As outlined in my recent book, Brand Turnaround, through which I tell the stories of more than 75 brands, Game Changers are key concepts to brand transformation. If you’ve been following my article series on turnaround, you will recall that I’ve introduced you to six Game Changers: Take Responsibility, Never Give Up, Lead Strong, Stay Relevant, Keep Improving and Build Equity. In addition to these six, there is one last Game Changer—Own Your Distinction. And, for many brands, this is one of the most important strategies of them all.
In taking ownership of your brand distinction, your marketing dollars will be more effective because your investments link your product in consumers’ minds to recognizable and memorable proprietary tangible and intangible assets and attributes.
Brand distinction is defined as what makes you unique. It can stem from your offering, processes, packaging, persona or experiences but, in most cases, it comes from a combination of many. Once you’ve established distinction and own the turf associated with it, your brand increases in strength and is portrayed by consumers as an identifiable and memorable entity.
Distinction alone will not bring your brand back from a shake-up. The other Game Changers need to be addressed too. Your set of distinguishing factors need not only be uniquely yours but perceived as value-add and relevant to the market you are targeting. Once achieved, you will be in a better place to start your brand recovery, rebuilding your credibility, trust and authority in consumers’ minds.
Assess your brand’s level of distinction by answering these seven questions:
• Does your brand provide real substantive differences that are important to the customer?
• Does your brand provide convincing proof of these differences?
• Can you easily articulate your brand’s differences?
• Do your employees exemplify the brand differences through word and deed?
• Relative to the price difference, does your brand deliver substantially more value than does your best competitor?
• Does your messaging and communication exemplify your brand differences?
• Is your brand distinction easy to copy or are the barriers of entry strong?
While these questions serve as a good starting point to establish your brand distinction, there are some other things you need to do. You must demonstrate a great level of courage, display long-term commitment over short-term results and create an integrated brand messaging campaign. These things will help your brand to stand out among competitors and can also permeate to wide-ranging consumer touchpoints.
Ultimately you want to create your own exclusive formula whose components result in individuality. For example, Geek Squad, one of the cases in my book Brand Turnaround, did this through the use of humor, harmony, helpfulness and availability. Add to that, unique packaging, and a brand-centric culture that plays through the brand story and work environment, brand reach and communication, and you have a highly regarded brand.
Other brands that I admire and examine in my book who have established a strong distinctive market position include SunChips, Fizzies and Pee-wee Herman. These three brands not only established themselves as distinct as Geek Squad, but they also faced significant turmoil and brand bumps yet managed to bounce back due in large part to their unique and distinct brand story.
Whether your distinction is by being the “healthy” or “green” brand choice (as SunChips is), an innovative brand offering consumers experience through its use and a unique delivery system to accompany the product (as Fizzies is) or simply a very unique character persona (as Pee-wee Herman is), execute on a platform that you can own—one that has legs and that your competitors can’t copy.
If your brand manufactures baby food, you will have a far different formula of distinction than a brand selling tattoo ink. Clearly the two targets have distinct demographics and value systems. The method of standing out and sticking in the minds of the buyer should be as unique as they are.
Distinction planning involves two parts, first identifying your opportunities for difference (e.g., brand niches, personality, look and feel, physical size and stature, campaigns, pricing, delivery methods, locations, materials or brand stories) then you must own your distinction by articulating what makes you different, creating patterns of credible proof in all your touch points, translating your distinction to market segments within your fan base and leveraging symbols and messages in both internal and public communications.
Being distinct takes courage and commitment. While no one Game Changer will ensure your brand immunity to a shake-up, the combination of all seven will help contribute to your bounce back in the event you find yourself in choppy waters.
This article is based on content from Karen Post’s latest book, Brand Turnaround (McGraw-Hill).
For years appearing in the Wall Street Journal has been a dream of mine. The Wall Street Journal is my all-time favorite publication to read. To me it is the “businessperson’s must read” to be in the know of what ’s going is in the world and in business.
