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  • Four ways to help your franchise succeed

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    Four ways to help your franchise succeed (Picture of McDonald’s)

    When you take ownership of a franchise, you enter a professional environment that comes with a series of established benefits. These include a concise and easily learnable system of operations, including equipment that’s already in place and a well-established customer base that is loyal to the popular brand you now represent. Additionally, you’ll be in the midst of employees who are already familiar with the system of operations, be part of a supportive network of fellow franchisees, and obtain the backing of a franchisor.

    All these benefits will elude those who have decided to start their own business operations, and they’ll certainly give you a great deal of comfort when you begin your position as a franchise owner. What you must remember, however, is that owning a franchise is still hard work, and the onus will be on you to keep your franchise running at full speed. You’re still in charge of what is, in effect, a small business, and it’s your responsibility to ensure the successful development of that business so that it properly represents the brand as a whole. Here are four ways in which you can make that happen.

    Stick to the system

    Taking ownership of a franchise means becoming accustomed to an established system of operations. This system will dictate how each and every one of the brand’s franchises is run, covering everything from administrative processes to products sold and services rendered. A system such as this is extremely necessary in expanding a franchise operation. If the system is concise and comprehensible enough to be taught to a workforce in one location, then it can easily be replicated in various other locations.

    The system of operations is also particularly important with regards to brand consistency. No franchise can operate differently from any other, otherwise the brand itself will be seen as both irregular and undependable when it comes to fulfilling its promises to its customers. That’s why it’s crucial that you run your franchise exactly according to the system of operations in place.

    You might be used to creating and following your own set of rules, but if you don’t act according to the system, you run several risks. You might jeopardize the brand’s image, create tension between you and your franchisor, and possibly break your franchise agreement. If you’re a good sport, then you’ll be closer to helping your franchise succeed.

    Hire well

    As a leader, you will want the best team possible to help you on your way to success. That means being thorough  and selective when you hire. When looking to fill any position, choose candidates who are properly skilled, possess an impressive work ethic, and exhibit a positive attitude. But, it must go further than that.

    Anyone who becomes part of a franchise operation should possess a sufficient amount of knowledge about the industry they are entering. They should also have the same vision for the brand that you do as a franchisee. If this is the case, then you’ll constantly be on the same page as your employees, and you’ll all be working towards a common goal.

    Be a hands-on franchisee

    It’s easy to be lulled into a sense of comfort by the perks associated with franchise ownership. While it’s perfectly fine to be comfortable at work, it is not fine to be detached from the goings-on at work just because everyone’s working according to a set system. A good leader gets fully involved in the job at hand and works alongside his or her team members.

    When you’re a franchisee, it’s a great idea to step into various roles in order to help your teammates out. Not only will you be challenging yourself, stepping outside of your comfort zone and learning new skills, but you will also positively influence your workforce. They’ll be encouraged by your actions and will be motivated to work hard. The end result will be a team of people working towards the success of a franchise.

    Communicate

    Transparent communication should exist between every person working within a franchise operation. This means talking openly with your franchisor about your experiences as a franchisee, bringing up queries, challenges, and successes with your support team, and suggesting ideas for franchise growth. Communication also means being available to members of your own team. If anyone has a problem, be on-hand to address it. You’ll be seen as an effective leader and will create a positive work environment.

    A franchise is a big responsibility. To help it succeed, you need to be a hands-on leader who’s happy to work according to a set system of operations, communicates openly, and is discerning when it comes to hiring new employees. If you tick all these boxes, then you’ll see your franchise become a thriving part of the brand you represent.

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    3 Reasons Why LinkedIn is Important for Job Seekers

    Yes, your LinkedIn profile is more important than your resume!  Do I shock you with this declaration? Think again. Your résumé is typically being sent to individuals, to recruiters, or as a job application, which has limited exposure. Yet your LinkedIn profile is open to literally the entire world around the clock. Moreover, as I understand it, LinkedIn is now considered the choice tool by recruiters and human resources professionals because it is so user-friendly and searchable.

    If you think like I do, then you may want to revisit your LinkedIn profile and make a few easy improvements. For example, upload a professionally produced photo to enhance your image. Make sure the tagline contains a good description of what you do. The summary section should be your marketing piece. Your current and past positions should be clear. Don’t say too much; rather, make them intriguing. Include a few but strong accomplishments in your bulleted items. Keywords pertinent to your profession should be listed as well. Listing your specialties offers additional, specific information that enhances your chances to distinguish yourself.

