Branding. You’re either one of the few businesses doing it right, or you revere it as some mythical marketing tactic that you’ve never quite been able to master. If you fall into the latter category, it’s time to stop procrastinating and hop on the branding bandwagon. The fact of the matter is, products and services have lifecycles, but brands have staying power.
Multiple studies have shown that brand recognition is a common denominator in consumers buying decisions, especially when it’s a product or service they’re unfamiliar with. Couple that with the fact that many modern businesses don’t have brick and mortar locations, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 50% to 90% of a company’s value is now attributed to non-tangible assets and you have a very strong case for building brand awareness. In case you’re still not convinced, here are four more ways branding impacts your bottom line.
1. BRANDING IMPACTS YOUR ABILITY TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN TOP-TIER EMPLOYEES AND TALENT.
It’s no secret that top talent can help cultivate growth in your business. Attracting the right team can mean the difference between complete success and utter failure.
Today’s employees have more knowledge, information, and power at their fingertips than ever before. With so many options, it’s important that your brand is able to cut through the noise and catch the attention of top tier talent before someone else does. Company culture has become a buzzword for a reason. Employees aren’t just looking for a paycheck anymore; employees want to work for brands that share similar values and visions.
An example of branding gone completely right in attracting world class talent is Google. Who hasn’t heard about how awesome Google is to work for? Google knows who their target audience is, is clear about what they stand for, and they’re big on company culture. At the end of the day, that means Google ends up with top tier employees and interns, a very low employee turnover rate, and an extremely high-profit margin. Win, win, win.
2. BRANDING INCREASES CUSTOMER LOYALTY.
Attracting new customers and clients by implementing solid branding guidelines is important. But equally as important, if not more important, is retaining existing customers who are loyal to your company. In fact, 70% of companies’ state that it’s cheaper to retain an existing customer than attract a new one.
Branding done right not only helps you keep customers, but also turn customers into loyal, raving fans. The fact of the matter is, your existing customers can be your biggest untapped asset when it comes to increasing sales, and also reaching potential new customers. So, it stands to reason that you need to stay at the forefront of their minds to reap the benefits. Seth Godin’s book,‘Tribes’ does a fantastic deep dive into how your personal brand helps you assemble your tribe.
3. BRANDING LEADS TO DECREASED PRICE SENSITIVITY.
Research shows that consumers are willing to pay more for nationally recognized brands. Despite having similar products and services to competitors offering a discount, a surprising number of consumers are willing to pay a premium for credible, recognizable brands.
Take the Apple/iPhone/iEverything phenomenon, for example. Consumers who nickel and dime every day of their lives will gladly wait in line AND pay a premium every time a new iPhone hits the market. It’s not because there aren’t similar products available at a cheaper price. Some of them may even be of an equal (or better) quality, but thanks to Apple’s phenomenal job in the branding department, their target market is no longer sensitive to price.
4. THE RIGHT BRANDING STRATEGY LEADS TO AN INCREASED MARKET SHARE.
If you’re one of the lucky businesses that are first to get your brand solidified in your customer’s minds, then you have a distinct advantage over your competition. Being at the forefront of brand recognition in your market increases the barrier to entry for competitors who come after you.
The good news is that even if you’re not first in your industry or niche, you can still capture an increased market share by focusing on branding. You’ll have to be more aggressive in your approach, but you can become a brand that your target market takes into consideration if you focus on brand recognition and help them remember your name.
BOTTOM LINE: BRANDING = INCREASED VISIBILITY AND PROFITS
To state the obvious, you can’t build brand awareness without first creating a branding strategy that reflects your company values, missions, and vision. In order to create the brand recognition and credibility you need to improve your bottom line, you must first identify your target market and expose them to your company via multiple channels.
Evaluating the messages your logo, website, and branding guidelines send to your target audience is a good place to start. Once you’ve got those nailed down, it’s time to pinpoint the best channels for getting your brand in front of your target market. The good news is, with the accessibility provided by an always-on internet, it’s easier than ever to figure out where your target audience hangs out and how to get in front of them.
Blair NicoleBlair Nicole is the CEO & Founder of Media Moguls PR, host of the #KickassPR podcast, and Columnist at several well-known business outlets. Marketing and traveling are her passions, and she travels around the world full time with her 4-year-old son, working remotely, and speaking to business audiences of all shapes and sizes. Blair’s motto is “Kick ass, don’t kiss it!”
written by read more at
So, how does a uniform call to action help you and your brand? You might be surprised to realize the continuity in your content can help to punch up certain phrases in searches faster and more effectively than you realize.
