How much money is spent on media training each year to make sure messages are delivered with intent, passion and clarity? I have no idea. How many times have you seen the message get distorted completely because of the messenger? This fun video reminds you of ways to keep your viewers focused on your message, and not end up distracted by the messenger.
Brand strategies start with a clear understanding of who your audiences are and what moves them. Be careful not to make the mistake of overlooking your internal audiences of employees, contractors, vendors, and suppliers.
It’s been pretty quiet on my blog for a while – and it’s about to get noisier! Please click in and check out the intro to the new StratCommRx video blog series. More posts will follow – about twice a month. Enjoy, and let me know what you think!
I spent this past weekend at Make An Impact LIVE with Dr. Mollie Marti and her team in Chicago. One of the many things I took notes on was her particular comment about “intent.” She described it as the one word to best describe the conference, and that she hoped we would take that word with us. Dr. Mollie offered an intentional line-up of speakers and covered topics from dreaming to personal energy, fitness to business development, and networking to etiquette. Each one offered advice that in my opinion supports the idea of being intentional and acting with intent. My thoughts on these are below.
- Mitch Matthews reminded us that even when you have trouble articulating your own dreams, helping others realize theirs can help illuminate your own.
- One of my favorite authors, Bob Burg, pointed out that Go-Givers are not the opposite of Go-Getters – they are the opposite of Go-Takers. (For more insights on the intent of this message, read The Go-Giver by Burg and John David Mann).
- John Morgan cautioned us to “define yourself before someone else does.”
- Frank McKinney’s blessing to us was what he learned about restless forward motion and the benefits to be gained when you blend your highest professional calling with your highest spiritual calling.
- Andrea Metcalf focused on health, fitness and overall wellness. One of my favorite messages of intent from her was that if you stabilize your blood sugar, you will be healthier. EAT eat EAT eat EAT. (EAT a big meal; eat a little meal…)
- Dr. Mollie Marti inspired us with a formula that requires you to blend what you think, feel and do to create change in our lives. (And I have about 5 more pages of notes on what she shared…)
- Debbie Bermont was a force of nature in the conference for me, and one of my favorite comments from her was that she believes we all have the same two purposes: to serve others, and to experience love – both from a giving and receiving perspective.
- Melissa Galt was specific in sharing her intent for each of us: write a bulleted bio, know our features v. our benefits, and identify our target audience (in excruciating specificity).
- Also on deck were Patricia Rossi, Dixie Gillaspie, Josh Hinds and Dondi Scumaci…and I learned personal lessons of value from each of them. And Felicia Slattery was a charismatic emcee.
- I’m sure all these folks, and my classmates could have found something else to do with their weekends, but I’m grateful and appreciative for their time, talents and energy.
Do any of my recollections resonate with you? I’d love to have your comments!
Let’s face it, marketing is challenging. Especially when you subscribe to Kitchen Sink Marketing. Kitchen Sink Marketing, to this writer, is the art of pushing everything you have to say about your product, service or company into every piece of marketing you produce.
Is there someone who may see your website and not recognize that they are a potential buyer? Someone who may need one of your peripheral services may see your brochure, so of course all peripheral services along with core competencies needs to be included. And suddenly your marketing communications efforts look like you would sell a kitchen sink if someone wanted to buy it from you.
So if that is the trap some companies seemed destined to fall into, how do they navigate around this risk?
Here are a few tips to help you build a briefing document for any of your external marketing efforts. The briefing document should list the following:
- Type of communications tool. (Press release, ad, brochure, website, trade show display, etc.)
- Intended audience. (Be specific.)
- Key brand message to be communicated. (After the intended audience sees this tool, what do you want them to know or believe about your brand?)
- Supporting brand messages, pick two. (What are the secondary reasons someone would choose to engage with your brand?)
- What images will best help tell your story? Executive headshot? Product beauty shot? Experience image? Audience image? Technical drawings? Charts? Graphs? Do you have these images? Will stock images work? Would you prefer originals? What demands must be met for the final project? 2-color? 4-color? Online? Print? Distribution?
- Deadline information. (Then determine the reasonable number of drafts allowed to hit that deadline with full approvals.)
This isn’t a comprehensive list — yours will need to be customized to your brand and your needs.
Plan your work. Work your plan. It’s good advice – especially if you want to avoid Kitchen Sink Marketing.
A long time ago in a galaxy that looks a lot like this one, I had an intern from Webster University ask me a question. “What does it take to be successful in this field?” It took me a minute, then the thought crystallized in my mind – and I had the answer. At least, the answer for me. “Curiosity,” I replied.
That was probably six years ago – and the answer still fits. And I’m still teaching with that example. Strategy is core to everything we do in strategic communications. It is the only way to develop effective tactics. It is the only way to develop links to a client’s business goals. So where does it come from? In classrooms everywhere, students are handed the books to read, the syllabus of expectations, the schedule – the rules of engagement so to speak. They then graduate and enter the professional world. Let’s say they choose an agency like the one where I work, and off they go.
Is it our job as senior practitioners to hand them the books to read, quiz them to verify they read it, guide them through their days? When do they leave the tactical “nest” and stretch to strategy? My answer still fits – when they demonstrate curiosity. When their work on a client project takes them into having more questions than answers and they seek those answers. When they consider a new pitch opportunity and think through not only what our team needs – but what the potential client needs from the presentation – and they deliver.
So what do you think it takes to be successful in your field?
Are you curious?
William Shakespeare said it best – “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Say what you want to say and get on with it.
“Be short and belong” is my 2010 way of endorsing brevity in the socialsphere.
From my vantage point (17 years of experience as a professional communicator, 11 years as a consultant in this field, 3 years on Twitter, and the author of one very underused blog), there are some reasons to be engaged in social media. And as the yin and yang go, there are reasons not to. So I have some rules and some ideas for folks about social media. Follow them…or don’t. Read them, or don’t. They are my rules and I’ve found them to be fairly useful.
- Social media is 90% about the social part and only 10% about the media part. I say that in nearly every conversation I have with people about social media. And I say it early. And I repeat it. Because to me, it’s an important message.
- Social media is about building relevance within a community for a brand – - and that brand is you. Be you. Share. Tweet. Post. Retweet. Link. Just don’t karaoke when anyone has a video camera nearby.
- Be strategic. Shania Twain sings: “If you’re not in it for love, I’m outta here.” Be on Twitter and Facebook, join Ning, LinkedIn, sign up for RSS feeds…but engage for the right reasons. Your fans and followers and connections can tell when you’re calling it in. Social media requires you to be present.
- I read over the weekend in an L.A. Times article that only 21% of all Twitter users have more than 10 followers and follow more than 10 people. There is a lot of space out there to splash around. Go on! Engage! And remember Rule #1.
- And be brief. One of the advantages of Twitter and other microblogs is it responds to our need for speed. Quick, pithy, witty, insightful, meaningful, value-added and relevant. Indeed, brevity. So be short, and belong. And follow me on Twitter @KellyFerrara. Let’s focus on the social part, and have a conversation. Cheers.