Search
Join the conversation!


 

Roberta Guise advises small business owners and professionals who want to build a profitable stable of customers, save money on ineffective promotions, and through precision marketing, branding, or placements in the media be visible and get known.

Subscribe to this blog

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Roberta's Twitter Feed
Hidden Pages
Thursday
Dec302010

Top Ten Branding Stories and Videos of 2010

Lists give a convenient way to organize a topic, where you can scan and get a bucket-full of ideas in a flash. And it’s helpful to remember that lists are subjective. Within this context of opinion, I offer my top branding stories of 2010.

1. Conan O’Brien announced his new show name with much fanfare. Lesson: as Conan says in this video, keep the brand simple and pure.

2. Sticking to the simplicity theme, I foot tap and hum every time I see the iPad TV ad. Like the original iPhone ad, the music is raw and simple; the product, as we know, is Apple’s deliciously elegant design. In fact, any Apple ad is worth studying for excellence in branding.

3. Dos Equis vs Old Spice ads: videos that go viral don’t always translate into increased sales. Lesson: the story must feature a concept that’s enduring and makes the viewer want to be the person or associate with the type of person in the ad (and by extension own the product associated with the person in the ad). The Old Spice videos did not increase sales. The Dos Equis ads did.

4. The Gap flap: the venerable Gap clothing and retail icon rebranded itself this year with a new logo. It was easy to miss, because the new brand icon created such an uproar it was pulled after a couple of days. Side note about the type face, or font, in Gap’s abandoned logo: Helvetica type face can look strong and inviting, versus AT&T’s usage, which to me seems wimpy.

5, Part I. BP did such a lousy job presenting its public face after the Deep Horizon oil well disaster that the company’s value plummeted more than $32 million a day.

5, Part II. Tony Hayward, BP’s CEO at the time of the disaster, told the world what he wanted most, adding fuel to one of the biggest public relations fires in history.

If you had been BP’s CEO, what would you have done differently? If you or your small business were to make a mistake that put your name at the top of the news reports, how would you handle it? Do you have a crisis communications plan in place?

6. Toyota occupied our minds earlier in the year with its massive automobile recall. Here’s one authoritative view on how Toyota is fairing today, along with a video of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak commenting on his Toyota experience and problems with his Prius.

A branding list would be boring without videos, some gone viral. Here are my favorites.


7. Digital Nativity

8. Blendtec/Old Spice new Will it Blend?

Be sure to listen to the background music. Why do you think the producers chose that style of music?

9. And for instant translation from English to Spanish, and Spanish to English on the iPhone, there’s the Word Lens app.

10. Your choice here: what’s your favorite branding story of 2010?

Roberta Guise enables successful women to become thought leaders. She also works with experts, small business owners and professionals who want to be extraordinarily visible and sharpen their marketing edge. A small business marketing consultant and speaker, she is the founder of San Francisco-based Guise Marketing & PR. If you'd like to know how to apply these concepts to your situation, call for a free 1/2 hour consultation. 415-979-0611. www.guisemarketing.com

Monday
Dec062010

When “new and improved” can ruin your reputation

Do you have a favorite coffee shop you eat at because everything there works perfectly, where the food, atmosphere and service make it like an old comfy couch you love to curl up on?

I used to. And when new owners took over, it changed.

My chosen spot was in the heart of San Francisco’s North Beach, that tourist hot-spot where the aromas of garlic and coffee drift deliciously through the air at all hours. For years the café was a little hole-in-the-wall, so small that even early on a weekday there would be a line to eat breakfast at the counter. I had been eating there for more than 25 years.
After the owner-chef passed away, the family moved the coffee shop to another, larger space close-by. And his wife, who was now running the business, kept up the same personal, first-name relationship with her customers. My husband and I would beeline there for a hearty breakfast after a swim in the bay and chat with the owner about how business was doing, goings on in the neighborhood, and other niceties.

After a swim one day we went there for breakfast, grabbing our usual spot at the counter. But something felt wrong. The walls and paint were different. The old pictures and photos were missing. The familiar faces behind the counter were gone. And it took five minutes just to get menus.

When we were ready to order the server said a word I hear too often these days in retail establishments: No. No, you can’t substitute. No, you can’t mix items. No, we don’t have brown rice.

Our wonderful little coffee shop had been sold. Not only had it lost its soul, the new owners had no interest in pleasing their regular customers. We quickly ate our food and left, vowing never to return or recommend the place again as we had done countless times over the years.


This problem isn’t exclusive to new owners. It can happen to you if you start taking your long-term clients or customers for granted.

What are you intentionally doing to keep long-term customers coming back again and again? What would you have done differently had you taken over this enduring and popular breakfast hangout?

Roberta Guise enables successful women to become thought leaders. She also works with experts, small business owners and professionals who want to be extraordinarily visible and sharpen their marketing edge. A small business marketing consultant and speaker, she is the founder of San Francisco-based Guise Marketing & PR. If you'd like to know how to apply these concepts to your situation, call for a free 1/2 hour consultation. 415-979-0611. www.guisemarketing.com

Saturday
Nov202010

The new rules of marketing lead to influence

It’s no secret that overnight, it seems, marketing has turned on its head.

So-called brick-and-mortar promotion campaigns, such as sending seminar fliers through the U.S. Postal Service, seem quaint today. And then there are not-so-obvious changes that are driving a stake in the heart of what once were considered best practices.