    LinkedIn lets you upload various applications. Take advantage of that. Recruiters like to see that you have several recommendations. After all, they have to sell you to their clients. Recommendations serve as strong support for your candidacy because they come from others. Everything else you say in your LinkedIn profile comes from you, and in this case you’re a salesperson selling a product, which is yourself. If you have a Web site or blog posts, list them. Belonging to several professional groups also enhances your image. Similarly, if you’ve received honors and awards, they should be listed. You also should include some interests because you’ll be selected not only for your qualifications but also for your fit factor.

    And finally, review your personal settings. There may be great qualifications listed on your Linkedin profile, but if you limit those you allow to view the profile, who do you think is losing out?

    Posted in Personal Branding

    How To Leverage Your Brand To Attract New Clients

    Social Media Branding

    What is the best way to use your brand online in order to attract clients and customers?

    These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

    1. Show Your Face

    Clients need to see a brand as more than a logo. It is a great strategy to use social media to give insights into the lives of the people behind the logo. This creates a human link between the company and the customers. This helps create a more likable persona of the company, which is seen as an extension of the people that customers get to see. This makes you more approachable and relatable. – Abeer RazaTekRevol

    2. Amplify the Voices of Others

    Your brand can’t effectively be an expert at everything and well-informed about every single topic. However, you can still take part in online discussions around trends and industries outside of your wheelhouse. Simply engage in conversation with people who are knowledgeable on these things and you can increase your brand’s online presence while also helping other people. – Bryce WelkerCrush The CPA Exam

    3. Ditch the Hard Sell

    The biggest mistake people make with their online presence is trying to pitch their products and services to the audience. It’s the easiest way to lose attention. Show yourself to be an expert in your field and educate them without the hard sell. Your prospects will come to you naturally because eventually they will trust you and look to you as the authority. It’s a much more natural process. – Frank B. Mengertebenefit Marketplace (ebm)

    4. Start Conversations and Build Relationships

    Create a conversational brand. Use online platforms to engage with customers through your brand vision and voice. Interact with them and use current customers stories and feedback as ammunition for building trust and support around your brand. The more you can use your brand to foster a community and relationship with potential customers, the stronger your business and brand will be. – Jared WeitzUnited Capital Source Inc.

    5. Educate Your Clients

    Content marketing is a super scalable way of generating more leads and increasing brand awareness. I’m not talking about posting a few funny Instagram photos, witty tweets or product videos. Share educational content around your greater industry. If you’re a tailor for men, create content around your product and craft, but also talk about men’s style in general. It’s the new radio ad. – Karl KangurMRR Media

    6. Tell a Relatable Brand Story

    People buy from people. If a potential customer is deciding between you and a competitor, you can make yourself stand out by being personal and sharing your story with them. Regularly post your story on social media. Have a page on your site that tells your story. Talk about it on podcasts. Network and share your story. The more your brand story is out there, the more attraction you will create. – Connor GillivanFreeeUp

    7. Find Your Niche

    Knowing your niche can help find your lifelong customers. Find out where they hang out — online message boards such as Reddit or popular social media pages. Become part of the community to gain recognition and to also make sure you’re always up to date with what your customer base’s needs are. The information gained through the niche community will be invaluable. – Andrew SaladinoKitchen Cabinet Kings

    8. Provide Tremendous Value

    You need to understand your customers better than any of your competitors. This means you know what their psychological needs are, their fears, how they think and their consumer journey in your industry. Only then can you provide tremendous value to them at each stage of their journey. This value will come in the form of content and experiences that meet those psychological needs. – Kevin GetchWebfor

    9. Personalize Every Customer Experience

    Attracting new customers and clients requires an attention to detail that most companies fail at achieving. I’m talking about personalization. Make sure you’re making every experience with your potential customers personal with targeted content and products based on their behavior on your website. When a business nails personalization, both consumers and clients remember their experience. – David HenzelLTVPlus

    10. Share Your Expertise Through Thought Leadership

    I think the best way that brands can attract clients or customers online is by building thought leadership. Showcase your expertise through writing bylines, guest blogging, booking podcasts and getting featured or quoted in the media. – Kristin Kimberly MarquetFem Founder

