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This morning I attended a breakfast discussion on mobile technologies hosted by AFCEA Bethesda, "Mobile Technologies – Info on the Go." While the focus was on technology, one of my conversation partners asked my opinion on what has changed with regard to messaging and mobile.
Without hesitation, I told her, "it hasn't."
Advertising and messaging has ALWAYS been about using the right words to attract the right audiences. Mobile is just another means of connecting to and with audiences.
Think about the common attributes of successful advertising campaign. Some of the top attributes include:
- Unified message. This message brings everything together in a short and succinct phrase. Think newspaper or magazine headline. And the message is unified through all communications used by the organization.
- Unforgettable message. The message is memorable and understandable. Effective word-of-mouth relies on these very principles. One of the best examples are the commercials during the US Super Bowl. Can you name another televised event where consumers truly look forward to the commercials?
- Story. Advertising needs a story the listener/reader can immediately relate to. Great advertising is all about the shared experience. The advertising has to deliver on making tomorrow better, in some way. Otherwise, why would anyone buy it?
- Specific target audience. Specific campaigns to specific audiences yield better results time and time again over broad appeal campaigns.- Integrated approach. Organizations use the right communication channels to reach the right audiences. Today, we have the traditional channels of magazines, newspapers, billboards, television, and radio. The newer channels include mobile, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, banners, and videos (Note: We've identified over 450 communication elements today...so there are lots more I could add).
- Measurement system. Marketing must evaluate continuously what is working and what is not working. Think A|B testing or more complex approaches with A|B|C|D|X testing, surveys, couponing, and polls.
Additional Resources:- AdAge.com, Top 100 Advertising Campaigns
- Define Yourself in a Way That’s Relevant to Your Target Audience
- Advertising is the Same Worldwide
Looking for a way to inspire greater employee loyalty? Boost overall morale? Or make your employee experience unforgettable?
Celebrate your employees. Share good news. Engage them in the conversation.
A friend of mine was recently promoted. Promoting from within is good news, whenever it happens. It’s even better news in organizations where a majority of the newly created positions are filled from outside. And it’s really great news in an economy suffering from an unemployment rate of about 9%.
I was fascinated with the story of what happened when her employer released an organizational notice announcing her promotion. Almost immediately, congratulatory emails began pouring in. People whose names she couldn’t recall congratulated her as they passed in the hallway. Well-wishers came by her desk and offered kudos. Everyone was smiling.
The news of her promotion had become a celebration of sorts. It is a story that speaks to the hopes and desires we all aspire to in our careers. It is a story that makes people feel good about the organization they work for. And it is an unforgettable story that will be told to job applicants and candidates for months to come.
Over the weekend, I took the family to one of our favorite restaurants. As we were leaving, I noticed the van and how busy it was in regard to the various messaging elements (over 20).
The "Cool prices ... Warm Service!" phrase stood out--it was memorable, short, and playful. It prompted me to find them on the Internet.
The home page is simple, and I was glad to see the slogan unified with the website messaging (MBS Mechanical website).
Have you ever used playful messages in your communications?
Imagine you’re organizing an event and you’re asking people to participate. You’re trying to persuade them to join you. The story you tell them should include one or more personal benefits each of them may realize by participating.
In his latest post on business storytelling, Ira shared three tips for inspiring others to action through our stories. Including personal benefits in your story falls under his third tip, “Make the journey relevant.”
You can do this by including elements in your story that answer questions like “So what?” and “What’s in it for me?” Your target audience is more likely to act if you can show them how each member might gain something of perceived value from participating. In other words, make the journey relevant to them.
Take, for example, the upcoming Bike to Work Day event on May 20th. If I positioned it as a healthy and clean way to get to work, it’s not likely I would garner a lot of attention from commuters who fear the hassles of dealing with rush hour traffic at busy intersections and working up a sweat on their way to work.
On the other hand, by appealing to their dislike of sitting in rush hour traffic, I might be able to persuade more of them to join me. I wrote a similar post last year, where I included the view of the road from my bike and asked readers to compare it to the view from their windshield that day. The “so what?” was implied by the image – take your bike to work and avoid sitting in rush hour traffic.
If you’re looking for a way to avoid sitting in rush hour traffic on May 20th, have I made the bike to work journey relevant to you?
Article Summary: Everyone is a storyteller. You are a storyteller. You tell personal and professional stories every day. Whether you direct an international association, manage a government program, run a small business, or serve as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, consider every written, verbal, and social media communication as a business story. You need to inspire others around you to achieve your goals. The greatest bonding and trust-building tools we have are effective stories. Use these three tips to help you leverage your skills as a storyteller to generate results from your various career activities. [Note, this article was originally written for the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG)]If you have any preferences or requests for topics, contact us by telephone, email, or leave a comment on this blog entry.
To read other articles in The Chief Storyteller Blog, select the category, Articles.
The Personal Storyteller - 3 Tips to Improve Your Communications Skills
© 2011. The Chief Storyteller®, LLC.
Ira J. Koretsky
Everyone is a storyteller. You are a storyteller. You tell personal and professional stories every day. You tell them to friends, colleagues, family members, and even to strangers you meet while waiting in line at the grocery store.
Whether you direct an international association, manage a government program, run a small business, or serve as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, consider every written, verbal, and social media communication as a business story.
