Archive | marketing strategies

You Can’t Fake Purpose

What a conundrum: we live is such a transparent world that often seems anything but transparent.

Social media has allowed us to see more than we want to see about people, companies and brands. If you or your company are not walking the talk someone will notice and likely call you out. That can scare brands away from being who they really are.

Fake news, fake Insta, fake FB. We are tired of all of it. A culture of impatience and a hunger to impact the greater good is surging.

And that is where the opportunity lies.

Brands that are purpose driven don’t hide. You can’t fake purpose and why would you? In repeated surveys and on every measure of business success, purpose driven brands outperform brands that either are not purpose driven, or cannot communicate their purpose.

Brave brands stand up for their why and are rewarded for it.

Is purpose driving your business?

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Are you Resolute on Resolutions?

 

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you write them down? It is a question that either has people rolling they eyes or lighting up. There is no right or wrong reactions or thoughts.

I fall in the camp of absolutely loving to write down my resolutions.

Any kind of fresh start gets me going (I actually feel the same way each September too).  I have however learned a few things along the way: working out seven days a week is likely not sustainable ;). Making so many resolutions that I can’t remember them also doesn’t work.

For me, the years that I make a practice of writing down my goals, they seem to be more focused.  Science agrees with this fact. It turns out only 8% of people write down their goals for the year and by writing them down it helps our brain to “encode the process” and there is a greater chance of them being remembered and acted on.

If you write down your goal or resolution you have a 95% higher chance of achieving them. Why is that?

  1. Written goals bring you clarity and focus.
  2. They keep you on track.
  3. You become more motivated to take action.
  4. You are focused on what is important to you – answering the “why” you want to achieve this goal is key.

A few other key tips on goal setting or resolution making:

  1. Vividly describe your goals and picture them. Use a vision board, draw, doodle clip from magazines, any kind of visual commitment works.
  2. Write down your goals each week in your day planner or on your electronic calendar. It sounds labour intensive but this takes less than five minutes. Are your goals worth five minutes a week? If you really want to up the ante for achieving your goals say them out loud as you write them.
  3. Hold yourself accountable – there are many apps to help you do this. I love https://www.futureme.org as there is something about getting my own words back to me in my own inbox that kind of freaks me out – in a really good way! Sometimes I am “wiser” than I think and sometimes not so much, lol! But it really does focus me.
  4. Make your goals sustainable and ensure they reflect your own reality, and define what your reality is.
  5. Break your goals into small achievable bite size pieces that are date sensitive.
  6. Gratitude can also be a difference maker. Being thankful improves your patience and lowers stress all of which can prevent us from reaching our goals.

The greatest resolution I made that I will be making again this year (it’s okay to repeat your resolutions) is to erase from my lexicon the expression “where does the time go”.  I want to know where the time goes! After all it is my time! I want to say “Hey, you know what January, yes, I know exactly what I did with you. I did not misplace you like a lost toque. I spent you. I totally used you up, no judgements on how you spent it, just know that you spent it. That feels empowering to me.

Are you ready to put your 2019 on paper?

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Brand Identity Crisis

I have worked with many companies suffering from a brand identity crisis. It usually does not start with a phone call that says “Hey, Janet can you help us out with our brand identity crisis?”

Generally it’s the bottom line that speaks up first and gets everyone’s attention. Underperforming products, missed targets, and poor launches are all warning signs.

Sometimes it’s noticed in HR where a growing discontent leads to turf wars and the start of a toxic culture.

Generally there is just a deep confusion that feels chaotic, and a sense of being rudderless. People become very busy but the results don’t change.

The natural inclination is to fix what is broken. People look at the micro level, fix, and tweak, but when the results don’t change, it’s a long and drawn out death until capital runs out or clients simply run away.

For those not willing to let that happen they usually need to take on the elephant in the room.

It’s usually brand.

We are not talking about poor font choices  (but don’t pick ugly fonts).

Somewhere along the brand chain something is not aligned; and it can send your company quickly in a downward spiral.

