Personal Branding Within The Corporate Workplace

03/20/2012

Do you remember Tom Peters’ innovative Fast Company article The Brand Called You?

Computer womanBack in the ‘90’s Peters presented what for the time was an unusual concept: employees could position themselves, within their organizations, as though they were a brand.  His idea was employees were more than cogs in a corporate wheel. By taking a lesson from how marketers branded products people could successful manage and grow their careers. 

There have been volumes written about how to create a “personal brand” including right here on Diva Marketing posted in 2009. However, social media and social networks have added an interesting dimension. 

What if ..

  • your employer helped you develop your personal brand to the benefit of both you and them?

What if ..

  • then you both leveraged the credibility, visibilty and goodwill of each to create a an earned halo effect that supports and aligns your values and the company's brand promise? 

Answer: You have an Employee Personal Branding Strategy.

Enterprises which place a value on encouraging employee branding, experience multiple benefits. For instance it strengthens corporate branding both internally and externally. When an organization helps its employees create their brand for mutual value, from the company’s  point of view, many positives can occur from decreasing business costs to increasing market awareness.

Six Benefits of Employee Personal Branding

1. Industry knowledge transfer which may decrease training costs

2. Trend identification which may present new product development and sales opportunities

3. Stronger collaboration with subject matter experts which may increase  logistic efficiencies

4.  Increased leadership development which may decrease recruitment acquisition costs

5. Employees can serve as brand champions increasing visibility within the industry and building important relationships with customers, prospects, influencers and thought leaders.

6. Improved corporate brand perception which can positively affect not only marketing goals,  but improve recruiting top people to the organization by becoming a more desirable place to work. This is the ultimate “halo effect.”

Employee personal branding is a aspect of social business that I believe will become increasingly critical as employees take for granted using social networks, like LinkedIn, to cultivate relationship building opportunities.

On the flip side, organizations are neglecting low cost ways to increase brand awareness, credibility and goodwill through the people who know their brand the best .. their employees.

I am excited to be working with Bernie Borges to create an important training workshop sponsored by the American Marketing Association: Personal Branding within in the Corporation. Please enjoy this podcast where Bernie and I take you on a deeper dive of this exciting concept. 

Update: After my conversation with John Cass, I'm adding one more 

What if ..

  • the "halo influence" of employer/employee continues even after you leave an organization. Why not work together to create a mutual beneficial employee digital presence .. for the present and the future?

Graphic credit: ymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Social Media Networking: Gone Is The Luxury of Privacy

02/21/2012

Over the past going, on eight years, of working in the social media industry I've had the pleasure of interviewing many amazing people. One question I often ask is, "What does social media mean to you?"

Sometimes the responses focused on the defining the tools like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs. Other times the answers centered on building customer relationships.

For me the tools are digital avenues to acheive the people-to-people end. As with our highways and byways, some will be around for a long time while others will be plowed under or turned back to sleepy paths seldom traveled on. 

Author and strategist Brian Solis' answer was an ah ha oh yes moment.  -- "We’re forming incredibly vibrant and extensive networks around relationships and interests. We’re learning how to live life in a very public, and searchable, space." Interview with Brian Solis

Privacy free digital photos Stuart MilesBrian addressed the critical relationship concept. Then he took it into a direction that most people are aware of but often sends chills up and down the spine. We are building relationships and networks in very public forums. Gone is the luxury of privacy. 

 MSN Business On Main has an interesting video interview with designer Camilla Olson. Her story caught my attention from a social media marketer's point of view. (Although her designs are most wonderful .. perhaps my next project will allow an indulgence for me to purchase one of Ms. Olson's pieces!)

Ms. Olson's big break came through a traditonal networking opportunity when a friend in a book club introduced her to James Franco's mom Betty Franco. Ms. Franco needed a fabulous gown for the Oscars .. and as they say in the movies Ms. Olson dressed her for her close up. Camilla Olson Camilla olson illustration by jungah lee of becky franco wearing camilla olson

In exploring her digital branding I found Ms. Olson is also active in multiple social channels. She's on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin, Blogs and Pinterest. A different world than a private book club networking connection. 