Storytelling is the oldest, most effective form of communication. That’s why stories are in everything we do and say as professionals. Examples include your elevator speech (your answer to "What Do You Do?"), presentations, proposals, emails, website, success stories, testimonials, and social media content. A subcategory is career stories. Examples include your cover letter, resume, testimonials, recommendations, answer to “Tell me about yourself,” and accomplishments.
By reaching your audience's heart and mind, you access the part of them that wants to believe in what you have to offer. You need to inspire others around you to achieve your goals. The greatest bonding and trust-building tools we have are effective stories.
As you tell your various career stories, consider the three major reasons people share them in a business context:- Inspire action, change, or new ways of thinking
- Bridge gaps (e.g., culture, generation, gender, and understanding)
- Build a shared vision of a better future
Use these tips to help you leverage your skills as a storyteller to generate results from your various career activities.1. Have a Clear Beginning, Middle, and End
Follow a story structure. While there is no absolutely right way to tell a story, personal stories are frequently shared more for entertainment and enjoyment than for a specific business objective. For this reason, look at business stories a little differently.
One of the most important differences is the need to use structure. People want to know your story is going “somewhere” and it will make a point. Use the classic storytelling convention of beginning, middle, and end. It’s familiar and time-tested.2. Tell Your Story with a Specific Message in Mind
Ensure your story has one clear message. Imagine you just finished telling your story. What do you want your reader or listener to learn, do differently, or think about? Do not assume your audience will know what to do with your story or message. You have to tell them in a manner that resonates quickly.
A helpful way to develop a targeted message is to put it in a category. Examples include process, communication, customer service, safety, leadership, strategy, teamwork, innovation, and quality assurance. After selecting the category, apply one of the major reasons shared above (i.e., inspire action, bridge gaps, and better future). Then use relevant words and phrases from the category and important to your target audiences.
The most important message is the one contained in your answer, “Tell me about yourself” or what I like to call the elevator speech of job hunting. This is definitely a “better future” story. It sets the framework for everything else you communicate. Ensure your answer is short, on-target, and helps your audience understand that by hiring you, you are going to help them build a better future (e.g., grow the organization’s revenue, increase market awareness, and improve brand recognition).
3. Make the “Journey” Relevant
Make your story pass the “so what” test. Invite your audience into your experience by sharing the WIIFM—What’s In It For Me. Well-told stories create a shared experience. This enables them to understand your message on a personal level. Your words should crystallize common values and experiences. You have to touch someone’s heart before they’ll act.
Think Differently and Deliberately
With the highly competitive job market, knowing in advance what is important to your audience will be a major contributor to your success. Select the right stories, deliberately, for your audiences. Practice saying and writing your various business/career stories. Find a balance between business and emotion that works for you personally and that resonates with your audiences.
Look around and listen to the world around you. Observe the storytelling in everything. What can you do to emulate the success in the various business stories you observe in your own stories? Are you ready to share the right stories to the right audiences? And will your stories generate the right results?
Eugene Finerman in The Toastmasters, shared an excellent way of looking at stories. He said, “Every word has a story…one word can tell an epoch of history, define the attitude of an era, or reflect an ancestral sense of humor.”
I went for a trail run the other day. The air was warm and the sun was shining so I opted for an outdoor experience.
I brought along everything I would need – my Vibram FiveFingers® shoes, Nike Dri-Fit running apparel, Oakley sunglasses, Coppertone sunscreen and Apple iPod. Although I had purchased these products from five different retailers, I brought them together to form an ensemble that would play well with my planned adventure of exploring a cross-country trail on a warm summer-like day.
As I neared the completion of my run, I marveled at how perfect my experience had been. While I was clad in gear representing five different and sometimes competing brands, it was almost as if they had all come together in perfect harmony. Without conflict or duplication of effort, each had performed their assigned function as expected. If I had to describe my experience in a single word, it would be "comfort."
Now, pretend for a moment I was able to buy all five of these products at a single retailer. How might my perception of that retailer differ from those of the five separate retailers I had visited? It's possible I might perceive the one who could provide me with the right mix of products as an organization that specializes in comfort, instead of a single product. I might have been willing to pay a premium for the convenience of being able to find everything in one place.
If you’re in the business of selling products and services from multiple brands, what steps are you taking to ensure they are working together in perfect harmony to provide an unforgettable customer experience?
To view more fitness metaphors for business, explore these posts:
- Marketing Muscles and Sales Sprints – What Getting Fit Taught Me About Business (Guest: Pam Greene)
- Online Marketing: Good Landing Pages Are Easy to Follow
- A New Year’s Resolution
I met Colin, the CEO of E Group at a regional government contractors conference. After a great conversation, we exchanged business cards. As per my norm, I looked at the card front and then back.
Lo and behold, I was compelled to read the back. I discovered Colin's personal statement (see images below).
I excitedly peppered him with all sorts of messaging-related questions. As the CEO, Colin shared everyone in the company has his/her own customized card (as a second example, see Frank's card below).
In all of my 25 plus years of professional networking and personal events attended...in meeting thousands and thousands of people, I can without hesitation say this is truly a unique card. The other unique card comes from Superhero cards (read Mere Mortal or Superhero? and I Love Being a Superhero).
What are you doing to stand out and be unforgettable?
