Hire a “Recent” Business Graduate in 2008

 I recently read an article in Optimum OnlineGeneration Y Challenges the Public Service by  David Eaves, who is an expert in negotiating and public policy, and works with leading companies across North America, helping them develop and implement strategies for maximizing value from partnerships, alliances with customers and suppliers. In addition, he works with non-profits and government agencies, consulting on various public policy issues.

Eaves’ article, which is taken from a speech he gave to senior executives in the federal public service association (APEX) highlights the challenges the INTERNET GENERATION have adapting to the public service which is run by baby boomer’s who “don’t totally get the transformation the Internet is bringing to society , including Web 2.0 and other new techniques and media.

One of the lessons I learned as a senior executive in the public sector (and as a professor at a Business School where our students work on projects with government and non profits and are totally stunned at the lack of knowledge of contemporary  marketing and business skills in these sectors) and still follow today is to make sure that you have young people on your marketing and communications team. More importantly make darn sure  you listen to what they have to say. This generation looks at how to do things in a very different way and are always shocked and surprised at how “backward”  my generation is at getting things done. They are right in most cases ! What takes my generation hours to do ” the old fashioned way” these young folks can do in a micro-minute.

So if you are a manger in the public service or non profit sector make a New Years resolution that this year you will hire someone who  is part of  Generation Y , preferably a recent marketing/business graduate  and most importantly listen to them.  It could be the best decision you make in 2008.

To all my readers, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy holiday and good marketing health in 2008.

Here are suggestions from Eaves:

So what can you do?

First, symbols matter. So you may have to change the symbols. One of the best articles I’ve read on leadership was by the president of Scandinavian Airlines, who talked about how, after much reflection, he flipped his organizational chart upside down so as to place himself at the bottom, understanding that his role was to support everybody above him, so they could, in turn, support the front-line workers who actually touch the customers. Maybe you could flip the pyramidal APEX logo on its head?

Second, remember the centrality of connections. I’d love to see a public service that connects employees and allows them to search each other out by areas of interests, experience and knowledge. And then to have all public policies on wiki’s so that anybody in the public service can read and comment, and make anybody else’s work better. A networked, open-sourced public service – now that would be exciting!

Third, where are the leaders? I want to come back to one of the best things Jim Collins says: “Leaders model the values and set the culture of an organization.” Since APEX represents the leaders of the public service, you are empowered to model the values and set the culture for this organization. That is real power.

Fourth, mentoring is crucial. People who are successful didn’t get there on their own. They had others looking after and helping them. One big problem with the public service is that nobody has any incentive to coach and mentor anyone else. I know that when you invest time and energy into someone, they’ll probably end up entering a competition and getting a job elsewhere, and so someone else will benefit. I know that must be frustrating. But mentor someone.

Fifth, change the culture. Make it less hierarchical, so when someone who works for you has an idea that gets airtime, make sure they get into the meetings with the higher-ups. When I worked as a consultant, it was unimaginable that a partner would meet with a client on something I was working on and I wouldn’t be in the room. How was I supposed to know what the problems were if I wasn’t hearing it from the horse’s mouth? Not only did I work better, but I learned a ton.

Sixth, it is all about teamwork. Young people are hungry and want to work, especially if the work is interesting. Larger teams usually mean there are more senior people who will take the sexier files. Smaller teams may have to work harder but a) they generally are more motivated because everybody gets to do more interesting work, and b) they collaborate more easily because everybody wants help. This type of environment can be intoxicating and fun.

Seventh, get out of your islet! Almost everybody in the public service is permitted to take a sabbatical, so do it! Try a job at a non-profit or for-profit organization. Learn something new: some new skills, some new management techniques, get a new perspective, and bring it back to the public service. The public service will be richer for it and your team will learn more from you!



Power to the People and Facebook

I just read a Fascinating article on Face book and its impact on advocacy. First some stats:

Facebook has added 250,000 new users each day. Canadians have led the way, accounting for about eight million of the site’s nearly 60 million global users.

Michael Geist just wrote an article in the Ottawa Citizen on his experience with using Facebook as an advocacy tool and the results are nothing short of remarkable. Here is an except from his article.

