Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Who's Really in Charge Here??



When I say there are levels to this I am not kidding.  It is not enough these days to open up a social media platform and just post to your hearts content.  Today you need and most be more engaging and methodical in how you are going to approach this.  Today’s consumer is ULTRA SAVY!  They are more equipped with knowledge of you before YOU even are aware.   Today the process of the consumer purchasing decisions is more about research and see what others think before I make a purchase.  Sure before a referral here and there but NOW!  Today a consumer can ask the one lonely customer clear across states what his/her experience has been with your product or service.  And we know that carries a ton of weight. Today, one bad experience does have the potential of destroying your business.
So today you have to be in the space. You have to live where your customer lives. You need to breathe them, likes, dislikes, ticks and no ticks (LOL).  What are they talking about and why?  Today as a business owner you are now charged with engaging with what we call INFLUENCERS.  New to the game, not really…just more powerful. 

Today an influencer is a customer that has used your service OR has experienced and observed your service or product in the space of others.  This person is a vocal and present.  They are ready to talk about your business and promote or demote.  They are looking for you to hone in on them as they will certainly hone in on you.

Influencers in the game recognized their power.  They know of the tools they use and the power behind them.  BU that is okay…so long as you are aware too then you can prepare and brace yourself to be there to address, whether negative or positive.
Here are some tips that will help you IDENTIFY as well as ENGAGE the influencers in your space.
Bob Hutchins has an excellent article to gives us VISUAL and DETAIL with regards to where influencers live.  

What forms of social media are the most engaged and what is their basic makeup?  He reminds us that influencers are not typically an influencer by trade, they are day to day people with full time jobs and careers and family. They are basically your customer, whoever they might be!

  • ·         According to Bob Hutchins of  Buzzplant a 12+ year old Internet marketing agency,  influencers spend at least 4 hours a day on social media
  • ·         Instagram is being the largest Social media forum to find and engage the largest majority of influencers
  •  Recognize who the MICRO- influencers are.  As stated influence can be found more with someone you would barely know that has a ton of followers then even some of the biggest celebrities.  Micro-influencer are powerful and should not be underestimated.
  • ·         Engage your influencers by soliciting and creating an environment for them that makes them want to stay with you.  As Jeff Bullas,  Media Marketing Strategist & Speaker,  reminds us too “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”


Another way to remember how to manage your influencers is to ENGAGE!

Empower your influencers
Nurture them and provide them with feedback
Generate content that speaks to them
Allow them to provide feedback
Go the distance for them
Entertain them and be certain to keep relevant conversation

The key is to be present and in the space of your influencers.  What I encourage is that you do not feel intimidated by them, embrace them and make them part your company.  Include them and make them part of your brand.   They will appreciate that you appreciate them and you will then see them committed to being there with you, letting you know honestly where you are succeeding and failing.  They will be your biggest advocate as you recognize the power of what might seem like a small space. 

The one thing brands don’t understand about influencer marketing is how much time it really takes to integrate, promote, photograph and engage your audience organically. Great social takes time." Jeff Bullas
For more information on how you can find out WHO your influencers are, where they live and suggestions on how to engage them, reach out to us; The Business Liaisons, LLC; lcrudup@thebusinessliaisons.com or look for us on Facebook, Linked In and Twitter!  We are out there with you!

The Business Liaisons on FACEBOOK
Check out the two articles for more information as well!!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Where is your Peanut Butter?


I am not going to pretend I made this up. I learned this in marketing.  I learned that you have to identify commonality in your brand while at the same time differentiating yourself.  Yes complex but necessary.  When you think of peanut butter what do people think of next?   Jelly.  Yes, the two go hand in hand. What are some other common pairs that come to mind?   How about ham and cheese, milk and cookies, salt and pepper.  (Yes I usually do associate things with food)๐Ÿ˜‹


However… Think about this in marketing and building your brand.  Marketing uses and abuses what works well…pairings.   We see it and we fall for it all the time.   What common items do we find when mentioned bring to mind the other?    Cigar and brandy. Diamonds and fur. Wine and cheese.  White towels and chocolate truffles....yum!

