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Dec27

Food in Fashion

Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Save the DateSave Feb. 15, 2017, 6-8 p.m., for Food in Fashion, presented by the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association at 3015 at Trinity Groves in Dallas, TX.

Ten emerging fashion designers + ten restaurants = ten delicious fashions.

Appetizers will be prepared onsite (in a friendly little competition) by all nine Dallas ISD School Board members cooking with Dallas ISD high school culinary students.

Elettore, Neiman Marcus-Downtown Dallas, 3015 at Trinity Groves, Sysco, Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits, Freshpoint, Ben E. Keith Company, are pleased to be among the sponsors for this first-time event.

Proceeds benefit culinary career education in Texas schools. Tickets go on sale next month.

Nov19

There is a path

Posted on Saturday, November 19, 2016

 

After ten days of despondency, analysis, and introspection, I have concluded that there is no meaningful value in expressing feelings, leveraging logic, pointing to facts, or sharing verified news stories.

None.

Such acts only further embolden and enrage #TrumpsAmerica.

To continue giving this victorious crowd any energy is to fuel their flame.

However, we do not need to feel defeated, America. I see an opportunity.

There is path to a rational, smart, and hopeful future.

Follow along.

Sep14

Listen with both ears

Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2016

 

Yesterday, in a tense and political community meeting, I twice urged a table of volunteers “to listen with both ears.”

What the hell did that mean?

Typically, Elettore avoids buzz-phrases and jargon … and yet that expression came rolling out of my mouth with the Gravitas of Profound Meaning.

  • Did some childhood Sunday school time capsule in my brain suddenly release a Biblical snippet?
  • Had I read an online article which then embedded itself in my thoughts?
  • Was I trying to find a way to convey a concept of setting aside agendas in order to objectively gather facts?

The answers are: Yes, yes, and yes.

In at least one translation of the New Testament Book of Romans, there is a language to suggest that, in order for faith to grow, we must listen with both ears.

My father would be so proud to know that at least one time-released scriptural message had finally broken open in my brain.

Recently, in trying to assess why a Millennial client never asked questions about others, I dove into online articles on empathy (or the lack of it) as a communications characteristic.

That is when I discovered, Richard Salem, a mediator and former Midwest Director for the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service.

“Empathic listening,” Salem writes, “also called active listening or reflective listening, is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding.”

Professional mediators and therapists have written a great deal about tips and tools for empathetic listening. It is a topic worth Googling if you are trying to diagnose and manage intractability in any kind of group situation.

However, the greatest challenge to reflective listening today is mirrored in contemporary journalism.

A standard of news reporting was once “the balanced voice,” with journalists ferreting out both sides of a story. Today, journalism is more often agenda-driven, a kind of audience-driven entertainment, where writers insert themselves into the story.

As news consumers, we seek out the journalists who humor us — and the ideologies that reinforce our personal beliefs.

So, when we actively listen to others, what are we really hearing? An individual's own thoughts and feelings? Or the truths of others that have leeched into our intellectual topsoil?

Listening with two ears may just mean being able to be silent long enough to gather enough information to help us determine which is which.

Sep07

Sometimes it is simply about results

Posted on Wednesday, September 07, 2016

 

Yesterday, Elettore completed a client project that exceeded everyone's expectations.

We love when that happens.

In fact, we've created a niche for ourselves doing just that.

Our client was so pleased we were asked to name our own bonus. If only that happened all the time, too.

Elettore is a community relations company. We help you change people's minds.

We see online communications, face-to-face interactions, and public affairs as means to an end, not just selfie-worthy activities. We take risks because we know institutionalized fear is a liar. We also know it is not about us ... it is about what you need to accomplish.

We could go on about channel marketing, trans-silo onboarding, and synergistic solutions as our "wheelhouse" ... but we would rather just get the job done.

As we have done for these clients.

Elettore has no canned approach. Each new project deserves its own custom strategy using whatever tools it takes.

If you want to leap to a bigger fishbowl, sometimes it is simply about results.

Sep05

Make America Think Again

Posted on Monday, September 05, 2016

They'll look twice when you put this on. Trust us.

Elettore invites you to wear your feelings for America, not on your sleeve, but on your head.

Made in Cambodia (hey, we're honest) of lightweight, 100% brushed cotton twill, this six-panel structured cap has a low profile, sewn eyelets, and an adjustable back with a Velcro® closure.

Our Make America Think Again cap is currently available in red with a red/black/red sandwiched, pre-curved visor. Embroidered in America, Make America Think Again is stitched huuge in white across the front. Elettore is stitched over the right ear.

Our very, very best friends will be wearing them. Just $17.99 (+8.25% sales tax in Texas only) Free shipping.

We had to do this. Just had to.

GET YOURS

Jun17

Post-Orlando social media and social engagement

Posted on Friday, June 17, 2016

It would be hard to dispute that last weekend's shooting in Orlando has amplified the debate between those who want all assault weapons banned and those defending Second Amendment rights without exception.

Today — regardless of where you stand on this divisive issue — what catches our professional attention about this intense public and policymaker debate is the use of new technologies to rally supporters and nudge them to action.

There have been new websites, Facebook pages, and countless Twitter accounts born out of the heightened discourse.

There has been a proliferation of new online petitions — which we usually believe to be ineffective. It does not help that so many organizations have launched so many and that there is little historical track record for results from previous online petitions.

We have to admit that social media channels are on fire.

The National Rifle Association is relentless with Twitter posts, robocalls, Facebook posts, and emails ... less so with its Google+, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts (although its Nevada referendum Snapchat geofilters are smart). So far this week, the NRA's simple ‪#‎2A hashtag (for Second Amendment advocacy) has reached 7.5M timelines.

However, we have been most impressed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence's text-based initiative. Using other social media channels to promote the action. Supporters are encouraged to use their mobile phones to text DISARM HATE to 877-877.

But it does not stop there.

The supporter then receives a text back, stating the Brady Campaign's post-Orlando message. It also asks for the user's Zip code.

If you reply with your Zip code, the app responds with a message of what the user can tell their U.S. Senator. Then, and this part impressed us most, the reply text states that if you text back GO, the app will automatically connect you with one of your U.S. Senators' offices in our nation's capitol.

If the software determines your state's Senator is strongly opposed to gun control ... the app routes you to the Washington DC offices of another Senator who might be more on the bubble.

Impressive.

We'll have to wait to see if it is also effective.

Sep15

Companies: Stop thanking us for our patience

Posted on Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Over the past three days, an organization has said to me — not once, not twice, but FIVE times — "Thank you for your patience."

On the phone. In person. Even on a phone APP, for goodness sakes.

So, I am now officially rankled by what appears to be the latest "trendy" corporate catchphrase. But apparently, I am not alone in my exasperation. Today at my gym, an exerciser near me clicked off a call and spat out, "If one more company thanks me for my patience, I'm going to let them have it!"


That's a glaring neon sign that companies need to ditch the ditzy phrase, ASAP.

'But why?' you might wonder. 'Isn't it nice to thank people for being patient in a trying business situation?'

Not really. Here are three big reasons the line threatens to do more harm than good to your organization's reputation:

1. It's controlling.  When an organization thanks people for patience before they've actually demonstrated it, what they're actually doing is trying to control upfront how the customer responds to the situation. The same way our mothers-in-law try to control how we will respond to the fruitcake they're handing us by saying, "I really hope you like it. I only spent seven hours in the kitchen making it for you."

In either instance, if the situation goes south, it's your fault. In the first case, because you're not as patient as you should be (no matter how ridiculously bad the service you're getting actually is), and in the second case, because you are an insensitive jerk (no matter how nasty that fruitcake actually tasted).

2. It's inauthentic. Your customers are fuming. She is beginning to raise her voice. Or maybe he is tapping his foot and shooting laser darts with his eyes. And you THANK THEM FOR THEIR PATIENCE?!  Now, on top of having delivered bad service, you've just told your customers they can't believe a single thing you tell them. Because, you see, they aren't really being patient. They just haven't yet expressed their impatience. Get it?

3. It's rote. Customers want to believe they are dealing with human beings who are listening to them, not robots on auto-pilot. But, "Thank you for your patience" ranks right up there with, "I'm sorry for your loss" and, "I hope you feel better soon," in the knee-jerk-response-to-a-bad-situation department. All the good intentions that accompany the phrase vanish with a poof if the person on the other end is thinking, "You know,  you're only the 47th person to say that to me this week."

And these days, unfortunately, you very likely are.

So what SHOULD an organization say when the system is down, the payment is two weeks late, or the stained glass window is now laying in shattered shards all over the driveway?

Something fresh. Something authentic. Something that strives to honor the customer's honest reaction rather than control it. Like, "I'll bet you had higher expectations of us, but I promise we'll match those soon." Or perhaps, "We can understand your frustration, but we're working 90 miles an hour to get things back on track." A phrase that also works nicely is, "Here's a 10 percent discount for what you've just experienced."

Whatever you do, DON'T thank me, yet again, for my patience. Otherwise this time, I might REALLY lose it.

Sep02

Online petitions: Change? Really??

Posted on Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Everything we do online captures valuable data from which someone else will capitalize.

At Elettore, we've seen enough to be convinced: online petitions are more valuable as information harvesters than "change agents."

Few high-profile cases have attracted as much online support as the shootings of Treyvon Martin in 2012 and Michael Brown in 2014. In both instances, the numbers of people who "signed" petitions are cited in the press ... but how did that work out for you, America? How did those petitions change anything? Who received the petition information? The courts? The prosecuting attorneys? Local media?

A wise colleague observes that these are the hallmark of a disengaged electorate. You have probably heard this passive (and often anonymous) keyboard activism referred to as "slacktivism."

Online petitions provide an opportunity for us to share on social media how we feel. They give us a sense of community by recruiting others to join us. They are like lists of supporters on political campaign websites. They give us a chance to pronounce our affiliation with a tribe. Self-selecting "cool kids," if you will.

But result in change?

No, that's not what online petitions are about. They are reactions rather than pro-actions. They add to entrenched, divisive yammer rather than result in any positive outcome. Simply put, in spite of America's culture of self-importance, online petitions do not have the weight of the Constitutional Congress. They are about feeling good about ourselves.

Not a bad thing.

It's just that they're also about providing valuable information to some nebulous – and hopefully benign – data-harvesting operation in the cloud.

Change requires vision, real courage, clear communication, good old-fashioned shoe leather, and healthy doses of strategy all carried out effectively. We can help you with that.

Aug18

Support economic development through cultural investment

Posted on Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Elettore believes that neighborhood economic transformation is about more than just financial diversification. Overlooked communities also need cultural, recreational, and technological investments to show they are diverse and vibrant places of the future.

That is why, on Oct. 24, 2015, we are proud to be a sponsor of Art Walk West, the first known "artist studio and art gallery crawl" to take place in West Dallas.

Many times artists, restaurants, "mom and pop" businesses, and cultural organizations are the "first to go in" when a community transforms. We support this gradual and organic model wholeheartedly.

If you are in the greater Dallas area, we hope you will plan to be a part of this day. We'll post more details on our Facebook page as they become available.  

Also on Oct. 24, nearby in the Trinity River park basin at the West Commerce Bridge, will be the Trinity River Wind Festival.

Make a day of it in West Dallas.

Aug15

Go ahead. Do a Google News search on 'outrage' ...

Posted on Saturday, August 15, 2015

...or, here, let me save you time: 5,430,000 returns.

  • "Apparent 'pay to cite' offer sparks internet outrage"
  • "How Pretty Little Liars managed to outrage..."
  • "Hillary gets her outrage on"
  • "Euthanization of mother grizzly at Yellowstone prompts outrage"
  • "Murder case sparks national outrage over immigration"
  • And so on...

We love to be outraged.

In a recent opinion piece in The Dallas Morning NewsRalph Strangis writes that the news media also loves "outrage."

"The more divisive a story, the better for business," he writes.

The News' editorial board member Mike Drago attributes it all to the "culture of outrage." 

All I know is that four journalists in the last four months have told me that their bosses now look at "click counts." Meaning, their job performance is based on how many times people are triggered by an image, headline, and meta paragraph on social media to click through to the full story posted online. So, the more you incite, the higher your "click count," the better quarterly performance review journalists receive.

A television executive told me the topic was "boring." Of course he would. I imagine that clicks mean even more in television where journalism was long ago tossed out the studio window.

But when:

  • a journalist at mainstream newspaper tells me that he and his colleagues are measured by clicks. They are also encouraged to post to social media video and images that they take in addition to cranking out stories.
  • a columnist at a salacious tabloid tells me he does not always believe what he's writing. His goal is just to stir things up so he can get "get eyes on the page" (so the paper can make payrol and a profit by selling more ads) (to beer distributors, nightclubs, and sexually oriented businesses, I might add).

That is when I know journalism is dead. It's all about stirring up a response.

A sports publication buddy in Chicago tells me it's always been this way. Maybe. But social media enables outrage an it has only become a player in the last decade. There is a reason it's nicknamed "Hatebook."

And that is where community relations comes into play.

Social media easily allows us to form Tribes of Outrage.

Pissed off about how beer openers are called "church keys?" There's probably an online group for you somewhere. Hate toll roads? Use hashtag #trollroads. Convinced that the U.S. Confederate flag is a cultural symbol? Well, we all know how that turns out.

With as much time and patience Elettore has invested in social media -- and as often as we use it for our clients -- even we get tired of the yammer clans. My colleague Jeff Herrington says that social media exaggerates the opinions held by a vast minority. In a city of 1.3 million, those 50 people you know online can really sound like an army. Even when they are the same 50 people over and over again. Especially when 1,200 RSVP for a Facebook event to activate the community and 50 show up. The same 50.

It make me wonder if the much-referenced social media victory of "Arab Spring" was actually inspired by social media or was it just simultaneous activity going on while the real business of political change was underway. Change that doesn't seem to have had much staying power, by the way. And what the hell ever became of the Occupy movement? It's so 2011.

Doing some background work on influencers, this morning we stumbled into one neighborhood nest of vipers. The theme of their discussion board seems to be complaining about the lack of services and support they were getting from their municipality. Yet, with the same discussion threads, they were trashing the city's elected and professional leaders.

So let me see if I understand this correctly. You slap your boyfriend around and then wonder why he doesn't bring you roses?

At least they have found their tribe. And they have opportunities to believe their small minority is triggering an Arab Spring by posting anonymous blog comments on tabloids that are supported by ads sold to gentlemen's clubs.

Outrage, indeed.