Digital Strategy Archive

Alex Mercer joins Delightful Communications as Global Strategy Director

Positive momentum has been building since our acquisition of Delightful Communications back in February.

Drew and I have been “delighted” by how well the transition has been going working with Mel Carson and Ashley Seffernick on our plan to integrate some parts of the Prime 8 Consulting and Delightful businesses and work together to ensure the very best results and experience for our clients and our people.

Today, we are thrilled to announce that Alex Mercer will be joining Delightful as Global Strategy Director.

Alex has a rich history of success in marketing and communications. More than a decade ago she managed some of Microsoft’s communications portfolios in global PR, public sector, and citizenship and also spent time at Gates Ventures, working on the Giving Pledge initiative.

Back in New Zealand, she launched an investment organization focused on funding women founders of start-ups and, more recently, global marketing and communications roles at Xero and Datacom, where she will continue to support their brand strategy.

Harnessing her global experience coupled with a superpower for building excellent teams and utilizing the latest technologies and trends, we have asked Alex to work with Mel, Drew, and myself to build a global plan that takes the successful Delightful Communications blueprint and scales it up and out to the world.

As the months have passed since we acquired Delightful, we have seen steady growth both in terms of client asks across our Integrated Marketing, Executive Communications, and Creative Studios service areas, and hiring new team members to join the company and reap the rewards of learning and growing in a business at the cutting edge of marketing and communications.

As I said back in February, our goal is to grow Delightful’s marketing and communications services so more brands and leaders across industries can benefit from their creativity, tenacity, and realize even greater results.

In a fast-moving business environment dominated by AI and a need for greater efficiency AND creativity, Alex’s appointment is just the catalyst our business needs to help take Delightful through to the next (global) stage and help us realize that goal.

Please join us in welcoming Alex to Delightful Communications.

– Nicolette Sharp / Owner at Delightful Communications / CEO at Prime 8 Consulting

Delightful metaverse strategies for executives and thought leaders

Executive using VR goggles.

Metaverse—the biggest opportunity for modern business since the creation of the internet or a cartoony wasteland? Technology to transform the enterprise or just avatars with no legs? There are vocal proponents and naysayers. But a steady stream of data shows it’s real, it’s here, and effective thought leadership can be an influential force for business.

Read more: Delightful metaverse strategies for executives and thought leaders

What is the value of being there?

According to a report from the World Economic Forum, 71% of executives say the metaverse will be good for business and 42% see it as transformational. There are big tech players like Meta, Microsoft, Google, and Intel. But corporations like Disney, Macdonald’s, Warner Brothers, and Walmart are also pursuing metaverse technology patents. Consulting partners like Accenture aggressively guide global clients through metaverse strategies. And, according to McKinsey, consumers picture themselves in the next five years shopping, seeing their doctor, attending a live event, and even going on dates. Corporate marketing is all over the messaging and branding at the enterprise level.

We think you should consider the possibilities of executive thought leadership in the metaverse. B2B decision-makers look to executives as influential resources for the latest thinking in an industry (71%) and future trends (68%). Executive thought leadership presence improves brand perception (93%) and directly increases revenue (91%). The metaverse presents a tantalizing opportunity to build and expand a leadership brand. However, before you dive in, we should take a more pragmatic look beyond the hype and mythology.

Where is “there”?

There are two distinct metaverse models: consumer and enterprise. The consumer metaverse is the digital place where people—as digital avatars—shop, trade, travel, and interact with one another. It’s a fully immersive VR-driven experience. For example, in the Decentraland Marketplace, visitors can buy and sell land. High-end fashion lovers go to the Gucci Vault to dress their avatars. Macdonald’s is working on a virtual storefront with home food delivery.

The enterprise metaverse embraces technology and the power of the cloud to deliver enhanced consumer experiences, flexible and traceable supply chains, data-driven business decisions, and the full promise of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Think manufacturing and medicine.

Do you have to choose one or the other?

It’s an interesting question. The answer is, “It depends.” What’s the industry? What’s the corporate strategy? Are you well-versed in the power of digital twins to harden global supply chains? More comfortable discussing the impact of nested NFTS? Or do you sit at the intersection of AI, machine learning, and ethics? Who follows you now and who do you want to reach in the future? What are your goals?

It’s an intriguing challenge.

Is it worth the risk?

The European Commission’s foreign aid department threw a party in their $470,000 metaverse…and nobody came. Well, five people showed up. When the New York Times publishes articles like My sad, lonely, and expensive adventure in Zuckerberg’s V.R. or well-funded research into working in the metaverse prompts headlines like “New Study Shows Working in The Metaverse Sucks,” you know the naysayers are jumping on a bandwagon. Is the metaverse a major disrupter or a hypothetical fad?

The benefits continue to be debatable

Public perception and research raise troubling questions about the impacts of life in the metaverse. What happens to privacy when increasingly more data is collected? Can we ensure equal access to connectivity and hardware? How do kids identify “stranger danger” in a virtual world? What constitutes a crime in the metaverse? When violence, racism, and misogyny become pervasive visuals, what happens? Is it the ultimate platform for misinformation?

