Jerry Gitchel

Jerry Gitchel

Don't blame technology. For more than three decades business leaders have fought a business arms-race by investing in new technology. You buy the latest cutting-edge software. Your competitor follows your lead. You try harder to keep up by updating to the latest version or investing in the premium version. All you get is parity and a closet full of abandoned technology.

Mindset Over Matter

When you hear the term, "Wall Clock" what image comes to mind? How about "alarm clock"? If the clock on your wall is round, it indicates an analog mindset. If your alarm clock displays the time horizontally, you're working with a digital mindset. Each day our culture moves forward from living in an analog past toward a digital future. The #1 reason established companies are losing market share, much of their profits and most of their customers is the fear of changing to a digital mindset. Analog is too heavy, too slow, too hard to execute.  

Digital Transformation, 1-2-3

Digital is the future of business. Not only your future but the future for your company. All you have to do is change your mindset. All it takes is three easy steps.

  1. Ask your customers. Here in Jacksonville, Downtown workers are flocking to Food Trucks for Lunch. Where are you customers headed? Meet them there.
  2. Review your business processes and procedures. Where can you reach farther, move faster, increase the value of the service?
  3. Adapt technology to meet the human need. Don't spend another dime on technology unless it creates value for those you serve best.

On a Personal Note

I invite you to join me Tuesday evening April 18th at UNF to celebrate the launch of our first Digital Transformation course here in Jacksonville. It's the first course that goes beyond which button to push or where to click. The focus is a digital transformation for Communications and Public Relations professionals.

Learn More or RSVP

Effective Social Engagement for Public Relations


I delivered your signature "TuneUp" report to a client yesterday. The verdict? Overwhelmed. What I learned is that quantity doesn't equal value. The report is meant to be inclusive. More that an inventory of the tools, it assesses skills and talents and wraps up with a list of specific actions to streamline business processes. However, the result should be excitement, not terror.

But wait, there's more. The I accepted an assignment to beta test a new expert system App. It was more Alpha then Beta. I deleted it. Next I received a special invitation to a restaurant opening. All I had to do was download an App, signup for an account, login and register for a wait time. I didn't.

I replied, thanking the owners for their invitation but declining because it was, "Just too hard to figure out." Then something extraordinary happened. I received a very nice reply from Sarah, the owner. I was stunned that she stopped all of the urgent tasks on her plate to respond to me. Not a loyal customer, not even a customer. Just some guy who's email address was in her database. I will become their loyal customer, as soon as they launch.

Today I intend to slow down, be present, reset to zero as appropriate. What is on your plate today? How are you planinng to create value today?  

Ps My love Deborah dedicated this song to me. Thank you sweetie! This is Why I Need You.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017 07:10

The Cost of Effective Customer Support

Jailtime comes from the cover-up, rarely the crime. Customer service failures stem from the response, not the incident. Employing even a smidge of Emotional Intelligence (EI) would have saved United Airlines, not to mention their customer a whole lot of pain and suffering. The importance of customer service was driven home by Darren Bounds, Founder, and CEO of at a recent StartUpJax Meetup. As I understood it, a customer's UX [User eXperience] gets them to try your product or platform. their SX [Support eXperience] convinces them to become paying customers. 

I'm researching a brand new expert system platform. I had trouble completing a specific process. I submitted a support request. Here is their endearing reply:

"Hi Jerry, Thank you so much for your feedback. Oh dear, we didn't expect this to happen. This has not happened before. We're checking the app to see what's happening now. Meanwhile, if this issue is still happening, could you take a screenshot of where it's stuck? Thanks."

 Yes, that's what they said. Really. Here's what I heard: Gratitude, empathy, acceptance, responsibility, action, engagement. Priceless. Not only for brand building, but also for building the bottom line. United Airlines lost 1B in value in less than 24 hours.  

Digital Transformation - More Than Technology

The gap between established businesses and their digital replacements is more about mindset than technology. Digitally aware organizations leverage technology to deliver better experiences based on human metrics.

What quality of experience do your customers expect? It's worth a lot. In fact, it's priceless.  

Tuesday, 11 April 2017 09:25

Time to De-Plane

Air carriers use a unique vocabulary and terminology to describe their actions. Although the word "involuntary" is in the dictionary, "reacommodating" trips up my spell checker every time. I had to manually add it to my Grammarly App.  The recent incident on a United Airlines aircraft (they never use the word plane) was more than unfortunate, it was a crime. Yes, it was legal, but it was also immoral and very short-sighted. It was an act of terror.   

From this moment on, I will never be able to look upon air travel with a positive attitude. I will be flying to Utah later this month and I dread the experience. I planned to write about the one thing employers can offer young employees as an incentive to stay with their companies. Spoiler Alert! It's Guidance. In the article, "Want to Keep Your Millennial Employees? You Have To Be Willing to Offer Them This 1 Thing" author Nicolas Cole makes the case for leading your younger colleagues by example. Treating them as mentees. 

