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I would add to that list that ‘traditional’ agencies often lack the culture necessary to really make social media (or digital for that matter) work.


And at Think! Social Media we can add a specialized focus on the travel, tourism and hospitality industry as well. This industry isn’t easy to figure out and you need to understand the specifics in order to deliver real value to your clients.


Jeremiah also identifies some weaknesses boutique agencies can have:

Despite their strengths, Social Media Boutiques have weakenesses. They are often unable to scale as engagement is difficult to roll out to all product units and around the globe, are quickly finding that traditional agencies are catching up by training staff (see how Edelman has an internal black belt education program) and often lack the ability to achieve an integrated marketing approach.

At Think! we’re already rapidly expanding to offer full digital services with integrated social media. We’re achieving this though great partnerships (including ‘traditional’ agencies) and by acquiring new talent, here in Vancouver, but also around the world.

It’s safe to say that 2011 will be very exciting.

  • leadership, Management

    Must see presentations #5: Itay Talgam: Lead like the great conductors

    07.28.10 | Permalink | 1 Comment

    Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.
    — George S. Patton

    I believe that great leaders are passionate people who set a vision and inspire teams and individuals who’ve been given the space to make the vision a reality.

    Itay Talgam delivered a great presentation at TED where he uses different styles of symphony conductors to deliver a powerful message about how to lead talented individuals. Very insightful.

  • leadership, Management, Marketing, social media, Travel & Tourism

    To be Authentic

    07.13.10 | Permalink | 1 Comment

    The best meal I ever had wasn’t at a fancy restaurant, made by a celebrity chef, with an award winning wine. It was at a small B&B in Chame, Nepal. Because it was freezing cold we huddled around the kitchen fire where dinner was being made.

    The whole family helped out. Kids were preparing veggies, the husband was making the dough for bread and mom was in charge of everything and everybody. Friends and family came and went.

    That Dal Bhat was the best meal I’ve ever had. Because it was an authentic experience.

    The word authentic keeps popping up lately. Tourists increasingly want authentic experiences. In social media, you need to be authentic to be successful. To be authentic is to be real and genuine.

    Simon Sinek, who writes fantastic stuff about leadership by the way, talks about imperfection and authenticity in this blog post.

    Perfection comes out of molds or off assembly lines. Things made by nature or by hand are imperfect. It is their flaws that make these objects unlike any other of their kind. It is their imperfections that make these things unique and beautiful.

    That’s why so much marketing is junk. People try to make it too perfect and as a result, the message isn’t authentic anymore. It’s like most marketing comes from the same assembly line. Killed by process, approvals and egos.

    Imperfection is not always a bad thing, when it creates authenticity. Keep this in mind for your business. Don’t mold it like everybody else’s (but don’t use your bathroom as a place for imperfection). Give staff some room to be themselves so they don’t  sound like robots and give them the ability to think on their feet and give customers personalized attention.

    And in social media, authenticity is a must. Don’t always try to craft the perfect message. Be yourself and try to have meaningful relationships with your network. Just don’t be stupid. And when you make a mistake, apologize.

    I’ll finish by quoting Simon one more time.

    Great leaders don’t try to be perfect, they try to be themselves.  And that’s what makes them great.
  • Internet, Management, Marketing, social media, Travel & Tourism

    Sheraton Tripadvisor Cards

    07.01.10 | Permalink | 1 Comment

    A few weeks ago I spoke about our online marketing activities during the 2010 Olympics in Seattle. I stayed in the Sheraton; great hotel. They left a really nice note in my room, including this card to encourage me to share my experience on Tripadvisor. Simple and effective.

  • Management, Marketing, social media

    Passion will win (thank goodness)

    06.18.10 | Permalink | 1 Comment

    In the age of social media; passion wins. Because passion and caring about your customer cannot be faked anymore.

    People who are passionate about their customers will deliver better products and experiences. Better products and experiences generates positive word-of-mouth. And in the age of social networks, word-of-mouth is the new branding.

    People who are passionate about their profession have the opportunity to create a network of fans in social media. And in the age of social networks, your  network of fans is the new resume.

  • Management, Marketing, tourism bc

    Tourism BC 2010 Online Olympics activities: #12 – Battlestar Olympia

    03.02.10 | Permalink | Comment?

    Tourism BC’s online team: Sarah, Jeanine, Holly, Karen, Mikala, William, Jose (on a PPC mission at the time: Dima)

    The traffic on our websites during the games was significant enough to have a day-to-day look at our tactics and adjust where necesary. What’s media talking about? What are people talking about in social media? Is there a cool story we can leverage through content? Is there something unexpected? Should we send a Field Reporter? Do we make adjustments to our PPC campaigns? Daily huddles and conference calls with our online partners allow us to quickly change plans.

    We turned one of our boardrooms into a command centre for the occassion: the Battlestar. Watching the games on a big screen and real time Tweets. Because we’re geeks after all.

    This is also my opportunity to thank everybody on the online team, other Tourism BC teams and our partners who were instrumental in making the best use of this Olympic opportunity!

  • Management, Marketing, Travel & Tourism

    Should the ‘M’ in DMO stand for Management instead of Marketing

    12.08.09 | Permalink | 7 Comments

    Traditionally, DMO stands for Destination Marketing Organization. But would consumers and industry be better served if the ‘M’ stood for Management instead?

    Consider my destination brand definition from a few posts back.

    1. The sum of experiences of a traveler during a trip (but not all experiences are equal)
    2. The sum of all stories somebody has hears about a destination (but not all sources are equally credible)

    It’s clear that the visitor experience is the best form of destination branding. It will generate great memories people will relive, lead to repeat visitation and word of mouth referrals.

    And when you read Ana Pollock’s Reputation, Reputation, Reputation post you will understand how actions by others can dramatically effect a destination brand.

    Some will argue that all of the above is part of marketing. But semantics aside, changing the ‘M’ in DMO to Management would broaden the traditional focus and increase the scope into things that also matter.

    I’m not talking about a visitor centre or a training program. I’m talking about generating a vision for the destination, looking at all aspects of the destination experience and working with extended groups of stakeholders to truly manage and deliver an end-to-end world class experience.

    And when you satisfy your visitors, wouldn’t a destination be a better place to live for its residents as well?

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