Collaboration is the Key to Providing Consistent Brand Value

Collaboration is the Key to Providing Consistent Brand Value

This is a post by Libby Gill, author of Capture the Mindshare and the Market Share Will Follow. It is from the Leadership Now website
As much as people love to over-complicate the topic of branding, simply put, a brand is a promise of value. The most successful brands – the ones I call Mindshare Brands – are those that deliver or over-deliver on that value promise consistently over the long haul. Think Coca-Cola. Think Mercedes. Think Apple. Think any brand that you count on to deliver what you want every single time – or pretty darn close to that. Even the big guys slip occasionally, though mistakes well handled can actually be terrific branding opportunities.

So how you do you continually commit and re-commit to going the extra mile for your customers? How do you stay focused in the face of crazy busy workloads and constant change? The key to providing consistent value, despite the obstacles you will inevitably encounter, is to build a culture of collaboration where everyone’s goal is to delight the customers and ensure their swift return.

In today’s highly competitive business climate, it’s nearly impossible for anyone to succeed by going it alone. So it’s well worth the time and effort it takes to create a collaborative atmosphere based on trust, respect, and openness. Here are some strategies you can employ to jumpstart the process:

  1. Establish high standards for communication. Set the tone for the highest levels of communication, which include candor and kindness….

You can read the rest of this post at this link http://www.leadershipnow.com/leadingblog/2013/08/collaboration_is_the_key_to_pr.html

Consistent Brand Value

Consistent Brand Value

Collaboration is the Key to Providing Consistent Brand Value

This is a post by Libby Gill, author of Capture the Mindshare and the Market Share Will Follow. It is from the Leadership Now website

Consistent Brand Value! As much as people love to over-complicate the topic of branding, simply put, a brand is a promise of value. The most successful brands – the ones I call Mindshare Brands – are those that deliver or over-deliver on that value promise consistently over the long haul. Think Coca-Cola. How about Mercedes. Think Apple. Any brand you think about that you count on to deliver what you want every single time – or pretty darn close to that. Even the big guys slip occasionally, though mistakes well handled can actually be terrific branding opportunities.

So how you do you continually commit and re-commit to going the extra mile for your customers? How do you stay focused in the face of crazy busy workloads and constant change? The key to providing consistent value, despite the obstacles you will inevitably encounter, is to build a culture of collaboration where everyone’s goal is to delight the customers and ensure their swift return.

In today’s highly competitive business climate, it’s nearly impossible for anyone to succeed by going it alone. So it’s well worth the time and effort it takes to create a collaborative atmosphere based on trust, respect, and openness. Here are some strategies you can employ to jumpstart the process:

  1. Establish high standards for communication. Set the tone for the highest levels of communication, which include candor and kindness….

You can read the rest of this post at this link http://www.leadershipnow.com/leadingblog/2013/08/collaboration_is_the_key_to_pr.html

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Why I don’t send newsletters.

Why I don’t send newsletters.

Why I Rarely Send Newsletters.

Newsletters – I have a very long “List” and I am on lots of other people’s’ “Lists”.

Those of you into marketing and selling will know what that means. It means I have a very long list of email addresses of people who have either signed up to receive things from me or in some other way acquiesced in my sending things to them.

It means, as well, that I have let lots of other people add my email address to their List and send me things like newsletters.

So, at this point, my email inbox is simply unreadable.  It is full every day with very long newsletters and impersonal marketing emails from people who want to sell me things. And, usually, they are things like coaching and training services because that is now my “niche”.

On the whole, they are from very nice and well-meaning people who want to sell me services that they consider useful.

And a good number of them work hard to make those emails and newsletters interesting and informative   But they are still about trying to get me to sign up for something. And most of them have very little regard as to whether I might need it.  They are usually providers of the same services as me.

And guess what!  I do exactly same thing when I send out a newsletter.  I work very hard to include at least one really useful article that has not appeared on any of my blogs – I try to give something.  But, at the end of the day, the reason I send them, is to get people to sign up for things. And then off they go to the 1.000 plus email addresses and I feel I’ve achieved something.