I'm meeting with Christian Binganisi this week, an entrepreneur I met at StartUpJax last week. I've found that associating with younger business professionals is the quickest way to make you feel younger. I learn so much when I share what I've learned. I hope I'm worthy of the opportunity to share how to treat others.

Monday, 10 April 2017 06:22

What's the Best Business Magazine?

This was the first question I received after signing up for It's all about "Questions and Answers by Experts". Early in my digital career, I discovered the best opportunity of learning comes when I'm asked a question. It makes me think, and I get immediate feedback on what clients are thinking. It often leads to new services and products that allow me to deliver value to those I serve best. Here's my first PopDQ question, and my answer.

What are the best business and finance magazines to subscribe to?

Great questions DanBolVi!. An even better question is, "What do you want to know?" Think of the process as research to provide decision support. Since we have scant time to read, I recommend creating a list of periodicals that cover topics you need to know. Start with general knowledge, then create a narrow focus on specifics that support your needs. With your list in hand, seek magazines that deliver information that help you make better decisions.

Subscribe or Simply Read?

I have only one print subscription. The Economist provides me with broad information on the world, from a higher altitude. It allows me to step back from my narrow US point-of-view and receive the 40,000-foot perspective. Visit the site index to see the comprehensive list of information and special reports available.

Continue down your list to choose specific publications that create value. Which ones? I would try, not buy, your top choices. Subscribe to their blogs to receive notifications. I try different ones each week. I also evaluate the ones I've been reading to decide if they should remain on my short list of those I actually read. Check your local library for print editions. Here in Jacksonville, our library provides digital editions of a vast array of magazines. All you need is a library card. Once you find a keeper, invest in a paid subscription, either print or digital as you prefer.

Your Personal Library

I'm not embarrassed to say my print editions reside in the bath. As for those that arrive via email, I have a News folder. As they arrive I open, scan for value, then choose, move to Trash or to the News folder. If Trash becomes a frequent choice, unsubscribe is a better option. Finally, add the task "Read News" to your daily schedule.

 Okay, I made that term up. What if, instead of pitting startups against traditional businesses, we combined the best of both? Not just competition or collaboration, but a combination of both? Here in Jacksonville, we are having a public debate about the challenge of Food Trucks. Established downtown restaurants say it's unfair competition. In the age of technology disruption, digital leverage creates a disadvantage to incumbents.  

Is it fair to keep new businesses out? Is it fair to use technology to put established restaurants out of business? In Why Millennials Prefer Collaboration Over Competition author Joel Goldstein explains not how technology has changed, but how the population has changed the way they use technology. Customers are using technology to change our culture, how we shop, and how we buy. There are big problems in the world. It's going to take all of us to create solutions. I'm just saying. 


Membership Hack: Young Members Pitching In

Monday, 03 April 2017 08:55

Marketing By Interruption, Redux

Remember the really loud, obnoxious TV commercials from the '60s? They are back. It started with the video slide show. All text, delivered using the typewriter effect, one letter at a time. All of it set to music. You endured it simply to see where it would end up. Now it's evolved into a monster. In the last two weeks, I've endured the mutation. A single slide, no animation, cheesy music. It appears, then just sits there while you wait for something to happen. Nothing! The image doesn't change. The music just plays on. I know 40 seconds doesn't seem like much, but in Internet time, it's an eternity. 

Marketing By Interruption 

It reminds me of the really loud, obnoxious TV commercials from the '60s. You know, the ones that inspired the invention of the TV remote, then later, the DVR. It's the latest in marketing by interruption. It's not going to work. I'm going to stop following those who use them. We have evolved. Most of us now have favorite programs we watch. What's not changed is that marketers and advertisers continue you to cling to the notion that permission-based marketing means that they have permission to forces us to stop and watch what they consider to be the most important message we will be forced to watch today. 

More Than Change The Channel

No, I'm not going to do it, you can't make me do it. They don't work. In fact, they create a negative impression. Be advised, if you create or share these monsters I will stop following you. I love all of you, but not enough to endure this attack on my time. Please make it stop. 


Monday, 03 April 2017 05:52

The Art of the Live Video Promo

Everything about live video has changed. How it's shot, how it's used, where it fits in the customer journey. The concept of live video has changed in less than 2 years. John Chappelear is a perfect example of this evolution. Each week I receive John's Positive Thought for the Week (PTFTW). I discovered it in the back of John's bestseller, The Daily Six.

John and I just started working together. He and his team member Teri Coutu of Teric Enterprise Solutions met last week to discuss some new ideas to extend John's reach. Teri and John have created synergy by combining intuition with intention. John comes up with the crazy ideas, Teri turned them into action. John has agreed to share his latest video to help illustrate how you can leverage live video.