Article Summary: As in the in the corporate world, a unified message is critical to your career success. Imagine you meet Jana, a prospective hiring executive at an event. Based on your brief encounter, you know she likes you since she mentioned the possibility of an available position. What do you think she’ll do first thing tomorrow morning? You can bet it will be an online search. What will she find? Unifying your career communications will set you apart from your competition. It will ensure your target audiences read and hear a consistent selling proposition, supporting messages, key words, success stories, and accomplishments. [Note, this article was originally written for the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG)]If you have any preferences or requests for topics, contact us by telephone, email, or leave a comment on this blog entry.
To read other articles in The Chief Storyteller Blog, select the category, Articles.
Communications Audit: 10 Critical Communication Elements for Your Career Success
© 2011. The Chief Storyteller®, LLC.
Ira J. Koretsky
As in the in the corporate world, a unified message is critical to your career success. Imagine you meet Jana, a prospective hiring executive at an event. Based on your brief encounter, you know she likes you since she mentioned the possibility of an available position. What do you think she’ll do first thing tomorrow morning? You can bet it will be an online search.
What will she find? Will she find a dynamic and compelling profile on LinkedIn? On Facebook? On Twitter? How about articles, blog posts, and tweets you authored? Press releases with quotes of yours? Slide presentations from conferences you spoke at? And the list goes on…
After she reads these varied resources, what will Jana think about you? Will she see an executive with a unified message? Or someone with a disparate career story?
Unifying your career communications will set you apart from your competition. It will ensure your target audiences read and hear a consistent selling proposition, supporting messages, key words, success stories, and accomplishments.
Among the many questions you should be asking yourself are the five listed below. Thinking through these will start you on the path of unifying your career communications story elements. The answers to them all must be a resounding “yes!”
1. Are your social media sites unified for key messages, your unique selling proposition, and personal brand attributes?
2. Are your recommenders ready to communicate the right messages to recruiters and prospective hiring companies?
3. Do your written materials accurately portray your skills and accomplishments?
4. Will your LinkedIn profile quickly impress readers?
5. Do the success stories (e.g., bullet statements) on your resume also appear in similar formats and key messages in your tweets, blogs, and LinkedIn profile?
Based on your situation and expectations of your target audiences, identify the career communications elements with the highest potential impact. Then map out a plan for completing the top one to three elements next week. Develop the schedule over the coming month to complete and revise the remaining ones.
Look for consistency across all of your career communications elements. Look for consistency in key words and phrases, the tone of voice in your messages, and the attributes of your unique selling proposition.
1. LinkedIn (especially your professional headline, picture, and summary)
2. FaceBook (especially your picture and information tab)
3. Twitter (especially your background image and profile)
4. Blog (especially your most recent five to seven postings and profile)
5. Cover letter
7. Recommendations (these are the specific and deliberate written recommendations in letters and in LinkedIn)
8. Success stories/accomplishments
9. Ideal Company Profile
10. Elevator speech/your answer to “Tell me about yourself” (this is your unique selling proposition)
What really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not its form.
— David Ogilvy
I have always loved video games. Anyone that plays or follows the industry knows how realistic they are becoming. Sounds, dialogue, scenery, locations and geography, and much more.
It's no surprise Jeep Wrangler has partnered with one of the top grossing video games, Call of Duty: Black Ops. Jeep has produced a special version call the Black Ops Edition.
Visit the website and you'll be greeted to this home page along with battle sound effects. I really like the tagline of "The Only Vehicle Tough Enough to Play in this World."A few suggestions to add media and consumer attention:
>- Run a contest for game owners to win a Jeep
- Offer an in-game cheat you only can get from an authorized Jeep dealer
- Use social media like Twitter for a short-time to create additional buzz
* click on the image to view larger size
* Click on the image below to visit the Jeep site. While on the Jeep web site, click on the small image on the bottom of the screen to view the 30 second commercial
How well do you inspire others? Do the people on your team consistently exceed your expectations? Or do you wish there was a way you could simply get them to do more?
I’ve learned over the years the best leaders do more than just motivate their teams…they inspire them! The best leaders I’ve worked with inherently know the key to inspiring others to do more is how you make them feel – about you, the task at hand, and the organization they serve.
Let me share five tips for inspiring your team members:
1. Acknowledge each and every team member…every day.
- The simple act of greeting each of your direct reports at the start and end of each day costs little and goes a long way.
2. Manage by walking around.
- The best leaders are visible. They invest time in getting to know their team members, the challenges they face, and the way they work.
3. Be a role model.
- Walk the talk. Conduct yourself as you would want your team members to behave.
4. Be open and honest with your feedback – both good and bad.
- Leaders who seek to avoid conflict by putting off unpleasant conversations are perceived as condoning ineffective performance. Conversely, leaders who fail to praise great performance are perceived as not appreciating it.
5. Treat everyone equally and consistently.
- Leaders who show favoritism to one team member may cause others to seek opportunities elsewhere and will have difficulty recruiting and retaining new talent.
Irwin Federman described the importance of these actions best when he said, “People love others not for who they are but for how they make them feel.”
For more on inspired leadership, see these posts:
- Nudge vs. Push vs. Shove – What’s the Best Way to Persuade?
- How Business Storytelling Helps Leaders Communicate Their Vision
- A Passion for Helping Others and Building Support for a Cause
In today's meeting, there were two very strong-willed executives. The goal was to select the preferred headline for their elevator speech (answer to "What do you do?").
