I am a Canadian…

posted by Brendan Hodgson

I was not around in 1960 when these words were first spoken. But as we head to the polls once again, they remain as relevant and synonymous to Canada (and our society) now as Molson’s more recent, lighthearted (and perhaps more famous) take on Canadian culture – video embedded below. 

I am a Canadian,
free to speak without fear,
free to worship in my own way,
free to stand for what I think right,
free to oppose what I believe wrong,
or free to choose those
who shall govern my country.
This heritage of freedom
I pledge to uphold
for myself and all mankind.”

The Virtual Conference Mash-up: An Idea whose Time has Come

posted by Brendan Hodgson

Kate seemed pretty excited when she landed on this. I share her excitement.

The virtual / conference mash-up idea is indeed brilliant (and kudos to the team who thought up the idea). Through applications such as slideshare and Youtube, an increasing plethora of content is being made available from a slew of experts across a variety of fields – including presentations such as this (which I hadn’t seen in years).

I can see a number of different applications for smart enterprises, including those looking to:

  • Educate internal audiences without the associated travel and lost productivity costs. I can see how this idea might allow organizations to package and deliver content in ways that provide a significantly more complete context to the subject matter – be it marketing, social media, crisis communications, sales, engineering, whatever… from a stage-setter, to break-outs on more focused areas, and eye-candy in between.
  • Inform external stakeholders on critical issues by aggregating and presenting multiple points of view from experts around the web combined with content created by your own organization and/or your supporters. Again, if appropriately packaged, the presentation will also provide a much broader picture and context that might ever have been possible previously. In doing so, I would also see a much more engaged discussion as experts and others see their content being mashed-up with ideas they may not support or which might contradict their own.

Cool Creativity from our East Coast Friends: iPhone, eat yer heart out!

posted by Brendan Hodgson

Wouldn’t you like to own one of these?


Nice to see the public sector willing to try something a little different.

Note: the Pomegranate Phone campaign was created by our east coast partner.

H&K’s Niall Cook brings Enterprise 2.0 to Canada

posted by Brendan Hodgson

Author, colleague, fellow Collective Conversationist and H&K’s worldwide director of marketing technology, Niall Cook, has finally realized where the action is and will be joining the Canadian digital team in Toronto on October 7 and Ottawa October 8 to chat about his new book, Enterprise 2.0.

In addition to speaking to colleagues and clients during his brief jaunt through the colonies, Niall will also be shilling his new book… erm, I mean graciously sharing the insights of his research to interested social media afficianados… over beers at Third Tuesday events taking place in both cities - check out the deets for Toronto (October 7) and Ottawa (October 8).

227 words about Niall Cook (in his own words)

I am the Worldwide Director of Marketing Technology at communications consultancy Hill & Knowlton, with responsibility for the agency’s online marketing strategy and internal systems to maximise marketing and new business efficiency. I created the industry leading blogging policy for the firm and set up Collective Conversation, the first blogging community from a professional services company.

I frequently advise the agency’s Fortune 500 clients on the effective use of technology to support internal and external marketing strategy, having recently worked on projects for Allianz, HSBC and LG.Prior to joining Hill & Knowlton in July 2000, I held positions at the online currency beenz.com, Answerthink Consulting Group, UBS and Reed Elsevier. I am also the founder and chairman of Cogenz Ltd, a company providing social bookmarking software for the enterprise.

I hold an honours degree in Typography & Graphic Communication from The University of Reading and live in Suffolk with my wife, daughter, two Hungarian Wirehaired Viszlas, one Tibetan Terrier, two cats and five chickens.

I am a frequent speaker and author on the topic of social media and social software, and was invited to address the Singapore Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts in 2006. I have also led the Ark Group’s Social Software in the Enterprise Masterclass. Other speaking engagements include the Institute of Fundraising’s national convention and the 2nd Annual Internal Communications Measurement Conference.

About Enterprise 2.0

Social software has taken the Internet by storm, fuelling huge growth in collaborative authoring platforms (such as blogs, wikis and podcasts) and massive expansion in social networking communities. These technologies have generated an unprecedented level of consumer participation and it is now time for businesses to embrace them as part of their own information and knowledge management strategies.”Enterprise 2.0″ is one of the first books to explain the impact that social software will have inside the corporate firewall, and ultimately how staff will work together in the future. Niall Cook helps you to navigate this emerging landscape and introduces the key concepts that make up ‘enterprise 2.0′. The 4Cs model at the heart of the book uses practical examples from well known companies in a range of industry sectors to illustrate how to apply enterprise 2.0 to encourage communication, cooperation, collaboration and connection between employees and customers in your own company.Erudite, well-researched and highly readable, this book is essential reading for anyone involved in knowledge, information and library management, as well as those implementing social software tools inside organizations. It will also appeal to marketing, advertising, public relations and internal communications professionals who need to exploit the opportunities social software offers for significant business impact and competitive advantage.


