Holding up the mirror
Source: Vanita Kholi in Business World, 20th March 2000

How do you measure the impact of media coverage on corporate image?

How effective are corporate image studies? It is a valid concern especially when researchers forget to consider a crucial parameter in the measurement exercise: media coverage. Perceptions about a company are shaped by its external manifestations -- products, advertising, share price and publicity (media coverage). While all other parameters are adequately measured through market research, media coverage is not.

Researchers like Echo Research, in the UK, are filling this vacuum. They have evolved a mathematical framework which enables them to measure even as subjective an issue as what media think and write about a corporate identity.

How is it done? After signing on a client, the agency first assesses where its reputation stands. That comes from collating all that has been said about the company in various media. These write-ups are analyzed as to their content, and how the stakeholders perceive it, viz. it competitors and others. This is benchmarked. The agency after conducting this study puts quantitative measure for each area of interest and importance. Thus helping the company understand where it stands on perceptions and reputation. For instance, 40% of media coverage is relevant, positive and has a good impact on the corporate image. The obvious issue is how to tackle the other part? Whom should the company be targeting more, why is the media efficiency low, how could it be improved? The key is putting tracking mechanisms in place to monitor and mold opinion through what is published about the company.

According to the agency's CEO, Sandra Macleod the fail-safe way to improve the effectiveness of media communications is: Pre-testing. Pre-testing the concept with a few key friendly journalists who are tracking the sector.

Direct Mail adapts in an effort to stay viable in Internet age
Source: : Sarah Ellison, in The Wall Street Journal, London

In one of the first indications that online advertising will take away from other channels, a recent study by Fletcher Research Ltd. in London, says that online ad spending will cannibalize 33 percent of Direct Mail advertising in the UK by 2004. "Like direct mail", says Caroline Skeats, an analyst at Fletcher who conducted the research, "the Internet targets specific groups, and because Internet is cheaper and just as good, people will exchange one for the other."

In response to this threat and in an effort to raise the credibility of the so-called junk mail industry, the Direct Marketing Association of UK recently launched a new product that the group hopes will make direct mail campaigns more efficient. By linking up with the postal system and other database systems, the association hopes to cut down wastage -- especially that resulting out of changed addresses and being able to reach a targeted group of consumers. The world is changing, and anything that improves consumer reach and confidence in direct mail, and is efficient and profitable, is good news to the entire direct marketing industry, says Rory Sutherland, head of the association.

Despite Fletcher' gloomy forecast, Skeats concedes that if direct mail companies find ways to operate more efficiently, mass mailings could become a good way for dot-coms to promote themselves off-line! Additionally, if direct mail companies use the Internet for things like digital printing and more sophisticated targeting, they could use the medium to their advantage, she says. This is not a doomsday report for direct mail; instead it is a wake-up call for the industry to adapt to new technologies, she concludes.

Boost your creativity
Source: David Green in Executive Excellence, March 2000

Creative people in ad agencies are often asked how they come up with quality creative ideas repeatedly. The answer is simply: we work in an atmosphere that encourages the cultivation of ideas. Here are some things that you might want to stop or start doing if you are looking to boost creativity.

What Not to Do

  • Don't share your opinions on what's been said when you disagree. Keep quiet if it's going to dampen another idea from you.

  • Withhold your opinion if your idea is only different, not better -- an alternative point of view on the same idea is only a worse idea.

  • Don't alter an idea if you are only going to complicate it. Get involved only when you can simplify things and make it more clear.

  • Leave your idea alone if you are going to force it. Don't intimidate.

  • Don't be an expert if you are not.

  • Don't modify something just because you can. Do it only if you can contribute something. Ego trips are great for you, but hell for others.

  • Reserve your ideas if you don't add to the energy of the project. Anyone can kill an idea; your job is to grow one.

  • Maintain a distance if you are going to do someone else's job. You are paying people to produce or do something. Expect it out of them. Trust others to do what you have asked them to do.

What to Do

  • If a meeting does not fit your objectives and needs feel free to leave. Keep things moving, and get things decided.

  • Allow physical "distractions" in your meetings -- things to hit, draw, build and tear down. The mind works best when the body is distracted.

  • No idea is wrong. If it comes to your mind, share it. It may be the one.

  • Bring treats. And be clever with them.

  • Try doing the unexpected.

  • Research. Study others experiences, fabricate your fortunes on other's failures.

  • Get feedback. Re-energise your work.

  • Learn to bring out the best in others. Build teams. Ask team members how you can make them feel better about themselves, both personally and professionally.

Once you start building on ideas, one another's ideas, you will be amazed at what you accomplish. The best ideas start winning out, instead of being forced out!.

Seven intentions
Source:Tom Chappell in Executive Excellence, February 2000

How to become value centered leaders.

I encourage you to do business with your hearts as well as your heads. This may sound contradictory to some, who believe that business is not social work and that profit is king!

I call it "managing upside down" -- letting your deepest beliefs and values, not just the bottom line drive your business. For this you have to be transformed into a new breed of manager. You have to be committed to this; or else you will be sucked back into the numbers game.

So I have devised the seven intentions of value-centered leadership. In managing upside down, the CEO is not the center of the enterprise -- corporate beliefs and values and mission are at the center. I have come to recognize the benefits -- indeed genius -- of sharing power instead of throwing it around.

Intention 1 : Connect
Set aside your own ego, open up, and connect to an outside, universal force that is bigger than you and available to everyone -- the power of goodness. Learn humility.

Intention 2 : Know thyself by thyself
Explore who you are, your gifts, and what you care most about in life; these are clues to finding meaning in your work.

