Thursday, November 13, 2008

Accidental Branding

I attended the Hampton Roads American Marketing Association luncheon today to hear David Vinjamuri, the author of Accidental Branding: How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Brands. The program didn't disappoint.

Accidental Branding tells the personal stories of eight entrepreneurs who built some of the biggest and best-known consumer brands in the world. While the book and presentation are focused on products the lessons are equally valuable to professional services marketing.

Here are the six lessons of accidental brands:

1. Do sweat the small stuff. Pay attention to execution.

2. Pick a fight. Define what you are against. Then, people will know what you stand for. Who do you disagree with? Otherwise, you're doing the same as everyone else.

3. Be your own customer.

4. Be unnaturally persistent.

5. Build a myth. Tell your story so it explains the value of your brand. Make other people want to tell it for you.

6. Be faithful. Remember the customers who helped you grow. Get customers to be recommenders.

Click here to purchase Accidental Branding.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How to Motivate and Influence Others

I was pleased to be a panelist for this AAM Seasoned Marketers (those with 10+ years accounting marketing experience) Call yesterday along with two esteemed colleagues, Sally Glick, CMO, Sobel & Company and Tracy Crevar Warren, The Crevar Group. The call was moderated by Jill Lock, Director of Marketing, Isdaner & Company, LLC.

Here are a few points of discussion along with bonus information that wasn't included due to time running out.
  • The top characteristics for great marketing leaders to be able to motivate others, most are themes included in Marketer of the Year applications: confidant, able to get things done, a "go to" person, energetic, passionate, able to quantify results, emulates firm leaders, and able to empower others.

  • The difference between being perceived as a cheerleader vs. an inspirational leader: Find out how you are currently perceived. Ask colleagues, both internally and externally, for unbiased, helpful feedback. Conduct a personal SWOT analysis. What are you skills? What are you known for? Create your personal brand. When was the last time you learned something new? Is your network continuing to grow? Are you considered a mentor/coach or the party planner? Use all this information to walk the walk. This includes leading by example, the way you dress, your work ethic, what you read, community involvement, bringing new ideas to the table and linking these ideas to firm strategy, undestanding the accounting profession and how your firm makes money. These steps will enable you to position yourself not only as enthusiastic but a smart, focused businessperson.

  • How to motivate young professionals to start marketing: Sponsor Young Rainmaker Roundtables, Emerging Leaders Councils, or other forums to exchange ideas and experience. Also, utilize senior partners to break down generational gaps by sharing their experience in marketing and sales. Find out what motivates them.

  • How to motivate senior professionals to take on more marketing responsibilty: Do they have clear expectations for marketing activities. Are these expectations included in their performance evaluations. Link their enhanced activities to the growth of the firm and how firm growth will enable them to achieve their personal goals. Also, link their activities to the firm's vision. Be sure to utilize their unique skills.

  • How to influence partners and gain buy-in when presenting new marketing strategies: Determine your objective, know your audience, try out your strategies in advance, and identify key steps in presenting a solution.

  • How to deal with senior leaders who are negative and vocal about marketing: Uncover the reasons behind the negativity. Often, it's fear. Build a strong one-on-one relationship; be genuine and gain their support. Educate them about the goals of the marketing program and what it means for them. Tell him, "I want to help your team be successful. I need you to be a part of the solution." Be professional - don't whine about the person to everyone else.

  • Celebrating successes: UHY Town Hall Meetings, Our Winning Culture Awards; Cowan, Gunteski & Co., Brandies Awards; Stone Rudolph & Henry, Cream of the Crop Award.

  • BONUS INFORMATION! Books that we recommend on motivating others: The Psychology of Achievement, Brian Tracy; The Fred Factor, Mark Sanborn; The Brand You 50, Tom Peters; Encouraging the Heart, James Kouzes and Barry Posner; The Art of Possibility, Rosamund Stone and Ben Zander.

What I've learned so far is that learning is continuous. Learn something new today. Your curiosity will motivate and influence others.