Stop what you are doing! Take the pulse on your personal brand, today. It’s fast and painless. Add up all the No’s and then total them. If your total higher than 2 you’ve got some work to do. Earned a low score, below 2, Go Celebrate!
These tips were part of a talk I gave this morning at the Southeastern Entrepreneur Conference. Thank you University of Tampa Entrepreneurship Center for hosting such as awesome event. For a copy of the PowerPoint scroll down and download. Got a question? Post a comment and I’ll do my best to address it.
6 questions every professional to answer with Yes!
1) Have you secured your full name as a URL? (Like mine is Karenpost.com) YES OR NO
2) Do you Google search your name at least once a month? YES OR NO
3) Does your cell phone recording state your full name and sound professional? YES OR NO
4) Do you have a professional, one paragraph only, blurb of copy that can be used a byline after a blog post or article, or to introduce you to someone? YES OR NO
5) Is your Linkedin profile set up and 95% completed with a great head shot photo, concise content about you professionally speaking with at least three top three key words (that people would search for you with)? YES OR NO
6) Do you have a list of at least 4 adjectives that describe your professional personality? YES OR NO
7) Do reflect these adjectives in your social and offline? YES OR NO
8) When friends and professional colleagues introduce you at an event or party do they get what you actually do?
Download full presentation from 2011 SEEC.org, click on the image.
Need more ideas on expanding your market presence with publicity? Check out our Publicity Da-To list.
Last week I was in an elegant, Italian restaurant in Jeddah, Saudi with my speaking colleague, Dr. Jim Balasco. Every inch of the place was opulent, sophisticated and refined. The food presentation was a master piece and the flavors were beyond my highest expectations.
Shortly after the food arrived, the waiter returned with a gigantic pepper mill. The largest one I’ve ever seen. It was very over the top, unexpected and fun. A small touch of hugeness, an element of solid magnitude and a story that I’ve shared with at least 20 people since that night.
Years ago, I first discovered a company that specializes in big stuff. And I’m happy to report they are still delivering big stuff and their offering has gotten much bigger.
There’s a lot to be said about big things. Remember Tom Hanks in the movie big, how could you forget it. It was a bit hit.
Big stuff some is more stick-to-your-memory than small items. Sometimes big reflects a persona of confidence, sometimes even a mammoth kind of goofiness, but it’s always a memorable image.
Is there anything you can pump up in size in your brand experience? Consider these applications to increase your big brand memory effect.
1) What about when you mail a prospect and it’s packaged in a very big way?
2) Or something that you display at a trade show booth that really stands out from all the boring exhibits?
3) Why not something big in your retail shop that people want to be photographed next to?
4) What about a PR photo visual that is really super-sized? Tie in a holiday and create something enormous and then break a Guninness world record too. Like Charlie Sheen has done. To date he has earned being the highest paid actor for a sitcom, attracted the most twitter followers in faster time and I suppose biggest pathetic guy.
For more on branding, view: Brand makeovers can add new life to a business.
I’m a late night gal. Although, I do spark after my java and eggs in the mid AM and then again at 3 and again after tennis around 8 or nine. I suppose the point is we all have peak performance and high think zones. For a week, monitor your best creative juice output. What time is it? Then, if you can, plan your day accordingly. We should not fight these waves of brilliance, we should leverage them.
If nothing else, have a pad ready at your peak times and make list of ideas for marketing, blog posts, new biz prospects. Do this every day for a week. By Friday, you’ll have a bunch of powerful stuff.
And hopefully you are an entrepreneur and can decide your schedule. And if you are not, you should highly consider the jump. It’s really the most awesome place to be.
Regimes and rituals do help me stay on course. But there are others days, I am a reckless, wild, free bird and fly all over the place and still produce.
Do what works for you. If it’s not working, try something new.
If you have not read Finding Flow, you should. It’s an awesome book. All of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi books are amazing.
For more on marketing, visit our Market your biz blog.