Ask the following five questions and see how your brand stacks up:

  1. What are your corporate values? Do you live them everyday with your team, with your clients? Don’t think this is just the light fluffy stuff. This is the core of success. Don’t settle here for words that sound good but don’t mean anything. Your values should light you up, and everyone you work with everyday.

  2. Do your corporate values show up in how you answer your phone, send an email, or do a presentation? Can you see it and hear it? Can you pinpoint and say “Yup, that is us. Nobody does it like us.”

  3. Do your values resonate with your clients? After all, this is all about them. Would your clients recognize your values?

  4. Who is your top customer – today, last year, next year? Can you name them by first name? (You can’t imagine how many companies cannot do this. So if you can’t answer this question you are not alone, but it is not who you want to hang with.)

  5. Are you doing the work, making the products, selling the services that are deeply connected to your corporate values? The struggle is real on this one so don’t just tilt your head and say, “I think so.” Get your sales team together, do the math and see if there is a match with your brand values. You will be glad you did.

There are many aspects about your branding statements that will propel you to success and I will write about more of them. But none of them will be as critical as understanding your core values.

Ignoring branding statements will affect your bottom line.

Embracing branding statements will also affect your bottom line.

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How to Be a Brand Within a Brand

As a marketer I look for gaps where opportunities lurk. It took me 20 years to find a glaring gap.

As a brand strategist, (although the most endearing title I was given was brand therapist!) I have built many strong, insightful and actionable brand strategies. Most met or exceeded the goals and objectives set.

And those are the best of times!!!

Some failed miserably.

That broke my heart.

Why would some thrive and some flop? The work was sound. Sometimes it was resource based, or commitment, or leadership. Maybe they just weren’t ready, or was that an excuse not an answer.  I had this gnawing feeling that there was something else at play. 

I dug deep into research, read, and listened to podcast after podcast. I surveyed clients, and talked to business owners. It wasn’t until I came across the work being done on personal branding that it all came together. The missing link: unless you understand your own personal value proposition, you can’t further along the corporate value proposition. 

Unless you can confidently stand up and say, “here is what I do best and this is why you need me on this project” and conversely be able to say, “this is not what I do best and I will likely not be successful on this project.” Personal branding is not for the faint of heart and has nothing to do with the car you drive. It has everything to do with the engine that drives you forward and the values of your personal dashboard .

Challenging times can result in businesses wanting to be all things to all people. Suddenly that means employees have to be a jack-of-all-trades too. Blending in becomes a much safer option than standing out; and as we all know, safe is never where success thrives.

However, when people connect and stand up for their unique personal attributes it is a game-changer. Engagement is real. Morale skyrockets, strategies that flopped became strategies that sail.

Finding, defining, and communicating your personal brand will transform you, your work, and how others see you.

Want to create your personal brand? Click here.

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Millenials + Brands

The Story Co markting and branding regina Emily Brenner Collaborator

As a millennial I’ve always recognized that my generation is “different” than those who came before us. These differences have made us unique in terms of the business world, and especially in regards to marketing. Forbes says that 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising. We have left marketing departments scratching their heads, wondering “how do we reach them!?”

I actually don’t think it’s that complicated!

According to Forbes, millennials value authenticity over anything else. Adage says that millennials want a personal connection with brands, they want to be spoken with, not to. Entrepreneur.com says nearly a third of millennials are more likely to buy a product if the brand feels less “sales-y” and feels more authentic and truthful.

This all makes sense to me! We are a generation that has grown up bombarded with advertising. In a sea of companies trying to make us loyal customers, of course we are going to look for a brand that is authentic.

We are looking for a company that allows us to make a personal connection, even if “personal connection” has been redefined to include twitter conversations and Facebook likes.

So how does one keep a brand authentic in the eyes of a millennial? Well, simply put, don’t try to be something you’re not! Communicate with us, tell us your story and your beliefs, and embody those beliefs. We want to believe you!

The Story Co. helps companies communicate their authentic selves to their community through the power of story. There is a universal truth to this approach that resonates with all age groups – millennials included. This is why I could not be more excited to have the opportunity to help companies communicate their authentic selves.

Hello world! My name is Emily Brenner, and I am a Story Co. co-collaborator!

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