slots show high social influence.  Broadcasters are using the data to refine the programming decisions.

We’ve been multitasking while watching TV for years.  Now we have the ability to multitask, share our opinions about the programs we watch and potentially influence the schedule, the advertising, the outcome of the plot.  Are you wondering what programs are the most social?  The recent MTV Video Music Awards currently ranks as the most social program with 1.2 million comments shared by 559,000 people.  Other highly social programs, as measured by the volume of social activity, are Glee and The Voice.  The most social TV network as I write this blog, per, is MLB.

Social TV has the ability to change how networks develop their programming and how, when and where brands advertise.  Are you social when watching TV?  Let me know!  If you are at IBC (sadly I am not attending this year), please let me know what you learn about Social TV!

What’s your perspective?

Social Media Lessons from Hurricane Irene

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Those of us here on the east coast just spent the weekend tracking Hurricane Irene.  Thanks to a wide variety of communications tools, no one was in any doubt as to the potential damage that Irene could cause.  I followed the storm on local news, Twitter and Facebook.  However, the lessons from Irene lie in the planning. 

The good thing, if there is a good thing, about a hurricane - is that you know it is coming.  Unlike an earthquake or a tornado, it does not pop up out of nowhere and wreak terrible havoc.  We are able to track and predict the track of a hurricane.  as a result, we can prepare for its arrival.  This may mean boarding up windows, storing lawn furniture and potted plants in a garage, stocking up on emergency supplies or evacuating low lying areas.

How do you plan for social media emergencies?  Can you see them coming?  Are there early warning signals or do they just crop up?  I think it's a little bit of both.  If you are really listening to your customers, there are likely conversations indicating some level of customer dissatisfaction that could become a high visibility emergency, unless steps are taken to address the issue(s).  However, sometimes a product or service simply doesn't meet customer expectations and they choose to become extremely vocal about it.  This is something that is much easier to do in today's world of social media.

So, how do you plan for a social media emergency?  Here are 4 tips:

1) Develop an emergency response plan

Identify what warrants an emergency.  One negative comment may not be an emergency.  If it is a comment that spreads widely, that may be an emergency.  Identify an escalation path so that your social media team, large or small, understands the steps to take in the event of an emergency.  They should understand how to respond, or not respond, who to contact and where to find more information

2) Communicate

The key to handing any emergency, is to communicate both internally and externally.  Sometimes the best plan is to get ahead of the emergency.  Address problems pragmatically.  Provide a lot of relevant information.  Proactively inform your audience as to where they can find core documents, customer forums, product insights or answers to FAQs.  Educate your employees on the locations of this same information. 

3) Keep a positive attitude

Maintain an open mind and don't become defensive.  Social media is about open, transparent communication.  The best outcome is that you gain an understanding of the source of your customer's frustration and define a real solution. If your customer doesn't feel that you are listening or caring about their emergency, you may end up with a bigger emergency on  your hands

4) Test your options

Develop use cases of customer emergencies.  Consider how you would respond to each of the situations.  Go crazy and think way outside the box.  The issue you never imagined is the one you need to plan for.  Even if you don't come up with the emergency anticipated, at lease you will have thought through a variety of response options that could help you.

None of us want to experience a social media emergency, but the odds are in favor of a few occurring.  As you develop your social media strategy, be sure to consider your emergency response plan and be prepared.  You will find your emergencies much less frightening and may even look forward to the information you will gain.

What's your perspective?

HP's Tug of War

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, August 24, 2011

(caveat:  I am a former HP employee.  The comments below do not reflect any official opinion from HP)

The big news last week was HP's announcement that it MIGHT spin-off its PC business.  It is assumed that this is in response to the appalling sales of the HP TouchPad.  But can the failure of a single, albeit significant, product launch incite the sale of a multi-billion dollar business?  Sure, tablets are replacing laptops in the consumer space.  Why?  Because they are easy to use and enable the consumer to easily find and access the content they desire through the use of apps.

However, HP's PC business is about more than the consumer.  PCs are still used by businesses large and small.  It's not that enterprise workers don't carry a tablet, but ask them how they use it and most will answer that it's great for email and sharing content in the form of a presentation or demos.  But it is not for managing day to day business (i.e., ERP, Supply Chain, RFPs, financial management, etc.)  HP's commercial PC business is thriving and profitable.  In fact, in its recent earnings announcement, HP revealed that revenue from its commercial PC business increased by 9%.