“Consider the experience of the Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group, which I launched on Dec. 1, with limited expectations. With the federal government expected to introduce new copyright reform within a matter of days, a Facebook group seemed like a good way to educate the public about an important issue. I sent invitations to a hundred or so Facebook friends and seeded the group with links to a few relevant websites.

What happened next was truly remarkable. Within hours, the group started to grow, first 50 members, then 100, and then 1,000 members. One week later, there were 10,000 members. Two weeks later, there were more than 25,000 members with another Canadian joining the group every 30 seconds.

The big numbers tell only part of the story. The group is home to more than 500 wall posts, links to 150 articles of interest, more than 50 discussion threads, dozens of photos, and nine videos. Nine days ago, it helped spur on an offline protest when Kempton Lam, a Calgary technologist, organized 50 group members who descended on Industry Minister Jim Prentice’s area open house to express their views on copyright. While Facebook was not the only source of action — there was mounting coverage from the mainstream media along with hundreds of blog postings (including 300 questions posted for Prentice at the CBC Search Engine blog) — the momentum was unquestionably built on thousands of Canadians who were determined to have their voices heard.

Much to the surprise of skeptics who paint government as unable or unwilling to listen to public concerns, those voices had an immediate impact. Ten days after the Facebook group’s launch, Prentice delayed introducing the new copyright reforms, seemingly struck by the rapid formation of concerned citizens who were writing letters and raising awareness.

Not only had tools like Facebook had an immediate effect on the government’s legislative agenda, but the community that developed around the group also led to a “crowdsourcing” of knowledge. Canadians from coast to coast shared information, posed questions, posted their letters to politicians, and started a national conversation on copyright law in Canada.

In this instance, Canadians increasingly recognized the detrimental effect of the proposed copyright reforms on consumer rights, privacy, and free speech, and were moved to act.”

As he points out in his article “Facebook is far more than just a cool way to catch up with old friends; rather, it is an incredibly effective and efficient tool that can be used to educate and galvanize grassroots advocacy, placing unprecedented power into the hands of individuals.”

 Face book and blogging has really changed things and give a new meaning to “ power to the people”. We live in interesting times. I suspect we are in a midst of a communications revolution and I pity the poor politician who today has to face these new advocacy technologies. No longer will government be able to do things on the legislative front without facing the strongest lobbying tool ever invented Web 2.0 and Facebook, Youtube and blogging as well as other tools that are emerging So hold your hat we are in for the ride of our life and if you are not familiar with the new technologies read my colleague’s Mike Kujawski’s blog    Public Sector Marketing 2.0

Governments continue to block employee access to sites like Facebook which is extremely shortsighted and in the long run they will pay a big political price.


Tension and Competition between Marketing and Communications

From time to time practioners in the field of Marketing and Communications get into a debate about the differences and more importantly which takes prominence in an organization. First in order to clarify things, the term Communications is somewhat of a misnomer. The field of endeavor is actually called Public Relations but during the eighties Public Relations became somewhat pejorative and fell out of favour and public relations organizations especially in government and nonprofit sector started calling what they do Communications .

There’s always been some degree of tension and competition between public relations and marketing people, especially when it came to questions of which discipline ought to be dominant or which contributed more to their parent organization’s well-being. They also compete for scarce internal resources and for public attention. Some organizations used only one of these disciplines. Others use both. The degree to which they use them, and the specific ways in which they use them varies from organization to organization based on their purpose, size, and history.

If an organization is public sector or non profit and sees its primary goal as serving the public then public relations tends to be the more dominant function because building relationships with its publics is its over-riding concern. Most public sector/nonprofit organizations have a Communications or Public Relations group, involved in public information, community relations, community and public affairs etc. The concept of marketing in these sectors is a bit of a late comer as marketing is very much associated with business. Although Public sector and nonprofit marketing is a burgeoning
field, see Judith Madill’s article on government marketing or Kotler and Lee’s book on Public Sector Marketing and Andreasen and Kotler‘s book on Strategic Nonprofit Marketing

If you are a for profit organization public relations is of secondary importance and is normally done to support and enhance marketing efforts. In a small company, there might not be a separate and identifiable public relations group at all. In a medium to large corporation, you definitely have a good size marketing group with a smaller public relations function.  Marketing in a for- profits generates sales of goods and services and directly contributed to the company’s profitability while Public Relations coordinates relationships with various publics in order to gain public acceptance and approval of the company’s activities, including its sales activities.

