Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Marketing

“My Personal Brand Part II – Live by the sword, die by the sword”… or do you?

When Marketers, Public Relations Professionals, and the entertainment and sales industry in general speak about brand, they speak about the image of any one entity. Don’t they?  Yes, yes they do – much as I described in Part I.  There are many things that go into building a brand, and actions of that entity is one of them.  Media, be it internet, television, print, or even word of mouth, is an major avenue – a super highway – for communicating actions to the public. Talent aside (and in many cases not even needed) for those in the entertainment industry, the media is also the vehicle to success.

When you use a vehicle to get to work, and you are dependent on that vehicle to get you there – aren’t you also responsible for the maintenance and less glorified aspects of vehicle ownership?  Are you exempt from the oil changes?  Getting Gas?  Getting it washed?  What about getting a flat tire – as inconvenient as it might be, do you not still have to change it or call a tow?  Of course, we have to – it’s our vehicle to well-being, allows up to put food on the table and gets us to where we need to be in order to do our job successfully.  Does anyone ever look down on you for taking care of your vehicle?  Are you less successful because you had a flat tire?  I’ve never heard someone lose credibility for taking care of their vehicle.  I’ve never heard of anyone losing credibility because they had to take on the expenses of their vehicle for the sake of the benefits.  I have however seen people lose credibility because they felt they should be exempt for the expenses and deserved to still have the benefits.  If you stop putting oil in your car’s engine – no matter how great you are at your job, your vehicle will stop, and will not get you to work.

Case in point: Beyoncé.  She is an entertainer; media is her vehicle to success.  Media is not her job, rather singing and dancing is.  Through media, her vehicle, she has developed a brand which has allowed her to do additional branding and expand her brand and credibility.  She can definitely sing, and I haven’t heard an argument that could prove otherwise.

Round 1. – At the inauguration, she lip-synced the national anthem.  Be the circumstances what they were, I am not arguing whether that was smart or not.  However, when she chose not to address the allegations, and initially tried to pull it off allowing others to assume she sang live – she was neglecting her vehicle.  Had she tended to her vehicle immediately, it would not have been nearly the story.  But she didn’t, and like a tire low on air, it only gets worse.  She finally addressed it, but by the time she did, it was like changing a tire on the side of the road, when all she would have needed if done promptly, was put air in the tire.

Round 2. – Beyonce put on a great show at the Super Bowl half-time show.  After the Super Bowl was done and passed, a rather unflattering photo of her started to grow presence on the internet.  Again, Media, being her vehicle to success was in need of maintenance.  It’s fair to say, anyone who is in entertainment has had less than flattering pictures published, and they continue on. Especially of entertainers in the midst of a performance – it happens.  And there is nothing wrong with it.  It is a cost of maintaining the vehicle.  In this instance, Beyoncé (as has been rumored to happen in the past) went on a PR campaign to ask and persuade any website from hosting the picture.  In this, Beyoncé did not feel she was subject to the same costs of her vehicle, and that she shouldn’t have to bare it. She wanted someone else to do it. She wanted those who use the internet and ratings to take a hit on THEIR behalf for the sake of her benefit.  Sure, we’ve all asked for a ride from friends to get to work.  But how does it look when you have to ask for a colleague to drive you to work and drive out of their way – just because you don’t want to drive your car in the rain?

If you expect to reap the benefits of something, you have to accept the costs and responsibilities.  The moment you feel that you should be exempt from those responsibilities – you will start a slow deterioration of your brand – er… vehicle.  I think it would have come off better if Beyonce just made fun of her own picture – much the way Gov. Chris Christie ate a jelly filled donut on Letterman’s show.  Do I think her asking to have the picture taken down makes her any less talented? No.  But do I think it showed neglect and disrespect for her vehicle – same vehicle that has allowed her become the brand she has? Absolutely.