So why all the negativity in the press?  In my opinion, HP's in a persistent state of tug of war - with the many markets it plays in, with its competitors and most importantly with itself.  The market's disappointment is due to several factors. 

1)  HP confuses the market.  It does not easily fit into a single category.  It is both a commercial business and consumer business.  The business models are quite different for each of these markets. While HP enjoys great leverage (call it buying power in the supply chain) due to its wide array for products using Intel, Microsoft and other core technologies, the ultimate use of the resulting products is quite different.

2) HP has an identity crisis.  What does HP want want to be?  Are we the leading provider of PCs and printers or are we a solutions provider to the enterprise?  I can only assume that the difference, between the consumer marketing budget and the enterprise marketing budget, is
dramatic and widely in favor of the consumer budget.  Does HP want to be about price or value?  IT hardware is a commodity business.  Only volume can make it viable.  That was the route pursued by former CEO, Mark Hurd.  Now, Leo Apotheker wants HP to become a software & services company.  And with each new CEO, the plan changes and Board of Directors approves it.  In the social media arena, we talk about identity.  I'm not sure I'd know where to start with HP anymore.

3) HP's intentions are unclear.  Never has this been more true.  The launch and subsequent cancelation of the TouchPad and WebOS is a complete debacle.  HP needs a cohesive strategy that is cut s across all business units.  If that strategy cannot be supported by a business group due to lack of logical alignment, then it might make sense to offload that business group.  For example, if it is HP's LONG TERM (not 3, 6 or 12 months) intention to become a leader in cloud computing and enterprise software, they must align all efforts around that strategy.  HP printers support this strategy with their ePrint capabilities.  Perhaps there is a play for WebOS within this strategy.  Does the Autonomy acquisition support this strategy?  If not, they should forget about overpaying (they've already done that in the past - remember Compaq?).

HP must learn how to communicate.  I worked at HP for 24 years.  I always laughed off HP's appalling attempts at external communication.  Somehow customers were faithful to HP regardless of their communication skills.  However, the world has changed.  The financial markets are demanding.  The need for clarity, consistency and measurable results is a basic requirement, not only to appease the market but to serve customers with excellent products, solutions and services.  Change is painful.  Change is constant.  In my early days at HP, former-CEO John Young had a poster distributed to all offices.  It stated something like "change is constant for technology to evolve, if you cannot keep up with the pace of change you are in the wrong industry."

Like others commenting on this recent news, I would like to see HP pull itself up by the bootstraps.  I would like HP to remember its roots of innovation.  I would like to see HP plan for the long term and execute against the short term tactics that will achieve the long term goal.  HP may not be as exciting as Facebook, Google or Apple, but it can be relevant.  It simply must make a decision about who it wants to be than JUST DO IT (thanks Nike!). Good Luck HP!

What's your perspective?

Live Your Life!

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'm enjoying vacation this week visiting friends and family.  However, we do live in a connected world and I like to stay in touch with the news.  I've seen the big news of the week about Google's proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility.  I'm sure this will be analyzed to death for weeks and months to come.  I do find it very interesting, but the article that has really caught my attention was on  Employees Bid Farewell to Corporate America.  This is the story of my journey these last 28 months!

I lived in Corporate America for 24+ years.  I evolved through several different roles, business groups and management styles.  I traveled around the world and learned how to do business in different cultures.  It was a fabulous experience, until it wasn't.  Like the individuals in the CNBC article, I lost my passion for the job and the company.  It's funny to say you are 'in love' with a company but I felt that I had fallen out of love with my employer of 24 years. 

The benefit was that the company had taught me how to manage a business, network to learn, grow a business and listen closely to identify opportunities.  I was exposed to a wide range of digital media which incited a long term interest in emerging media solutions.  At the same time, social networking went mainstream - meaning there were new opportunities for learning. In embracing social media, I found a new passion that isn't directly about social media, but it's about how social media enables a new level of communication. 

It's almost 2 years since I launched MAD Perspectives and this article reminds me why I'm an independent consultant in a down economy:

     - I have discovered new passions that had gotten lost in Corporate America.  These passions are the foundation of my business - helping companies tell their story using different communication platforms from analog to digital, especially digital.

