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Collaboration is its Own Reward

Purple SkyPhoto: Pixabay

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” – Calvin Coolidge

It all began with “It’s About Sharing Success.” Three years year, I’m still driven by this purpose. And for being committed to helping people succeed, I continue to be rewarded for my collaboration efforts.

I’m honored to be invited as a guest blogger for relevant resources that support global communicators. Recently, I collaborated with these two internal communication experts:

I’m also proud to support these highly interactive collaboration and learning events:

If these resources helped you, please pay it forward by sharing what you’ve learned with others. The rewards are greater than you may realize.

“Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.” – Dalai Lama XIV

 

 


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12 Stars Media Connects People to Stories that Inspire

Eric Andrews

Eric Andrews, Production Lead, 12 Stars Media, creates a video of The Praying Monk, an iconic feature on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona.

What happens behind the scenes to inspire a successful internal branding learning adventure?

During last month’s ALI Strategic Internal Branding Conference, Rocky Walls and his 12 Stars Media team, captured video highlights of this highly engaging collaboration event.

Find out now what it’s like to attend an Advanced Learning Institute (ALI) event.


You can also view this video on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wU7q_KvQVkw&feature=youtu.be

In addition, Rocky shares his insights on how 12 Stars Media brings stories to life with the people who live it.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: What aspect of ALI’s Strategic Internal Branding conference was the most rewarding for you and your team?
Rocky Walls: ALI conferences provide the best environment of any conference for connecting with fellow attendees. The casual atmosphere and single-track structure helps everyone get to know one another so much better.

PB: What was the creative process you followed to create this video?
RW: For this video, we set out to help viewers feel what it’s like to be at an ALI event. We wanted it to be fast-paced and energetic, but still have some sound bites from attendees. So, we recorded several quick comments, but never showed the people saying them – this helped keep the pace moving along and helped us say a lot more in a short video.

PB: How is your company culture reflected in the videos you create?
RW: We have one core belief – that people need connections, and the best connections come from communication that’s real and simple. So, in our work we strive to make sure our videos connect people – connect people to other people, connect people to information or answers to their questions, and connect people to stories that inspire them.

PB: What is the most important aspect of the client relationship during the production process?
RW: At 12 Stars Media, we call our clients “producers” because, just like in Hollywood, they are the ones who start with a vision and see it through to the end. We’re here to provide all the expertise to help them get there, but every video needs a producer to keep it on track and to make sure it connects people the way the producer envisions.

Thanks to Rocky Walls and his team for their insights and inspiration. 🙂

Looking for a video production company that truly inspires great results? Check out 12 Stars Media at http://12starsmedia.com/


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Gather Around the Bonfyre to Ignite Employee Engagement

FireworksPhoto by Elena Hruleva, barnimages.com

When you make a great discovery, you’re excited about sharing it with others.

While supporting and attending the ALI Strategic Internal Branding Conference last month, I discovered the Bonfyre app.

This “new approach to driving engagement and aligning cultures” was a fun, interactive, real-time way for us to capture and share the latest news, photos and videos from our internal branding learning adventure.

But Bonfyre does much more than that. Bonfyre brings it all together for global organizations:

  • Company Meetings & Events
  • Internal Communications
  • Team Building
  • Company Culture
  • Employee Recognition
  • HR Business Intelligence

I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Dornfeld, President and Co-Founder, Bonfyre and Jake Bernstein, Manager, Business Development, Bonfyre, during the ALI conference. They told me that the Bonfyre website was recently redesigned, so here’s the scoop on that from Mark Sharp, Director of Marketing & Communications:

Bonfyre_HomeComputer

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: What inspired the website redesign?
Mark Sharp:
As our business has rapidly evolved over the past three years from strictly an event app company to an event-to-enterprise social communications platform, we understood that our website needed to reflect this key strategic transformation in our business….and frankly, one that continues to emerge in the marketplace today and in the foreseeable future.

