Thursday, July 17, 2014
Go online and look at any portfolio of a graphic artist – every artist follows their own style. Ask an artist for an interpretation of your brand and it winds up looking like their style.
This is not a bad thing. A great graphic artist is crazy about expressing themselves to explain YOUR BRAND. It's hard to express the visceral emotion of what you feel about whom you are, which is the job of a graphic artist, while remaining true to their personal style of expression.
I say, pick crazy every time. If your graphic artist is not crazy, you've selected the wrong artist.
Monday, July 14, 2014
If you ever visit Reddit you might know what I'm writing about. I never click on every link. I'm looking for context, not content. I am interested in what interests me, what inspires me or connects to my state of mind. All those pictures of cute kittens and dogs... not working for me, all of the rhetorical questions to create controversy, not happening for me as well.
But, a post on electronics, hi-res photos of beautiful locations around the globe or news relevant to human struggle.... there I am, click-click-click.
Building an audience for any company, firm or organization is no longer, ever, about providing "content". It will forever more be about providing "context".
No insult intended if you chase photos of cute kitties.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Monday, May 26, 2014
Marketing is not about creating media that "I" would read/watch/pay-attention-to. Marketing is about producing media designed for your potential audience. Often, what professional services need to produce will completely befuddle the firm partners – and absolutely hit the right note with the audience.
Remember, speak the language of your audience. They will appreciate you effort!
Saturday, April 05, 2014
I challenge any marketer to demonstrate they have come up with a truly NEW IDEA in how to market a product, person, company or concept!
About 20 years ago I came across a sales and marketing training manual dated circa 1917. Darned if that manual didn't emphasize everything I was pouring into my latest marketing campaign – a campaign my company thought was "groundbreaking!". The only difference was the methods and technologies I employed to get potential buyers to sit up and pay attention.
"Marketing" is all about causing people to desire what I am offering. Marketers have been performing this task for thousands of years! We are simply trying to apply tested and true methods within the framework of evolving tools and audience behaviors.
I encourage you to look closely at how your audience receives information, and meld your marketing to their preferences. While there are no new ideas on how to compel an audience to react, there are plenty of new methods and technologies that separate the the winners from the losers.
Friday, April 04, 2014
We produced a day and 1/2 company retreat for the commercial banking division of a large bank; an awards banquet followed by a state-of-the-bank day. While the agenda could have been serious and somber following a strict agenda and protocol, this bank chose to make room for what should be treated seriously and also fun and camaraderie.
The senior executives where warm and friendly, poked fun at themselves from the podium and created a "family"atmosphere – not an experience in reinforced hierarchy, and included everyone in the room. I witnessed real bonding among the employees, attentiveness to company goals and an honest exchange of "how can we do even more than we're doing now?".
I am certain every employee will charge back to their offices filled with renewed vigor and create a marketing tsunami in each of their markets – through effort, word-of-mouth and committed enthusiasm.
How often do you pause to recruit and renew your greatest marketing resource?
Sunday, March 30, 2014
- Adjust the microphone, as you step to the podium, to about 6" to 10" from your mouth. The sound engineer will handle volume. But, adjust the mic to be the right distance for you!
- You definitely do not want to get too close to the mic. It will pick up every puff and breath you take and sound terrible.
- Project when you speak. Talk with force and conviction. Using your soft spoken little girl or little guy voice will not work.
- DO NOT tap the mic with your hand to check if it is "live"!! Instead, look at your sound engineer for a signal or sign that says, "yes, you are good to go."
- If you are holding a wireless mic or wearing a lavalier or madonna mic, NEVER go near a speaker. The feedback will cause hearing loss!
- Definitely perform a pre-show sound check. I can set levels and sound to be perfect for your time on-stage.
If you want to be the best talent or recipient, consider... there is a crew of people trying to make you look really good in your moment! Our recommendations do make sense.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
The set-up: Executives come to a central location where they are able to network with other nominees and sponsors, spend time with the judging panels talking about their company, and sit for a brief video session so we can gather footage for playback during the Gala event.
During the taping session one of the statements the executives were asked to make was, "In 30 seconds or less, describe what your company does". The results were very telling.
- Executives that did the recording session before participating in the networking or time with the judging panel struggled to be concise and confident in describing their company. It usually took several minutes and multiple attempts before we had video we could work from.