Know your brand, and respect the vehicles that have built it for you.  As soon as you lose respect for the vehicles you travel in, and the paths you’ve had to travel them on, you will lose credibility in your brand – don’t leave you brand counting on the jump-start of a passer-by.

 

Thoughts?

Stay tuned next week for Part III – Veterans transitioning; From a Brand You are Given, to a Brand You Will Name)

Advertisements

My personal Brand Part I (Part I – of a three part series)

I was introduced to a concept called “I Incorporated” during my final year of college by one of my business professors, David Bennett.  It was mentioned often in our Career Development class.  Now, I had a concept of what it was before he mentioned it, but I didn’t have a title or a real grasp of it until then.  Since, I have found myself to be a very conscious purveyor of personal branding, or what “I Inc.” is referring to.

Branding is largely what differentiates products that would be commodities based on the consumers experience with that brand.  Or is it that unique experiences received by consumers through actively differentiating products that would be otherwise be commodities is “Branding”?  Maybe it works both ways.  For the sake of this article, the most important concept of branding in the larger sense is that Companies…ahem… successful companies, actively seek to provide their consumers with unique experiences through the companies’ products as an act of branding, in order to garner product and further, brand loyalty. The difficult thing about Personal Branding is regardless of what you say, your actions will constantly provide your audience data/information that will be used to make a conclusion about YOUR brand.

Jim Joseph, a Finalist for the 2013 PR News Social Media Icon of the Year Award, has a great series of books known as, “The Experience Effect” (you can see them listed here under Recommended Reading).  I believe a 3rd part to the series will be out soon enough.  Joseph starts the series with The Experience Effect with large scale branding.  The Experience Effect for Small Businesses is, well, self-explanatory.  The third – as I anticipate will follow the trend – and is sure to give great input on “I Incorporated”.

With this I ask: What do YOU want to be remembered for?  That is part of a brand isn’t it?  When you think of a brand, you don’t think of what they DO; you recall what you REMEMBER them for!

Let’s try it:

BP?…

Xyience?…

Exxon-Valdez?…

Coca-Cola?…

FEMA? …

Johnny Knoxville? …

Alright, the first things I recall: BP – Gulf Oil Spill, gas & snacks; Xyience – UFC, working out; Exxon-Valdez – Oil Spill in Alaska, Questionable drilling practices in South America; Coca-Cola – Caravan of lit-up Coca-Cola trucks, Polar bears, Christmas and great with Rum; FEMA – Have they ever figured out how to do their job? & Katrina; Johnny Knoxville – Jackass.

You might have had different experiences, so the brand associated with each figure or name may be different.  I venture to say that the more successful companies are both better at translating the same brand experience consistently AND better at making each individual experience unique – but still consistent with the branding they desire.

A Brand can have a positive or negative effect.  Clearly, when thinking of personal branding, we cannot afford a negative effect.  This is something I think about in my daily activities, my projects, my efforts, and my goals.  What am I doing that I can influence that is will build my brand?  Well, a good solid base is something I and my peers like to call, “being a good dude”.  Now, what do I want to be known for? Well – reliability, determination, drive…

I know that my brand will be incorporated in anything I do, and it drives me to do even better.  Every person I meet, every interaction I have, and most importantly every action or inaction I take and whether it coincides with what I say, is a reflection of my brand.  What will people remember of me? What do they recall when they think of LifebyDamien.com?  What feelings does my name provoke in others?  How am I, and how WILL I be remembered?  Needless to say, I have a lot of personal branding to do – and it is never over.

I look forward to building the Veteran Recruitment Division at Creative Solutions Services, and I know its brand, as a tool for Veterans and Corporations alike will be based largely, on the my personal brand – until it takes on a brand of its own.  I am leveraging my own brand, to gain initial support for this new product, this new brand.  My leverage will only go so far.  Even more so, if the VRD brand does not prove successful, my personal brand will take a hit.  If the VRD brand does grow to be successful, as will my personal brand grow in reliability.