PB: How is the new site different from the previous site?
MS:
The previous web site design catered almost exclusively to prospective customers looking for an event app to use at their upcoming event(s). Yes, events remain a key and foundational component of our business…and always will.

However, the most apparent differentiation between the previous site and new site is the graphic user interface design and refined logo treatment. More importantly, the new site features six key strategic areas of business focus (i.e., Company Meetings & Events, Internal Communications, Team Building, Company Culture, Employee Recognition and HR Business Intelligence) for which Bonfyre can deliver impressive results in the creation and enrichment of employee engagement.

Bonfyre App_How It Works Hub

How Bonfyre Works

PB: What are the key features and benefits of the new site?
MS:
Through subtle use of animation, the “How it Works” section details Bonfyre features and functionalities specific to business use. So, whether you are interested in partnering with Bonfyre as the official event app for your Company Meetings & Events, delivering Internal Communications across a multitude of remote office locations or launching a campaign to change company culture, prospective customers are able to clearly see how Bonfyre can be leveraged to quickly deliver solutions for a host of business hurdles.

PB: What user feedback have you received about the new site?
MS:
The response from current clients, strategic partners and board members has been very complimentary! People grasp very quickly the new strategic vision Bonfyre is pursuing and how our products and services help to fulfill on the promises made.

Although web analytics and performance data for our website are confidential, it is safe to say that we are seeing improved results for visits, unique visits, page views, time spent on site, bounce rates, etc.

PB: How does your site tell the story of your business and the Bonfyre app?
MS:
Partnering with Bonfyre for Company Meetings & Events creates “the spark” that companies need to cultivate palpable, ongoing employee engagement and an enviable culture of personal empowerment…where leadership and employees share and exchange ideas, solutions, best practices, encouragement and team victories!

This is achieved by harnessing the power of Bonfyre for Internal Communication, Team Building, Company Culture and Employee Recognition initiatives. And the best part? Bonfyre is able to deliver real-time HR business intelligence and insights into what is working and what is not when it comes to driving the needle on employee engagement.

PB: How does Bonfyre support employee engagement?
MS:
Bonfyre not only supports employee engagement, but creates employee engagement! As a senior business executive searching for something that will motivate employees across the company to take ownership, build camaraderie, transform culture, build bridges and forge innovation, Bonfyre delivers the desired results!

Beautifully simple in design and intuition, Bonfyre is being downloaded and embraced by 70+% of event guests in 2016. And as past trends indicate, these guests continue to seize the energy and solidarity that Bonfyre creates long after the event has concluded and carry the burning flame of engagement back to their companies…transforming communication, team building, culture and recognition.

Bonfyre Data Analytics

Bonfyre Data Analytics

Thanks to Chris Dornfeld, Jake Bernstein, and Mark Sharp for their time and support in sharing Bonfyre with us. 🙂

If you haven’t tried Bonfyre yet, I encourage you to check it out at www.bonfyreapp.com


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Giving Thanks for My Internal Branding Learning Adventure

FireSky Resort & Spa, Scottsdale, Arizona

Photo: FireSky Resort & Spa, Scottsdale, Arizona

I had an incredible week at FireSky Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona for a learning adventure at the Strategic Internal Branding Conference. #ALI_IntBranding

The best part of my adventure was spending time with people who valued collaboration and having fun! I’m grateful to everyone who shared their time, expertise and insights with me. Connecting with good people creates good energy! 🙂

I was especially happy to have met in person these collaboration experts featured on my blog in March and April:

A big thank you also to Michela Moe and Erin Sherwood of Advanced Learning Institute (ALI) for connecting us all together for this memorable adventure.

Although the conference is over, my adventure continues with sharing follow-up stories with you. Stay tuned!


