The Story ArC So Far

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I still can’t believe we’re well on our way.

By the way, the pic above says it all. As excited and as happy as we are about this new venture, it is still wrought with a lot of anxiety, doubt and re-thinking: strategy, positioning, messaging. It’s ALL good and this is the way we grow. If building a business was easy I’d probably have done it years ago.

Amy and I spoke about this yesterday and as we grow-up I want to be able to track our progress and create a journey from where we’ve started.

So we’ve decided to create an ongoing series called The Story ArC So Far (pretty nifty, huh? — and I did that without Danny’s help).

The Story ArC So Far: Where We Began

Starting a new business was very new for me.

The easy route was to define a business that was doing something that NO ONE else was doing. The harder decision was to figure out how this comes together in a form that people would buy.

With all the experience I’ve garnered in the last 20 years of working for others, I had no clue how to start my own business.

This, in itself, was a nightmare: registering a name, setting up an HST Account, registering trademarks, buying insurance…. you name it, I Googled each one. Never in the course of humanity has ONE person been as close to having multiple heart attacks in a week (actually, not as far as I know!).

I’ve made so many mistakes and I’m sure I’ll continue to do many more. But that’s not the point of this post….

The Story of Arc is About Evolution for Business:

We are teaching a new way of business and we need to drink our own Kool-Aid and become our own case study.

If we can provide some guidance for other businesses along the way, then we’ve done our jobs.

Like all new businesses, we don’t have the luxury of marketing dollars to increase our market visibility right way. But we do have content backed up by strategy and marketing know-how.

We are all writers and content creators by nature and we have very strong opinions on most topics on the emerging marketing landscape. So we’ve chosen to put the bulk of our efforts into developing great content that brings our voices to the forefront.

Content is the CORE of everything that we do. That’s how we build our story.

We’ve had loads of discussion on topics and format. The internet is full of social marketing advice.

There is no shortage of blogs out there that tell you how to “maximize” traffic to your site; use blogging to build engagement; use X tools to find out your most engaged customers; or how to optimize listening strategies to properly manage reputation.

We wanted to stand out. Perhaps we write about the “new” and evolving practices that are still being scrutinized. Perhaps we write about events and incidents that provide a point of view that’s deep and analytical.

Here’s the reality:

Social media is not new anymore. But there are many who don’t see the benefits beyond the social campaign, NOR do they understand how they can capitalize long term.

Developing a content strategy means putting the customer at the centre

We need to write for our customers and clients. We need to be in their headspace and question everything. Most of all, we need to inform them and give them something that will feed their knowledge, and allow them practical approaches to help them in their day-to-day business.

So, we continue to refine our content.

Friday Finds was a great way to find the one story that drew the most attention in that given week and to write about it. That quickly morphed into Weekend Wrap-Up as we attempted to aggregate some of the top stories that week.

Our recent series called Social Judge, Jury and Executioner has proved to be highly engaged content.

So far, we’ve covered the social media events surrounding the Boston Tragedy in A National Tragedy ; the dark side of social in the Steubenville Rape and the Rahteah Parsons Tragedy, and, more recently, our Lynch Mob in Action post drew a lot of attention and discussion.

However, where our intent was to draw attention to the subject matter and elicit some honest and respectful debate about social practices, the opposite resulted. While it provided a forum to “safely” discuss the events and issues, we also lost control of the message.

We realized that these types of discussions need some some sort of emotional detachment in order to move the issues forward and create some real solutions.

We’re Practicing What We Preach

  • We need to measure everything. The value of content is the same as the value of advertising. Putting the time and energy to deliver great content needs to yield validation. This is why companies like Measure.ly provide huge benefits. For the first time we now have solutions to validate ROI for content. Content can now be measured, not only from the standpoint of amplification, but also from which shares are most likely to contribute to conversion: traffic to website, subscription or sales. This becomes much more important when it comes to defining people or companies that influence those conversions. 
  • We need to really know our audience. Traditional targeting methods don’t work in social media. Tools and solutions to properly target our target audience via profiling and demographic information are few and far between. We have stumbled upon some amazing solutions like DemographicsPro, which aggregates rich profiling data like: demographics, occupation, location, brand propensity, platform usage etc. for followers on Twitter.

demopro

This not only allows us to understand whose listening and engaging with us, it provides a much richer set of information (beyond the user-led profile information) that gives us more context into each of those Twitter profiles, and how we as ArCompany can drive discussion.