    11. Retarget Site Visitors

    It’s very rare that a user visits your website for the first time and makes a purchase. To get consumers to come back to your website as well as to keep your brand at the top of their minds, use retargeting. A retargeting pixel is placed on your site, when a user leaves without buying, it “follows” them around the web to display targeted ads, encouraging them to return and make a purchase. – Stephanie WellsFormidable Forms

    12. Solve a Problem

    The No. 1 thing every single brand can do to attract clients and customers is to solve a problem that currently doesn’t have a solution. When you create something that improves the quality of life for a large number of people, potential clients and customers will take notice. – Blair WilliamsMemberPress

    13. Stay True to Who You Are

    As a branding expert, I’ve seen so many times how people move too far away from their real, authentic brands when marketing online! Stay true to who you are, but take steps to reach out to targeted online clients, including leaning into aspects of your brand that certain targeted cohorts will appreciate. – Beth DoaneMain & Rose

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    How to Monetize Your Skills with an Offer That Sells

    From where you’re sitting, everyone else has made it online. Are you really the only one who hasn’t figured it out? You know you want to build an online business, but you have no idea what to actually sell. You tout a long list of digital accomplishments. You can do it all – social media, content creation, email marketing … the whole kit n’ caboodle. But, it’s not just about knowing what you’re good at. It’s what you do with that knowledge.

    Cue the road block. I bet you regularly ask yourself these 2 questions.

    1. “How can I make a difference online (without working for pennies)?”
    2. “Once I know what I want to do, where do I start?”

    Believe it or not, monetizing your skills is (a) possible and (b) profitable. And, you can do it without forcing yourself to dredge up that list of “Things I Can Do, but Don’t Really Want to“.

    Sell your obsession (and nothing else).

    Between you and me, I can barely stand social media marketing. Somewhere in the last 5 years, I lost my passion for posting. I’m “just not that into” the Instagram worthy photos, cheesy captions, etc. I can do social media and do it well. I just don’t want to.

    But, teaching SEO for bloggers? I live for it. I love using systems and storytelling to make ranking seem achievable for everyone online. So, SEO is my thing.

    Take it from me, when you monetize your skills, that offer becomes what you’re known for. It’s the one thing you can chat about for hours on end.

    It’s what builds the foundation that will become your brand.

    This isn’t the time or place to offer the bare minimum. Don’t even think about being a jack of all trades. Zoom in on a one of a kind specialty. Something that won’t just act as an original hook – but also guarantee customer satisfaction and loyalty.

    Once you’ve narrowed in on your obsession, peel back every single layer. Search for opportunities to improve. Don’t focus on perfection. Just build enough confidence in your offer to sell without hesitation.

    First rule of thumb? Don’t be afraid of feedback.

    If you already have an engaged online community, take the market temperature. You’re probably good at many things – maybe even hundreds. But you don’t have to turn all those skills into an enticing offer.

    For example, let’s say you’re a writer. You churn out blog posts, sales pages, and fan fiction. Showcase your best work. Let your community pick what they’re drawn to. And, if there’s equal interest in all 3, then by all means; you’ve found yourself 3 different offers. But, no matter what, focus on creating one at a time.

    Bottom line. Don’t ever be afraid to ask the question: “How can I improve?”

    Know your people better than they know themselves.

    Your audience should shape your offer creation. For example, maybe your online course would fit nicely into a 12 part video series. But, if audio content really resonates with your community, then audio it is.

    When you know who you’re selling to, you won’t miss these important preferences. And, if your audience still doesn’t latch onto your offer, it means one of two things.

    1. You need to continue molding the product.
    2. You need to reconsider who your target audience should be.

    Bottom line. Your community can offer invaluable insight.

    Use this insight to improve and further develop your product (and more importantly) your craft. Always keep yourself open to constructive feedback.

    Finally, test until the results become predictable.

    So, you’ve put together several offers, but want to pick the one with the most potential. How do you know which one to choose? Test, test, and test some more.

    Split testing helps you tap into the perspective of the people you’re trying to reach. And since they’re the ones making a purchasing decision, their opinions matter. Release each offer to a small list of users (at a discounted rate), and collect candid and detailed feedback.

