Photo from ArtistasCafé.com website. Cause marketing is nothing new to brand builders. But this program is really special and was the deciding factor when I purchased my last automobile. Several years ago I [...]
Even on the sunniest of days there are floods of feedback forms and follow-up calls bombarding customers about their recent experiences with a brand. Just yesterday, I received seven requests from companies I do business with. Some are not too disruptive because they arrive in your email. Others can feel annoying, like pesty flies, especially when they are tied to an experience that has caused you a lot of stress -- like when your Internet goes down or your computer locks up. Next thing you know is that you are behind on your work. Not five seconds after you hang up with a technology support person whose English is not the best calls you to find out how their brand performed.
There is a growing crime that is aggravating and frustrating business communicators around the globe and unfortunately one of my companies fell victim to this slimy act. It’s called content scraping. Your content is basically copied and used on someone else’s site for their search results and credibility benefit. This can be accomplished by a lazy human who cuts and pastes your words into their site. Or it can be done with automated software, owned by equally lame people. Without lifting a finger, your branded, search engine-optimized content appears on some bogus URL or website.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper created the Ridiculist, where he features questionable news items, actions and interesting people with his signature full on snarky smile. FOX has Bill O’Reilly and his Pinheads, a noble collection of his favorite idiotic personalities doing really stupid things. This week I’m rolling out Brand Bummers, my official list of brands, people and organizations doing things that I scratch my head and go WHY?
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.
This past week, I received an email from a fellow entrepreneur. It was a notice, that after five long years, he was taking his company off the respirator and closing it down. The news was sad. I know he and his team gave it their all. I could feel his pain in the letter he sent to his customers and friends, it was as if someone had died. My friend lost more than money. His entrepreneurial soul took a traumatic hit too. It’s never easy to pull the plug on a business you started. Especially when you are an eternal optimist, which most entrepreneurs are. You cling on to hope. You believe in miracles. Your ego screams, “No freakin way can you bail and be branded a quitter”. Egos do not always give the best advice. There comes a time in business, when quitting is the wisest action to take. Postponing it will just delay your next success.
Many possess skills, talents and attributes that come easier to them than others. This stuff doesn't feel like work, and it's fun. For some it is writing, rain making, negotiating, playing sports, singing, public speaking or even solving problems. Many believe people who have these traits are considered naturals. They think gifts are included in the DNA, and are passed down when they got their set of genes. Or they are just lucky. That may be true in a few rare cases. But I'm of the opinion there are no gifts of talent, and luck is extremely over rated, too. Gifts and luck happen, when you really love something, are passionate, invest in practicing a craft and continuously developing "the whatever", they become a very natural, effortless act.
I know first hand social media can be a valuable, income generating tool. My social media efforts have landed me business (a million dollar contract in 2008), sold books and products, aided my international media presence and hooked me to important resources and new friends. Social media can provide a garden of goods that are aligned to your goals, or it can make you feel like your endless efforts produce no more than a crop of crappy connections that suck time and don't produce a worthy return on your investment. Follow these tips and your odds of success will increase.
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 are fine). + Meditate and do deep breathing, even if it's 5 minutes. + Pay attention to what you experience...
Recently I've been forgetting things. Last Friday I headed to Chicago. When I got to the ticket counter at the airport I had a flash, did I remember to pack my Apple power cord for my laptop? No, I didn't. And because I've bought so many of those silly $100 replacement cables and lost them too, I was not about to hit the road without it. So I quickly phoned up my driver to see if he could run back to my place, get it and bring it to me before my flight left. Like a champ, he said no problem. So how does a list-obsessed traveler like me forget stuff like this? By moving too fast.