Tag Archives | marketing

A Website Realignment: Day 56: Branding Berchman

This post is the first in what may be many video posts (ie., vlog posts). I am exploring new content formats so this may appear to be a bit ‘raw’ and unrehearsed, but it is real. I’m not reading a script (although you do see me look off and pause—I’m looking at a whiteboard with notes).

So, how does this fit into the “Website Realignment” you may ask? Well at this stage I am assessing content and its function and role in the website:

  • What types of content do I use?
  • What content formats don’t I use?
  • Are certain types of content suited to a specific format? (Tutorials are always text?)
  • Should I have more than one type of content?
  • Am I making this not simple?

So here it is. The first video post. I plan on these becoming higher quality the more I do them. Would definitely welcome your comments on using this format in the comment form below.

http://www.vimeo.com/6959125
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A Website Realignment: Day 12: Branding Berchman

The next step in branding Berchman.com is to develop a positioning statement.

From the brandeo website:

“Also referred to as a brand strategypositioning strategy, or brand positioning statement, a positioning statement is a succinct description of the core target audience to whom a brand is directed, and a compelling picture of how the marketer wants them to view the brand.”

I would adjust this for my purposes because I am developing a personal brand statement, not a corporate brand statement:

A positioning statement is a succinct description of the core audience to whom a your personal brand is directed, and a compelling picture of how you want them to view your brand.

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Recently Published on BizNik

printing-press

Was just notified that my “Part 2 of 6” series on Internet communications for small business. By small I’m talking less than 10 employees. Perhaps its micro business. Anyhow, here is the scoop.

Breaking Down The Multi-Headed Monster-Email Marketing

Something we all do in the modern business world is email. It is a staple to getting things done. Are you using email marketing as a tool in your marketing mix? If not, you are missing a high-return opportunity.

Here is the article on BizNik.

Looking forward to my new business blogging that will be coming 2009.

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Barack the Brand: Are We ‘Citizens’ or ‘Consumers’?

Screen Shot from the Obama web site

I have been meaning to post about the brand of Barack Obama for a while. Then yesterday my dad emails me a link to a post by Andrew Romano about this very topic with the bonus bit of having interviewed Michael Beirut who is a partner at Pentagram. It’s certainly worth a read for his take on the matter is interesting.

I have been observing, as others have, how Barack Obama has built a brand around his candidacy. Or rather how the branding and design firm his campaign hired has created what is arguably the strongest brand in the history of politics.

It’s more than just the typeface (Gotham) and the clean, uncluttered look of his website and promotional materials—it’s the whole package that is so appealing. As was said by Beirut, “Obama is marketing like Apple, Nike or Starbucks. He’s selling an experience. It’s all done with such skill and finesse that as a professional, I am in absolute awe.â€?

I know that some people will look at this and say that this is politics, we should be focusing on substance of the candidates, not the experience or feeling they give us.

But people we are seen as consumers, not citizens.
As was said by President Bush today in his remarks about the current economy, “I want to thank the members of Congress for quickly passing an economic growth package. And that means there will be $150 billion — or more — sent out to American consumers and incentives inherent in that for American businesses to invest.”

So you see, we are not citizens, we are consumers and we are being marketed to as such.

May the best brand win!

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Working in a Vacuum

Vacuum

I experienced the contrast of working in a vacuum and working in a group and saw that contrast very clearly. Yesterday I was brainstorming my projects and tasks related to using the GTD system and methodology.

When working alone it was easy to crank out this lists of things I would like to do. However, there was a project I was hung up on. The project had to do with a marketing plan I am trying to implement. I was stuck thinking about what is the next step? In the exercise we were doing in a group our observer (there was an observer, questioner, and main guy) asked if I had shown the plan to anyone else—marketing pro or not—I hadn’t and now I will.

So it was made clear to me that bringing in an outside perspective on things is always valuable. Being a solo entrepreneur and finding the opportunities to share and show ideas for review and reflection is sometimes a tough task.

How does a small business person who is solo find a good outlet for professional collaborative, review, and brainstorming. You could join a chamber of commerce, local rotary, Score, or look for other ways.