Now, most of those of us who are not in the public sector and who provide goods and services have to find a way to sell them and that means marketing. Marketing is a good thing to do! So please don’t misunderstand what I am about to write.

I have come to the conclusion that Newsletters are not a great way to market things. I do think they can be a great way to mildly embarrass your self and to lose friends. Here, I’m not talking about the kind of newsletters that are sent out by real clubs and societies.  And I am not talking about real subscription services that exist for the real benefit of members.

I’m talking about the newsletters that are produced by people who provide goods and services and simply want you to buy them.  I have come to believe that receiving these kind of emails is like receiving flyers through your non-digital letter/mail box. Now, brightly coloured paper through my letter box is great if I’m looking for a pizza delivery service but I don’t believe it is the best way to find out about professional services like coaching. It is junk mail.

So now I rarely send newsletters and, one by one, I’m unsubscribing from them.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

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Wendy’s Rant – Why I’m not sending out anymore newsletters.

Wendy’s Rant – Why I’m Not Sending Out Anymore Newsletters.

I have a very long List and I am on lots of other people’s’ Lists.

Those of you into marketing and selling will know what that means. It means I have a very long list of email addresses of people who have either signed up to receive things from me or in some other way acquiesced in my sending things to them.

It means, as well, that I have let lots of other people add my email address to their List and send me things.

So, at this point, my email inbox is simply unreadable.  It is full every day with very long “newsletters” and impersonal marketing emails from people who want to sell me things. And, usually, they are things like coaching and training services because that is now my “niche”.

On the whole, they are from very nice and well-meaning people who want to sell me services that they consider useful.

And a good number of them work hard to make those emails interesting and informative   But they are still about trying to get me to sign up for something. And most of them have very little regard as to whether I might need it.  They are usually providers of the same services as me.

And guess what!  I do exactly same thing when I send out a newsletter.  I work very hard to include at least one really useful article that has not appeared on any of my blogs – I try to give something.  But, at the end of the day, the reason I send them, is to get people to sign up for things. And then off they go to the 1.000 plus email addresses and I feel I’ve achieved something.

Now, most of those of us who are not in the public sector and who provide goods and services have to find a way to sell them and that means marketing. Marketing is a good thing to do! So please don’t misunderstand what I am about to write.

I have come to the conclusion that “Newsletters” are not a great way to market things. I do think they can be a great way to mildly embarrass your self and to lose friends. Here, I’m not talking about the kind of newsletters that are sent out by real clubs and societies.  And I am not talking about real subscription services that exist for the real benefit of members.

I’m talking about the newsletters that are produced by people who provide goods and services and simply want you to buy them.  I have come to believe that receiving these kind of emails is like receiving flyers through your non-digital letter/mail box. Now, brightly colored paper through my letter box is great if I’m looking for a pizza delivery service but I don’t believe it is the best way to find out about professional services like coaching. It is junk mail.

So I’m giving up publishing newsletters and, one by one, I’m unsubscribing from them.

I apologize to all those friends whose in trays have been troubled with mine in the past. In future, if I want to write to you, apart from the odd Christmas card, it will be a proper email.

I apologize, as well, to chums who truly believe this kind of marketing actually works to their overall good.  I’m just not convinced

And I know there are many people out there who will not agree with me.  So I’d love to hear your views.

Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

 

 

What is it with Networking? How should I make those vital connections?

How many times have you heard the expression ‘It’s not what you know but who you know that counts!”?  Or perhaps you have heard references to the ‘Old Boy’s network’! Such a network is often blamed for an apparent high proportion of former pupils of public schools (usually male) in high status positions in government, business, and the professions. Networking has a long and somewhat chequered history.

I suppose for many of us in business, we can look back to the trade guilds for our inspiration and, of course, most of us have our professional and trade associations.  Networking has clearly stood the test of time!