As you work to build up keyword phrases to be found online for your titles, your products and your brand, many people forget to put the attention to detail in the call to action or signature of their online content. In keeping the call to action streaming across your content and different media formats, you can see great boosts with no cost to your wallet.
How does a uniform call to action help you? First start with continuity!
With audios, videos, and blogs, while consistent content is key, the uniformity of the call to action and/or signature has the ability to help get your message, your brand and many of your primary keyword phrases branded and optimized that much more.
Sign off with a clear message containing what you are about, where they can find you or your product and a few phrases about what you do.
How does a uniform call to action help you? This is how it helped me
With this call to action, with elements sometimes added and with links subtracted occasionally… but still keeping the core content allows for no cost and high results for the primary keyword phrase “Business Advisor, Speaker & Author.”
Every blog, every video, and every audio either has this as the signature as well as added to the call to actions for my podcast or other associated brands, I still tie in the primary keyword phrase and its sentence into those signatures.
The example of my signature and call to action can be found in the image here or at the bottom of the article.
As you search in Google, Yahoo or Bing with the phrase “Business Advisor, Speaker and Author”, the results point high with the regular searches, the video searches, and the image searches.
This is a key reason why that uniform signature and more so a core signature sentence with a primary keyword phrase you want to capture over and over is sustained across all media.
And even as your blogs, audios and videos will have or should have a primary keyword phrase for that specific piece of content and make sure that phrase is used with best SEO practices, the compounding of that call to action phrase helps with SEO at the same time.
How does a uniform call to action help you? Continued filling in of the blanks especially on Videos and Audios.
While we often just post a video or audio and leave the call to actions and signatures for only the blogs; videos, especially on YouTube can optimize written content a great deal faster. By taking the time to add in those signatures and fill in the blank, you allow for more content to optimize and compound for your brand and for SEO.
There is room in the description of your videos and room in audio descriptions. Take the time to fill in and fill up the blank space that can work for you.
Another example on YouTube…
organizes, optimizes and implements
and even just
speaker and author
and you will find the results point to me.
It is not magic, it’s not, it’s the continuity and filling in the blanks.
How does a uniform call to action help you? Extra Credit.
Make certain keyword phrases in your call to action, primary keyword phrases for your content to push up those results for you even more without spending a penny.
To reinforce the phrase “Speaker and Author”, I created a YouTube video that used “Speaker and Author” as the primary phrase which helped in regular Google searches as well as YouTube searches. When you take apart your primary keyword phrase of your call to action as well as the others and spread them into content over time, you will own your phrase online.
My business card tagline is that main signature and call to action phrase” Business Advisor, Speaker and Author” Whether it’s the full phrase that hits the highest or pieces of the phrase that still hit on the first page, just a little lower, this is a free optimization at its best.
How does a uniform call to action help you? Well, it’s a great thing when the title you have is searched on and results in you!
So in closing… The uniformity of your signature and your call to action can compound with each blog, video, and audio you post. That consistency will not only help in your actual name or brand name but a well-branded call to action and signature that covers what you do will have elements that will be captured and optimized for free.
With that same signature and call to action added to your website, your social media pages and anywhere else, as a whole it lifts your branding exponentially and showcases a professionalism, consistency, and uniformity that many don’t have these days.
Stand out by stepping up with the uniformity of your signature and call to action on every page, every site and every signature.
Business Advisor, Speaker & Author Loren Weisman organizes, optimizes and implements individualized branding, marketing and content plans for start up and established businesses as well as individual clients and entrepreneurs. Loren is the host of iHeartRadio’s “Wait What Really OK” as well as a managing partner and co-founder of Leveraging Smart Inc.
For more on Loren’s consulting, books, coaching, assisting, advising & speaking options as well as where to listen to the podcast, visit:
How does a uniform call to action help you? From Loren Weisman
Cinderella’s story is unquestionably one of the most popular fairy-tales of all times. Both the old and the young are enchanted by the kindness and purity of Cinderella, and by the magic that transforms her into a real Princess.
Although this fairy-tale teaches us invaluable lessons on human kindness, it can also be interpreted as one which praises victimhood and creates false image on how positive changes happen in our life.
Symbolism of Cinderella characters from the perspective of accomplishing one’s dreams in life
Cinderella embodies. The Prince symbolizes the dream that the individual has. Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters represent every obstacle that is on an individual’s way to his/her dream. Among such obstacles are challenges, difficulties, fear of failure, fear of what others will think of us, lack of self-belief and lack of self-confidence.