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Brilliance@Work: Video Communications and Webcasting Expert Michele Wolpe

 

Swirling Stars

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

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

Michele Wolpe

Michele Wolpe

Michele Wolpe is Director of Employee Communications at Autodesk, a global software design company headquartered in San Francisco, California. She has over 20 years of experience in leading employee communications at Fortune 500 companies including The Walt Disney Company, Barclays Global Investors, Charles Schwab, DHL Worldwide Express and Silicon Graphics.

Michele is fluent in French and Spanish and is a certified Executive Coach. She loves employee communications because it helps employees understand and engage with the company they work for and supports leaders in inspiring employees.

Join Michele at the Advanced Learning Institute’s Strategic Internal Branding Conference, April 19-21 in Scottsdale, Arizona as she presents “Engage and Inform a Global Workforce by Strategically Aligning Your Brand through Video Communications.”

In the meantime, read on to learn more about Michele and her insights on engaging employees through video and webcasting.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: What are you most interested in and speak most enthusiastically about?
Michele Wolpe: I am most interested in talking about ways to creatively deliver business news and information to employees as well as the importance and value of leaders communicating face to face with employees.

PB: What are some of your past and current projects that you are most proud of?
MW: I’m proud of leading the webcasting project at Autodesk and taking it from zero to a fully integrated company-wide solution that is used regularly at the company by all of the business organizations.

I’m also proud of the Vision Project I ran at Autodesk, which resulted in a vision statement for the company, as well as the Vision Map project I ran that involved creating a visual map of the company’s business model transition and plans to accomplish its strategy.

PB: How does video communication support internal brand strategy?
MW: Video (and webcasting) can bring a brand strategy to life just by the nature of the medium. The storytelling power of video, via images and people, is much stronger than other media.

PB: What will people gain from attending the Strategic Internal Branding Conference?
MW: It’s always great to hear from colleagues in the field about what they are doing that is new and exciting and making a difference. For me, conferences like these are ideal ways to get new ideas and to meet people who become part of your professional network.

PB: What is most important for people to understand from your conference presentation?
MW: That implementing a webcasting solution for a company can be a very effective, powerful and cost-effective way to strengthen employee communication, leadership visibility, and to build engagement, especially in global companies and those with widely distributed offices and/or operations.

PB: What is your contact information for questions, comments, ideas?
MW: Michele.wolpe@autodesk.com


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Brilliance@Work: Video Storytelling Expert Rocky Walls

Swirling Stars

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

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

Rocky Walls

Rocky Walls

Rocky Walls is the man behind the wheel on the 12 Stars Media bus. When he’s not working alongside fellow 12 Stars team members, he’s consulting one-on-one with companies about using video in their marketing and communication plans or engaging rooms full of communicators by speaking in places like Microsoft HQ or Walt Disney World.

Join Rocky at the Advanced Learning Institute’s Strategic Internal Branding Conference, April 19-21 in Scottsdale, Arizona as he presents “Using Storytelling and Video to Strengthen Your Internal Brand Campaigns to Inform and Inspire Employees to Live Your Brand.”

In the meantime, read on to learn more about Rocky and his insights on effective video storytelling.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: What are you most interested in and speak most enthusiastically about?
Rocky Walls: I love presenting to marketers and communicators about the simplicity of discovering and sharing the passion and drive that already exists within their organization. One of my favorite words is “entelechy,” which means “the realization of potential.” We spend a lot of energy trying to create engaging stories and inspiring messages, when most of the best ones are right under our noses all the time.

PB: What are some of your past and current projects that you are most proud of?
RW: We just recently (within the last two weeks) finished a multi-part series of videos for an enterprise organization to use in promoting their new global employee recognition program. It was so exciting to capture the excitement of employees around the world. The pride they had in their organization and their colleagues could be seen in every smile.

PB: How does video strengthen your internal branding efforts?
RW: At our organization, 12 Stars media, we have a culture of “always on” and it’s never unexpected when someone pulls out their smartphone to ask you some questions or ask you to share a little about what you are excited to work on today. I think that’s what makes our brand so approachable. We live it every day and prove it with video.

