New Year: New Me, New You?

be-brave

It’s that time again, the new year. I can’t tell you how many weight loss and degree admissions ads I’ve heard on the radio over the past week. I know, I know, everyone wants to improve. I’m guessing a large majority of the American public wants to be more fit and more skilled. Who blames them, or me, or you?

What strikes me the most (and many advertising copywriters will chagrin at me pointing this out) is that these types of ads want to make you feel like you NEED to try their diet plan or enroll in their program or you will never succeed. I’m not saying that these things won’t work for you, I only argue this type of single-minded determinism may not be the best route to go down.

In this new year, let’s remember that we already have within us the ability and power to make the changes that we want. We just have to get enough courage to move forward and decide how we are going to do it.

If it’s going to be the program and the plan from the radio, great — but, do it with all your heart. If you choose another approach or get a recommendation from your friend, go that route — but, fully commit to your success. The closer you align what you want with what will work for you, the more successful you will be.

Here’s to a great start of 2015.

4 Things that Make Every Marketer Give Thanks

This Thanksgiving, we’ve put together a post that highlights 4 things marketers can’t live without and are mighty thankful for.
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Brands

A brand platform lets you create a voice and an image to share in the public’s mind. A brand is a locus of attention on a specific idea, feeling and promise. Without brands, it would be exceedingly difficult to communicate differentiation to today’s consumers.

Automation

You need to sleep sometimes, right? Companies, teams and individuals can gain better reach when they add content scheduling and automation to their interactions. You should still add that personal touch to your communications but you can make a larger impact if you are able to message many people at once.

Analytics

These tell you how well you are doing. Someone once said “if you aren’t measuring, you aren’t marketing” and it couldn’t be more true! Analytics show you how to improve and where your successes lie.

Curated Content

“The highest form of flattery is imitation,” is a well-known paraphrase from authors Jeremy Collier and André Dacier in the early 19th century. This relevant idea plays itself out in today’s world by giving many variations of a content theme through curation. Because who has the capacity to come up with “original” ideas all the time?

No matter what your profession, what are you most thankful for?

And You Thought Business Wasn’t Personal?

business personal

When surveyed, people indicated that they wouldn’t want to automate any portion of their personal relationships. However, in business, we are constantly suggesting that we automate repeatable processes in order to increase productivity and to earn more money. While, initial conversations aren’t often harmed by automation, you need to make sure that you make a personal impression.

You’ve heard it said, “Separate your business and personal life.” Now, if you are taking this simply as a prescription to avoid the complications and potential unethical behavior associated with entertaining an office romance, it’s a fine epigram.

Getting Personal is Unavoidable

However, you can’t overlook the fact that business is indeed personal. Especially, if you are in a professional services business, you are selling what your company can do or what it is you offer. You are repackaging and marketing the skills and talents that your team has. Communicating that value is an endeavor that’s uniquely personal, based on integrity and demonstrated experience.

I’m sure you’ve also heard, “No one cares what you know if they don’t know how much you care.” If your client doesn’t think that you have their best interests at heart, you aren’t going to get very far.

Use the Situation to Your Advantage

I’m not suggesting that you obliterate the boundaries between your business and personal life, but, in many cases, it is helpful to recognize that creating a business relationship starts much the same way as any healthy relationship. Use your personal skills in your business life to explore information, create affinity, establish trust, and honor commitments.

FedEx Procession Surprise

FedEx

No, this group of FedEx employees wasn’t driving in tandem to make a many part delivery, they rounded up 100 FedEx trucks to honor a fellow worker, Mickey, who had passed away. They surprised his family by escorting them to the cemetery. Heart warming and an easy kindness, really.

How do you create a culture of people who care about one another deeply and are willing to come together? It’s simple, give employees opportunities to: create friendships, connect with one another, and rely on each other. The rest will take care of itself.

Source: SlipTalk

Target’s response to data leak delayed, but the corp is in good company

While other retailers (psst…Old Navy) are offering up 60-75% off retail prices in accordance with their “after holiday” sales, Target responded to its breach of over 40 million customer credit card records by offering a mere 10% off discount. Affected consumers probably feel this is like a slap in the face, implying “your identity, security, and credit are only worth 10% of our sales.” However, to reinforce how much they care, Target has pointed consumers to an existing site, annualcreditreport.com, which allows consumers to access a free credit report from each reporting bureau every 12 months.

But, Target isn’t the only retailer to become the victim of consumer data theft. In fact, I’m sure a few other retailers and organizations naturally come to your mind.  Click the infographic below to see who you recognize!

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3 Questions Every Small Business Owner Should Ask

What’s your company line? Get your team on the same page.

Carmine Gallo demonstrates how to quickly describe Lush's USP
Carmine Gallo quickly describes Lush’s USP

The larger your business grows the more interactions you’ll have with “the outside world.” It’s not efficient to reinvent your elevator pitch every time you chat about your company. You’ll need to come up with a general response that you can modify with details that are relevant to your audience.

In an ideal world, each of your employees will naturally promote your company when talking with friends, family, and posting on social media. But, how often do your current team members do so? Help your employees by preparing a subconscious script when it comes to what the organization is about, what its goals are, and how it provides value. Weave this script into your corporate culture and internal messaging and model this response for your employees.

Where are you going? Frame the change.

You know where you want your company to go, you have plans regarding how to get there, but, are you communicating your vision to employees? Sometimes fulfilling your vision may cause significant changes for employees. Be humble and transparent when explaining the need for these changes and how employees will benefit in the long run.

One example of this is first round process documentation. Frankly, when you ask an employee to document how they complete a task, especially if it’s one of their primary job functions, you are asking them to make themselves disposable. Not too many employees will enjoy feeling like they are easily replaced. You should highlight the opportunity as something for the growth of both the company and the employee.  For example, once the task is documented that employee could train someone under them as they move up in the ranks (as long as there are ranks to climb, wink, wink). If you have the right employees working for you and invest in your team, company growth will often result in professional advancement for most team members.

How does your business work? Put all your ducks in a row.

Documentation allows you to keep a record of how your business works. If you are looking to sell your company or need to attract additional capital you need to be able to verify the interworkings and processes of your business. You’ll need to show how each department operates and keep records of profitability. Despite resistance you may receive from employees, just get it all down on paper.

Where do you go from here? Take stock of your company’s internal messaging, your vision casting, and how you’re challenging your employees to see where you can improve. These are basic practices, but you’d be surprised how many organizations struggle in at least one of these areas.