- Executives that networked and sat in front of the judging panel before being in front of the camera nailed it almost every time, the first time. And, they spoke with passion and confidence.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
The list of choices as I see it are:
- CMO at large department company (which for me is at a professional services firm)
- Marketing, Networking or Leadership consultant
- Professional speaker or author
- Leadership/firm mentor
- Create a training program or trainer for an existing training company
- Sales and/or marketing for a company selling to the professional services industry
- Freelance marketing contributor (such as writing, graphics, project management)
- Doing something completely different and maintaining a satisfactory lifestyle
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
- The person with the largest context is the most relevant. Be the person with the largest context.
Every person I can think of that has been relevant to me embodied the qualities Thom pointed out, and they had incredible context. What they said and did mattered to everyone around themselves.
What this looks like is: Sitting in a meeting where purpose and direction are going six ways to Sunday, all of the participants explaining, pleading, arguing for their point of view and no progress is being made in any direction. In walks the person with a greater context... with just a few words the meeting is rocketing forward and everyone is excited to contribute to "where we are going now".
I encourage you to look at why you're attempting to do what you do, find what really motivates you and turn that into a greater context. You will be more relevant.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
What is incredibly successful is:
- Don't think about what you want your audience to know about you! Instead think about what the audience wants for themselves.
- Don't think about what your audience will be saying on the way into your presentation. Instead plan for what you want your audience to be saying on the way out of your event.
- Start your presentation prep from the conclusion, and back into the opening remarks. It is amazing how differently your event will look when you begin with the end as your starting point.
- Be a story-teller. No one is excited by facts (unless you're a systems engineer listening to the spec's list on the latest Android chip). Make your presentation about real people, their challenges and their successes.
- Focus on connecting with your audience and creating relationships. Engage individuals from the audience, hear their voices and include them in a conversation – not "let me tell you, it's all about me".
Over the years I have attended hundreds of presentations, maybe even thousands. Unfortunately it's been rare that a presentation was exciting, different, engaged me and caused me to think differently...
And that is your opportunity! If you begin with the result in mind you will have leaped over 90% of your competition. I challenge you to try it – begin with your result in mind.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Merit Property Management held their annual sales meeting this week at the Irvine Marriott — about 570 of their people in the room for the day. The program held the usual content of company updates, awards for successes and a fun series of videos we helped them produce. And mid-afternoon they did something that really blew me away!
The Chief Administration officer took to the stage and asked everyone to clear their tables of all content as a score of people started passing out gift bags to each table. As part of their annual meetings, beginning last year, they have determined to make charitable giving a part of the program. This year’s activity — care packages for military men and women serving overseas (last year they made blankets for children in need).
First they honored the existing veterans within the room and launched into preparing the care packages. Each table created a Hero’s t-shirt (drawing or writing whatever they wanted on a white t-shirt with colored markers), wrote personalized messages on provided thank you cards, and then filled a shipping box with multiple items purchased by Merit specifically for the packages. They had even done their homework and spoke with military representatives to find out what items a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine would want to receive.
Maybe this is something other companies are already doing … it was a first for me and I was moved. The activity was energizing, people were really engaged, there was a lot of laughter and I witnessed how it drew their workforce together.
I look forward to recommending this type of activity to everyone of our clients. I hope you pass it forward with your company.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
So, what do your photos communicate?
Remember, attorneys are the product a client buys. While the brand reputation of a law firm is amazingly important a buyer ultimately makes a choice for the product. Understand there is a difference between the knowledge of an attorney and the personality of an attorney. Knowledge is the commodity -- personality is unique.
Do your photos reflect the unique personalities of individual lawyers?
There are so many great photographers out there that can produce much more than chest-up head shots half turned in front of a mottled blue canvas backdrop! Our lawyers deserve more than a photo one step better than a drivers license capture.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
When you say hello and he/she responds with the usual, “How are you?”, answer in this way:
“Today I am feeling ____(see list of feelings below) because ______.”
The list of feelings you can choose from are: Loving | Joyful | Happy | Peaceful | Grateful | Fearful | Angry | Sad | Hurt.
Do not use any other words. It might sound something like this:
Them: “How are you?”
You: “Thanks for asking. Today I am feeling peaceful because most of the things I wanted to get done this week have been accomplished.”
The reason it works is that you are answering with openness and honesty -- actually opening the door to a more meaningful conversation. Your answer will create questions and off you go on a great conversation!