The dream came true this week! I was quoted on a front page story in the Wall Street Journal about Naked Communities Seeking Corporate Sponsors and they mentioned my book title, Brand Turnaround: How Brands Gone Bad Returned to Glory and the 7 Game Changers that Made the Difference, too!
I have been fortunate, in the past 12 years of being a branding writer, speaker and consultant, I have appeared in over 300 news outlets around the world from the New York Times to Forbes to Bloomberg TV to Fox News, and now the Wall Street Journal. So does this media ink and exposure really impact the bottom line? And how can you get your “piece of the press mention pie“?
Does media exposure impact the bottom line?
For me it does. Publicity has aided me in earning thousands of dollars and many opportunities. And it comes from these 5 distinct marketing objectives.
Media exposure adds evidence of 3rd party credibility. This helps to position the brand, in this case me, The Branding Diva®, as an authority in my field.
Media exposure puts the brand name in front of potential buyers. The Wall Street Journal alone has a global audience of over 3.5 million daily readers.
Long-term SER (search engine results)
Publicity is indexed in all of the major search engines. One great article has lasting positive influence on a brand’s organic results.
Every time I’m featured in the news, and they mention one of my books, I get a sales bump.
Throughout the years, some of my biggest speaking gigs have come from buyers seeing me in the news.
How do you get your share of media exposure?
1) Position your brand as an authority.
You should have opinions, share success cases about your topics, write books, reports and articles.
2) Be easy to find.
Most reporters find their sources from internet searches around the subject they are covering. Invest in search engine results by optimizing your online content, having an active social media footprint and securing credible links back to your sites. For the past couple years, I’ve ranked on page one under branding expert and branding speaking. This is the result of strategic blog writing, content seeding and key word research.
3) When you get called, be an amazing resource.
When reporters or producers are working on a story they are usually on tight deadline. So, when they reach out, reply ASAP. I was in a conference when the WSJ reporter contacted me. Within minutes I acknowledged her email and made it fast and easy to schedule a time to chat. I also listened to her goals before I started ranting on about my views. In most cases, I’ll ask for questions before I do an interview so I can do my homework. Being helpful will build a long-term relationship with a reporter, so they will call you back for other stories. They will share your name with their colleagues. Beyond my commentary, I will also go out of my way to provide them with other resources to make their job easier. Think sound bites! Before I do an interview I prepare an index card with simple message points and short phrases.
4) Understand the game.
Publicity is not like paid advertising. You can not read it before it runs. You do not get to control the story. You may spend hours talking to a reporter then get cut out of the final piece or they may misquote you or even spell your name wrong. That’s show business. You can do to reduce your odds of these things happening by being a smart resource and by providing interesting commentary. Try to send your points in writing as this can reduce any misinterpretation and always provide an email of your preferred title. There is no guarantee here, but I have found providing clear information usually gets better results.
For a complete guide on how to earn press and publicity to help your brand, check out my Publicity Ta-Do List.
Now that I’ve got your attention, I love metaphors and feeling naked is a common one for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
The naked pitch and how to appear fully garbed.
Since the early days of my professional career I’ve been naked and unequipped many times with industry knowledge, experience and even skill sets, but that did not stop me from scoring new business and ultimately contributing to a client’s success.
In fact, the first piece of business I landed over 30 years ago that launched my career in marketing and branding was when I was totally naked of qualifications, credentials or formal education.
That’s right, I was hired over several other individuals who had a history of not only marketing and branding expertise, but they had specific business sector experience too. I did this by shifting the focus of the presentation to what I did have and not what I lacked.
Five specific tips for winning business when you are competing against bigger and more experienced firms or professionals.
1) Project professionalism on all touch points.
Looking professional frames your value as thorough, thoughtful and competent. All details matter, from how you dress to what your business card, web presence and even social media content and photo look like.
2) Demonstrate evidence of success.
