Blog posts of '2014' 'December'

Using Your Emotions For Negotiating Effectively

Emotions such as satisfaction and elation can be quite rare in negotiation, says Andy Wasynczuk, MBA Senior Lecturer of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. His teachings trace the history, theory, and research on how emotions can affect transactions between parties. Wasynczuk do so by using an everyday example of a work-at-home consultant ("Claire") dealing with an electrician ("Henry") over restoring power after a storm. They intentionally picked the situation as one to which students could relate, not that it is a simple situation emotionally.

Stressed out over lost work because of the storm, Claire is further annoyed when repairman Henry is three hours late. When he responds brusquely at her overtures toward friendliness and offers what she feels is an unreasonable price and timeline for repairs, she gets angry. Before long, both sides are yelling, and Henry marches out the door.

The question for students is: What could Claire have done differently to get a better outcome?

Wasynczuk should know—he served as chief operating officer for the New England Patriots for 15 years, where he was in charge of negotiating high-stakes player contracts involving millions of dollars.

He intuitively understood that emotions were an important factor in dealing with people as passionate as athletes. "The last thing I wanted to do was create an excuse for a player or agent to get angry. That would create a power struggle, which was a recipe for disaster."

Wasynczuk learned to enter into contract talks with a smile—and to rationalize away his own anger when a deal couldn't be struck. "If an agent was being greedy with me, they were probably being greedy with other teams as well," he told himself. "If the other team ended up paying that money they were making a mistake."

In the case of client Claire and electrician Henry, what Claire doesn't realize is that while she is annoyed at her lack of phone and Internet access brought by the power outage, Henry has been working 18-hour days since the storm, and dealing with multiple homeowners all making similar demands, putting overwhelming pressure on his small work crew.

As that case illustrates, emotions can be powerful, not only in derailing a negotiation, but also in helping both sides come to better agreement.

"To strip away emotions wouldn't be desirable," says Wasynczuk —even if it could be done. "Emotions are an expression of how people are processing information, and can give a strong signal of how the mind is internalizing the discussion."

Managed well, they can turn a frustrating negotiation into one that is pleasant, productive, and even enjoyable.

For the full read, click HERE!

Zahary T. Brown
Marketing Director
StormsEdge Technology

Being "Mobile Minded"

The way readers consume news has changed. Media companies must change the way they write and deliver content to address this new trend.

In 2010, the Financial Times had no mobile audience. Four years later, more than 60% of FT readers access its content via mobile devices. And, in a recent survey of U.S. consumers conducted by the Associated Press and the American Press Institute, 78% say they used their smartphones to get news during the past week.

Some people, especially those in the 18-34 age group, prefer mobile devices as their exclusive source for news content. These mobile-only audiences tend to fall into two camps:

  • Busy on-the-go news readers who want something to look at while standing in line or sitting at a coffee shop.
  • In-depth news readers who check their smartphones several times a day looking for new or engaging content to delve into.

Media companies around the world are discovering that mobile audiences consume news differently than desktop and print readers. Effective engagement with mobile readers requires a writing style that is appropriate for the smaller screens and larger distractions that characterize today’s in-motion lifestyle. So, with these hurried, harried, and often upperwardly mobile users in mind, here are some tips on writing news content for this cherished audience segment:

1. Provide maximum information with minimum words.

Make every word count. Cut out the fluff and get to the point. Use short, tight sentences, and remove every superfluous word.

2. Create attention-grabbing titles.

Keep your titles brief, relevant, and descriptive. Avoid jargon. And, aim for a length of 65-70 characters max to avoid truncation.

3. Focus on strong introductions and compelling summaries.

Mobile audiences have no time for introductions that dance around a topic. So, just get to it.

4. Use the medium to benefit your message.

Some mobile devices – especially newer smartphones and tablets – are optimized for images. Take advantage of these visual capabilities by using graphics and images to complement your writing.

5. Lists and links are the lifelines of an effective mobile story.

Mobile readers love lists. Ordered or unordered lists; it doesn’t matter. Lists are succinct and easy to read.