Joan, was willing to agree to headline two if the group felt strongly in favor. Christine really wanted headline two. And boy did she let everyone know it. She nearly bullied the room to accept headline two. Can you guess who was the voice of opposition? Yes, Joan. Why? Because human nature kicked in. She become defensive and reactive.
Christine had two options to make the decision process smooth. She could have (1) met all of the key decision makers before the meeting and (b) used subtle ways of influencing and persuading during the meeting.
When you have a project or idea you are especially passionate about, think about how you can influence and persuade...will you gently nudge, assertively push, or shove them off a cliff?
* names changed
What kind of experience do you provide for your employees? Why does it matter?
Fortune magazine’s 2011 list of “The 100 Best Companies to Work For” hit the newsstands the other day. I was glad to see one of my personal favorites, Wegman’s Food Markets, on the list for the 14th consecutive year.
While I’ve never worked for Wegman’s, I have been a big fan ever since they opened a store near my home a few years ago. I frequently shop there and enjoy eating in the dining area that overlooks the Bakery and Market Cafe areas. From this vantage point, it’s easy to catch a glimpse of why their employee experience continues to be recognized by Fortune and why it matters.
On any given day, you’ll notice there are Wegman’s employees everywhere – behind the counters, on the selling floor mingling with customers, restocking merchandise, and at the cash registers. You’ll almost always see one or more managers, along with one of the store’s in-house chefs, on the selling floor. Everywhere you look, their employees are on the move and are eager to interact with their customers. Most noticeable – and this is what makes Wegman’s unique – is how virtually all of them greet one another and their customers with a smile.
This is clearly a place where people are special and like coming to work. Consequently, it’s a fun place to be – for their employees and their customers. By providing their employees with a positive experience, Wegman’s is making it easy for them to do the same for their customers. And that’s what compels customers like me and so many others to keep coming back.
For more on outstanding employee experiences and their impact on customers, click below:
- Fortune’s 100 Best Companies: What Words Describe You?
- Be Different – Thank Your Customers
- How Great Customer Service Turned Ordinary Take-Out Into Something Remarkable
When I was a Scout Leader, I used to tell the story of British architect Sir Christopher Wren and how he had volunteered his services to help plan and oversee the construction of one of the world’s largest cathedrals in London. I liked telling this story because it serves as a great example of what happens when leaders successfully communicate their vision…and when they don’t.
On one occasion, he asked three separate stonecutters the same question, “What are you doing?” The first one responded with, “I am cutting this stone.” The second one answered, “I am earning my three shillings per day.” And the third stonecutter, the one who was able to articulate the vision of his leader, responded, “I am helping Sir Christopher Wren build this magnificent cathedral.”
The next time you are leading a new business initiative, try sharing this story or one like it with the people you are leading. Use it to help them understand the importance of their individual contributions to the organization’s overall success. Show them the purpose behind the plan – the big picture, if you will.
By using business storytelling to communicate your vision, you’ll be turning your stories into results you can be proud of.
Happy New Year! to everyone that celebrates the lunar new year. There are hundreds of websites and YouTube videos. Here are just a few.
- Reuter's YouTube video, Asia celebrates lunar new year
- Chinatown Singapore YouTube video - Chinese Lunar New Year 2011 Spring Festival's Festive Mood
- Vietnamese celebration YouTube - Tet (Lunar New Year) - Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
Last month I attended another great event from the local Meeting Planners International (MPI) Potomac Chapter. Carolyn Kepcher was the luncheon keynote speaker. You may know Carolyn as one of the original judges on Donald Trump's The Apprentice. Now she is running an advice and self-help site geared toward women called Work Her Way.
When it was time for us to move from networking to lunch, we were greeted by a card leave-behind at our seats as you can see in the picture below. The card front and back are very well done from branding, messaging, and call-to-action perspectives.
All too often we forget that every single communication item tells your business story.
Article Summary: When it comes to resumes, people either love them or hate them, depending on where they sit. Hiring teams love to sort them quickly into “yes,” “maybe,” and “no” categories. All too often, job hunters hate having to distill their entire educational background, career history, and accomplishments into just two short pages. This article helps you make the process of developing a great resume easier. It will help you customize your resume to demonstrate the strength of your skills and expertise through powerful, must-read accomplishments. [Note, this article was originally written for the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG)]If you have any preferences or requests for topics, contact us by telephone, email, or leave a comment on this blog entry.
To read other articles in The Chief Storyteller Blog, select the category, Articles.
Every Accomplishment Should Be Great: 5 Steps to Compelling Resume Accomplishments
© 2011. The Chief Storyteller®, LLC.
Ira J. Koretsky
When it comes to resumes, people either love them or hate them, depending on where they sit. Hiring teams love to sort them quickly into “yes,” “maybe,” and “no” categories. All too often, job hunters hate having to distill their entire educational background, career history, and accomplishments into just two short pages.
This article helps you make the process of developing a great resume easier. It will help you customize your resume to demonstrate the strength of your skills and expertise through powerful, must-read accomplishments.
1. List Your Accomplishments
List all, yes, ALL, of your accomplishments for every position in your career. I can hear you grumbling now (smile). It is critical for you to take inventory of all of your accomplishments, big and small.
I’ve seen it happen too often…a job seeker leaving something out of his accomplishments that could compel the hiring executive to say aloud, “Bring this person in for an interview!” Consider this a brainstorming step. Only write one to three short sentences for each.