This means leverage every opportunity where third parties confirm that you know your stuff and can be counted on. This can range from highlighting media coverage to posting testimonials from industry peers and customers on your marketing materials and social media profiles.
3) Attitude aces everything.
Communicating a can do mind-set with confidence and a peaceful composure are critical to any relationship building process. Most business decisions have a risk evaluation factor in the decision formula. If a prospect really likes you, trusts you and believes you won’t make them look bad, you’ll earn points that weigh in more than specific experience. Posture, choice of active words, (like I recommend, I believe and I am confident that) and a firm handshake can make a big difference in how the prospect perceives you.
4) Highlight strengths.
Being resourceful, organized and creative are a few of my top strengths. When I’m pitching anything, I cite examples where these attributes have brought other clients faster and better results.
5) Draw comparisons.
Tell prospects about other projects that had similar challenges to theirs and how you cracked the code and produced results. Common points of pain, customer profiles or even channels used can help reduce a prospect’s doubt concerning your abilities to get the job done.
Another side of naked.
Ian Percy, http://ianpercy.com a fellow business speaker recently shared “Why we like to get naked”.
Researchers at Harvard have gotten to the bottom of why so many of us are compelled to share our every thought, movement, like and want through media such as Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram and Pinterest.
In a series of experiments, the researchers found that the act of disclosing information about oneself activates the same sensation of pleasure in the brain that we get from eating food, getting money, or having sex. It’s all a matter of degrees, of course (talking about yourself isn’t quite as pleasurable as sex for most of us), but the science makes it clear that our brain considers self-disclosure to be a rewarding experience.
Of course what your self-disclosing nakedness does for the onlooker is a totally different issue!
Either way being a bit naked or exchanging news about your every move can be a rewarding experience.
Need more naked? Just stumbled upon a good article to help earn SEO by being naked with Google too.
You’ve experienced a brand earthquake. A recession hit. Your once-successful retail company was forced to declare bankruptcy. Everything around you has crumbled, your credit has been destroyed and all that was once working for you and familiar to you is now gone, including most of your customers.
But suddenly, after a year of reorganization, legal battles and a production freeze, you have new investors. And you’re in charge of leading the brand turnaround—introducing the new face to a 30-year-old store brand.
For a shaken brand that has lost its core buyers, the goal is to find the new and former buyers who will forgive and forget past missteps and love the brand like it was loved once before.
To bring your brand back to its glory days, you’ll need to create new brand momentum, excitement and desire. All while resources are still tight and you have the giant task of changing tarnished perceptions about the old brand.
In my recent book, Brand Turnaround, I take readers through the journeys of more than 75 brands, exploring how they managed to bounce back from blunders and turn themselves around. Along the way, I identify what I call Game Changers—seven key concepts to brand transformation. Staying relevant is one of these Game Changers.
Staying relevant means to:
- Solve complex problems with simple answers.
- Keep eyes and ears on the market, watch trends, converse and listen.
- Walk in the shoes of stakeholders, whether customers, employees, investors, vendors or even critics.
- Understand the buyers’ value system.
- Identify strong segments of the top buyers’ base.
- Don’t want to or attempt to please everyone.
- Be fluid and flexible.
- Be able to detach to the past if it’s not working today.
Especially, when a brand is emerging from a dark space, it’s temping to want everyone to love you. No retailer or any business wants to miss a sale, but that’s the kiss of death in brand turnaround. If you try to be everything to everyone, you will end up being nothing to a lot of people.
As a brand leader you must focus on the most meaningful aspects of your brand—the ones that make buyers loyal, make them love the brand and want to tell their friends about it.
The very essence of brand relevance is
- The magnet that attracts new buyers and attention.
- The connection to common values and concerns.
- A relationship to exchange shared interests.
- A two-way dialogue that demonstrates that you care (you can do this by educating buyers, treating them well and never forgetting them).
- The application of your brand to their world and its needs.
- A clear message that convincingly tells buyers what’s “in it for them.”