What’s your strategy?

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu

Effective thought leadership in the metaverse requires a strategy. Done well, it shows you are a trusted advisor and are on top of current and future trends. It demonstrates you are someone who has something to say. You are the person people turn to when they want to explore relevant trends, learn more about a topic, and hear about companies who have successfully made a jump into a new space. Without a strategy, thought leadership shuffles along with random stops along the way. What’s the point of following someone who doesn’t really know where they are going?

We think the opportunities for relevant and influential thought leaders in the metaverse are there. However, it is increasingly clear it requires a well-thought-through strategy and plan of action.

When and where to jump in

Executives with an online presence can immediately start sharing perspectives on how the #metaverse shapes their industry. Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is a hotbed of technology topics and announcements around immersive technology and 5G. Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in June promises to be a hub for ideas with the first Metaverse Lion award for immersive experiences that push the boundaries of technology. There is a gold mine of significant and current content to share with followers.

Ready for a bigger step? Develop your avatar. Mesh avatars for Microsoft Teams (currently in preview) make avatars a common and accepted presence in business meetings. New employees at companies like Accenture now send their avatars to onboarding sessions. Want to boost your presence and credibility? Send your avatar to speaking engagements and industry conferences.

Note that we said “develop” your avatar. As the digital embodiment of how executives present themselves, creating an avatar within corporate branding guidelines may be a balancing act.

Start with a strong foundation

Your online presence and thought leadership strategy start with a clear personal brand—your leadership brand. Delightful Communications have been helping executives hone their brands with our executive communications services for over 10 years. We help develop an authentic voice with clear messaging pillars based on your vision, missions, and goals. 

We do a thorough analysis and identify gaps. Our specialists lay out a clear strategic and tactical plan that prioritizes moments and platforms for connecting with your online community.​ It’s a marriage of art and science, because as Winston Churchill said, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

Let’s talk about how we can help you reach your full potential as a thought leader

– Mel Carson, CEO and Founder, and Bettijean Collins, Senior Content Specialist

How executives drive business value through social media  

Taxes. Jury duty. Changing the batteries in the smoke alarm. All things you have to do. Does developing and keeping a social media presence fall in the same bucket for you? Or, it’s just “not your thing?” 

Read more: How executives drive business value through social media  

Yes, it requires time. Yes, it takes brain space. But there is quantifiable value—both personal and professional—for executives who commit to a well-developed and executed social platform strategy. 

Your presence matters—a lot 

The days of thinking your social media activity doesn’t directly impact your business are long gone. Research shows that thinking went out with the flip phone. A 2022 Harris Poll reports your social presence improves relationships with clients and prospects (93%), improves brand perception (93%), and directly increases revenue (91%).  

Woman leading in team meeting.

The 2021 Edelman and LinkedIn thought leadership study points out that B2B decision-makers look to you as an influential resource for the latest thinking in your industry (71%) and future trends (68%). Your posts give you credibility that you understand their business challenges (63%).  

Still not convinced? Let’s look at the fierce competition for talent. A 2022 Brunswick report found, by a four-to-one ratio, employees prefer to work for a CEO who uses social media compared to one who does not. Nine out of ten employees say having a leader who communicates directly and transparently via social media is a factor for staying with an employer. As a research tool, 82% of potential employees use social media to scrutinize a CEO as part of their company research. 

Wielding your personal brand 

Your online presence starts with a clear personal brand—or as we like to say, your leadership brand. Your brand is more than your resume. It encapsulates your purpose, your aspirations, your deeply held leadership values. It looks at the ideas that get you up every morning and why you bring your best self to work. It establishes your credibility and amplifies your leadership impact. It makes you relatable–approachable. 

Done well, it shows you are a trusted advisor and are on top of current and future trends. It demonstrates you are someone who has something to say. 

How do you break through the noise? 

Unfortunately, there are a lot of executives who have something to say. A hefty number of respondents in the Edelman/LinkedIn study (71%) said that less than 50% of the thought leadership they consume gives them valuable insights. Harris poll respondents were a bit more pointed in their assessment of the noise: 78% of respondents agree that organizations check the box on thought leadership but DO NOT push the envelope on thought leadership.  

Ouch. Just showing up is not enough. 

Your online presence is a business strategy so put together the best team to help you push the envelope. Delightful Communications have been helping executives hone their brands with our executive communications services for over 10 years. We help develop an authentic voice with clear messaging pillars based on your vision, missions, and goals.  

We do a thorough analysis and identify gaps. We lay out a clear strategic and tactical plan that prioritizes moments and platforms for connecting with your online community.​ We look for synergies with other executives that allow for greater amplification of voice and leadership. 

Measuring effectiveness 

Science needs to validate the art of creating an effective brand. Are you increasing followers? What topics generate comments? Short posts, long-form content, videos, personal stories, technology solutions, acknowledging colleagues’ milestones? What engages your network? The data is there to show what’s working and what’s not.​  

It’s quantifiable and actionable. 

Sophisticated—some say demented—algorithms surface or sink social posts. Our strategists understand the algorithms. We continually monitor trends which in turn inform tactics. This goes deeper than determining the best time to post and the optimum number of hashtags. It’s about knowing how to make your voice stand out when every other executive in the organization is sharing the same corporate earnings report. It’s about understanding the power of employees amplifying your messages and going a step further by providing appropriate ways to post. It’s about knowing what to do if an executive goes off script and the impact (and amplification) isn’t what they expected.        

Learn more about partnering with us 

We can’t help you with your taxes or change the batteries in your smoke alarm. However, we can partner with you to shape and amplify your leadership brand. There is a huge opportunity to create content that pushes the envelope. Let’s talk about how we can help you reach your full potential as a thought leader.  

You can keep up on the latest news by  joining us on LinkedIn

Mel Carson, CEO and Founder, and Bettijean Collins, Content Specialist

Delightful Wins Microsoft Supplier Award for Trailblazing Innovation and Creativity

Just a quick note sharing a photo of the BEAUTIFUL award our team won at the Microsoft Supplier Prestige Awards Ceremony in the Trailblazer: Innovation and Creativity category.

We were thrilled to be shortlisted for our work across Microsoft helping various teams and priorities be more discoverable, shareable, and memorable through the influencer marketing and creator programs we have established over the years.

Microsoft recognized us (40 employees) and PWC (300K employees) as joint winners for the prize about which they said:

This award recognizes thought leaders who are driving next-generation concepts through discovery, Big Ideas, and innovative solutions – those who lead others to think deeper, push further, and embrace disruption. 

The Microsoft events team did an awesome job on the virtual ceremony and we especially loved the suspense Mitra Azizirad created when handing out the award to TWO recipients.

Huge kudos to the cast of many Delightful employees who worked on the programs over the past year, and looking forward to doing more of the same in Microsoft’s next fiscal year FY23!

Onwards and upwards!

Mel Carson – Founder and CEO at Delightful Communications

Marketing Metrics that Matter: How to Plan, Measure, and Interpret Campaign Impact

What’s a story without an outcome? What if Cinderella ended when she ran out at the stroke of midnight? Or Jack never climbed the beanstalk?

In today’s world of thought leadership and storytelling—where we focus on landing impactful narratives and building consistent brands—we are telling an incomplete story for our business if we don’t tie it to purposeful marketing metrics.

Yes, it’s amazing if we create and deliver a truly impactful brand campaign with a story that moves people to act. But if we can’t show this effort impacted the business in a meaningful way: did it even happen?

And how will you get leadership buy-in and budget for the next big idea if you’re unable to demonstrate business value now?

4 takeaways for successful global marketing campaigns

“Celebrate Uniqueness” is one of our Delightful principles. With a company culture that encourages inclusivity and diversity, I get the privilege of working with amazing colleagues and clients from different cultures to develop and execute global marketing campaigns.

As someone who grew up in China and now works in the U.S., I’ve been able to see how globalization is bringing different people together to find common ground, but also to realize how huge the difference can be from culture to culture, which is even more prominent in the marketing world.

In this article, I wanted to share with you my biggest takeaways regarding how to develop and keep a global mindset that will help you do cross-cultural and global marketing right.

5 Personal Branding Resolutions for the New Year (Or Anytime Really)

5 Personal Branding Resolutions for the New Year

New years can be a great time to check in with your personal branding efforts. New Year’s Resolutions can be polarizing. Some people swear by them, other’s hate them, others could care less. So, if you love new years resolutions, here are some tips to check in with your branding efforts. But if you hate new years resolutions, it’s still a great time to check in. Plus, these tips can really be applied at any time of the year. So, let’s get into it, shall we?

Social Media Trends To Watch For in 2019 with SEMrush

Last week, I had the chance to speak during a SEMrush webinar all about the social media trends to watch for in 2019. I joined the ranks of a superb group of experts, Ashley Ward, Akvile DeFazio, and Gavin Bell.

As 2018 ramps down, it’s important to begin to look toward the new year and prepare for what’s to come. The social media landscape is constantly evolving, and it’s important to stay on top of trends and prepare for what’s to come. 

Banned Ads: Restricted Ad Types for Search and Social Media

We all know paid advertising is an effective and efficient way to reach our online audiences. A lesser-known fact is that digital advertising is not available to everyone. Some types of advertising are banned based on government ad regulations, and other ads are banned on specific platforms. Here are some of the latest changes in online advertising.

Brands Gone Wild – Consumer Brands Using Humor to Crack Up Customers

Consumer brands are livening up their social strategy by taking the humor up a notch. While this isn’t a new tactic by any means, some brands have started using social media to find their inner stand-up comics.

Brands like Taco Bell and Domino’s have been garnering attention for their sassy presence in the past 5 years or so. The level of humor used has been steadily increasing with various brands implementing the tactics highlighted below in a variety of ways. From all-out sass to casual jokes, there are certainly different levels of risk involved as well. But there are also benefits with some efforts even garnering media attention, like last year when Wendy’s capitalized on a social copy error on the McDonald’s Twitter handle.

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