Online Ms. Olson gives a glimpse of behind the scenes of in the design world. She also posts a photo of a personal moment with her daughter and Gloria Steinem. Post by post, tweet by tweet, comments that she makes on Pinterest boards give an image of a personal brand beyond her talents as a designer. 

Camilla Olson and Gloria SteinemI applaud her efforts to "live in a public space." One might say that fashion designers, like models and people in the entertainment industry, should be use to living in the public. However, the social media public world is different.  

It's not only traditional media that is snapping photos of stars as they walk the red carpet in designer gowns and jewels. It's you and you and you and me who has access to the most influencial media channel in history .. the Internet. That changes the game for everyone. 

To the people who are authentically and bravely exploring what it's like to create and nurture relationships without the luxury of privacy .. a toss of a pink boa to you! My hope is that the agencies and companies who tap you for "brand champion" and blogger relations programs understand that it's not only  "influence" you bring to party but the risk and courage you took to cultivate relationships and networks in a new world.  

Perhaps the next time I interview some one instead of asking, "What does social media mean to you?" I should ask, "What does living in a public space without the luxury of privacy mean to you? How would you answer that question?

Diva Marketing is part of an online influencer network for MNS Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. All opinions are 100% mine.

Graphic credit: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Life Without Facebook ~ A View From Gen Y #3

02/08/2012

Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12 (3)
It's 2004. You're a college freshman. You and your friends sign up for a new internet platform called Facebook. It becomes an interactive scrapbook of your life. 

Flash forward 7 years. You disengage from Facebook. Why??

This is a special Diva Marketing quasi social media reality series with Gen Y Jessica Robyn who takes us into her world of Life Without Facebook .. and offers her insights into the question Why?

Part #1 Part #2

Diva Marketing/Toby: Jessica, you disengaged from Facebook  on January 13th. It's been about 4 weeks without the Big F. What are you missing the most?

Jessica Robyn: I miss the entertainment I got from Facebook. Reading posts, seeing pictures, and playing games via Facebook. It was a great way to amuse myself when I had down time. Now I have a new obsession for crossword puzzles. I even found a trivia app on my phone to entertain me on the go.  At least my new obsessions are educational!

Diva Marketing/Toby:  How has life without Facebook influenced your relationship with people who you don’t usually keep in contact with on a consistent basis?

Jessica Robyn: It’s been interesting. I've reached out more to some college friends who I have not seen in a while. I actually found out that one of my old roommates, who lives in New York, was going to be in Rhode Island. I live in Massachusetts, so we ended up meeting for drinks in Providence which was pretty awesome.

  • We haven’t seen each other in two years, but we still had a connection without Facebook which was pretty impressive. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: What happens when those people who don’t have your eMail address or phone number need to get in touch with you?

Jessica Robyn: I perform at Rocky Horror Full Body Cast in Harvard Square. There was an occasion recently where someone from Rocky Horror had a few questions for me about something they were planning with the production.

I gave permission for people at the show to give her my cell number so she could contact me. But she never did. A couple of weeks later she told me she didn't like calling people on the phone and since she couldn’t find my Facebook she didn’t message me. I think if it was something of dire importance you could figure a way to contact me off of Facebook, even if you didn't have my contact information.

Diva Marketing/Toby: How about people you do keep in touch with on an ongoing basis. Tell us a story of how not having a Facebook page influenced you.

Jessica Robyn: Recently I had plans to go out with a friend; however, we just couldn’t agree on what to do for the evening so we ended up doing nothing. You know how that goes.

The next morning I started to miss Facebook. I am sure if I really wanted to go out I would have heard about a group of my friends going somewhere. Or I could have posted a status asking who was around and wanted to grab a drink. It didn’t really bother me about missing out on events until then. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: Wondering what are the reactions from people who you meet who don’t know you’re not on Facebook and want to friend you.

Jessica Robyn: I haven’t encountered that yet. But I did meet someone right before I disabled my facebook. He was shocked I was going to disable my page and told me that Facebook was his only form of communication with his friends (I later found out he didn’t have a text messaging plan and doesn’t use his phone much. "Big L"). Needless to say, we didn’t keep in touch after that. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: At this point are you glad you're off Facebook? Why?

Jessica Robyn:  At this moment I would say absoultely. I have found myself being more productive throughout the day. Also instead of spending mind numbing hours sitting on facebook, like I mentioned before, I have been spending time doing cross words and trivia games  ... working my mind which has been better than it turning to mush while mindlessly navigating around Facebook.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Anything that you're surprised about with life without Facebook?

