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- Body Language and Gestures,
- Career Development,
- Customer Service,
- Elevator Speech or Mission Statement,
- Human Behavior,
- Marketing Communications,
- Messaging and Content Development,
- Networking and Relationship Building,
- Professional Speaking,
- Sales or Outreach,
- Series - Presentation Reviews,
- Social Media,
- Venture Capital and Entrepreneurship,
Duane Bailey is a regular contributor to The Chief Storyteller® online conversation. He has helped organizations of all sizes drive growth in revenues and market share through the development and delivery of key business messages that resonate with target audiences. He holds an MBA in International Business and a BS in Marketing. He brings 28 years of experience in marketing communications and high technology sales.
I just returned from my Thanksgiving holiday with family. It was an enjoyable weekend filled with warmth, lively and engaging conversation and a chance for us to reconnect.
To help pass the travel time, I brought along the December issue of 'Washingtonian' magazine. Among the articles that caught my attention was the one entitled, "50 Great Places to Work." What struck me about the article was the role "warmth" of the office plays in creating and sustaining job satisfaction (i.e., "Does it feel like a place you want to go to? Do you get along with the people you work with?").
As I read the article, it wasn't hard to see the value of family relationships in the workplace. When employees feel like they are part of a family, they feel trusted, valued and appreciated. There is a palpable sense of warmth in the office. People like coming to work and engaging one another. Employees are invested in the success of the company and are passionate about promoting the brand to friends, family and customers. For them, work is more than just a place to earn a paycheck; it is a great place to be.
How warm are the relationships among the people who work at your company? Do the people you work with treat each other in a way that makes them feel like family? Is your company among the 50 great places to work and, if so, why?
President John F. Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
Take a moment and think about the leaders you know. Leaders of industry, thought, government, sports and your community…the people who inspire us to give our very best are the ones who do not assume they know everything. They know they will make mistakes from time to time. And they trust the people they lead to help them when they ask for answers to some of their toughest challenges.
Leaders who are lifelong learners are approachable. They ask questions and they encourage open and honest feedback. They foster a culture where team members tell them what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. They encourage others to take risks and they embrace each failure as an opportunity to learn.
A commitment to lifelong learning. Few attributes define the character of a leader more than this one.
I had the privilege of delivering a guest lecture on personal branding at one of the local universities last week. One of the key messages I tried to convey to the students of Professor Murphy’s marketing class was the importance of telling their brand story in a way that is meaningful and easily understood by their target audience.
Although a succinct, well-told story does help to increase the visibility of your brand, its real purpose is to create a desire among the members of your target audience that gets them to say, “I want you.”
Here at The Chief Storyteller®, we’ve helped many of our clients harness the power of storytelling to more effectively and quickly accomplish their objectives. One of the communications elements we specialize in is your elevator speech (a succinct answer to “What Do You Do?”). A good elevator speech will tell your brand story in a meaningful and easily understood way…in 30 seconds or less.
Word (or message) clouds like the one I created for my personal brand and shown above are a visual representation of your elevator speech. Key elements of my brand story (e.g., branding, strategy, sales, marketing, storyteller) are noticeably more prominent than some of the less celebrated ones (e.g., fitness, sustainability, outdoor, leader, explorer). Like a well-told elevator speech, a good word cloud will leave your target audience with a meaningful and easily understood impression of your personal brand...in 30 seconds or less.
As I told the marketing students, every one of us has a personal brand and word clouds are another good way of telling your brand’s story to drive the results you want.
Your brand’s business return on social media isn’t always about return on investment (ROI). Sometimes, it’s more about the return on relationship (ROR) and how well it is engaging members, customers and other stakeholders.
During a recent visit to my gym, I tweeted that I was having “another great morning in my Lifetime.” What made this tweet fun was the play on the word, ‘Lifetime.’ I wasn’t really talking about my lifetime in the generic sense; I was specifically referring to the Lifetime Fitness brand of fitness centers – where I have been a member for the last 14 years. I included a picture of the brand’s signature atrium in my tweet, along with a mention of Lifetime’s Twitter handle (@LifetimeFitness).
Within the hour and as I was working out, I received a direct message on my iPhone from @LifetimeFitness. Picking up on the double entendre of my first tweet, the brand responded back with a playful tweet of its own: "@duanebailey Is there ever a bad one? ;) Thanks for the shout out, happy Friday!"
What just happened?
Aside from the personalized greetings I had received from various members of the staff that morning, Lifetime found yet another way to engage and acknowledge me – this time, over a digital medium like Twitter. It was a fun and memorable member experience. And it’s the kind of interaction that continues to build and strengthen my relationship with the brand.
I was just having fun in my Lifetime. While I did not purchase any additional products or services that day as a result of that exchange, it's one more reason I'm planning on maintaining my membership as a loyal Lifetime member for years to come.
Last week, I wrote about why I think sales people need to spend more time in front of their customers. I told the story of one of my former customers and how he taught me the importance of nurturing business relationships – the kind of relationships between a seller and a buyer where the salesperson genuinely cares about his customer's business and understands his needs.
If you really think about it, none of this should be surprising. Very few people I know are going to be “sold” by broadcast content from a faceless brand about how great the company and its products are. What people want is an opportunity to converse with another person. Someone who genuinely cares about them and what they think. Someone who will engage them in a two-way conversation.
And so it is with online branded content. When brands post and promote content over social media – a blog, an announcement, or even a photo – it should be done in a way that invites and rewards conversation. Start by revealing the people behind the brand. Speak in a friendly, conversational tone. Be brief and to the point. Include hashtags and a link to relevant and meaningful content. And respond in a timely and personalized manner when someone initiates a conversation with you.
Acknowledging your followers and their feedback is a great way for your brand to show it trusts and values their opinions. Engaging them in an interactive conversation is the first step toward building mutual respect for one another and, quite possibly, a long and mutually beneficial relationship.