2. Qualify and Quantify
Qualify and quantity your accomplishments with statistics. Just as with step one, consider this a brainstorming step. Spend only three to five minutes per accomplishment. In step five, you will add more details (see example below).
You may find it helpful to ask yourself a number of questions to capture best the benefits and impact of your accomplishments. The key question is “Why is this important?” Break this question down further and ask, “What were the benefits and results to my organization? What was improved, changed, reduced, streamlined, accelerated, saved, developed, and so forth?”
“Before” Example: Managed rollout of new branding strategy throughout our company.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
Did you achieve it on time? Within budget? What measured change occurred to customer perceptions, recognition, awareness, media coverage, sales, etc.? What measured change occurred internally in staff productivity, customer service, communications, processes, etc.?
3. Identify the Success Criteria for Your Prospective Job
Extract the success criteria for your prospective position. A two-column table makes this step easier. In column one, row by row, include every sentence hinting at or directly specifying success criteria from the position description or your own knowledge. You will fill out column two in step four.
For example, here is one sentence from a publicly available position description for a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). In reality, it represents numerous success criteria. Separate out each success criterion in each sentence (see table below for a quick example). The more detailed and specific you make the success criteria, the easier it is to match your accomplishments.
Equipped with clear and concrete examples of expanding and improving a brand, product, and/or service within a business, this person will continually analyze and utilize measurable metrics to improve every customer experience across all platforms (web, e-mail, mobile, tablets, etc.).
4. Match Your Accomplishments to Key Success Criteria
Put your relevant accomplishments in column two that are matched to the success criteria in column one. Match as many accomplishments as you can. After you have completed the matching process, prioritize your accomplishments within each success criterion. Prioritize your accomplishments based on the position description and your research on the prospective organization.
5. Write and Rewrite
Develop your accomplishments into powerful and compelling accomplishments. Every accomplishment in your resume must support your career headline and your summary (see earlier article, “How to Write a Resume Summary that Gets Interviews”).
Here’s how the “Before” accomplishment from step two was revised.
“After” Example: Spearheaded rollout of master brand strategy to 11 national and international locations, to more than 3,200 staff. Achieved 94% brand consistency within three years—one year earlier than estimated.
It’s an Evolving Story Element
Because every position, hiring executive, and organization is different, you must customize your accomplishments for each application. Customizing becomes an easier process when you have a master list.
Remember, your resume is just one element of your business story (e.g., elevator speech, LinkedIn profile, blog articles, tweets, referrals, cover letter, resume, interview, accomplishments, success stories, etc.). In your resume, your career theme and summary set the expectations of the hiring executive. Meeting those expectations means you must offer fully developed (qualified and quantified) and customized accomplishments.
Louis Pasteur (1822 - 1895), famous chemist, said “Le hasard ne favorise que les esprits prepares.” Translated, it says, “Chance favors only the prepared mind.”
Advertising Age recently published the article, "For CMOs, 2011 Will Be About Explaining Why, Not How." Jonathan Salem Baskin starts his article:
OK, the new year has barely begun and most of us are still basking in the glow of that big uptick in holiday sales. You probably also got your fill of 2011 predictions before New Year's, most of which were simply restatements of the old year's news only with the verb tenses changed and some biases and hopes thrown in as "trends."
So I'm going to channel Scrooge and Nostradamus and suggest to you three things:
- Ignore the holiday results.
- Tune out the noise.
- Ask a different question.
Baskin takes some interesting positions challeging CMOs to think differently. And toward the end of the article states,
Brands are different only if they're really different, and this year would be the perfect opportunity to come up with the substantive reasons why consumers need yours vs. how you're going to use neat new ways to tell them the same old things.
Here are links to three more. Watch them at least twice. While the commercials are humorous, they are negative. They do have very strong messages.
What do you think? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments...
Ice cream (YouTube video link here)(YouTube video link here)
No Run Around (YouTube video link here)
I was having lunch with my good friend and colleague John Fineran from FinTel Communications. He mentioned a cool new feature in LinkedIn. You can now have full-sized profile photographs.
When you visit someone's profile, move your mouse over the profile picture and you'll see a magnifying glass appear as in the picture below. Click and the larger picture appears.
To add your own personal high-resolution photograph, go to the Edit Profile option in the menu. Then click on the blue Edit link under your profile picture. Finish by following the instructions to upload your new photo. It should take 20 seconds.
You'll find other helpful article links on improving your LinkedIn profile at the bottom.
Improve Your LinkedIn Profile with Tips and Ideas from these Articles:
- Make Your Personal Brand Stand Out in LinkedIn
- LinkedIn for Job Hunters: Tips to Create a Must-Read Profile
- It’s Who Knows You: Three Little Known Ways to Turn LinkedIn into a More Valuable Sales Tool
We have various guides and templates in the office. Guides for writing blogs, articles, and tip guides. We have a brand guide for color, font, format, and logo use. What we don't have is a consolidated list, in one place, of all our mantras--the phrases, statements, aha's, rules, etc.--that "guide" us as we create and deliver content, messages, and great business stories.
Here are our top 50. Think about this list and how it can help prompt new and fresh approaches to your business stories. We would love to hear your mantras...please leave them in the comments.
1. It’s all about them.
2. Business stories are the engine of relationships and relationships are the engine of continued success.
3. Write to the 10th grade level.
4. Be memorable.
5. Use humor if you want to.
6. Content is king.
7. Relationships matter.
8. Credibility is more important than expertise in the beginning of relationships.
9. Know your elevator speech / elevator pitch / mission statement (core business story).
10. Ensure your core business story is unified throughout all communication materials.
11. Your brand story is everything.
12. Success stories are key to differentiation.
13. (Good) blog and article content matters the most.