What about the words fear, anger, sad and hurt. Should you use them? Absolutely. If it is what you are feeling, say it. “Today I am feeling angry (or) sad because it cost me $50 to fill my gas tank.” “Today I am feeling hurt because a long time friend in moving back east.”
It is the open and honest sharing that will win you a new friend!
This works when you state feelings and reasons that are real. Connecting with people requires a little risk… take the chance so that you can reap the reward.
Technorati Tags: Legal Marketing, Professional Services Marketing, Marketing, Business Development, Business Networking, Sales
Friday, March 11, 2011
At one firm I've worked with there was a partner that was smooth as silk in his treatment of client executives yet, was a caustic, rude man to everyone else including the non-executive staff at his client companies. When a client would finally say (and eventually most of them did), 'enough is enough,' and went looking for new representation, there was nothing we could do as a firm to salvage the business. We were told quite often that any firm that allowed that type of behavior was not the firm they wanted to be with....
If you struggle to understand how to create or affect your firms brand, just look to its smallest parts; the reputation of your individual partners. What is their reputation both inside and outside the walls of your office? Ask your clients for their opinion of the people in your firm and then ask them about their opinion of your firm in total. You’ll find the two sound very much alike.
Your reputation is your brand.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Working an Event in 60 Minutes or Less
I attend more than 150 business events events every year. That's a lot of crackers, cucumbers, cheese, cheap wine and name badge spotting. Phew! It takes its toll and I'm not always capable of handling a full two to four hour production from start to finish. During heavy event seasons I've also had to cover two or more events in one evening. And, sometimes work or life commitments dictate how quickly I need to leave. Whatever the reason I've learned a few things about maximizing an event without attending for the duration.
- Arrive early -- (when possible) I might be the first person there. This allows me time to talk with organizers, association principles, etc. These are all good connections to have and explore. They can key me in on expected attendees, future activities and opportunities.
- Read the names on the badges at the registration table. I like knowing whom I might meet; prospects, clients, competitors, referral resources, etc.
- Once people start flowing in I stay near the entrance to the main networking area. People are more capable of being easily engaged in conversation earlier than later. Plus, I will have a better chance of meeting everyone I want to meet. More importantly I am seen by a maximum of attendees. Being seen is almost as important as being known.
- If I must visit the bar or food tables -- I greet someone and invite them to join me. From the front door almost everyone is headed to one of those two places as their next stop after registration.
- I offer to bring drinks to a gaggle of people. They will definitely include me in their conversation when I return and people feel good about people that pamper them.
- After about 30 minutes, when the crowd has really grown and a good buzz is happening I walk from the entrance to the furthest point away in the networking space. Along the way I greet people I know but haven't spoken with yet, I wave and nod at people I've already talked to, and smile at as many people as look me in the eye.
- Once at the back of the room I survey the room for a cluster of VIPs hoping I know someone in the gathering. If so... that's where I'm headed. If not, I look for a fellow service provider to discuss who is attending. What we can do together is make mutual introductions and share information/insight about people in the room.
- When the event is 45 minutes old I have pretty much "worked" the room and can start toward the exit much like I entered; nodding, shaking hands, and smiling.
For the record let me say that I think it is bad form to leave early. For all of the effort that individuals put into an event -- it is the decent thing to stay to the end (I hope for the same from attendees at events that I orchestrate). But, at every event it is not possible for me to stay as it is not possible for everyone that shows up.
If you find that your time is limited these where just a few ideas for making the journey productive.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
A truth is that most business and community event presenters are not professional actors or Emcees. It's just us regular folk. Someone hands us a script or tells us to look at the teleprompter and off we go hoping not to look the fool.... Here are a few suggestions for injecting a bit more personality and fun back into scripted events:
- Hire a coach to work with your presenters for an hour or two. A good coach will offer valuable instruction on voice modulation, engaging the audience and working with the script, not for it.
- Don't put humor in the script word-for-word. Instead put a placeholder in the script and have the presenter practice his/her delivery.
- Place reminders in the script for the presenter to look at and talk with the audience.
- Have the presenters read through and rehearse BEFORE the day of the event.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
This is quite the move for me. After more than 16 years marketing law and accounting firms I have chosen to go over to the other side and become a vendor -- and am happy for the move.
What John does is create exceptional audience experiences. John has been my go-to guy for a long time and I'm so excited to be a part of what he creates. What we can create together is yet to be seen, but I have to say, I am so excited to be back on the creative side of performing extraordinary!
Stay tuned for more.