Follow these steps, and you’re on your way to being a relevant, turnaround brand of choice.
1) Gain insight.
Identify and understand who your top customers are
This may require conducting research. In the long run, it will be a worthy investment. Your goal is to identify the customers who have the most influence with others like them, who will recommend you often, who will be repeat spenders and whose lifetime value to the business is the greatest.
You can’t please everyone. Go for your core buyers, those who matter most. I’m a strong believer that 80% of your best business comes from 20% of your market. Use segmented, strategic communications and relationship-building programs to get your core target buyers back on board with your brand.
Next you must understand what matters to these top customers and prospects, not what matters to you or your marketing department
To do this you must study buying trends, ask questions, identify common values that provide emotional satisfaction and also set up multiple dialogue channels for two-way conversations about your store, its products and the buying experience.
2) Innovate—with new solutions, recycled ideas, a mix of both.
Providing buyers with first and fresh answers to their needs and challenges not only positions you as a problem solver and savior, but it opens up many opportunities for brand exposure in the media, word of mouth and social networks.
3) Add extra value to your offerings.
Increasing the value you offer can be the difference in a buyer selecting you over one of competitors. Whether this is a tangible or intangible item, improving with more and relevant offerings count.
4) Deliver an amazing experience.
The customer experience is a three-point opportunity to be relevant. Consider the touch points before they buy, at the time of transaction and after the purchase. Include visuals whose look and feel go along with operational ones.
5) Listen and communicate.
Building brands is no longer a one-way monologue from the company. Today all brands, especially those in turnaround mode, must listen a lot and then communicate in ways that your buyers prefer. Two of the most powerful tools available to big and small companies are social media and live observations with customers. This means get social, participate in high-traffic social networks in a conversational way and pay close attention to what happens with customers and your team in the store and in other venues.
6) Stay flexible and current with economic and societal changes. This means embracing change.
Maybe you were a niche retailer at your peak. No one else offered merchandise with quite the same essence as you. But during your time out of production, other companies popped up and attempted to cash in on your niche market. You’re no longer as unique as you were before. What now?
Finding relevance doesn’t automatically guarantee sustaining relevance. At any moment, your brand could begin to lose it.
These things often happen:
- Brands grow, and with that comes bigger marketing departments, more audiences to cater to and larger committees to appease. Suddenly brand relevance is so watered down that it’s not serving the brand base or producing the outcome that everyone wants.
- Brand leaders can’t see the big picture because they are caught up in the details. They don’t recognize the problem because they are relying on old ways of researching and thinking.
- Brand leaders are reluctant to push out into new categories that they create, can own and rule for fear of failure.
At the end of the day, ask yourself: is your brand relevant? Is it clear on what’s in it for the customer and does it bring a high level of emotional satisfaction?
This article is based on content from Karen Post’s latest book Brand Turnaround (McGraw-Hill 2011).
My friends and business colleagues often ask me, “How do you constantly produce so much stuff, ideas, stories, images, books, products and speeches?!”. The answer is simple. I consume this delicious cocktail, straight up daily, which let’s me get more done and have more fun!
Start with ample sleep, for me it’s 8 hours.
Eat often, at least five small meals with protein daily.
Set accountable goals, daily (one or two is fine).
Meditate and do deep breathing, even if it’s 5 minutes.
Pay attention to what you experience.
Hang out with people smarter than you.
Exercise, for me it’s tennis.
Read, books, labels, faces, bumper stickers, the WSJ.
Journal good ideas.
Ask questions that feel stupid.
Whip through magazines, daily (notice headlines, photos and ads).
Limit hard problem solving to two-hour sessions at a time, break for food, fun or exploring.
Watch spectacular performances.
Observe super successful people.
Push yourself 20% more than your comfort zone welcomes.
Enjoy the fruits of your production.
Time to reinvent? Jumpstart your business or your career with this simple, easy to follow Reinventing you Ta-Do list.
This past weekend I attended the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. This show hosts over 100,000 attendees from over 100 countries.