At the moment there are a number of well publicised business networking organizations that create models of networking activity that allow the people to build new business relationships.  They are supposed to generate business opportunities at the same time.  So why, oh why, do I feel so uncomfortable when attending what are advertised as networking events.  I’ve thought about the issues and what would work for me and here are the rules I’m going to set myself in the future.

  1. Values – I will be true to myself and not behave at networking events differently to how I behave in the rest of my life.  I will be my usual pleasant self but I will not become an over- ebullient superwoman with a constant and somewhat inane smile on my face!  I will value the people I meet and listen to them, rather than simply seeking an opportunity to promote myself!
  2. Volume – I will attend fewer events that are focussed in my areas of interest.  I will work hard to contribute to them instead of ‘doing the rounds’ like a coach tripper ‘doing’ Europe in ten days – ‘Oh dear is it Venice today or did they say Vienna?’
  3. First View – Most people know by now that first impressions are very hard to undo!  I will show up looking as good as I can.  I usually turn up for work and social events that way anyway, so nothing too challenging there then.  Oh yes, in future, I will trot to the washroom when I arrive to check that the hair is still in place and that I don’t have froth, from the coffee I grabbed on the journey,  still on my bottom lip!
  4. 4. Verify/Research – I will do my best to research the event and who is likely to attend!  If I know who is going I can work out who I would like to meet.  This will save my feet and other people’s time! Meeting one or two like minded people is likely to be far more use than exchanging business cards like confetti and never following up – see below!
  5. Vision not version – I will share who I am and, if it is appropriate, my vision for the future and what I want to deliver.  I will not simply roll out a version of an advert for my services.  If I think I can add value, then I will say so!
  6. Vital – I will follow up! There is no point in spending time at networking events if you don’t actually follow up.  An entry in your contacts database is of limited use!  You need to reinforce your first meeting with something more substantial as a follow up.  Send the contact details you mentioned!  Find that book you referred to on Amazon and send the link.  If nothing else, send a thank-you note for their time and the interesting conversation.  Otherwise you are in danger of just becoming another name in what is probably a very long list!

So I am going to make a fresh start!  I shall be out there following valiantly my list above.  I hope I meet you on my travels in where was it?  Vienna, Venice, Oh Dear!

WHY YOU NEED A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY!

If you had any doubts about the value and potential of  using social media, check out 30 Interesting, Useless and Pointless Facts on Jeff Bulla’s blog at the following link!  Don’t be put off by the title!

You begin to understand why you can’t afford not to know to about Social Media whether you are in the public, private or community sectors!

Here is just one example and three facts!

Generation Y awareness of the Ford Fiesta before Ford started their social media program was 0%. It was 37% as of a month ago and stands at 58% at 3 December 2009.

25% of Ford’s marketing spend is on digital/social media!

Ford is the only US Auto company not to take a government grand!

Now you begin to see the possibilities now that using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook may bring?  We have some tips for developing a Social Media Strategy at this link

10 PERSONAL BRANDING TIPS TO HELP IN YOUR JOB SEARCH

These tips will help you create and communicate a brand that will help employers choose you:  Remember you are the product, and the employer is the consumer. A clear and compelling career brand helps employers understand the benefits of your product and give you an advantage in the job market.