Jessica Robyn: I think the most surprising element thus far has been all the exclusive deals or "you hear it first" type of deals that are promoted via Facebook. I heard of two different contests that in order to simply enter you needed to "like" their fan page, or a band releasing a song exclusively through Facebook. But for the most part, I haven't been too disappointed about my lack of Facebook yet.

- @JessicaRobyn  Jessica twitter

To Be Continued ..

Life Without Facebook ~ A View From Gen Y #2

01/26/2012

Jessica Robyn Twitter_20

This is a special interview series on what life is like for Jessica Robyn, a Gen Y-er, who disabled her 7 year old Facebook Page. We're calling it quasi social media reality! Part #1 Part #3

Diva/Marketing/Toby: The big question I've been asked is, "What were the reactions from Jessica's Facebook friends?" By the way, how many friends did you have?

Jessica Robyn: I had a few of my friends talking to me (through phone calls, texts, and of course facebook messages or comments) who could not believe that Jessica, voted biggest facebook stalker junior year, the addict, and social media manager of the Full Body Cast fan page would seriously leave facebook.

People were asking how they would know what was going on in my life and I would just laugh and say "you do have my cell number, right? I know it's an awful concept, but you may need to talk to me in person." (can you sense the sarcasm in my writing?)

I currently have 410 friends on facebook, but several times have gone on what I call "defriending sprees" since there were so many people I was sharing information with who I had met one time at a party, was
a friend of a friend, or a classmate I have no contact with anymore. It was helpful to do that so I could filter through who I was showing my pictures to or updating them on my week. I just am at a point when simply clicking unfriend is not enough.

Diva Marketing/Toby: We relate to people on different levels;  we have various degrees of “friendship” with people. Obviously you’re not going to keep in daily or weekly contact with hundreds of people.

 What percentage do you expect will maintain, let’s call it the first level of friendship, where you are in contact on a weekly basis? Oh and how do you intend to keep up those relationships (email, twitter, etc.).

Jessica Robyn: I would say out of the 410 people I am Facebook friends with there are a dozen or so Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12who I keep in pretty consistent contact with. I text message them frequently or see them on a weekly basis. I do not foresee any aspect of our friendships changing except for the fact that our conversations won't have "Hey did you see what Jane posted today?"

Diva Marketing/Toby: What about, let’s call them the level 2 and 3 friends. What to you expect will happen with those people?

Jessica Robyn: The friendships I have with those who are not in constant cotact outside of facebook may become stronger. It may be a combination of me wondering what they are up to and vice versa. Having real-life interactions would only strengthen my friendships.

I would say that I won't become wicked close with all 410 of my Facebook friends, but there may be
some who I have not spent as much time with that I would like to and may get to know them on a more personal level.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Just curious Jess. How much of yourself image was tied to your Facebook page? What I mean is when you looked at your Facebook page what did it tell  about Jessica Robyn? In marketing we sometimes call this “personal branding.”

Jessica Robyn: My personal Facebook page is private, but if someone who had never met me were granted full access they would see someone who is funny, sarcastic, and does not take life too seriously. I feel most of my photos are carefree and me having fun. They would also see my Rocky Horror life: promoting the show or preshows I was in and pictures of that as well.

I may post a status and get NO likes or comments. Does that mean my friends do not approve of me or validate my thoughts? Of course not. But that is how it is interpreted to some people. If no one likes or comments on my status it's not a huge deal. (Sidebar: I wish brand marketers would take a cue from you Jessica!)

I had 410 facebook friends. Did I comment or like EVERY post they made? No. I did if I found it funny, I agreed, or had something witty to comment.

Also, having so many Facebook friends and with the Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12 _7new feature of a news ticker some posts can easily be over-looked if Facebook does not mark it as an "important post." If I was seeking approval or a comment from a friend it would be through a personal conversation that we were having, not a Facbeook post. - @JessicaRobyn

To Be Continued ..

Life Without Facebook ~ A View From Gen Y #1

01/16/2012

More than 800 million active users has given Facebook the enviable status of the golden child of social networks. With multiple generations sharing photos, updates and videos Facebook might even be considered the biggest digital family reunion ever!

