I am so pleased to be included among the “brand ambassadors” helping to launch Gini Dietrich’s new book, Spin Sucks. Especially so because I think you will find the book extremely valuable. As a brand ambassador, I received a free galley copy of the book, pre-publication, in order to help with the launch. But in keeping with the Spin Sucks mantra, nobody told me what to say about it.
First, let me introduce my friend Gini. CEO of Arment Dietrich in Chicago, Gini authors the Spin Sucks blog, dealing with all things PR and marketing and branding and, basically, how to be a good person and run an ethical company in the new world of digital everything. Gini is smart, direct, and funny, and she has amassed an amazing community of people who communicate with her and each other through her blog. She is one of many people who I have met in the online world and subsequently met in person, and–as has almost always been true for me in that experience–I would have known her anywhere–she’s a genuine, bona fide woman on the business side and the personal side.
Gini was kind enough to appear on my Expert Series teleconference a couple of years ago; the transcript of my interview with her about “how to get more from your marketing dollars” is available for sale in our Products aisle here.
So let’s get on with this book. Surprisingly, this book is written for MY audience–those of you who are small and midsize business founders, entrepreneurs, leaders–all of you Whale Hunters–as well as sales and marketing people in these companies. It’s a tall order to write a book that would appeal to upper management as well as to PR and marketing professionals–but this book does a really credible job of that.
The book’s premise is this: “Tell your brand story over a long period of time.” And it’s full of detailed how-to suggestions. Gini urges us to become “natural story tellers” and to adopt a consistent, long-term “marathon mentality” about telling that story.
As a whale hunter, you know how passionate I am about stories. So the idea that you would build your brand image around stories rings true to me. My company is totally built on metaphor and story–applying ancient wisdom to modern business.
Although the book is focused on senior management, it is also full of specific advice for your communications team. So you may find some chapters compelling and others somewhat too detailed. Nevertheless, it will help you manage your communications process strategically and better understand what you should or should not pay for.
A few take-aways for entrepreneurs:
- “To be a great company with great stories to tell, you have to act like a great company.” Should go without saying, but that’s what Gini means about “spin.” No amount of spin can help you if you are masquerading as something you’re really not.
- My favorite chapter for you: “Your customers control the brand.” This chapter alone is worth buying the book. Whether you are B2C or B2B, you must learn to understand this message.
- Finally, Gini’s discussion of how to handle an “issue” before it becomes a “crisis” is a must-read for owners and CEOs.
I happened to have a first-hand experience with an “issue” this week. Out of nowhere, a woman on Twitter started attacking me (as CEO of The Whale Hunters) for “appropriating” the sacred rituals of indigenous people for inappropriate “business purposes.” She claimed my business is “crass and disgusting.” Her attacks became more and more vitriolic, and she was copying many other Twitter users. I made a couple of circumspect replies, noting that I have always been very respectful of the Inuit people whose story I have used as a metaphor, but she wouldn’t hear of it. To me, the Inuit whale hunters had a “business model” for their families and village, based on whale hunting. To extend that metaphor into the modern world does not seem damaging, to me. But all of a sudden, I was faced with the kind of “issue” that Gini writes about–and trying to confine it as an “issue” and not a “crisis.”
So for all of you–no matter what your business or how far removed you may feel from a social media crisis–I recommend this well-written, authoritative guide that will help you think strategically about your company in many new ways. You can find it in paperback and Kindle versions on amazon.com.
Way to go Gini Dietrich! Thanks for your fine efforts.