This sediment is shared by millions of young baby boomers everywhere. While official boomers (over 76 million of us) were born between 1946-1964, I’m so not ready to hear that term, if fact it really freaks me out.
I know I’m not alone. And smart marketers understand that there is a brand new generation of boomers, just like me.
Don’t call me a senior, and don’t even remind me that I’m aging, even if I am like a nice bottle of Merlot.
I prefer something more like a middle-aged person or how about no reference to age at all, that’s even better. That’s not a lie, 51 is the middle of 100. A lot of people live that long.
So why a blog about this?
My birthday is next week. On Feb. 12th I will be 51. Yes I’m crossing the mark of the other side of the game. Ole Abe and I share the day, although he is a real senior at 201.
I don’t feel 51 and I live a young lifestyle, I play tennis 4 times a week, I watch music videos, love Linken Park, Train and Katy Perry, shop at Forever 21 and occasionally drink really cheap wine.
Today, the Wall Street Journal did a story on retooling boomer marketing and it caught my attention. The story covers everything from how small type faces can hurt sales to colors that won’t help you market either. But the big point is, don’t tell any of that to the young boomers.
Seniors like my mom, are cool with that Senior marketing stuff. I suppose when you hit 75, it’s like a merit badge and senior discounts are a bonus. But for people like me, marketers better be very sensitive with how they speak to me, or I’m not buying their products.
As a young boomer, I’m famously demanding, independent and rebellious. I’m health-conscious, I text daily, tweet sometimes hourly, don’t have gray hair (thank you Clairol®) and my eyes were bad when I was 30.
So marketers, please don’t use models that look like my parents to get my attention, don’t assume I won’t try new things and do know that I’m fit, not fat and child proof containers always pissed me off.
And AARP, I have enough magazines, so why not save a tree and your postage and just chill for a few years.
For more on aging, check out: Who said interns have to be young?
The TV broadcast industry does it with news scoop.
Tabloid papers do it with rumors of dirt.
Email marketers do it with headlines.
Flirty people do it with compliments.
Online marketers do it with time sensitive offers.
And dancers do it with a boa.
They all give you just enough to peek your interest, get your attention and then hook you in for more.
Now bloggers like me are doing it.
The next 5 days are going to be really big.
Some of the best blogging I’ve ever done. Check back and you’ll get some never before shared secrets, the skinny on this years Super Bowl commercials, full details on my next book with a major publisher and why I’m going to the Middle East.
Stay tuned. I won’t disappoint you.
For more on conquering customers, view: 3 free ways to help connect buyers to your business.
Friday evening I went to the opera in St. Petersburg, Florida at The Palladium. The Palladium is a gem, full of charm and historic architecture. The theater was built in 1925 as a church and later transformed into a community performing arts venue now run by the St. Petersburg College.
The opera was Verdi Rigoletto, a story of love, passion, betrayal, revenge and tragedy.
I love opera. It’s so intense. The majestic voices, the opulent costumes, the suspenseful drama, the entire experience is artistic and emotional.
The Palladium, compared to other rooms I’ve been to, is very small for an opera. Yet the characters and the behind the scenes team delivered the same incredible rush of entertainment value as the big opera houses in New York, London and Houston.
The evening and performance exceeded my expectations by 10 fold. The cast and orchestra had the talent which is certainly vital part of the experience, but supporting their theater and musical skills was a well executed package of equally as dramatic and very scaled-up visual components.
Scaled-up is important strategy beyond an operatic performance. It applies to brands, our stories and the experience we all deliver to our buyers.
Here’s how the production of Rigoletto did it, creating a moving, memorable experience that will be treasured for a long time with the audience.
- They used the full space (left to right, top to bottom) to project massive black and white images behind the stage. They were big and bold and transformed the mood of the room instantly.
- The costumes were also scaled-up, exaggerated and all toned in a consistent palate of black and white with a splash of subliminal blood red preceding the tragic ending.
- The scenery was also scaled-up, over-sized and poignant. And of course, the volume and magnitude of their voices was thundering even in the most peaceful scenes.