However, as with any 'family' sometimes you need a bit of a break. That's what's happening for the people who 'grew-up' on Facebook .. the Gen Y or the Millennial Generation. They're signing off from Facebook. Some for forever. Others for a few months.

One of the 20-somethings who disabled her (7 year) Facebook page is my niece Jessica Robyn. Ironcially it was Friday the 13th when Jessica said good bye to that part of her virtual life. I had so many questions Why? What would it be like for her? How would she keep in touch with her friends? What did her friends think?  

Jess had kindly agreed to a series of interviews .. let's call this quasi reality social media. Over the next weeks she'll share with us what life is like without Facebook.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Tell us a little about Jessica Robyn.

Jessica Robyn _for fb article
Jessica Robyn
: I am 25 and work in the mental health field during the week and spend my weekends performing Rocky Horror with the Full Body Cast in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. I graduated with a degree in psychology a few years back and when I am not busy with work or Rocky I spend time going out with my friends for drinks, dinners, concerts, going to movies, or finding some way to entertain ourselves. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: You’ve grown up on Facebook. You connect to your BBFs on Facebook. You have a history built on your page. Why did you disengage from Facebook?

Jessica Robyn: The entire idea of leaving Facebook began a few months ago when I ended a relationship. It was difficult to move on since our entire history was on Facebook in the form of mutual friends, photos, and wall posts. This was the first "long term dating" I had been in since high school (back in the day when Zuckerberg was just a regular guy). The idea crossed my mind to disable my account, but I have been such a huge social media addict I quickly threw it out of my mind.

When I was ready to start dating again I became slightly frustrated. I would be out and start talking to a guy and he would say, "Oh yeah we should hang out some time... find me on Facebook." I would give most of these men confused looks since at that point I was 85% sure we had not even exchanged last names. After a few of these instances I began to seriously consider disabling my Facebook while I began to date again.

I would rather someone get to know me than add me as a "friend" (I use quote since clearly I would not consider someone I JUST met a friend.) then simply have a baseball card of facts like my birthday, where I went to school, my favorite movies, etc.  Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12 _5

Since I've been on Facebook from when I was 18 there are also pictures of the past 7 years of my life. If someone who has just met me, doesn't know who I am now, is judging me from snap shots of my past ... when I was out at a party, or being a goof with my friends ... well it could be a turn off. I admit I'm guilty of doing that too when I initially met someone.I judged them based on what I saw or read on their posts without getting to know their personality.

I can be a sarcastic person which means some of my posts should not be taken seriously. Now most people who know me pretty well can decipher the difference whereas someone who just met me may not sense the sarcasm and make the assumption I am just a heartless jerk.

Diva Marketing/Toby: I was intrigued by your tweets. What were you nervous about and why?

Jessica Robyn_Twitter _1_12 FB
Jessica Robyn: It's a HUGE change for me. When I am sitting in the doctor’s office or stuck in a long line at the store I can just grab my phone and see what people are up to on Facebook, make some comments, post some pictures. I don't play a lot of the games on Facebook, but it is a great way to occupy my time when I am bored at home. Now I won't have that option.

I have had a very strong relationship with Facebook. For over 7 years and it has been a daily part of my life. If you ended a 7 year marriage wouldn't you have a weird feeling waking up without your partner? I'm not trying to say I am THAT obsessed with Facebook that it feels like a marriage, but it's the daily usage that will be weird to live without.

Diva Marketing/Toby: How did you “Do IT?” Were you all by yourself? What were you feeling? What were your thoughts when you clicked the disengage link?

Jessica Robyn:  I did IT while I was alone. It took me a while to find the disable button and then, of course, Facebook says "Are you sure you want to deactivate your account?" Below it were pictures of 5 of my Facebook friends saying they would miss me and asking if I would like to send them a message.

Two of them were people I am friends with through Rocky Horror, one was a friend I made while in Israel, one was an old family friend, and the last was my old college roommate. Only one out of the five I would not see on a regular basis, but I am sure they will all miss me on Facebook.

I guess initially I felt very numb and empty. I didn't really have a reaction. It hasn't been long, but I will go to my phone when I would usually check my Facebook on the go and just feel sort of lost and confused thinking, "Well what I am supposed to do to occupy these next 30 seconds of time?"

