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.
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.
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 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.
A couple of weeks ago, I seduced many of you into opening my blog only to find out that I’ve not read Fifty Shades of Gray yet but did read Magic of Impromptu Speaking, by Andrill Sedniev, while taking some time off of work. I promised a review on the book, so here goes. The book caught my attention as its subtitle states: Create a speech that can be remembered for years in under 30 seconds. The fact is, I and gazillions of other book buyers gravitate to titles that promise fast and almost immediate results. A good formula to remember when you are writing product copy or selling a book. So was he telling the truth or committing a marketing sin and telling a big white lie? It’s a gray area. Maybe not fifty shades but at least three. The book is excellent, filled with wisdom that can be applied to formal speeches and varied other opportunities of attention, like when doing a media interview, interviewing for a job or taking a stance in a board meeting. All good stuff for building a brand.
There is no amount of butter that can help Paula Deen’s brand get out of this tight jam. The past few weeks have not been pretty for Ms. Paula, the Southern belle, sweet potato, comfort food celeb. After being deposed in a lawsuit where a former employee alleged a culture of racism and sexual harassment, Paula under oath, admitted using the “N” word and I’m not referring to “Non-Fat.” Her million-dollar empire went from deep-fried and happy to “where have all my sponsors gone?” Wal-Mart, Target, Smithfield Foods, Caesars Entertainment, The Food Network, Home Depot and even the drug maker Novo Nordisk all opted-out after the news broke. Doing something bad is never good, but this situation went from bad, to insanely stupid, self-inflicted, career-ruining awful.
Last week I had drinks with a retired colonel from MacDill Air Force Base. This guy had been to 2 wars zones, Iraq and Afghanistan, three times. He had been inches away from grenades exploding and been literally shot at from 10 feet away. Fortunately, the bullets missed him. Many in his platoon were not that lucky. He knew I was an entrepreneur. He’d been to my websites. This is what he said to me. “Karen, you are so brave and courageous. I admire that so much. I don’t know that I could do that, be a front line entrepreneur like you. You've got to hustle business every day, be such a self-starter and operate with so much uncertainty". WOW, here’s a soldier who risked his life for our country, thinking I’m the tough one.
In the spirit of love and affection as many celebrate Valentine's Day, the day of awesome relationships, frisky friendships, risky affairs and just plain gushy lust, I thought it would be appropriate to mention the everyday occurrence of unavailable brands. You know the kind, the not so healthy, lots of issues, not worth the time and certainly not worth the loyalty---when company brands get so chilly, so unconnected and just straight up are not available to their paying customers who truly want to love them. The sad fact is there are many brands who behave like this and then wonder why their customers cheat and defect to a younger or more loving competitor. Here are the red flags to know when it may be time to start dating- I mean shopping around...
This past week one of my favorite guys and myself celebrated a birthday. I’m happy to report that I’m the younger one. In fact, Abe Lincoln is 203. For those of you who know me well know I’m not a holiday girl. Don’t get me wrong, I love to celebrate, I just believe that everyday you are above ground is a celebration and special, instead of making a big deal about the traditional Hallmark days. As I added another year to my timeline this week, I reflected on some of the most meaningful threads that make up my fabric. I put together 52, and yes there is a reason for that number, I hope you enjoy.