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Posts Tagged ‘brand’

I’m reading a mostly excellent book on social media–it’s pragmatic and has some good case studies. But one thing has me howling. I’m at the chapter where they talk about how to involve your team. There are sections on–get this: engaging in a meaningful way, having an open dialog, ongoing training, maintaining brand standards. They go on to talk about etiquette and choosing the right employees to be on your social media team. Get a grip!

I don’t know about you, but most of my colleagues and clients are severely limited in terms of employee participation in their mostly nonexistent social media programs. The reality is that if they don’t do this, it won’t get done. Creating and maintaining a social media presence is just another line item in their already overflowing to-do list. There really isn’t any delegating going on–no training or discussion of best practices.

As someone who manages social media for my clients, I see a lot of this. Business owners are just overwhelmed with the challenges of running a business in a doing-more-with-less-climate. They don’t have time to figure out how to use social media but know they can no longer ignore it.

That’s where I come in. I design social media packages for businesses. I develop comprehensive profiles, create Facebook covers/banners, develop wallposts, create an image archive and identify articles to which to link that show that you’re staying on top of industry trends. Just as important, I am aggressive about building an online community. I want people to read what you have to say, comment on it and refer it to their colleagues. This is the power of social media.

Ask me about how I work with companies to manage and grow their social media presences.

jpeischel@top-mindmarketing.com , Top of Mind Marketing

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I happen to believe that unless you work for the government, you’re in sales. And that means that you can’t ever stop being a salesperson because you never know who your next client will be, or more important, who referred you. You can’t really ever stop selling.

Does this mean that you always have to be on? Yes, I think you do. You want to command respect and inspire confidence. You want to be perceived as someone who has integrity and accountability. On top of that, you need to be creative, pragmatic and solutions oriented. This is your brand and it needs to be lovingly nurtured.

Lately, I’ve been a victim of people who don’t return phone calls, are consistently late, stand me up for meetings and always seem to have some lame excuse for not meeting a deadline. The message is loud and clear that my time is not as important as theirs. Would I ever refer these people to a friend or colleague? Are you kidding? A few examples:

  • I recently worked on a website project where the designer completely disappeared for two months. She finally surfaced with some lame excuse about being in crisis. I was raised to not have a crisis; rather, to deal with it. With her eventual reappearance, I had hoped that we could create a working relationship, but it continued to be a source of frustration and anxiety for me. If I wanted to talk with her, I began a week ahead of time, hoping that a consistent barrage of emails, voicemails and texts would raise her. We did finally launch the website, but it was four months late.
  • A colleague in my networking group agreed to arrive early one morning to set up the projector. Not only did he not get there early, he never showed up at all.
  • I drove from Berkeley to Danville to meet with a client, and my phone rang as I pulled into the parking lot. It was she, wondering if we could just do our meeting over the phone.

These people are all small business owners, and I don’t care how brilliant they are, I would never refer anyone to them. This is a tough economy, and you need to be conscious of the impression you are making all of the time, because you just never know whom your next client will be.

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During the holidays, I was thinking about Santa and what a huge job he has every year picking out and delivering the right gifts to the right kids. His sales territory is vast and his timeline is aggressive.

Even with the help of his elves, you have to figure that he’s a pretty stressed-out guy who is juggling multiple priorities. Yet he meets the challenge year after year. He’s timely, meets deadlines, works efficiently and sustainably, minimizing environmental impact. Like the rest of us, Santa is an entrepreneur who has run his successful business for years. We could all take a page from Santa’s marketing plan:

  • Listening. He listens to make sure that he fully understands what each child is longing for. As business owners, listening to our clients is the most important part of our jobs. Look for their pain rather than rattling on about your products and services. No one cares.
  • Customer focus. Just as Santa looks forward to the cookies and milk that we leave him each year, we should be doing something to show our customers how much we appreciate them.
  • Consistency and credibility. Christmas is about believing, and Santa does a superb job. He shows up every single year, regardless of weather, politics or illness. His brand is that of trust and reliability and as a result of that trust, he has successfully beat out his competition.
  • Keeping up with technology. I don’t know how he does it, but Santa stays on top of the trends. He has Facebook and Twitter pages, and he knows that kids aren’t interested in Cabbage Patch dolls or GI Joes anymore when they can be playing with their expensive iPhones.

In the same way that Santa stands out from the crowd, we need to help our clients gain competitive advantage. Just like Santa, our goal should be building customer loyalty and accountability. The great thing is that if we’re successful at helping them grow their businesses, we also will be growing our own.

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I’m a politics junkie and it’s election season–a very long season. While the presidential election is still a long way off, the candidates are jockeying for position and slinging mud. There used to be the flavor of the month; lately it has escalated to become the flavor of the week. Michele Bachmann has lost her luster; Sarah, not surprisingly, just didn’t want to work that hard, Rick Perry seems to suffer from acute brain fog, which is fine with me–I have very little interest in listening to an evangelist for four years, and Newt can’t gain any traction. The mystery is Herman Cain’s emerging as a favorite, except now it seems he may be a serial harasser.

Politics is all about marketing and advertising, and Cain’s credibility is just another marketing campaign. Political candidates are nothing more than a brand. In the same way that we are bombarded with ads to buy the new iPad or Diestel’s free-range turkeys for Thanksgiving, candidates are trying to convince us that their brand is one of integrity, intelligence and real-world experience that can guide the country out of the recession and debit and into happiness and prosperity.

What and whom to believe? While Herman Cain may be a total pig, it looks like Sharon Bialek has a seedy past. Sexual harassment is inexcusable, but you do have to wonder why Bialek waited 14 years to come forward about Cain. It does smack of opportunism.

In the courts, Ms. Bialek has had a lengthy record in the Cook County Court system over various civil lawsuits. The following cases on file in Cook County are:

  • 2000-M1-707461 Defendant against Broadcare Management
  • 2000-M1-714398 Defendant in lawsuit against Broadcare Management
  • 2000-M1-701522 Defendant in lawsuit against Broadcare Management
  • 2005-M1-111072 Defendant in lawsuit against Mr. Mark Beatovic.
  • 2007-M1-189176 Defendant in lawsuit against Midland Funding.
  • 2009-M1-158826 Defendant in lawsuit against Illinois Lending.

Ms. Bialek was sued in 1999 over a paternity matter, and records show that Ms. Bialek has also filed for bankruptcy in an Illinois bankruptcy court in 1991 and 2001.

Whom to believe? It comes down to Bialek vs Cain, and you can only wonder if his brand is strong enough to sustain this.

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