Starry Blue Brilliance

Masterpiece communications

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Marketing Analytics & Data Science Insights from San Francisco

Golden Gate BridgeGolden Gate Bridge photo by Pixabay

As I reported last month and confirmed in person this month, learning opportunities are blooming in Marketing Analytics & Data Science.

Here’s a brilliant collection of marketing analytics and data science insights from the Marketing Analytics & Data Science Conference in San Francisco.

Please read and share these stories so we can all learn how to deploy marketing analytics and data science to drive our businesses and organizations forward.

All of these stories are featured on The Market Research Blog.

Thanks to Edmund Balogun, Conference Producer; his fabulous team; and Amanda Ciccatelli, Content Marketing & Social Media Strategist, for inviting me and for producing and promoting an outstanding conference!

Special thanks to Carl Bieniek @sqltigger, for helping to keep the #MADSCONF socialsphere active! 🙂


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Create Your Social Media Masterpiece with The Art of Social Media

Art of Social Media Book-Cover

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell.” – Seth Godin

Need a new plan to share your stories? Learn to be a power storyteller in social media with The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick.

The Art of Social Media is the latest book in my collection of Resources to help you and your organizations succeed.

What are some of your favorite resources that inspire your work?

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Transform the Way You Communicate

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Chicago Buildings” photo by Dasha

Next week, communicators from all over the globe will come together to learn and share ideas about reinventing their organizations’ intranets.

If you are unable to attend next week’s 2014 Intranet & Digital Workplace Summit, check out these pre-event stories to help your organization create digital workplaces that drive productivity, innovation and measurable business results.

How is your organization integrating social, mobile and video tools to evolve a traditional intranet?

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What do Hashtags, Speeches and Intranets Have in Common?

Wanaka_(8326144391)Photo by paul bica

Answer: Interaction, collaboration and engagement.

Here are some creative ideas to use as “springboards” for launching new communication programs that will encourage interaction, collaboration and engagement with your internal and external audiences:

What are some resources you’ve discovered that transformed your communication programs with interaction, collaboration and engagement?

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Building a Better Blog One Week at a Time


Photo by paul bica

When I launched Starry Blue Brilliance last September, I promised myself I would continue to learn how to make this blog even better for all of us, week by week. Thanks to your loyal following and sharing of my blog, I stay focused on fulfilling that promise.

Here are three articles that are helping me pursue blogging “brilliance:”

Please share your ideas on topics or people you’d like to see featured. You are my inspiration to continue the masterpiece we’ve collectively created on Starry Blue Brilliance.

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” – Vincent Van Gogh

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How to Move Brands Faster and Longer in the Social Media Era


Photo by paul bica

With new social media networks and platforms emerging almost every day, organizations must efficiently engage customers while delivering a cohesive experience that drives customer loyalty. During the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit earlier this month, Nestor Portillo, Director, Social Communities and Customer Experience at Microsoft, shared why customer experience is key to make the content viral and engaging.

Customers in the social media era are in control and are setting companies’ agendas. They:

  • Trust in advice made by online acquaintances and strangers
  • Read and create product reviews, product rankings and blog posts
  • Want to provide feedback about the product, brand and the service
  • Seek support to connect with like-minded peers

To move brands faster and longer in the social media era, Nestor contends that organizations must provide a consistent experience across all social media platforms. It should be successful, effortless and quick.

Most importantly, organizations must have a game plan that supports the customer journey by:

  • Considering the different ways people learn
  • Pivoting on experience and products
  • Delivering an emotional hook

This game plan must also include a community that:

  • Is healthy and is not intimidating
  • Provides a framework for user-generated content and word-of-mouth triggers
  • Adds authenticity to help establish brand trust

Following this model will lead your customers to buy more, use more, consume more and tell and share more.

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Together We Can Succeed on Pinterest


Photo by paul bica

Following up on last week’s “Show Me the Story” post about the power of visual storytelling, I’m creating a Pinterest site to complement our work on Starry Blue Brilliance.

I would love to hear how you use Pinterest to tell your organization’s story. I’m just starting out with Pinterest, and I would value your ideas and best practices to incorporate on my site.

I found these great articles to help me get started:

Together we can help each other succeed. After all, this is why I created Starry Blue Brilliance – with your help, as always.

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Build Customer Relationships That Matter Through Social Media


Photo by paul bica

Today on Customers 1st, I posted “Build Customer Relationships that Matter through Social Media” as a follow-up to last Friday’s post, “What Your Customers Say When You Don’t – or Won’t – Listen.”

I’m enjoying guest blogging for the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit, April 9-11, in Miami, Florida. This year’s Summit focuses on “Return on Relationships: Factoring Empathy into the Stakeholder Equation.” To learn more about the event and register, go to Stay connected with TCEL:
  • #TCEL14
  • Customer Experience Leaders

How do you build customer relationships on Twitter?


Revisiting Chat Republic: The Human Approach to Communication in a Web 2.0 World

Princes_Gate_at_nightPhoto by paul bica

Last time we visited Chat Republic, Angelo Fernando, prolific blogger of the Hoi Polloi Report,, spoke about “how we ought to be more authentic even as we embrace the tools that turn us into non-stop communication machines.”

Now we can view Angelo’s presentation “The Human Approach to Communication in a Web 2.0 World” from last week’s IABC Phoenix professional development luncheon.

Angelo is the author of the recently released book Chat Republic: How Social Media Drives Us to Be Human 1.0 in a Web 2.0 World. I invite you to check out my review of his book on Amazon. For more information, visit

Revisit Chat Republic, a “very young place with deep and diverse conversations; our constitution is a work in progress. Social media is the pervasive ‘software’ we use to hammer out the constitution.” Well said, Angelo!

What are your thoughts on Chat Republic? What does it mean to you?


Brilliance@Work and the Stars Who Make it Happen: Angelo Fernando

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a new series of profiles about stellar communication professionals and their best practices at work.

Angelo Fernando

Angelo Fernando

Veteran communicator Angelo Fernando has written about big shifts in advertising, marketing, media and education for the past 18 years. He has worked for Ogilvy and Mather and JWT, trained in broadcasting at the BBC in London and later turned to podcasting. He was a technology columnist for U.S.-based Communication World (CW) magazine published by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and is now a technology columnist for Sri Lankan-based business magazine LMD.

Angelo is a prolific blogger of the Hoi Polloi Report,, and a dedicated teacher who runs a computer and technology lab at an elementary school in Scottsdale, Ariz. He is also author of the recently released book Chat Republic: How Social Media Drives Us to Be Human 1.0 in a Web 2.0 World. This book addresses content curation, podcasting, crowd sourcing, ‘media snacking,’ and civic journalism, and interprets what all this chatter might mean for business, politics and the rest of us. For more information, visit

To learn more about the intersection of technology and society, join Angelo as he presents “The Human Approach to Communication in a Web 2.0 World” at the Feb. 20 IABC Phoenix monthly professional development luncheon in Phoenix, Ariz. During this event, Angelo will share his insight from interviews with and published work by thought leaders at Facebook, Ogilvy, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the U.S. State Department, Google, and Intel. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase copies of Chat Republic at a discounted rate. Register for the luncheon at For more information, visit

In the meantime, read on as Angelo shares his insights on “how we ought to be more authentic even as we embrace the tools that turn us into non-stop communication machines.”

Peggy Bieniek: What interested you in this particular topic?
Angelo Fernando: I am a big fan of the spoken word and audio over video. As all NPR and public radio listeners know, conversations are powerful ways of exchanging ideas.

PB: How have your personal experiences influenced your writing?
 I was coaxed into writing for a business magazine. It was a big shift from being a copywriter at an ad agency (JWT). Advertising forces you to consider your audience. Writing for print media forces you to tell a story and consider how your story is received months after you submitted it.

PB: How did you come up with the title for your book?
AF: I was always amused hearing people repeating the phrase “If Facebook was a country” as if it was a thing to revel in. I have also been fascinated by the power of conversations and the spoken voice that, minus cameras and other distractions, conveys much, much more.

PB: What is the main message you want your readers to understand?
AF: My overarching message is that we risk losing what makes us human by being so distracted that we prefer to scan headlines in 140 characters, rather than dig deep into the issues. We risk losing the art of listening because we are busy thinking how we may craft the next ‘tweet burp.’ After reading my book, I hope my readers reconsider what goes on in the name of marketing communication, PR and corporate communication.

