Branding tips from the road warrior. This past year I’ve been to over 50 airports in the US. I’ve seen and experienced the good, the bad and the most disappointing. For a long time airports have merely been geographic facilities that connect people to places, events or attractions that they were headed to.
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.
“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” Salvador Dali Some days writing is effortless, fun and comes like breathing, easy and without much effort. Other days writing can be really hard. It’s like climbing the tallest mountain with no sight of the top and brutal weather beating up every inch of your soul.
Stress sucks energy out of people, then they get distracted and don't produce because they cannot focus on the stuff that makes them productive. Without productivity a professional or entrepreneur can't generate value, which converts to income and joy, which makes them really stressed. A lot of stress that we invite into our lives is preventable. But often we don't invest in small things that when you need them have a big payoff.
The last 60 days I’ve been MIA from social media. Except for a few random tweets, my social channels have been inactive. While social media is seductive, persuasive and can influence behavior and actions that impact my economy and help build my brand, I consciously opted out. WHY? My plate has been full with other branding projects, speeches and personal obligations that required my brain and bandwidth.
Vision boards – get what you want I recently attended the National Speaker Association’s mid-year conference. I took away many awesome ideas about branding, presentation skills and new technology. My biggest takeaway was to accelerate your success, get a vision board. In the early 1990s, I always had a vision board, in my office, at my branding agency in Houston. A large black bulletin covered with pictures of situations, places and things I wanted to experience, share or own. When I made something happen or achieved a milestone, I removed the item from the board. By the late 90s, my vision board was empty and I had manifested a bunch of amazing stuff. I credit that board of pictures as an important tool that kept me laser focused on my goals.
. . . 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!
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 past year, I had the privilege of working with a chemistry company called Celanese. The assignment was to re-energize a business to business brand that helps manufacturers of all kinds create innovative products. The mission was accomplished. In collaboration with a team spanning 26 countries, the company’s brand evolved into an even stronger persona; one that reflected ingenuity, creativity, forward thinking and a united spirit of over 7,000 global employees. The 12-month brand transformation centered around the core values of the organization and required serious alignment with the company’s vision, business practices, communications and the internal culture.
We live and breathe technology. Smart phones, dumb text messages, notebooks, PDFs, videos, virtual meetings, cloud computing and all the "apps for that". All this stuff has certainly added convenience to our lives, however, its also created a society of gadget addicts. And Heaven forbid, there is no Internet connection for 10 minutes! Someone call 911 and order me a respirator. IT withdrawals are worse than needing a crack fix. Technology has had a profound impact on how we function and communicate. This new world order has also zapped the tangible factor in many business connections. The days of touch, hold in your hand marketing and ink on your fingers are gone. We are now a digital domicile. A planet of wifi, plugs, chargers and adapters.