Twitter_Facebook dream

To be continued .. 

Life without Facebook Part 2 Part #3

At it's ♥ Social Media Is Our Teacher.

12/31/2011

One of the aspects of social media that I like most is what is at the very ♥. Try as we might (and we certainly keep trying!) we can't corral it.

Gifts on keyboardSocial media is not the beautifully wrapped box you might have opened last week. It's not the gift that you knew exactly what to expect from the shape or size of the package.

The ribbons on our social media package, just as beautiful as that perfect gift, are slightly skewed. The paper is held together by all sorts of different tapes. And when you rip open the package it's not quite what you might have expected. You see Girlfriends, social media is a messy, magical gift.

Sometimes it's playful and brings innovative new ideas. Sometimes it holds a mirror up to help you understand how the operational side of your business is working .. or not. Sometimes it's comforting with friends supporting your efforts.  

  • At it's ♥ social media is our teacher. 

Our friends at MSN Business On Main posted an article highlighting characteristics of successful entreprenurs. Steve Strauss identified the Top 3 Traits of the World’s Best Entrepreneurs: Idealistic, Teammates, Character with Character. Steve's post held an ah ah thought for me. 

Take this back to social media. The Internet has given (most of) us, for good or for bad, a digital footprint trail. Your presence, especially on open social networks e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and let's add blogs and blog comments, is so easily findable. You have, by default, let loose into the world .. your personal brand .. along with your digital business card.

Your digital footprint trail provides insights into who you are: Idealistic, Teammate, Character with Character. Even if your social media presence is not tied directly to your company, in an adjunct way, you are part of its digital tapestry and it to you. One more way that you can't corral social media.

During 2011, I began to build personal branding workshops that help organizations leverage the benefits from their employees' personal brands while aligning with the company's brand values. My thoughts are this is a critical piece of the social business puzzle. Bernie Borges termed this "corporate personal branding."

Clara Nelson, one of the awesome project managers at the American Marketing Association, understood the concept. She asked if I would team with Bernie Borges, CEO Find and Convert, to develop a 2-day workshop for AMA: Personal Branding Within The Corporate Workplace. Our podcast offers tips on how to begin your corporate personal branding strategy.

So you see, Divas and Divos, although when you first unwrapped your social media present you might have assumed it was simply a Facebook game or Twitter chat. Social media is so much more. Where it will take us in 2012 is anyone's guess. The one thing I do know for certain .. 

  • At it's ♥ social media is our teacher. 

With just hours away from bidding 2011, either a fond good bye or a kick in the derriere .. from the Sound of Music  --

 So long, farewell

Auf Wiedersehen, adieu
Adieu, adieu
To you and you and you

Thank you for your support and friendship. Max and I look forward to continuing the conversation with you in 2012. In the meantime, wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous year where all that you wish comes true. 

Diva Marketing is part of an online influencer network for MNS Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. All opinions are 100% mine.

Go Behind The Numbers To Determine Success

10/05/2011

Sesame-street-flashers_counting

How do you determine business success? Not only in marketing communications but in customer service or even with nonprofit programs. Just asking .. 

"Why Toby," You might say. "You set a numerical goal and then see if you can meet it. It's called measurement and metrics." 

"Ah, " I might say. "Yes that's good. Or is it really? Or might it be misleading? Is it enough? Could it be doing us a disservice?"  Just asking ..

This week I was chatting with a friend who recently joined the staff of a nonprofit organiztion. Her focus is to manage social media for one of the non profit's community education programs.

She said two things to me that inspired this post.  #1 - Her boss expected the number of friends, followers, hits to the site, etc. to increase within weeks. #2 - The major funding grant placed a high emphsis on site visitors.

Sidebar: In another lifetime I was marketing director for a nonprofit. Among other elements, our grants measured success by the number of people we serviced; as well as the out reach we did. So I am familar with the demands of funding source reporting. However, In this case, there is a huge disconnect and lack of understanding of social media from my friend's boss and the funding source. Perhaps a post for another day.

We use numbers as a gauge of success. It's fairly easy to count. We learned it watching Big Bird, Oscar, Cookie Monster, The Count and my favorite Elmo!