As Cinderella is oppressed by her stepmother and stepsisters, the same way individuals are often chained down by such obstacles in life and silently obey them.
But wait… isn’t it Cinderella who is the true owner of the house, which her stepmother took total control of? Yes, she is! Yet she willingly accepted her role as a servant. Similarly each human being is the master of his or her own life. However, like Cinderella, many people victimize themselves and let obstacles or tough times take away their inner power.
But you would argue, “It is not Cinderella’s fault, it is because of the circumstances that she is in”. Let me explain. Cinderella, as any other human being, is nothing more but the result of all her decisions and subsequent actions. I agree that there are many things in life which we do not have any choice over, such as which family we are born in, what socio-economic environment we are raised in, what education we get. Of course, all this influences the way one is shaped as an individual.
But there is a time in life, my dear friend, when you are no more a 2-year old baby, who needs care, who is just learning to communicate its thoughts and who hardly knows anything about the world.
There comes a time that you are already a mature human being, who is capable of making conscious decisions and acting on them. You are the one to decide who you make friends with, what you spend your precious time on. you are the one to decide whether you are a victim or the leader of your life.
“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” – Anatole France
You and only you are responsible for your life
? Most people are just too much afraid of this word. Why? Because it means that you must learn to become accountable for each and every action of yours to no one else but yourself. This means that you have no right to blame anything or anyone in your life. Scary, isn’t it?
Coming back to Cinderella, my humble opinion is that it is not the stepmother or her daughters who are to blame for Cinderella’s situation, but it is Cinderella who was responsible for it (see I am not using the word to blame). Similarly in life, no matter what happened in the past, who caused you pain, no matter how many challenges and obstacles you have in your life at the moment, there is only one person responsible for the person you are now, and it is YOU!
You may also say, “But Cinderella had a hope for a better future. She was dreaming about her Prince.” Yes, she was dreaming but nothing more. This is the case with 95% of the world population, who have dreams about their future and again nothing more.
And here the story calls upon Fairy Godmother, who transforms Cinderella into a Princess with her magic stick. In my perspective, Fairy Godmother embodies the positive change in one’s life, which brings individual’s dreams into reality.
The myth about overnight success
To me, this is the most heart-touching moment in the whole story. It just makes you believe in magic! Yet it also makes us believe in one of the greatest myths of all times, meaning that “Great accomplishments happen overnight”. They do not. Period.
Since childhood people are sold into the idea that if you are one of those lucky ones, then one day by some miracle your dreams will come true.
Just to make clear, I am a big fan of miracles, many have happened in my life. But I also know well enough the backstage story of what it takes to see and experience these miracles. I recall well enough that miracles started happening in my life following my decision to become my own Fairy Godmother.
Well, back then I did not have a magic stick, but I had a passion for my dreams and I had faith in my heart. Those miracles did not happen in an instant, unlike Cinderella’s who was transformed in a few seconds.. Ahead are even bigger dreams and even more miracles to experience.”It takes time to be who you really want to be. It doesn’t happen overnight.” – Chanel Inman
Look, even if Fairy Godmother came to me one night and gave me a chance to make all my dreams come true by some miracle, I would thank her wholeheartedly, but would prefer to realize my dreams myself. Sounds crazy, right? I know it does!
But to me nothing compares to the joy I feel when I have just accomplished something significant in my life due to my own efforts, not just by mere luck. I look back on my journey and I feel so proud of myself for overcoming all those challenges and difficulties on my way, for failing and learning from pain and bunch of mistakes I made, for growing even stronger and more mature, and becoming the human being I am today.
With all my love and respect, I dare you become your own Fairy Godmother and seein your life.
What miracles have happened in your life lately? Leave your thoughts below!
When you’re a team leader, it’s not always easy to get your team motivated. Contrary to popular belief, startup employees can get tired and burned out. After all, it’s not always easy to work in a fast-paced environment. While workaholics may love more work, don’t expect to motivate burned out workers with more work.
When you can sense your team is burned out, how do you create a fun and collaborative environment? How do you create a positive work culture? How do you get people to love their 40-hour job?
Here are four ways successful startups motivate their employees:
1. Team Bonding Sessions
Just imagine if your team doesn’t know each other. Some members might keep their ideas to themselves. Or worse, they might negatively interpret feedback and criticism from other members. As a team leader, your goal is to create an environment where every member can effectively communicate their ideas and suggestions. A good way to do that is to create avenues where your team members can get to know each other.
