Brand, Reputation, and Delusion

July 3, 2011

If you are working on growing your business, you can expect to hear talk about the importance of building a brand.  There are branding companies, branding consultants, branding experts, branding strategists, and so on and so on.  All of them want to help you grow your business by creating a brand presence in the mind of your current and future customers.

'I'm sorry, my reputation usually precedes me.' - An Andertoons Cartoon
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Leaders, get ready to lock and load

May 8, 2011

Leaders wear many hats.  Good ones are visionaries, coaches, cheerleaders and trailblazers.  Yet when times get tough or change happens, the chief role of a leader becomes that of a trouble shooter with the responsibility for preparing the team for immediate action.  As they say in the movies…It’s time to lock and load.

Cartoon #5414 - 'The troubleshooters say they need more ammo.'
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The Best Support is Bidirectional

April 17, 2011

As I go about my day, I wear a hat or two or three.  I’m a Mom, a wife, a non-profit executive, a CEO, a board member, an investor and a few other things.  Across them all, it it all ties back to one thing.  I need the help and support of others to get the job done.  This week, at one of my many meetings, a fellow board member shared a thought that has really stayed with me.  “We need to provide value BEFORE we ask for support.”   As I have continued through my week, that message kept coming back to me.  Read the rest of this entry »


What’s Your CorePurpose? How will you achieve it?

April 11, 2011

AZBio Member John Hoffman of QMR

This week, Tuesday in fact, I have my first BIG meeting as the President and CEO of AZBIO, the Arizona BioIndustry Association.  It’s probably the most important meeting we will have all year – the first phase of our strategic planning process.

There will be other important events and meetings through out the year, but this one lays the foundation for what we will do and who we will do it for. Read the rest of this entry »


Help! I’m chained to my desk!

April 3, 2011

We’ve all been there. Those times when we have so much to do that we’re just not sure how it will all get done.  Emails are pouring in.  Reports are due.  The phone won’t stop ringing.  New social media communication tools are pinging you from all sides.  A new crisis has just popped up and you have not finished dealing with the old one! Each forms a link in a chain that has you attached to your desk.   Read the rest of this entry »


Business and the Writing on the Wall

February 21, 2011

What does what you say about your business say to your customers? Can they read the writing on the wall?  If customers can’t quickly understand just what you are offering them, it’s likely you may never get the chance. No matter what your business  is or how big or how small, the way you tell your story is  key to success.

 

Cartoon #5115 - 'It appears to be some sort of pyramid scheme.'
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We have many ways to share our message.

As business owners, entrepreneurs, leaders and marketers, we have more tools at our disposal than ever before.  Social media, the web, email, print, TV and radio all come together to extend our message to a wider and wider audience.  The question is, when we reach our target audience, is our message clear… or cryptic?

The RIGHT message answers 5 basic questions – Who, What, When, Why, and How.

  • Who are you and what do you stand for.  This is the primary reason we have core values and brand messages.  Make sure that yours is clearly stated and repeated often.
  • What are you offering.  It is amazing how often I see an ad or message and there is no clear value statement.  If I do not know what you have to offer me then how will I know if I want it?
  • “When” comes next.  Your when is a call to action.  Is this a limited offer?  Is there an incentive for acting now?  Develop a sense of urgency so I, as your customer, can take you up on your offer.  Mediums like electronic retail (the QVC/ShopNBC/HSN networks) and Direct Response (the infomercial crowd) have this down to an art.  They clearly state the “who” and the “what”  with a compelling ACT NOW messaging strategy.  This is  the art of timing.  Just remember, when you call your customers to action, be sure you are ready to deliver.  Otherwise, you just frustrate of confuse them and they will not be listening when you reach out again.
  • The why is a two part process.  First communicate WHY you have the right product or service for your customer.  This is not about you, it is ALL about them.  Why is your product better for them?  Why is your product  different or better than their other alternatives?   Why do they want to buy from you right now?  Secondly – be sure to keep the promises you made in your Who, What and Why statements.  The first customer experience may be a result of your marketing prowess, but customer experience will be WHY they come back to buy from you again.
  • This leads us to the How.  When you put the writing up on the wall, be sure that you clearly state… How to reach you. How to buy from you. How customer’s can use your product or service to the customer’s advantage after the sale.  If there is no evidence of a how, I may not buy.  If there is no results from your “how” after the sale, I definitely won’t be buying again.

So get your message out there and make it easy for me to understand. 

I just might have a need for what YOU want to offer.  Just keep in mind that customers like me are busy and you are not my highest  priority…yet.  Creative marketing campaigns or messages may capture my attention but if you do not clearly communicate the Who, What, When, Why and How you may have succeeded in entertaining me, but you have failed in your primary goal…engaging me as a customer today and tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

 

Joan Koerber-Walker is a two time Stevie Award National Finalist and Chairman of the Board of CorePurpose, Inc. and the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation.  She also serves as Executive in Residence for Callaman Ventures and on the boards of for profit and nonprofit organizations.  As the former CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association and a past member of the Board of Trustees of the National Small Business Association she has worked with hundreds of  businesses and on behalf of thousands.  She believes that when you combine leadership with innovative products and services you get results.  With the support of a great  team at CorePurpose she helps client companies of all sizes do just that.  Chat with her on Twitter as @joankw, @JKWgrowth, @JKWinnovation, @JKWleadership and@CorePurpose , at her blog at www.JoanKoerber-Walker.com or by email by clicking here.


