maximum potential

these are the thought starters, insights, and inspiration to get you, and the brands you manage, to reach your maximum potential

don’t forget the coach

as i watch my agency continue to hire some of the best talent in the advertising game i am reminded of, and am witnessing the, importance of surrounding yourself with excellence.  having the best people on your team can definitely take you to the next level and make your life just a little bit easier.  but i am also reminded today that it is not just making sure you have the right team (colleagues, partners, spouses, etc), you have to have the right coaches (re: mentors).

a good coach comes in handy on many levels.  based on their experience and knowledge of the game they can help you avoid pitfalls and identify the best opportunities.  coaches  can get you into places you never imagined and in front of people you didn’t know existed.  a good coach can craft the right strategy for the game, play for the situation, or just help you strengthen your shot in practice.  a good coach…scratch that…an excellent coach is a necessity.

based on where i am in my life right now, recognize that i need to make sure that i am reaching back and coaching others, but i am also on the lookout for a excellent coach.  in order to do the latter i’ll have to reach back into my network.  simultaneously, i’m going to try to this new social networking site, gottamentor.com, that i learned about last week.  they are  “the ultimate career mentoring platform for students and professionals” and have all the credibility you want in a site like this (harvard and stanford mbas, experience building similar businesses in the offline realm, and a track record of landing jobs for people at some of the best companies).  if you are in the job market, or are just looking for a mentor, i would love for you to try them out as well and let me know if it was valuable for you.  i’m signing up today and will keep you all posted.

Filed under: personal branding, , , , , ,

sometimes it’s just the little things

today i checked into the holiday inn express in millington, tn (i know, get excited).  given that we now have the navy contract i decided that i should make sure that i was a part of whatever loyalty program the hotel had in place.  after some quick searching, we discovered that i was fortunate enough to already be a member of their ‘priority club.’

 all of a sudden, the universe shifted and the  incredibly nice check-in lady reached down beneath her and pulled out a brown paper sack (reminiscent of the the one that replaced your g.i. joe lunch box ).  in the matter of seconds, i went from a random guest (who was given wonderful customer service) to a ‘priority club’ member with a brown paper bag.  inside of the bag was the following contents: a bottle of water, several tootsie roll candies, and a cookie.  

although the bag did not cost hundreds, or even tens, of dollars, i sincerely impressed. i’m not sure if it was that i liked the idea that they found a way to treat different customers differently.  or the fact that  while other companies are charging $6 for a bottle of water the holiday inn express in tennessee (who only has 13 guests tonight) was giving it away for free to valued customers.  or perhaps it was because i really like chocolate chip cookies.  at the end of the day, it probably has something to do with all of the above but it all comes down to one thing, i just appreciated the effort they made to let me know that my relationship with them mattered.  

the reality of it is, sometimes it’s just the little things that let a customer know that you think they are special, or that you value the hardwork and effort of your employee, or that you are proud of your baby girl pushing her limits and trying new things, or that you sincerely appreciate the love and support your partner has managed to show you daily despite your mess.  although often overlooked, sometimes, it’s just the little things that are able to move the needle.  

from here on out, with i come to tennessee, you can assume i’ll be staying at the holiday inn express.

Filed under: business branding, lifemark, , , ,

surround yourself with excellence

are you surrounded by excellent people?  if not, something may be wrong because great brands need great people to succeed.  and no matter how brilliant you might be, you are not immune to this truth.  

excellent people help propel excellent brands towards their maximum potential.  here are a few quick reasons why:

  • excellent people tend to feel uncomfortable performing sub par compared to others.  consequently, the higher the standard of excellence around them the more excellent they will tend to be.  yes, even excellence is relative
  • excellent teams are always better than an excellent individual.  two excellent people will always be better than one.  five will always be better than two, etc, etc.  (you get the point)
  • being surrounded by excellent people allows one to focus on the task at hand and focus is key to success.  too often when people are  not surrounded by excellent people they spend too much time distracted because they are worried about or busy making up for other peoples’ deficiencies.  

so hire excellent talent, work for an excellent boss, build a circle of excellent friends, find an excellent spouse, and get coached by excellent mentors.  their job title is irrelevant; the truth is, excellent people propel brands towards their destiny.

