My high school basketball coach used to say “You won’t win if you don’t put in the work.” Inspiring words, but hard to appreciate when you’re running suicide sprints and defensive slide drills. He was right, though. Strength and conditioning made us better ball players and definitely helped propel us to the 1992 state quarterfinals. Go Bluejays!
You can choose from a million metaphors, but it all comes back to one truth. No amount of desire will help you achieve your goals if you don’t have a strong foundation to build on.
[Insert brilliant segue…]
The same is, of course, true for your marketing and sales goals. Strength and conditioning = messaging strategy. Without putting in the work to define and strengthen your message, three critical goals will continue to elude your brand.
Stale or off-brand content can do more harm than good
For years, talent and press agents repeated the mantra “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” And for years, that may have been true. It was a kinder, gentler, much less connected time. Today, we’re in the era of Google and interwoven social networks that let us create, share and find content in a flash. And now, a bit of bad publicity or a piece of ancient content can travel farther, live longer and show up years later at the most inopportune time.
Modern content marketing has become both a blessing and a curse. The ability to achieve huge audience reach in (literally) seconds, is a dream. But for organizations undergoing a messaging evolution or a full-blown rebrand, letting outdated or ineffective content abide can sabotage your brand awareness efforts.
Without a clear map, you’re just driving in circles
Vague. Stagnant. Jargony. All-over-the-place. Do any of these words describe your current brand voice?
Many factors can cause a brand to lose the effectiveness of its voice—a recent acquisition, a new product or market focus, a rapidly growing workforce or just the passing of time. When these things happen, it leads to mixed and confusing messages—both inside your company and out in the market—that are inconsistent and uninspiring for customers and employees alike.
Stepping back to re-evaluate and reset your brand voice doesn’t have to be painful. But it’s essential for focusing your marketing and sales efforts and building a clear path for driving long-term business success.
Making the case for an interim Content Marketing Director
Congratulations! You’ve created your kickass product or service, you’ve built a core team of awesome employees and you’ve made that first major sale. The long, grueling walk to establish your brand has become a jog and before you know it, you’re in a full sprint—to deliver on customer demand, grow your team, and hit higher revenue numbers fast.
This key point of transformation and acceleration is where the sidewalk ends and the road begins—particularly with regard to brand awareness and marketing.
This is the point where most companies realize their brand voice has been idling in neutral—or worse yet parked in a forgotten lot! It’s not unusual to fly under the radar as your business takes shape and sales solidify—relegating active marketing to the back seat for fear of talking too much talk before you prove you can walk the walk.
Unfortunately, the trade-off is an underdeveloped or overpacked brand voice and the lack of an effective marketing megaphone. When internal marketing resources are stretched thin, brand strategy seems the first thing to go. “Execute!” That’s the order of the moment. The funny thing is that it’s at this point when the power and consistency of your message matters most … but who has the time to step back and get it right?
It’s a longstanding debate … does brand lead value or does value lead the brand? For many start-ups or new product launches, marketing becomes the first priority of the day. The ol’ “build it and they will come” mindset takes over.
But for many companies, somehow the “it” came to mean a great pitch instead of a great product or service that provides real value to the customer. In today’s “idea explosion” economy, it’s a mad dash to get the big idea to market before someone else steals your thunder.
In building a brand, it’s less about what you do and more about why people should care.
When it comes to crafting our core brand messages—especially if we’re introducing a new product or starting a new business—it’s easy to make it all about us. This tendency is often rooted in doubt or fear. Because even when our new product or service has a boatload of science, market research and years of expertise behind it, we still battle that nagging uncertainty that inevitably causes us to over-explain ourselves.
I’ve always liked the saying “use your words.” We most often use it when speaking to children (or adults) who may be struggling with or avoiding verbalizing what it is they want or need. Because I believe wholeheartedly in the power of words and how we use them, I regularly preach the importance of making every word we say or write count. That includes not just word choices but also the delivery. So for the sake of this post, I’d like to amend use your words to own your words. And here’s why …
The elusive elevator pitch. Everybody wants one; everybody needs one. Or so everyone thinks.
It’s often one of the first things a client asks me about during a brand messaging initiative. And while the premise behind an elevator pitch still has merit, the reality of cornering your sales and marketing prey with one nice and tidy 25-word punch that lands a direct hit every time is well, unrealistic.
How you answer this question can determine the tone, creative execution and success of your marketing efforts, particularly when it comes to social content strategy. Is it more effective to squeeze lemon juice on the wound or paint a reassuring picture of what’s possible?