Success Tip: See yourself as others do

February 8, 2011

The key to success is not how you see yourself.  It is how others see you, speak of you and think of you. 

Over the last year, I have had the opportunity to work with some fabulous companies and look at what their social media map had to say about them through their own words and the eyes and words of others. 

As part of our annual CorePurpose brand assessment, I pulled the text of the CorePurpose Blog, CorePurpose website, the @Replies from all five of our primary Twitter Ids along with other online sites and mentions and ran them through a program to get the top words in a cloud.

 jkw cloud

What you see is what we got.  If you were to do the same exercise for your company, what words would you find?

Your brand is how OTHERS see you.

Social Media and the wider web is a powerful tool.  Today more that ever, as entrepreneurs, marketers, and individuals, we have the opportunity to help  shape our brands.  What is out there is at the fingertips of every customer, investor, employee and employer. 

Our words and actions shape how others see us. 

What we say, what we write and what we do form a body of evidence that will follow us for a very long time.  What we don’t say and don’t do can have an equal impact.

If you want to succeed in today’s world, here are some things that anyone can do to build an online body of evidence about who they are and what they offer to others:

LinkedIn

Your LinkedIn profile is your chance to tell your professional story.  Make sure it is complete and accurate.  Your LinkedIn connections are your professional network. Guard them well.  Use judgment in making and  accepting connections and keep it professional.  You never know when someone might want to check you out.

Facebook

On the personal side, how you interact with your friends says a lot about who you are.  Are you sharing and caring?  Funny or smart?  Facebook is a great place to let your hair down and interact – but remember to use a bit of tact. Professional contacts just might stop by to see the “real” you. DON’T embarrass  yourself by sharing things you might wish you had not later… and that goes for your photos too!

For your business, project, or group, set up a Facebook page. It’s a great way to share news, ask for feedback and interact with people who have something to share about what matters most to your business or organization.

Twitter

What are you doing, reading or thinking about?  Twitter is a great way to share it and find out what is interesting to others too.  With a wide range of tools and apps to help you find your way around, Twitter let’s you connect to a larger world than the one you may have built face to face.  If you are interesting and willing to reach out and show interest in others, interesting people WILL find you and you can find them too.  Twitter is the place to be inclusive.  Cast a wide net and you just might connect with people that you would never otherwise get a chance to meet and share ideas with.

Blogs

Have something to say or share?  Blog it.  Be creative and consistent.  You might be surprised as to who might be interested and willing to join the conversation.  Let people know when you share something on your blog with a Twitter update or Facebook post.  There are even tools that will do this for you automatically. You have gifts and knowledge to share. Don’t be stingy.  Put it out there.

Websites

Over 25 years ago, a friend shared with me that the day will come when if you do not have a website, no one will believe your company is “real”. That day has definitely arrived and with so many easy and inexpensive  ways to build one, there is no excuse not to.  Whether your website is a simple 5 page brochure on your products and services or something much more sophisticated, your website tells people who you are and what you have to offer.  Don’t make them  guess.  They probably won’t bother.

The power of any tool lies in the hand of the user.

What you see above is a selection of the most common tools you can use to  build your personal or business brand in today’s socially connected world.  There are many, many more. But a tool is only a tool.  It becomes useful in the hands of the craftsman. (Yes, that’s you.) We use tools to build things up and tear things down.  How you use your tools will say a lot about how others see you.  Be remarkable and people will build your brand for you.  Be invisible and your brand will be too.

Don’t assume anything.  Check! Audit your social media presence.  Track what people are saying and be sure to respond with a “thank you” when it’s positive and a solution to the problem when it’s not.  When you do, you just might find that who you or your company have to offer is written in the  clouds.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

About the Joan:

Koerber-Walker-056 An entrepreneur, author, speaker and corporate advisor, Joan Koerber-Walker’s journey has spanned from corporate America to entrepreneurship and non-profits as well as to community leadership and into the halls of Washington D.C.   Beginning on 2009, she decided to learn more about the evolving world of social media.  Today she is connected to a community of over 150,000 and the lessons she has learned have been profiled in The Social Media Bible and The ROI of Social Media.  You can find more posts about what she has learned along the way by clicking here. To learn more about how CorePurpose and the CoreAlliance can help you grow your business in 2011, you can contact her by clicking here.

CorePurpose  is a registered trademark of CorePurpose, Inc.  CoreAlliance is a  service mark of CorePurpose Inc.  All rights reserved