Why buy the cow…

Last week we had an excellent SMPS education program here in DC about Architecture firms using social media. As with many programs, the event was live-tweeted. During the event, a fellow industry tweeter (not present at the program) sparked a conversation about the intellectual property concerns and the negative revenue impacts of tweetchats and live-tweeting. His points and concerns were that people don’t have to come to events if they are tweeted, and perhaps more importantly, there are copyright concerns when people repurpose a presenter’s info via tweets.

While I respect the position and agree that these are some very valid concerns, I couldn’t disagree more. Here are a few reasons.

1. Watching a movie preview isn’t the same as going to a movie. A stream of one-liners is a teaser and increases interest more than it communicates overall intent/content.

2. Moreover, Twitter is kind of like hearing a bunch of people paraphrasing the movie’s one-liners anyways and interpretation is inevitable when we boil down a slide into 140 characters.

3. If 20 attendees tweet about an #smpsdc event, each with an average of 100 unique followers (assuming that industry tweeters will have some overlap in followers) more than 2,000 people are exposed to interesting content and its association with our chapter. And that number is conservative given that many have thousands of followers.

4. Protocol for tweeting events is pretty simple…at least reference the presenter, event and/or venue. Most folks abide by that, so there isn’t really a concern of “stealing” content.

5. As a writer, presenter and consultant, I would love to have twenty people tweeting about an event that I’m speaking at for two hours. It indirectly ties back to #3 above, but isn’t the exposure and dialogue the whole reason we present?

6. People don’t get CEU’s for following a Twitter stream.

The conference, seminar and panel discussion world has changed significantly due to social media, as well as our understanding of intellectual property. But even by older standards, unless someone is literally recording and posting the conversation and slides during a presentation, there is no cause for concern. It’s no different than having a discussion about a presentation during an intermission or around the water cooler on Monday morning.

Disney-izing Your Brand

I was lucky enough to have a wonderful vacation with my family last week. For my first time, and my kids’ as well, we went to Walt Disney World in Florida. It was an amazing trip, and so much fun, even for my wife and me.

There is maybe no better case study for branding than Disney. But while on our trip, I realized something kind of surprising – and obvious.

Disney is a magical place. However, everybody is not always happy, kids are whiny sometimes, and there is an occasional complaint about lines. Shocking, right?

What is so powerful and magical about Disney (and their brand) is that EVERYBODY decides to just let it go. Kids still cry and throw fits, but within minutes they’re over. Parents still get frustrated, but they all seem to say “I’m not letting this ruin our time at Disney.”

Disney marketers create an environment of magic, they tell everybody it’s magical, the word magic is everywhere…and people believe in the magic, even when normal frustrations arise.

Now, not that the typical AEC firm has to be magical, but you do have to be something. Whatever your “something” is, to be well branded, it has to be a part of every aspect of your firm’s culture, communications, graphic identity, recruitment, project delivery and more. The only way your clients will believe your brand, is if you and every member of your team believe it.