You Say You Want a Revolution…

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Well maybe you don’t but you’re getting one. Scratch that, you’re IN one!

Consensus says… Being anti-social not an option. With social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube massively changing the way businesses interact with their market, the future of business IS SOCIAL. There will not be an option. Those choosing to stay out of it will disappear. Why? Because Trust and Credibility, accompanied by top of mind awareness will win customers every time over.

The “In” Crowd Is The E-Crowd. Don’t believe me? 93% of the worlds population under the age of 40 have joined a social media group. In fact,

If Facebook were a country it would be the 3rd largest in the world:
1. China
2. India
3. Facebook
4. USA

Whoa! Right? I can go on… Twitter averages 50 million status updates a day – 20% of those updates reference a product or a service. The math on that — 10 Million tweets. That’s a lotta tweets and potential transactions! And like we told you before, video is the new black. The average internet user watches over 12hrs of video online per month. YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world. It’s the 4th most visited site online.

Mixing Business w/ Pleasure. It’s not just about being cool, it’s about credibility. 90% of people trust the recommendations other consumers over advertising. People want information but they don’t want to be sold, they want to feel empowered by their choices and what makes them feel empowered is not only feel like they are making the choice, but that EVERYBODY’S doing it.

News You Can Use. Some of the largest challenges people have when trying to market their business through social media is where to start. According to marketing execs @twitter there are 4 Simple Steps to Social Media Success:

1. Find interested people
2. Deliver quality content
3. Capture information
4. Stay in touch

Focus, Focus, Focus. You can pick and choose where you want to play out these steps, or make it easy on yourself by using the three most popular sites to suss out your audience.

Use their provided search tools to find people interested in your product or service from the:

  • 355 million FaceBookers
  • 35 million business people on Linked-In
  • 50 million people on Twitter

Wikipedia says that “A study by the University of Maryland suggested that social media services may be addictive, and that users of social media services leads to a “fear of missing out”
We grow up, some things change. Some things don’t. (#1 Activity on the web == Social Media grx)

So that’s just a nugget from the mountain of information about social media practices.

All This Fear Can Go Ahead and Kiss My Courageass!

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Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face… You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” And somebody else said something along the lines of, “It’s not the absence of fear, it’s the decision we make when we show up that makes all the difference.”

But sometimes I question if these folks have any idea how scary things feel today in 2011. Did they have twenty-four hour news channels spewing words like crisis, killing spree, terrorist, and disaster, be-it of the economic or natural variety? This dialogue has our nervous systems jumping around like oil in a hot skillet. Oh, and we’re amped up on a dark roast to boot.

At designKREW we’ve decided to celebrate fearlessness, faith and trusting that everything is going to be A-OK. We rounded up some news you can use when fear has you frozen in time. This edition is intended to help you tap into the courage that is innate in all of us, give you some tools for the next time you get skerd. And remind you that fear is just misguided excitement. WOOOHOOOO!!

Buddhist writer Susan Piver offers a few simple techniques you can apply to everyday fears, from asking for help to remembering to breathe. Here are a couple of Susan’s Tips to a Fearless Life:

1. Let Yourself Be Afraid
My favorite definition of fearlessness is this: the ability to remain soft and open, even under very difficult circumstances. Most often, fear causes us to shut down to our own and others’ humanity. We just want to get away, but the quickest way out is to stay. If you can slow down a bit, you can see that fear rises, abides and dissolves on its own. Allowing this process is the mark of the spiritual warrior. The coward turns attention toward fighting fear; the warrior accommodates it.
Try this: The next time you notice fear rising, whether it appears as anxiety, melancholy, or anger, stop, grab a piece of paper, and write one short sentence that describes your fear. Start with the words “I’m afraid…,” then scribble the first thoughts that come to mind, without regard for grammar or rationale. It could be something such as, “I’m afraid to check my e-mail because I’ve already got too much to do,” or, “I’m afraid about an upcoming conversation with my boyfriend,” or, “I’m afraid I have cancer.” Slowly read your words over three times. Take a full inhalation and exhalation after each reading. Avoid any attempt at amping up or toning down your agitation.