14. Strive for “interest” questions. Avoid “understanding” questions.
15. Social communities are built on personal and business stories.
16. Everything you write, speak, and record online is a business story.
17. Content first. Design second.
18. Always have a second person read your content before publishing.
19. Design your website for your target audiences (not your employees).
20. Everyone builds relationships through networking.
21. Send hand-written thank you notes, especially job hunters.
22. Audiences are hungry for original thought-provoking content.
23. Blogs are for sharing, educating, and inspiring…not selling.
24. Get yourself known (e.g., LinkedIn questions and answers, post to SlideShare, and Tweet good information).
25. Generating genuine interest in your product/service is the first step in building a relationship.
26. Active listening is key to building great relationships.
27. Write in your authentic voice.
28. But is the worst word in the English language (and many other languages).
29. Words really, really matter.
30. Treat everyone like a CEO.
31. Stop listening to your Mother. Talk to strangers at networking events.
32. It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.
33. Speak in headlines.
34. Write and speak conversationally.
35. Treat every client like your best client.
36. Maintain a detailed Ideal Target Profile for your key target audiences.
37. Have positive self-talk conversations.
38. Change is a choice.
39. Deliver on the expected experience.
40. Create your own success momentum.
41. Be a student everyday.
42. Be a deliberate networker.
43. Be a deliberate communicator.
44. Be a people bridge and make referrals.
45. Be a mentor.
46. Be a whole body communicator.
47. Write emails as if they will be read on a smart phone.
48. Inspire Action: facts do not persuade and inspire, people do.
49. First Impressions Make Lasting Impressions: offer a warm smile, firm handshake, and good eye contact.
50. People are at the heart of every great story.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, people will never forget how you made them feel.”
— Maya Angelou, American Poet
“Your first 10 words are more important than your next 10,000.”
— Elmer Wheeler, “Tested Selling Institute,” Late 1940s
“Remember that the person you’re about to meet can become as important to you as someone you’ve known for years.”
— H. Jackson Brown, Jr., Life's Little Instruction Book, 6/2002 Calendar
“I have no use for engines. Give me the right word...and I will move the world.”
— Joseph Conrad, Novelist, 1857 – 1924
“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”
— Plato, Philosopher, 427 BC – 347 BC
“The character of a man is known from his conversations”
— Menandros Chiaramonti, Greek dramatist and comedy writer, 342 BC – 292 BC
"Le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés"
"Chance favors only the prepared mind"
— Louis Pasteur, Chemist and microbiologist, 1822 – 1895
“The customer rules”
— Turkish business credo, as shared to me by my friend, Ilbay Ozbay
“Conversation in the U.S. is a competitive exercise in which the first person to draw a breath is declared the listener.”
— James Nathan Miller, “The Art of Intelligent Listening," Readers Digest, vol 127, September 1965
"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug."
— Mark Twain, American humorist, lecturer, writer, 1835 – 1910
I'm a huge fan of great quotes. I use them all of the time in my articles, blogs, and presentations. Would love to read yours. Please take a moment and add your favorites in the comments section below.
Back in January, I wrote about A New Year’s Resolution. It was about a resolution many of us could embrace. It was also an example of turning a story into action. Now that we’re fast approaching the start of a new calendar year, it’s time to see how we did with last year’s resolutions.
The story of my resolution was how I planned to go to the gym on a regular basis. The action was building memories with my kids. The results? I’ve had many. The one I’m most proud of is running a 10K with my son, who happens to be a high school swimmer and X-Country athlete, and keeping up with him.
I’ve applied this formula to my business life, as well:
So, how did you do? What results did you achieve from your business story?
Two weeks ago LinkedIn posted an interesting blog on "the most clichéd and overused phrases for the past year." Using over 85 million LinkedIn profiles, they found the 2010 top 10 buzzwords used in the USA and Internationally. Both sets of words are below (pictures from the LinkedIn blog).
If you'd like additional resources to help with your LinkedIn profile, see the list at the bottom.
For the United States:
1. Extensive experience
6. Proven track record
7. Team player
9. Problem solver
And it shared some of "the most overused buzzword in LinkedIn Profiles in 11 countries" that included:
1. Extensive Experience – USA, Canada, Australia
2. Dynamic – Brazil, India, Spain
3. Motivated – UK
4. Innovative – France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands
Resources to Help You Improve Your LinkedIn Profile
- LinkedIn for Job Hunters: Tips to Create a Must-Read Profile
- If Your LinkedIn Profile is not Generating New Opportunities, Consider Changing Your Headline
- Is Your LinkedIn Story a Best Seller?
- It’s Who Knows You: Three Little Known Ways to Turn LinkedIn into a More Valuable Sales Tool
I was recently asked to assist with the launch of a new marketing initiative. It was a premium offer targeted to a small segment of customers, affording them an opportunity to join a movement to address a global problem they cared deeply about.
My job was to inform and excite the organization’s customer-facing associates about this new initiative. If I could ignite their passion for helping others to improve their lives, they would feel empowered to lead the effort in recruiting customers to join the movement.