    Even though your core offer is ready to go, remember, the fine-tuning never ends. The market is always changing, and your consumers will evolve. Don’t let yourself get stagnant; keep your ear to the ground and look for ways to improve.

    Posted in Personal Branding

    Identifying Authentic Brands: 10 Signs to Watch For

    Pokemon Go Job Hunting

    What is one sign or aspect you look for when determining if another brand is authentic?

    These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

    1. Social Proof

    The number one thing I look for when analyzing whether or not a business is authentic is their social proof. I check their content to see if people are sharing their blog posts online. I dig in and check their social media mentions to see how customers are engaging with the brand. I’ve been able to determine that some websites were total scams with this method. – Blair WilliamsMemberPress

    2. Shared Struggles

    An authentic brand is not one that only talks about their accomplishments, but one that admits their mistakes and shares their hardships as well. A brand that shares their struggles with their audience is open and honest. Some brands tend to be wary about sharing their struggles, but sharing shows that there are real people behind the brand, which helps form a better connection with the audience. – Stephanie WellsFormidable Forms

    3. Customer Reviews

    I love the fact that there are so many people online today. Everyone is more than willing to share their opinion on a product or service, regardless of whether they have 20 followers or 2 million followers. I always make sure to check reviews on the company from websites and social media personalities to see how their experience was with the brand. – Syed BalkhiWPBeginner

    4. Team Photos

    When I’m evaluating a company I always read their About Us page and look for a photo of their team. A photo is a great way to read the energy of the company and see if how they operate on the inside matches what they’re portraying on the outside. – Laura RoederMeetEdgar.com

    5. Value the Opinions of Their Customers

    An authentic brand truly values the opinion of their customers. Not only do they ask their customers for their thoughts and opinions and listen to them, but they also put those thoughts and opinions into action. A brand that asks for their customers’ opinions is not only benefiting by getting actionable insights, but making their customers feel important, as well as showing they want to continue to improve. – John TurnerSeedProd LLC

    6. Look at Terms, Conditions and Privacy Policies

    I always check the website’s terms and conditions and privacy policy pages to ensure the language and policies are legitimate. If I see something that’s suspicious or outright odd, then I will not do business with the company. – Kristin Kimberly MarquetFem Founder

    7. A Visible Founder

    Authenticity is a very strong core value when it comes to companies and that comes from the founder or the CEO. Do some research on them personally and see what they’re like. The best way would be to see an interview, an article about their story or a podcast they’re on. In most cases, you’ll get an idea of whether they’re authentic or not within a couple of minutes. – Karl KangurMRR Media

    8. Audience Engagement

    To see how authentic a brand’s following is, check out their audience engagement. While it may look like a brand has millions of followers, see how many people actually like, share and comment on their social media posts. What kinds of comments are they receiving? When there’s a negative comment, how do they respond to it and address it? These are all important indicators of authenticity. – Rachel BeiderPRESS Modern Massage

    9. A Professional Image

    Proper grammar, clean layout, bug-free UX, clear CTAs and other attributes of a professional online presence build brand authenticity and trust. When I see a spelling mistake or pixelated image, credibility goes out the door. While moving fast is important, that doesn’t mean there’s no time for attention to detail. Increase authenticity and trust to see an increase in conversions and adoption. – Colton GardnerNeighbor

    10. Transparency 

    According to Brene Brown, authenticity is the ability to let ourselves be seen for who we are. Brand authenticity is no different. When a brand is transparent about what they are working on, the value they hope to provide and the areas they fall short, they are being authentic. If, on the other hand, their language is vague and confusing, or solely promotional, they are not to be trusted. – Reuben YonatanGetVoIP

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    6 Motivational Speaking Trends That You Want To Pay Attention To

    Work Risk
    Caption: Motivational Speakers From Pexels.com

    Whether you’re planning a small sales meeting with your team or preparing for a national conference, guest speakers need to stay aware of the latest trends to appear — and remain — innovative. More importantly, they need to be able to adapt to changing audience preferences and technologies to ensure their speeches are engaging and memorable. 

    Which motivational speaking trends will impact how relevant your presentations are? Which ones will limit — or open up — future opportunities? Here are six areas that need your attention. 

    Organizers want speakers who deliver more than a speech.

