Check out this free summary of the book, Beyond Buzz: The Next Generation of Word of Mouth Marketing. It’s intriguing.Author Lois Kelly says “buzz marketing” misses the point. What you should be focused on is not creating “buzz” but rather engaging in interesting conversations with your audience. Why?Because people increasingly don’t trust sales and marketing. They are bombarded with information. They want to be heard and have a say.So how do you do have a conversation instead of a marketing message? Listen and make people feel heard. Get beyond typical messages and value propositions and focus on interesting topics of conversation. When people respond, respond back. Make fewer brochures and have more two-way communications. Hire people who like to have those conversations.I fully endorse these ideas. When I have taken the time to ask people their opinions, listened, responded, and continued the conversation, great things happened.Want a good example? Check out Lois’s blog post on Nike’s ad after the Imus debacle.Here is the conversation Nike started in an ad:“Thank you, ignorance.Thank you for starting the conversation.Thank you for making an entire nation listen to the Rutgers’ team story. And for making us wonder what other great stories we’ve missed.Thank you for reminding us to think before we speak.Thank you for showing us how strong and poised 18 and 20-year-old women can be.Thank you for reminding us that another basketball tournament goes on in March.Thank you for showing us that sport includes more than the time spent on the court.Thank you for unintentionally moving women’s sport forward.And thank you for making all of us realize that we still have a long way to go.Next season starts 11.16.07.”I’m ready to go buy Nikes.The conversation approach has worked amazingly well for Six Degrees.Have you had success in conversations or two-way communication with your audiences? I will send my Robin Hood book and post the story of the first two people who respond to this question here on the blog. Please respond, we need to learn from you.
The view of the Children’s Home near Kwethluk, as seen from the river earlier this summer.A multimedia show on the Moravian Children’s Home near Kwethluk is on display at Bethel’s Cultural Center. The show profiles the demise of the orphanage which was home to many of the regions Native children after epidemics of the early and mid- 20th century and captures oral histories of the people who remember growing up there.Download AudioThe show profiles the demise of the orphanage which was home to many of the regions Native children after epidemics of the early and mid- 20th century and captures oral histories of the people who remember growing up there. Leaving Bethel and heading up the Kuskokwim River, we turn into the Kwethluk River and go several past Kwethluk. We pull up to the muddy curving bank below the falling down buildings with peeling paint and broken windows surrounded by chartreuse tundra bursting into summer.The abandoned Moravian Children’s Home campus has become somewhat of an attraction, with local tour boats and occasional berry pickers stopping by. Dorms, classrooms and a church, served as a home for many of the regions orphaned children between 1926 and 1973. Founded by Moravian missionaries, the home provided care and education to children, most of whom were Alaska Native. Diane Chaney Coffman is one of them. She was here in the 50s.“I was here twice. The first time my dad was in the National Guard and he got stationed in Texas so they put us here. And then later my mom had TB so they put her in Anchorage in the TB ward. And so my brother and I were here then,” said Coffman.It’s a story that is all to familiar in the Y-K Delta, children separated from parents because of difficult circumstances, often related to epidemics that swept through the region for years after contact, even into the 1950s.After the 30 minute boat ride, Coffman steps into one of the old buildings where she spent those early years. She notices things have changed.“Wow a pool table,” said Coffman.Apparently visitors set up a makeshift game room in the abandoned building.“So we’ve just entered … There’s a lot of broken glass on the floor,” said Eaton.Clyde Pavil was at the home in the mid-50s when he was 11. He was born in Kongigigok and raised at Clark’s Point in Bristol Bay. His single mother drowned during fishing season he says and that’s how he ended up at Children’s home. He says he got into trouble a lot, which meant spending time at the woodpile.“Being on the woodpile all the time. Haha. Do something wrong and you get to chop extra blocks of wood. Did you chop a lot of wood? Yeah. That’s why we were good on the baseball field, softball field. Hit a lot of homers,” Pavil.He spent two years there. He eventually went to live with his sister in Bethel where he went to high school and became an airplane mechanic. He also remembers being quarantined with the measles in a room on second floor of the boys dorm. It was lonely and scary.Katie Basile, a photographer who grew up in Bethel says she always wanted to know more about the mysterious place she’d grown up visiting.“It’s kind of a remarkable place. It’s out literally in the middle of nowhere your know you’re driving down the river in your boat and all of the sudden these buildings just rise out from the Alders and it’s very mysterious. And I can remember going there as a kid – I think we camped out there a few times and there was just always something so intriguing and haunting about it,” said Basile.And Basile’s photographs of the Home do capture that haunting feeling. Everyday things out of place, some destroyed by the elements – others remarkably in tact. A vintage vacuum cleaner photographed in different places around the home now sits outside in a puddle … books on speaking good English and citizenship rest inside a window without mold or dust.Before we take off Jeff ‘Buffy’ Pavil, Clyde’s son, says he thinks more people should know about the Children’s Home. Hopefully, he says, Basile’s projects brings light to a painful but important chapter of history that’s nearly losts.“I would say, know where your heritage came from, that who lived up here – listen to what kind of stories they had to say,” said Pavil.Photographs of the Children’s Home, portraits of former residents and recordings of their oral histories will be on display at the Bethel Cultural Center through the end of August.Notes: The show will be on display at the Alaska Humanities Forum in Anchorage, which funded the project, in the new year. Katie Basile’s multimedia project on the Children’s Home also exists online at www.nunapitsinghak.com. Nunapitsinghak is the Yup’ik name for the land that the Moravian Children’s Home was built on, it means great little land.