Friday, March 30, 2007

Are you a Conversation Architect?

David Armano gave a presentation at MarketingProfs Thursday, March 29, 2007. He blogs a bit about how he felt following the talk here. My feeling is he's a bit tough on himself. I understand we all have communication preferences. We all feel there are arenas where we are more effective. But I feel he pulled together an enormous amount of information. He stated it clearly. I'm not sure you can ask for much more. Embedded below are the slides he used - courtesy of Slide Share where you might be able to see the text a little better.

First off, let me say David, Mack Collier, and Gavin Heaton are the triumvirate that nudged me into this "blogging" thing. To varying degrees they move me along. (Here's where I always stumble - by rights every one of you who visit here are the ones nudging me along - it's beyond humbling). I'd like to capsulize the main ideas of David's emerging media conversation that effected me the most.

The obvious - and foremost - thing for us to remember is we serve people. Whatever our vocation, calling, job, gig - call it what you will - if we are not putting people first - it won't work. We might call them customer, consumers, readers...but cut to the chase...and its people. And people want good experiences. Part of a good experience is good design. In order to help create good experiences, we need to be good designers. Design is not about making something look good - thought that is part of it - but its more about creating an experience that is pleasurable. I would say its about imparting a degree of happiness into the receiver of the message. Both Starbuck's and O'Hare airport are designed well - just differently. As bloggers, part of what we do is design conversation around topics of common interest. We are designers. Slide 8 debunks "designer" myth. Slide 9 shows some excellent design elements. The Target prescription bottle almost makes me want to come up with some sort of malady - just so I can get medicine in that container!

I could spend a long time on slide 10. It shows the building blocks of a digital experience. Built on a firm foundation of brand, business and users, Armano states the fundamentals as usefulness, usability, and desirability. Take some time looking at the questions asked in each pillar. The final two pillars take the experience beyond the expected - to sustainable and social. What this point says to me is if we want our brands to stick around they must maintain AND evolve. In emerging technology, they must also be social. I feel this is part of a blogs value. This part of the conversation naturally turns toward ROI - something I am aware of and my boss consistently reminds me. It is, however, difficult to quantify the time spent building a social network. Intuitively, we know it pays. But where does the rubber meet the road? After all, the bottom line got that title for some reason :)

The next group of slides are examples of digital experiences. I was impressed with some of what Dell is doing. My experience has been a bit less than satisfactory with them. We have a 2nd pc at home - it is a Dell. They packaged a whole bunch of extras on it. I have little problem navigating my way through a lot of it, but my bride is the main user. Her time at a keyboard is considerably less than mine (she's a nurse and deals with real people problems :) - start up was frustrating for her and, at times, still can be a pain. Mostly its the little things - filters, pop-ups, expired this and that. But it looks like Dell is reaching out. I'm impressed with how they've responded at Dell Hell. David devised a little Experience-o-Meter (if your reading, David, you really ought to patent it...maybe get one of these crazy geeks to build a widget! - imagine having it for pages and sites you visit - I'd like one that goes below acceptable for Windows Media Player - grrrrr) and he puts them beyond the basics and to the next level.

I was thrilled to see a newspaper site featured in the presentation - USA Today. While I'm a biased reader of my newspaper - The Spokesman-Review - just the fact that newspapers are on the radar as media engaging emerging tech is encouraging. One day I'll go into the journey we are on here. In a nutshell, News is a Conversation is a major part of it. We are a paid registration site for most of the local news but there are many places you can move around. USA Today seems to be a step or 2 ahead of us insofar as building a social community. David rates them "next level" in places - not quite "beyond basics" in others. I too wonder about storing pictures on their site. One thing I can imagine is that they may decide to post member "snapshot" someplace on their site. Similar to getting your picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone (I guess its WIRED this generation) - one day you might say "A photo of mine was published in USA Today". Next is a little riff on You Tube, then examples of blogs - one which takes it to the next level, the other not so much.

The pair of slides that pulled it together were 31 and 32. They are pretty self-explanatory but its where the title of this post is stolen - as bloggers and marketers who blog - we need to become "conversation architects". I love that - what a great job title! Bravissimmo, Armano! The goal - to develop our blog, our brand and our organizations into valuable community experiences.

I'm not a Twitter user - though this presentation has me right on the edge. The conclusion focused on the enormous potential it holds for gathering a community. I was about to register last week and it was a day Twitter experienced crashes and problems. I get enough frustration without asking for it - so another time :)

Sharing is the best way of learning for me. I hope highlighting these points has helped reinforce some of your thinking. Even more, I hope you've found food for thought. Enjoy the weekend - I'm off for a nice bike ride! The sun is shining in Spokane!


Ann Handley said...

Bob -- Didn't realize you were at the seminar yesterday! You should have said hello -- I would have bought you a cup of coffee. : )

Nice write-up. And I agree -- David was far too harsh on himself.

david armano said...

Wow Bob, I'm glad you got so much out of this. I guess what I struggled with was that at around 30 minutes I felt I was fading on some of the points I wanted to make.


Your summary is really encouraging. Boy, were you taking notes. I'm really glad you got so much out of it. Maybe I'll have to take the presentation on the road... I'm sure I'll reference a few slides at SOBCon.

PS I think you are going? Look forward to seeing you there if that's the case.

Gavin Heaton said...

Bob ... I read this post earlier tonight ... and then re-read it after DA Twittered about it making his morning.

Now you should really be Twittering ;)

BobG said...

Hey Ann - Yep I was there for the very first time - even asked a question about that pesky ROI! Had I known coffee was available...I'd have let you buy :) - next time I'll wave.

David - notes were simple...its bringing them together through your slides that was tough on my brain:) I'm not going to make SOBcon but plan on being in Chicago in the fall. Maybe then? And your presentation is definitely road worthy -

And Gavin? Always good to see your comments. My day has been made on so many occasions through this blog - figured it was about time to return the favor. I'm about to see if this this Twitter thing is really all its cracked up to be - your invitation to poetry may go down as the nudge putting me over the edge.

Ann Handley said...

I knew Bob asked an ROI question-- I just didn't know you were THAT Bob!

David Reich said...

Sorry I missed the seminar, but I plan to go through David's slides and Bob's notes when I can over the next few days.

Thanks for posting this info.

BobG said...

DR - thanks - DA's presentation is about 1.5 hours - tried to hit the points that touched me -

And Ann - many Bobs, so little time LOL - throw a rock into a crowd, your bound to hit one of us!