But is that really sufficient to determine the worth of your strategies? Just asking ..

I admit, going behind the numbers takes more time and resources. When was the last time you determined if you hit the "right" people? Or if "they" took away the end objectives e.g, behaviour changes (finding information online versus your call center), perception changes (branding), new skills learned (training)?

  • What was the impact beyond the numbers? Just asking ..

It's not difficult to understand the why we are stuck on the numbers. The history of  business "success" is based on the quantitative.

Back in the Mad Men advertising days broadcast media success was about the reach and numbers. High Nielsen ratings were the gold ring. Decisions lived and died based on the figures. In newspapers and print publications (remember those?) the number of subcribers were what drove the ad dollars. It gave us a baseline. It was ok.

Then we stepped into the digital world and WoW! it was like walking into the Disney World of analytics. We could count Everything .. happy days! Our challenge became which ride (metric) to go on first (or pay attention to).

Then came social media. We had learned how to count our online strategy "results" from banner ads to website analytics. We transfered our hard earned knowledge from the web and began counting. Counting followers, likes, comments, posts. Life was good. Management could understand that type of "success." 

However, with social media came something else. Something that we were never able to determine: who were the People Behind The Numbers. Huge. Powerful. Scary. 

Hold on to your boas .. we can determine:

.. if we are reaching our target audiences

.. if we are acheiving our beyond the numbers goals 

.. if we are relevant to our target audience 

We are now really accountable for if our strategies resonant with our customers and prospects. Oh sure the numbers should matter but to a lesser degree. We should also be paying attention to if we are attracting and sustaining the right people. 

Go Beyond The Numbers Tips

1. Review the profiles of the people who are Likes, Followers,  G+, etc. 

2. Analyze your LinkedIn connects based on the niche you want to attract as clients. 

3. Segment as much as possible within limits of the social network platform. For example, on LinkedIn tag people, in Google+ put them into circles, on Twitter create lists. 

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10! What are your thoughts?  Just asking ..

Update: Example of going behind the numbers - Brian Solis and ReSearch.ly analyzed 50,000 of Starbucks’ Twitter followers. What resulted was a rich,complex profile and a indepth understanding of likes and lifestyles. So much more interesting than just the numbers. 

Interview with Alex Brown Author Great and Goodness Barbaro And His Legacy - Part 2

07/22/2011

Part 2 of my interview with Alex Brown explores how he incorporated social media to create awareness for his book, the Barbao community, horse slaughter and Laminitis the disease that killed Barbaro. (Part 1 tells the back-story of why Alex wrote the book and how he created an engaged community of thousands.) 

Alex Brown_book jacket Greatness and Goodness Barbaro and his Legacy Diva Marketing/Toby:  Let’s talk about the book, which by the way, I loved! Greatness and Goodness Barbaro And His Legacy may be an extension of the digital world that Fans of Barbaro built, however, it is still an entity on to itself. 

How is your approach towards marketing/creating awareness different with the book versus the site?

Alex Brown: This is something I am learning as I am going along.  With the book I had an initial advantage, I already had a large community.  Many of those within the community were waiting to buy the book as it was launched. And I added a facebook fan page for the book to keep people updated with its progress.

I also created an extensive schedule for book signings, visiting many racetracks and timing the launch around the excitement of this year's Triple Crown.  So there was a traditional component to the marketing campaign.  This year marks the five year anniversary since Barbaro's great win, so that timing helped also. 

I was able to get some pretty good media exposure.  I also had a few reviews of the book done, which helped.  Each time there was a review, or article about the book, or a book signing event to talk about, I would update the facebook fan page, my own profile page, the main AlexBrownRacing.com site and so forth. I was busy, getting good coverage, and also able to use the social media tools to make it all look busy and successful. 

The major downside is I self published (great advantages to doing that) which means I really don't have access to the major retail stores. The book is on Amazon, we recently eclipsed 500 sales on Amazon.  Alex Brown_book signing Barbaro

Diva Marketing/Toby:  In terms of general marketing, and of course social media, what tactics/tools are giving you the biggest impact for time you invest?

Alex Brown: I don't think there is one tactic which has proven most successful.  The key has been to keep the community constantly updated with progress with the book, keep the interest front and center.  Going quiet about the book would potentially be fatal. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: Let’s talk the “C” words .. content creation. Are you leveraging the content from the book, social platforms, and even online media, to support the book promotion (and feed your social networks)? If so how?

