Communication Society

Rebranding Iraq. On a human sized, stone stele

” If you’re a country at war and you’re getting gigantic amounts of bad media, basically you are stuck. That’s billions and billions of dollars in negative publicity; how can you fight against that?”  So says Simon Anhalt, country branding guru.   But he is only half right.  “Iraq” has negative publicity.   “Mesopotamia” doesn’t.   In fact, the more I look at  the Code of Hammurabi, the more I get filled with ideas of great publicity campaigns.   This is the cradle of civilization, the place that started it all.

There are plenty reasons why branding a country is nothing like branding a product.   A pretty good summary here points out how much more complicated and long term an effort is required.   And here’s a good case study on destination branding.   But you don’t need a decade and multiparty support to change the name.  And one good, globally successful advertising campaign could redefine how the country sees itself forever.

Iraq, I mean Mesopotamia, started it all.   A human sized stone stele in every city defined the very first set of laws, what Justinian and English law later followed.   It defined a minimum wage before unions, slave rights millenniums before Americans struggled with the idea, women’s rights and a framework for free market operation which would put a G8 gathering to shame.   Nation branding is correct to point out all the positive aspects of the situation, there is a real opportunity for this much battered part of the world.

While Hummer jeeps still drive up the wrong side of the road in Baghdad, there’s some food for thought.

I’m Mesopotamian and I’m proud!

Business Communication

The empty LinkedIn profile results

By way of an experiment, I removed absolutely everything from my profile on LinkedIn. It made absolutely no difference to the number of people visiting it (20 per week on average) or the number of people clicking through to my personal website.  So at you can only see a very brief description of my studies.   All my recommendations have disappeared as LinkedIn considers them “unassigned”.

The data I have to assess the situation is limited as I refuse to pay for a premium LinkedIn subscription.   A “senior manager” or “someone in the management function” has been looking at my profile.   Quite often I can figure out who it was in relation to what I have been doing or writing.   I may have found LinkedIn extremely useful on several occasions, particularly setting up new business in a new country or region, but it is not worth paying for in order to know more.   I don’t do recruiting that often and even if I did, there are plenty other tools around.   Spending anymore time with LinkedIn other than the once a week I do now would demote it to Facebook timewasting status!   (Or Branchout – the latest of Facebook’s advertised LinkedIn killers…)

A couple of years back I wrote that “the social media profile is a particularly bad way of making an impression” and now I just put my money where my mouth was!   I suppose for junior positions it may make sense but any headhunter worth his or her salt will find me through my 1500 contacts and what they think about the results I can bring to a business; no fancy or empty resume is of any use at this level.

Business Communication

Personal Communications Advisor: better than golf

Yes, yet another acronym.   I am now officially a PE.C.A.   I coined the term because it is going to become a popular profession.   Not for me personally.   I only got involved and am developing the know how in order to assist corporate clients.   The problem is that the personal branding of their top brass is important.   Really important.   And they have no clue how to properly use their social media.

Top CEO easily accessible via Facebook?   Not a good idea.   His or her personal information available?   Most high flying execs have no idea just where and how the stuff they post online might be accessible.   So, most of them avoid it all together.   Also not a good idea for many.   (Depends what business you are in and what your overall company communications plan is.)

So, they need to be online, trendy and creating buzz but aren’t sure what exactly the latest Google, Facebook or LinkedIn policy change means.  In comes the PE.C.A.!   Setting targets, measuring results, checking what the reactions are.   Somebody has to be online to check that a storm isn’t brewing.   The CEO isn’t going to be signing in every five minutes…

For many up and coming entrepreneurs or other business people social media is a valuable way of getting up in life in terms of connections.   I was once advised to take up golf in order to meet “the right people”.   Unfortunately it is true that many a major business deal has taken place between swings.   (And – in my experience – this nonchalance often leads to catastrophic results.)  But by projecting the right message, the CEO can get the equivelant of golfing contacts online.

Take your best swing!