The Courage of Our Convictions: U.S. Opportunity in Mideast, Africa Turmoil

The Courage of Our Convictions: U.S. Opportunity in Mideast, Africa Turmoil

If the United States has the courage of its democratic convictions – and patience — the revolutionary turmoil in the Middle East and Africa presents an epic opportunity for sharing our fundamental values.The core stimulus of these popular uprisings is the universal yearning for freedom, human rights, open and honest government, equal opportunity, and an improved standard of living and quality of life. It represents nothing less than a global generational inflection point: Although nationalism and ideology are certainly in the motivational mix, it is the liberal aspirations of “the young” that are dominant.We shouldn’t be surprised. There have been prophets.

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Egypt: A Revolution Made by Social Media

From Jon Higgins, Senior Partner and CEO, International, Ketchum:

As the protests in Egypt enter a third week, the world continues to be riveted while at the same time hoping for a peaceful resolution. During this crisis, Ramzi Raad, Chairman and CEO of TBWARAAD Middle East and Ketchum Raad Middle East in Dubai, has held a vantage point close to the eye of the storm. As one of the leaders of Ketchum Raad Middle East – a joint venture between Ketchum and TBWARAAD that includes over 60 people in offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh, Jeddah and Cairo, and more than 600 people through the TBWARAAD network of offices across the Middle East and North Africa – he offers a real-time case study of how social media has upended the one-way, agenda-setting communication model of a government and helped precipitate a spontaneous uprising by tens of thousands of citizens to demand a change in government leadership. Here Ramzi shares some observations. 

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Oversharing

“Hi, my name is Jonathan, and I am an oversharer.”

That’s probably how I’ll introduce myself when I call to order the inaugural meeting of Social Media Anonymous (“SMA”), the 12-step, self-help organization I plan need to launch for me and all the other location-obsessed citizens of the mobile/social Web.

What’s the issue? Where’s the concern? Why the intervention?

This notification I received from Foursquare says it all:

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What Would Walt Disney Do? (WWWDD)

“During Walt Disney’s first New York trip, when he was pushing Mickey and facing rejection, one distributor picked up a package of Life Saver candies. ‘The public knows Life Savers,’ he told Walt, ‘they don’t know you. They don’t know your mouse.’ That made an impression on Walt. As he recalled it years later, he said to himself, ‘From now on they’re going to know, if they liked the picture, they’re going to know what his name is.’ So on this trip he had decided to stage a full-scale assault on the animation industry and establish ‘Walt Disney’ as its undisputed leader — the Life Savers of animation.”At the beginning no effort to catapult Mickey Mouse into stardom was too small. Walt would even have friends call theaters asking what time the Mickey Mouse cartoon would show, and if they were told that there was no Mickey, Walt instructed them to ask why.”            — Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, by Neal Gabler, pages 130 and 139 There are a lot of life lessons and communication lessons to take from this. I think to name three is playing it safe. The three lessons are these:

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Davos Dispatch IV: Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger

This week, Ketchum President Rob Flaherty is attending the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum — which brings together 2,500 CEOs and government leaders in Davos, Switzerland — and is reporting his observations. On Jan. 31, he will host a special webinar open to the public, “Davos 2011: An Insider’s Guide to Key Insights,” in which he will recap his experiences.I can report that “Miracle on the Hudson” pilot Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger has made as smooth a landing into the role of leadership guru as he did on New York’s icy river two years ago.Sullenberger in person is as reserved and disciplined as you’ve seen in interviews, but even more calm and dignified. The sense you get is that he knows he has unintentionally been thrust into the role of hero and role model, and now he has to live up to all of our rather high expectations for wisdom and integrity.

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Dispatch from Davos III: Tackling Unemployment

This week, Ketchum President Rob Flaherty is attending the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum — which brings together 2,500 CEOs and government leaders in Davos, Switzerland — and is reporting his observations. On Jan. 31, he will host a special webinar open to the public, “Davos 2011: An Insider’s Guide to Key Insights,” in which he will recap his experiences. Unemployment is so pervasive that I’m sure you, like me, know several people who have been or are still out of work during this recession.Recognizing this, the World Economic Forum and CNBC convened a televised debate hosted by Maria Bartiromo to hear solutions to “The Future of Employment.”

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Happy Anniversary, iPad!

One year ago, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad to the world, triggering a seismic shift in mobile computing. The impact was as unforeseen as it was big. With nearly 15 million iPads sold, Apple outstripped analysts’ average predictions by a factor of 5X. In just one quarter, the iPad helped boost sales of media tablets by 45%, and the iPad alone now accounts for 90% of the market.

The iPad’s impact on content production and distribution has been no less significant. As Apple’s iTunes store upended the music industry model, the iPad has forced print, Web, video and game companies to reconsider their businesses and step up to a whole new expectation for their users’ experience, interactivity and relationship with the content they provide. With the iPad, Apple continued to reign as the king of marketplace disruption.

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Dispatch from Davos II: Wide Open Leadership

Dispatch from Davos II: Wide Open Leadership

This week, Ketchum President Rob Flaherty is attending the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum — which brings together 2,500 CEOs and government leaders in Davos, Switzerland — and is reporting his observations. On Jan. 31, he will host a special webinar open to the public, “Davos 2011: An Insider’s Guide to Key Insights,” in which he will recap his experiences.Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet and hear from the CEO of a $5.5 billion IT company in India about his leadership philosophy. Vineet Nayar of HCL Technologies believes that value today is created in the “value zone,” where employees meet customers every day. It is value co-created with customers as they sort out what a rapidly changing marketplace really needs now. That’s an interesting thought for all of us at Ketchum as we work with our clients in our own rapidly changing environment. Taking it a step further, Nayar thinks that more value is created in the field than at the top of the company, by senior professionals and executives. Consequently, Nayar believes that “the job of management is to enthuse, enable and encourage employees in the value zone to create higher value than competitors.” He says that management is as accountable to employees as employees are to management. 

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Dispatch from Davos I: More Disruption Ahead

Dispatch from Davos I: More Disruption Ahead

This week, Ketchum President Rob Flaherty is attending the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum — which brings together 2,500 CEOs and government leaders in Davos, Switzerland — and is reporting his observations. On Jan. 31, he will host a special webinar open to the public, “Davos 2011: An Insider’s Guide to Key Insights,” in which he will recap his experiences.  The first full day of the World Economic Forum got off to a brisk start with a discussion and debate among mobile technology and social network experts.

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2011: What's the Big Picture in Digital Media?

2011: What's the Big Picture in Digital Media?

Now that 2011 is in full swing, a whole slew of predictions, projections and forecasts have come in about what the next year will bring to the digital realm. Digital media experts, social media gurus and industry thought leaders have collectively generated a laundry list of trends including almost every major development in digital media during the past few years – from 2D codes (such as QR [quick response] codes) to “mood check-ins” to cloud computing and so forth. The following represents my attempt to bring clarity to the discussion by zeroing in on what I believe will be the five major broadly defined trends driving digital and social media marketing this year. 

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