The mix included suppliers, restaurateurs, the media and entrepreneurs, like myself, hoping to tap into this lucrative 600 billion market. For the past year I’ve been building restaurantbrandingroadmap, an e-learning product, a web site and business that serves up marketing and branding help to this niche market of independent restaurateurs. I hope to launch the first product within the next 60 days. To date I have built a membership model website and a robust blog. At the same time I’ve been aggressively building a base of future buyers and fans via twitter, Facebook and my opt-in community. Part of my growth strategy is to get into the minds of my market, so I can better deliver on their unmet needs and to build a network of restaurant product and service providers that I can partner with to accelerate the project and monetize my efforts.
Attending any large tradeshow is a significant investment for a small company. To attend this show, I will spend about $3,000. before time costs. This covers travel expenses for two, show attendance fees, special business cards I printed that promote the restaurant product and an online subscription to watch the Tampa Bay Rays TV on my laptop so I don’t miss a game
A show this size can be overwhelming without a good game plan. So Lauren (My Chief Problem Solver) and I came up with ours to ensure a healthy ROI at the show.
1.) Before you go, set your accountable goals and your action plan to achieve them.
- For us it meant taking home 500 new contacts.
- Discover at least 10 promo partners.
- Make 5 media contacts.
- Identify at least 50 resources for content.
- Learn at least 20 new marketing ideas.
2.) Print something that you can hand out that speaks to why you are at the show.
For us, in addition to our Brain Tattoo Branding Business cards, we printed special cards that included our restaurant product, site and social media addresses.
3.) Identify targeted companies you want to meet and schedule your day.
4.) If you go with a colleague like I did, don’t hang out together all the time. Don’t sit next to each other at a session or on the shuttle. You can cover twice as much ground if you both go different ways.
5.) Don’t wait to get home to sort out your hot new contacts and ideas. Take action while stuff is fresh on your mind. Organize your thoughts and leads, contact your new friends in social media right away. The next morning we already had traction from our new contacts on our site and social media accounts.
6.) Take pictures and keep good notes of your journey, the people you meet and new resources. These pics will not only give you follow up material for your new contacts, they can be seeded in social media and in your blog.
7.) Stay focused on who you want to meet. This show had over 1800 exhibits, only about 20% mattered to me concerning business goals. Don’t forget your mission.
8.) Look professional, but dress comfortably. I usually wear my red glasses and some creative jacket or outfit. This seems to be a magnet for conversation and strangers get the vibe I’m a creative thinker.
9.) If you say you are going to follow up with someone after the show, do it! This is part of your brand. Keeping your promises.
10.) Stay at a cool hotel. The likelihood of meeting cool people will increase. We stayed at the Sax. I love this place, it’s hip, has good energy and is in the heart of lots of interesting and fun places. The House of Blues is next door.
11) Bring a ton of business cards, if there are 100,000 people at the show you you can easily burn through 1,000 cards.
12) Make sure you have downloaded all the apps to help you be productive.
-For us this was a QR scanner on your smart phone., so you can bookmark cool things. Many booths used this digital tool.
-Instagram to take and share photos.
-The NRAshow app to view the schedule and map layout quickly.
If you are interested in restaurant or hospitality branding, do check out my other blog. There will lots of great new posts concerning this exciting industry.
Confidence is a condition you manifest when you do things with competence. Self-esteem is a belief level you buy into about yourself, when you’re not doing anything at all. To enjoy a great life and a rich business or career, they are both needed to be mastered.
I consider myself an emotionally healthy person. I also know that I can always improve myself. I’m interested in learning things that can make me more effective with my business, my personal relationships and things that provide me with a more fulfilled life.
Back in January Alan Weiss, a coach and mentor of mine for the past decade, offered a one-day workshop on self-esteem. Alan is known as the million dollar consultant. He’s authored over 40 books, works all over the world and has guided me on many business projects. His Self-Esteem Workshop was $2,500 and limited to 6 people in every workshop, it was sold out until April.