Stay tuned for “My Personal Brand Part II” as we discuss “intent vs. result” and examine choices some have made to protect their brand and how the efforts turned out.   Then to conclude, “My Personal Brand Part III” as we discuss the conflict and what Veterans Need to be aware of as the dynamics of “I Inc.” change upon leaving the Military.

***UPDATE 3/18 *** There has been a major change.  However, I do not want to “change history” so to speak. So my original article will remain as is.  I will simply provide an update here.  After completing the Business Architecture for the Veteran Recruitment Division at CSS, the company made the decision not to invest in the expansion, and has ceased it’s formal Veteran Recruiting initiatives. With that, I am no longer working with the organization.  It may have not been the right time – and luckily for the Veterans I have been working with, we were able to identify that early in the process.  The good news is:  I will continue with the architecture I have built and use it to work with Veterans, and feverishly offer my consultation services to employers seeking to develop Veterans on-boarding programs.  With that, if you are struggling in your transition or know a Vet who is, please do not hesitate to direct them here and have them reach out!

***Original article below***

 

So… I want to take a turn from the regular.

Appropriately so... Consider this your Warning Order.

Appropriately so… Consider this your Warning Order.

I want to take a moment to make an update on what I am working on.  I am very excited about it, and I am happy to be in a position where I will be pushed, urged and encouraged to continuously make it better. What is “it”?

I am responsible for developing the Veteran Recruitment Division at the Executive Search and Placement firm, Creative Solutions Services, LLC.  I will be continuously building relationships, my own personal knowledge base, and opportunities for U.S. Military Veterans.  I will be doing so, by developing programs and events that help Veterans make the transition into the Corporate world and at the same time, helping large corporations and small companies understand the vast array of talents and unique skills offered by U.S. Veterans.  But, I’ll be the first to call it out… there are TONS of organizations that do this, and transitioning is still dreaded… isn’t it?  I think it is.  Do I think I will be THE solution? No.. probably not.  But, I will be at least A solution, at least A spoke in the wheel.

So, here are some of the things I will be working on:

–          A NON-Hiring Mixer.  Yes, a non-hiring mixer.  This will likely be one of the first events I put on, sponsored by CSS, LLC.  I will organize HR managers and members from companies from the NYC Metro area with hiring authority, along with skilled Vets, who are transitioning, recently transitioned, and either will, or are looking to start their careers or career paths.  The event will be an informal, social event with a brief introduction, an open script.  The plan is to give HR managers and Veterans a chance to view the battlefield from the other-side, or as many military planners might say “Turn the map around”.  This will be a chance for Vets and Civilian employers to see what creates the “translation gap” as I call it; make connections; ask questions and get, not answers, but insight!

–          Skills Translation & resume FunShop – Add fundamentals and workshop, and you get a FunShop!  This will be geared towards Veterans seeking employment and guidance in their career track.  We will take information continuously gained by my firm from hiring managers.  Then, instructed by myself, a Veteran, with the possibility of additional guest speakers.  We will be taking a sample of common Military Occupational Specialties and translating their skills, into the proper verbiage that hiring managers understand.  We will discuss just what gets a resume “flagged” in a good way, and what gets it just looked right past.

–          Additional feedback and Skills translation seminars for hiring managers will be offered with Corporations and companies looking to capitalize on the benefits of Veteran experience in the workplace.

–          Even more events will be planned in coordinated efforts with strategic partners in the education track, employment track, skilled trades, professional track, and continuing/higher education programs.

Whether you were a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine – your training did not end after boot camp or basic training.  So why should your training…better yet, education for being successful as a productive citizen end after a two week crash course?  It doesn’t have to – and I, with the support and encouragement of Creative Solutions Services, LLC and its partners will be doing all that I can to ensure it won’t be.

A Sense of Community – Opportunity Missed.