PB: What will people gain from attending the Strategic Internal Branding Conference?
RW: This conference will not only be an opportunity to learn from industry-leading practitioners but, perhaps more importantly, it will be an opportunity to build connections that last well beyond the conference itself. I am still talking regularly with connections I made at Advanced Learning Institute conferences last year.

PB: What is most important for people to understand from your conference workshop?
RW: My conference workshop will probably be one of the most hands-on video training experiences many attendees have had. We will talk about practical, put-it-into-practice-today tips for recording better smartphone video. But we won’t just talk about it; we will actually record video during the workshop and attendees will be provided with real-time feedback. It will be a lot of fun!

PB: What is your contact information for questions, comments, ideas?
RW: I can be reached most quickly and easily on Twitter. Send me a tweet at @RockyWalls anytime.

Register for the Strategic Internal Branding Conference. Together we’ll learn about using authentic internal branding communications to create brand champions, build culture and engage employees to live and deliver on the brand promise.

Since I’m a conference supporter, just mention Starry Blue Brilliance when you register to receive a $200 discount. 🙂

Please share this information with your networks. The Twitter hashtag is #ALI_IntBranding.


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Brilliance@Work: Brand Storytelling Expert Denise Roberts McKee

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

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

Denise Roberts McKee

Denise Roberts McKee

Denise Roberts McKee is the Chief Operating Officer at AboutFace Media, which creates brand storytelling initiatives told through the lens of independent film’s most acclaimed documentary filmmakers.

Denise brings her years of experience working with leading brands to conferences and seminars worldwide, with a focus on content development and marketing. In 2014, The Online Marketing Institute named her one of the Top 40 Digital Strategists in Marketing.

Prior to joining AboutFace, Denise co-founded the companies LimeLife, Inc., a publisher of mobile media for women, and Stunt Puppy Entertainment, an independent developer of CD-ROM games focused on the children’s market.

Join Denise at the Advanced Learning Institute’s Strategic Internal Branding Conference, April 19-21 in Scottsdale, Arizona as she presents “Authentic Storytelling in a Digital Age – How to Get Your Message Seen, Believed and Remembered.”

In the meantime, read on to learn more about Denise and her insights on effective storytelling.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: What are you most interested in and speak most enthusiastically about?
Denise Roberts McKee: I love speaking about video content, storytelling in particular. It can be such a powerful and effective means of communicating and connecting when done well. I also know how daunting a task it can appear to be, so I really enjoy sharing practical advice and approaches that, hopefully, make tackling the process a bit easier.

PB: What are some of your past and current projects that you are most proud of?
DRM:
I am especially proud of the work we’ve done featuring military veterans. A few years ago we created a series for Sears about their “Heroes at Home” program that provides home repairs and upgrades for veterans facing hardship. My favorite episode featured “Hoppy” Hopkins, a WWII vet. Every Friday, Hoppy headed to downtown Lynchburg, Virginia to lead a group of veterans who pay tribute to the troops who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. We were so lucky to capture his amazing story before he passed away in 2009. Watch it at: http://aboutfacemedia.com/work/sears-hoppy-hopkins

As for current projects, we have a short film screening at film festivals that I’m in love with. “Operation Allie” is a personal short documentary by Manny Marquez, one of our directors. The film features Manny’s brother Anthony, a vet of the war in Afghanistan, on a quest to find one of his best friends from his days in combat – his bomb-sniffing dog partner, Allie. It’s amazing, and guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye. For more info, go to http://www.bigskyfilmfest.org/festival/films-2016-peak/operation_allie

PB: How does digital storytelling support internal brand strategy?
DRM:
A key component in any internal brand strategy is employee buy-in. If employees don’t readily participate and feel part of the process, or the organization as a whole, all the content and budget in the world won’t get you past Step 1. Thoughtful, well-crafted storytelling content has the ability to make a personal connection, start an ongoing two-way conversation and help employees feel that you are communicating with them, not talking at them.

