Intrapreneurs …. the bravest of them all.

I have been an intrapreneur for practically my whole career. Even before it was called Intrapreneur. It’s really hard sometimes. You find yourself being that innovative and fearless voice in the corner of a large organization (whether you work for the co, or for the consulting co or agency they’ve brought in to play the role). And when you are that person – alot of people just plain out hate you. Your mere existence gives threat to an established world order.

Most people don’t like change. They fight it tooth and nail. I never understand it. Discovering new things, trying new ways – it’s so exciting! It’s like the world is a giant puzzle but so many people just can’t do it.

I absolutely loved this article. Especially the part about integrity. So much of corporate life can be filled with a lot of smokescreens. Watching that succeed has always been so frustrating for me…because I do really believe that authentic integrity is hard to come by these days. And I’m proud I have it. Thanks David K Williams for highlighting the importance.

The 4 Essential Traits Of ‘Intrapreneurs’
David K. Williams

Intrapreneurs are the heroes of a business environment

There’s been much discussion of late about the entrepreneurs within an organization—those highly valuable executives and team members who will perhaps never become a company founder, but who have learned to apply the essential principles of entrepreneurship to the roles they fill within a company.

We refer to these employees as “intrapreneurs” because they’re not entering into their own, work venture, but they are working within your company, thus the “intra” part.

Our company, Fishbowl is filled with intrapreneurs. They think and behave like owners. Most of them actually are as our organization is employee owned. They are invaluable to the company’s health. But how do organizations recognize and develop intrapreneurs, and, even more importantly, how can you be sure they won’t leave?

As authors Vijay Govindarajan and Jatin Desai have noted in a Harvard Business Review blog post, there are certain characteristics that successful intrapreneurs share. I would like to focus on four of them:

1. Money is not their measurement. Intrapreneurs certainly respect the value and importance of money. They understand the economic drivers that allow the organization to succeed and are able to support this fundamental truth and not fight it. A non-intrapreneur is perpetually looking for non-economic ways to justify their own advancement and payment. An intrapreneur “gets it” and does their work in a way that shows the organization they are someone it can’t afford to lose. The money and advancement finds them.

2. They are “greenhousers.” When you speak about an intriguing idea to an intrapreneur, the idea never leaves them. It germinates within their mind, and they carry with them the desire to figure out how to make it work. When you see them next, they are likely to have grown the seed of an idea into a full-blown plan or they will have created an even better set of alternative plans in its stead.

3. They know how to pivot. Intrapreneurs aren’t afraid to change course, nor do they fear failure. It isn’t outward bravado that drives them but an inner confidence and courage that every step takes them closer to their ultimate goal. In my own training and vernacular I call this phenomenon “failing up.” I celebrate opportunities for growth, even painful ones.

4. They behave authentically and with integrity. Most importantly, intrapreneurs exhibit the traits of confidence and humility—not the maverick behavior of corporate hotshots, Govendarajan and Desai say. I agree fully with this conclusion. Integrity (along with Respect, Belief, and Courage) are key among the traits I call the 7 Non-Negotiables, which have driven my own company to miraculous accomplishments and are at the core of the methodology I describe in my book. A budding businessperson could carry every other characteristic in spades, but without a foundation of integrity, they will fail (and the work landscape is littered with many examples of such failures).

So if these are the traits that describe what an intrapreneur looks like, where will you find these individuals and how can you ensure they will stay?

For starters, a company founded with an entrepreneurial/intrapreneurial emphasis becomes a magnet for more of the same. Employees recommend the company to others who share their values. Like breeds like, which is also to say that a company can’t conduct itself without integrity and still expect to find those traits upheld in its ranks. With time and experience, you will learn to ask the searching questions that will help you determine the true traits of the individuals you consider.

The search will be worth the effort, as tomorrow’s world of work ecosystems will be driven by the increasing ranks of intrapreneurs.

social media advertising

“Give The People What They Want”

Take it from those of us who have been marketing to Fans for a long time…..The Kinks were right. It become more and more amazing to see brand land adopt the types of activities that entertainment brands have been doing for a long time. (If only music was as physical and as difficult to steal as a bottle of shampoo, coffee or a car.) NOTE: WALL WORTHY GRAPHIC BELOW

How Social Media Has Radically Altered Advertising


advertising idea imageHank Wasiak is a partner at the creative firm The Concept Farm, and the best selling author of the Asset-Based Thinking book series. He is a three-time Emmy award winning TV host, a teacher at USC’s Graduate School of Business, and a Reiki Master.

Social Media () started out as a bit of a novelty — a playground for the “geekerati.” But it has taken hold as a game changing force that will reshape advertising at its very core.

It’s time to move past debates about traditional media co-existing with social media. Madison Avenue should see social media as a wonderful, if not disruptive, gift. It should run hard to catch up with the consumer, let go of legacy business models and build something better.