When it comes to being a part of a great team, Dropbox employees are definitely living the life. Employees don’t just enjoy meals, video games and gaming tournaments, they also have Whiskey Fridays! In short, employees don’t just play for free, they also drink for free. With tons of opportunities for team bonding, it’s no wonder that Dropbox is
Of course, your startup can’t always afford to have team bonding sessions. However, the point is that you should set aside time for your team to play and have fun.
“In union there is strength.” – Aesop
2. Pitch and Demo Sessions
It’s great when startups give their employees the freedom to . After all, there’s a huge difference between assigning tasks and actually doing them. Sometimes your employees have ideas that could make their tasks easier. Other times, they are frustrated and lazy because they’re tired of the authoritative work culture. However, you can easily solve these issues and learn their ideas with a fun and competitive pitch + demo event.
CB Insights, a New York startup that’s famous for their tech market intelligence platform, makes use of pitch + demo events to increase their team’s motivation and involvement. Participants are divided into teams and given three days off to think about their pitch and to recruit professionals for their suggested executions.
What’s even more amazing is that each team is composed of individuals from different departments. Not only does it force employees to consider how their ideas will play out in different departments, but it also makes them feel that their ideas matter.
3. Responsibility and Freedom
What makes companies a total turn-off, is the traditional hierarchy and strict rules that plague an employee’s’ daily life. Sometimes workers have to focus more on impressing their boss than doing their job. In a startup, it’s completely different. The focus is building the product and making an impact. Your team can expect to learn something new every week. There’s also lesser hierarchy, so pitches have a better chance of becoming reality. And there’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing your team’s ideas turn into action.
and impact, SpaceX definitely tops the list. Employees work for more than 80 hours a week. It’s not surprising given that they have to accomplish a long list since they’re building rockets that can be launched into space. However, despite the hectic culture, employees are motivated to keep going. After all, nothing can beat the company’s mission of transporting the human civilization to Mars.
Don’t worry if your startup’s mission is not as unconventional. Just focus on giving your employees different tasks or asking them the tasks that they would like to do. For instance, your marketer is pitching a video idea that he believes would be a hit. If you approve of the pitch, then be sure to give him the creative freedom to finish the task.
“The more responsibility the Scoutmaster gives his patrol leaders, the more they will respond.” – Robert Baden Powell
4. Rewards and Recognition
It’s true that recognition After all, positive feedback can go a long way. Just imagine if you worked for 24 hours on your design pitch, but in the end you don’t feel like you got the praise that you deserve. Just to clarify. Praise is not about inflating your team member’s ego, but recognizing good work once you see it. Simple statements like “Good work!” and “Great Pitch!” backed up by a good evaluation and suggestions shows that you appreciate your team’s work and you respect their ideas.
In Uber, a rewards system is one of the ways they boost employee morale. The ride-share app gives a $1000 American Express gift card and public recognition to drivers who have the highest rating or number of trips. With a rewards system like that, the best drivers can definitely feel that their hard work is appreciated.
The startup life is pretty hectic. There’s a lot of events and tasks that could happen in a span of a week. Are your employees motivated? Or are they burned out? Hopefully, these tips can help you motivate your team.
What are some tips you’ve used to motivate your employees? Leave your comments below!
Distractions are everywhere. You don’t have to go far to find them in the physical world or online. How you navigate these distractions, and the singularity of your focus can have a lot to do with your level of success.
You’ve mapped out your goals, and you know where you want to be, it’s just a matter of sticking with it, and making sure that you are working on the right tasks.
Here are five questions to ask yourself to make sure that you are truly avoiding distractions as you work:
1. What are the three or four things you have to get done today?
It’s important to close out every day feeling like you’ve moved the ball forward. Take a good look at yourIt’s easy to write a dozen things on a to-do list, and get frustrated. But what are the things that truly need to get done to feel like you’ve advanced your position? Make sure those happen.
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephan Covey
2. Does this fit your larger plan?
It’s not always something in our surroundings or online that distracts us. We can easily become distracted by an idea. Make sure your idea is in alignment with your plans. If it’s not something, maybe it should wait. Make sure there’s a real purpose behind the ways you spend your time.
3. What are you doing early in the morning and late at night?
It’s easy to complain about not having the time to do something, and then spend three hours watching television at the end of the night. It’s also easy to start your day in your inbox and respond to others’ agendas before advancing your own. If you start between 6 and 7, and/or finish between 5 and 6, you have built in time to focus on your project without communication distractions. Pick the end of the workday that works for you, and try to find a window that won’t be swamped with people trying to get a hold of you.