When it comes to daily news consumption, we’ve crossed a significant threshold. People now spend more media time each day with their mobile devices than with their desktops, laptops, or printed newspapers.

For the full article and all the juicy content we left out, click HERE!

Zachary T. Brown
Marketing Director
StormsEdge Technology

Choosing The Best Analytic Platform For You

For every hand there is a glove. Think about that statement…

The problem is, all the other glove-sellers are constantly trying to get you to buy their gloves instead, and other people keep recommending a whole load of other gloves that just don’t fit you at all.

This pained analogy is a “weak” attempt at describing how difficult it can be in selecting the right kind of analytics software for your own organization.

To start with, there are social media analytics, social media measurement, social listening, social media monitoring and countless millions of other terminologies to keep track of, and each will come with a wide range of competencies and feature sets. Each will claim to be the best on their own website too, of course.

So what I’m going to do is give you a simple outline to follow when searching for an analytic tracking platform.

Create a shortlist

Clever marketers and other departments seeking specific platforms for analyzing social media will begin by outlining what they actually want to do. They may outline some desirable objectives, like:

  • I want to keep track of how many followers we have
  • I want to understand which pieces of content are performing best
  • I want to better manage and schedule our brand’s social media posts
  • I want to listen to what customers are saying about my marketplace
  • I want to keep track of influential mentions in the media of my brand

There could be many thousands of other, similar, statements too.

However, once it’s clear what you’re actually wanting from your software then you can begin the process of earnest, full-on research.

Do some thorough research

Look up independent reports. Search for comparison documents. Go on sites like G2 Crowd to see what customers are saying about certain software. Go on sites like Glassdoor to see what employees are saying about it. Try to source materials that don’t champion a specific tool – remember that your requirements are unique and only you can be the judge of the best platform for you.

Rather than elevate one tool in particular above all others, aim at showcasing the capabilities of complete platform.

The final stage is the most important…demoing. Request demos of every tool that looks like it might be able to meet your objectives. Give the seemingly slightly weaker ones a chance to impress in action. Stress-test them.

Push them to their limits. Try to envisage why they might not be the right choice. Take the salesperson out of the equation and line up the actual products against each other.

Ask the vendor to set you up with a trial so you can test it yourself. Get demos and trials of the front runners and make a decision based on personal experience, not just whichever has the flashiest advert or what appears highest in rankings.

Zachary T. Brown
Marketing Director
StormsEdge Technology

10 Social Media Facts That Will Make You Rethink Your Marketing Strategy

Social Media is changing faster than ever, as if that wasn’t something everyone already knew!

If you’re managing social media for your business, it might be useful to know about some of the most surprising social media statistics this year. Here are ten that might make you rethink the way you’re approaching social media.

1. The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55–64 year age bracket.

Those are impressive numbers against the prevailing idea that social media is ‘just for teenagers.’ It certainly points to the importance of having a solid social media strategy if these age brackets fit into your target demographic.

2. 189 million of Facebook’s users are ‘mobile only’

Not only does Facebook have millions of users who don’t access it from a desktop or laptop, but mobile use generates 30% of Facebook’s ad revenue as well. This is a 7% increase from the end of 2012 already.

3. YouTube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18–34 than any cable network

Did you think TV was the best way to reach the masses? Well if you’re after 18–34 year olds in the U.S., you’ll have more luck reaching them through YouTube. Of course, one video won’t necessarily reach more viewers than a cable network could, but utilizing a platform with such a wide user base makes a lot of sense.

4. Every second 2 new members join LinkedIn

LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, continues to grow every second. From groups to blogs to job listings, this platform is a rich source of information and conversation for professionals who want to connect to others in their industry.

5.) Almost half of online customers expect brands to provide customer service on Facebook, but only 23% provide it

Here is something most of us struggle with: To provide great customer service on Facebook. I’m not sure why, but it’s always proven to be trickier than Twitter or email.