If you are a solo entrepreneur I would love to know how you deal?

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Small Business (Non) Spender

Coin Jar

Interesting post today on Dawud Miracle’s blog titled “Why you need to invest in your business.”

For those people running a truly small business (less than $150,000 in gross receipts annually) spending money on non-tangible items can be a tricky game. Your marketing and promotion budget looks like the jar above.

What I mean is spending money on new file cabinets, or a new desk for a business owner at this level provides a physical object–something to put your hands on. Whereas investing in a marketing plan, or paying someone to brainstorm on developing your brand is not a definable physical object that you can point to and say “that is what I paid for.” This is a tough proposition for a truly small business owner to entertain.

I think it is hard for business owners at this level to see beyond the quarter or next quarter. Business at this level is happening on a day-to-day basis. Business owners keep their view on the short distance game. Being able to “let go” and see the big picture can be a challenge.

I would suggest that a small business owner take time to define their goals with their business.

  • What do you want from it? Money? Independence?
  • Envision wild success. What does that look like?

The idea is to define what you want and from there devise a plan to make it happen. Breaking things down into smaller and smaller tasks is key to moving ahead and there are hundreds of blog posts about the topic of getting things done.

I think that many times small business owners look out and think they can’t get to the “pie-in-the-sky” goals and then just give up on it. Thinking you have to spend $10,000 to achieve your goals may actually be reality but that does not mean it has to be all at once. Do what you can with the resources you have now. Build a foundation that can support future endeavors and even handle a change of direction if need be. The key is to, as Walt Disney said, “Keep moving forward.

I know, being a small business owner, that I too can be a (non) spender. If you are a small business owner, do you spend on the non-tangibles? (marketing, promotion, etc?)

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Advertising Agencies need to wake up

Wake Up.

A blog post on NussbaumonDesign at Business Week hints that corporations may be beginning to get savvy about the future of marketing and PR on the web. Corporations are realizing they are literally wasting money. It is simply a matter of time for them to wake up and realize they are spending millions on a way of doing business that is dying a slow death and not getting very much ROI.

What do I mean?
The tools to communicate directly to customers and clients are right here on the Internet. The rise of easy, accessible web video, social networking, the blogosphere, the allure of viral marketing all provide the ability to communicate to millions of people for a much lower investment. The Internet of today is very much a do-it-yourself environment (or certainly not very much money). Think of how much bang for the buck you could get for all that Super Bowl advertising money.

A previous blog post I read and commented on at WebInkNow discussed how advertising agencies use their web sites as a form of digital ego stroking. The post goes hand in hand with Nussbaum’s above and should be a warning of things to come for agencies that are not swift to change their ways.

Here are my comments to his post:

 

Digital Ego Stroking is rampant among Ad Agencies, Architects, and Designers web sites. I own a design firm that specializes in website design and development. I can attest that a massive majority of these organizations have the logic of their own websites in reverse.

The focus of their websites should be on answering potential clients questions about their firm and what it can do for the client–giving the client substance. Not stroking their firms ego and trying to make their website look “cooler” than others.

People want content, substance, and answers from websites. They do not want animations, music, and other distractions standing in the way of what they want and need–information.

Don’t get me wrong, art and design have their place but it needs to be tempered with client objectives and goals. It is possible to design great looking websites that are information focused.

Just as the disconnect with their own websites is apparent, so too is their understanding of the power of the Internet. Granted not everyone at every agency or firm has their head in a cloud, I am not saying that. There are plenty of talented and smart people at these organizations that understand the Internet and its power. They just don’t seem to be in positions of power to make the necessary internal changes needed to cause a shift in “the way we’ve always done things around here” mentality.

What is the cause?
Perhaps its a generation gap. There is certainly some arbitrary dividing line between those that have technology integrated within their lives, and those that do not. I would say the 30 year old and under crowd is wired solid. They are using the web daily (if not hourly) for news, information, communication, and entertainment. Once you get above 30 the number tapers off unless you are involved in the worlds of technology in some way. Meaning that the older someone is, the more likely they are going to be separate from what is happening within this medium. That means knowing and understanding the power there is within the Internet. The key word in that previous sentence is understanding plain and simple.