My career in advertising started in February, 1965, right in the middle of the Mad Men era, and I am fortunate to still be doing what I love. Just when I thought I’d seen everything over the past five decades, along came social media. Here I am at age 67, cheering for change and eager to be a part of it.

To put things into perspective, it’s helpful to look back at the impact that TV had on the ad business in the mid 60s and draw some parallels with where we are today.

That Was Then

When I arrived on Madison Avenue, the growth and expansion of television advertising was hitting its stride. An explosion of mass, controlled, “broadcast out and shout” communications was changing the face, function and finances of advertising. Madison Avenue embraced these changes in a big way and leveraged the power of television to launch a golden age of advertising.

Creative people started seeing short-message story telling as a valued currency just as creative departments promoted collaboration between art directors and writers. TV production departments also grouped together producers, directors and technical specialists into collaborative teams.

The client/agency relationship deepened as agencies took on proactive roles. Research also changed, and put more emphasis on measuring both the rational and emotional components of messaging.

In effect, a new breed of Mad Men emerged to start boutique agencies that fueled a creative revolution and brought a new value system to the business.

The Seeds of Disruption

While TV ushered in a new era in advertising, the business aspect evolved and reshaped itself along relatively predictable lines. All of that changed with the Internet (), social media, and the rise of mobile devices. This quote from Jim Farley, the CMO of Ford, sums up the sentiment in most C-suites today: “We want to take that stupid little box we were forced into as advertisers, blow it up, and change the way we interact with the customer, and we want it to be around the experience.”

Now it’s time for Madison Avenue to embrace these social marketing opportunities with the same enthusiasm it had for the disruptive change of television.

This Is Now

Marketing has traditionally focused on the four “Ps”: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Social media has morphed into the fifth, and possibly most important “P”: People. A people strategy is at the center of today’s dynamic and fluid social marketing mix. John Janitsch of Duct Tape Marketing has another take on the four Ps, and has turned them into four Cs for the social age: Content, Context, Connection and Community.

A people strategy is much broader, deeper and more profound than consumer targeting. It involves listening to and engaging with everyone who can touch or influence current and potential customers at all stages of brand interaction. Jeff Pulver is a savvy guy who has had his finger on the pulse of this dynamic for some time. “The social media revolution is less about “we the people” and more about “me the people,” Pulver said.

Social media has changed the way people interact amongst themselves and with their media. People play multiple — sometimes simultaneous — roles as receivers, creators, critics, advocates, transformers and transmitters of messages. Brian Solis’ conversation prism helps to put this mash-up into perspective.

conversation prism image

This Is Why

A “Me the People” mindset changes the way companies strategize, organize, monetize and commercialize their business. This recent statement from Bob MacDonald, CEO of Procter & Gamble, sums up just how far a “me the people” movement can go: “What I would like to have is a one-on-one relationship with seven billion people in the world and be able to customize offerings for those seven billion people. Digital allows that relationship.”

Seth Godin’s insight into how this is driving change in C-suites is brilliant — the role of the CMO has changed from Chief Marketing Officer to Chief Movement Officer.

The stage is set. In 2010, social media has introduced the advertising business to its next big disruption. But this time the state of the advertising business is quite different. Advertising is struggling to recapture relevance. It is mired in murky fee-based compensation systems, dealing with loss of control and trying to keep up with the accelerating pace of media dispersion.

A Much Needed Mindset Shift

For Madison Avenue to make it through this change and emerge stronger there has to be a mindset shift away from deficit-based, downside thinking to asset-based, upside thinking. Madison Avenue needs to embrace the power of letting go, reaffirm core values that maximize the potential of what is working and experiment with new models. Here are five suggestions for that “up” mindset shift:

  • Lighten Up. Stop lamenting the end of advertising as we know it. Celebrate the emergence of advertising as the consumer wants it and as it was meant to be — the art of one-on-one persuasion.
  • Listen Up. Take Chris Brogan’s advice. Grow bigger ears and become an expert at listening to what people feel. Value response and engagement skills as much as creative abilities.
  • Loosen Up. Get comfortable with giving up control to gain confidence and traction with clients and consumers. Client relationships ought to be rooted in trust, transparency and creative programs that are built on a strong positioning and responsibly deliver what is promised.
  • Ladder It Up. Embrace “collabetition.” Resist the urge to say “we can do it all” and openly collaborate with like-minded competitors to add value to an idea or program.
  • Live It Up. Everyone at an agency has to immerse themselves in the “social circles” in which consumers live and move everyday. Observation and understanding have been trumped by participation and engagement.

There are some other lessons we can keep in mind moving forward. Advertising is an art, made up of ideas that can move and persuade people. Technology, digital tools and metrics are useful but they cannot come up with those ideas for you.

Energize creatives to go beyond just making ads. They should become masters of sustained transmedia storytelling. Involve media people at all levels of development.

Lastly, invite consumer participation in the creative process through dialogue, inclusion and experimentation. Wisely directed user-generated content and crowdsourced ideas can be a huge asset.