4. Is what you’re doing now necessary or productive?
It’s easy to spend time perusing your social media and telling yourself it’s for the good of your business. Building a digital platform is hugely important for any business, but it’s important to be honest with yourself regarding whether your current task is helping that endeavor. This question is good for different scenarios as far as running your business as well.reach those larger goals. And be honest in your answer.
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer
5. Do you know what you want out of tomorrow?
Before you power down and walk away, spend five minutes thinking about tomorrow. Find those three or four things that need to get done and jot them down. You can always carry a notebook with you and jot down additional ideas after you walk away.
It’s easier than ever to get derailed and. It takes a concerted effort to stay on task. Make sure that you are doing everything you can to meet your business goals and stick with the projects that will help you win the day.
Remember all the times every week that you think to yourself what the hell am I doing on this planet? Why am I here? These thoughts surround all of us, and we spend most of our time pondering what’s next and what our purpose is.
Guess what? These are the same thoughts that we all have; even the successful billionaires who we think have it all – they don’t by the way. Our lives are supposed to be an uncertain mess, and we aren’t supposed to have any clue why we are here.
Uncertainty is where all the fun is because if you knew every episode that was going to occur in the TV series that is your life, you’d get bored pretty quickly.
My own uncertainty
I’m about to embark on the journey of a lifetime and head over to my teenage fantasy destination: America. The so-called land of the free and happy where capitalism dominates and everyone is supposed to be living the American dream.
So far, from what I read on Tripadvisor, there are a lot more problems in the USA than the spectacular, picturesque postcards are showing me. Side note: does anyone remember getting a postcard? Man, I can still remember my grandparents sending me a postcard when they would go to Queensland every year.
I thought postcards were so cool when I was a kid, and I kept them in a photo album (another ancient, outdated artifact). Now, we get high definition photos emailed to us or posted on Instagram, and we spit at our computer screens if there is so much as one blemish on someone’s skin (I’m ranting again).
Back to uncertainty – as I embark on this trip to the USA to meet all of the tech giants that have become bigger than the manufacturers like Sony that we used to worship, I think about how I have no idea what I’m doing. This trip feels like the right thing for me but who knows in the end.
“Sometimes we have to follow our heart regardless of where it may lead us”
At the same time, I’m contemplating about a special someone who may become a girlfriend at some point in the future. Will I mess up again and am I even going to be able to find happiness?
Again, who knows. Your guess is as good as mine. All we can do is embrace the uncertainty and allow it to guide us in a direction that has fulfillment somewhere along the journey. As all of these thoughts buzz around my head, I think about my blogging and my public speaking.
Is anyone even listening and am I even the right guy to be doing this? Uncertainty rears its head again, and the only conclusion I’ve come to is that we mustI know I’m at least inspiring ten people, and that has to be good enough to begin with.
It’s easy to race ahead and want to inspire a million people from day one but success doesn’t work like that my friends, and we all know that at some conscious level. Success starts with one small step, and just one follower admiring what you do.
If you only follow your passion to impress or influence other people, then you are heading for a whole lot of pain. You’ve got to impress yourself first and foremost before worrying about anyone else. If nothing more, if you can impress yourself and be happy with what you are achieving, that may even be enough.
Avoid the temptation to become and overnight success because there is no such thing. No one can be certain of anything least of all you and the dream that you hold. I hope that one day I can stand on stage and deliver a speech that moves the nation.
Right now, I’m still at the start of the journey and learning the basics. Maybe I’m meant to do this, or maybe I’m not. What I’ve learned is to have faith in the process, and if it doesn’t work out then at least I have the strategies, knowledge, and people I met along the way.
Practice being uncertain
The way to become best friends with uncertainty is to practice. It sounds self-explanatory people, and that’s because it is. Every day, try and do something that is uncomfortable. Maybe it’s hanging around people you don’t know or helping out at a local homeless shelter.
For me, I find traveling the world, and public speaking put me in states where I have no idea what the outcome will be. The awesome thing about travel for me is that I choose destinations I have never been to before, and I try not to plan too far ahead.
All these fools who plan every minute of their trip using an online planner are crazy. Go with the flow, relax, and travel at your own pace, and do the activities that feel right to you on the day. I’ve found that when I plan too far ahead, I bring back
The friend that nearly made me lose it all, and that I finally conquered through personal development. Pull the pole out of your ass and ask yourself are you pushing the boundaries regularly? Are you truly taking it to the next level and breaking your own patterns?
I think of it like this: corporates are trying to become like startups and disrupt themselves. This trend is something you can use in your life to reach the same outcome.
