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Polly Pearson
Polly Pearson is a consultant and board member specializing in strategic, brand-building investor relations.
Interests: CEOs of public companies are measured on shareholder value. Polly opens the black box of investor perceptions and behaviors and pairs it with 21st Century methods to build mutually beneficial relationships. Heightened brand recognition for the company's potential, its shares, and the CEO's leadership fuels many engines: sales, profit, customer satisfaction, Wall Street affinity, and employee recruitment and retention among them.
Recent Activity
Hi Mark! Love that you're writing this series! I just finished raising a B round so believe me I'm smiling while I read. A mutual friend of ours taught me an acronym that helped illuminate the VC pitch dynamic. "SHITS" Show High Interest Then Stall. hahaha -- funny when it's all done. Painful as heck in the race to cash. Looking forward to your future posts. Polly
David Zinger is always good for inspiration (and a chuckle). Check out his new (free) collaborative ebook from the Employee Engagement Network titled, "Small Engagements." It is filled with 70 ideas you can implement today, and/or notions that might inspire how you operate every day. My favorites from the e-book? #6 by Sandy Wilkie: Create an organisational seed-fund that individuals/teams can access with bids for money to support the set-up & implementation of improvement ideas & innovation. Engagement through harnessing ideas and creativity within the organisation. #12 by Michael Lee Stallard: Be present to connect in conversations – It’s been said that attention is oxygen for relationships. When meeting with people, get in the habit of being present by staying focused on them and giving them your full attention. Don’t check your smart phone, don’t look at your watch, don’t look around the room or let your mind wander. #13 by Terrance Seamon: Simply listen. #16 by Kendra Marks: Smile and have fun! Find time to add a bit of humor into someone else’s day and your own. It relieves stress and energizes yourself and those around you. #19 Les Landes Apply the lessons from the landmark research done by... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2013 at Polly Pearson's Blog
When a writer representing the Harvard Business School contacted me some time ago requesting an interview for a book he was writing, I got a little excited. He was looking at how companies communicate with employees today, suspecting there was a better way -- suspecting the old school norms just didn't engage talent and power the business like it should. Hallelujah! Introducing Talk, Inc., the resulting book just released by Harvard Business Press. It is an excellent tool for anyone wondering how to crack code when it comes to strategy engagement, cross-organizational communication, workplace culture, and igniting passion to power an organization. Written by Professor Boris Groysberg of Harvard Business School, and Michael Slind of Fast Company editorial fame, the book features stories and case studies gathered through interviews with hundreds of practioners, communication experts, employees, and company executives. The book includes company case studies, tips, and practioners on the leading edge. It covers how these new practices work, and what they have done for the business. In short, it makes the case, and inspires the reader. It shows how easy it can be for any company to upgrade their approach to organizational communication, and start the journey to increasing... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2012 at Polly Pearson's Blog
Public Relations is generally known as "spin." The exciting -- and oddly very bold -- opportunity in today's PR world comes down to one word: "HONESTY." Few management teams will be able to pull it off. Few corporate lawyers will allow it. It goes against every protectionist bone in our suits. Thus, the even greater opportunity to stand out if deployed. The market is transparent now. Your customers communicate with each other whether you like it or not. News, good or bad, gets out. Every sale takes both a buyer and a seller. In this 21st Century market, the two sides of that coin are now equals. The best way to manage this is ultimately transparent market is not to fight it -- but to leverage it. The social phenomenon is based on relationships and honesty. Success is having a trusted brand. Every brand is subject to the social phenomenon. Where are you in this dynamic? Ignoring it? Fighting it? Leveraging it? The best salespeople (those with an eye on business longevity) have leveraged honesty since the beginning of time. Could it be time for the C-suite and PR folks to bravely do the same? Google has had some massive... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2012 at Polly Pearson's Blog
It is time we got to know eachother better. Join me for a live webinar on Tuesday, April 24 on the topic of branding. I'll share a framework that will get you going in a no-fuss way. I'll also share tactics and go over pitfalls you should be aware of. Here is the link to register.The event is brought to you by HumanResourceExecutive Online. Branding, me, and free -- all we need is you. Let's talk. ------------- TALK BACK ---------------- Anything in particular you want covered? My talk discusses brand strategy as it could be applied to any product, yet in this case, I give specific tactics related to employment branding. Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2012 at Polly Pearson's Blog
Could women in their 40's leaving the workplace signal more than a retention and "women in-the-C-suite issue?" What if it was a signal linked to future profits and business success? Could "values" in the workplace be ready for bigger call to action? Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2012 at Polly Pearson's Blog
YOU make me proud, Faith. Thanks for the love and the feedback.