Perhaps, are those in the upper levels of advertising agency management are just too old and out of touch?

I’m not sure, just a thought.

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Enjoy, Learn, Profit

Happy People.

Three things shared with me from friend Steve Barlament the other night at dinner. We were discussing my upcoming marketing campaign for my business and the fact that it will be my first ‘true’ marketing campaign. Everything to date has all been word-of-mouth which has been fine, but the level of success I would like with my business will not be achieved through word-of-mouth. The services of my business and skills I possess are not going to become the next viral wave to hit the Internet. It would be cool if that were the case, but it ain’t going to happen.

When I told Steve about the idea I am proposing for my marketing he said that there are three things that are key to any business endeavor. You need not have all three of these (which is ideal) but we agreed that if you can get 2 of 3 it is a valuable experience.

  1. ENJOY
    You should enjoy what you are doing, right? Otherwise you are toiling away valuable hours of your life on something that sucks–plain and simple. I did say above that having 2 of three of these components is important, but if this one is missing the other two had better be HUGE in scale to make up for this important component.
  2. LEARN
    It is always good to learn something new. Sometimes learning is an intentional experience, other times it shows up on your doorstep gift wrapped or not. In any event learning from what you do is key to advancing your mind, your cause, your life, and the evolution of humans.
  3. PROFIT
    “It’s all about the Hamilton’s baby!” When it comes right down to it, when in business it is about being in the black and making cash money. While we would hope that every hair-brained idea we think of would create profit it just doesn’t happen that way. It is a game of hit and miss.

So, if you can manage to get 2 out of 3 of these with any business initiative you should consider it a success. The level of each component is, of course, open to interpretation. However, when looking back up at the list right now I would love to Enjoy and Profit all the time but we all know that is not going to be the case. One thing is true, if you do nothing at all, you will not have a chance at any of this.

What do you think?

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A million different directions

Directions by compassI find the limitlessness of possibilities to any given situation both exciting and maddening at times. I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill situation like choosing between gala or granny smith applies at the supermarket. I’m thinking more in terms of running a small business.

I’m talking about making larger decisions such as what form should the company take (LLC, S or C corp, etc)? What direction should you take your business in next year? What type of marketing plan should you employ? Those types of questions.

Being a wary decision maker is not helpful to this predicament. When presented with a myriad of options I typically use investigation, fact gathering, comparison, interviews and the like to whittle down the range of possibilities. This methodology can take time and that introduces, upon reflection, more indecisiveness based on new facts or new input of some form. This can be a crippling plague for a small business owner like me.
So what is the answer?

Does one mull things over and over until the ultimate solution is found? Granted there are deadlines but some things can drag on for a loooonnnnngggg time.

Or does one gather as much information as quickly as possible, read, review, reflect, make a decision, and then get on with life?

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Choices and Identity

This morning my son was having a tough time making choices. These were rather simple choices. Selecting a T-shirt and a pair of socks and then moving on to start the day at school. He was unable to make a decision and that caused him a great deal of frustration–for 40 minutes. He was unable to see the choice he was making in the moment. The choice he was making was causing him to identify, and get stuck, with his emotions. In the end he was able to transcend the dead end choice he was making by using intention and choosing another way–a much more pleasant way. He did this by deciding to get out of the rut and move on.

In business the choices we make about our business identity, and our brand, informs others about who and what we are and how we can help. Sometimes these choices happen without much notice–almost subliminal. And all the choices combined create the intention of what your identity stands for. Take a moment and reflect upon who and what you want to present to the world and how you can exhibit ways in which you can help people and businesses. Make intentional choices that are thought about, weighed, and measured. This way there is no question or ambiguity about your identity and what your business stands for.

I am experiencing this process right now by making decisions after careful reflection. I am creating a marketing campaign for my business and making some choices with intent. It will be interesting to see how these choices play out over time. It may take six months to a year before I can fully comprehend the impact of my intention. We will just have to wait and see.

So is your identity, your brand, intentional? Have you reflected upon who and what it represents and how that image is played out in the world? If not its time to make some choices.

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