Wall Street and the Art of Creative Communications

posted by Brendan Hodgson

Amid the chaos engulfing Wall Street, this is a useful reminder that powerful communications can take many creative forms… and, in doing so, achieve exposure far beyond its traditional confines:

(Photo credit: ESeraph)

Update: Check out portraits of other “fallen icons” from the same artist


David Jones talks Digital PR and H&K’s Approach

posted by Brendan Hodgson

My colleague David Jones is in Vancouver this week on behalf of his client Molson. He also made time to speak at the traditionally any-day-but-Tuesday Third Tuesday social media gathering (lovingly organized by Tanya, the Netchick herself, and Monica).

Gathering from what I’ve been reading from some of the bloggers in attendance – thanks in particular to Rebecca and Tris for their insightful summaries - he appears to have given a good showing, and articulated a number of important points with respect to how H&K approaches the social media space on behalf of our clients such as Motorola, Intel, Molson, Overlay.tv and others, including:

  • the importance of continuous learning within H&K itself,
  • the challenge of communicating in an environment where every employee is now a potential communicator, whether they know it or not,
  • the fact that social media is rarely, if ever, a ”quick fix” or a campaign that can just be turned on and turned off (and we ensure our clients understand as such), and
  • that listening to and making sense of the conversation is more about hard work versus relying too heavily on the myriad shiny new tools that might only do half the job…

Ultimately, it’s about getting past the hype, and focusing on what’s real, achievable, and makes sense to our client’s business or issue… and it’s something that Collin, David, and myself attempt to evangelize every day.

The Challenge of Social Media Measurement… in a Nutshell

posted by Brendan Hodgson

David Churbuck calls it the web metrics quote of the century… and I have to agree in spades (particularly as it relates to social media):

“Not everything that counts can be counted; and not everything that can be counted, counts”



Another Federal Election in Canada means another H&K Election Predictor

posted by Brendan Hodgson

As had been rumoured for a couple of weeks and confirmed this past Sunday, a snap federal election is now on the agenda. Which means that Canadians will be going to the polls on October 14, 2008. And, of course, during these past few weeks – and secretly hoping against hope that the call would never come - we’ve been working furiously to prepare the latest version of the 2008 Federal Election Predictor (http://predictor.hillandknowlton.ca).

And with only a few minor bumps and scrapes, along with the most ill-timed server outages EVER, it’s here!

What’s new this year? A simpler interface for one. More importantly, we’ve also launched our new mobile version (www.mobilepredictor.ca) for those who wish to make and share their election predictions on the fly via their Crackberries or iPhones. And we’re back with the team blogging on digital trends in politics and other insightful miscellany.

As always, we try to keep mum on the inner workings of the predictor, other than to say that for past elections – federally, as well as for recent elections in Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec – the predictor (and its provincial brethren) has shown itself to be almost frighteningly accurate. That said, the goal of the Election Predictor franchise has always been – unlike other sites that offer predictions – to provide a fun and interactive way for armchair pundits to view the numbers, and to test how shifts in voting patterns might translate into actual seats.

We hope you’ll enjoy this version as much as you enjoyed previous versions, and we look forward to your thoughts, comments, and critiques of the tool and it’s results.

Questions from the C-Suite on Social Media and corporate reputation

posted by Brendan Hodgson

Only a day back from vacation and I was presenting to a boardroom of senior executives of one of Canada’s largest corportations on the topic of social media and corporate reputation. Having given a number of these educational sessions to the C-suite, I’ve noticed a few recurring questions which I’ll be blogging about over the next few months – here’s a sampling:

  • Why should I care if a Youtube video attacking our company has been viewed only XX times or if a Facebook group targeting our business has only XX members?
  • When should we respond to criticism in the social media space – or do we risk making a small issue bigger?
  • Our company workforce numbers in the ‘000’s. How can we prevent employees from mis-using social media and potentially damaging our reputation?
  • How can social media help us to counteract the voices of our detractors?
  • How can we prevent rogue employees or activists from capturing “gotcha” moments on their camera-phones?
  • How can social media help me in a crisis? What do I need to do to prepare?
  • Who should “own” social media in our organization?
  • How do we measure it’s effectiveness?
  • Where do we begin?

Good judgment / Poor Judgement … what do you think?

posted by Brendan Hodgson

… in the wake of last week’s barbaric murder on a Greyhound bus. 

Good judgement… Greyhound pulls its ad

Poor judgement… Peta creates one

Good judgement… Portage la Prairie’s Portage Daily Graphic refuses to run it.

Poor judgement… Peta’s attempt to justify it: A group spokesperson is unapologetic. “Like human victims, animals in slaughterhouses experience terror when they are attacked by a knife-wielding assailant,” Lindsay Rajt explains in a statement. “We are challenging everyone who is rightly horrified by this crime to look into their hearts and consider leaving violence off their dinner plates.”

“A clever way to make a point – or extremely bad taste and terrible timing?”… You tell me.