It is not just about finding your peanut butter it is about knowing the two of you are meant to be and when one person thinks of one they think of the other.  Now of course, not at all easily done however with consistency and brand positioning you can make it happen!   Think about luxury for a moment.  Walk into a high end hotel and you will find the high-end cars, concierge service, limousines, opulence and elegance.  Walk into the gift shop and there you will find the same.  You don’t expect to see custom dollar store jewelry.   You will see diamonds, crystals and high end colognes and clothing.   And then think deeper….what brands are these items? Swarovski, DeBeers, Cartier, Gucci and Rolex.    




These brands did not come in the door and just place themselves on a shelf.  They earned it!  They strategically positioned themselves to be considered a high end luxury item.   They paired themselves with luxury.  They each found their peanut butter – high-end shopping venues and exclusive direct sales.


This year coming 2017 how do you plan to position yourself?  Think about your brand’s product or service.
  • What would you like to be paired with when people think of you?
  • What will they think and see and feel? 


If you don’t know or you are squeamish because you thought of it and don’t like what you see then now is the time to change it!  And you don’t have to be high-end. I am only using that as example.  


Maybe you want to pair yourself with a demographic – young adults entering college, families on a budget, single moms that work late nights, muscle car enthusiasts, health conscious vegans the possibilities are endless.  Maybe you want to pair yourself with a need – nutritional values of better health, financial empowerment, fighting causes such as cancer, diabetes, depression.   Maybe you want to pair yourself with a lifestyle – luxury and high-end, economical and conservative, thrifty and resourceful.   Once you identify your pairing then drill down.  Now you have to ask what products or services are paired with this dynamic and how are they positioning themselves?  What are the common attributes and how can you incorporate them so you too are considered in the pair.  Let’s face it….we want to be in pairing and then we need to differentiate ourselves.   People travel in the same circles and in the same likes. You need to get into that like and then WOW THEM?   Make sense?๐Ÿ˜Š



Listen I will use myself as an example,   I have decided to position myself as a business consultant that specializes in marketing and accountability for midsize ranged start up entrepreneurs.  So naturally I need to know….what are my clients looking for in that regard.  Where do they shop and how do they shop. I need to be in that like. I need to be in that gift shop in that hotel and/or in that magazine found in the hotel suite.  Positioning. I need to know what I need to do to position myself to be considered by that customer, because that is where she lives.
There is so much to brand positioning than meets the eye. Yes just like the Transformers.   You have to study, you have to research. You have to put in the work. You have to earn it.   But get started.  Start asking yourself the questions…..why is PEANUT butter paired with jelly?  How did the two meet and what do you think of when you think of the pairing.   It is a comfort food, a childhood memory?  What is that common like that everyone associates with it?  You need to be in that like. You need to be jelly.  SO when people think of peanut butter, your name comes to mind!!


This quarter is going to be on brand positioning.  As we are doing just that.  We are positioning ourselves for a new year.  We are thinking of what do we want to accomplish and how are we going to outshine what we did in 2016.  

And maybe you have to scratch last year and start over. That is okay too…just think carefully and ask questions!!


Leslie Crudup writes for The Business Liaisons, LLC – Business Consulting

www.thebusinessliaisons.com

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Facing Fear with the All Star Choir!





Have you ever been scared to do something and when someone pushes you in the water you find out it is not so bad?   And you can’t imagine what it was like when you didn’t go for it. When you didn’t take that plunge?  And what about the people that pushed you?   Did they know something you didn’t?   And apparently you went along with it.  I mean you didn’t climb out of the pool and curse them. Did you? (LOL)

I was just thinking myself about how people push me to where I need to be and even when reluctantly I went there, I was not disappointed.  They saw something in me that I didn’t and they push me (literally) through my fear.

Vulnerability….here goes.  When I was in high school I was shy believe it or not. I went to Girls High and this school as well as Central were at the time the two most prominent public schools in Philadelphia.  Everyone wanted to go but you had to take an admission test.  You had to be accepted! I was one of only two girls in my 8th grade class to go to Girls High.   I was terrified… but anyway!  Here is my shorter story…..I loved to sing and so I joined the choir there. I sang whenever I could around the house so why not the choir. I loved Treble Clef and Mr. Murphy. I miss him like I miss my Dad.  He was my hero in music!!!   And he believed in me more than I believed in myself.  I knew that when he pushed me to join this ALL Star Choir.

YIKES – ALL STAR CHOIR?   It sounds so daunting and I was just a sophomore at the time. I was still trying to figure out who I was let alone someone was now considering me a STAR???   You have got to be kidding.  THIS IS A MISTAKE!

The All Star Choir consisted of high school boys and girls in the entire Philadelphia area that were considered the best of the best in singing.   There were boys and girls from varying high schools and they all intimidated me like crazy.  There were kids from Performing Arts!  And to that, there really weren’t that many. I think maybe there were maybe 70 of us in total.  THE PRESSURE!!!!  

I remember vividly just standing around waiting for rehearsal begin when certain vocalists  felt the need to bolt out their favorite radio tunes to show how well they sang.  And they were good!!   I would just sit and listen to them.  The color and tone!! Amazing!!!  So anyways, I figured well I must be here for a reason, my music teacher pushed me to join so I guess I need to give it my all.  I was so shy I tell you but I wanted to showcase too. I mean I had a voice people would say was similar to Stephanie Mills…I said with a question mark?   I guess so because she was the only artist I mimicked in the mirror everyday getting ready for school.   Well no one at the All Star knew it…I was a captive bird. I sat in the corner, watched everyone boast and sing and patiently waited for the real rehearsal to begin…so I could get out of there and back to my mirror!   And then it happened.   There was a song we were learning and the director gave each of us a part of the chorus to sing.  She pointed to me and she said, 

“YOU…sing this (as the piano guy played the notes).”   

I did it.  She made me do it again. And again and again.  I was terrified.  EVERYONE was looking at me and I said...WHY DID SHE CALL ME!  Was I singing it right or wrong?  Did she pick me because I was not singing loud enough?  I couldn’t figure it out.  Well, it didn’t matter because after that….people realized I too could sing.  They looked at me different.  I think she and folks around me were captivated by what came out. I can’t to this day remember the music, I just remember being terrified!    But funny because couldn’t we all sing?  I mean that was why we were there, right?  But they looked at me different and you know what I learned?  I learned that I did have a gift and my choir teacher knew it and that musical director knew it.  I was the one that didn’t.  And from there I went on to singing as my life’s ambition.     TRUE story.  
 
The lesson here is that transitions are necessary and they come when you least expect it and they come from places you might not expect. Someone may see it before you do but that is okay just embrace it.  When an opportunity is in front of you, if you don’t jump in then you will never know that the water isn’t that bad. I use this story to push myself these days.  When I tell myself I can’t do something or think it is impossible I remember…if she didn’t push me where would I be?   But she is not here so I need to push myself.  What’s the worst that could happen??

Transitions are necessary  
Change is necessary
Moving forward is necessary 

We sometimes need help and a little push but that is okay.  The key is to realize the lesson and look back at that push and say…hey that wasn’t so bad.   When I look back on the other side from when I would sing in mirror I realize if my teacher didn’t push me to join and the vocal director didn’t push me to sing…where would I be?  Boy I am thankful for them…and now I am thankful for myself for being able to see the lesson.

Take this and run with it…what is your story and who pushed you?   Find them and thank them while you can!

Leslie Crudup writes for The Business Liaisons, LLC – Business Consulting
www.thebusinessliaisons.com

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Keep Your Head Down and DO THE WORK!


On a side note, when I feel overwhelmed I watch tv…right now I am watching Project Runway, a show for designer hopefuls to have a chance to realize their dreams of becoming the next fashion designer. I love this show, it is inspires me.


Sometimes I get so caught up on checking on social media and what the outside world is doing that I miss time and energy that needs to be devoted to my business. I need to be able to take this scrolling time and focus on The Business Liaisons. 


Scrolling time – time spent looking through social media for insights, updates on things happening in the world, checking in on friends and family, looking for my next client, just scrolling and looking throught  FB, TWITTER, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr…etc.


Do you ever find yourself in that predicament? I mean on one hand you are worried that if you don’t check in then you might miss something vital and then on the other hand you can’t get any real work done because you are so busy trying to “keep in touch”. What if you miss an important event or miss a networking opportunity?  It is insane and that is what is so hard to do. You want to be there to work your business but you want to be relevant, you want to be informed and on top of what is current and happening now. There is such a thing as a balance and it is so hard to know where to draw the line.

FOR ME, I don’t know about you.  I don’t have much time. I have set the bar very high with that I need to do whatever possible and impossible with regards to getting my business out there and generating income. They say businesses fail in the first two years and I can definitely see that as there are so many components to just getting off the ground. Let’s be honest,  there have been many times I have wanted to just chuck it.  But right now I’m too close to getting there that I can’t stop.  And so I will not.  And so neither can you.

So let’s just hanker down and identify what are our strong points and what do we need to do to keep focus and to keep moment, right?  
This last quarter ask yourself what am I doing to go out with a bang? 
THE FINAL QUESTIONS!!!
  • What will put a memorable stamp on your business that will generate that necessary buzz?  Keep thinking outside of the box!  
  • What have you set for the entire year and where are you with that.  Are you on track, off track, how much?  What do you do you need to  push the end. 
  • Is there one project you have been struggling with completing and you realize time is upon you and you need to wrap this up once and for all?   

Four months may be left but that in no way means you are not able to hit those milestones by the end of year. 


I am sitting here watching Project Runway and I am watching these designers push to the end.  They are exhausted and overwhelmed but they are determined.  They are right there.  They are right at the end and now is not the time so turn back.  The FINALE that is what I am watching. I feel like that coming to the end of this year. I feel like I have come SO far but I have so far to go and I just have to push push!!! If you push I will push with you.  We are all in this together. 
PUSH beyond your boundaries and follow your gut.  Sure check in every now and then to see what folks are doing but then keep your head down.  Do the work, FOCUS and ask yourself what can you do to make those beginning year set goals and what you can do to end the year with a bang.

TIPS
  • ·         Hone in on your VISUALS…Where is that vision board…time to stare at it and bring to mind the energy and thoughts that brought you to making it.
  • ·         YOUR MANIFESTO..did you do one this year!  Are you still trying to figure out who you are and your customer…if not then you need to get on that and post IT!  Read my BLOG on Manifestos.
  • ·         FAMILY PHOTOS – Are they your goals and what are your dreams and wishes for them.  Look at them and if you need pics to do so then post them!!
  • ·         Create stair step for your goals.  It is so daunting to multitask but if you draw a set of steps and map out what you need to do next it gives you a sense of accomplishment. 
  • ·         Meditate, pray, workout….do what you need to refresh and get back in the game.

Keep your head down and do the work, this is TIME TO MAKE IT WORK as they say in Project Runway and this is time to show YOU how tenacious you can be.  Set the bar high and reach it!!!





Leslie Crudup writes for The Business Liaisons, LLC – Business Consulting
 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Mani...what? A Manifesto!!!



Oh no, not another term? A manicure...no!  A MANIFESTO?  Okay what is this?

A manifesto for you or your business is NOT anything new.  That I can tell you.  When I heard the term I immediately researched this only to find that manifestos are old hat to thriving businesses and brands. It is a commonly used term actually and it plays a major role in a company or business’s brand.


By definition….a manifesto is a written statement that declares or states a person’s or a business’s core values.  There are personal manifestos and there are those for a business.  For both it relates to that persons’ intentions, opinions and values.  It is a statement or series of statements or images even that define who you or your business is, what you stand for in belief and what your vision is for your business.

So there are vision boards, vision statements, mission statements and a few common avenues by which one is encouraged to clearly develop a goal or mission for yourself, be it personally or for your business.  A manifesto falls in line with this concept with the following exceptions.

A manifesto is BOLD and has energy!  Images of them as seen here carry appeal to the eye.  They evoke emotion and as a business the intention is that it speaks to the customer.
It does not have to be just words but can be images, statements or even video.  Unlike a vision board, it define more of who or what your company is in the present.  It is nice to address what we envision for the future but what are we standing for now…today.

We are in the age of defining ourselves.  We are in and alone as one person are our own brand.   We are now comparing our own personal convictions with how we conduct ourselves personally or business wise.  A manifesto helps us channel this into our business.  After all, we are our brand, right?




Having an attractive brand is important, but even more crucial is putting out a cohesive message. The company manifesto is not new, but it is trendy and serves as almost a new type of mission statement https://contently.com/strategist/2012/08/15/why-your-company-needs-a-manifesto/



So where do you even start with regard to a manifesto?  I suggest you take a piece of paper and start with yourself.  If you are building a business and you are trying to define your brand, what are your core values?  What do you believe in?  What makes your tick?  If you were your own customer, what type of person would you be?  Anything and everything about you that would attract YOU as a customer you need to put down on paper.  And to start I mean everything.  I did!  I put down what I want for my family?  What I struggle with as a parent, a citizen, a business owner...etc.  I wrote out my personal convictions about the state of the world and economics. I just about wrote a diary of my feelings on a number of topics and issues.  I then used this to identify my customer.  I used it to then tailor my business to this person.  This LESLIE that I have put down on paper. 


I will tell you it is not easy and it has taken me time. I am still in the process of completing my manifesto as we speak.

And you should take your time as well.  It is not something completed overnight and after it has completed you will need to revisit it often.


Some very notable companies with manifestos are below…. Check them out and I hope they give you insight as they did me.

Lululemon is a fitness brand specializing in yoga attire and boasts what is perhaps the most recognizable manifesto, printed on red and white bags. “Breathe deeply” is one phrase easily spotted in the design, directly referencing an important facet of yoga.

 “Unity is strength. Knowledge is power. Attitude is everything.”
Livestrong’s manifesto clearly identifies who their brand is talking to and what tone they present to that audience.
There is a ton of information out there however this article is one of particular interest in reading and can also help you with identifying next steps.
17 Inspiring Brand Manifestos.

With that said it is time to get to MANIFESTING YOUR DESTINY!  Enjoy and be empowered!!

Leslie Crudup writes for The Business Liaisons, LLC – Business Consulting


A Mani...what? A Manifesto!!!



Oh no, not another term? A manicure...no!  A MANIFESTO?  Okay what is this?

A manifesto for you or your business is NOT anything new.  That I can tell you.  When I heard the term I immediately researched this only to find that manifestos are old hat to thriving businesses and brands. It is a commonly used term actually and it plays a major role in a company or business’s brand.


By definition….a manifesto is a written statement that declares or states a person’s or a business’s core values.  There are personal manifestos and there are those for a business.  For both it relates to that persons’ intentions, opinions and values.  It is a statement or series of statements or images even that define who you or your business is, what you stand for in belief and what your vision is for your business.

So there are vision boards, vision statements, mission statements and a few common avenues by which one is encouraged to clearly develop a goal or mission for yourself, be it personally or for your business.  A manifesto falls in line with this concept with the following exceptions.

A manifesto is BOLD and has energy!  Images of them as seen here carry appeal to the eye.  They evoke emotion and as a business the intention is that it speaks to the customer.
It does not have to be just words but can be images, statements or even video.  Unlike a vision board, it define more of who or what your company is in the present.  It is nice to address what we envision for the future but what are we standing for now…today.

We are in the age of defining ourselves.  We are in and alone as one person are our own brand.   We are now comparing our own personal convictions with how we conduct ourselves personally or business wise.  A manifesto helps us channel this into our business.  After all, we are our brand, right?




Having an attractive brand is important, but even more crucial is putting out a cohesive message. The company manifesto is not new, but it is trendy and serves as almost a new type of mission statement https://contently.com/strategist/2012/08/15/why-your-company-needs-a-manifesto/



So where do you even start with regard to a manifesto?  I suggest you take a piece of paper and start with yourself.  If you are building a business and you are trying to define your brand, what are your core values?  What do you believe in?  What makes your tick?  If you were your own customer, what type of person would you be?  Anything and everything about you that would attract YOU as a customer you need to put down on paper.  And to start I mean everything.  I did!  I put down what I want for my family?  What I struggle with as a parent, a citizen, a business owner...etc.  I wrote out my personal convictions about the state of the world and economics. I just about wrote a diary of my feelings on a number of topics and issues.  I then used this to identify my customer.  I used it to then tailor my business to this person.  This LESLIE that I have put down on paper. 


I will tell you it is not easy and it has taken me time. I am still in the process of completing my manifesto as we speak.

And you should take your time as well.  It is not something completed overnight and after it has completed you will need to revisit it often.


Some very notable companies with manifestos are below…. Check them out and I hope they give you insight as they did me.

Lululemon is a fitness brand specializing in yoga attire and boasts what is perhaps the most recognizable manifesto, printed on red and white bags. “Breathe deeply” is one phrase easily spotted in the design, directly referencing an important facet of yoga.

 “Unity is strength. Knowledge is power. Attitude is everything.”
Livestrong’s manifesto clearly identifies who their brand is talking to and what tone they present to that audience.
There is a ton of information out there however this article is one of particular interest in reading and can also help you with identifying next steps.
17 Inspiring Brand Manifestos.

With that said it is time to get to MANIFESTING YOUR DESTINY!  Enjoy and be empowered!!

Leslie Crudup writes for The Business Liaisons, LLC – Business Consulting


Monday, May 9, 2016

BORING ALERT!!!!

If you are wondering if you are doing the right thing. Here’s a question….

ARE YOU BORING???

I will tell you what….if you don’t have something interesting to say then who cares?   Time is short and valuable and folks do not have time to waste.  In the fast paced world we live in, you need to be relevant and interesting…or else keep it moving!


Why are people that don’t even follow Beyoncรฉ asking about her?  Why are people so interested in the secret life of Prince?  Why are people asking what is Trump going to say next?

Sure they are celebrities but guess what…. they are not boring!  People want to be entertained and they want to dive into something that is intriguing and inviting.   And so if you are not selling your business as something interesting then why would anyone want to talk to you?  Why would you expect them to be interested in your product or your service?

The key to being successful is being INTERESTING. I do not care what you are selling it has to grab someone’s attention.  I have watched folks with some very interesting ideas and very interesting products but no one knows about them because they are not introducing it as something interesting.
Marketing is REALLY NOT that complicated.  Sure you need to know your analytics in regards to costs and you CERTAINLY need to know your customer, but if you are coming off as something boring….it means nothing….it means no sale.

FOR EXAMPLE...

Maybe your business is to teach spanish to adults.   We can agree this is a business that given today is a sought after service.   So you set up shop and a website and you post your billboard,  " WE TEACH SPANISH HERE".   

Wonderful…but what is so interesting about that?  Here is where you introduce your niche!  Maybe your niche is that you teach Spanish while cooking ethnic dishes!   And so now you are a little interesting, folks like food.  Or maybe your idea is to teach through reading an interesting novel, capturing the interest of reading enthusiasts at the same time.  Here is another thought, you could provide Spanish classes from children, let the children teach the class.   I know some of this sounds crazy but it is interesting and engaging and that is the key to making a sale!!

I know my example is a stretch but can I tell you how many people I run into that have very interesting businesses but no one knows about it because they fail to present it with some pizzazz!  If you provide a service, it is not enough that you have all of the experience in the world in the subject…be interesting! 

The moral is….you can’t just put up a sign and say come and buy.  You have to create an interest. Make it fun. Make it something worth looking into and something relevant that would of course still answers your customers’ needs.

If you have a product. Talk about it!  What makes it better than anything your customer may have ever experienced?  What do YOU like about it?  

I cannot stress how important it is in business to BE INTERESTING… MARKETING is a vehicle and being INTERESTING is the primary goal! 
https://d.adroll.com/cm/index/outhttps://d.adroll.com/cm/n/out
http://d.adroll.com/cm/b/outhttp://d.adroll.com/cm/x/outhttp://d.adroll.com/cm/l/outhttp://d.adroll.com/cm/o/out
  • ·        KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER
  • ·       NICHE or a Trend
  • ·         Watch your competition
  • ·         Be INNOVATIVE
  • ·         Connect with our audience

I talk about CONTENT MARKETING in my 1st webinar and I invite you to join in live or view the podcast.   It focuses on Marketing more so but there are clear examples of how being engaging are key to success.





So go ahead and just brain storm how you want to showcase your business.  Research what others in your same industry are doing. Then ask yourself…what I can do to put the same spin on it but make it exclusively all mine.