“Twice a year, disrupt your thought patterns and go freakin a-wall”
Listen to music you’ve never heard, watch a film with nudity if you’ve always watched things that are prim and proper, change the way you dress, travel the world, talk to someone who’s not your type, read a fiction book if you always read non- fiction, shake things up guys.
I’ve done this recently by reading Harry Potter, and I never read books about wizards or magic. If that wasn’t enough, I changed my look and added some more swag. Then, I spoke to some people at work that I never speak to and ate a bunch of food like Pho (strange name) that I never eat.
When you are not disrupting your life regularly, you get the opposite effect of uncertainty: certainty. You need both to live a balanced life and an unbalanced life, but too much certainty will make you bored as bat sS@&^!
Time for an exercise
Uncertainty is a practice, and there are so many ways to master the art of being bold, and being fearless. Joel Brown gave me an idea the other day for an exercise that I want you all to try. Tim Ferriss has also taken up this challenge recently as well.
I want you to get your butt off the couch, and try for the next 21 days, making a Vlog (video blog) every single day. That’s right; pull out your smartphone with its HD camera and record your thoughts, some advice, or how you’re feeling and post it on social media for everyone to see.
The reason why this exercise is fantastic is because it forces you to come up with new ideas every day and embrace being uncertain. Without any scripts or preparation, I want you to make a video. You can begin with having multiple takes and then cutting them up, but after the first two weeks, I want you to record a video for a minimum of five minutes without stopping.
By doing this, you will become reunited with flow states. The state of flow and uncertainty go hand in hand. When you’re in flow, you stop thinking about the words that are coming out of your mouth and you dig deep inside yourself to bring out those golden nuggets that are linked to your passion.
After writing this post, I came across a man who is known on the internet as the “30-year-old ninja.” This man was a teacher is the US and decided to give everything up and follow his heart. Since he was a child, he dreamed of becoming a ninja.
In an act that might seem a little crazy, he quit his job, sold his things, and moved to Japan to become a ninja. Through this experience, he looked uncertainty in the face and said: “Screw you, I’m following my heart, and I don’t care where it takes me!”
No longer did this man want to live his boring life and accept that where he had gotten to, was as far down the road to success as he could get. As I watched his ninja classes that are shown in the video, I saw a man who lived with purpose, and you could see the passion in his eyes.
Taking risks and doing things that seem bizarre to your family and friends is the way to live your life. When everyone thinks you’re crazy, then you’re probably somewhere near where you need to be to embrace uncertainty, and live your own hero’s journey into self-discovery and finding your passion.
How are you going to embrace uncertainty? Let me know on my websiteor my
To get people to do what you want, you must help them remember what you want through persuasion, which is a function of influencing others’ memory.
But it’s not easy to capture people’s attention. The four presentation approaches below are in dire need of updating because they lead to anemic messages that weaken our persuasion. Avoid each of these tactics in your next presentation.
1) Stop using the word “agenda.”
Agendas are useful. After all, an audience wants to know how you’ll occupy their time. However, packaging your objectives under the word “agenda” is a missed opportunity to offer the viewer’s brain something truly rewarding.
Agendas are somewhat rewarding, because they hold the promise of organization, but promising organization does not guarantee sustained focus and persuasion. For example, in the slide below, once you’ve seen the cliché photo, the word Agenda attracts the most attention. You can create a slide like this in no time, but audiences also forget it in no time.
In this instance, when I asked the presenter what the content was really about, he said it was about the future of telecom, where it may be possible to eliminate the number of data centers needed by using new, global technology. This does not necessarily mean fewer jobs; it may mean fewer buildings, which has economic and social benefits.
Imagine replacing the clichéd picture above with one that shows contrast: An area packed with stark buildings and one tree, versus an area with only one building and hundreds of trees in a park where people are having a good time. The title might be: “The refreshing future of a global network.”
This second version would take much longer to create, and that’s true. Typing the word Agenda in a slide and searching a stock photo database for “businesspeople talking” takes minutes. Coming up with a rewarding title and visualizing it well takes hours. But we often need extra effort if we want extra memory. A slide slapped together quickly may be an invitation to forget.
Other terms that find themselves in a similar anemic position are “outline,” “project updates,” or “objectives.” You don’t have to eliminate these words completely, but if they appear by themselves and are not accompanied by big rewards, they force the brain to look elsewhere.
When you are tempted to use words that simply state a topic, keep this in mind: The brain does not have energy for topics; it has energy for rewards. Very few topics are intrinsically rewarding (e.g., “Here is an outline of the iPhone 9 features”), so consider spending extra time positioning them as rewards.
