On that Saturday night, I had been in downtown Ellicott City to show a guest from Slovenia, Karin, our quaint little town. My long-time friend Carol would be leading a Sierra Club trip in the fall to Slovenia, so I invited her along for an opportunity to talk to a native. It had been a beautiful summer day, with a slight chance of rain in the forecast. As we drove around Ellicott City, it started pouring; and as we looked for parking, it became torrential. Though we decided not to stay, I did swing by the office to put out the sandbags in front of the office door and that of our business neighbor — as I had done so many times for so many storms in the past 16 years. By the time I dragged out the sandbags and got back to the car, my feet were covered with water. As we tried to get to higher ground, many side roads were already closed.
Who knew when we launched our new website in January of 2016 that the life preserver and hashtag #brandresuscitation would be so apropos?
If it is your job to differentiate and grow your business, you own a tall task—especially in this environment of information overload, when all of us are overwhelmed with new platforms, media channels and ways to get noticed.
Why the fuss about the positioning statement?
In brand audits and workshops that we facilitate, much of our effort focuses on the positioning and reassurance statement. Why? Because this is what identifies your company (or program or service), conveys what you do, for whom, and how you help solve a need in a unique way. Oh yes, and this must be clear, concise and authentic.
We are inundated with marketing messages day in and day out; morning, noon and night someone is talking to or at us about something s/he want us to pay attention to.
I’m a people person. It’s through relationships and one-on-one communication that I feel I am most effective. So of course, one of my favorite parts of the creative branding process is the meeting with an organization’s CEO and key players during the discovery phase. Asking some important questions to key individuals reveals so much about the organization and helps determine the creative choices we will make during the rebranding process. Listening, learning, watching interactions, and observing the culture—all of these actions inform and inspire how we will develop strategic recommendations and ultimately, brand design and messaging.
As a small business owner, consultant or upper-level manager in a professional services firm, you’re busy, and each day, more and more demands are made on your time. Your company made the dive into social media, and now your agency tells you that you got a negative review on Facebook or some suspect comments on your blog. So you’re thinking, “why did we ever say we would do this social media in the first place?” Well, it’s because you also want to reach more people, be known as a thought leader, and more than that, have an engaged audience. But what happens if you’ve got that “one bad apple” among lots of healthy, positive engagement?
One of the beauties of summer is the chance to disconnect from technology every now and then and reconnect with old friends. I had such a chance a few weeks ago when I went to visit my best friend of 40 plus years. We always seem to be able to pick up wherever we last we left off and immediately get to laughing, reminiscing and catching up on one another’s lives. At one point, we were sharing fond memories of our days at girl scout camp as my friend was preparing to send her two pre-adolescents to scout camp in the coming week. My friend is such a devoted and thoughtful mom, she was already planning notes and care packages to drop in the mail so that each of her children would have something to open during their days at camp.
You are not alone.
American entrepreneurs may have a well-earned reputation for risk taking, but once we have a modicum of success, we tend to turn into a timid bunch—or maybe the better term is reluctant. We’ve figured out what works on our own for initial growth, so we start relying on that status quo experience, often refusing to recognize changes appearing on the horizon, reluctant to see what’s right in front of us.
Companion Blog to last week’s Cave-Dweller’s Guide to Social Media
My business partner, Chris Quinn, posted a great article on making the most of social media when one is an introvert. Like Chris, I am a big believer in social media, however, being more the extrovert, I was an early adopter who embraced the social networking opportunities. Good, right? Well, yes. . . and no. I probably jumped in somewhat blindly. After years of participating, posting, engaging and sharing, I have also learned when to reign it in – observing more, sharing less, offering help and interacting more strategically. So for all you social butterflies out there who took the plunge, joined every new platform available and may have–at one point or another–over-shared, this post is for you.
And, yes. . . . you should do something about it.
I’ll just say it. Your positioning is weak. Most likely, if you are a B2B advisory firm, consultant, law practice or other professional services firm, nonprofit trade organization, or other organization that sells “the invisible,” your positioning is probably weak. Some of you don’t even tell us what you do or who you serve or how you help (your positioning) on your website’s home page, making potential clients dig deep (and lose interest) as they try to find out if you can help them. Unless you are a marketing-savvy emerging tech company touting a unique new service, you are probably coming off as one of many in a sea of sameness. How does your brand set you apart? How does your organization position itself? How do you express it? And why does this matter?