There’s no debate here, lower than peak self-esteem is bad for business. If you are a start-up, it can make the difference in you raising needed funds. If you are a growing business it can cost you new clients. If you are employed it can stump your advancement. In all cases, low self-esteem enables price, valuation, compensation discounting and costly over-giving of goods and services too.
I attended Alan’s workshop this past week in Warwick, RI to help take my business to a higher level. It was an excellent investment in time and money.
Consistent with Alan’s tough-love style of coaching, the workshop wasn’t hoo-rah-rah at all. There was no flood of compliments or achievement praised. There were a lot of open and candid discussions about where human doubt and questionable self-worth comes from and how to dump the debris that brings down anyone’s esteem level.
Before the workshop, I knew the root of many of my green monster issues, but after spending the day with Alan and a great group of other highly-accomplished consultants, I better understood how to re-frame the past, dump the garage and power forward with a stronger direction and intent. I also learned a lot about how to sustain high self-worth in the most challenging of situations.
The three biggest take-a-ways for me were:
1) The perfect self-esteem cocktail is 1-part listen to others (that you request, unsolicited feedback is useless) and 3-parts listen to yourself.
This means accept feedback from qualified givers, not others who have some axe to grind or bigger issues than yourself.
2) Having an accurate feedback grading system is key.
Many of the most damaging and negative beliefs that imprint adult self-doubt comes from our parents because as children, they were our primary authoritative figures. This dominating influence can apply to professional settings too. This does not make either of them right. Use realistic measures to evaluate criticism.
3) Positive reinforcing environments and relationships are critical, not optional.
Birds of a feather flock together. A scrappy nest is not where you want to be. Hang with other highly-esteemed people and make sure your work space is empowering and inspirational. If it’s not, change it.
Alan Weiss is not for everyone. He’s not inexpensive, his content is not sappy and sugar-coated. If you are serious about taking your business to the next level, I’d look at some of his offerings. If nothing else, sign up for his weekly newsletter, it’s free and one of the best things I read and enjoy every week.
In closing, here’s another good article on the subject on of self-worth. It’s written by one of my favorite tweeters @yourpocketguru, follow him and me @brandingdiva on Twitter for some short gems of insight on a all kinds of topics.
So many books, so little time to read. The next 4 titles I’ve read, I loved, I recommend. They cover marketing, branding, the human condition and how to stay competitive.
Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun
Loaned to me by another speaker, I laughed out loud for several nights while reading this book. It’s a gem. Whether you do presentations as part of your job or you are a paid professional speaker, this book is raw, funny and a valuable resource.
Why it’s worth the read
- It’s a fast fuel to improve your speaking, around 200 pages.
- I love snarky humor, its got lots of it.
- It provides simple, actionable how to’s.
- It’s real. Scott has been around.
Provides applicable checklists.
Interesting science about attention, human fear and communication.
Biggest take away for me
Preparation and practice are the magic moves to home run speeches. Period.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
I’m an Apple addict. I’ve been one since my first computer in 1983. So I really connected with this book, feeling like it was part of my personal and business growth. It’s a big book, almost 600 pages. Most importantly I related to how a college dropout, who lives a Zen life and had a very quirky, intense, odd personality with bouts of distorted reality could end up being a such legend and leader in global business and life changing technologies.
Why I’ve given it a glowing report
- It’s inspiration on steroids.
- It proves you can be a little weird and succeed.
- It’s well written.
- It proves sticking to your standards. With Steve, extreme attention and dedication to design and doing things differently, can pay off.
Biggest take away for me
Dreams can come true and turnaround even while operating a company on death row (almost out of cash and losing millions) is possible.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Conquering Fear and Anxiety by Sharon Heller, PhD.
Everyone feels fear and anxiety, including me, the brave soul who has walked on fire, driven a Porsche around a race track at 120 miles per hour and addressed thousands of strangers on a huge stages. If you don’t battle with moments of mental craziness every blue moon, I suspect you are an alien who flew in from a planet for the day. Even history’s great leaders faced fear and anxiety. I love this quote by Winston Churchill.