2. Put Others First
Fear can cause you to ignore your authentic desires and put your life on hold. We want to avoid, retreat, and think what we want isn’t possible or realistic. This doesn’t hurt only you! Those who love you are also deprived, but just as often I find the opposite works. When I stop and remember who is in my life, why I love them, what they need, and how happy they would be made by my happiness, I find tremendous courage to face my fears. I’m doing it for us! My actions are rooted in love, not aggression–and loving others is a secret power source of fearlessness.
Try this: Ask yourself: “If I were to get past my worst fears, who else would be made happy?” If you can’t think of one person who would delight in your delight, imagine the person you most admire sitting across from you. This person can be real or fictional, but when you think of them, you feel a great sense of encouragement. Write down each person’s name and explain why he or she would feel happy if you conquered your fear.

3. Relax
The opposite of fear is not dauntlessness, it’s relaxation. The ability to remain open and mindful under all circumstances, no matter how uncomfortable, is a sign of amazing courage. When we’re not able to maintain mindfulness, we lose track of what’s actually going on around us. We confuse what we think is happening with what is happening. When attention is absorbed in fear, we’re distracted from what is actually going on. Like remaining in the still eye of a tornado–as opposed to being swept away by it–fearlessness requires full, moment-to-moment attention and receptivity, two qualities rooted in relaxation.
Try this: The next time you notice fear rising, stop what you’re doing. Draw attention inward. Where is the fear manifesting in your body? Fear can show itself in a tense jaw, clenched belly, shallow breathing, and so on. When you locate fear’s position, simply relax that area. Let your jaw or stomach go or take a few deep breaths. This is meant to be a physical relaxation, not an emotional one. You don’t always have to calm your mind to calm your body. It can work the other

4. Bring Someone With
Here is an exercise you can do on the spot to calm real fear in real time.
Try this: Before you’re about to do something scary (confront a friend, start a new job, ask for a date), imagine someone who would be proud or grateful if you took this risk. It could be a relative, a mentor, your inner child, or a historic or fictional character. Before you step into your scary situation, visualize this person by your side, holding your hand, or in your arms. Let yourself really feel their presence–and take them in with you. You’re not alone, and there is strength in numbers!

Hopefully something in there resonated with you and will help pull you through a scary moment, decision, or day in your near future. Most likely, if you got to the true source of your fear it is that you have a fear of losing something you value. Someone brilliant spoke so eloquently to that. I’ll let him close our tribute to living a fearless life:

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”
— Steve Jobs

Now that is one man – I know for SURE – had every idea what modern day life is like. And he took a huge bite out of it. Like an Apple. Here’s to trailblazing.

QR Codes: Get ’em While They’re Hot!

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Courtesy of  guest contributor Classic Litho Printing

You may have read about QR codes lately. These are two-dimensional codes (most often in black-and-white but sometimes in color) that you scan or snap with your cell phone camera. They take you to a marketer’s website where you can access content, get discounts, watch videos, and experience a wide variety of marketing content right on your phone.
But there is more to QR codes than just taking customers to the Web.

  1. Email: Want people to respond to a promotion by email? When the user snaps the code, this automatically launches the email application and populates the “send to” address with the email address you choose.
  2. Phone number: Want people to respond to a promotion by phone? When the user snaps the code, it displays the phone number and automatically launches a button for the user to dial. No more lost sales because the prospect dialed wrong.
  3. Plain text: Users can access plain text too. They can scan the code to view exclusive portions of an interview or access a discount code. If they are visiting a trade show, they might see a booth number.
  4. Business card: With one snap, you can populate the user’s mobile phone contacts with your name, address, phone number, email and URL.
  5. Calendar: Want to remind users about a scheduled event? Once they snap the code, your event’s date and time are stored in their phone. If they have a calendar app, users can select the reminder function so their phone alerts them when your event comes up.

These are some under-appreciated ways that QR codes can make your marketing collateral, trade show graphics, manuals, direct mail pieces, and business cards even better!