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There is no “I” in team, but there is a “ME”

When I was at SXSW, the last session that I attended was Hitting Bombs: Better Social Business through Sports Metaphors, hosted by Tim Walker, Kyle Flaherty and Aaron Strout. It was a very interactive session with a lot of experienced individuals in the room sharing their favorite expression and how it related to their professional life, not generally specific to Social Media, but specific to specific situations in business. Great session and stories, thanks guys!

Fast forward to last night

I was watching the Red Sox game vs. the Texas Rangers. As you may, or may not know, the Red Sox have been in a slump, starting off the season 4-9, their worst start since 1996. Many players are slumping and not hitting, but I want to point to 1 specifically, Big Papi, David Ortiz. Last night he was 0-3 with 2 strikeouts, and for his 4th at bat, Mike Lowell came in and pitch hit for him. Mike Lowell ended up walking during the at bat, and the Sox ended up leaving the bases loaded during that inning. At the end of the inning, David Ortiz gave Mike a pat on the back, un-tucked his shirt and then went back down into the club house to take a shower. Now I would not have a problem with this if the game was over, but it was the 7th inning and the Sox were losing 6-4.

Fast forward to the next inning (bottom of the 8th)

Darnell McDonald (just called up from the minors) come up to the plate with a man on and hits a 2 run Home run to win the game. The Sox tie the game, and hold the Rangers during the next inning to no runs.

Fast forward to the next inning (bottom of the 9th)

Darnell McDonald comes to the plate with 2 outs and 2 men on, and hits a ball off of the Green Monster to make the game winning hit – the team meets him on second base, congratulating him, giving him high 5’s, celebrating, it was a great occasion to be a part of from a “Team” standpoint. Something that could have a long lasting effect on the way that younger and older players play, a good bonding experience (like the Varitek/ARod fight of a couple of years ago) but….where was David Ortiz?

During the celebration I was looking and looking for him, but I did not see him (if he was there, then I do apologize).

It is important to celebrate the good times, and also figure out how to get through the bad times, as a team. It is the same in business as it is in professional sports. We need to understand that we are not always on our game, and when we are not, expect to be “pinch-hit” for. We have all been there before, but the fact of the matter is that the Team comes first, and you do not.

When I heard about Four Square day  last week, on 4/16, I got a little excited. I had thought that it was a great idea. I found that one of the cities around me (Manchester, NH)  was participating in the day. I looked at the local sponsors and tried to figure out how I could participate, given the fact that they were “passing out” a special badge to those who participated, I could not pass that up.

After looking at the Four Square day website I noticed that there were not many locations participating. I then went to the Facebook Manchester page and noticed that there were other places that were participating that were not advertised on the Four Square official page. Hmmmm, why not? Was this because Four Square did not promote this that heavily? Was it because the agency that was running the Facebook page did not upload the events into the Four Square Day page?

I am sure that the event was a success and got the word about to local businesses that were either unknowing of Four Square or unsure of what the benefits would be. 

The promotion in my eyes seemed rushed. There did not seem to be much promotion over the event in general, a centralized location to find businesses that were participating, or a straightforward way to participate, from a business or end user standpoint. Maybe I am being a little harsh, but, as many others I really see the benefits that this application/tool has for local businesses.

For those of you who participated, what are your thoughts? Did you find it easy, or do you think that it could have been organized better?

ps. For some reason when I logged into the location in the area that was sponsoring, I did not receive the badge. I am not bitter by any means, am unsure why I did not get it, but still think that it could have been better organized.

In the current state of the economy, it is no longer about simply reaching out to your audience and hoping that they purchase your product – keeping your fingers crossed that they will become a “fan” of you. It is now about creating, building and extending relationships with your audience. Whether they are direct consumers, partners or employees – it does not make a difference. Your company is at the center of all of these relationships. Businesses need to understand the importance of these relationships and how the “little things” can make a big difference.

Note: I am married and have always been told that it is the little things that make a big difference, and I am also still trying to grasp this concept

Case-in-point – FourSquare

from the nydailynews.com

If you are not familiar with FourSquare, it is a location-based application for your phone where you can “log-in” to places that you visit. You can “friend” other people and you can also gain badges for certain activities – visiting and logging in to 5 different Starbucks for example will get you a Starbucks badge – but more on that later. You can also become what they call the “Mayor” of these locations, meaning that you have visited that specific area and have logged in more than anyone else. There is definitely a gaming component to FourSquare as you can try to gather as many badges as possible, and take the Mayor-ship from others who you may, or may not, know – which makes it a lot of fun.

Now there are other things to think about when leveraging Foursquare, including who you friend and where you post your status updates, but that is not what this post is about, it is about how a Business can create, build and extend the relationships with its audience and embrace new ways to communicate.

When I got into work today, I opened Twitter up to see what was going on. After about 10 minutes, I saw this post from a former colleague, good friend, and Social Media (I hate to say this but insert a descriptive here – guru, all-star, rock-star, evangelist……) Aaron Strout (@aaronstrout ):

local @Starbucks celebrated wife, @MelanieStrout’s @FourSquare mayorship w/ this sign & free gift bag. Nice! http://tweetphoto.com/17496680

FourSquare Mayorship

Welcome to Starbucks Mayor Melanie

Now can you imagine walking into your local Starbucks, and seeing that sign? Also, it was one thing for them to create the sign and to have their employees sign the banner, but it was another thing to put together a Gift Bag for her – likely related to her favorite drink, like one of those insulated plastic cups that they have (just a guess here).

I think that they key thing to think about is that this type of public recognition does not have to take part on a platform or technology like FourSquare – but it does need to happen in some way, shape or form to your customers, partners and employees in order to survive in this ever changing evolution of Social engagement. This is also another way to take online interactions and take them off-line, in the real world.

By the way, added benefits of their gesture – a Twitter post that easily reached tens of thousands of people instantly, and also encouraged this blog post.

Starbucks is a great example of a business that is embracing Social Media, between their FourSquare presence/partnership and the My Starbucks Idea that they have launched and continue to monitor, they are building their relationships and creating customers for life.

Have you seen other examples of this, and if you have, how has it changed your perception?