Scab Referees: Training verses Perception

After a preseason of worrying and a handful of bad calls in the first three weeks of the regular season, the referee strike appears to be in the rear view mirror.  ESPN reports the refs will be back on the field starting tonight!

It was odd that during the beginning of the NFL season people talking more about replacement referees then they were their favorite player or team.

The scab refs created enough attention to cause the public to wonder if this season will earn the notorious asterisk (*) in the record books.  Even Republican and Democratic politicians agreed that enough was enough.  Well people can stop worrying about the asterisk and politicians can go back to bickering with one another.

Businesses can learn a few lessons from this P.R. debacle; with the first lesson being solve any employee strikes ASAP.  Other lessons revolve around training and perception.

  • Training: The bad calls these replacement referees were making can be traced back to education and training.  When you hear a ref call a false start on the defense instead of calling the penalty an encroachment, it boils down to training.  Businesses can avoid simple, yet embarrassing miscues like this by incorporating a strong 90-day on-boarding process for new hires.  In this type of situation, a more intense on-boarding process may have alleviated any unneeded stress on the replacement refs and the NFL.
  • Perception: Was this all an issue of public opinion?  After all, people have been complaining about referees since the creation of professional sports.  If the NFL would have gotten ahead of this story by humanizing these replacement refs and highlighting their experience/background, there may have been less emphasis on the “silly” calls (i.e. 11 yard penalty).  Building a strong Public Relations campaign focused on the new refs could have helped the NFL in the short-term and eased the tension fans already had about the scab refs.  With a P.R. Budget already in place, all the NFL would have had to do was shift some of the funds for another P.R. campaign to a “Ref P.R.” campaign and not overspent their budget.

Regardless if it was an issue of training or perception, one thing is for sure, the old refs are back!  Fans can now go back to rooting on their favorite teams knowing that the questionable penalties being called are now from the same old regular referees and not some unknown replacement referee.

Oh yeah…Go Titans!

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Klout: +K for Dale Carnegie

While finishing up Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, one thing is for sure: if Carnegie was alive and well in this era, he would be a the klout addict.  Throughout How to Win Friends and Influence People, Carnegie constantly reminds the reader to compliment people as often as possible.

  • Carnegie references famous, successful people stating they were able to become successful due to praising those around them
  • Real life examples from not so famous individuals are given from a diverse group of individuals that show a connection between true success and true compliments

Carnegie proves that giving true praise to people in a public forum not only helps the person who is being complemented, but the person who is giving the complement.

For those who use klout, that should sound familiar.  For those unfamiliar with klout (www.klout.com),  it is a website dedicated to measuring social media performance.  When a person logs into klout, they are able to award other people and/or companies a score (a.k.a. +k) in a certain topic.  The topic can be chosen from a list or the topic can be added by the person giving the +k.  The site links directly to facebook and twitter, so people can

Here is a real life example.  Recently, my wife Jenn and I decided to start training our dog, Audrey so that she would stop her unnecessary barking.  After performing a high level of research, Jenn purchased a bark collar produced by PetSafe.  The Elite Little Dog Bark Control was an excellent choice and we couldn’t be happier with the results.  Because of this success, I went to klout and gave PetSafe (@PetSafe) a +k in training.

Now will this cause PetSafe to make millions of dollars?  No, but it was an easy way for me to show my appreciation to an organization that helped our family.

If you are a fan of Dale Carnegie and haven’t tried klout, give it a whirl.  You may end up enjoying the experience.

BBQ’d: Seasonal Marketing

Fired UpI love cooking outside.  Whether it be grilling burgers, smoking pork, supporting a low-country boil, or deep-frying a turkey, nothing beats a good ol’ BBQ.

With summer ending, and fall beginning, the frequency of cooking outside will certainly intensify.  Cooler weather, tailgating, and camping are just three reasons I’ll be behind the grill cook up some good food.

This idea of limited time left to accomplish something reminds me of lessons in seasonal marketing.  You know what I’m talking about:

  • Advertising shorts in spring & summer; and advertising sweaters in the fall & winter
  • Flu shot reminders at the beginning of fall

Though seasonal marketing is short-term in advertising, the strategy is much longer.  Consider the banking sector; most banks advertise home loans and mortgages during the summer, because this is the peak of the year when families decide to buy a new home and move.  On the outside, it looks like banks bump up their advertising and hope that people will act on the advertising; however more is done behind the scenes to make sure it is a success.  Some examples include:

  • Multilayered advertising including: Web, TV and print
  • Referral process that rewards customers and/or staff
  • Direct marketing campaign using traditional and email tools
  • Staff education and training

The majority of people will think of the first three as a typical marketing plan, but many do not consider education and training as a level of marketing.  Think about it, a company pumps money into an advertising campaign for a product, and the staff has no idea how to sale or service the product.

It’s the equivalent of someone who has always used a gas grill and suddenly has to use a charcoal grill.  They have never had to get charcoal started, so how can they cook?

Unfortunately most of us have experienced this before (the poor sale and service experience, not the poor grill example).  We have all been in a store and felt the person who was helping us knew less about the product than we do.  This is why staff education and training must be implemented before any advertising is started.  If not, then your campaign will go up in smoke and your customers will be left feeling burnt.

Enough grilling analogies.  Let’s cook!

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