Tag Archives: Stillwater

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.

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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! ::

Get the “how” questions out of your way

22 Oct

Sometimes you know what you want and where you want to go, but get hung up trying to understand HOW to get there.

How do you find time to move the strategic ball closer to the goal?

How do you create and maintain a list that is going to work for your direct mail, enews and referrals?

How do you choose certain software over another?

How do you craft a message to resonate best with the decision makers in your audience?

How do you measure, maximize and report the ROI from what you’re doing so far?

How do you justify a change in yellow pages ads and a new SEO campaign?

How do you make room in the budget so your reception area matches your branding better?

How do you retain business you seem to be losing because of the way people are handled on the phone or at first impression?

There are so many “how” questions swimming in your heads, right? It may seem easier to just chip away at the same ol’ daily tasks that may or may not be moving you in the right direction so the list of “how” questions continues to grow but never thoroughly, proactively be addressed.

I will always remember when Jordan stormed back from a meeting with a client who’d made the comment, “Oh I could do this myself if I just had the time.” While on the surface, she knew they meant they could write something up, she also knew at a deeper level that they couldn’t master the messaging like she could. She’d been immersed in their cause for months, interviewing many and researching much. So, this flippant “Oh, I could do this” comment from the client felt like a huge statement of her/Beacon’s lack of value to the project at hand.

Certainly, some people have a greater level of expertise in marketing or strategic communications than others, yet the in-the-trenches, daily task-oriented knowledge is invaluable to the success of programming and communications as well. Thus, a partnership is required to responsibly address the “how” questions.

In the case of this example, it wasn’t long before Jordan’s client not only saw the value of the expertise of a team understanding and pursuing his goals thoroughly, but he developed a mutual flow of information so he could do what he did best, while we answered some of those “how” questions and moved things ahead comfortably. Sometimes the best way to get past the molehill of “how” questions before they become a detrimental , costly mountain,  is to partner together at a deep level so we can help advise you on the very best “HOW” – the strategy to the tactics to get it done.

:: Hope the “how”s aren’t getting in your way today! ::

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.

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

 

ABCs of Marketing – D is for Determination

4 Oct

Are you doing your time or do you really have a fire in your belly to reach a particular goal? Are you determined and on target, based on a meaningful strategy? Or are you just trying to get through your days? Be determined, starting right now. Develop your vision and map out how to get there and then base future decisions on that vision.

Imagine the days of old when enthusiastic sailors and business people embarked on a journey. Whether they were well prepared or not, strong or weak, planned the right route or worked from a bad map – there were many things that could complicate their trip to the desired destination. Being determined in the beginning is one thing. Combating burnout, overcoming objections and staying the course is quite another set of challenges. Staying on target to your end goal and wisely riding the waves of change to where you might even end up somewhere better than you planned – well that’s all about having a strategy that’s true to you.

Imagine the sailor now worn out and exhausted, searching for a way to regroup. Then, there. In the distance. A light. It’s consistent. It’s true. It never waivers. The captain and all on board trust, “I can just keep my eye in that direction, keep my ship pointed that way and I’ll get to a place where I can rest up, think it through, regroup and stay the course.” A beacon. That’s beautiful. Don’t you think? 

Be determined and on track, based on a strategy. Keep your eye on the light and stay the course.

Author Jim Collins uses example after example of how strong leaders carefully plot their course and then, with devotion and determination, they stick to that plan. Stillwater investment and insurance guru Patricia Huffman was recently talking about how so many young families WANT to make a plan and they don’t get around to it until they’ve lost some crucial opportunities. Worse, some people make a plan and then change the course so often that no plan ever reaches as positive a destination as the potential. Many professionals today don’t have to “imagine” the burnout, regret and Monday-morning-dread that consumes us when we’re not taking a proactive position to live with intention and determination! They don’t have to imagine, because they’re living it every day. STOP! No matter what your position or rank, you can set goals and be on mission. Pick yourself up and set out with refreshed hopes and renewed clarity.

Whether you’ve got “I’ll get around to it, but right now I have to…” disease or you have “Well, but what about that new idea” rabbit chasing disease, your marketing success will be weakened. The best marketers work hand-in-hand with operational executives to lead the company and all audiences in the same healthy direction. Audiences will watch you when you know where you’re going. Your sense of purpose gives employees, customers and everyone in between a sense of commitment and clarity, fueling efficient success.

Set out on your journey with your destination in site and a determination to get there! Get help along the way and work as a team to make sure your intentions don’t waver and your efforts aren’t threatened. Reach success one day, one project, one person at a time. ::

ABCs of Marketing – C is for Creative and Comprehensive

27 Sep

No matter how creative your designs are and ingenious your strategies may be, they aren’t going to work unless YOU’RE WORKING THEM! You have to have the entire comprehensive picture coming together for any creativity to really count. So, they (creative & comprehensive) go hand-in-hand.

Getting creative :: Sometimes getting creative means a fresh start, breaking loose, taking the lid off of what IS to think about what COULD BE. Break the status quo. Try something new. Start by reaching out far and wide. Make sure no “norms” are holding the creative spirit back. Then, we challenge you to go back to the basics. Think function and clarity. Creative designs that are cutesy and make the brand’s owner all thrilled because it “looks so snazzy,” can be failures if people can’t see them, remember them and act on them. Get creative, funky and totally jiggy with it. Then jump back into reality and see if your creative solution still works to press ahead. If so, WINNER!

Keeping focused on a comprehensive plan :: An awesome, clear and catchy brand that goes on some business cards – great. If it’s carried out into a look & feel for the online presence and other communications tools – now you’re talking! Creative solutions must be used, pumped out into the world, put into action. Comprehensive operational plans that work cohesively with strategic communications will always be more successful. PR and marketing efforts must intertwine with operational goals and the organization’s current and future direction. Creative deliverables and a series of completed tasks aren’t going to work unless YOU work THEM. “Working” them involves employing an intentional, comprehensive plan of action and tracking your results.  The best “strategic plan” will take you nowhere if it never moves past the binder of wish list documents and into a workable, achievable action plan about which your team is passionate.

Take Creativity and Comprehensive Marketing mentality to an organization-wide discussion. :: Your team’s commitment and your clear leadership will be crucial to the success of a creative, comprehensive, effective, efficient way of marketing. Having an opportunity for creative expression is helpful for every personality style and job description. Accountants and programmers need an opportunity to invest in the creative messaging, so don’t leave everything in the laps of your graphic designers and/or marketing reps. A team approach will not only create greater commitment but offer your normal “creative team” invaluable insights to keep the campaign grounded in the daily operational realities of the organization. Giving your team an opportunity to know where you’re headed with operational  contribute to creative direction will increase effectiveness in an overwhelmingly positive way.

 

 

Meet Beacon Designer Kylie Vincent & hear her take on Beacon’s “C is for Creative and Comprehensive” approach: http://youtu.be/jKM_U5mOTQU