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A few years ago a colleague friend and I exchanged stories in the hallway relating to our kids. My friend was a new mom. We continued our conversation over email, when she shared with me a personal story she had written to her traveling husband about a wonderful moment with their baby. With that, the idea of publishing a book filled with such stories, written by the women of EMC was born. This month, in honor of International Women's Day (March 8th), our book had a couple of write ups in some pretty cool places. Harvard Business Review, and PRWeek. Inspired by those posts, I opted to update my own one-page story on life as a working mom, now circa 2012. You can read it here. Today, my friend and co-conspirator keeps the book alive via her blog, dedicated to the subject. Go Natalie! Share your story. Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2012 at Polly Pearson's Blog
A very personal post on one professional woman's unexpected journey. This blog asks the question, "Are you tossing everything away when you take a break from cool professional work to fully embrace being a mom, or are you displaying courage and experiencing power?" Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2012 at Polly Pearson's Blog
Putting today's norms aside, if you could re-write the rules, which would you want to be the first priority of your CEO/management team? And, continuing with the TIME theme, what then should we be teaching our next generation of leaders? Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2012 at Polly Pearson's Blog
A look at the future skill set make up of communication groups, marketing groups, and even the C-suite. Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2012 at Polly Pearson's Blog
Great business results -- revenue, profit, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, market share and market value gains -- go along with great brands. Who should be involved in setting your brand on fire in this new era? Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2012 at Polly Pearson's Blog
Great read out this week by the always impressive David Kirkpatrick (@davidkonline) for Forbes: Social Power and the Coming Corporate Revolution. He added a nice, updated package of research and meat to the subject of social media at work, including case studies and/or interviews with the likes of, Adidas, Domino's, Zappos, ING, Ford, Rypple, Zaarly, and Yammer ... as well as management gurus Gary Hamel, Shoshana Zuboff. He put forth the notion that social unrest in countries and regimes are early indicators of what is to come within companies. You heard it from me back in February in this post: Leadership Meet the New Revolutionaries: Your Employees. Fear it, or embrace it, the choice is ours. Advantage goes to the early mover. ------ Talk Back ------ What are some of the fresh stories you're hearing about companies who "get" this new transparent world ? Who is doing it right in the workplace? If you were writing the book on this subject, what company case studies would you like to see added? Thanks for joining the discussion. Thanks also for tuning in after my long summer break. Where have I been? Remember summer vacations before you started working? The type... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2011 at Polly Pearson's Blog
Just last night I was chatting over friendly cocktails with a group of amazingly intelligent women when I realized one of the women was looking at me like I had two heads. Her contribution to the conversation went like this, "I am a very private person. I realize some day I'll have to understand this social media space, but ..." The day for people and organizations to start understanding this space, if they haven't made the move yet, may well be today. Today is Social Media Day, as declared by many cities, and enthusiastically cheered on by many professionals who believe in its power and impact. An example: my former company, EMC, made public today a new animated video they put together for employees to help convey what social media is, and illustrate how to participate for the benefit of the company. Brilliant. Those who participate in social media for business today liken social media to the Internet in the mid- to late-1990s. The web back then, simply became where the marketplace wanted to get their information, and buy their goods. Following the famous adoption curve, I'd make a stab that if 1992-1998 represented the bulk of the early adopters... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2011 at Polly Pearson's Blog
@Carl, Thanks for the kind words. Getting and keeping good talent in today's market requires a bit of marketing energy. Think about the concept of "a place to work" as a product to be marketed. If you were looking for a job, wouldn't you shop around a bit, and do some reference checking with current employees/others in the industry about what the company is like? Companies can ignore this fact, or they can embrace it for competitive advantage, and help shape the conversation and the relationship with the talent market so that their compelling story can be heard. -- just as you would as a candidate. Personal branding and employment branding are two sides of a coin. Like dating, both sides have to work a bit to find the perfect match. Polly
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@bk3104 good question. I see good employment branding first as knowing and embracing your true company/culture image. Once the troops rally around that, you can work collectively to improve and further it. So it does not link one-to-one with hiring objectives. That said, unless your company plans on going out of business soon, it makes sense to have an external employment branding effort. It does not have to cost money, or require dedicated headcount -- just keep the flame alive and continue the relationship you have established with the talent market. Ex: answer inquiries to your Twitter and facebook accounts, keep blogging for your company, keep your careers and brand section up to date on your web page .... Because all slumps are not forever and no one likes fair weather friends.
