Brand and branding are a part of everyday life, pop culture and even the media. It’s not uncommon to hear a journalist, a high school kid or even a seemingly out of touch, very mature [...]
I have a love hate relationship with technology. Yes, it allows us to do amazing things, fast and from virtually anywhere. It can also cause serious stress when it lets you down. As a branding speaker and business consultant, I rely on technology to present ideas and content that educates and inspires my audiences. My presentation software of choice is Power Point and while it has certainly contributed to my success, recently it made me furious. I’m a MAC user, so this issue may not apply to my PC readers. When I present talks on branding, I insert videos into my Power Point deck. I’ve been doing this for years and by clicking the start arrow button they project sound and display video beautifully.
I’m always on the hunt for cool gizmos that make my world a little better. I recently added a few to my collection and thought they may help you too. I adore my iPad. It keeps me connected and productive especially when I’m sitting idle somewhere waiting for something, my food, my drink or my next big idea. When I purchased it, I opted for the simple black case with an extended keyboard. That worked for a while until my keyboard battery seemed dead more often than I had patience to deal with. Plus, what was I thinking? That black case was boring and did not symbolize my brand style. Well I fixed that. I found the perfect lipstick red leather case at the Apple store.
I wrote this blog a couple of years ago. Today it may even be more relevant as brands and businesses look for fresh ways to stand out in a busy and noisier marketplace. If you read it the first time, I've added some new ways to stand out that are worth checking out.
Odd Fish Finish First
Imagine a big glass tank loaded up with hundreds of squirmy gold fish. Pick the one you want and in seconds you’ve lost it because they all look alike. Suddenly, behind the coral tree, from within the school of many, emerges a slim, purple and orange fish. He quickly stands out from the group, his distinctiveness apparent. He swims around with a unique confidence and a bold identity, while the others just seem to fade away.
Using video is like adding high-octane fuel to a Hennessey Venom. In case you missed it, because you blinked, this year the Hennessey Venom GT broke the world speed record at 270.49 mph at the Kennedy Space Center. “Video has been the fastest and most consistently growing medium for content marketing,” said Lori Rosen, Executive Director, Custom Content Council. Want more traction on your Website and social media channels? Add video. Branded video is sharable. It can become viral. Today everyone can use video. I recently added video to my branding tool kit. When I speak, I open every brand talk with my Branding Boogie music video. The video tells a story about boring Bob’s brand and his cry for help. This drama sets the tone for my presentation message. Boring will get you nowhere.
. . . and lives a happier and more fulfilling new life. A couple weeks ago I attended the The Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts in Tampa with my buddy, fellow motivational speaker Tami Evans. Showcasing over 300 talented artists, the event transforms a downtown Tampa park into an amazing outdoor museum. I really enjoy attending festivals where creatives not only get to show their work, but where capitalism is alive and well and the masters of this talent earn money too. And when I discover a new artist, buy a piece of their work and there is a story of a newly born entrepreneur, that’s a bonus!
The past few weeks you have likely seen the CEO of Target trying to manage the aftermath of the massive credit card hacking scandal. Not a fun situation for any brand leader. One recent interview on CNBC caught my eye. While Gregg Steinhafel was assuring customers that the company was taking the right steps to deal with the mess, a beautiful logo-patterned, red Target vase was perched on the stage behind him. Was his intention to communicate, yes this is bad, but you can still expect great design and a style edge that the big blue retailer just can't do? Using logo marks well in non traditional touch points is a great opportunity for any brand. I read an interesting story in the Wall Street Journal about the return of wearing branded apparel. The story was titled, “The Return of the Fashion Logo”. Full story click here.
All right, maybe not everyone who reads my blog or gets my ezine is guilty of this brand-busting sin but a bunch of you are. Your voice mail message, on your office phone or cell phone, is an important brand touch point. And it cost nothing more to sound impressive. This is free branding. Often those messages are the first impressions you give to a prospective client, a business colleague, a strategic partner, or a new friend. So don't even think about using the non personalized recording that comes with your phone. That's LAME with a capital 'L". So, is your message giving the best first impression? Give yourself a call. If your message is not on brand, re-record it using these tips
Tiny, fine print has a bad name and in most cases it should. When a company or brand communicates something important, pertaining to policy, it should be transparent and upfront. Instead, many companies hide important details in very small print knowing that 98% of people won’t ever read it. This is no better than whispering, “your pants are on fire” to a deaf person. It’s just not cool. Here’s the story. Three years ago, a Utah couple had a bad experience with an online retailer called Kleargear.com. After the transaction, they posted a negative review on a consumer-venting site called ripoffreport.com. They cited that the purchased item was never shipped and after numerous attempts, could not even get a customer service person to help them.
This week, I accompanied my dear friend, Pam Iorio, the former Mayor of Tampa, to the Lead & Succeed event in Tampa. If this event comes to your town, attend. For five bucks you will hear top notch business speakers and likely make some great contacts too. Pam was one of several keynote speakers and she inspired everyone, including me, to find a higher level of leadership in themselves. She shared stories about her journey in life and she talked about the three important behaviors that she sees in great leaders. 1) They don’t waste energy fretting about the competition. They focus on their own performance and improving. 2) They treat everyone with respect and make everyone feel important. 3) They don’t give self-doubt a chair at any party. While these points are pretty simple advice, if you think back to any moments of soft leadership you observed, or were a part of, they were not likely practiced.