We’re also discovering some amazing things happening with Internet Media Labs’ OneQube Solution.

OneQube allows indexing and analyzing of followers, allowing the business to query audience based on keywords, location, gender, or influence. These and technologies like Tellagence, Appinions, TraackrTrendSpottr, Pulse Analytics and Nimble are among those that ArCompany identifies as leading the market forward.

These leading data solutions are the stuff that will drive a whole new discussion about how we target in the “new world”.

  • We need to understand what drives “Action”.  In the last few weeks we’ve been heavily promoting Danny’s new book, Influence Marketing, which he co-authored with Sam Fiorella. I may be biased but this space has been waiting for a book like this. Where the nascent view of Influence has applied numbers as the metric that correlates the ability to drive action, both Sam and Danny demystify that singular approach and offer a more pragmatic approach that defines how situational factors like emotion and finance impact purchase decisions, as well as how relationships and context as attributes drive the intended action (the purchase). Watch this video:

We’re Learning

Our Message Needs More Clarity… or so we’ve been told by our peers. We are intently listening to those who hear our message and we continue to test and refine. The elevator pitch is one area that will continue to evolve but we think we have a good one. Check this out (and believe me, this too will evolve):

ArCompany: We are a consultancy that believes in data-driven decisions for today’s social enterprise.

We understand there are critical events occurring that must heed some attention:

The death of print (perceived or actual); the staggering challenges of traditional and even digital advertising

Content is everywhere; it’s accessible; it’s free. People are more informed than ever before.

We’re moving from an era of mass communications to being a mass of communicators with more people trusting the communicators

~Dachis Group

This wealth of content and communication has enabled data-driven solutions to filter out the noise and provide companies actionable insights.

It is eliminating the guesswork for all of us.

Social is not a trend, it’s going to define the way business is structured, as a dynamic, decentralized, and social culture.

Why ArCompany?

The reason is twofold:

1. The future of business will mean accountability at all levels of the organization hence “our” company.
2. ArC is an acronym for, and has established its foundation among three drivers: Analysis, ROI and Customer

ArCompany will help create the next chapter for business, to drive their own stories:

to enable meaningful dialogue with customers and stakeholders

to help companies adapt to the changing communication landscape

to help business understand and evolve with changing customer expectations, increasing advocacy and loyalty at every customer touchpoint

We’re Motivating Each Other

There are many days when the work and my own impatience gets to me. I’ve always wanted everything NOW, no matter how unrealistic.

I believe what we’re doing is different and we are indeed moving the needle.

The team continues to be inspired. There are no shortage of ideas for promotion, content or developing sales leads. If there is one thing to be said for ArCompany, we are all led by PASSION and that alone makes it easy to pool all our energies into making this work.

There have been very few times in my career that I’ve been surrounded by people who think the same as me; who understand what needs to be done; and who have the gumption to make it happen.

The coming months will be very exciting for ArCompany. We hope you continue with us through this journey.

photo source: dawnzy

Founder at ArCompany, and Co-founder of Salsa AI, Hessie is a  seasoned digital strategist, and intelligence analyst having held senior positions for top ad agencies including Ogilvy, Rapp Collins, ONE and Isobar Digital. She also has extensive start-up experience in social tech, online publishing and artificial intelligence like Yahoo! Answers, Overlay.TV, Jugnoo and Cerebri AI. Hessie is the co-author of EVOLVE: Marketing (as we know it) is Doomed! She is also  an active writer for Cognitive World, Towards Data Science and Marketing Insider Group.

34 thoughts on “The Story ArC So Far

  1. AmyMccTobin says:

    Excellent. Inspiring.  If I wasn’t already signed up I’d be asking where to do it.

  2. Joe Francisco says:

    OK Amy McCloskey TobinI am being influenced….

  3. Amy McCloskey Tobin says:

    Talking to a research analyst about your target market right now, as we speak. We have some convincing data already.

  4. Hessie Jones says:

    Exciting times! There’s no turning back now:)

  5. Danny Brown says:

    Watch out, Joe, Amy’s coming for you with “that social stuff”… 🙂

  6. Amy McCloskey Tobin says:

    I’m also coming to you with an entirely new market segment. so there.

  7. rbowden56 says:

    A nice company (and I am sure very personal) introspective with great transparency Hessie. The challenges of starting a marketing business today is very frieghtning when you thing of the number of competitors that are attracted with a notion  that the digital space is a breeze. Nothing could be further from the truth, as proven watching the market mature and see the flash-in-the-pans extinguish. Good luck to you and the entire ARC team.