    Conference organizers want to work with motivational speakers who are knowledgeable, inspiring, and capable of providing their audience with actionable takeaways. That’s a given. Simultaneously, event coordinators are looking for presenters who will partner with them, not just deliver a speech and leave.   

    Organizers are looking for speakers who will help them promote the event via their own platforms. This way, their built-in audience can become aware of the speaking engagement and make plans to attend or promote its value to others who could benefit. They also want speakers who will allow them to film keynotes so they can be distributed and shared with those who couldn’t attend.

    The holy grail? Some sales motivational speakers I know will host a meet-and-greet prior to their presentation. It’s a simple and powerful way to build a stronger connection with an audience. It also helps the presenter create more personalized content. Organizers would be thrilled if a speaker stuck around to mingle or have dinner with important clients. 

    Audiences demand participation and connection from speakers. 

    The days of formal presentations, where an audience sat silently in an auditorium-like venue  listening to an individual talk for an hour, are fading. Instead, attendees are demanding smaller, more conversational presentations. This makes the speaker seem more approachable and authentic. 

    This also encourages more interaction with audience members, enabling them to ask questions and share feedback. Speakers can incorporate live surveys and even get a little creative using the setup. For example, an event could ditch the standard seating structure, such as a ballroom layout or a roundtable setup, and go with a lounge setting. Likewise, the event could be held outside, allowing participants to sit on bean-bag chairs, hay bales, or smart benches.     

    People love the TED experience. 

    The debate on ideal session length rages on. Audiences crave shorter talks, where they can attend snappier sessions held by diverse speakers, which is more in line with the TED experience. 

    On the other hand, it’s almost impossible to present an innovative idea and get the audience to put that idea into practice in only 20 or 30 minutes. In reality, you’ll need anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. 

    It may not be feasible to host a TED Talk-style conference, limiting speakers to 20-minute talks. However, presentations are getting shorter. It’s now the norm for a one-hour standard presentation to be replaced by multiple 30- or 45-minute sessions. 

    If a talk does deserve more time, facilitators may want to break up the speech into parts. For example, an hour-long presentation could be divided into two 30-minute sessions, with a break in between. 

    Presentations need to be visual. 

    Your audience didn’t RSVP to your conference or seminar just to read your slides. They could have done that at home. They want to be engaged and entertained, and the best way is by skipping text-laden PowerPoints. 

    That’s not to say that PowerPoints are banned. It means limiting your text to 10 words or fewer and using more visual content like pictures, infographics, and videos. This not only holds the audience’s attention, but visual aids also create a compelling story and reinforce your message. In fact, according to the 2018 State of Attention Report, the key to engaging content is a compelling story and the use of visuals. 

    The most important takeaway: Don’t overdo your visuals. They should be clean and easily scannable, adding meaning to your story or concept. 

    Organizations and speakers need to keep up with the speed of change. 

    The world is rapidly speeding up: Just look at how a business model or new gadget becomes obsolete in a year. Organizations must respond accordingly.  

    For starters, planners focus on creating events that address emerging trends, innovations, and strategies. This empowers an event’s audience to stay up-to-date on the latest disruptions and prepare for them. The best speakers help them envision how to pre-empt or get ahead of a major industry disruption.

    That increased pace doesn’t just apply to innovations — speakers can expect to be booked much faster, too. In the past, it wasn’t uncommon to be booked for a speaking gig a year in advance. However, because we live in a high-velocity world, the planned talk may no longer be relevant. That means coordinators are booking speakers only months prior, ensuring their discussion will be significant and timely. 

    What’s more, in order to stay ahead in a world of change, speakers need to provide specific solutions. While there’s still room for inspirational speakers, it’s become increasingly important for the audience to walk away with actionable steps to answer their real-world questions. 

    Finally, both event planners and presenters need to stay current on technology. For example, while PowerPoint is still a popular tool for sharing information, a variety of tools like ClearSlide, Keynote, and Prezi allow anyone to create dazzling presentations on their smartphones. 

    And don’t dismiss the virtual realm. In order to save money and dive deeper into a talent pool, organizations are looking for speakers who provide online content, webinars, and virtual coaching. 

    The message needs to be reinforced. 

    For an event to be successful, it has to promise lasting results. In other words, attendees must leave the event able to implement what they’ve learned. As such, it’s the responsibility of the speaker to guide attendees in making the concepts stick. 