  1. Successful career brands weave together three A’s: Authentic image, Advantages, and Awareness. Project an image of your authentic self, focus on the advantages you offer in getting the job done, and make employers aware of those advantages.
    • Authentic Image: Your brand should be founded on authenticity. It should be about who you are, your work-life purpose and what you are committed to in life. As a starting point to develop your brand, brainstorm a list of all the things you are good at. Then identify your passion. Using your brainstormed list of what you’re good at, circle those items you are most passionate about. What is number one?
    • Advantages: Once you’ve identified your top pick, determine the advantages to that item. For instance, if you are good at resolving conflicts what could be the advantages to a new employer – greater cooperation among team members, which leads to enhanced productivity. List at least three distinct advantages for your brand.
    • Awareness: Internationally known consultant and author Alan Weiss, states that a brand is “an awareness factor.” Above all, look for opportunities to make the right people aware of your brand. Get on the radar screen. The best brand in the world is useless unless people are aware of it. Initiate an orchestrated campaign to “brandish” your brand. You can get your name out there by writing articles, speaking at association meetings, doing some voluntary work.
  2. Conduct some some analysis to determine what the market conditions are for your emerging brand. Is there a need for what you offer? Are companies hiring in that area? Are there competitors for what you want to do? If the answers to these questions are negative, consider fine-tuning your brand.
  3. Once you’ve determined your passionate competency and the market demand, begin to determine the best approach for positioning your brand. Think unique positioning. Are you the best at creating product marketing strategies, are you the first one to have mastered how to conduct electronic meetings for your work team, are you the most accomplished, award-winning sales professional in your company/industry?
  4. Branding can be accomplished through verbal and visual means. Verbal branding includes your sound bites and success stories, while visual branding is accomplished through your actions, attitude, and attire. Hone your product benefits into a short 3-Point Marketing Message that conveys your unique strengths. This message/elevator pitch should be a critical sound bite in your branding campaign.
  5. Create a statement on the benefits you bring to keep you focused in your search, help networking contacts know how to help you, and explain your value to interviewers. Align your statement with employer buying motivators, such as generating revenue, saving money, or solving a problem.
  6. Be prepared for the networking opportunities that abound, both internally and externally. Be ready with a sound bite that describes your unique brand. Mix and match your success stories and sound bites to create a comfortable yet compelling 2-Minute Introduction.
  7. Practice. You must be able to deliver your sound bites naturally, without appearing as though you’re reading a telemarketing script.
  8. Visual branding means you must look the part. Ask for wardrobe advice from someone who is successful and has a good sense of style. If uncertain about how to dress for a networking event or interview, err on the side of formality.
  9. Visual branding also means you must act the part. Candidly evaluate your mindset, beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes. Are these consistent with others in your field who have attained notable success?
  10. Find a person or two who will respectfully and selflessly support you in your commitment to shaping and enhancing your ideal image. A coach can be an ideal support person.

Branding will either contribute to or take away from the chemistry you want to create with employers. Remember to look for opportunities to deliver your brand. In doing so, you’ll bring value, benefits, and advantages to those you serve. Enjoy creating and communicating a clear and compelling brand!

Taking Control of Brand Me

Does your personal brand work for you?

We’re all familiar with the need for marketing, advertising, PR and promotion of the brand of our company and our services, but what about us as the people behind the brand? Lesley Everett is an International Speaker and Personal Branding Expert and Coach.  Here are a couple of extracts from an article she wrote that appeared on line recntly.  You can find the complete article with 7 strides to improving your personal brand at the link below

“In today’s busy and time-limited world we often have to use intuition and gut-feel to make quick judgements, and the visual impression we give has a huge effect on the way others judge our inner values, such as professionalism, integrity, trust and credibility. In other words, our outer packaging gives others perceived clues as to our true character.”
“It’s about being yourself and individual, but having a strong personal brand is not just about what you wear – it’s about projecting a strong and consistent ‘personal brand’ image for yourself through the way you talk, the way you behave, your body talk and your sartorial and grooming skills, and then taking control of your visibility to manage your own PR   You could call it projecting a Brand Me image. “

Find IFAs and Financial Advisers at the financial social network : IFA Life -.

LESSONS IN PERSONAL BRANDING

Increasingly you are judged on your contributions to the web – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs etc.  You will gain an online persona – your personal brand – whether you want to or not.  This can affect large parts of your life and certainly gaining business and work opportunities.  Your personal brand really does matter and you can develop it as you wish!  If you make a positive effort it can make a major contribution to your success.

Benjamin Yoskovitz. is the CEO & co-Founder of Standout Jobs, a venture-backed startup founded in 2007. He is also a blog and social media consultant.  He has been an entrepreneur for 10+ years in the Web space, working extensively in web & software development. He is obsessed with creating things  and with customer service. The piece below is from his blog to which there is a link at the bottom. These are his thoughts, not mine, but I would love to hear what you think!

“ Personal Branding Lessons

Looking back, here are some thoughts from my own experiences building my personal brand:

  1. It’s never too late to start. In some respects I think it’s easier to start making a concerted effort to build and cultivate your personal brand once you’re older and you have a few years working experience. You know more, you’re more comfortable in your shoes, and you have some experience to rely on. There are still too many examples of young people screwing up in public (on Facebook or Twitter) and getting in trouble for it (although there aren’t that many examples, they’re just blown out of proportion.
  2. You know more than you realize. A lot of people seem afraid to speak up publicly and promote themselves because they don’t feel like they have anything to say. You’d be surprised what you know.
  3. What you know is valuable. And what you know is likely valuable to a bunch of people, even if you don’t realize it. As they say, Common sense isn’t all that common. Just think of the college graduate coming up after you into your field of expertise, and the difference between where that person is at and where you’re at…
  4. Connecting online is easier than you think. I was amazed at how easily I could connect online with people. I still remember some of those early connections – Liz Strauss, Becky McCray, Chris Cree, Mike Sansone, Terry Starbucker and so many more. It was easy to find people online (who shared my interests), get myself involved, and build out a valuable network.
  5. It takes time and commitment. Building your personal brand isn’t something you do once in awhile when you’re bored. It takes time and commitment, and it never stops. And doing it half-ass won’t get you anywhere.
  6. It’s fun. I’ve always enjoyed building my personal brand, and the activities that are involved with that online – blogging, connecting, helping others, asking for help. It’s a process you have to enjoy otherwise you won’t do it properly and invest the right time. Plus, there is a feedback loop – as you gain valuable connections, leads (for jobs or business), comments on your blog, etc. you’ll realize that all of that is worthwhile feedback on your efforts. And that’s motivating.
  7. Watch. Learn. Emulate. Do your own thing. Starting the process of building your personal brand doesn’t involve years of research or anything that hasn’t been done before. As Dan’s book proves – there are models for making this stuff work. I remember spending a good amount of time watching and learning, and then emulating what others were doing. It was natural to copy what seemed to be working. But over time you branch out, do your own thing, experiment and your own personality, brand, value emerges.
  8. Your personal brand will (and should) evolve. Don’t think of your personal brand as a static item. It’s not a resume that you submit once and forget about; it’s a living, breathing thing. It changes and evolves, just as you do. That’s OK and expected.

Personal branding works. I’m a perfect use case for it. And certainly not the only one! But ultimately, I’m convinced that building a strong personal brand can absolutely help in career success (be it finding a new job, moving up within your organization, changing careers, etc.) and in many cases is a necessity.”

Read more: “The Importance of Personal Branding” – http://www.instigatorblog.com/personal-branding-important/2009/04/15/#ixzz0DxJbbzQW&A

AVOID THESE 10 NETWORKING BLUNDERS – ENLIGHTENED MARKETING BLOG

Networking is a key skill in finding new opportunities. Here is the introduction to an interesting piece by Samantha Hartley of Enlightened Marketing.  Not only is this piece interesting but she has lots of other useful resources at the link below.

“Last weekend I attended an Internet Marketing conference with 180 die-hard entrepreneurs.  Everyone there was hoping to connect with potential clients, partners and vendors.  There was quite a mix of people in the room, from millionaires to newbies.

For some reason, fabulous interpersonal networking is always a powerful learning experience. Lest you think I’m focused on the negative, I’ll point out that I had just about the best time ever at this conference.  It was the perfect trifecta of learning tons of stuff, meeting super people and feeling inspired about great information to share with you.

But, sometimes “negative teachers” model things for us in ways that help the lessons stick better.  So, keep a light heart as I share these networking blunders I observed recently…..”

More at Avoid These 10 Networking Blunders | Enlightened Marketing Blog.