Intention 3 : Envision your destiny
Envision your future with your head and your heart: your values in today's world call you to serve. How? The answer is your destiny, as you hear it, this destiny makes total sense.

Intention 4 : Seek advice
Every leader makes mistakes, which is why the value-centered manager never makes a decision without using the secret weapon of consulting a diverse group of experts. By seeking advice you will not seem weak, but in fact become more powerful.

Intention 5 : Venture out
Build a creative strategy for every dimension of your new business, make sure it is aligned with your values, and go for it. You dream, you create, you plan, and you take the risk -- that's how you reinvigorate a company and keep it growing.

Intention 6 : Assess
No matter how creative we might choose to be or how unique we are in the marketplace, we still are accountable to our values, visions and goals. Every leader has to be accountable and open to wider assessment.

Intention 7 : Pass it on

Our responsibility is to be in a state of constant donation. When we receive gifts, knowledge, goodness, extra time, and profits, we are obliged to pass them on to other. For me, managing upside down is a constant process of donation, exchanging experiences, learning from trial and error, and then passing on your results for other to benefit.

In all this we will create more products and make more money than one can ever dream.

Creative Visualization
Source:"Creative Visualization", book by Shakti Gawain (Bantam Books)

Creative visualization is the technique of using your imagination to create what you want in your life. Imagination is the ability to create an idea or mental picture in your mind. In creative visualization you use your imagination to create a clear image of something you wish to manifest. Then you continue to focus on the idea or picture, giving it positive energy until it becomes objective reality in other words, until you achieve what you have been visualizing.

One of the most valuable ways we can use creative visualization is in improving our relationships - personal and business. Because we human beings are so sensitive to each other on so many levels, we are especially susceptible and receptive to the thought forms that we hold about each other. It is in these thought forms and the underlying attitudes that they reflect which form our relationships, and cause them to work or not to work.

In relationship, as in everything else, we get exactly what we believe in, expect, and ask for on our deepest levels. The people we are in relationship with are a mirror, reflecting our own beliefs, and simultaneously we are mirrors, reflecting their beliefs. So relationship is one of the most powerful tools for growth that we have; if we look honestly at our relationships we can see so much about how we have created them.

Take an attitude of total responsibility about your relationship. Assume for a moment that you alone are responsible for creating it the way it is, no matter how much it may look to you like the other person is responsible for certain things. If there are certain things about the relationship that are unsatisfying to you, ask yourself why and how you created it that way. See if you can discover what core beliefs you have that cause you to create a less than satisfying, happy, loving relationship.

If you truly desire to have deeply fulfilling, happy relationships in your life, if you believe that it is possible for you to have them, and if you are willing to accept that happiness and satisfaction, then you can and will create relationships that work for you.

Here are some things you can do to help you with your all round relationships:

  1. Look at your goals in the relationship. What do you truly want out of the relationship?

  2. Take a good honest look at what beliefs and attitudes are keeping you from creating what you want. You can use a clearing process to help you get in touch with your limiting attitudes.

  3. Use affirmation and visual imagery to change your negative beliefs, and to start visualizing and creating beautiful, loving, fulfilling relationships.

  4. Communicate with each other honestly from your true feelings about what you like and what you don't, and what you want. Try making an agreement to affirm to each other that you are improving and making progress in your growth and development.

Remember that the potential for perfection lies within every relationship, just as it lies within each individual. It is already there, we simply have to uncover it by removing the layers of stuff we have put over it.

Creative visualization provides us with a wonderful tool for expanding out of our roles person; see the potential for positive change within each person and every situation, and give energy and support to that positive change through creative visualization.

Living Creatively

Creative visualization is not just a technique, but ultimately it is a state of consciousness. In that it is also discovering our higher purpose. We all have a significant contribution to make in our lifetime. It may involve many things, or it may be something very simple. This is called contribution to our higher purpose. It always involves being yourself totally, completely, and naturally, and doing something or many things that you genuinely love to do, and that come easily to you.

We all know in our hearts what our higher purpose is, but we often do not consciously acknowledge it, even to ourselves. In fact, most people seem to go to great lengths to hide it from themselves and from the world. They fear and seek to avoid power, responsibility and light that comes with acknowledging and expressing their true purpose in life.

As you use creative visualization, you will find that you become more and more attuned to and aware of your higher purpose. You find yourself doing and creating. These are important clues to the underlying meaning and purpose of your life. You will find in using creative visualization that your ability to manifest will work to the degree that you are in alignment with your higher purpose. If you try to manifest something and it doesn't seem to work, it may not be appropriate to the underlying pattern and meaning of your life. Be patient and keep tuning into your inner guidance. In retrospect you will see that everything is unfolding perfectly.

Your life is your work of art
Think and believe that, I like to think of myself as an artist, and my life is my greatest work of art. Every moment is a moment of creation, and each moment of creation contains infinite possibilities. I can do things the way I've always done them, or I can look at all the different alternatives, and try something new and different and potentially more rewarding. Every moment presents a new opportunity and a new decision.

What a wonderful game, and what a magnificent art form ......

E - mail Suggestions
Source : Smartbiz.com

When using e-mail in the office, avoid these faux pas:

  • Don't ever use e-mail's to resolve conflict or for saying things that you would not say in person. Once posted, the message is there for good and cannot be called back.
     

  • Don't use it to pass confidential information. Remember: It can be read for up to three years, even by the IRS.
     

  • Don't overload the other person by sending more thoughts and ideas necessary.
     

  • Don't use capital letters and exclamation marks for delivering bad news, anger, or sarcasm. Remember: Capital letters mean you are screaming at the other person!