    This could be done by showing a pre-event video to establish a connection and then surveying the audience after. You can also hand out reference materials, like infographics, for everyone to take home. To save on paper, let audience members know where they can access more in-depth information online. 

    If you want to connect with your audience and ensure your presentations — and your preferred events — remain relevant, act on the trends above. Focus on keeping your audience engaged, remaining aware of disruptions, and reinforcing an event’s message. You’ll not only remain relevant, but also earn more audiences to speak to.

    Posted in Personal Branding

    Customers Demand Cross Channel Conversations. Here’s How Brands Can Deliver

    Cross Channel Conversations

    Nine in 10 customers expect brands to provide a seamless experience across channels and devices, according to the New Jersey Institute of Technology.  Right now, nearly 90 percent of customers think companies are failing at this endeavor. So how can brands send the right message, to the right person, on the right channel, at the right moment? This is the holy grail of Customer Experience Management (CXM) and a business imperative.

    Companies that want to survive in the coming decades won’t make it by focusing on a single channel. In order to thrive in the coming decades, brands must put customer experiences at the heart of their marketing strategy — across every channel — and that’s obvious now.

    Part of the problem is solutions on the market today focus on one channel – like email or mobile. That’s not bad, in fact, ten years ago that was a correct strategy. But what we are seeing with recent enterprise acquisitions is that the entire paradigm is shifting away from specific tools to clouds-based systems that allow data to inform and execute everything along the customer journey.

    Google has some catching up to do

    It’s rare to think of Google as #3 in any space except for Google Plus but when it comes to the cloud that’s where they are. Recently acquiring business intelligence platform Looker for $2.6 billion is a bold move. It doesn’t sound like a lot in today’s “Monopoly money” mergers and acquisitions space but it’s actually the third largest acquisition in the history of Google putting it on par with YouTube.

    It didn’t make the kind of headlines that an acquisition of Lyft or Snapchat would but it’s far more important. And Looker and Google had over 350 customers in common before the mergers it allows them to speed things up quickly.

    The downside is that both Salesforce and Adobe have spent considerably more time and resources on this space. As consumers we love the ease and simplicity of Google Suite tools like Gmail, Sheets and Docs but on an enterprise level, you wouldn’t use Google Analytics over something from Salesforce or Adobe because they are too simple.

    This acquisition will help Google compete but they’re currently behind. What it really shows most is how important this space is going forward for everyone.

    Salesforce is signaling its intent

    Today’s leading brands must engage with their customers and prospects through a variety of devices and touchpoints to be competitive. This poses a challenge for marketers who seek to use data and technology to personalize and deliver timely and compelling experiences to people across multiple channels.

    When Salesforce acquired ExactTarget in 2013, it did two things. It was a huge win for the city of Indianapolis. Drive through their downtown and a giant Salesforce sign now anchors its downtown tech scene. But it also pushed Salesforce in to the Marketing Cloud race from where they were first a CRM company.

    In fact, each company that is now positioned to lead the next decade of enterprise marketing too k a different route. Salesforce through CRM, Google through search, Adobe through creative. Each makes a strong but different appeal.

    The problem/opportunity for Salesforce is that search and creative are still relevant. CRM is slowly losing its hold as the needs of the market change. Companies don’t just want to track relationships, they want to use data to automate action items and use that data and insight to convert not just converse.

    And this is why Salesforce just bought analytics platform Tableau for $15.3 billion. That’s aggressive but they have to be. ExactTarget was a great solution six years ago. But the landscape changed. Its specificity, single-channel approach, has become a hindrance when every signal in the industry from both consumers and enterprise is that cross-channel will be the only acceptable solution.

    Salesforce making its biggest acquisition to date, Google making its third means they are afraid of something happening in the market. That fear comes from Adobe. Their stronghold on the creative side is unquestioned but they have been making strong but subtle moves in the cloud space for the last ten years, inching closer and closer to cross-channel experiences.

    If the space had stayed CRM and email-based, Salesforce would be dominating. But this shift toward customer experience has been slow and methodical. Adobe made their first cloud marketing acquisition of Omniture in 2009. They followed up last year by acquiring the fourth-largest marketing cloud company, Marketo and added eCommerce platform Magento which competes with BigCommerce and Shopify.

    This is what an enterprise customer expects in 2019.

