Posts filed under ‘personal branding’

Elegant marketing by a landscaping guy.

This afternoon, I got up from my desk and headed outside and up my driveway to fetch the mail. On the way, I noticed a small bit of shiny plastic at the edge of the drive and decided to pick it up for proper disposal on my way back to the house, er… office. We had a big wind storm two nights ago. The power was out for hours and trash cans had been tipped over. Stuff happens… no big deal.

When I picked up the plastic bag, I took a look and cracked a smile. There it was, on the edge of my driveway, the most elegant bit of marketing communication I had seen in quite a while.

It was a small plastic bag with a stone and a landscaper’s business card inside. “I work for people in this neighborhood and I’d like to work for you.”
Perfect package, focused targeting, elegant message. BOOM… a trifecta!

If I had been away, the plastic bag would have protected the message from the elements for quite awhile. It was tossed on the side of my driveway, so I wasn’t likely to destroy it with my tires. Business cards are cheap, and no postage was required. The stone can be recycled into my existing landscaping. The I’m just sayin’… this thing is elegant.

As it turns out, I already have a landscaper. BUT, I’m keeping this card just in case.

What’s the most elegant marketing message you received today? How can you learn from it to improve your own?

January 20, 2010 at 5:29 pm Leave a comment

Standing out in a crowd. What crowd?

One of the biggest problems for any marketer is getting people’s attention. OK, great products, customer-focused messages, enticing offers and amazing customer service aren’t easy. But once you have all those other things, you have to do is get noticed.

Yesterday, I was reading Seth Godin’s blog. Seth knows how to get noticed, but that’s not my point… at least not entirely. He was describing his alternative MBA program. In his words, “Unaccredited, residential, free and six months long. A new way to learn about a new way of doing business.”

Most of the nine “graduates” left the program ready to start or grow their entrepreneurial companies. One, was determined to land the best job ever. What makes Susan Lewis different is her approach. She isn’t submitting hundreds of résumés (crowd), she’s inviting potential employers to apply to her (what crowd?). (more…)

June 6, 2009 at 8:50 am Leave a comment

Beware of anti-marketing!

I was facilitating a discussion with a group of small business owners this morning when a new word popped into my head — “anti-marketing”. Sounds dangerous, but what is it?

I had encouraged everyone to think about marketing as a conversation, in fact, every conversation they have with customers, prospects, employees, colleagues… even friends and family. They were all familiar with the concept of the “30 second elevator pitch” and the USP (unique selling proposition), so I asked them to think about the value of personal storytelling as a marketing tool.

If marketing is every positive conversation we have and storytelling is a great way to connect with customers and generate positive word-of-mouth, anti-marketing would be every negative conversation we have or story we tell. Let’s face it. Who wants to do business with someone who is negative? Do you?

To combat anti-marketing, just be aware of the conversations you have and the stories you tell. If you’re tempted to go negative, bite your lip! Let the other person do the talking for awhile, or find a way to change the subject.

Keep your personal brand positive and you can expect a lot more referrals and a lot better word-of-mouth.

April 28, 2009 at 12:58 pm 3 comments

What’s your story?

Personal stories can be a powerful way to communicate intangible value.

Back in high school, my sister used to tease me for having “study parties” to prepare for AP physics exams. She called me a nerd, and maybe I was, but I also knew that without those “study parties” I would be lost. I knew that I could handle the concepts of physics, but that I was awful at the math. By meeting with my classmates, I could explain the theory, and they could explain the calculations. It was all about give and take. I’ve understood the value of peer groups for a long time, so I am really passionate about building the community at ExpertCEO, an online network for senior executives and the community that inspired this blog.
— Nathalee Ghafouri, Marketing Manager, ExpertCEO

When I was involved with Vistage as a CEO group chair, I talked to potential candidates about the benefits of joining a peer group. I could have used a similar story about my days in engineering school, but didn’t think of it. Shame on me, because it clearly demonstrates the value of a peer group without sounding like a sales pitch.

Take a minute and think about the stories in your life that could help someone understand the value of what you do. They can be very powerful, and they are free.

December 7, 2008 at 11:30 am 3 comments


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