PB: What kind of research did you do for this book?
AF: I spoke to many IABC-ers and scoured social media literature for some powerful ideas that have been ignored. Ultimately, Chat Republic is about being social, not media machines, so I looked at historical uses of communication to see what made early communicators so engaging. I couldn’t resist some of the contemporary events that make us so digital and so analog – revolutions and diplomacy for instance – because they shed more light on the ‘Republic’ motif. Communication is now in the hands of the hoi polloi (the common people).

PB: What were your goals and intentions for this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
AF: I wanted to say the things that tend to be unsaid in many of the social media literature. I also wanted to give readers a balanced view of how social media is being used outside the Americas as I was born and schooled in south Asia. I was fortunate that Chat Republic launched in Sri Lanka first (it was a lucky accident – long story!). My launch events were run by the Marketing Institute and an ad agency. It was extremely well received by the marketing, media and advertising community, including a very active population of social media practitioners. The CFO of Saatchi and Saatchi in Greater China (who reviewed the book) ordered copies for the Singapore office staff.

PB: What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
AF: This is not a how-to book or a ‘Dummies’ style book. Chat Republic takes a deep dive into the issues behind social media and examines whether our transition into digital is helping or hurting us. I spent a lot of time footnoting the ideas and commentary so that anyone could go into these issues even deeper. And yet, I am told, it is a very fast read.

PB: When you hear from your readers, what do they say?
AF: Someone told me this was a book she wished she wrote. Many have told me that they were once skeptical about all of these areas and now find that they could approach social media with a lot more context.

PB: How has the growth in digital media affected corporate communication?
AF: Corporate communication will never be the same now that the hoi polloi have as much influence and ‘transmission’ power as Big Business. At the very least, digitally connected citizens (and by this I also mean customers, stakeholders, etc.) have forced corporations to be better listeners. It could also be a nightmare learning to live with a lot less control over once watertight corporate functions such as branding, positioning, product design and customer service.

PB: How can we help our organizations become more human in a Web 2.0 world?
We need to encourage organizations to rebalance their digital and analog efforts and let their people be human first and digital second. It is unfortunate to see how some organizations have no way to be contacted via phone because they rather you send an email or a text message.

PB: What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about social media, that isn’t so?
AF: People like to believe that the one or two tools they use are the only ones that matter. On the other side, you get people who believe that everyone in social media is vain and that connecting via social media is an accident waiting to happen.

PB: What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about social media that they need to know?
AF: That this thing we call social media was supposed to make us more social; that it could make us better antennas, not loudspeakers.

PB: What are some other emerging media you see on the horizon?
AF: First, social media fatigue, for sure. People are going to ignore or cancel many of their social media accounts. Our brains are not wired for so much information. With that said, the emerging media might be those that are not intrusive and even those that scale down our network to the few who matter. There’s a reason why Path (which limits one’s network to 50), and Snapchat (which lets shared images disappear after being viewed) are gaining traction. I’ve also looked into an alternative to LinkedIn called Somewhere.

PB: What are your current projects?
AF: I’m a teacher. I am passionate about getting students to stop being mindless content consumers and start becoming content creators. As such, my days are filled with incorporating digital media into education and my classes, even while I try to help them balance their digital and analog lives. I’m just starting on an ambitious series of lessons on coding, blogging, and teaching first-graders to use microphones and Audacity. Audio is a great way to get them to speak, to share and to engage with each other. I’m also a robotics coach and am toying with a book on robotics.

PB: What are some of your favorite resources for content curation?
AF: Wikipedia is still one of my best content curation sites, warts and all. I love Story Corps and Storify. One the podcasting side, I’m fascinated by SoundCloud.

PB: What is your contact information for questions, comments and ideas?
AF: Call me first at 602-750-3476. Email me at My Twitter handle is @heyangelo. I’m happy to share this information, and I look forward to hearing from your readers.

What best practices in communication would you like to share in future Brilliance@Work profiles? What are your ideas for topics or people to be featured in upcoming profiles?