Rethinking corporate communications in the Me2 Revolution

Rethinking corporate communications in the Me2 Revolution: This is a link to an essay called “Me2 Revolution” written by Richard Edelman. I am requiring all of my employees to read it. I am encouraging all of my clients to read it. You should read it also. Mr. Edelman is president and CEO of the world’s largest independent public relations firm with 1,800 employees in 40 offices worldwide. In the essay, Mr. Edleman channels Doc Searls, so for the Cluetrain crowd, it will sound very familiar. But that’s fine, because there are lots of people out there in business-land who have the title “director of corporate communications” and “director of marketing” and “CEO” who will listen to what Mr. Edelman says who may never listen to Doc, despite his brilliance.

For someone like me who has been preaching this stuff (and drinking this kool-aid) for a long time, it is nice to be able to point to someone who may be perceived as an authority within the traditional corporate communications world. Frankly, I’ve given up on being taken seriously by PR folks when I say they should allow employees to blog. From some of the reactions I get, I might as well be telling them they should allow all employees to run naked down Broadway. From a non-client I recently talked with after a seminar, I felt I had a major break-through when the person told me they may let employees have weblogs — but then added, “as long as they don’t call them weblogs.” “Uh, okay,” I said.

So forget what I’ve been saying. This is not me saying it. If you are in public relations, corporate communications, have ever been or ever hope to be; if you’re an executive or employee of a company, university, non-profit organization, trade association or other type of institution; if you are a customer of a company or a vendor to a company, read this essay by the guy who runs the “largest independent public relations firm in the world.”

He gets it.

Update: Doc Searls provides more context and humbly shares the credit with others who have long encouraged others to recognize the reality of which Richard Edelman so eloquently now writes and who is now picking up and pushing forward even more.

(via: Micro Persausion)

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Explaining Apple economics for math-challenged reporters

Once more – Apple iTunes economics 101: I’m not going to point to the stories that caused me to draft a version of this rant last night, but lets just say they are long explanations about the amount of revenues generated by music and video downloads on iTunes and how much Apple is or is not making on such downloads. These reports and “analyses” seem to marvel that “content creators” can make lots of money distributing their “content” through iTunes with Apple taking just a small cut. Why do these analyses bother me? They ignore the obvious — or as we business people like to buzzword it: they ignore the elephant in the room.

So, one more time, here it is: Apple’s business model is driven by selling $400 iPods that play video files, not by selling the videos that play on them. The thin profit it makes (if any) from the margin it clears on 55¢ of revenue (which, I’ll go slowly, is different than earnings) is a knot on a gnat’s ass compared to revenue represented in the margin Apple enjoys on the sale of hardware. Remember, Apple makes $0 from facilitating the distribution of podcasts, but it generates $100 – $400 each from selling iPods that play those podcasts. In the business model of Apple, the thin margin it clears on video and audio downloads, even if that margin represents profits that reach into the tens of millions of dollars (which is doubtful due to the costs incurred in generating those revenues), is mere icing on the cake of the revenues those downloads represent in the corresponding sale of iPods those downloads drive. Because Google and Yahoo and other music and video download channels have no corresponding hardware sales revenue, it’s harder to make their math work. It also explains why Microsoft is going to sell its own “digital player” in order to generate a hardware revenue stream in this category. (My prediction: more likely to be an X-Box branded PSP competitor than an iPod threat.)

Where Apple finds itself in the digital download “space” is much like the position RCA enjoyed in the early days of broadcasting in America. Back then, RCA manufactured most of the radios and controlled the distribution channels (two NBC radio networks) of programming. (In RCA’s case, it also created the programming — the records and radio shows . Apple doesn’t do that — although other holdings of Steve Jobs are involved in that enterprise.) I feel certain, despite the dominance of the radio networks it owned (and which the government broke up), RCA’s most significant revenue stream came from the hardware it produced and sold using the advertising mascot Nipper, the little dog listening to “his master’s voice.” (For the record, I wasn’t around back then. I was born the same month and year the first color TV was manufactured by RCA, however.)

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Bad news, good news

Bad news, good news: That Chappy’s Seafood Restaurant will open in Nashville in March is more post-Katrina sad news for some folks, my blogger friend Shawn Lea in Mississippi says:


“On the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Chappy was our Emeril way before Emeril was. He was our Paul Prudhomme. Our Justin Wilson. I can remember Chappy on new shows on the Coast cooking way before the advent of today’s 24-hour cooking shows – when chefs got five minutes or so in the afternoon news segments….If you’re in the Nashville area in March, be sure to check it out. And be sure to get the blackened prime rib in my honor – it’s my favorite!

Okay, Shawn. I volunteer to order a blackened prime rib in your honor. Also, based on your description, there will be lots more Nashville bloggers who’ll join me, no doubt.

Note: According to the Nashville Business Journal article I linked to above, Chappy’s will be located at 1721 Church St. and is expected to open March 6 in the old Carter Flooring Building, constructed in 1920. The 7,500-square-foot restaurant will be “designed to exude New Orleans charm” and will have seating for about 220. The restaurant plans to hire 50 employees.

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I have duped the readers of this weblog

I have duped the readers of this weblog: In the spirit of coming clean, I’d like to admit to Oprah Winfrey and the American people that most of the posts on this blog are not written by me. In an attempt to cut costs, I have been outsoucing “content manufacturing” to an outfit in China that uses under-age bloggers making 12¢ a day. Also, I’d like to admit another thing: I’m such a geek that when I hear the title of a book with the word “pieces” in it, I think of David Weinberger. I’m glad that I have now come clean with the American people.

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