    London’s Heathrow Airport airport uses information customers provide through WiFi logins, flight reservations, and in-airport purchases to send targeted communications about booking subsequent trips. Heathrow reaches out to customers on the platform they prefer — if a potential traveler likes social media, Heathrow might reach out via Twitter. If someone purchased a handbag at the airport before and is headed to a terminal near a certain store, Heathrow might send a deal on handbags to that person’s cell phone. Operating under a cross-channel model helps Heathrow Airport engage with 6 million customers every month. And when customers enjoy coming to the airport, Heathrow sees a boost in revenue.

    Heathrow currently uses Adobe. In isolation no single move the company made has been seen as a game-changer. But putting the pieces together you see where Adobe has been positioning for where they see the next evolution of marketing. If you’re looking for cross-channel experiences they are now the only cloud solution that offers creative, analytics, eCommerce, B2B marketing automation and programmatic ad buying.

    And while we steer perhaps away from programmatic ads toward eCommerce and targeted personalized messages that appear in your social feeds, this still feels like the best positioned company at the moment.

    But that moment can change quickly. More acquisitions will be made. Consumer habits will change. We are due for a change similar to the smartphone in 2007 that disrupts the entire landscape. For now, pay attention to the data and cloud space. Email and CRM will fade. Mobile and CXM are on the rise. And the real battle will be fought over which company can automate data the best and turn that data in to action.

    Posted in Personal Branding

    How The Right Content Optimization Can Increase Brand Visibility

    Increase Brand Visibility

    The latest Google search update is now a more mobile-friendly algorithm that keeps up with today’s search trends. As social media and technology has transformed the way we find information, the improved method is designed to understand the intent and contextual meaning of a query from portable devices. This is great news for brands as a more intuitive system gives them an opportunity for increased visibility.

    Should you still focus on keywords?

    While Google has built a new framework with some of the original search properties in place, it is no longer necessary to include too many keywords inside your content. Instead, focus on what is important to the reader and questions they are asking instead.

    The goal of today’s brand is to build something of value, and create a great experience for their audience. Content should be high quality with messages that engage a community. There are a few steps you can take to turn your brand’s website into a more visible and active place for visitors to come back to again and again.

    Revisit your current content strategies – Do your articles include more than 50 pages of deep, editorial style stories? Consider what areas can be improved for higher quality.

    Stay up to date – Cover the latest trends in both social media and the Internet within your niche. Create content that focuses on engagement of your readers. This can also include relevant videos. This is a good time to revisit your website and to create a compelling FAQ page that will be picked up in search.

    Create a buzz for your brand – Keep your audience up to date with the latest news and events. Infographics and announcements can also make for some fun and interesting content. Engage in interactive discussions such as Twitter chats and stories on Instagram in order to attract a larger audience.

    Create a map of your website – When the search engine crawls your domain, what do they find? By creating an XML site map you can make it easier for others to find what they are looking for right away.

    Consider hiring a professional content writer to make these necessary updates. An individual who is familiar with long-tail keywords and SEO could help increase the quality of content on your brand’s website. Your articles should be well researched, unique, and include important facts and figures in a length of at least 2000 words or more in order to be picked up by Google and other search engines.

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    The 7 Personal Branding Trends That Will Motivate Your Employees

    MotivatedEmployees

    Personal brands matter to everyone, not just startup founders and public speakers. In the age of social media, every employee owns a unique personal brand, and most employees want to grow those brands to boost their careers.

    As the boss, you can help your team members accomplish that goal by providing the guidance and opportunities they need to flourish. Even if you invest in people who eventually leave your company to pursue other passions, they’ll remember the help you provided and speak highly of your brand to others in their network. That positive word-of-mouth advertising could pay major dividends down the road.

    Follow these best practices to help employees cultivate strong personal brands:

    1. Provide content contribution opportunities.

    Do you publish all your company’s content under your own name — or, worse, the brand’s name? If so, you’re not just missing opportunities to help employees grow their personal brands — you’re also missing out on better audience engagement. Consumers prefer content that comes from people over brands, so give employees opportunities to express themselves and attach their names to their work. Offering different voices and perspectives will increase your readership and cultivate long-term interest.