Think about how you can scale-up some elements in your experience to make a grander impact and more lasting memories. These ideas can work in office lobbies, retail and hospitality businesses.
1) Enlarge your wall graphic communications.
Dinky art or framed publicity on big walls, often says small potato. Big impressions can imply confidence and that success lives here.
2) Add a high tech aspect to your messaging.
Projected images can be applied to entry ways, ceiling and floors. Incorporating technology can say innovation, creative thinkers, that’s us.
3) Introduce props to an environment and showcase them.
An over-sized product model, a character or even your logo – as a dimensional item can be a powerful aspect of the experience.
4) Garb your team with a strategic uniform or dress code.
Apple computer’s retail staffers all have a common look, that says: hip and creative, to a cosmetic company that sports hot pink lab coats to project a scientific/fashion image, to the Geek Squad’s special agent cool, nerd attire.
What’s your next act?
For more up-scale elements, view: The 5th element to a successful marketing mix.
My wish list for the Branding Diva is fairly simple: make my projected profit numbers, live a high standard life, beat most of my opponents in tennis, have fun, stay healthy and earn the #1 organic search result on Google. The first five I mastered and was not surprised. The last one (a pleasant surprise) happened this last quarter.
I earned the #1 spot in Google results under Branding Speaker.
So how did I do that?
I did not invest any money with an SEO specialist or ranking company.
I did not call Google and beg.
I did not do the search result dance around a bonfire.
Here’s what I did.
The 10 steps that got me the #1 listing on Google for Branding Speaker.
- I did my own keyword research.
- I added as many of these keywords into my web copy as I could.
- I updated my meta tags.
- I secured my URL for more than three years.
- I tagged all my images with ALT tags.
- I wrote relevant keyword content and posted it everywhere, creating links back to my site.
- I set up and tagged all of my videos on YouTube which is owned by Google.
- I repurposed every piece of content I ever wrote and posted it everywhere.
- I set up all of my social media that link to my site.
- I set up RSS feeds on my site.
If it worked for me, it can work for you. Good luck!
For more on how to get search results, view: Making history in Saudi and 5 lessons from the experience.
This weekend was full, but not with all my favorite things. Friday night I celebrated a girlfriend’s birthday and went to a swanky steak place, consumed caviar, nice wine and had a good time. Saturday AM, I had a league tennis match and before I even got there, I was convinced I was going to get beat. My opponent had the reputation of being over skilled in our group and had beaten everyone. To my total surprise, I played my best tennis and beat her. Pretty cool.
That afternoon I had marked out time to work on my book proposal. My proposal has been finished for months and my agent has been working the field, pitching away. I’ve gotten two bites back and a request based on a the publisher’s feedback. Simple enough, right? Starting point, feedback, tweak up and send back. A nice orderly way to manage my Saturday. Well it didn’t quite look like that. By 6PM I had transformed into a non thinking, sleepy, procrastinating zombie. Then stress was entering my head because I knew I also had other things to do before Monday. I was making no progress on anything. My conclusion: I needed some new black shoes. So I hit the stores. Nothing called out and said “Buy me, Buy me”. Another thought entered my mind, Sushi and Saki – now there’s a nice combination! And I have my notebook and file with me. I’ll eat, drink and work. Well I did the first two, drove home and passed out. Missed Saturday night live, damn it!
Sunday morning arrives along with a mammoth, too much, Saki headache from the night before. For the next few hours I scribbled nonsense, napped, had a nightmare, watched football and procrastinated even more. This was so unlike me. The weekends are my best creative output time. I’m usually a machine.
My logical alias checked in. He whispered, “You are scared, Karen. Scared you may come up with a brilliant new twist for the book proposal, the publisher will hire you and then you will have a giant deadline. Or you won’t come up with JACK and you’ll get rejected.” It’s all bad. So is drinking poison, which was not even on the list and just as unlikely.
It’s 4:15 and my local Tampa Bay Bucs are playing on the radio. TV was blacked out. That makes my cranky too. But, I can burn through another couple hours of fear and fuel my procrastination even more.
