Six brilliant things social businesses and brands do


Image: an excerpt from Strories, Numbers & Conversations. 

So, this week my company, Brilliant Noise, published its first paper: Stories, Numbers & Conversations: Nokia’s principles for social media.

It may sound strange to say about a strategy paper, but it was a labour of love, and Endless Studios did a great job on making it look beautiful too.

During our work with Nokia, we had the opportunity to revisit some of our favourite case studies of businesses that were using social media, as well as taking a look at some new ones.

Can’t wait to get to the office


Image: M’learned colleague, Dr Ryan is responsible for his energy

Partly because I’ve finally got around to reading Tony Hsieh of Zappos’ Delivering Happiness*, I’ve been thinking a lot about culture at the moment.

The other big reason for thinking about culture is, of course, that the start-up I’m a co-founder of, Brilliant Noise, is growing and soon its culture will begin to evolve, or emerge, if you will.

You can’t design a culture – that would be weird. You have to cultivate it, I realise. Like lots of activities where emergence is important, you end up drawing on analogies about gardening.

We’re clear about the values that are important to us, we’re clear about the shape and texture of the culture that will emerge. The effort goes into making sure the conditions are right, the seeds are planted, the… well, you get the horticultural gist of it. 

Brilliant Noise post: Audience development

As I’m sometimes blogging over at Brilliant Noise sometimes, I’ll be posting excerpts and links to the posts here. Apologies for any extra clicking, but Google hates it when you post in two places at once…


Audience development: valuable lessons for brands

This post is a reflection on two articles I suggest reading together – one a model for audience development, the other evidence of an innovative media owner putting this approach into practice.

The first, is a post by Ben Elowitz, CEO of a company called Wetpaint, which calls on brand and media owners to Forget About ‘Content Management’ – And Focus on ‘Audience Development’.


Read more at:

A couple of Brilliant (Noise) posts…

Blogging seems to be the order of the day for me at the moment – which, as ever, I’m delighted about – and some of the action is happening over at Brilliant Noise blog.

If you’re not following that feed, you may be interested in these two posts from this week – I enjoyed writing them both…

  • IBM on the Social CEO: A fillet of the IBM Global CEO Study published this week, with a side order of commentary…
  • Advanced Persistent Opportunities: The slides and the gist of a talk I gave in Dublin recently. In a bit of cyber-security terminology I find parallels with how brands should developing systems and ways of working in digital…

: : In other blog/work flow related news, I’m playing with Tumblr for a personal scrapbook. Posterous seems set for decline after the acqui-hire (bought for the people more than the tech) by Twitter. I’ll post a link if it looks like its going to stick…

: : Also, taking a cue from Alan Patrick’s comments about personal data-hungry Google and Facebook, I’ve ditched Chrome as my browser and run back to my old love, Firefox. Loving how much you can customise it – Diigo, especially, seems to have a good Add-On, which suits me very well, that service being so key to may day-to-day reading and knowledge-processing since Delicious faded…

Blogged elsewhere



Image: The Rosetta Stone replica at the British Museum

The good news is… I’m blogging more. This is, I appreciate, mostly good news for me – as I’ve often noted, blogging works really well as a way of thinking and exploring ideas for me.

However, slightly confusingly, I am blogging a fair bit over at my digital strategy and earned media agency, Brilliant Noise.

I’ve not quite worked out which blog posts go where. Part of me thinks the more contentious ones should live here, but then I went and published a state-of-my-brain rant over at Brilliant Noise, and maybe that’s no bad thing.

This blog remains my public notebook, but I will post links to new posts here, but not re-posts as I’m reliably told this is frowned on by the Google.

Anyway, if you’re interested, here are my two most recent efforts:

  • Earned Media Marketers Unite! – In which I talk about earned media and the need for leadership and integration rather than competition between PR/SEO/social/content/UX.
  • Language, insight and luxury – Taking a look at some ideas from networks-focused research firm scenarioDNA about luxury brands and the need for brand taxonomies to use more appropriate and effective language in communications.

Brilliant Noise brand work, by Endless

Over the summer the amazing design team at Endless have been working on developing a new brand look and feel for Brilliant Noise.

Over the past year, I’ve muddled by with just a wonderful font, but with things beginning to grow at Brilliant Noise, I thought it was time to get a proper brand in place.

Colin and Ben left the main logotype much as it was, apart from doing some designer-ly tidying and cleaning up. They then developed a series of abstract-like shapes from the gaps between the letters of the name. Like this…