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As I sat in my MBA Global Branding class last night, I couldn’t help but laugh. As the professor went on and on about how brands need that “one word” which consumers will recall at the drop of a hat — I thought back to my time at Holland-Mark (HM). HM coined the term “One Simple Thing” (OST), which is that one attribute that most well defines the brand. For example, as my professor asked in class “what do you think of when you hear Coca Cola?” Everyone should be thinking of the same word (unfortunately for some brands this does not always occur). Supposedly the “OST” for Coca Cola is “happiness” — did you think of that? Coke would hope so! And so would their marketers!

As I sat there in my seat, I started to realize that the concepts the professor was teaching were processes and terms that I had become well acquainted with during my time at HM. And with the hands-on learning and experience, I learned way more than reading cases and discussing them in a classroom. Now, I am not knocking my MBA education — it is definitely valuable and am happy to be a candidate for 2011 spring graduation — but learning these concepts in a work setting where you are automatically putting them to use is not only rewarding but helps one (or at least me) recall and understand things way more.

It was pretty awesome to be sitting in class and feeling that I had a firm grasp and knowledge of the topic (at least so far — it’s only been a few weeks into the semester). And I owe this knowledge and understanding to the exceptionally bright and talented folks at HM — especially Mike Troiano who if you haven’t heard speak — you should!

Now I ask you — where did your best knowledge and understanding come from?


In my MBA Organizational Behavior course, we collected data on the use of social media in the workplace: If people use it, how often they use it, for what purpose, and if their workplace has policies for such use and how that impacts their views on that company.

Of the 45 people surveyed (in the 20 to 40 year old range):

– 100% have used social media

– 53% have access at work

– 42.5% use it for 10 to 30 minutes while 25% use it for over an hour while at work

– 64.5% for personal reasons, 35.5% just for a lunch break, while the rest use for actual work purposes such as managing and promoting the brand (Pie Chart of Results)

– 45% believe it boosts productivity versus 47% believe it reduces said productivity

In this survey group, it appeared those who did not have access were normally individuals working in a financial/investment firm where they are more likely to prohibit rather than limit/restrict use. The individuals which have social media policies at their workplace and limit (rather than prohibit) such usage, are understanding why such policies are in place because employees may abuse such use, there is a chance of liability, etc. However, some of these social media users feel there is a lack of trust from management when such limitations are placed upon their use. Where is the fine line between policies that prohibit and those that limit and still maintain employee trust and faith? Companies like IBM have a great policy which allows its employees to blog and use social media in order to inspire their innovation. Others are still trying to determine their policies, but just as any other tool in the workplace which can assist in profit, social media is another tool which can be used but management should provide training, lead by example, and trust employees to use these “tools” productively and with dutiful care.

I frequently wonder how people find the time to research and write daily blog posts on relevant topics. I write a weekly blog and this past week I have fallen behind, due to being an overzealous full-time MBA student and feeling like a massochist, for not only having 1, but 2 consulting gigs, a fellowship, and helping a school organization. When would I find the time to eat, sleep, exercise, and breathe, let alone blog? This week I do not have the slightest clue. So this is my applause to all those who write daily blogs that are interesting, relevant, and thought-provoking. I commend you, and I thank my friends/readers for suggestions on upcoming blogs for me to write. I promise, to catch up and write a kick-ass post, next week!

Stay tuned…