It’s past 8pm, the Bucs lost 28, 24 and I have not written one darn word or even had a half of a thought of genius. It’s cat nap time, again. I set my iphone for 20 minutes. I will rest, from all the hard labor I did today, wake up and then write.
I opened my computer and within a couple of hours, drafted a discussion document about an expanded approach to my book proposal, wrote a short blog, sent 10 new business emails out for speaking gigs and went to bed. Phew, got through it! It should not have been so painful. I suppose next time my brain freezes I will go exercise, that usually works well for me, but this weekend my funk wasn’t liking much exercise other than looking for the remote control.
Today I feel like new person, maybe because the document was off my plate for a few days. I was venting to one my colleagues about my brain freeze and procrastination, guilt and stress and she sent me this excellent article on high-level creative thinking. It’s worth the read and I will try the advice next weekend. Thank you Lauren!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this on going challenge I had this weekend. What’s your story?
Being seen, talked about and featured in the media can certainly add to your brand buzz and success. This visibility can attract customers, superstar employees and even catch the eye of a choice joint venture partner. I’m a news and magazine junkie. I clip stuff daily that I find interesting, throw it in my cool ideas pile and then, over the thanksgiving, thought it was time to share with my fellow Oddpodz. So here are some of my favorite finds to help you increase your venture’s visibility.
1) Four wheels & style to burn.
How you can hit the road with a branded vehicle score publicity, create a tweet trail and always be on the move finding new customers.
2) Logos and license plates.
Many states are now offering custom branded auto plates to further brand your biz.
3) How to break a record and get in Guinness World Record Book.
Every week we see some company or person all over the news because they break a world record. The biggest something, the longest this, the first that, here’s how they do it.
4) Can guilt get you more customers and attention?
Think you need to shell out more product info or some financial reward to lure the non-believers? Think again. Get into their heads with a little old fashion guilt and they will follow.
5) Time sensitive, limited supply or an exclusive offer can be the ticket to a whole lot of buzz. Just ask any McRib junkie.
Every year it returns. That weird culinary pork and sauce thing called a McRib and then before you know it, it’s gone. This catch me while you can strategy has proven to be a big hit for the global burger joint. What can you offer your loyal customers with the same sense of urgency and maybe even a product tracker website for the truly addicted?
In January, I decided to make 2010 my fittest year ever. So far, so good. I made a plan, stuck to it and have seen results. I have been hitting the gym, running, logging one hundred plus miles on my bike every week and I have been participating in road races. I will be thinking about goals for 2011 soon. A scenario that played out during my fitness quest made me think about marketing planning for the coming year.
I recently won a $100 gift certificate to a local merchant who sponsored one of the events I’d entered. I had frequented this establishment once or twice, but, I was loyal to a competitor. I was looking forward to picking up some new workout gear and, perhaps, being convinced to change my loyalty. If I had a good buying experience, I might have been swayed since this store is walking distance from my house and my “favorite” store is a twenty minute drive. Here’s what happened.
I walked into the store and started to browse. An employee, or was it the owner? approached and asked if I needed any help. I smiled and said, “no thanks. I am just looking. I came by to use the $100 certificate I won in the raffle at the race that you sponsored!” He looked at me with an expression of disdain, groaned and went back to another part of the store.
Did I feel compelled to spend more than the $100? No. Did I feel welcomed? No. Did I want to grab a bunch of stuff and leave as quickly as possible and tell a bunch of people how obnoxious I though the salespeople were? Yes.
I collected my $97 worth of merchandise, checked out and left wondering why they bothered to offer the gift certificate. Clearly, they did not want to gain a new customer, or they would have acted like it once they got the new customer in the door. Perhaps they hoped that most would not be cashed in since the bulk of participants for this race came from out of town, but they would get some name recognition as a sponsor? Only they know.