PB: What will people gain from attending the Strategic Internal Branding Conference?
DRM:
I’ve had the pleasure of leading many ALI workshops over the years. What’s unique about ALI is an amazing sense of community. You meet others with similar experiences, facing similar challenges and together you share, discuss, learn and problem-solve. You’ll leave with tons of take-aways, and make great, lasting connections. It will be three days well spent. I promise.

PB: What is most important for people to understand from your conference workshop?
DRM:
While I do try to provide as much practical advice as possible, it’s not a step-by-step checklist. There is no right way or wrong way of creating video content. It needs to meet your objectives and speak to your audience.

There are many types of video, story-based is just one. It’s up to you to “do the homework” before you begin shooting to make sure you’re starting with the best approach. I don’t want you to waste time, resources and most importantly, budget on content that is not positioned for success.

That being said, if you take the time to thoughtfully develop your strategy, at a certain point you can’t be afraid to pull the trigger. To quote Nike, you gotta “Just Do It” and use the results to learn, adjust and continue forward.

PB: What is your contact information for questions, comments, ideas?
DRM:
denise@aboutfacemedia.com

Register for the Strategic Internal Branding Conference. Together we’ll learn about using authentic internal branding communications to create brand champions, build culture and engage employees to live and deliver on the brand promise.

Since I’m a conference supporter, just mention Starry Blue Brilliance when you register to receive a $200 discount. 🙂

Please share this information with your networks. The Twitter hashtag is #ALI_IntBranding.


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How to Enhance the Employee Experience through Technology

SplitShire-0160Photo: splitshire.com

“Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response.” – Arthur Schlesinger, Historian

In “The 11 Vital Internal Communications Trends You’d Be Crazy to Ignore,” Shel Holtz states that “with employees able to see instantly what their work team peers, project peers, bosses and other employees are doing, they feel more connected and, as a result, get more engaged.”

New technology is a driving force for creating and improving the employee experience. In my profile of internal communications expert Chuck Gose, he explained that, “each technology has its own strengths and weaknesses. Make sure your stories play to the technology’s strength.”

Learn how technology can boost your internal brand and culture as Chuck Gose presents “Enhance Your Employee Experience through New Technologies that Align with Your Organization and Communication Campaign Goals” at the Strategic Internal Branding Conference, April 19-21 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

During this session, you’ll learn about many new technologies so you can:

  • Use the employee experience as a driving force for the customer experience
  • Secure organizational buy-in into technology investments
  • Introduce new technologies into the workplace to improve communications and enhance the employee experience

Register for the Strategic Internal Branding Conference. Together we’ll learn about using authentic internal branding communications to create brand champions, build culture and engage employees to live and deliver on the brand promise.

Since I’m a conference supporter, just mention Starry Blue Brilliance when you register to receive a $200 discount. 🙂

Please share this information with your networks. The Twitter hashtag is #ALI_IntBranding.


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Speaking Authentically Delivers on Your Brand Promise

AmpliferPhoto by Andrei Baicus

Your employees are your best advocates for business success. But you must carefully plan how to help them spread their love of your organization.

In “8 Steps to Turn Staffers into Online Brand Ambassadors,” Courtney Howell states that “when provided with proper training and the right tools, employees can add value to a company’s social media program by driving engagement online, amplifying branded content, and building valuable relationships with referral sources, potential partners and prospects.”

In my profile of internal communications consultant and author Paul Barton, ABC, he explained that, “the tone you use to communicate to employees can have a powerful effect on employee perceptions, attitudes and behaviors. Digital Age employees need communications that speak to them in an authentic voice and communications that treat them like valued business partners.”