The new marketing initiative was designed to solve a global problem. The problem was widespread and there were many causes. It was easy for the employees to wonder how one person could possibly make an impact.
To ignite their passion, I used a business story that allowed me to show how one person could make a difference. I told the story of a man who spent his morning throwing starfish that had washed up on the beach back into the ocean. The beach was long and the starfish were many. If they were left on the beach, they would surely die. When the man was asked by a passerby how he could possibly make a difference when there were so many, he tossed yet another starfish in and said he was sure he had made a difference to that one.
As I told the story, the room became quiet. The audience was attentive and engaged. Questions and comments flowed freely during the discussion that followed. One member of the audience later told me the story brought a tear to her eye. It was then that I knew I had succeeded in igniting their passion for helping others to improve their lives.
What business stories are you using to ignite passion within your organization?
During lunch today I asked the waiter his thoughts on the glazed salmon entrée. He enthusiastically recommended it. He began describing the dish. As he did so, he mentioned "wilted spinach."
Mentally, I stopped listening.
I wanted to be a bit of a wise guy and say, "I'd prefer my spinach fresh and crisp." I held my tongue (smile).
Words are interesting, aren't they? To me, wilted spinach is not the best choice of words. Now of course, I know what wilted spinach is and what it means. It means preparation, timing, and passion.
Ask yourself these three quick questions to see if you need to tweak or revise your content and messaging?
1. Do we have content or messaging in our various internal and external communications not generating the results we want (e.g., website, employee handbook, elevator speech/elevator pitch, mission statement, blog, newsletter, and magazine)?
2. Are we aware of content or messaging that might be confusing?
3. Have any of our audiences expressed confusion or misunderstanding? Did we deliberately address the issue either to leave the content as is or change it?
If you have any preferences or requests for topics, contact us by telephone, email, or leave a comment on this blog entry.
To read other articles in The Chief Storyteller Blog, select the category, Articles.
LinkedIn for Job Hunters: Tips to Create a Must-Read Profile
© 2010. The Chief Storyteller®, LLC.
Ira J. Koretsky
LinkedIn is an integral part of your job search. LinkedIn complements and extends your credibility and therefore enhances your attractiveness as a job candidate. Imagine you were an executive comparing two candidates—both with stellar credentials. One has only a resume, while the other presents a resume and a full LinkedIn profile, complete with glowing recommendations from former bosses, colleagues, staff, and clients. Whom would you prefer to interview?
The power of LinkedIn is the access it provides to information about you, information that you define and control, and information not available anywhere else.
Some food for thought:
- There are 80,000 million members of LinkedIn
- Most of the Fortune 500 has at least some of their executive team on LinkedIn
- For some companies, LinkedIn is used as a crucial filter to determine whether to bring someone in for an interview
- In a typical Internet search of a person’s name, LinkedIn appears on the first page of search results, and usually in the first five links
This article focuses on optimizing your LinkedIn content and messaging (Note: I’d be happy to write articles on how to use LI in your job search. Please leave a comment with your suggestions or email me).
Here are some tips to create a must-read profile.
1. Create a Memorable Professional Headline
Use the Professional Headline field to make a first impression that screams, “Read me now.” By default, LinkedIn populates your Professional Headline with your current title and company (see Exhibit 1 below). Many members do not change it. Click [Edit] beside your title and customize it to a powerful headline that grabs the reader’s attention. A compelling headline is the foundation of business storytelling. Think of it as your personal brand statement and your unique selling proposition. As in Example 2, it should summarize your potential value.
Some examples include “Building Great Brands for 25 Years,” “Growing Departments into Divisions,” and “Positioning Fortune 2000 Companies for Explosive Growth.” Your headline should represent your personal AND your professional self.
2. Make Your Summary Engaging and Compelling
Follow up your memorable and customized Professional Headline with an informative and compelling Summary. Make it easy to read and engaging. Use bullet statements, short sentences and paragraphs, search-engine friendly words and phrases, and industry buzzwords.
For content in your Summary, read “How to Write a Resume Summary That Gets Interviews.” There, you will find several specific suggestions with examples. Ensure your LinkedIn summary contains the exact same information from your resume, fleshed out with relevant details. Choose details to pique your reader’s interest and help you stand out. As in business, know your audience. What would your readers find interesting about you? Examples include brief success stories, high-impact accomplishments, guest lectureships, volunteer activities, experiences with hot trends, etc.
3. Improve Your Credibility
Ask for recommendations to demonstrate your credibility and capability. Recommendations from professionals who know your work first hand differentiate you. They serve as “mini” business stories to tout the benefits of working with you and your organization. Ask current and former bosses, staff, co-workers, colleagues, partners, clients and vendors.
In fact, offer to help write it to ensure your key words and messages are included in the testimonial. Each recommendation should tell a different and complementary story about your personal and professional life and successes. I suggest you create a spreadsheet and group your skills logically per recommendation (see below).
Spend the Time
Use the LinkedIn search function. Type in your desired position title. See how people already in these positions present themselves. By spending just a few hours, you can create a LinkedIn profile to be proud of. And, over time, ask for recommendations, tweak the search-engine-friendly terms as well as industry buzzwords, and continually add to and update your content. Ask friends and colleagues for feedback. And then accept the feedback with a smile and say thank you. LinkedIn should be an important tool in your job search.
Microsoft recently launched its new lines of smart phones to compete against Apple's iPhone and Google's Android. Microsoft has been effectively using YouTube to showcase its advertisements, functionality, and feedback.