     - I have freedom to define my day.  Since I tend to be a bit of a workaholic the business does not suffer when I choose to enjoy a yoga class or an early morning kayak paddle.  I work the hours necessary to build the business and fulfill my obligations to clients.  I am happy and providing value. 

     - I provide value, everyday, to individuals and businesses helping them tell their stories leveraging experiences from Corporate America and the new technologies of today's social communities.  The focus, in the social arena, on authenticity and value is very aligned with my personal mantra.  I am thrilled to pursue business activities every day that allow me to work on projects that excite me.

What is great about your life?  What is missing in your life?  Take the time to think about it.  One aspect of my business is assisting business teams in defining their value for clients.  The process involves taking a step back and understanding how individual careers evolved.  The resulting revelations identify core business ethics, drivers and values.  Live your life according to these values.  Find your passion and work at something you love!

What's your perspective?

What Does Your LinkedIn Profile Say About You?

Peggy Dau - Thursday, August 11, 2011

i'm currently helping a business consulting business complete a 360º view of their consultants.  Given that their consultants are their key assets, my goal is to make sure that clients understand the value these consultants provide.  We are doing this using LinkedIn. 

As is the case with many happily employed individuals, they probably have a LinkedIn account and profile.  However, they have not taken the time to develop a robust, meaningful view of their capabilities.  Many users of LinkedIn see it simply as a platform for storing contact details or job hunting.  In fact, it is much more.

LinkedIn is your opportunity to share your value with prospective clients, colleagues and employers.  There are few meetings that occur these days where the participants have not checked each other out on LinkedIn.  In fact, a colleague shared a story about his high school age son who is caddying at the local golf course this summer.  His son is checking out the individuals for whom is caddying before he heads out to the course.  This gives him some insight which allows him to introduce conversation of interest to the golfers.  Guess what the end result is?  Bigger tips!

As I work with clients on their profiles, we are seeking ways to amplify their value.  This can be done through development of an interesting summary, calling out key traits and behaviors that differentiate the individual.  In addition, profiles include the ability to reflect links to key pages within corporate websites, online videos, blogs or publications.  Of course, one of the best ways to validate your capabilities is through recommendations.  The best example I've seen is a colleague who invited many of his connections to provide recommendations.  He was shocked by the overwhelming response.  He was able to win recommendations from teammates, managers, colleagues in different organizations, business partners, and most impressively, competitors!  This says a lot about his style of doing business!

In addition, LinkedIn enables you to join groups which show your areas of interest, list specialties or outside interests, which help those searching for key capabilities.  Or, select from a group of apps such as Tripit, or Amazon to share other aspects of your professional life.  You decide what represents your value.  You decide how to organize it on your profile page.  This is your profile. 

Business is about relationships.  People want to business with people they know and trust.  How about using LinkedIn to speed up the process of getting to know each other?  Share your interests, value and capabitilities.  It is your opportunity to shine!

What's your perspective?

Energize your Enterprise Video Strategy

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Are you using video to share your company story?  I hope so!  Video is more memorable than thousands of  tweets or daily blogs or superbly written collateral.  Video is your opportunity to put a face on your organization and share compelling content.  What makes content compelling?  It's all in how the message is delivered.  Is the speaker confident and authentic?  Does he or she have a passion for the topic?  Are they sharing information that is meaningful to you - the viewer?

I am huge fan of video communications, whether it takes the form of a webcast, video conference or viral video.  In any form, a well thought out video tells a story in way that online words cannot match.  Coming from the high tech industry, I've been lucky to be exposed to all forms of video communication.  I have experience the high-end telepresence style video conferencing as well as the ad hoc services such as Skype.  I have seen live executive town hall meetings and taped product launch announcements.  Across the board, video is becoming a required form of communicaiton.

Two weeks ago, Konitiki and BT Conferencing hosted a webinar "Future Proof your Video Communication Strategy".  They discussed key technology elements for a successful strategy, including :

     - video production
     - signal origination
     - signal acquistion
     - encoding formats
     - operating systems
     - viewing devices
     - content delivery networks
     - managed event services

These elements are important and can make or break a successful video event.  However, even more important is the development of the content itself.  I was speaking to the team at Mad Bear Productions, who focus on a different aspect of video communication - that of creating and telling your story.  Their value is in helping you understand what story you are trying to tell - then humanizing that story.  What does this mean?  It means developing a storyboard that draws your audience to your brand by allowing passionate, yet professional, employees to represent the brand.  Think about:
    - who you want watching your video
    - what message do they need to hear (not the same as what you want to say!)
    - how and where will they consume your content (in the office, on a mobile device, live or on-demand, alone or with others)

Then consider how you're going to inform them about the video.  will you use email?  Internal announcements?  Or, how about integrating soci al media and attracting a wider audience through the use of Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn?  If the video is available on-demand, consider distributing it via YouTube or Vimeo.  There are more outlets than ever for reaching your audience. 

