I was overwhelmed by the amount of interest in authenticity as a topic of thought and discussion during a recent public lecture I held at ECU’s Learning Hub on the main streets of Bunbury, Western Australia. People from all manner of business and walks of life attended and discussed what authenticity means, how culture plays into it (national and organisational) and how important knowing yourself is as part of the equation. Thank you to ECU for supporting the intellectual life of the CBD and making me feel so fortunate to have this opportunity in the South West.
I was recently interviewed by ABC Radio Goldfields and again by 6PR Perth – listen to the podcast here – about Halloween, its origins and the differences in the celebrations in the USA and Australia.
From a research perspective, one of the fascinating aspects of the holiday are the commercialisation and secularisation of religious holidays; and the communities of consumption that gather around them.
Halloween is only moderately successful in Australia and has no where near the reach as it does in North America. However, the creative outlet, community and social release of Halloween is expressed slightly differently at the same time, through the Australian obsession with the Melbourne Cup Race.
People dress up, they spoil themselves, they gather and the celebrate. Some might say the Melbourne Cup doesn’t have the religious basis of Halloween – but then those people might never have visited Melbourne, Victoria.
I was pleased to give a presentation at the Australian Institute of Project Management national conference in Sydney last week on the above topic. The theme was “People, Precision, Performance” and the focus of many presentations were the softer skills of management. Communication, support, leadership, influence and stakeholder management. What is becoming more apparent is that while project managers in various industries (construction, tech, business development, finance and so on) have the hard skills to do the job, managing the personalities and communities is a prized capability and one, not every project manager has. As an Institute I work with regularly in my role at ECU, I have found the AIPM staff do have those skills and are reaching out to further develop project managers in these areas regularly. If you’re down under, no matter which aspect of PM you are involved with, they are worth checking out.
I am pleased to be offering this workshop on Wednesday, 27 June in Manilla to a group of trusted and valued ECU Authorised Education Agents. This s the first opportunity to take this talk international, after its debut in the regional centre of Bunbury, Western Australia and then Sydney.
Based on the current research on Word of Mouth Marketing, Authentic Marketing and case studies on some empowering stories, this is a down-to-earth practical look on what managers can do today to stimulate WOM and more importantly, stop expending resources where it just might be wasted.
On Wednesday 18 July, I will be pleased to be presenting on the above topic at AMA Non-Profit Marketing Conference with a colleague, Mr Jeff Volkheimer of Duke Health. Jeff is the Director of Collaborative and Workforce Services. He is the kind of IT guy that works really well with people in my field – or maybe any field. We are collaborating on several research projects, and in the process of doing so mix it up as IT and marketing people tend to do. The idea for this presentation came from our ongoing discourse about the differing cultures of marketing and IT and how now, more than ever, they need to work together.
We have had a great time doing our anecdotal research. Talking to marketing people about IT and IT people about marketing has been fun. Can’t wait to watch the sparks fly at this presentation.
I am delighted to advise that my colleagues Jamie Murphy, Dick Mizerski, Hanna Glaebe and myself just had out book chapter Identifying Customer Evangelists published in the Review of Marketing Research. This special edition, focusing on brand meaning and management, was edited by Deborah McInnes – a researcher on whose work much of mine is based. She is brilliant, and her work influential and important.
The book chapter takes the first step in formalising an approach to identifying customer evangelists in a quantitative way – which helps with the stronger push toward analytics and big data in marketing. The research demonstrates that it is possible to identify customer evangelists through key questions in a survey (as their buying behaviour may not differentiate them from other customers) and therefore, once identified, perhaps harness their word of mouth power for various brand-related activities.
This book chapter was also the final piece of research directly related to and incorporated in my doctoral thesis. All of my co-authors on this work not only were colleagues in this paper; they supported me in completing my PhD. I would like to acknowledge their support on both this paper and my research.
This month I will be presenting to HR practitioners and leaders in Perth about authenticity and organisational voice. The summary of the talk is below.
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Dr Nathalie Collins, Manager of Strategic Business Development, Edith Cowan University, will be presenting ‘Maintaining an Authentic Voice through difficult organisational change.’
HR professionals are often tasked with delivering communications and managing change which is directed at Executive level with an organisational voice. During this talk, Dr Nathalie Collins will draw relevant examples from her research into authenticity and management/messaging to stimulate discussions on effective ways to be perceived as authentic by your audience.
The positives of authenticity range from increasing the credibility of the message to reducing stress on workers who have to deliver corporate messaging. But authenticity is a slippery concept; what does it mean? And how can something so subjective still be applied?
Nathalie’s development of the 360 Degree Authenticity Framework attempts to address authenticity in a practical applied way, while still drawing from its basis in philosophy, psychology, anthropological, sociology and tourism.
For more information about the Institute visit their web site.