Alex Brown: I have a book excerpt that I have made available on the internet. I think that has helped.  I have promoted its availability through the many channels I use.  As I noted earlier, anytime there is a review, or feedback on the book, I push that out through the channels.

It is funny though, as hard as I try, and as deliberate as I am about push all the content back out, there are many in the community who do not see the content. I guess it is like traditional marketing, your customer has to see something multiple times before it truly registers. 

I am also exploring e-version ideas for the book, and hoping they help cross-sell the hard cover book.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Your own story is fascinating and inspirational. The digital platforms you created, as well as your book, have turned into catalysts for several “for the greater good” purposes: the legacy of Barbaro, dreaded Laminitis disease and education about horse slaughter. 

What extent did the internet and social media play .. wondering if this could have been accomplished without a digital presence?

Alex Brown: Its role has been fundamental.  This could never have happened otherwise.  That's the short and long answer.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Alex, you get the last word .. wrap it up any way you’d like my friend.

Alex Brown: Thanks for all your support. I cannot remember how long ago it was when you started speaking to my class at Udel (over the internet), it would be fun to revisit what we talked about then. 

The fascinating aspect of social media it is keeps evolving and improving.  Now I have to figure out this Google+ thingy!

Continue the Conversation with Alex!

Even if you are not a horseman (or horsediva) Great and Goodness Barbaro and Legacy is an inspirational from the heart read.

Great and Goodness Barbaro and His Legacy

Alexbrownracing.com

@Alexbrownracing

Disclaimer: I recevied a complementary copy of Greatness and Goodness Barbaro And His Legacy. There are no affinity links in this post.

Marketing Eating on the Street: Food Trucks

07/13/2011

Food Truck _Yum Yum I love eating on the street! Really I do.

 A hip urban "Indie" alternative to a traditional restaurant meal is (literally) hitting the streets. From the City of Angels to Hot'lanta to cities across the United States food trucks are validating our less formal life style with a unique sense of fun. (Photo of Atlanta pink food truck Yum Yum cupcakes)

However, don't think for one second these food trucks are like the old corner prezel stand. They're part of a growing luxury food trend. Ray Choi, owner of the Kogi (which draws an almost cult following in LA), was awarded the Food & Wine 2010 Best of New Chef award.

In our tight capital investment economy, entrepreneurs are getting creative with parameters of limited cash flow and investment dollars. Food trucks have become one of the hottest small business ventures.  

MSN's News On Main video highlights a few of the approximatley 600 (!) food trucks in Portland OR. As Chris Cashman reports, "Every food truck owner has a unique story." One of my favorites from is Ziba from Bosnia who sells pitas based on her family's 100 year old recipe. 

This is not a cupcake walk nor for the faint of heart. Developing a successful food truck business takes more than passion and talent. It takes as much hard work and savvy as any company plus add to that the challenges of a roaming location. Oh sure, at the end of the day it still has to be all about the food but .. 

As you would expect, social media marketing plays a huge role in not only creating awareness but in building the brand and a loyal customer aka fan aka like aka circle base. For food truck owners it is especially critical for their customers to feel they are part of the entire experience. Here are a few ideas (many can be used in any business setting).

Six Food Truck Marketing Tips

1. Concept On The Tweet Street

The concept must be easily understandable without a lot of explanation. If people find you through Twitter the first (and sometimes only) introduction to your culinary point of view is your name. Does it confuse or hinder or intrigue?

2. The Truck

The "wrap" should support your brand concept with unique visual interest. In addition, the cleanliness of the exterior is as important as the interior of your kitchen. Don't forget people can see into at least part of the back-end of your operations. 

3. Pressure Cooker Service

How you and your staff relate to your customers is paramount in creating loyal fans. How will you let your Twitter followers or Facebook likes know you care and appreciate them? Success can lead to long lines = a long wait = unhappy customers. Consider taking orders while people are waiting in line (before they reach the truck window). A few .. "glad you're here" "thanks for waiting" "we promise it will be awesome" .. is a good idea too. 

