Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Does Your ‘Trust Battery’ Need a Charge?

Sunday’s NY Times Corner Office profile about trust in the workplace got us thinking. Tobi Lutke, CEO of the ecommerce software provider, Shopify, described how every new employee starts at Shopify with their “trust battery” charged at the 50 percent level. As time goes on, the charge level goes up (or down) based on interactions with managers and whether the employee becomes more or less trustworthy and whether or not he or she delivers on what they promise.

Sound familiar?

If so, you can apply the trust-battery concept to your dealings with your clients, vendors, strategic partners and independent contractors. They’re doing the same with you. They’re asking themselves if you’re delivering on what you promise. Are you contacting them proactively or waiting for them to call you only when there’s an urgent matter? Are you paying your bills on time? Are you blowing off weekly, monthly or quarterly progress meetings? Are you constantly rescheduling or making excuses for missing deadlines, information requests or deliverables?

According to Lutke, there are only two kinds of days—“one when your team gets better and ones when your team gets worse.”

While the article didn’t go into great depth, we ask you to look at your team and your client roster? Is anyone’s trust meter below 25- or 30-percent? If so, it’s time to take remedial action or else, set them free.

Our blog and website have more about this and related topics.


Everyone’s hyper busy, but at the end of the day we’re all accountable. If you think every client and team member is 80-percent or better, we suggest you check you meter and make sure all the circuits and wiring is up to code.


Tobi Lutke, Shopify, trust in the workplace, delivering what you promise

Monday, April 04, 2016

Incorporating Video into Articles and Posts (and vice versa)

It’s no secret that we’re visual creatures. Most of us would rather watch TV than read when given the choice. So we’re not surprised that more and more of you have been asking about creating videos to supplement (or replace) your text-based articles, posts, tweet and emails.

Research shows that 90 percent of information transmitted to our brain is visual. Our client Naylor, LLC is pretty aggressive about experimenting with content and they’ve documented the value of adding videos and images to your tweets and newsletters.

But don’t chuck out your keyboard and scratchpad yet.

We first started discussing the merits of blending video and text about two years ago in this blog.

As was the case in 2014, adding video to your written content can substantially improve engagement and recall with the written content. On the flip side, a concise text-based summary that accompanies your video will greatly increase viewership. Our client, Coyle Financial Counsel found that viewership of its twice weekly video blogs increased substantially when it started offering a text-based summary right below its video player. The text summary always includes snappy “Key Takeaways” or as Naylor calls them, “Tweetables.” That’s right, each of the key takeaways in Naylor articles can be instantly tweeted by using a handy embedded widget (scroll down first page here).

While it’s easy in this era of disruption and killer apps, to replace old with the new, most things in life are not so binary. It’s not a matter of either/or, it’s a matter or either and or.

Even those in the media trade are questioning the ROI of video once you get past the cool factor. It’s certainly harder to produce and distribute well compared to good old fashioned text. Another drawback to video is that it’s harder to summarize and preview than written material is. Remember, most of your clients and prospects have become a gun shy about clicking on video players and having their browsers co-opted by intrusive video ads that can take 30 seconds or longer to play before you have the privilege of watching. Who has time for that in this day in age?

Stanford University study is not a light read, but it does confirm the need for thumbnails and other forms of video summarization. Also, the penalty for a poorly produced video (bad lighting, bad sound, amateurish editing) is significantly worse than the penalty for sub-par written material.

blog and website have more about this and related topics.


Just as a well-diversified portfolio usually outperforms a concentration in a single stock, sector or country, a well-diversified thought leadership strategy should include a blend of text, video, infographics, PDFs and multimedia, that work together to keep your message relevant, clear and worthwhile sharing.

TAGS: Naylor, LLC, Coyle Financial Counsel, video in text, video in emails, tweets, Stanford University study on video summaries, Folio magazine on video ROI