Filed under: business branding, personal branding, , , ,

2009 brand of the year

great brands…

 

…connect emotionally as well as logically

 

…change lives

 

 

 

 

… move people to action

 

 

 

 

…do the impossible

 

…inspire

 

 

 

 

…create change

 

 

 

 

 

only one month into 2009 and it’s clear that barack obama is the brand of the year (probably century).  and watching things transpire over the last few months it has become clear to me that a great brand can only be human.  there are products, services, and companies that we all love and respect, but can they ever be truly great?  

brands are built on relationships and connections and, for most of us, the strongest connections we will build in our lives will be to other people.  consequently, each one of us harnesses the ability to be their own unique and truly great brand.  the question is, do you have the courage to try?  

(for the most amazing display of barack obama’s inauguration, told completely through pictures, click here. )

Filed under: inspiration, lifemark, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

i don’t need you

marketing has many ailments. one of the most popular is that it is impersonal. there is no effort to build relationship. just shout at the consumer and walk away. today, i’m alerted of another disease that is sometimes prevalent: lack of authenticity. we lie, we cheat, and we pretend to be someone we are not–all in the name of increased sales.  here is an email that came to my gmail account today from a complete stranger: 

janetbts@travelaroundghz.info
hey where were you
i called you 3 times.anyway          

here is the store that i told to you.they have great medicines
for cheap

<insert html link, which i won’t include for fear that they will think this worked if someone clicks on it>

this email is personal; yet they are an imposter.  why are you lying to me?  do you not think i’m smart enough to figure you out?  the reality is, this stupid trick might work in the short term if they emailed enough people, but in the long run these types of tactics will fail.  why?  because, at the end of the day, the best brands will enjoy sustained sales built on strong customer loyalty. customer loyalty is built through  relationships and relationships are built on trust and authenticity.  the better you are at keeping it real, the more likely you are to earn my loyalty and thus my dollars.  if you lie to me today, you’ll probably lie to me tomorrow.  and personally, that means i don’t need you in my life.

If You Read This, Tweet This to your Followers:

i don’t need you:  http://tinyurl.com/8gep7a 

(thanks jeremiah for the tip)

Filed under: lifemark, , , , , , , , ,

i’m ruining the conversation

marketing is about conversation (although we usually stink at it; it’s much more fun to shout at our consumers and ignore the conversations that they are already in).  social media enables us as marketers to listen and converse with our consumers like never before.  here’s a lesson from my personal life that will hopefully help other marketers navigate the social media landscape.  

i’m ruining the conversation.  i did not do it on purpose, but the day i linked my twitter account to facebook so my status updates would seamlessly post on both i messed up.  i didn’t know it at the time, but i knew it after long.  but that didn’t stop me.

how did i mess it up?  the conversation on twitter is very different for me than the conversation on facebook.  the human beings are interested (at this point) in conversing with me about very separate things.  would you go to the party with all of the people you know from your school, geographic, and professional networks and have the same conversation you would have with a bunch of strangers?  probably not.  and that’s what i have been doing.  so at this juncture i have three options:

  • edit my updates so that they appeal to both targets.  this is the approach i subconciously began to do and is the path well traveled by most marketers.  in an attempt to speak to everyone, we water down our message and speak to no one.  
  •  get all of my facebook friends to follow me on twitter and vice versa.  that sounds like a lot of work and i’m not even sure i want to have the same conversations 100% of the time.
  • stop shouting at everyone, take no short cuts/disconnect my twitter from my facebook, and have conversations that are relevant and customized to my audience and the platform.  

 i choose the latter.  apologies to my “friends” and “followers” for ruining the conversation.

Filed under: business branding, lifemark, , , , , , ,

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