4. Presentation 

 Do your serving plates reflect your brand or are they just a boring (yawn) white? Boston based Roxy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese uses bright yellow checked paper linings that reinforces the retro and the yellow in their truck. 

Social Media Marketing  

5. Facebook: If your menu is consistent build out a "menu tab;" status updates are great when adding new items to your menu. Photos .. photos .. photos and a few videos too. Encourage your customers to post their photos to your page .. don't forget the tags!

6. Twitter: Talk to your customers .. just don't message out your menu. Make it easy for your customers to find you. Google map link your location. 

 Business on Main/Diva Marketing Food Truck Marketing Contest

Let's have some fun. MSN Business On Main is providing me with $100 to run a monthly contest. Thank you kindly.  Here's the deal. Let's create a list of marketing ideas for food truck owners. The suggestion that Max & I choose will win 100 dollars.  Food Trucks_BOM Ziba  

Rules of The Business on Main/Diva Marketing Food Truck Marketing Contest

1. Post your marketing idea for food trucks on this Diva Marketing post And on this post on Business On Main

2. Identify your post on Business on Main with the words Diva Marketing

3. Winner is at the pleasure of Diva Marketing

4. Contest ends midnight July 31, 2011

5. You must be at least 18 years of age

6. A valid eMail address must be included on the "Post a Comment Section"

That's it .. now it's your turn!

Roxy food truck_james
Update!
Excited to tell you that James DiSabatino, Roxy’s Grilled Food, finalist on the Food Network Foodtruck Race will be our guest judge. Toss a pink boa to Dorothea Bozicolona-Volpe for the intro.

Update! Interview with James DiSabatino and announcement of the contest winner!

Diva Marketing is part of an online influencer network for Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. All opinions are 100% mine.

July Fourth .. Live the Life Of Your Choice

07/04/2011

Cupcakes july 4 2011 As we take a deep breath, blow out the candles and take the last bite of 235th birthday cake of the United States, I hope you are inspired, and at the same time, just a little humbled. 

Note: Lemon blueberry cupcake with lemon sorbet .. so good, if I do say so myself!

Looking back on my day, I had an ah ha moment. New media, old media, offline and online were integrated seamless in creating the tapestry of inspiration for my July 4th, 2011.

My morning began with a tweet from Max Gladwell which presented an unexpected insight about the men who founded America. They were the brave ones who lived the life of their dreams so others could live theirs. Max Gladwell July 4 2011
The Peachtree Road Race is a much loved tradition in my adopted city of Atlanta. This year 60 thousand people ran down Peachtree Street to Piedmont park to show the world, and themselves, that they could. It's an unusual race that combines competition with companionship. 

Peach tree road race t-shirt 2011
My girlfriends proudly modeled their coveted T-shirts at our, most definitely, offline BBQ!  Not only were Paula, Bobbi and Lynn inspirations but our hostess, Hillary was as well. Hillary's love of family and friends showed as she opened her home for our fun celebration.  Hillary Kirstin July 4th 2011


 Hillary and her niece Kirstin

 

 

Checking into Facebook at the end of my day, I was greeted by a status up from Bonnie Simon (bragging rights .. Bonnie is a Gf author on my new community All The Single Girlfriends). 

Bonnie Simon _July 4 2011

I seemed to come full circle from Max's tweet to Bonnie's post. Dreams change .. life throws us curve balls; but the opportunity to travel your own road is yours if you are brave to take the risk.

Then as I was wistfully (how often do you get to use the word wistfully?) watching the (Boston) Pops on the (Charles River) Esplanade, wishing I was back in Boston, Carrie Underwood sang There's A Place For Us . 

 From traditional media (TV) to Shazam (mobile/iPhone app) to online (YouTube) the words from this song were an explanation point! in my Fourth or July travels. 

We can be the kings and queens of anything if we believe.
It’s written in the stars that shine above,
A world where you and I belong, where faith and love will keep us strong,
Exactly who we are is just enough,

 

To paraphrase Bonnie ..  Let's celebrate the opportunity to live the lives of our own choosing .. for me that includes many ways to connect with friends, colleauges and our community. I find it amazing that with a click I can be Skyping with friends in India or tweeting with cousins in Virgina or Facebook-ing with clients across town. (Notice how social media platforms turn into verbs?)

What about you? What inspires you to live the life of your dreams?