Tagged: lipstick on a pig

Fifty (ii)

“Most of the schools raised the funds needed, and then we fitted out the kitchens and got the press along of course to take photos and cover the story. It went down very well in the local press as you can imagine, and got some pick-up in home magazines and the trade press too.”

“What about the teachers?” I asked.

“Ah, we picked schools with teachers already qualified in cooking, or home economics or domestic science or whatever they called it. Otherwise we’d have got the kit and it would have just sat there with no-one to put it to use.”

“And did it get used? What happened then?”

“Yes, we followed the schools’ progress for a bit. We went back a year later to get the press involved again, but you can’t do that a second time, so we lost visibility after that.”

“Marcus couldn’t tell me much about it when I asked him earlier.”

“No, well I guess not. He wasn’t in marketing or PR.”

Yvonne and Michelle looked at each other, and both scrabbled to say much the same thing.

Yvonne: “Uh-oh. I see where this is going. You’re implying this was – what’s that phrase you use – lipstick on a pig.”

Michelle put it another way: “It looked good, but it wasn’t necessarily informed by the values of the company; it didn’t sit at the heart of the business.”

“It didn’t come from the heart of the business it seems,” I added. “The way you tell it, Steve’s kid was the inspiration, not Attenzi. But funnily enough I think it is the kind of thing that could come from the heart of the business; live at the heart of the business. I’m guessing that’s partly why Steve shaped it that way, but he was always going to be foxed in the long run if this wasn’t central to business. I mean, for newspaper column inches to determine as and when something fizzles out…!”

“And it’s just as well that the Lorenz Capital partner wasn’t sales led,” Sarah commented. “I don’t recall there being any significant sales uplift during that time.”

“How much can we sell lipstick for?” Yvonne replied.

Twenty one (ii)

It’s sort of a modern day equivalent of measuring column inches in the press; both are flawed metrics as both grow when something goes really badly as well as when something goes really well.

Let me be totally clear, the Goorooz are not grifters. They’re not quacks. They’re exploring this new media and new technology sincerely and trying to make a living out of helping others understand and get to grips with it. But sincerity doesn’t mean effective.

On sharing my conclusions with Michelle and Yvonne after the Goorooz had guru’d their way to their next meeting, I underlined my commitment to social media. I underlined my commitment to our values. I underlined my intention to continue interweaving the undoubted potential social media represents into the very fabric of the business.

I’ve heard the opposite referred to as lipstick on a pig. Attenzi is no pig. It requires no such lipstick.

I could see Michelle wasn’t happy. With me. After all, I guess I had just shot down her initiative to invite these guys in. She left the room quietly. Yvonne was more upbeat.

“I can see where you’re coming from Eli. I’m reading a book at the moment that describes social media as bringing radical transparency on an organization.”

“Radical transparency? That’s quite a strong expression.”

“Yes” she continued, “And there’s more. If ‘perception is reality’ was the saying that characterized our approach to marketing and public relations before, we now have to consider that reality is perception.”

“Goodness.” My brain got knocked and I felt myself thinking hard. It must have been visible as Yvonne went with the silence.

I, like many others, had witnessed examples of citizens around the world using the social media and mobile phones to record and communicate the day-to-day realities they had to live with, until this had helped catalyze uprisings, which had in turn been documented post by post, tweet by tweet, photo by photo, video by video.

Authoritarian regimes could no longer project one image to the world, or maintain a façade to its people, while governing quite differently.

Hang on. What am I saying? This doesn’t just apply to authoritarian regimes, this applies to all government. And all business. All organizations.

Information has been set free.

I concluded our conversation: “It’s like a big oil gun has been taken to the machinery of the world, lubricating its workings. We’re taking out the friction in the system that for so long frustrated the spread of information and knowledge.”