    • hessiej says:

      rbowden56 Thanks so much! I don’t think any of us came into this venture thinking it would be a piece of cake. But, we all like each other. We respect each other’s skillsets and we know that collectively we are a force to be reckoned with. I think starting a business these days is really hard, especially given the economic climate and high unemployment. But we’re not in this just to make money. Our objective going in was to make a difference and enable companies to see what we see, and benefit from it. Eventually the market will move with our thinking and we’ll be there waiting.

  8. Andrew Jenkins says:

    And away we go

  9. jureklepic says:

    Love seeing how you guys do exactly what you preach…. Way to go and I am sure one when you all become a big stars – like Danny is today – you will remember us – little people 🙂

  10. jureklepic says:

    Love seeing how you guys do exactly what you preach…. Way to go and I know in a year time you all will be  big stars — just remember us – little people 🙂 Congrats to Danny for his outstanding book!

    • hessiej says:

      jureklepic Jure, you are hardly considered a “little person”:)  You’re a great inspiration to all of us at ArCompany, I’m sure Danny Brown, AmyMccTobin and Andrew Jenkins would agree! We’re enjoying what we’re doing and we’re making many friends along the way!

  11. belllindsay says:

    Great work guys, and nice overview Hessie! Can’t wait to see what the future holds! ps. I too am “immediate gratification girl” – I hate waiting for *anything*!!! xoxox

  12. ginidietrich says:

    Owning a business -and growing it – is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. It becomes one of your children and sometimes takes precedence over your real children. It’s gratifying, it’s freeing, and it’s extremely challenging. If it weren’t, everyone would do it. Someone said to me a long time ago: You need to make sure you stop and look around at what you’ve achieved along the way. Otherwise you’ll get caught in the trap of always wanting more and not realizing how much you’ve already accomplished.

    • AmyMccTobin says:

      ginidietrich I have always loved how transparent you have been about the trials and tribulations of building your company Gini…. and we’ve talked about the VERY big difference between building a Business and starting a Consultancy.  The latter starts after you have a client, and you always have an income. You bend and twist to fit your clients.  With a Business, you start with a VISION and have to build out your team and cement your philosophy, and then find clients that need and want your Vision.  Much harder. Much more satisfying.
      I look forward to the first project we do with your team!!

      • AmyMccTobin says:

        ginidietrich PS – I know Sandberg has taken a lot of crap from other women, but I think she’s dead on with telling women that it is OK to LOVE and EMBRACE your career.  And counting it as a child is a GOOD thing.

        • ginidietrich says:

          AmyMccTobin I also think she’s dead on when talking about how we tend to not go for things because of our future selves. I see it all the time in business and it’s dumb.

        • AmyMccTobin says:

          ginidietrich AmyMccTobin When I was 29 the man I was supposed to marry and I split up.  We had built 2 businesses together, and I loved his child as if he were mine. It was my decision, but it blew the doors off of all of my plans – for marriage, children etc.  I stopped planning that way, focused on my career, and let life go where it went.  I adopted a 10 yr old boy, solo (long story) and sort of gave up on the idea of children.  
          Looking back now, I think it freed me from many of the burdens career women face.  I could GO for it. When I found out I was having Addie, I was already entrenched in my success and didn’t see any reason on earth I should give it up.  I don’t have it all – my house is never organized enough for me, nor my car… but I’m a great mom and I love love love my job.  I wish I could tell every little girl my story.
          PS – don’t you dare start a LeanIn circle without me.

    • Danny Brown says:

      ginidietrich Ewan said he wants to come on summer vacation in Chicago with you. 🙂

    • hessiej says:

      ginidietrich Gini, thanks for sharing your experience. I’m sure we’ll stumble many times along the way. As for this becoming one of our children, you are right. We are always changing, fixing and making sure everything is perfect… at least at that moment…. then we do it again until we’ve refined and made it better. I don’t know how many iterations we’ll go through but the journey is really enjoyable. You know, it’s only been 3 months but we have done so much. I’m proud of how much we’ve achieved  — most of it has been growing up together — every day. As Amy says, my “bedhead” days should be “fewer and far between” but that’s the kind of over-sharing that we have to do. And I’m ok with it!

  13. […] these companies, content and community are two of the core methodologies for getting people to know about you and/or your product, and why they should use you over your competitors who have been established […]

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