It’s currently set up as a standing desk. I usually stand for the majority of the workday, but I do have a tall chair if I ever want to take a load off. Everything else is pretty standard, but I try to keep it clean and uncluttered.
A solid instant messaging app is crucial for communicating with colleagues and helps cut down on email. I actually rely on text messaging a lot too, so maybe my answer would be iMessage. And LinkedIn, of course!
I take a break from what I’m doing. If, for instance, it’s a blockage in a writing project, I come back to it later with a fresh perspective. I also ask for help, a lot.
All Pandora. It’s the Classical station when I need to get some writing done, and as of late the Violent Femmes station when I’m just in the mood for music.
If I can answer something in less than one minute I’ll answer it. If I have to spend some time to think about a response I’ll get to it when I can. I have no desire ever to get to “inbox zero” and I’m not sure why anyone would.
If I get after it early, I can get a huge chunk of work done between 7 and 9 a.m. before most people fill up the office.
I use a fair amount of emoticons and smiley faces in my emails and texts, definitely more than others do.
I ride my bike to work whenever possible. If I can avoid traffic and get some time to exercise and take in fresh air, the rest of my day always feels more productive. I also think it’s important to take breaks throughout the day. There’s a nice path that wraps around the LinkedIn office that takes 20 minutes to walk. Walking it solo or taking a walking meeting is always a good way to shake things up.
Since launching in 2006, IKEAHackers.net has grown into a mecca for IKEA zealots with a do-it-yourself attitude. The Internet’s thriving community of Swedish flatpack furniture fans has embraced the site’s varied collection of “hacks,” user-submitted furniture and household items crafted from mashing up IKEA products (popular creations include vase walls, kid’s raincoats and CATwalks). The site’s disclaimers makes it very clear that it is not associated with Ikea.
In mid-June, Jules Yap, who manages the site, received a cease & desist letter from IKEA demanding that she turn over the IKEAHackers domain, as well as other stipulations. The news spread quickly among the IKEA fan community and generated significant media coverage. The chatter focused on the obvious question: why would IKEA want to shut down such a popular fan site? Social media discussions also took IKEA to task for the heavy-handed and big-corporation legal approach to the outreach. As is usual with these sorts of social media flare-ups, the anti-IKEA mob grew online.
In fairly short order, IKEA reached out directly to Jules to find an amicable solution, and released an official statement:
“We want to clarify that we deeply regret the situation at hand with IKEAhackers. It has of course never been our ambition to stop their webpage. On the contrary, we very much appreciate the interest in our products and the fact that there are people around the world that love our products as much as we do. We are now evaluating the situation, with the intention to try to find a solution that is good for all involved.”
In the discussions, Ikea agreed that the site can retain the domain name, but there may be other changes required as part of the final agreement. The social media critics virtually surrounding their local IKEAs with pitchforks and torches have gone home for now, and while a positive outcome is on the horizon, rightly or wrongly IKEA will now join the ranks of examples of corporations that “don’t get it.”
External critics can be quick to criticize brands for their social media missteps with the overused trope that a brand “doesn’t get it” — a jab that usually precedes their offer to “help” the brand. Many of these critics have never worked with large organizations and don’t understand the complexities involved with the enterprise. Behind the scenes, there are almost always internal factors that lead to situations like this that the public and media will never see. In IKEA’s case, it could have simply been a lack of internal communication with the legal team, which contacted the site owners without ever thinking of notifying the social team.
The point isn’t to over-speculate on what happened internally but to learn from the situation. Does your legal department know to consult the social team on any matters or actions that may involve social media, fans, and customers, or the Internet in general? Have you educated the legal department of the importance of social media and fan communities to your brand?
Part of being an effective external communicator is working internally and having a seat at the table when key decisions are made. Of course, trademark defense is something that legal departments take very seriously. It may not be possible to stop every issue, but at least you can provide counsel on how to best approach a situation. That way you are proactively working to find the best solution, rather than reacting to it.
Of course, no agency can create credible positive reviews. Instead, PN Labs provides value by evaluating a product as if we were external reviewers. Our testing lab allows us to gain thorough experience with products. From benchmarking to troubleshooting to competitive testing, we’re able to play with devices until we know them like the back of our hands. Because of this, we’re able to anticipate and even predict the outcome of a review, helping our clients get the best results possible.
The equipment in your lab is dictated by the products you’re testing. At PN Labs, we predominantly test PCs, printers and phones, so we have:
Testing varies by product, but in our labs, we investigate how major media outlets test client products and replicate those methods as closely as possible. We periodically revisit those outlets to ensure our methods are current, and we even meet with some outlets to get direct insight into their testing practices.
Once a product testing plan has been defined, we run the target product through that plan and document the results as we progress. Once testing is complete, we compile the results – our overall impressions, highs and lows – to create our Agency Testing Report.
We create an Agency Test Report (ATR). The ATR lists all the pros (“highs”) and cons (“lows”) of the device, as well as “mids” – details we didn’t love or hate. We also include any benchmark test results and specific information about the device configuration tested.
In addition, we examine and compare competitive products to the target product, pointing out where it shines and where it might falter. This lets our customers (reviews teams) understand the target product’s landscape and make informed decisions about how to position it.
Finally, we make a recommendation for how to proceed with a reviews program for the device, suggesting specific outlets and providing general campaign strategy. Our goal is to take care of the reviews team (which may be located internationally) that may never lay hands (or eyes) on the product, but still needs to possess as much knowledge and support for a reviews program as they can.
For more information about our team and approach, or to learn how we can help your organization with digital strategy, development and measurement, please visit the PNConnect site.
Mary Gaulke in Sarasota compiled this month’s Feature about social media fads, and Will Tucker in Seattle wrote our Insights piece about PN Labs. Robert Veliz in New York City contributed stories and insights for the Social Networking Stats and Noteworthy News sections. Amanda Wu provided the latest stats, and Doug Madey at LinkedIn in San Francisco took the hot seat for On Workflow. Allison Brill in Washington, D.C., shared updates and insights on Advertising Trends. Josh Hallett in Winter Haven, Florida, wrote up the case study on IKEA and defined “content decay” for our Digital Dictionary.
Ketan Deshpande in Boston took our cover photo. The photo of Marissa Mayer was shared from Wikimedia Commons and the Google bot photo from “The Phantom in the Mirror” Tumblr blog. Horia Varlan uploaded the graduated cylinder photo to Flickr, and Yassan Yukky uploaded the the Ikea cart photo, some rights reserved. Some backgrounds courtesy of subtlepatterns.com.
Thanks to Jennifer Laker, Nik Wilets, Peter Schiebel, and Sean O’Shaughnessy from the Platforms team for providing design and development support, and to Josh Hallett, Mary Gaulke, Dave Coustan and Tom Harris for editorial oversight and proofing.
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