 The Art of Effective Video Promo

The current edition of PTFTW is on the topic of Self-siloing. I don't want to spoil it for you so I save the newsletter link until it is published. For now, let's focus on the promotional video. Watch it first, then return here to learn why it's perfect:

  • Background - if a picture is worth a 1,000 words, a video background is worth 10,000. John's outdoors, not at his desk. He's moving which keeps viewers glued to their screens. The right background tells the story, so he doesn't have to. 
  • Sound - Combining the right background with perfect audio increases the value to 100,000 words. How did John train those birds to chirp on cue?  
  • Purpose - This clip is all about promoting his post. It's PR, not Content Marketing. I doubt it will be archived on YouTube or added to a blog post.
  • Speed Bump - In this case, the purpose of the clip is to slow down the reader to give them a moment to attract the clickthrough.
  • Movie Mode - Video is the perfect format for a professional speaker. John is at his best when he's speaking. 
  • Focus on Why - A promo clip is not about how to do something. It's all about why. The Call To Action (CTA) is read John's newsletter.

The only suggestion we had for John was to shoot in landscape. Not sure what I mean? Grab you phone and go stand in front of your TV or screen. Hold up your phone. If they are both wider than tall, you've got it right. The only exception is when your video is for Snapchat.

I'm most excited to be working with John and Teri to extend his reach beyond his subscriber-base.  


Tuesday, 28 March 2017 08:04

Are You Ready to be Disrupted?

If the headline about made you feel a bit queasy, it's a sign that at the very least, you are aware of what's about to happen. Almost 70% of 1,300 business leaders worldwide agreed with a key finding of KPMG International's CEO Outlook report. The next 3 years will be the most challenging, all because of digital disruption. Will you be ready? Three of my Digital Daily posts last week outlined the problem for restaurants here in Jacksonville. In less than a month, the Hogan Street Food Truck Court has literally taken the lunch of established downtown restaurants.  The Jacksonville Business Journal quoted one owner, "We just want to be on even playing field". With the digital disruption technology brings to the table, "Even playing field" has left the building.

Dealing with Digital Disruption

It's not going to go way. Established companies who hold out the hope that it's just a fad are the ones who will go way. Here are three ways your company can get ready for the disruption to come and an opportunity.

Connect Your Digital Dots

Draw a single vertical line down a blank sheet of paper. In the left-hand column, write down all your business processes that are slow, tedious, repetitive. In the right-hand column, jot down the technology you already own or are looking to acquire. Now, draw a line to connect the processes with the tools. Congratulations, you've just identified where disruption will occur in the near future. 

Focus on Techniques Instead of Tools 

Far too often businesses focus on acquiring technology tools instead of focusing on business processes that will increase sales and profit. Technology should never be an expense, it should be an investment in growth, efficiency, effectiveness. Pick one process and go all in. Combine the tools you already have to with a process to improve your business performance. 

Develop Your Talent 

Not your personal talents, your people. Like you, they are more than a bit puzzled and overwhelmed by technology. Creating a learning plan that leverages free and low-cost learning resources available from technology vendors often doubles, not the cost, but the value of your technology investment.  

Opportunity to Disrupt

All industries will be impacted. What I am most excited about today is the opportunity to transform an industry right here in Jacksonville. I've been hired by the University of North Florida to teach Jacksonville's very first, "Dealing With Digital Disruption" course. It for public relations professionals and those who practice PR on a daily basis. I will be speaking about the topic and wil introduce the course on April 18, 2017, at UNF. Please Save The Date now, and get ready to hear more about this exciting opportunity.   

Monday, 27 March 2017 15:05

Unified Information Strategy

This week we have focused on spring cleaning. First your inbox, then your Apps. Yesterday I shared an inside look that using Evernote to capture ideas and information as it streams by on social. Today let's get real about the Cloud. J. Kevin Parker's post, Why You Need a Unified Information Strategy lays out a strategy you and your organization can use to deal with all that data.

 It's 8:15 am. Do You Know Where Your Data Is?

It's time you moved your data files to the Cloud. It's where all your programs and Apps live. It's time to move your data off your hard drive. I know what you're thinking. What if you get hacked? The only folks who need to worry are political parties and celebrities with sex tapes. For everyone else, the benefits of Cloud storage vastly outweigh the unreasonable fear of breach of privacy or data loss. The benefits include:

  • All your data, available all the time, from anywhere, on all your devices. I have a Kindle library. I can read any book, on any device. It's part of Amazon architecture.
  • Never lose another file, ever. I use Dropbox for Cloud storage. It's integrated into my folder structure. It performs a backup (syncing) in the background, continuously. Eliminates the need for a separate file backup system.
  • Collaboration is much simpler with the Cloud. You can share a file or an entire folder with members of your team. 
  • Storing your data in the cloud eliminates the need to track duplicate copies of your file. 

Two years ago I moved all my files to the Cloud. In my experience, not only does the Cloud have a silver lining; if you are ready for a unified information strategy, it's golden.


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