2) Be cautious of the T3 principle.
This outdated approach to presenting content instructs speakers to “tell [your audience] what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you’ve told them.”
The strategy implies that you’re repeating the same message in the same way only two times: In the beginning and in the end. If your goal is to influence people’s memory with precision, the T3 approach is weak. Presenting a consistent message twice does not guarantee memory and persuasion.
Why is it important to repeat the same message multiple times? Just because people are listening to you or viewing something you wrote does not guarantee their focus. To be remembered, a message has to be reactivated multiple times — in the format in which you want people to remember it. Otherwise, you’re leaving the memory of a specific message to chance.
An audience will — for most part — extract something from your communication by looking to detect patterns. And they will detect patterns even where there are none, which is why someone might remember some random statistics you shared or some tangential remark.
When you activate the same message multiple times, repetition signals the brain that something is important and you are in charge of that signal. In addition, consistent repetition helps you with credibility, because that which is perceived as consistent is also equated with validity, which is persuasive.
Keep in mind that people make decisions based on what they remember, and if you’re only mentioning something twice, they will likely forget it. A persuasive message is a consistently persistent message.
3) Reconsider cliché metaphors.
At least once a month, I see some form of communication that uses a space travel or a mountaineering metaphor or, worse, both in the same segment. Typically, people use these metaphors to simplify a complex concept and inform us about upcoming technology or processes approach old business in new, creative ways.
While these metaphors help to make a point very quickly, they don’t always lead to memorable and persuasive content. Here’s why.
Lots of other people are using the same metaphor (Google “space shuttle metaphor” and you will see over 100,000 entries). As noted earlier, forgetting is often caused by interference, meaning that when too many messages are alike, we won’t know who said what.
A fresh metaphor requires extra cognitive capacity for your audience to understand it, but not so much that it’s too difficult. Whenever we share metaphors, the brain expends some energy to comprehend them — and cognitive energy is often in limited supply. When there is too little energy or too much energy left, persuasion is diminished, either because the task is too hard and we don’t want to bother or because it’s too easy (like showing a picture of the moon landing) and the brain can go on to think of something else or worse, come up with counter-arguments.
A fresh metaphor also invites engagement because your audience’s brain will try to fit the new concepts together and make sense of them. This type of engagement creates memory traces. In addition, a more common object has the potential to lead to additional semantic connections and environmental triggers, which also helps with recall. You’re more likely to be persuaded by something you continue to see in your environment than by something you hardly ever see, like a space shuttle.
4) Stop saying, “If you remember nothing else … ”
This is a weak statement that needs rephrasing. It implies that the rest of the communication you shared is useless, and only the part you’re about to emphasize is important.
To be memorable and persuasive, replace “If you remember nothing else” with “All the content shared so far is meant to emphasize that [insert most important message here], which will serve you well.”
With this approach, you remind people of what’s essential and how everything else you say is not extraneous but rather contributes to the strength of your main message. Audiences will be better persuaded when you share content that is rewarding, consistent, relatable, and useful.
When a great-fit prospect walks away or goes dark, dwelling on the deal might be the last thing you want to do.
But instead of immediately plunging ahead with the other leads in your pipeline, take some time to figure out what went well and where you could’ve improved.
Your goal? Identify your missteps so you don’t make the same mistakes twice and can turn a less-than-ideal situation into a learning opportunity. Consistently doing this exercise will make you a stronger, more self-aware salesperson.
Read on for the six questions you should ask yourself after you lose a deal.
1) “Did I personalize every interaction?”
When you’re short on time, it’s tempting to use the exact same templates and scripts that worked with a previous prospect. However, every buyer has different motivations and priorities. What appealed to one will fall flat with another.
In addition, using a clearly recycled sales pitch tells prospects that you’re more interested in making some money than identifying their unique pain and helping them find a solution.
Review your history of interactions with your prospect — email, voicemail, and conversation. Did you customize every single interaction, or did you fall back on boilerplate messaging?
2) “Did I add value?”
According to a, almost half of buyers with negative sales experiences say their rep didn’t try to be helpful. Providing value to your prospect throughout the buyer’s journey is no longer optional. To earn their trust and ultimately, their business, you need to consistently add value.
How did you? Did you offer your expertise on a relevant business challenge? Send them a helpful piece of content? Provide an insight? Or were you immediately focused on plugging your product?
As the sales conversation unfolded, did you maintain a helpful attitude — or did you use selfish tactics like?