Ultimately, I believe that the advertising business is ready to enter its next golden age. Bill Bernbach, an influential and inspiring “Mad Man” I had the privilege to work for, had these words of advice: “An idea can turn to dust or magic depending upon the talent that rubs against it.”

Now is the time to be magicians.

four square

Currency: selling names and data to advertisers. Always has been always will.

I still have not joined the foursquare revolution – as me. I’ve checked it out but I’m not ready to broadcast my whereabouts to my network. What if I WANT to sneak off at 4pm for a manicure in between meetings? Does the world really need to know how many cups of coffee a day I consume from my local caffeine dealer?

Still – foursquare is fascinating. And as usual – an advertiser driven revenue model is at the end of the chain. But who’s spending advertising money? We need a new term to describe  “direct to consumer social media marketing advertising that you pay for.” and then convince people to pay for it….i mean we haven’t even converted people to paying for pre-roll or post-roll yet and HOW many hours of viewing time does online video content get?

Foursquare Plots Its Business Model

Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai of foursquareNEW YORK ( — Don’t look now, but big brands are checking in on Foursquare. Pepsi, frozen-dessert chain Tasti D-Lite and cable network Bravo are all attempting to harness the power of the mobile game/social network.

The question is whether they’ll pay for the privilege. Or whether Foursquare, which has 300,000 users now voluntarily “checking in” at locations, and broadcasting that to their followers, will transcend its current “it” status among the technorati and become a lasting consumer phenomenon — and a marketing tool.

In December, Pepsi made a small bet on the startup as part of its Refresh Everything community-giving push. For every point earned in New York, Pepsi donated 4 cents to inner-city youth center Camp Interactive. After one week, New Yorkers on Foursquare earned 225,000 points, and nearly $10,000 for the organization.

‘Huge opportunity’
It was a small deal with a big brand that generated little if any revenue for Foursquare. Still, it got Pepsi excited about the possibilities.

“From a broad strategy point of view, there’s a huge potential with the ability to connect people to promotional experiences,” said Bonin Bough, PepsiCo’s global director of digital and social media. “We know where people are and can talk to them from a geo-located perspective — that’s a huge opportunity.”

That’s exciting, also, for Foursquare, which in this deal and others is starting to build the foundation of a revenue model on location-based marketing services. Foursquare is planning paid services for three tiers of businesses: small, privately owned stores and restaurants; brands with retail chains, such as Tasti D-Lite; and huge multinational marketers such as Pepsi.

For bigger brands, Foursquare is developing an analytics dashboard so businesses can track who’s coming into their stores. Then, deals could be sold against impressions such as web ads, clicks such as search ads, or a completely new model: cost per check-in.

Moving beyond early adopters
But before it can do any of that, Foursquare must prove it can expand beyond early adopters and educate marketers on how to use the service in ways its fickle users won’t hate.

“We’ve been hesitant to just shoot ad copy through our system,” said Tristan Walker, Foursquare’s head of business development. “Once we start to put in generic specials, we’re just another channel to distribute promotions.”

For now, marketers are availing themselves of Foursquare’s free tools, and some are liking the results. Checking-in in the vicinity of a Tasti D-Lite shop? You may get served a coupon from the Tennessee-based chain, which is testing a free service from Foursquare called “specials nearby.”

“Preliminary data is showing that this is driving foot traffic in stores,” said B.J. Emerson, director-information and social technologies for the 50-store chain. “We’ll most likely pursue this where we can measure effectiveness and return.”

The company also launched a loyalty program that’s synched with Foursquare and Twitter, so customers earn points for making purchases and for checking in. When visits are published to customers’ Twitter stream, Tasti D-Lite gets in front of all their friends, and a customer earns extra points toward free dessert.

Using, not paying, Foursquare
Right now, Specials Nearby — there are nearly 700 since Foursquare launched the feature in summer — are free to businesses. So is the API off which Mr. Emerson built the loyalty program. Likewise, Foursquare’s Bravo deal gives the company TV exposure, if not revenue.

“I think marketers will be interested in Foursquare, assuming the audience keeps growing,” said David Berkowitz, director-emerging media at digital agency 360i. “The lasting value will be from the smaller deals Foursquare will find ways to monetize.”

It’s a difficult balance: Foursquare’s ability to continue to grow depends on its users accepting at least a bit of marketing along with the badges, or honorifics, they earn, such as “mayor” (for most visits), “newbie,” “bender” (for consecutive nights out) and, yes, even “douchebag” (for checking in at places like Barneys).

Zero to 300,000 isn’t bad for an app that launched less than a year ago. It took more than three years for Twitter to reach its current fever pitch. But even as it grows, Foursquare will have to answer the same questions. Research firm Sysomos estimates that 5% of Twitter users generate 75% of activity.

Much will depend on whether it can maintain its cool. “The X-factor appeal of Foursquare is in its social currency,” Mr. Berkowitz said. “Giving Foursquare users these badges for completing explicit tasks adds an element of surprise, like a scavenger hunt. And you can’t ignore the bragging rights.”