Here are some recent definitions: Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders(American Marketing Association) and Public relations is a strategic management function that adds value to an organization by helping it to manage its reputation. (Chartered Institute of Public Relations)

Marketing has at its core a desire to reach consumers and make them think, believe or do what you want. Public relations is more focused on influencing reputation, whether corporate or personal which makes the marketer’s job easier, while marketing activity affects a company’s reputation. The PR function in a private sector company is often (but not always) managed within a broader marketing division. Those organizations that have the most effective communications are those that don’t get hung up on what’s marketing and public relations or communications. Instead they focus on choosing the best vehicles and tools for delivering their objectives, regardless of which toolbox it comes from.

In the nonprofit field we have a very different scenario. Here is a quote from the Andreasen and Kotler book mentioned earlier, found on page 328.

  “The public relations function can be accorded high or low influence in the organization, depending on the board’s and chief executive’s attitude toward the function. In some organizations, the public relations manager is a vice president and sits on all meetings involving information and actions that might affect public perceptions of the organization. He or she not only puts out fires but also counsels management on actions that will avoid starting fires. In other organizations, public relations is a middle-management function charged with getting out publications and handling news, the annual report and special events, the public relations people are not involved in policy and strategy formulation, only in tactics.” Campaign –level P.R. efforts are typically structured in one of two ways. In some organizations, the public relations function or department has staffers who are assigned to particular campaigns and serve to advance their strategies. If the organization believes the campaign managers should have all the tools needed to carry out their objectives , the campaign hires their own PR person or a person from the PR Department will be assigned to the campaign on a full time , long term, basis.”  There is a third approach to structuring the PR / Communications function, i.e., to put it within the marketing area. A major challenge to the chief administrators and board from time to time, is deciding what should be the relationship between marketing and public relations in a nonprofit organization. Clearly the two functions work well together in commercial firms with marketing focusing on the development of plans to market the company’s products and services to consumers, while public relations takes care or relations with other publics.. In Non-profit organizations, however, the relationship between the PR and marketing departments has often been marked by tension and lack of clearly defined areas of responsibility. This is because of the important role of PR at the campaign level. Many marketing efforts simply cannot succeed without powerful marketing efforts!”

“The tension is often an historical artifact. In many institutions the PR function was already established when marketing was introduced. Friction between the two areas subsequently arose, first because the marketing department was often assigned functions that were “taken away” from public relations. First, they did their media relations and events. Second, public relations directors often felt that they should have been given the better paying new position of marketing director when it was created. Third, many PR executives felt that marketing ought to be a division within their departments or that marketing as a separate function was not needed at all.” “These frictions were often exacerbated by the lack of clearly specified separate roles for the two functions and a clear understanding of how they should be coordinated by each other. Our own view is that there is a need for an organization-level PR function but the campaign-level functions should be under the control of the marketing people because of the crucial role public relations must play in most campaigns. Indeed, when nonprofit organizations hire advertising and public relations organizations to help with the campaigns, they often specifically seek organizations that have both advertising and public relations capabilities.”

 Recently our organization had some issues with between Marketing and Communications regarding the web. The web function in most public sector organizations are managed by Communications folks , however where it becomes a problem ( and we find this with many of our clients) is when the marketing function of an organization involved in revenue generation and or cost recovery activities want to use the web as part of a marketing strategy.  The Communications functions tend to control the web and are the “gate keepers of the web”. The Communications function sees the web as a vehicle to provide information as well as enhance the image of the organization while the marketing folks want to use the web as an e-commerce / e-marketing or in some cases a social media function and are prohibited from carrying out this important commercial function because the Communications folks have the final say on what appears on the web. (And usually they regard marketing as a secondary function if at all.) Marketing has a lot to offer a public sector and nonprofit organization (that will be another blog)    as does the Communications function. Clearly both functions should be working harmoniously no matter what the structure of the organization. 



Fishing where the Fish are… Beer Marketers using social media on Campus

Well you knew it had to happen sooner or later , the beer industry which has spent years trying to reach young Canadians and convince them to drink using traditional media is now using social media giant Facebook to market their products.. Molson’s has launched an interactive campaign for its Molson Canadian Cold Shots product, inviting post-secondary students to submit photos demonstrating their school spirit and party prowess to the Molson Canadian Nation group on Facebook. The social media site is the hub of the Molson Canadian Cold Shots Campus Challenge, in which universities and colleges from across the country vie for the title of #1 Party School.

Visitors to the Facebook group will find the page split into virtual dorm rooms, each of which represents a different school. The school that uploads the most photos to its respective dorm room earns bragging rights as the nation’s top party school. The individual who uploads the best photo—as judged by a panel of Molson representatives—will win a trip for four to Cancun for spring break. (Where they can get drunk every night). The group profile page also includes an interactive guitar game, downloadable screensavers, concert photos and polls.

According to Marketing Magazine, Heather Clark, director of strategy for their ad agency Henderson Bas, says Molson was looking to leverage the institutional pride of Canadian students. “We know that students feel this almost addictive sense of school spirit when they head to school in the fall, and this campaign allows us to tap into that and get people from all the schools involved,” says Clark. She adds that Facebook was a logical medium to use to engage the student crowd.

“It allows us to fish where the fish are and get people involved in the program,” she says. Clark says “the campaign has not been met with any resistance from university officials, despite the fact that many university and college students are not of legal drinking age”. The campaign launched last month and concludes on Nov. 29.

Perhaps I can enlighten the University administrators in Canada who obviously do not care about what goes on in their Universities. And their young (and getting younger) students. Obviously Molson’s and their agency Henderson Bas don’t seem to care.

According to experts the effects of excess alcohol consumption on health have been clearly documented, not only in terms of diseases such as certain cancers, strokes, hypertension and liver disease, but also with social and economic problems. For young people in particular, alcohol is strongly related to traffic injuries, violence and high risk sexual activity. Alcohol use is the norm among Canadian adults, but uncontrolled alcohol use in terms of drinking to excess or while driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol produce not only fatalities and serious traffic incidents but inappropriate role modeling for youth.

Excessive alcohol consumption begun early in life not only leads to chronic liver disease and cirrhosis and alcoholic psychosis, but also is implicated in unintentional injuries and deaths, including traffic injuries (Harkin, Anderson and Goos, 1997).

Since alcohol is widely used in most Canadian homes, and consumption of wine or beer is a normal part of special occasions, it is not surprising that by Grade 10 over 90 percent of young people had tried alcohol. Even for a Grade 6 sample, about two-thirds had tried alcohol. Slightly more boys than girls had tried alcohol, but the differences were small in Grades 9 and 10.

While it is not uncommon for adolescents to seek greater independence and try more adult-like behaviour that might involve alcohol use at parties, the high proportion of Grade 10 students who had been drunk at least twice indicates potentially serious alcohol-abuse problems. Since these young people tend to be beginning drivers the combination of driving and drunkenness and driving under the influence of alcohol can be lethal. Also there are implications for unwanted pregnancies, STDs and injuries.

Epidemiological studies have identified the unsafe use of alcohol as a leading cause of preventable injuries and deaths resulting from motor vehicle accidents, diving and drowning-related injuries, alcohol poisoning and assaults and suicides among young people in Ontario (Van Truong et al., 1998).

The Ontario cost-of-illness study revealed that alcohol accounts for 69% of the drug-related days of hospital stay among 10-19 year-olds, and 61% of the days among 20-24 year olds (Xie et al., 1996). An estimated 8,200 Ontario students in grades 7-13 received alcohol or drug treatment during 2000 (Adlaf et al., 2001). An assessment of the main adverse effects of substance abuse identified alcohol as the leading cause of young lives lost due to violence and accidents (Hall et al., 1998). The role of alcohol as a contributor to ‘years of life lost’ from premature death accounts for 86% of the ‘years lost’ in people aged 10-24. By a very substantial margin, alcohol accounts for the greatest immediate health threat to young people (Xie et al., 1996).

Alcohol also exacts a heavy toll on the social and emotional well being of young people. One quarter of 15-19 year olds report at least one type of health, family relationship, school or work-related problem over the past year due to their own drinking; over half report being involved in arguments, insulted, pushed or hit in the past year as a result of someone else’s drinking (VanTruong, Williams and Timoshenko, 1998).

The Ontario Student Drug Use Survey (OSDUS), a biennial survey of Ontario students from Grades 7-12 conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), reveals that the percentage of students who drink alcohol increased significantly to 66% in 2003 from 56% in 1993 (Adlaf et al.,2003).

In the same survey, it was found that 12% of students reported weekly drinking, and 28% of students who drink are reporting episodes of harmful or hazardous drinking (Adlaf et al., 2003). Seventy-five percent (75%) of grade 10 students in Ontario have consumed alcohol over the past year (Adlaf et al., 2003). Similar results were obtained “Excessive drinking leads to a severe threat of alcohol poisoning, and students need to realize that alcohol poisoning is a life and death situation.”— Greg Turner, Campus Security Sergeant, University of Alberta, 2002.

A recent study of drinking practices at Canadian universities reveals unsafe consumption of alcohol among university students is a major cause for concern The Canadian Campus Survey, a study of 7,800 undergraduate students at 16 universities across Canada conducted by CAMH and the University of Montreal, found that 62.7% of students consumed 5 or more drinks on a single occasion and 34.8% reported drinking 8 or more drinks on a single occasion at least once since the beginning of the school year. On average, students reported consuming 5 or more drinks about twice per month and 8 or more drinks about once per month since September. Students living in university residences were most likely to report unsafe drinking practices, with 70.4% of residence students reporting 5 or more drinks per occasion and 44.2% reporting 8 or more drinks per occasion at least once since the beginning of the school year.

Advocates for the prevention of alcohol-related problems at colleges and universities face the challenge of working in an environment where:

a) Most students are of legal drinking age;

b) Alcohol is readily available to students both on and off- campus; and

c) Excess alcohol consumption is regarded by students and administrators alike as a traditional aspect of student social life and a natural rite of passage between adolescence and adulthood (DeJong et al., 1999).

However, the reported consequences of binge drinking on university campuses, such as, alcohol poisoning, unwanted sexual advances, and crime and vandalism, shatters the image of this practice as an innocent “rite of passage”. Unsafe alcohol consumption by university students has been identified as a causal factor for a range of problems, including lower academic achievement, poor health outcomes and violence.

For example, studies recorded by the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit (2004) found that frequent binge drinkers were more likely than non-binge drinkers to report engaging in unplanned sexual activity, failing to use protection when having sex, damaging property, providing a rationalization for violent behaviour, and being hurt or injured.

Impaired academic performance was reported as a key consequence of binge drinking among students responding to the Canadian Campus Survey. Specifically, 10.5% of respondents reported missing classes due to a hangover, while 7.3% reported missing classes due to drinking (CAMH, 2000). The health and social consequences of episodic heavy drinking (also referred to as “binge” drinking) at universities are by no means restricted to the students practicing unsafe alcohol consumption. Ontario university students responding to a survey on alcohol and other drug use reported being insulted or humiliated by someone who had been drinking (Gliksman et al., 2000). Students participating in the same survey highlighted ‘student alcohol use’ as being one of four serious problems on campus. Alcohol-related violence and sexual assaults are of particular concern in regards to student alcohol use.

A U.S. study revealed that 26 percent of female students who drank in moderation reported unwanted sexual advances due to another student’s drinking, and two percent said they had been victims of unwanted sexual advances or rape (Weschler et al., 1995). Sixty four percent of students who were victims of a physical assault reported drinking or taking drugs shortly before the attacks (CORE Institute, 1995).

For more information go to; http://www.apolnet.ca/resources/pubs/LTA-Schools.pdf

So with all this information why there is no resistance from university officials regarding this Molson’s campaign, despite the fact that many university and college students are not of legal drinking age. Good question, perhaps someone can respond by writing to me and explaining that with all this evidence Molson’s is allowed to get away with this. Write to www.jimmintz.dev

Postscript: November 27, 2007 Marketing Magazine

Last week, Molson got into hot water over a Facebook campaign for its Molson Cold Shots that asked students to submit photos demonstrating their school spirit and party prowess to the Molson Canadian Nation group on Facebook.

The school that uploaded the most photos was to earn bragging rights as the nation’s top party school. According to a report in Monday’s Globe and Mail, Molson shut the promotion down early because it was being “misinterpreted” as promoting irresponsible drinking.