Anyone who is in business would always like more customers, and there are lots of ways to achieve that goal. The last quarter of the year is usually the time when we review how we did this year and start thinking about our marketing plan for next year. While you are putting together your strategies and tactics, ask yourself the following questions.
1. Do I really know my brand? If you were to describe your brand to a complete stranger, would you be able to express the core of your business in a sentence? Would it be memorable and unique or would it sound like you were describing one of your competitors? You need to have a laser focused, crystal clear vision of your brand before you can engage in any marketing activity.
2. Do I know my customers? Do you have a good customer database? Do you know who your best customers are and why they decide to buy from you? Do you know their buying habits? Do you know enough about them to be able to provide them with a solution to a problem before they come to you with it? The only way to build deep relationships and a solid repeat customer base is to be able to have answers to these questions.
3. Do I know what I am selling? This is similar to your overarching brand strategy, but specifically, what are you offering to the market place. Do you know the practical, as well as emotional benefits of your product or service?
4. Do I know what my customers are buying? Similar to the preceding question. Do you know both the practical and emotional benefits your customers are seeking? Are they aligned, or is there a gap? Make sure that they are one in the same before you start any marketing communications. This will require some customer research which you can conduct on your own. You can have conversations with your customers, you can use free polling software on your website or you can start a discussion on your blog or your Facebook page. You can also monitor conversations on line, search Twitter and find out what people are saying. Be creative in your data collection. Also, be transparent. People will be willing to talk to you if you tell them why you are seeking information.
5. Do I know my customers buying habits? Where do they interact with your company? At a store? At your store? Online? You need to know the where they are and how they buy in order to get the most impact from your marketing efforts.
6. Do I know who my competition is? Once you know thyself, you need to be aware of all the other firms that will be vying for your customers’ attention and dollars. You should be aware of their market positioning and marketing and sales strategies, as well as how they are perceived in the marketplace. Knowing this will help you differentiate yourself. See number 1.
7. Am I aware of my growth? Are you keeping tabs on things such as sales and market share so that you can measure results? You can’t measure that which you don’t track. It doesn’t require sophisticated software. You can build a simple excel worksheet and keep track of a few metrics. If you have a website, Google Analytics has a heap of free tools that you can use to track traffic, referrals, time spent by visitors, and which pages are the most captivating.
8. Do all of my employees know what our brand is? You can do all the brilliant marketing in the world, but if one of your touchpoints is off, you’ve lost credibility. Marketing may be a department, but everyone in the organization needs to know, live and breathe the brand.
9. What are my goals for marketing dollars spent? As in the example I cited above, the sporting goods shop might not have thought through their promotion. Did they just want their name on an event? Were they interested in new customers? They got a new customer in the store, but they certainly didn’t retain them. They should have had some sort of informal plan as to how to treat that new customer, or any new customer. Essentially, it all goes back to branding. If that company had made customer service a core brand value, I would likely still be shopping there. Do you know the difference between actions that will cause a splash or temporary spike versus those that will create customer retention and loyalty?
10. Do I know what it costs to get a new customer? To retain an old one? Every marketing text book will tell you that it is cheaper to retain customers than to get new ones. Do you know the costs? Do you do things to retain the group that is cheaper to keep? There are some banks and other businesses that offer discounted rates to new customers. As an established customer, those kinds of tactics irk me since all I seem to get are mystery charges every month that I have to spend time on the phone getting resolved and removed from my bill.
11. Have I kept track of what works? Looking back over the year(s), do you know what has worked? Do you know what has been a real stink bomb. Can you build off successful tactics in the past while developing new, creative strategies?
12. Am I willing to take some risks? That answer has to be yes. Carve out part of your marketing budget and your brain space to allow yourself to try something new and different. The only thing you are allowed to do if it doesn’t work is say, “that didn’t work, we won’t do that again, but we will take another risk.”
If you need help nailing down #1 on this list, you might find the Differentiate Your Product or Service Ta-Do List helpful. http://tools.oddpodz.com/ebooks-and-downloadable-tools/ta-do-lists/differentiate-your-business-product-or-services/