112908-pittsfield-architecture156So I’m working on a new gig as a consultant that is an interesting departure from the role that I have played typically over the last 15 years in business. Historically, we (Studio Two) have acted as the “marketing department” for many of our clients who are too small to really have one, or likely only have a single person in the role of marketing director. That leads to planning, strategic analysis, media planning and so forth. This is the first time I’m really coming into a situation not to “do” the work so much as help facilitate what work gets planned and done.

I’m going to keep the client anonymous for now in these posts, but it’s a significant regional institution. The job I’ve been hired to do is to transform their culture, as relates to all things internet. It’s been a fascinating ride for the past few weeks. 

Fundamentally, what led to this was a series of conversations with the leadership of the institution, who had become increasingly frustrated by the inability of the internal culture to transform from past practice into the evolving future. Back when the web was new, we all ran out and built web sites. We got email. We learned how to create links. Fast forward to today with the rapidly evolving web 2.0 and 3.0 worlds of blogging, social networks, mobile devices, email marketing, and open-source software, and you have a radically different landscape. Well, the news is that for many institutions, conservative by nature and slow to change, this rate of progress presents a somewhat daunting challenge. But change they must to survive.

The context of my strategy on achieving success in transforming the institution into a web 2.0 culture is as follows:

• The internet is a language, not a technology. We have to pursue a degree of fluency across every department and individual.
• If it is hard or technical to do, don’t do it. Find a easier way.
• If there is something you want to do, don’t code it yourself. Go look for a solution pre-built, it’s out there.
• Use the simplest, most common and most popular tools available. Be prepared to try them out and if they don’t work, find another tool
• Plan for change. Everyday.

Steps we are taking are building their web presences on wordpress, for launch in a matter of week. We’re enlisting every employee and department as potential editors and contributors, and we’re setting up multiple points of entry for people to participate. We’re moving off proprietary systems for email communications, networking and ecommerce to robust commercial and open-source systems that are pre-built. And we’re working towards changing the relationship between inspiration, action and event: namely taking down barriers between thought and publishing.

Stay tuned. More to come.

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