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Discover the keys to the kingdom for inspiring your workforce, elevating engagement, and business results. It isn't about money. It is about the true factors that motivate behavior. Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2011 at Polly Pearson's Blog
I participated in an executive round-table with the senior HR officers of some MAJOR companies recently. Everyone went around the room and shared their current challenges. I was amazed how often employment branding came up. In fact, I think every executive mentioned the need for better branding of their company to help recruit, retain and/or engage their workforce. Even companies you and I would think of as truly great companies, cited better branding as a priority need. If you are in this situation, here are some things that might bring you some peace of mind, or a way to begin your journey on improving your company's employment brand. 1. Know that every company is dysfunctional and/or sub-optimal in some way. Actually, in many ways! So while you think your company has more warts than you can count, that makes your company normal. :) 2. Every company has one or more truly compelling attributes. Not "unique." Unique does not matter. "Compelling" matters. 3. A great way to begin unearthing what makes your company compelling is to ask your employees what inspires them about your company, and what makes them proud to work there. A good way to ask that question is... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2011 at Polly Pearson's Blog
Has everything been said that needs to be said about social media for marketing, and its bottom-line impact? Not even close. Pick this book up to see what I'm talking about. The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing. How to Attract and Retain Customers and Grow the Bottom Line in the Globally Connected World. It is fresh off the presses by McGraw-Hill. I had the pleasure to collaborate on this hot subject with the authors, Beverly Macy and Teri Thompson, and was impressed by the case studies they gathered, and the the approach they took in exploring the subject. Want a taste? Check out this article, The Global Brain, Chaos Theory, and the Power of Real-Time Social Media, in the Huffington Post. Wow-za. --------------------------- TALK BACK -------------------------- Interested to hear your thoughts on the content. If you've ever heard me speak on the subject, you've likely heard me talk about "leveraging the global genius." Last night I was a guest lecturer at the Boston University School of Management's MBA program. The topic was crowdsourcing. Many of the MBAs seemed doubtful this could be applied within a mainstream company. Sure, the model works for, but, mainstream companies? Or the company... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2011 at Polly Pearson's Blog
When you present what you're attempting to accomplish at work, do you discuss it in terms that the CEO would care about? Come on now, does s/he really care about getting you more headcount, or performance management, succession planning, learning & development agendas, corporate culture ... or employment branding for that matter? Yes, and no. Mostly, those topics are boring. Necessary evils. When talking about your important little program, expect the CEO to listen, nod, and smile politely -- while s/he secretly can't wait for you to leave the room so they can get to work on the truly important things. Like closing deals which will generate revenue. Or consulting with the folks who help enhance the company's profit margins. Or doing media interviews. Or reading positive press about the company. Or delighting in an "up" day for the company stock. See a pattern here? You know what the CEO really cares about? I boil it down to three things: Growing ... 1. Revenue 2. Admiration 3. Profit RAP for short. Now, admiration may look like an odd one in the mix. When I think of admiration, I think of everything that can help build the value, and perceived value,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2011 at Polly Pearson's Blog
In Belize a few of years ago, I was at a retreat with women who had obtained a certain level of professional success. A core part of the retreat consisted of short presentations by the member community, held on a beach under a palm tree hut. One such presentation has stayed with me. It offered insight I had not yet stumbled upon in my career. It came from a woman who had successfully started, and sold, many businesses. She sat on elite Boards. She was the vision of confidence and success. She began by pointing out that most of us were likely in a go-go-growth career stage. And then she said, "It won't always be like that, but that's okay. You will find that your career has seasons. It won't -- it can't -- always be all growth, all the time." She told a story of selling a business, and then her husband falling on ill health. Her girlfriends tried to pry her out of the house with Martini's, and instructions to "Take some Valium and get on with it!" (You can guess her approximate age by that statement!) She did not however, and that was the point. She said... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2011 at Polly Pearson's Blog
@Kris, @Smamager, @Kit -- Thanks for the comments and sharing. It can be a very exciting time for leaders, at every level of the company! The more socially engaged employees, especially, have an amazing opportunity to model how this can be done well and thus lead the "official" leaders. Polly
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@ Jaq -- Nice perspective from the "giver!" Thanks for reading and sharing! Polly
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Rose King of sent me a nice email today, suggesting I share a recent post which includes links to dozens of cool new takes on the business card. I enjoyed looking at each of them. (Thanks Rose!). My favorites from the list provided by was the Card Deck card, the translucent card, and the card with the photo a cool story about the person being "advertised." Design for design-sake is fun, but what about utility of the old networking standby? How do you USE business cards (not give out, but use the ones you get?) When I was 21, I started my own business. I created what I thought were the coolest business cards ever. They cost a fortune, had a fold-over design element, and looked gorgeous. But did they matter? Were they worth the cost? I don't think so, in retrospect. In the Corporate HQ world on the "buying" side, I witnessed little value assigned to business cards given out, beyond helping those around the conference table remember the names of the other people in the meeting. Mind you, that was very useful! The best business card I ever saw had its value, not from what... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2011 at Polly Pearson's Blog
Unsure? Connect the dots between Egypt and the prescient firing of Time Inc. Publishing Unit's CEO. In a memo to Time employees, it was declared that CEO "Griffin's 'leadership style' was the reason for his ouster. Examples, so says the Wall Street Journal? His leading with his own ego (at great expense to the company, and at an absurd conflict the company's culture), and calling meetings at times fully disrespectful to the lives of the employees. Wow. I've long said that at the answer to, "What to do about this omnipresent social media phenomenon and the world of work," is based in "behavior" more than "technology." Think about the behavior we are now surrounded by in our daily lives. It is in-congruent with the style found in workplace cultures aligned solely with hierarchical leadership-driven "command and control." We are living in an era where our population has been "trained" to participate. Participative TV (American Idol voting; Reality TV) Participative News (blogs; on-line comments) Participative Celebrity (personal branding) Participative Elections (Obama's fund-raising driven by $25 donations) Here is the deal -- leadership has been too slow to welcome participative workplaces. And guess what happened while CEOs have been goaling their companies... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2011 at Polly Pearson's Blog