It is employing the concept of "Really" throughtout the ads. It is simultaneously poking fun at current mobile fun usage and pointing out how some people are using their phones shall we say, a bit too much. While the ads are clever and engaging, sometimes they try too hard or seem not to make immediate sense. See if you agree...
Click on the pictures below to see the various commercials.
One of my favorite literary works is John Keats’ Endymion, a masterful poem about the myth of a mortal loved by the goddess of the moon. The first line, “A thing of beauty Is a joy forever,” almost always comes to mind whenever I find myself outside enjoying the sights and sounds of the unspoiled wilderness.
As a hiker, I have experienced breathtaking views of waterfalls, vistas, fauna, and flora from vantage points accessible to few others. Memories of nights spent sleeping under the stars, hiking to Shenandoah’s Dark Hollow Falls, reaching the snowy summit of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, immersing myself in the lush jungle along Kauai’s Kalalau Trail, or swimming at secluded Hanakapiai Beach on the Na Pali Coast are the only reminders I need of how important it is to be a good steward of the environment.
And yet, I’m amazed at how difficult it is to “sell” many people on the importance of conservation and other steps to protect our environment. I’ve seen too many instances where well-intentioned people resort to complicated and often-confusing explanations of what’s wrong and what needs to be done. I’ve heard the arguments from both sides on controversial issues like global warming, carbon offsets, and greenwashing. In all of this noise, the simple message of "help protect the beauty of our world" is invariably lost.
It’s all quite simple, really. Where words betray, images empower. Where words merely describe, images show. The right images can take you there and help you to experience the wonder and awe of nature’s beauty. The right images can help your target audience connect with your cause or message.
Think back to the memories I described earlier and the images of beauty they evoke. These are the images of joy, peace, and a oneness with nature. Why? Because the words written 200 years ago by an English Romantic poet still ring true today: “a thing of beauty is a joy forever.”
EIZO Nanao Corporation (EIZO) desired to grow its business. As a company with a niche product line in medical imaging and monitors, it needed a creative and novel approach to generating interest to help it stand out from the competition in a small market. EIZO hired the advertising agency Butter. Butter is from Berlin/Duesseldorf in Germany.
Nadine Schlichte, Art Director at Butter, concieved of the idea for a unique pinup calendar. The calendar would be offered to prospective and current physician clients. Each picture of the month shows a naked skeleton image of woman. The developed slogan is "The EIZO Medical pin-up calendar — just like EIZO monitors — really does show every detail." The calendar was released in May 2010.
“Our actual intention was to stimulate more interest for what is the highly complex, technically sophisticated area of EIZO monitors for diagnostic purposes and viewing of x-ray images,” say Butter, “As you can imagine, the target market for this kind of specialist, highly-priced monitors is very small.”
While most people believe each month to show a different woman, the creative team at Butter developed the monthly models from computer CGI illustrations.
The EIZO calendar description includes "Whereas craftsmen are showered with pin-up-calendars at the end of every year, this kind of present is less popular among physicians. EIZO breaks this taboo. This pin-up calendar shows absolutely every detail.
The calendar and the pictures went viral quickly. Additionally, Butter and EIZO garned several advertising and related creativity awards.
In fact, the calendar was so successful, EIZO is now taking orders for the 2011 calendar [which looks to be the same pictures from the 2010 version].
What kind of novel ideas have you considered? Implemented?
- Purchase the 2011 calendar here for ~€70 Euros or ~$95 USD
- Eizo Nanao Corporation
- Butter, Berlin/Duesseldorf, Germany
- View all of the 2010 calendar pictures from the Butter website
The iconic seven-slot grille is the symbol of one of the world’s most recognized brands. The spirit of freedom and adventure it stands for has defined the Jeep brand throughout its 70-year history, attracting generations of loyal customers. Few brands command a following so loyal that Jeep designers have resisted major changes to the design of the grille for fear of alienating a devoted customer base. To what, then, does Jeep owe this enviable customer loyalty?
It’s the unique experience of freedom and adventure you get with a Jeep. Plowing through foot-high snow drifts before the light of day, crossing a stream on a rutted dirt road en route to an overnight camping destination, cruising along the beach with the wind in your hair, sitting under the stars watching Fourth of July fireworks, driving through an orchard on a quest for the perfect apple, and exchanging the “Wrangler wave” with other Wrangler drivers are all part of the Jeep brand’s unique selling proposition. These experiences make the brand different from any other.
I bought my Jeep Wrangler nine years ago. My boys, then ages 5 and 7, were with me from the very first test drive. I can’t remember who wanted the Jeep more – me or them. I purchased mine off the lot and theirs, miniature Matchbox® models of mine, from Toys ‘R Us. A Jeep Christmas tree ornament – a gift from my boys – followed soon after. Over the years, we’ve travelled many miles together and have accumulated lots of fond memories in our Jeep.
My seven year-old is now 16 and will soon have his driver's license. The spirit of freedom and adventure is alive and well, even within him. Driving to and from swim practice, manually shifting the gears as he heads west toward the mountains on an open highway, and cruising around with the top down on a summer evening are already ingrained experiences in his psyche. And so, another generation of Jeep Wrangler owners is born. Brand loyalty endures.
How unique is your brand’s selling proposition? Is it compelling your customers or members to yearn for more? Is it helping you to build brand loyalty for generations to come?