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News and Perspectives from Integrated Media Strategies

 

b2ap3 large Clipboard04In a 48-hour period, I received a series of Friend requests on Facebook, all from people I didn't know or with whom I hadn't done business. The requests were out of sync with my marketing, and statistically were unlikely. This blog looks at ways to protect yourself from requests to connect from fake accounts.

My first thought was that in the run-up to the U.S. elections, this was probably part of parties and candidates building up fake account portfolios to be able to bolster support for positions by using these bots as a kind of greek chorus. These are the accounts that shout the talking points and jump on naysayers.  If you have enough of them, their point of view becomes overwhelming.

But these are not the only source of fake accounts. Fake and malicious connections on social media are used to put together pieces of data needed for ID theft and other scams.

Integrated Media Strategies has been working with the African Leadership Institute to integrate its digital infrastructure and systematically improve its online visibility.   

The institute was created to change the continent by creating and supporting a new generation of young, visionary, ethical, strategic leaders across Africa. Their candidates are from all spheres of society and every country. AFLI offers a powerful learning experience run in partnership with Oxford University. Only 20-25 carefully chosen candidates, nominated from across Africa, are selected each year.  Among their alumni are a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, a candidate for President, technology leaders and other high-calibre leaders. What was needed was a way to enable all the alumni to better support each other.

b2ap3 large 13419202 1742427079338793 7252788372264939384 nI live and work in the state of North Carolina, which this year saw it's Republican-dominated legislature call a special session and enact what has become known as the Bathroom Bill.  It was initiated and signed into law in a single day. It is a misguided piece of legislation that strips a number of well-established workplace rights from citizens, along with the clauses pertaining to transgender people and bathrooms.  From a marketing communications and positioning perspective, it has been an unmitigated disaster for the state, and it has garnered a lot of ironic humor skewering the people and issues the bill supposedly addresses in the form of memes.

Despite the protestations of Governor McCrory to the contrary, the negative fallout was quick and brutal, and the ongoing impact is continuing. Estimates have put the loss of revenue at $5 billion annually from industry and business pullouts, boycotts, and withdrawal of Title IX federal dollars. Other estimates put the cost to the state at 20% of its annual budget. This goes hand in hand with changing the perceptions of the state from moderate to a conservative backwater. This directly negatively impacts its ability to tap into the progressive, forward-looking and innovative thinking required by entrepreneurs and and modern companies seeking employees with competitive skills-sets in a disruptive, 21st Century economy.

While comments sections generate more heat than light, especially in a year in which Donald Trump has made racism and intolerance mainstream again, the growth of a plethora of memes ridiculing the legislation and regressive policies deserves some consideration from a marketing communications and positioning perspective.

 

Integrated Media Strategies was hired to build a new website for the small business startup, Modell Testing. The company is a veteran-owned, DOT-compliant drug and alcohol testing facility. It provides DOT compliant 5-panel drug and alcohol tests on-site or as a mobile service. The Fayetteville-based company serves all federal, state, local, non-profit and for-profit entities who seek to comply with federal regulations that mandate safe and drug-free environments.  The site needed to establish the company as authentic and capable, and it needed an online booking capability with the ability to accept credit card payments.  We set up the site for online bookings in half hour slots and provided several hours of training to the owner on how to further configure the site's booking software so that as date availability changed, the site could be kept up to date.

A significant proportion of the time Integrated Media Strategies spent with this client - and many of our other clients - is on training.

b2ap3 large lookingbackToday, Integrated Media Strategies is officially four years old, although in real terms, activities began in 2011.  Birthdays provide a milestone in time to think back at where you came from and what the road ahead might bring. Used strategically, reflection has the ability to improve what's working further, cut what isn't and improve practices and habits.

I'd like to thank all my clients for choosing my company; I now count many of you as not just colleagues but also as friends. I've always tried to give the best possible service, along with options and my reasons for a course of action or solution. For my ‪#‎smallbusiness‬ clients, this approach has been empowering, because it has allowed them to factor that thinking into their other strategic decision-making.  Giving options and their implications has also been especially important when I have been called in to consult on and troubleshoot failed communications approaches.

My company has clients here in NC, in various locations in the US, in Canada, the UK, and Africa.  Among my successes I count a statewide advanced manufacturing workforce development initiative that attracted more than $1.8 billion in new capital investments and expansions in rural counties. That project also saw these areas create more than 6,600 jobs - a massive ROI for their communications budget.

b2ap3 large Clipboard01Two-factor authentication is a method of enhancing the security of web logins to your site. It separates a website login with another form of identification that a user has such as an email address or better, a mobile phone, which will presumably be in the user's possession.  If you have a website that uses it for customer-facing applications, make sure that your process is capable of managing authentication at peak times.

An example of poor management of this process is Nationwide Insurance, with whom I have personal experience. In the course of the past few months, Nationwide Insurance has twice had failures with its authentication.  This type of failure drives frustration levels up among customers because it is time wasting and that is unnecessary.  Moreover, it occurs at a time when people are parting with cash. While they are waiting - in my instance more than half an hour for two failed login attempts plus a phone call - customers are tempted to search for a competitor who wants their business.  Requiring a phone call is standard, because it enables the provider to validate the account.

 

 

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