Thursday, March 19, 2009

Experts in the Industry: Natanya Anderson (52 of 45)

Every day that goes by makes me appreciate my colleague and fellow exec-team member, Natanya Anderson, that much more. For one, her understanding of how to create engaging content that drives customer loyalty is second to none. Many times, I find myself being "fan boy" as I sit and listen to her talk about things like "learning modalities," and the DNA of great content.

But that's not the only reason I love working with Natanya. She's also incredibly smart, funny and shares my passion for the NFL. Natanya is also a Foodie blogger and avid twitterer which many of you who are reading this post know is always a plus in my book!

With that as a background, let's see how Natanya answered today's Experts in the Industry questions:

In one sentence, please describe what you do and why you’re good at it.
I work with a team of smart, creative people to make thousands of other people smarter every day while helping our clients meet their business objectives in new and interesting ways using content marketing and branded communities; I'm good at this because it combines my passions for teaching, learning, marketing, technology, and teamwork into one wonderful job.

How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing?
I've been at Powered for over nine years and my career path has evolved in many of the same ways as Powered has. By its very nature, education is a social activity and learning is most successful when it's supported by a community. As the web and related infrastructures have evolved to offer unprecedented access to information and connections among people online, my work (and Powered's offerings) in online learning and marketing began to leverage newly available social technologies and networks. Where we are today seems to be the most logical next step for what we've been doing for these many years. Two years ago I couldn't have told you I would be working in social marketing, but looking back I can't imagine that I would have ended up in any other place.

If you had $10 million to invest in one company and one company only based on their use of “social,” which company would it be and why?
It would be dishonest to say anything but Powered in answer to this question. It's taken us a while to get here, but we have all of the right pieces in place to really help brands make a true connection with their customers that benefits everyone in the equation and creates a true bond between the two. We enable brands to have a giving-based relationship with their customers that will be more strongly rooted than any they've had in the past, and customers benefit by gaining access to information and tools that can truly improve their overall quality of life. Also, I'm lucky enough to work with some of the smartest people I've ever met and I can only imagine what amazing things we would do with $10 million.

Which business leader, politician or public figure do you most respect?
I am a hug fan of Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, because he represents what I believe is the best approach to leadership in business. He is smart, savvy, and humble all at the same time. Around the holidays he worked in the Zappos call center, not as a stunt but because help was needed and he wasn't afraid to roll up his sleeves. He can talk policy with the White House and build bread critters at a fine dining restaurant in Las Vegas and not think twice about either. I believe if more companies were run by people like Tony that we would have more stable businesses with happier workers and more satisfied customers.

Would you join a toothpaste community? Why?
Nope - there's just not enough about toothpaste or even good oral hygiene to keep me interested. My time is precious and I try to get more bang for my buck. I would absolutely join a community that includes resources for living a happier, healthier life that included information on toothpaste. If any toothpaste manufacturer is interested, give us a holler, have I got a content strategy for you!

Freeform – here’s where you can riff on anyone or anything – good or bad. Or just share a pearl of wisdom.
I try to apply this filter to as many areas of my life as I can: "Just because you can do something, doesn't necessarily mean that you should". As a parent I can protect my child from ever getting hurt, but that doesn't mean I should because then she might not learn valuable life lessons she'll need when she's out on her own. As a marketing partner I can suggest old school tactics to my clients because that's what they are comfortable with, but that doesn’t mean I should because then they'll risk limiting their possible business growth. As a professional I can do what I'm comfortable with but that doesn't mean I should because then I'll stunt my own growth. Sometimes you can choose what is easy, but you really should choose what is right.

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