Summer’s Setting Sun

Hefner_sunset

While it may be hard to believe, Summer 2015 is drawing to a close. Family vacations have been checked off the list, the kids are heading back to school (watch those school zones!) and football season is about to kick-off. It’s time to sit back and coast into the holidays… right?

Not so fast there, Santa. We are only half-way through the 3rd Quarter! There’s lots of year left for your business. Now is the time to dust off your business goals and marketing plans for 2015 and make something happen! From contacting clients with whom you lost touch during the summer hiatus to addressing your most important goals for 2015 to determining which projects should be pushed to next year, this is the prime time for action.

The smart folks at Inc. magazine identified 4 ways to dominate the 4th quarter (well, they didn’t call it that… but they should have!). I found these to be incredibly useful and think you will, too!

If you thought this summer went by fast, just wait and see how quickly the rest of the year goes! Get started today so you don’t find yourself “under the gun” during the festive holiday season.

(Blue) Grass Roots Marketing on the Interwebz

 If you have been around this blog for any length of time, you have probably realized that I have strong feelings about “content creation” (thanks for the term, Bobby Lehew!), marketing and music, just to name a few things. And, I absolutely love it when someone combines all three together! Check this out…

A couple years ago, I had the chance to go to a bluegrass festival in Kansas called Winfield. OK, so it’s actually called the Walnut Valley Festival, but everyone I know just says “Winfield” and immediately heads begin to nod. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. If you ever get the chance… GO! You can thank me later.

Anyway, while I was there, I had the opportunity to hear a great band called The Greencards. They play some great bluegrass, with incredible harmonies and pretty darn fancy string plucking. I was so taken with them that I purchased a cd after their set and waited in line to have them sign it. This was the only cd I bought the entire time I was at Winfield.

So, flash-forward to the present day. I’m on The Greencards’ email list. I like knowing where they’re playing, when a new album is coming out, etc. I’m not a die-hard fan or anything, but they’re cool and their emails are always non-intrusive and written in a friendly voice. I like that.

Earlier this week, I received another email and this one took things to another level. Here’s what it said:

Be a Part of Our Next Album

 

You better believe this got MY attention!

With visions of myself in the studio trying to keep up with these talented folks, I quickly clicked on the link to see how I might be able to become immortalized on this album. Well, not only was I relieved to see that I didn’t have to audition to join them (which, for the record, I could not have done!), but that playing music was absolutely not required. They have an entirely different approach to this.

The Greencards are offering fans a chance to “buy a brick” on the artwork of their next album for a very small fee. Now, how cool is that? You can forever have your name on the album art of a wonderful band. Can you imagine? These folks are already successful… This album could be the one that sends them into super stardom! And YOUR name will be on the artwork.

So, let’s recap here: Great band who plays awesome music. They keep in touch with their fans via a permission-based email newsletter. They engage their fans rather than market TO their fans. And they are offering people a chance to be a part of their newest project.

Yeah. The Greencards are definitely “Turning It Up To 11”!!!

Turn It Up To 11!

What’s Your Story?

 

Is the story you’re telling matching the tale you’re living?

We all want to look good, right? We groom ourselves… Dress up for an event… Create an image of how we want others to see us, even if it isn’t the way we see ourselves… Or isn’t who we really are.

In business, it’s very easy to go down this same road. We create marketing collateral that highlights all the wonderful features of a product, yet omits any shortcomings or concerns. We tout how we specialize in customer service, yet react to phone calls as a nuisance. Over-selling and under-performing at its finest. We are simply putting up a front to ‘look’ like the type of organization we think we ‘should’ be, even if we’re not.

The web has changed our world in immeasurable ways. One of the most important aspects is how quickly and easily an individual can research another person or a company. The image you are taping up in the window quickly fades away and the ‘real’ you is seen.

This is transparency.

Sure, companies and politicians are selling themselves on this concept already. The thing is, they are doing it in a strategic manner. By planting some information here and there, then telling the public “We want to be transparent, so look at this…” these folks are manipulating the public. And, it appears to be working to some extent.

This is a short-term strategy, though. It might work for a campaign or a crisis management response, but it won’t hold any validity for the long-term. Only honest, organic transparency will last.

What does this mean?

Remember that person you want others to think you are? Remember that company you want others to think you run? BE it. Holding up the façade won’t work in the 21st century. People are smart. They know how to see through the pretty picture you are holding up and find out what other people think about you.

This is where a social media strategy pays in spades. When you actively engage people in the digital world, you become transparent. If a customer complains and you respond quickly and professionally, people see this. If you ignore the customer or respond poorly, even more people see this… And post it everywhere. Then, when the next potential customer hears about you and does a little detective work, they see it, too. And you’re done.

By being aware of how the web can help and hurt you, it becomes easier to develop a strategy to excel in the digital world. And when you are doing the right things, there is no need to be afraid of transparency.