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Don Schindler

Executive Reputation Coach & Digital Marketer

Category: Strategic Planning (page 1 of 2)

It’s not “If You’ll Be Disrupted”, it’s “When You’ll Be Disrupted” – Crowd Companies at SXSW 2015


Customers don’t care about your brand if you don’t care about them.

The quote above came out of a private session with Edelman and Crowd Companies and I thought it was very appropriate to the food industry.

Many things are changing with our customers.

Are you keeping up with the changes or just wishing things would go back to what they were before?

My grandpa used to say “You can wish in one hand and spit in the other, which do you think will fill up first?” Well, it might be a little different than that but this is the G version.

Anyway, Crowd Companies with Jeremiah Owyang (you should follow him) pulled together a great lineup to speak about disruptions in their industry and how they were handling them.

Whole Foods spoke about their relationship with Instacart. – for those of you that don’t know Instacart deliveries groceries to you in an hour. Instacart was also featured in American Foods 2.0 (another session I attended).

WF was noticing more and more Instacart employees in their stores getting groceries.

This could have been seen as highly disruptive to Whole Foods – I mean, their stores are meant to attract people and keep people inside to enjoy their shopping and sampling experience (this is why they spend a lot of time on educating their employees on customer service) and clearly Instacart is taking away the customer experience.

Instead of kicking them out and banning them from the stores, Whole Foods met with Instacart and figured out how they could work together. How could they make the Instacart/Whole Foods experience like going to Whole Foods.

So they started experimenting with things like they have set up remote registers so Instacart can easily ring things up as well as putting refrigerator units near the doors so Instacart people can get things quickly and efficiently. They worked on integrating their customer service people so Instacart could answer food questions like Whole Foods does. How smart is that?

One of the speakers said, “How can we figure out how to disrupt ourselves before someone else does?

That’s important as you look at the image above with gallon jugs in the refrigerator section. The dairy industry is ripe for disruption in all aspects of farming, production, packaging and experience.

That’s why I think the Common Voice network (if you want to know more about Common Voice, just email me) along with many of our new initiatives are important to the industry overall. Common Voice brings up these kinds of questions and we work together as an entire industry to figure out solutions.

You have to anticipate where the customer is going and meet them there with the products they want at the time they want it.

The gallon jug? It’s still useful in bulk capacity for some customers but there’s a lot of other ways people could get milk or a milk beverage. But right now, there are tons of other choices and few are milk based.

Hallmark was also there presenting and they spoke of the new maker movement – where people create speciality items and sell them online for special occasions.

Instead of ignoring this new movement of creators, Hallmark embraced them and showcased their goods right alongside the standard Hallmark fare as well as brought in these artists to teach others how to make these speciality goods.

They didn’t have to do this – they could fight the good fight and keep wishing that their past customers would come back and fill the stores wanting the exact same experience in identical stores – but they did and it’s successful at getting people back in the stores.

This showcases Hallmark as an organizer of hard to find handmade goods for special occasions not just “dustables” as they referred to them. Love that term by the way.

Next up was Verizon and they spoke about their special projects in helping the auto industry use their technology to turn car ownership into car rental-ship by using their mobile devices. This from a telecom?


Finally, I’ll finish with Jeremiah’s Crowd Companies Disruption chart. He’s charting out companies that are disrupting industries and could possibly end up becoming the newest leaders in our new economy – the sharing economy.



Courtesy of Jeremiah Owyang and Crowd Companies

What do you think?

And if you think that disruption isn’t really a thing – that’s it’s still too new – consider that I used Lyft instead of traditional taxis almost the entire time I was at SXSW to get around. I was more comfortable having a stranger pick me up in their car vs. waiting on cab.


Because I love the technology. It’s shows me the driver and his car, the ratings, it tracks where they are on their way to get you, and I don’t have to use cash or credit card. And they were faster. They changed my habits and I’m happy for it.

Is ag ready for this disruption?

I think we should be thinking about how to disrupt ourselves before someone else comes along and does it. Get involved with Common Voice. It’s the smart disruptive thing to do.

What’s the right web content management system (CMS) for you?

Too Many Choices (courtesy of Pinto and the Bean) This is a tough question for most communicators. Sometimes it’s because they are unfamiliar with the technical aspects of a CMS. Sometimes it’s because there are too many choices out there. At ND, we have tons of different CMSes and it’s difficult to know which one will be the right one to choose. I know because I’ve had to help them make the choice before – for my past clients and for current clients.

So what are some good questions to ask yourself when you are picking your CMS?  I’ve got five questions that you should answer before buying one.

1. How easy is it to use?

This may seem like a silly question but if you want other people than yourself to put content on your website (which you should – there should never be a bottleneck of one content person), the CMS better we crazy easy to use. It should be “log in”, “select the page”, and “type into the content”, then “save” or “publish”. If you make it too hard or give people too many bells and whistles available, they won’t login again and they won’t help you load content.

