Thursday, December 2, 2010

A 'Brand' New Edmonton

Artist's rendition of the Expo that could have been.

Ever have your mom tell you that you could go to a movie, then change her mind and say you can't? How about a boss that approves an expenditure for upgrading your office, who retracts the offer before you can cash in on it? Ever have a federal government encourage and support you in bidding to hold a world exposition in your city, only to change their mind at the last minute with tenuous reasoning?

It's a lousy feeling. It's grossly unfair. It's a tremendous amount of money wasted pursuing a special event that's not going to happen.

But is the money actually wasted?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Putting the Culture Back in 'Corporate Culture'

© Katherine Stanfield

Imagine a group of individuals: relating to each other every day, sometimes sharing tasks, sometimes working separately, who value community and play, who wish to enrich their lives, excel at what they do, work with purpose, and are always on the search to find their place in the world. They have complicated relationships that shape expectations of themselves and others.

Now is this a description of a Maasai village in Tanzania, or is this a description of the employees in a North American business.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dangerous Emails: Are people reading it the way you wrote it?


Every time we come up with a new way of communicating with each other, we also develop new and interesting ways to really offend each other. A quote that is sometimes attributed to Oscar Wilde goes something like: "I'm sorry I wrote such a long letter, I didn't have time to write a shorter one." It is very difficult to maintain any sense of tone when we condense our words. The shorter the communication, the more tone we tend to leave out, for the sake of information. With fewer tonal clues put in by the writer, the more the reader tends to put in. Thus the easier it is to misinterpret the intent behind the message.

With email, texting, Twitter, Facebook and instant messaging, our means of communicating is getting shorter and shorter.

And a lot of people are getting really pissed off.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Your Choice: Digital Privacy or Ads that Don't Suck

What would you rather have, a plethora of door-to-door salesmen that continually push their way into your house, trying to sell you things you don't need? Or a close, trusted friend overhearing you muttering about needing a specific widget and giving you a tip on where they got theirs? This is basically the continuum of advertising. An onslaught of messages about everything you need and everything you don't at all times, vs. a valuable pointer to a specific product that fits your needs, when - and only when - you need it. I'd vote for the latter. I think most people would. Most advertisers would prefer to offer the latter approach. Everybody wins, right?

Sure, but you'll have to kiss your digital privacy goodbye.

Monday, September 20, 2010

How your brand affected your chances of meeting Stephen Mandel

I had a fantastic opportunity to share. I'm allowed to invite a select group of individuals to a coffee event with the incumbent mayor, Stephen Mandel. In order to make sure it's a conversation instead of a rally, we need to keep the numbers low. So I needed to be very selective in my invites. A diverse group was necessary, not too many people who would discuss the same issues. Only so many arts types, just a few film-people, only a couple small-business people. One digital media producer. No media-types. I would have invited many more but I had to keep the numbers down while being representational. It's a Facebook event and I had to pour through my entire list. How did I select who's getting invited and who isn't?

Very lazily...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dinosaurs Thrashing in the Tar Pits

So here I am in a hair salon the other day, waiting to get a haircut for my show, Jailbait at Northern Light Theatre (opens on the 17th, runs to the 26th, plug, plug, plug...) and I'm killing time so I start flipping through an issue of GQ. I rarely page through a magazine, I usually browse the web on my iPhone or check the status updates of my friends on Facebook with the app. But my battery's dying and so is my tolerance for waiting. So I pick up the magazine and start flipping through. What I found, when looked at with a critical eye, was fascinating...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Who wouldn't want free milk?

A sea change is coming. It has to.

The distributors of media are in the middle of it. Book publishers, music producers, film and television makers. Even Seth Godin, international marketing guru who has made a tremendous amount of money through publishing a whackload of books, has decided he’s never going back to traditional publishing. There was a time that a creative person could only share their stories with a handful of people on their own. They needed a distributor/broadcaster/record label to share their art with the world. That’s no longer the case. Artists can reach their audience directly online. Even if they don’t want to.

Especially if they don’t want to. Because people are getting their content for free. Even if the artist is not distributing it for free. It’s a digital world, baby, and as soon as something exists digitally, there is a way to get your hands on it without paying. The thing is, no one can be blamed for this. It’s human nature. It comes down to the old maxim:

“Why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?”

Monday, August 30, 2010

Does anyone else feel icky about the airport petition?

Democracy. That's the claim. Ensuring a plebiscite, making sure the question goes to a public vote.

I'll be the first to admit that I haven't followed the airport controversy too closely. I think that a city so obviously suffering the sustainability effects of urban sprawl should be rewarded for driving to develop land that's in the core. But I don't know all the sides. All I know is that it's a controversial, highly charged issue. It's been on the table for years - decades, in fact.

And that Envision Edmonton has been quite manipulative in it's 'drive for democracy.'

Monday, August 23, 2010

Leaping Into The Fray

Okay – I have to weigh in. I’ve been meaning to start a blog for some time, but this has been running through my head for so long I decided that this was the way to get rolling.

There are a tremendous number of issues that have been raised by the whole ‘HaslamGate’ controversy over this past week. Here’s your research, if you’re not sure what I’m talking about.

The blog post and comment.

The blogger's boyfriend's response.

The first local press coverage.

The response of the person in question.

I believe some of the issues have been discussed to death, while some have remained curiously under-discussed. Here are my two cents on the topics. I encourage you to read them, discuss them, get excited or upset about them, challenge them, and above all else, whether you agree with me or not, discuss them. And please remember, wherever possible I’m discussing the issues, not specific individuals.

Wherever possible, that is…