“You may take the most gallant sailor, the most intrepid airman, or the most audacious soldier, put them at a table—what do you get? The sum of their fears.”
As a student of better and happy living, I’ve also been curious about stress, phobias, fear and anxiety as I have my daily share of all of them. This book has been a useful tool for me. I really like it because the format is organized in a way that after you finish the book, you can refer back to a specific section for a quick fix.
If you battle with high anxiety, this book is a must have survival resource
- Beyond ways to manage stress and mental demons, it exposes the root causes.
- Provides simple rituals that can greatly reduce nervous bouts, panic attacks and sleep disorders.
- Shares real professional people situations that I related to.
Biggest take away for me
Peak mental health, just like physical health, is a work in progress. A better understanding of human psychology, triggers and controllable external factors can accelerate one’s journey to personal and professional bliss.
Sharkonomics, How to Attack Market Leaders by Stepfan Engeseth
I recently met a new friend and marketing expert from Sweden. The new business relationship was the result of meeting and counseling a student from the University of Tampa who is also from there. I love how the planet is so small and one local connection opens up a world of new resources. After a few online chats, Stepfan sent me his latest book, which was an exhilarating read to say the least.
A contrast from the book review above on managing fear, Sharkonomics will likely spread fear in some boardrooms with just cause. Not only is the shark metaphor a very cool marketing idea, the author actually spent time in the water with these very strategic predators (sharks) and parlays this insight into meaningful business lessons and useable management methods. His premise is that nature can be smarter than business as usual. Instead of endless PowerPoints and studies, companies need to embrace a hard survival psyche.
Business can be a dangerous adventure, here’s just a few ways to make sure you are not someone’s lunch
- Strike unexpectedly.
- Hunt in packs.
- Leverage blind spots.
Biggest take away for me
Don’t get stuck in history. Keep moving. Kill with style.
Till next time, read on!
For more books reviews, click here.
Have you called yourself recently? On all of your phones? If not, it’s a fast find and fix to improving your brand impression.
How do I know this? Because I was grossly guilty of phone message neglect.
Fortunately, I have good friends who tell me the truth. Here’s a recent call I received.
“Hey Karen, Ms. Branding Diva your phone message stinks. It’s too long, you sound like you are in a tunnel under ground and teetering on having a bad day.”
She was right. This was a big disconnect from who I am and what my brand stands for. Here’s the really sad part, it’s been like that for a year, YIKES!
Five simple tips to a better telephone branded signal.
1) Be clear – Always state your full name.
2) Be brief – In our fast paced and busy world, short and to the point are best.
2) Have tone – Include some branded attitude, for me it’s energy and confidence.
3) Be current and relevant – Keep things fresh, consider changing your message with the seasons, the months or for no reason at all.
4) Provide a clear call to action – What do you want the caller to do? Leave their name and what they need? Or even better their American Express number?
5) Manage expectations – If you can’t check messages for along period of time, provide a timely route to you, request a text message or email from the caller.
Don’t ever, ever use the default, computer message. That clearly communicates nothing except you are unprofessional or so unorganized you can’t find the time to set up.
Bottom line, your phone message is often the first impression a new contact has with you. Make it a great one. And it does not hurt to make sure your visible phone and accessories are on board with your brand too. It’s all part of the personal branding package.
Still don’t have a smart phone? It’s 2012. Plus, being a tech dinosaur is no marketing edge.
And if bold styling is part of your image, consider a retro hand set (like pictured above) to plug into your iPad, iPhone or other smart phones and a cool, matching phone protector. I’ve usually sport the Branding Diva® red set —phone case, handset and fire engine hot lipstick. It’s an excellent conversation starter at coffee shops and airport lounges, after all that’s where new business often starts.
Got to go catch a call! Talk soon! Brand on!