BTW, if you have a system where only one person in your office can use the system at a time – that’s not good. Make sure the interface is easy and clear for someone who doesn’t play on the internet all day.

2. What are special content needs for my website?

We get this a lot.  People want a website but don’t know exactly what they’ll put in it.  You’ll save yourself and your team a ton of time, money and frustration if you just do some homework and get your content together first.

This way you’ll get a really, really (that’s two reallys) good understanding of what content is for your audiences. If you don’t have a good idea of the content, then you need to stop your CMS buying process and go back to the whiteboard. Laying out all your content will help inform your decision the best.

Well, what if you don’t know what all your content is.  What do you ask yourself to help you find all your content.  Here’s what I do.

Write down all the content you currently have, what it is and where it is. Text, video, photos, audio, pdfs or word documents, etc…  Is digital or in hard copy form?

Once you have it all down, think of how you’ll want to display it.

When it comes to video, do I want to use YouTube and embed it on the page or do I want people to download them and play them locally on their machine (I don’t recommend this)?

When it comes to photos, do I want to have them access to my flickr account? Do I want a photo gallery where they can see all the photos on my website? Do I want to make a slideshow? Or maybe display all photos in a lightbox?  What is best practice for displaying a photo?

Do I want to people to be able to download my presentations or embed them on the page using something like Slideshare or Speakerdeck?

Do I want an automatic news feed so I don’t have to index news items? Do I want it to be shared with other sites on campus? Do I want an RSS feed?

What about events? Do I want events to be auto archived after the event is over? Can calender.nd.edu sync with my website? Do I want it to be easily shared to social media?

Speaking of social media, how will I handle social media pages on my website? Can I get an feed from my twitter? Do I want people to see my Linkedin company profile, etc…

What about forms? How will people contact me through the website? Can they sign up of a newsletter? Do I want to have a newsletter? (Which I recommend)

What we usually find is that people make a selection of a CMS without really looking through the content or structure or audience or any of that. This should be done before you move forward.

3. Is the code up to standards? Continue reading

I should have ended up on Ridiculousness after my most recent presentation.

Ridiculousness on MTV

Do you guys love Ridiculousness?  I do.  I love watching people bite it when they should have known better than to try it.  But then it happened to me.  In a presentation.  Yeah, I bit it.  Big time.

I did a talk before a group of directors for the Center and Institutes at ND.  It didn’t go as well as I hoped but there were a couple of factors that I didn’t foresee.

First, I didn’t plan well on the time. I thought I had more and I hate rushing through a presentation.

Secondly, I focused on social media but I took it from a personal branding perspective and not from a Center / Institute perspective. That

So if I had it to do over, I wouldn’t go into the nuances of Social Media and talk more about Communication Plan and show an example.  A good example is the Stanford Persuasive Lab.

Here’s how you start:

Continue reading

What am I most excited about in the new year? We are not alone anymore.

iPad Class via Matt Cashore

So I’m a couple months into my second year here at Notre Dame. Let me tell you it’s been great.

There have been challenges and a lot of you have the same challenges I do (resources and time) but I’ve never been as excited as I am right now – well, maybe, my first week on the job. I was pretty excitable back then.

Things look great and let me tell you why.

I feel like lots of people across campus are very interested in helping out communications.

Instead of feeling like we were just a department that was separated away in Grace Hall building posters, brochures, flyers, emails and websites in isolation, now I feel that we are an integrated part of everything here on campus.

We are helping campus communicators build strategic communication plans. We are providing training to you with our Brown Bag Lunch and Learns on Social Media, Photography, Video, Print, etc… If you don’t know about our brown bags, make sure you sign up for the Campus Communicators Listserv and the Linkedin Group.

We are helping guide the Notre Dame brand with onmessage.nd.edu – a website dedicated to the brand guidelines so you can understand how to use the academic mark, the monogram, what are official colors are and how to use them.

And we are still creating videos, photos, print material and websites of the highest quality.

But now, I see there is a new opportunity…it’s not just servicing our campus communicators but helping our entire university – faculty, staff and students. Continue reading

Need a Simple Communications Plan, Simple Creative Brief and Simple Audience Chart?

simple-creative-brief Need a Simple Communications Plan for your Marketing Campaign? How about a Simple Creative Brief to go with it? Maybe even a Simple Audience Chart to figure out what you are going to say via your simple tactic.

I used to not do this. In my past, I just simply overdid it. I would forget the KISS principle and build massive documents (strategic plans, communication plans, creative briefs) that could have been made into small novels and no one could comprehend. Then I would wonder why my ideas fell on deaf ears.

simple-marketing-inventory-rollout Being here at the university for just over a year, I’ve decide to cut down the amount of marketing terms, charts, powerpoints and pitches. I just want to make it simple for my clients to understand. I wish I would have done this years ago.

Continue reading

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