Old rules

Let’s get perspective about what’s going on. In the old days — an eternity of three years ago — under the old rules:

  • If you offered value, people would buy
  • People would pay for your content
  • Communication used to be one-way, or one to one, meaning I’d communicate with you, and perhaps you’d respond
  • The only way to be extraordinarily visible was through print, TV, and radio; and speaking, networking and email
  • Only reporters and editors saw your news releases and pitches
  • Reporters and editors were gatekeepers to your news
  • It was hard to measure results of press release distribution unless you paid through the nose for a clipping service
  • The only way to measure marketing results was using direct marketing through the mail, or until a few years ago, through email.

New rules

Most small business marketing is now being carried out on the Internet. And with this comes a new set of rules. Here are the top seven.

  1. To win the minds and wallets of people whose spending is inconsistent, offering value isn’t enough. You must be relevant. If your content doesn’t offer something people can use either right now or soon, they’ll pass you by.
  2. People expect to access your copyrighted content for free.
  3. Technology, which has become deeply embedded in the collective DNA, is a hungry beast that needs to constantly be fed with content — your content.
  4. You control when, where and how your news and content will be seen, because many of the gatekeepers of the past don’t exist online. This control is yours to harness.
  5. Free online measuring tools such as Google Analytics enable you to know, with precision, how well your various marketing activities are doing. Use these tools for the story of how and how many people are gravitating to your website.
  6. You can, and should, publish your own content, most notably through writing blog articles, through such other online media as video and eBooks, and distributing news through press releases.
  7. Engage in conversations with one person or many people at the same time, using such social media as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

The new rules of marketing enable you to become a center of influence, because the public nature of social media opens up your conversations and ideas for everyone to see. Your message can spread quickly and to a broad audience, because the people in your network are interconnected with other networks; if they think your message is valuable, they’ll pass it along.

Today, it’s much easier to be visible and assert your influence than in the past, because there are fewer barriers stopping people from finding out what you have to say. And that’s a foundational step towards building trust and relationships, which may lead to future business for you.

Which new rule is working best for you?

Roberta Guise enables successful women to become thought leaders. She also works with experts, small business owners and professionals who want to be extraordinarily visible and sharpen their marketing edge. A small business marketing consultant and speaker, she is the founder of San Francisco-based Guise Marketing & PR. If you'd like to know how to apply these concepts to your situation, call for a free 1/2 hour consultation. 415-979-0611. www.guisemarketing.com

Tuesday
Nov022010

Build your reputation around your name

A recent article in BusinessWeek on naming companies lamented how hard it’s become to create a novel, catchy name.

This is hard news to swallow if you’re a startup with a new product to sell.

But if you're a small business owner who sells  ideas and services to people in business — even if you sell products such as books, videos, CDs, software, and business systems — there’s no need to go through mental contortions to divine the perfectly witty name for your company. The perfect moniker for your company is your own name. Why?

Your reputation is built around your personal name. People remember you, not necessarily your company. When a client refers you they think of the value you personally provided. It’s you, the person, who comes to mind, not your company name.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t create a corporate name for your business, especially if you set up your business as a C or S corp. Just don’t spend too much time trying to come up with something catchy.

Pile your efforts into fortifying your brand around your own name. Mine is “Guise,” plus what I do, “Marketing & PR.” A strong tag line will support your name. My tag line is, “Be Visible!”

By using your own name you’ll save money and time on extensive name searching. You still need to do a search, but if you can add what you do to the name like I’ve done, even if it’s your last name plus “Consulting” or “Accounting,” for example, you’ll have your company named in next to no time.

Roberta Guise enables successful women to become thought leaders. She also works with experts, small business owners and professionals who want to be extraordinarily visible and sharpen their marketing edge. A small business marketing consultant and speaker, she is the founder of San Francisco-based Guise Marketing & PR. If you'd like to know how to apply these concepts to your situation, call for a free 1/2 hour consultation. 415-979-0611. www.guisemarketing.com

Tuesday
Oct262010

Thought Leadership is Serious Business

I’ve been noticing lately that some people use the terms “thought leadership” and “expert” interchangeably. They are related, but in practice an expert and thought leader are light-years apart.

An expert is someone who is well versed and practiced in his or her field of expertise. They may be writing about what they know and have even written a book, they get quoted in the media, and are paid to speak at meetings.

A thought leader: Shows the way…Has followers…Has a depth of knowledge in their area of expertise…Owns a new idea in their area of expertise…Writes about it prolifically, successfully communicates about it, the idea resonates… Influences people to change the way they think and behave…Inspires many people…Is well-known by many people in a niche, or industry…Is quoted extensively in the media and by other influential people…Is invited to keynote at important meetings…Knows other thought leaders...Is on a mission to make the world a better place by changing the way people think, and who won't rest until they succeed.

Look at the writings and ideas of such thinkers as Riane Eisler, Marshall Goldsmith, Helen Fisher , Alan Weiss, Margaret Wertheim, Seth Godin, and Margaret Wheatley, and you’ll quickly understand why the term “thought leader” is not synonymous with “expert.”

No one is born a thought leader. Great thinkers become that way because they have an extraordinary passion to change the way people think and behave, have a deep knowledge of their subject, and continually put their ideas out for all to see. If you want to make a lasting contribution in your field of expertise, influence many with your ideas and lead a more fulfilling life, choose the path to thought leadership.

If you were to become a thought leader, what would that be for you?

Roberta Guise enables successful women to become thought leaders. She also works with experts, small business owners and professionals who want to be extraordinarily visible and sharpen their marketing edge. A small business marketing consultant and speaker, she is the founder of San Francisco-based Guise Marketing & PR. If you'd like to know how to apply these concepts to your situation, call for a free 1/2 hour consultation. 415-979-0611. www.guisemarketing.com