Tag Archives: branding

Intellectual property: the Open-Source debate & making your work public

A few weeks ago, the other section had the pleasure of video-chatting with Liz Henry, who knows about both the technological and written field and is currently a web producer for BlogHer. (Visit her  blog).  The chat, although on time restraint, was educational and Ms. Henry is certainly someone excited and invested in her career. She had a lot to say regarding both the idea of open source code as well as advice regarding breaking into one’s field of interest.

The open source debate is one that, as Liz Henry explained, has been going on for a while. “Open source is a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process. The promise of open source is better quality, higher reliability, more flexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in.” An article in Wired published in 2004 discusses Sun Microsystem’s internal debate about open-sourcing the code for Java. At the JavaOne conference, Rob Gingell, chairman of the Java Community Process stated, “If open source is the answer, then please tell me the problem.”

While criticized, there is a fair amount of people in support of the overall idea. Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a California public benefit corporation that “is actively involved in Open Source community-building, education, and public advocacy to promote awareness and the importance of non-proprietary software.” One of their important activities is to act “as a standards body, maintaining the Open Source Definition for the good of the community. The Open Source Initiative Approved License trademark and program creates a nexus of trust around which developers, users, corporations and governments can organize open-source cooperation.” It is still a question on how open-source, or, as Ms. Henry noted, “free software” as others refer to the idea as, will mature, but the debate is primarily on language and does not seem to be ending anytime soon.

Liz Henry also explained that as far as generating interest in one’s field, she encouraged posting one’s work and pushing its existence on the public. When you put more work out there for people to use and reflect upon, the more notice it can receive, and the more chance one can have of the right people noticing it. It follows that when your work is on the web, it’s also there for forever, while an article in a small publication will get recognition, the web can keep it in the forefront of someone’s memory for the length of its availability, and where intellectual property is concerned, Liz Henry advocated for publicizing one’s work for creative purposes.

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Importance of Social Media

Lena West is the CEO and Chief Strategist of xynoMedia Technology, a New York-based firm that helps high-growth companies leverage the power of social media, blogs, podcasts and online communities. A few weeks ago she discussed what a “social media strategist” entailed, and where new media was headed.

Media, expressly, is now interactive, compared to ten years ago, when one couldn’t actively participate with regard to the content published on-line. The internet’s now cost-effective, and with the sweep of what is being called “Web 2.0”, there is less static with how things are viewed and circulated, as ideas and strategies constantly fluctuate and redefine themselves.

Social media, as Ms. West describes roughly, “the use of media to be social,” is extremely revolutionary in that it was a medium used by consumers first, and then actively pursued by corporations to market themselves directly to their target audiences. A criticism West had, however, was the relative lack of businesses that are actively involved in utilizing social media, which should not be confused with social networking. Social media is an arching term that social networking falls under, as applications such as Twitter and Facebook are social networking tools.

West relates that it is important for companies to understand and recognize the power of social media in today’s market; therefore, while still growing, its increasing influence in the popularity of consumer purchasing is credit to its value to corporate marketing strategy.

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Thought leadership.

When Randall Rothenberg, the president and CEO of IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), a trade association for interactive marketing in the United States, talked with the other section of my Intro to Professional Writing class last week, one thing he mentioned was this idea of thought leadership. Thought leadership, he explained, is the “application of all manner of organizational assets to establish a position for that organization as  a leader,” both strategic and operational. When one is a “thought leader,” your ideas are discussed openly, and allowed to be shared with other aspects of your industry.

He highlights Procter & Gamble, a leading corporation that is at the forefront as a thought leader in consumer marketing, as the company is revolutionary in defining how to connect with consumers. What is of note is that the executives at P&G published their ideas in trade publications, distributing their marketing strategies to others in the industry with the idea that “when the tide rises, the better boats rise higher.”

Rothenberg, who’s involved in the “business of media” introduces thought leadership as “business jargon,” but its a fascinating term in the sense of what it is intended to do – influence a widening sphere for the business and marketing world with which to develop and culture new strategies. This is important when thought critically about in terms of a personal branding mechanism; if one could set themselves apart as a thought leader, who has invested interest in the success of the company and its value to the world of consumers, it could be a definitive characteristic to maintain.

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You are not your degree.

Such are the first words of Anaezi Modu, a Fast Company blogger and innovator of ReBrand™, a “global resource for visual examples and case studies on effective brand transformations.” Ms. Modu offered the Professional Writing class important things to consider when en route toward developing a career.

“You are not your degree” translates to looking beyond the confines your major would like to put you in; she stresses people to “get out of the box” others have put you in as you forge your own personal identity, your personal brand. Branding, she explains, is the “look and feel of you,” the “sum total of experiences with a person, place, or thing” and therefore not one defining aspect of a person brands them. Your brand is you, and every aspect you put into displaying who you are and what you have to offer correlates to your return on investment.

Regarding Rebrand.com, it is the direct evolution of this philosophy – as Ms. Modu was an architecture student, with degrees from Princeton, one of the fundamental areas in design is what is the main focus? What do you want others to see and notice upon looking at the infrastructure? Applying this thought of looking outside the box, she then asks, “Who says I have to design a building?” In identifying a niche, a new way of looking at what is in front of you, she applies this idea of physical space that an architect uses, to the abstract view modeled in a website. Rebrand focuses on how people access information and who is accessing it, and offers experiences on how to then transform this information to improve usability.

Such a concept is vital in today’s world, as the use and importance of internet and the success of “new media” grows.

Interview with Ms. Modu by Chris Butler

Visit her website: http://www.rebrand.com

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