Storytelling is an art.  Video is a technology.  Enterprise video communication needs to bring these two perspectives together to share a message that is meaningful and make it accessible to the desired audience.  When you're developing your video communication strategy, don't forget that all perspectives must be addressed!

What's your perspective?

Are Your Customers Helping You Innovate?

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Innovation - the magic word that inspires loyalty, adoption and disruption. It drives loyalty by employees to develop market shifting product and services.  It invites users to try a new way to address existing problems. It shifts the market landscape by providing a friendlier, smarter, cheaper or faster solution. Many consider the televison to be the greatest innovation of the 20th century.  In general, Apple is the company that comes to mind today, when considering innovation. They changed the way we buy and consume music through the introduction of ITunes and the iPod. What was so innovative about the service and the device? Ease of use. Apple was laser focused on the customer experience.

Other companies have been known for innovation (Google, IBM, Microsoft, Ford, GE, Facebook). Many continue to be innovators while others have become followers.  It's not easy to maintain a culture of innovation.  R&D budgets can be costly and don't always show significant ROI, at least not in the short term.  Subsequently these budgets shrink and grow as does the economy.  Is there a way to drive innovation in a more cost effective way?  One option is to leverage the collective intelligence and innovative spirit of the general marketplace.  Many would call this customer driven innovation.

This is not a new thought.  However, in today's social world, there are new ways to invite your customers to help you drive innovation of new products, services and business models. Social networks provide a new channel of communication with customers.  Whether you are interacting with them directly or they are talking about your company, product or industry with others, they are sharing their needs and concerns.  It's up to you to channel this intelligence.

A commonly referenced story is that of Dell and its customer support challenges.  Poor Dell, they had a great business model for quickly delivering customer defined PCs to their customers.  However, if that customer had a problem, they could rot in "Dell Hell" forever.  Dell used social media to encourage their customers to share their concerns.  Dell was overwhelmed with data, but turned around and asked these same customers to help them prioritize their needs.  This helped Dell to address the most important challenges first, with a significant improvement in their customer support model and ultimately, customer satisfaction.

How can your company use social media to drive innovation? As always, start with your business goals.  What are you trying to innovate?  Are you responding to customer satisfaction issues?  Are you hoping to launch a new product?  Have you disrupted your market and need to continue doing so?  Once you've define your goals, think about the pros and cons of crowdsourcing ideas.  The number one concern is that everyone will know what is being said.  Their is NO privacy in the social arena.

However, companies can invite debate on product initiatives.  They can discuss product features and the needs of their customers related to the product and its functionality.  Customer feedback can help prioritize the introduction of new features.  Customer comments can help improve online customer support and align support organizations to the real needs of their customers.  By using social monitoring tools, companies can quickly see market trends. 

Remember, social media happens in real-time.  Traditional market research, while valuable, is based on historical data.  Social networks are capturing conversations that reflect the current and immediate needs of your customers.  Your opportunity is to act quickly enough to deliver the solution that meets their needs.

In following the tech space, I'm saddened to see the news of Nokia's coming demise.  They provided my first mobile phone.  It was utterly reliable and easy to use.  Then there is the news of RIM's layoffs. The Blackberry was THE market changing device that created an expectation for 24x7 connectivity for business professionals.  when was the last time Hewlett-Packard, the Silicon Valley stalwart, announced something earth shaking?  Remember, this is the company that changed enterprise and consumer printing forever.  They led the UNIX charge which enabled companeis to consider viable alternatives to large mainframe computers.

I wonder, are these companies paying attention to their customers' real needs?  If so, perhaps they would still be considered innovators.  If you want to innovate, pay attention to your customers.  They are online and they are not shy.  Leverage the power of social media to help you innovate the next big thing!

What's your perspective?