Looking backwards and forwards Part Deux: This time from me

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[tweetmeme] Last week I published some wonderful thoughts from a variety of people I admire. In these thoughts they answered two questions:

1. What was your biggest learning from a communications perspective in 2010?

2. What is your one, key communications trend or forecast for 2011?

However, I didn’t answer the questions myself. I thought it apt to publish this today, on the final day of 2010.

1. The learning bit

Now, I know I emphasised the ‘communications’ focus for this, however I’ve learned so much over the past year that I’m colouring a little outside the lines on this one.

  • My biggest learning has been to trust my instinct, without compromise. This isn’t something new, I’ve been a bit of a gut instinct kinda gal for as long as I can remember, but last year I went against said instinct a few times. To my cost. As much as I’d love to go through life seeing only the best in people, I’m a realist and know that, unfortunately, there are some that have different values and motivations to me. People that, sadly, can be dishonest and mean. My instinct has proven itself to be right about a few people over the last year and in future, I’m going to listen and, politely, avoid these at all costs. Life is too short to have people in your personal or professional life that make things difficult and I’d rather not waste time or energy on this. I’d much rather lavish that time and energy on more deserving folk. Life is so much nicer that way.
  • As regular readers will know, I’m a big strategy advocate. That hasn’t changed. However, I’ve learned that having both a strategy and an open mind can open some pretty amazing doors. So although I do have a grand plan, I add a good helping of flexibility to that plan to allow a swift change if a fantastic new opportunity comes my way.
  • Now a more ‘comms’ focused answer. When it comes to how people ‘use’ social media, there is no right or wrong. Personally, I use the likes of Twitter and Linked In purely for business and generally only within working hours. I do use Facebook on a more personal level, but not to a great extent. Others use these platforms differently, some spending half of their time sharing their life through Twitter. Neither of these are either right or wrong and this is the beauty of these social tools. They can be molded and formed to fit our lives in whatever way we please. So those people that tell you what you’re doing is wrong, ignore them. Social can be whatever you want it to be.
  • Finally, another ‘comms’ focused answer. When working on a comms strategy or campaign, always always always start with the people you want to connect with. Understand them. Get inside their heads. What are their motivations? What do the love, need, want? Only once you’ve done this can you understand how best to engage with them.

1. The trends bit

  • People will, hopefully, stop raving about social media and realise it’s just another communications tool at our disposal. Now that’s not to say I don’t wholeheartedly believe in social any more, I still believe it’s one of the most powerful advancements in the comms industry for years. But so was the introduction of websites. And after that search engine optimisation. People need to settle down and practically apply social to their business without quite so much fuss.
  • Again, this is a forecast I’m hoping for. I want to see the end of ‘online’ and ‘offline’ worlds and instead see one experience where people share, connect, engage, chat, purchase and whatever else seamlessly. In fact it’s mainly us comms folk that see a distinction. I’m sure people engaging with a brand in an online or offline manner don’t think in those terms, they simply experience it. This is how ‘we’ should be thinking too.
  • Finally, this isn’t so much of a trend as it was heralded as such in 2010, but more of an extension which fits neatly with the point above. Continued advancements in mobile and apps (and by mobile I’m referring to phones, tablets and such like) will allow this seamless experience to penetrate our lives even more.

And finally …

A final word to say thank you so much for reading this blog during 2010, I’ve had some great feedback which I truly appreciate. A very Happy New Year to you.

Gemma Went is founder of Red Cube Marketing, head blogger of The Cube and all round good egg. If you need help with your marketing, pr or social media activity, get in touch.

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