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Archive for February, 2009

International BrandSynergy Marketing Strategy & Research, Inc. CEO Rachel Daniel delivered a keynote address at the OIC International Conference of Affiliates on Feb. 24, 2009. Daniel addressed board chairs and program directors from sub-Saharan African countries, along with OIC International board and staff, international diplomats, and U.S. dignitaries. Executives from U.S. business, civic, educational, and governmental organizations were also on hand.

The speech was designed to outline an innovative strategy for success in building a strong OIC International brand in challenging economic times. Daniel made brand trust a focal point for OIC International growth over the next 40 years, building on the organization’s success in providing individuals in underserved countries with the education, skills and confidence they need to help themselves, their households, and their communities.

“What is most important for our organization,” says Dr. Christiana Thorpe, the Chief Electoral Commissioner of Sierra Leone, “Is that we make the commitment to our brand. We are excited to go back to our country and implement change.” (more…)

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face-book1Tonight SynergyBlog received an invitation to join a group protesting Facebook’s new privacy policies. We were a little surprised, because many of our colleagues – executive types, we assure you – love Facebook!

The popular web site provides untold opportunity for younger and college-aged individuals to keep in touch. However, the Facebook-user average age is growing dramatically, with adults being their fastest growing customer segment. In fact, the site’s 35-54 year old segment grew 172.9% in 10 months between 2007 and 2008. Even the 55+ age group grew by 97% in the same time frame.

Not surprising. The site gives professionals a chance to catch up with colleagues, friends, and family without a tremendous investment of time… well, except for those Facebook addicts (you know who you are)!

What is Facebook’s new privacy policy, which will reportedly allow the popular social networking site to retain, and reuse, all user-generated content even after the account-holder cancels their account, doing to the brand?

At 11:16 p.m. there were well over 59,700 members of just one of the numerous protest groups forming on Facebook. By tomorrow morning, news outlets will likely lead with this story. (more…)

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Blackwater Iraqui Photo Blackwater Worldwide, known for the unfortunate 2007 Nisoor shootings which left tens of Iraquis dead, have embarked upon a re-branding effort to begin reputation repair. In shedding the old moniker for a new one, Xe (pronounced Zee), the hope is that the organization’s transgressions will be forgotten.

SynergyBlog can assure you, their transgressions will not be forgotten. However, if the organization truly has an interest in repairing its reputation, there are some steps that it can take to begin to repair the brand and rebuild trust.

First, it will take time. A lot of time. And it will require the stakeholders, including the Iraqi people, Americans whose reputations have also been tarnished by these acts, and the world community to be willing to forgive and willing to reconcile. (more…)

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James T. KearneySynergyBlog takes a moment of pride to introduce you to Rachel’s 102-year old grandfather, James Kearney.

Grandpa Kearney is definitely the light of his family’s life. As he raised his 18 children, the Arkansas sharecropper had very little money, but a whole lot of spirit! Even though his family faced numerous racial challenges and had few resources, he raised the family with love and honor to God. Values they will never forget.

All of Grandpa Kearney’s children, except one, has completed college (many at Ivy League schools, including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Vanderbilt). Several of them are attorneys.

Grandpa believed in God and education. He and Grandma Kearney believed that what’s in your soul and what’s in your mind would ultimately be the great equalizer in America. And they were right.

If you have a moment, please listen here: James T. Kearney on Tavis Smiley to dear Grandpa, as he celebrates the 100 Year Anniversary of the NAACP.

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bankingA fascinating headline in the AP tonight. The top bankers in the U.S. are now concentrating on rebuilding the public trust.

We are certainly going to be watching. In our opinion, there is nothing more important in this crisis than the public trust – and it has been violated with impunity.

The leaders of our financial institutions would be well-served to learn a valuable lesson. Stakeholder trust that you earn by leading with integrity, making sound business decisions, and exuding compassion and respect to valued stakeholders is far more important than short-term profits.

Lead. Thrive. Trust and be Trusted! (more…)

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Here is an interesting piece by Dr. Anthony DiBella about the need for trusted leadership. Enjoy. Thrive. Trust and be Trusted.

In their efforts to manage the ups and downs of the business cycle, economists often talk about the need for soft landings. During the past six months, what seemed like that has turned into a major crash that continues to spiral downward. When will the tunnel digging end? How do we create a financial phoenix and turn the nose of our economic flight upwards again?

It should be clear by now that the $750-billion bailout package passed by Congress last year was a case of don’t just stand there, do something. In a society that values action over reflection, there are major pressures on our politicians to act (fire first, aim later). Action is vital, but if not guided by rigorous and valid analysis, can cause more harm than good. The bailout money given to the financial sector was intended to free up credit. Instead, it’s been used primarily for private rather than social gain, and we are worse off now than before.

With Capitol Hill and Smith Hill planning more initiatives, we need to think clearly about underlying causes and tipping points. Many pundits claim they know what will get us moving again, to turn our economic ship, to grow rather than regress. Some say it will require an upturn in the housing market, others say employment. The Fed thought that lowering interest rates would do the trick, but rates now are as low as they will ever be unless the Fed wants to give us money for free. Conservatives and libertarians think the times call for tax cuts. (more…)

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strong-brand in weak economyLet’s get the bad news over with: To say that the U.S. economy is facing the most challenging economic time since the Great Depression is not an overstatement. Last week, employers shed almost 600,000 jobs. Today, 11.6 million Americans are out of work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate has officially risen to 7.6%.

“This is the largest 13-month job loss since the payroll employment series began in 1939,” Christina Romer, the head of President Obama’s White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in a statement on February 6, 2009. “These numbers, and the very real suffering of American workers they represent, reinforce the need for bold fiscal action. If we fail to act, we are likely to lose millions more jobs and the unemployment rate could reach double digits.”

So, what’s the good news, you say? Given these data, how do business, political, and nonprofit leaders reignite confidence in their ability to lead? How do they exemplify brand integrity, and any good will their organization may have? Is such a thing even possible, given current levels of consumer confidence and general economic malaise? (more…)

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