Starbucks, Macy’s, Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s, Party City, Game Stop, Modell’s Sporting Goods, New York & Co, Motherhood Maternity, Dress Barn, Payless Shoes – All could stand to learn a lesson from Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart has been trying to establish its brand within New York City since 2005 – and has yet to gain a foothold.  Its opposition has been at the conglomerate of unions, citizens and local businesses through-out the city.  While the major retailer and largest private employer in the nation’s existence within NYC is controversial, I am not going to take one side or the other.  However, I do believe Wal-Mart, as even one of the largest retailers in the world understands how important it is to be a part of, and accepted by the communities that generate each location’s revenues. (New York Times: 2012)

I took my kids trick-or-treating in the Parkchester region of the Bronx, NY.  The neighborhood is quite diverse, and knowing which house is celebrating, or if the building is even a house, or just a single front door with many apartment doors behind it is a bit of a guessing game.  With that being the norm, it has been tradition that all the trick-or-treaters go business-to-business, versus house-to-house.  I was able to pick up a bit of a mildly surprising, and disappointing trend.

Nearly ALL of the “Mom & Pap” type shops were active and involved in the festivities, anxious to hand out candy and participate in the excitement of the kids and adolescents involved!  That is not the disappointing part.  What was disappointing was that the majority of big brands and major retailers did not participate (all mentioned at the opening of this article), and simply hung “No Candy” or “No More Candy” signs (We were out from 4:30-5:30pm).

Why does this bother me?  As a Dad, I want to see my kids enjoy the festivities and be as excited and involved by a huge community event!  It is not often we get to see so many of the youth of our community out for a common cause, and I wanted them to have the best time with it!  As a marketer, I feel like these major brands missed what would normally be a good opportunity, but under current conditions, was a HUGE opportunity.

NYC was just hit by what may be the WORST environment and economically damaging natural disaster in its history, Tropical Super Storm Sandy!  Halloween, 31 October 2012, was the first day that retailers had a chance to show to the members of their communities that they were a PART OF THE COMMUNITY, to be there and understand the hardships, struggles, and perserverence to move forward with everyone in the community. The gesture would have been possible with the simple gesture of partaking in the festivities at an EXTREMELY low cost (and likely a great marketing opportunity to include a leaflet or flyer; isn’t black Friday just right around the corner???).  I could continue, but I really feel like the brands missed the mark on this one.  Was it the brand and the big wigs behind the big names, or was it a failure at decentralized leadership at the ground level?  Likely a combination of both.

 

What’s your take?

This week’s article is less of an article and more about a reflection.  As a part of my career development and transition into the “civilian” world after 9-years of Active Duty military service, I have been doing my best to review and evaluate the actions I have taken that provided the most assistance and value as a part of the transition process.

As some of you already know, I am passionate about marketing, about the constant problem solving it requires.  There is always something to be solved, inferred, and identified.  Always brainstorming, and always learning.  I love it. I feel more and more passionate about Marketing, Public Relations, and the psychology behind it all.  Marketing isn’t just knowing who to sell to…  it’s about knowing people, or persons, and specifically individual persons.  My continuous study in marketing and human behavior has led to a recent fascination in profiling.  Profiling itself is a subject for its own discussion, but the idea behind it is still so exciting.

Marketing isn’t just knowing how to make someone think they want what you have to offer… it’s actually offering what people really want while providing increasingly demanded value, and superior quality.

Below is an “Occupational Analysis” I wrote as I was graduating from CSU San Marcos with a B.S. in Business Administration.  I keep it, in printed copy with a binder I refer to as my, “Portfolio” which I completed, and others can do so as well, by following the Trek Tasks in Troy Nielson’s helpful and easy to follow career development book, “Career Trek: The Journey Begins“.  It sheds light into both objective analysis and personal, psychological benefits I find in the marketing profession, as well a some of my own personal insights on what Marketing means to me.

%d bloggers like this: