Tag Archives: beacon public relations

Open the Door

3 Sep

Open the door. Seems easy enough. But, hey, we’ve had many a sales guy tell us there are times when they’d rather just drive on by than stop, open the car door, open a potential customer’s door and present options before calling on a decision to be made. Whether you’re in sales or not, your professional paths are sure to come across some moments when the best thing you do is open that door and make the introduction or present the deal. So, could you agree that sometimes opening the door is the toughest part of making a sale?

Opening the door can also carry significant figurative weight. “God never closes one door without opening another” has been featured on countless trinkets, encouraging people to keep their heads up and press ahead through tough times.

You can imagine the panic of someone locked in or locked out who is demanding “OPEN THE DOOR!” I was recently shut out of my own nine-year-old daughter’s room. I said “open the door” quite clearly and I was not thinking of the phrase’s sales or life perspectives. I had an immediate need to reach her and I was emphatic that the door open right away.

Have you ever had stage fright? The door might be a curtain or it might be just a fear to take that first step and open the door of your public criticism (or praise). Yikes – open the door and step out in front of others. Leadership is tough and performing is tough, but we’re sometimes called to take that step, aren’t we?

Many of us church-raised people have been singing songs about Jesus knocking at the door our entire lives. Yes, he’s knocking and all we have to do is…there it is again…open the door. That signifies an opening of our hearts, minds and will to that of the supreme Savior who can and will transform our lives and who will declare our eternities.

So, those three words “Open the Door” could mean something different to all of us.

When the blog schedule (which I’ve clearly not held to well at all) was first drafted, I was supposed to write a blog for each letter of the alphabet. They’re all marketing-related, tip-oriented topics and so, at the time of that calendar commitment, this blog was intended to motivate you as marketing and sales people – as communicators – to open the door and get the job done. See the task ahead and start taking steps to get there. Work through the tough moments and keep opening doors, cutting red tape, communicating your way through objections and getting closer to the solution and/or goal. I still feel a sincere calling to urge you to be tenacious in the task you have and work diligently toward the end goal. That starts with a goal, with a clear desire to reach the cause. GIVE A CARE. Want it. Get to it. Open that door and make it happen. I am great at this in some aspects of my life (like PR plans for clients) and horrible about this in other aspects of my life (like exercise plans). So, I know it’s tough and I hope this catches you at a time when you can claim a new mantra. Just open the door. One more step. Put yourself in the position to get it done and get it done well. Be there. Open. The. Door.

So, that’s the point I wanted to make and that I’m glad to make on Beacon’s behalf. We have had that conversation with numerous clients who just needed to get the foot out there, put it down in a forward motion and take the next step. We’re glad to come alongside them and help them be more confident and prepared and focused as they do so. If you’ll humor me, though, I’d like to take this topic in a completely new direction that’s a little more about my personal life than my Beacon advice. That ok?

Ok.

Open the door. Sigh. Where do I begin? Years ago Natalie Grant came out with a CD (remember the shiny, flat, round things we used to put in hardware audio devices before we all played music on our handhelds?). Her CD had themes of surrender that struck me in a meaningful way. Coupled with prayer and journaling moments – intimate moments with my amazing friend Jesus (I just can’t make that sound cool to some of you, I know. I’m a dork. Read on.) – I discovered areas of my life that I was refusing to surrender. Over a period of months, I began to sing that CD to the skies all times of the day and at all volumes from silent prayers to tearful cries. I was ready for God to awaken me and use me, no matter what. I was prepared for him to hold me, even if it doesn’t work out like I’d hope. The wreckage that unfolded soon after has been devastating. Everything crumbled slowly and painfully, yet I felt God’s unwavering sustenance and guidance. Years later, it all still hurts but I know I there was a nearly miraculous transformation that freed some souls when I opened the door; when I raised my hands and told God to clean our lives and use us best. I’m still not sure what His purpose was in some of that situations. Both the process and end result have not been beautiful and easy. Yet I trust. I have an open hymnal on my piano turned to “Wherever He Leads, I’ll Go,” and that is just where I camped my heart. I learned that being RIGHT can feel better than being HAPPY in some strange way. Peace and joy would seep out of our lives and our testimonies, even though we were amidst painful situations and being persecuted with lies. I know God’s growing me and my girls, and even some friendships through this but shew – it bites.

Another chapter of that strange whirlwind-like experience has come more recently as I became convicted about some other issues, like financial responsibility. I felt I needed to rediscover some better ways of managing our budget. More pressing, I was coping with constant reminders that my kids were in chaotic, stressful situations. While I had believed, for several years, that we would always be in that yucky circumstance and we must just endure, it’s clear to me now that He orchestrated a variety of conversations and situations together for my clarity. Could He care so much for little ol’ me; for just our little bunch? It’s overwhelming! It creates a sense of awe and fear at the same time. I again (but still reluctantly) began to OPEN THE DOORs of my life; doors I didn’t realize I had closed. I addressed responsibilities I had already given over to the providence of God, yet somehow taken back over into my corners of worry and fruitless work. I opened the door and surrendered all the way again. That led me to make a decision with full confidence and zero doubt. We moved a few states away. Quickly. Nuts? Maybe a little. Right? Absolutely. Stressed? Umm, yes! At peace? In all the ways that count, yep! So, here we are.

My prayer is that I never get stuck in the daily grind again in such a way that the doors close. I think any fruit my life did bear quickly rotted by the rest of my stinky attitude and ignorance. I was definitely cramping things and flailing around frustrated. So, my goal is to stop that and open the door to new. I pray we stay focused on Him on a daily – no momentary – basis so that a surrender to Him isn’t such a life-shaking event, but rather a lifestyle. It is through Him and only through Him that we’ll be ok. Right? I mean we can’t try any harder, do any better, endure any longer, cope any stronger. It’s not even about us and our state of comfort. That’s the entirely wrong gauge on the entirely wrong instrument for getting through life. Reminds me of Ephesians, among other books. Chapter 2 verses 9 & 10 NLT say “Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Love that! It’s about his plan – not us at all. So read the whole thing…it’s all so good. I love when you work on into Ephesians 3:16-19, again NLT, where it says “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Let’s all pray that together and be made complete for his purpose. Let’s open our doors and refocus our lives on what really matters because, whether you’re an Oklahoman or a Kentuckian, you know the point here is that it ain’t about us! Only he can make the way.

Ok, enough personal gushing.

::Open the door! Love ya’ll!::

Never Say Never?

9 Jul

Never say never. Well, sometimes say never. Strong COEs make decisions. They don’t get stuck in an almost decision or suffer from that ongoing task force to address every possible issue pertaining to the decision that should’ve already been made. Sometimes you have to make a firm decision. Draw a line in the sand. Sometimes you have to forget the popular choice, do what’s right and press ahead with clear focus. As a strong communicator, you must listen carefully to make educated decisions and then – scary as it may be – you must make that decision and stick with it. Do what’s ultimately good for the end goal. Making the decision is only part of the success story. Communication (both listening and presenting) will get the ball the rest of the way to the goal. You’ll be a better decision maker when you’re listening well and you’ll be a better communicator when you are passionate about the decision and resulting outcomes. Be confident in your daily marketing and overall operations decisions – even the far-reaching, occasional claims for “never” and “always”. Knowing when to say never is a skill, so study other decision makers, leaders and wildly successful individuals, teams and organizations. Learn from others’ strengths and mistakes. Let that inspiration feed you as you snowball it all up – your own powerful instincts, the leading of your creator, all the input you can gather about the decision before you and the provided circumstances – snowball it all up into one big, giant, good mix of nevers, sometimeses, maybes and alwayses you believe in and communicate well. People will join you.

Master, Pro, Guru, Expert, Opinion Leader…

7 Jul

“Strive for mastery, big or small. Your audience will be impressed.” That’s the closing line of this quick video, narrated by Beacon PR’s strategist Rebecca Henley (and we think she says niche funny. Don’t you? Ha!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3XmzpBRNbg Well, what do you think about that statement and the idea that being THE pro will matter to your target audience?

Example one for your consideration: Do you think most preachers know Dr. Moeller’s general position on hot topics today? Just take a preview of the topics highlighted on the left pane of his blog http://www.albertmohler.com/. He’s taking a stance and staying in the content marketing arena regularly. If you’re a prospective seminary student or a pastor looking for the next book to read, do you see how it’s easy to respect Dr. Moeller’s level of notoriety and industry-recognized expertise? Do you think professors and other leaders are eager to be part of his administration at Southern Seminary?

Example two: When a colleague expressed interest in adding another monitor to our office for presentations, why do you think I was so quick to mention a client who can advise us from concept to installation? Aspen Custom Electronics knows the latest in digital signage, beyond just a conference room style TV set up. They’ll mount it and I can stay focused on doing what I do – not putting screws in the wrong place or investing in last year’s technology instead of the modern versions. I trust them with that decision and want to rely on their expertise.

I could go on! Look to the global marketing for your industry, the regional habits of your subject area and your local perspectives. Do you see gurus? The go-to person?

While every campaign Beacon touches is completely customized and no one size fits all, my bet is that your audience will care about your level of expertise, at least to some degree.

Strive for mastery, big or small. Your audience will be impressed. In today’s information age, content is king. Your ability to create meaningful material for the web-scouring potential customers out there will be crucial to your success. Harvesting success stories from existing customers and turning them into branding ambassadors and/or additional content creators will be another key aspect of your marketing programming. Gone are the days when marketing plans consist of direct mail, enews, media hits, signage, ads and a few special events. Regular content blitzing into every channel viewers may be peeking is the name of the game. Content marketing is the game changer and your marketing budgets and plans need to be keeping up. Your website is the hub, so ensure that it’s built on the best platform with the greatest security for the future – all centered around a content manager that empowers dynamic updates and customization. Gone are the days when “experts” had to have PhDs and spent each waking moment in research and teaching. Some still do, but you can add a megaphone to your brand through positioning yourself or others on your team as the guru, expert and go-to pro. Find your niche (neesh, as Rebecca would say 🙂 ) and build your level of expertise to such a fluent level, you have information and content pouring – oozing – out of you with confidence and clarity. Package that in a meaningful, relevant, powerful, professional yet real and fast manner. Your audience will stand up and take notice while competitors look on and wonder how you’re churning it out. Building momentum from the expertise you can portray through effective marketing systems will help add fuel to the fire when editors take notice, stories are placed, and visitors pour in. Be THAT GUY. Be the guru. Make it happen. LOVE IT every step of the way!

:: Need help? Beacon can explain content marketing more and help you find your voice and prioritize the right channels. Here’s to your mastery! ::

GOOD thinking

16 Oct

Do you apathetically sell widgets? Or is your company really contributing something good?

When I asked the question, “What are you doing?” of my oldest daughter who was then a toddler, she used to crack me up by responding “good.” I think she had “good” hard wired into her social graces catalog of responses since adults often ask “How are you doing” and reply “Good” to each other. But her spin on the “What are you doing” question had me thinking…what if we all could honestly say we are DOING GOOD? Would we not be more committed to our days’ agendas and committed tasks?

Are you doing good? Are you excited about your work? Are you thinking it through with a balance of practicality and creative flair? It is our hope that you are loving what you do and that you are doing something you consider to be good; to be worthwhile.

At Beacon PR, we consider our work to be our ministry. If you’re doing something good, you’ve tapped right into the heart and passion of the Beacon PR team. You’re going to be passionate about what you do and about doing it well. One common theme of all Beacon clients is this – they are good people doing good things. Good thinking breeds passion for excellence and a continued striving for the next level. We love to see a client or potential client who’s on the “good thinking” pathway because we know that will inspire our creative experts and business savvy to round out the picture with every little detail and to fully develop those creative power-punches.

:: Good People. Good Deeds. Good Thinking. Beacon PR & you. Now that’s G! Chuckle… ::

For a quick tour of the ABCs of Marketing – including “G is for Good Thinking” with the Stillwater Mediauras app, visit www.DefineYourAura.com to print a flyer of root images and scan away for interactive videos.

How would you grade your facilities?

11 Oct

Ok, so your website is rich with class and easy to navigate. Your team is handling callers well on the phone. Referrals are strong and you’re on a roll. Yet the first time a client, customer, patient, key vendors or crucial lead steps into your place of business, they’re greeted with cigarette butts, wilted plants, discarded candy wrappers, dead crickets or dirty windows. Paint colors aren’t at all like the rest of the online branding or printed materials that brought them to you and the chairs are dingy and worn. Your facility is, in essence, another medium in your branding package! Is it earning an A grade? Your signage and interior design are marketing. So, make them count.

“Wow, a PR firm with an opinion about my lobby colors?” If that’s what you’re thinking, join the crowd and welcome to the first step in understanding what’s different about the Beacon Public Relations team. We care about a great result for you. We can’t sleep at night when you invest in a beautiful website branded with, say, blue, green and black…and then never update your burgundy & beige lobby or create a system for keeping things clean. Even the best online presence we can create for you and the most perfectly placed ads we can design, record & place for you, are all wasted if they set an expectation your facility can’t uphold.

“Oh gosh, this is gross. Am I in the right place? I thought they were high tech and state-of-the-art, but this looks like state-of-the-70s, complete with cranky receptionist,” is the last transitionary thought we want crossing the minds of the leads we helped bring your way. The facility, the verbal skills and the overall operations of your organization are ALL going to play a role in the success of your marketing. So, it matters to us. Make sure and get a Beacon A (top grade) on your Beacon F (facilities). 😉

Hey, this is a tough one and we get that. We’re renting a space downtown and have invested obscene amounts (in my opinion, noting I’m crazy frugal) on signage, blinds and paint yet we still need carpet, a wall portfolio and much more. Now the window is broken and the landlord refuses to fix it now. The conference space has peach paint, water spots on the ceiling and aged matting on what could be really neat art. It’s tough to run a business and keep up with all of these details and we’re being challenged on this first hand more than ever before. We simply challenge you, like us, to be on a journey to improvement and acknowledge that our facilities and physical spaces are indeed a reflection of our level to quality and responsibility. Not only is important to be clean, but overly elaborate spaces can also send a message that could be detrimental to public opinion. I was in a new bank building today with a giant raised roof serving no purpose at all and more empty offices than occupied offices. Does that leave customers wondering how a bank can afford such obvious overspending? Does it make customers wonder why the bank isn’t doing well enough to fully staff their offices & fill their spaces? It most certainly crossed my mind. The point, again, is that your space planning matters. Clean, appropriate and on track with your overall messaging – that’s the key. Fancy? Not necessarily. Ornate? Not for everyone. Consider your audience, your industry and the factors unique to your situation and don’t cut corners. 

 

Thoughts? What facilities gross you out or impress you?

 

::

If you’re following the Beacon Mediauras & the Marketing Alphabet, you’ve seen that A is for your aura or brand, B is for finding the beacon or beacons that work to light your way. C is for the all-important link between creativity and a comprehensive strategy. D is for staying determined and on task. E is for the efficiency to effectiveness ratio. Now you know F is for facilities & how your literal image does in fact matter to your branding image. Visit www.DefineYourAura.com for more on Mediauras and an image linking to quickie, interactive videos on the entire Marketing Alphabet.

The E to E Ratio

6 Oct

The client just unloaded this giant dream and the excitement in the room is at peak. As experienced business developers and marketing strategists on our team begin asking a few questions, the body language among our team shifts. They’re getting a comfy seat for one of the soapboxes they love and hate. The “What’s the E to E on that?” conversation is about to begin.

Really, it is a good question. A great question! What is the efficiency to effectiveness ratio on that idea or dream? How efficient are we being for the effectiveness that will result? Are we spinning our wheels like crazy and only moving an inch, or are we really gaining some traction and getting closer to our goal? Everyone’s ready to put out a little more effort if it’s going to get you that much closer to the goal.

New ideas :: If you’re exploring something new, determine direct costs and try to forecast indirect costs. Then determine if that investment is worth the potential positive result. Again, consider not only bottom line benefits, but indirect positives.

Frustrating plateau :: If you’re just “stuck,” and can’t seem to find a new way to widen that gap between risk and benefit or between cost and profit, the Beacon PR E to E question will shed new light on potential adjustments. Think through your business protocols and rate how efficient they are and also how effective they are or have been. Sometimes it’s hard for you to see the facts when you’re in the daily grind, so we have exercises like time logs that can reveal sometimes shocking truths. Making adjustments to refining that ratio will add to all kinds of positive things! Less turnover because your team is seeing reward. More profit because your investments are paying off. It’s common sense mentality, but make sure to keep that E to E in check! Get from start to goal in the best way possible – here’s a spoof video to make you smile as you think through this again and pass it along. http://youtu.be/PDusfU57EYg 

And if you ever need a reminder – just shout. Have a great weekend! ::

 

P.S. Have you played with your Stillwater Mediauras app yet? www.DefineYourAura.com