Learn how to inspire your employees to deliver on your brand promise as Paul Barton, ABC presents “Finding the Voice of Your Organization’s Brand” at the Strategic Internal Branding Conference, April 19-21 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

This mini-workshop will include real examples and proven practical approaches used in a variety of organizational cultures in multiple industries. During this session, you’ll discover how to:

  • Find the right branded tone for your organization
  • Develop the supporting tools you need to enhance employee engagement and drive desired brand behavior
  • Build your brand from the inside-out powerfully and simply with the Voice of the Brand

Register for the Strategic Internal Branding Conference. Together we’ll learn about using authentic internal branding communications to create brand champions, build culture and engage employees to live and deliver on the brand promise.

Since I’m a conference supporter, just mention Starry Blue Brilliance when you register to receive a $200 discount. 🙂

Please share this information with your networks. The Twitter hashtag is #ALI_IntBranding.


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Brilliance@Work: Internal Communication Expert Chuck Gose

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

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

Chuck Gose

Chuck Gose

Chuck Gose is the founder and host of ICology, an Internal Communications-themed podcast. He’s also corporate communication practice leader for BroadSign.

Chuck is an active voice on LinkedIn, writing posts about internal communication, employee engagement and social media. He’s an advocate for technology and its aggressive, but smart, use in internal communication.

Chuck is also a self-proclaimed Skyline chili connoisseur and Duran Duran fan with 15 years of international experience in marketing, corporate communication and sales. Chuck has held internal communications roles with companies like Rolls-Royce and GM.

Join Chuck at the Advanced Learning Institute’s Strategic Internal Branding Conference, April 19-21 in Scottsdale, Arizona as he presents “Enhance Your Employee Experience through New Technologies that Align with Your Organization & Communication Campaign Goals.”

In the meantime, read on to learn more about Chuck and his insights on technology’s role in internal communications.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: What are you most interested in and speak most enthusiastically about?
Chuck Gose: I have been fascinated by internal communications for the better part of 15 years. And I’ve seen the amount of thought and attention given to it continue to increase. That being said, there’s a lot of the “same old same old” being spread around. I challenge myself to come up with new angles and topics that get communicators and business leaders to think about internal comms in new ways.

PB: What are some of your past and current projects that you are most proud of?
CG: In late summer 2015, I launched ICology, a podcast that’s focused on interesting people doing interesting things in the world of internal communications. There didn’t seem to be an IC “voice” in the podcast world, so I filled that gap. And since then, it’s been nothing but fun. I’ve interviewed practitioners and consultants. We’ve talked about channels and technology, including some challenges and failures. And we’ve talked about what communicators need to do to become better business people.

PB: How can organizations use technology to tell their stories effectively?
CG: Technology can be both a barrier and an ally for storytelling. By barrier I mean that there are specific access points required. An employee needs a smart phone if a story is on a mobile app. If the story is a video, they need access to a computer to watch it. Those are rudimentary examples, but technology isn’t without hiccups.

But when used appropriately, technology can make storytelling even more amazing. And this is where communicators can and should be more creative with storytelling. Each technology has its own strengths and weaknesses. Make sure your stories play to the technology’s strength.

PB: As conference chairperson, what would you say makes this event unique?
CG: Compared to other events I attend, I love the intimacy of the ALI events. You’re in the same room with the same people for multiple days. And since you’re not bouncing around from track to track, you spend time with and get to know the people you’ve been sitting around and trading stories with.

PB: What is most important for people to understand from your conference presentation?
CG: Technology is available for everyone, BUT that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Each technology can make a big impression in the employee experience, but only if it’s supported and cared for. I like to see communicators play in technology first. Because it’s out of this playtime that we’ll discover fun and practical uses for new technology.

PB: What is your contact information for questions, comments, ideas?
CG: I try to be everywhere and accessible. The best channels to reach me are LinkedIn and Twitter at @chuckgose.

Register for the Strategic Internal Branding Conference. Together we’ll learn about using authentic internal branding communications to create brand champions, build culture and engage employees to live and deliver on the brand promise.

Since I’m a conference supporter, just mention Starry Blue Brilliance when you register to receive a $200 discount. 🙂

Please share this information with your networks. The Twitter hashtag is #ALI_IntBranding.