    2. Encourage time ownership.

    Don’t micromanage employees or give them simple lists of tasks to accomplish. Instead, teach them calendar management or download top calendar apps, and provide opportunities for workers to use their time more wisely. You hired smart people for a reason, and the more opportunities they have to explore their innovative sides, the more confidence they’ll gain. That’s good for them, good for your company, and a good look for anyone thinking about joining your team.

    3. Invest in education.

    The digital world requires diverse skill sets. To stand out from the crowd, workers today need to know about more than just the tasks in their job descriptions. Invest in training opportunities for your employees, such as conferences or subscriptions to online educational resources. Ambitious team members will use their newfound knowledge to innovate and explore for your company.

    4. Create mentorship connections.

    Despite the popularity of new communication tools, young people at work prefer face-to-face communication over emails and IMs. Provide opportunities for more experienced employees to mentor younger ones. The “old” hands can grow their management chops, while the younger staffers can get more hands-on experience under the guidance of people who know the industry well. Both sides get to accelerate their growth while helping each other.

    5. Help speakers step up.

    Speaking engagements provide valuable connections and visibility for your brand, and your employees want in on the action. Instead of hogging the limelight yourself, help your employees get speaking gigs at trade shows, schools, association meetings, and conferences. When employees suffer from stage fright, help them overcome their fears by letting them create and publish short videos on the company website. The content will help you now, while the experience will help them later.

    6. Get active in the community.

    Modern audiences prefer brands that give back. Employees, too, want to work for companies that strive for more than profits. Get involved in community efforts, and let employees lead the way. Use your network to connect with local leaders, then step back and let team members handle the specifics. Your brand will look good, your community will benefit, and your employees will add to their growing prestige.

    7. Acknowledge the value of failure.

    No one grows without failure. Implement company policies that encourage smart risks. Never punish employees who take a risk and miss; your team members need to know they can explore without fear of retribution. When your employees know you have their back, they’ll feel more confident about their ability to innovate — a vital component of any strong personal brand.

    The more you invest in your employees’ personal brands, the more your company’s reputation will spread. Eventually, your industry will be filled with thought leaders who all point to your company as a catalyst for their growth. Take advantage of every opportunity to help your employees expand their influence — it will pay dividends for you both.

    Posted in Personal Branding

    Six Effective Ways to Brand Yourself at Online Events

    What is the best way to build your personal brand when attending or participating in online events?

    These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

    1. Share Advice

    Even if you’re not a speaker or hosting the online event, you can still build your personal brand by sharing your advice with other attendees. For instance, if you’re participating in a webinar and someone in the chat asks a question that doesn’t get answered, you can answer it. Share your own personal advice and how it helps with your business in the chat to help others and promote your brand.- Stephanie WellsFormidable Forms

    2. Engage In Discussions 

    You don’t have to self-promote if people remember you as someone worth their attention. The best way to come across as an interesting person is to be interested in others. Engage in conversations with other people, ask them questions, encourage them to share their expertise and bring something valuable to them by sharing yours. Be active and they will Google you after the event. – Solomon ThimothyOneIMS

    3. Continue the Contact

    Request the email addresses for all participants and continue to maintain contact after the online event. Send emails after the presentation thanking them for their attendance and begin to initiate further communication. The best way to build relationships and your brand is through numerous interactions. One single event is likely not enough to create brand awareness or recognition.- Matthew PodolskyFlorida Law Advisers, P.A.

    4. Offer a Demo

    One of the best ways to build your personal brand when attending or participating in online events is by offering a free demo so potential leads can see what your product does or learn how it will add value to their life. You don’t have to go over the top or use an outlandish sales pitch — simply let people know why they should choose your brand by offering a demonstration of your product or service.- Blair WilliamsMemberPress

    5. Start a Unique Discussion

    When attending an online event, there are likely to be many different discussions occurring based around a predetermined schedule of live streams or roundtable discussions. My advice is for you to find a topic that is interesting and pertinent but underrepresented and start talking about that. People will be drawn to you out of curiosity, giving you a chance to build your brand. – Bryce WelkerCrush The CPA Exam

    6. Share Your Brand Story

    Everyone has a story of how their personal branding came to be, and you can use yours to entice people to want to know more about its inception. Sometimes the most compelling thing about a business is how it started because many stories follow a “rags to riches” storyline. Use your branding story to entice others to want to know more about your business and what it stands for. – Jared AtchisonWPForms

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