6. LinkedIn has a lower percentage of active users than Pinterest, Google+, Twitter and Facebook

Although LinkedIn is gathering new users at a fast rate, the number of active users is lower than most of the biggest social networks around. So more people are signing up, but they’re not participating. This means you’re probably not going to have as good a response with participatory content on LinkedIn, like contests or polls, as you might on Facebook or Twitter.

7. 93% of marketers use social media for business

Only 7% of marketers say they don’t use social media for their business. That means there are lots of people out there getting involved and managing a social media strategy. It’s becoming more common to include social media as part of an overall marketing budget or strategy, as opposed to when it was the outlier that no one wanted to spend time or money on.

8. 25% of smartphone owners ages 18–44 say they can’t recall the last time their smartphone wasn’t next to them

It’s pretty clear that mobile is a growing space that we need to pay attention to. And we’ve all heard the cliché of smartphone owners who don’t want to let go of their phones, even for five minutes.

9. Even though 62% of marketers blog or plan to blog in 2013, only 9% of US marketing companies employ a full-time blogger

Blogging is clearly a big focus for marketers who want to take advantage of social media and content marketing. This is great, because blogging for your business has lots of advantages: you can control your company blog, you can set the tone and use it to market your product, share company news or provide interesting information for your customers. 

10. 25% of Facebook users don’t bother with privacy settings

We’ve seen a lot of news about social media companies and privacy. Facebook itself has been in the news several times over privacy issues, Instagram users recently got in a skirmish over changing their terms of service, and the recent NSA news has seen people become more conscious of their privacy online.

Your social media strategy really comes down to what your goals are, and who your target customers are, but it doesn’t hurt to pay attention to the trends happening across the web. Hopefully these stats will help you to identify trends that will affect your strategy and adjust accordingly.

For the full article or a more in-depth analysis of each point made, click HERE!

Zachary T. Brown
Marketing Director
StormsEdge Technology

A Cornucopia of Internet Bookmarks

A couple of months ago, I booted up my laptop and opened up my browser. After updating said browser (Firefox), I was presented with the opportunity to synch my browser. I really liked the concept as I have a mishmash of bookmarks strewn across three different computers and sometimes when at home, I want to access a site I know I have a bookmark for on my work PC or I saved the link to an interesting site on one laptop and would love to pull it up on the other—yes, without getting up, getting the laptop, booting it up, etc… 

My first question was, “Is it safe?” I do work for an IT company after all and network security is a priority. So I asked one of our technicians and he did a bit of research for me and said that as long as I used a master password, it would be fine. I don’t save too many passwords in my browser and certainly none that get me into banking and bill payment sites, but I was still leery. It took me another month to finally decide to go for it.

The resulting mess of duplicate bookmarks and organizing folders took some time to sort through, delete dupes, and combine others, but ultimately having all of my bookmarks available no matter what computer I’m using has been very convenient.

Have you taken advantage of this service? If so, were you glad you did? If not, why not?

Jen FitzGerald
Office Manager
StormsEdge Technology

Email Craziness

I love e-mail. I used to love it a lot more, but since I get so many work-related messages these days, the shine has worn off a bit.

I deal with email a lot in the course of my job and I see a lot of email addresses that I think, ‘goodness, what a pain in the butt to write out all the time’. What seems like fun or appropriate at the time can turn into a hassle, like Who really wants to type that out a dozen or more times a day?

Some email addresses definitely have a story behind them. When my daughter was a little girl, we could read every expression on her face, much like the narrator character Face on the Nick Jr. channel, so her first email address incorporated that into it. Other addresses seem to be suggestions from the email provider of choice as the address someone requested was already in use. You know,

I also see professional people without their personal domain names/emails. I guess it works for them, but I don’t know…does a personalized domain name give a more professional impression? or Maybe that’s a personality thing. I suppose the guy in the jail cell has more pressing concerns.

What about you? Lover or hater of email? Do you have an email address with a story behind it or something more utilitarian?

Jen FitzGerald
Office Manager
StormsEdge Technology