To guarantee you don’t make the same mistake twice, check out these.
3) “Did I instill a true sense of urgency?”
, roughly one in four deals end in “no decision.” If you don’t demonstrate why the effort and cost associated with change will be worth it, your prospect won’t have a reason to change the status quo.
How do you light a fire under buyers without resorting to manipulative tactics or being overly aggressive? Harvard Business School senior lecturer Mark Roberge.
“Once you’ve established the prospect’s goals, explore why it’s critical for the prospect to address the pain now,” he explains. “Understand the negative consequences of inaction and the positive implications of moving now.”
(Need more help? Check out.)
4) “Did I skip any stages of the sales process?”
Maybe the end of the month was coming up and your prospect seemed eager to buy, so in the interest of time, you decided to move to the close before they were ready.
However, cutting corners will almost always come back to bite you. Your manager hasn’t added steps to your sales process just for the fun of it — each one exists for a reason. For example, if you try to move straight from the connect call to a demo, you won’t know enough about the buyer’s unique goals and challenges to craft an effective presentation. Without compelling evidence your product is a good fit, they won’t pull the trigger.
So don’t try to accelerate the deal by skipping steps. It’s bad for your prospects, and it’s bad for your close ratio.
5) “Did I make the most of my time with the decision maker?”
Many salespeople assume if they’re not spending their time on the phone with the decision maker, they should move on to other deals.
But these days, with buying committees and lower-level employees assigned to research solutions, it’s not always realistic to reach the decision maker until later in the process — usually the demo stage. So if you make it to a demo, make sure you’re not wasting their time.
To ensure you’re making the most of your conversations with decision makers, ask the influencers about the economic buyer’s goals, priorities, potential concerns, and so forth. Once you’re finally in front of the decision maker, briefly confirm their goals and priorities match what you’ve learned from the other stakeholders, then proceed to a tailored presentation. Ultimately, their voice is the one that matters — if you’re choosing your messaging based on the wrong information, your presentation will fall flat.
6) “Did I use a hard closing technique?”
By the time you’ve gotten to the negotiation stage, you’ve usually worked hard to build a relationship with your prospect and position yourself as a trusted advisor.
Morphing into Mr. Hyde andwill cancel out all the goodwill you’ve won. The buyer may well decide they’ll be better off walking away (which might be what brought your deal down in the first place).
So even though you’re probably eager to close, don’t throw down an ultimatum or pretend you’re backing out to try and force a deal to close.
Losing a deal never feels good. However, approaching a loss as a learning opportunity — rather than just another speed bump in your path to making quota — will make you more successful in the long term.
written by read more at
How do you maintain a consistent level of quality across all of the content on your site? In order to provide a solid baseline for content for your site, a well documented and easy to follow style guide is necessary. One of the most important parts of maintaining consistent branding across your site is a style guide. A style guide will instruct new writers on the particulars of writing for your site like certain spelling, citation style, image attributes, and header formatting.
The problem is, a lot of people don’t read carefully. So like any other piece of content you create, your style guide needs to engage and maintain the attention of readers. Rather than tell you what information to include in your style guide (plenty of articles have been written on the topic, being a particularly good one), this article will walk you through how to write an authoritative style guide that people will actually read and follow.
1. Write your style guide in the tone you want contributors to use.
Basically, lead by example. Demonstrate the kind of writing you would like to see from them.
That being said, the goal of a style guide isn’t to intimidate contributors–you should want to get them excited to write for your site while also making it clear that you have certain standards that you want them to meet.
If your site has a laid back, conversational style, you can convey that in your style guide. Start with an intro welcoming the contributor to your site and talk about some of your brand’s values. Those could be things like “actionable content” and “approachable customer service.”
Whatever tone you go for, it’s important that your style guide is direct. Depending on how much content you have coming through your pipeline, you may have to be quite strict with your requirements. Keep your style guide concise and make it very clear what you do want in contributor content and what you do not want.
2. Make what you do want clear.
You might assume anyone contributing to your site would take the time to read through some other content on your site, but here’s the thing: a lot of people don’t. It could be because they are reaching out to a bunch of different sites to contribute to at once, or because they simply didn’t want to bother. Whatever the case, you can give them an extra nudge by reminding them to look at some other content on your site before beginning their writing.
Also, link to a couple of examples of top content that you would like them to strive to emulate. A smart writer will know that while having your own distinct voice is important, it’s also important that content is consistent with a site’s particular brand.
3. Make what you don’t want clear.
There are probably things you absolutely don’t want in your site’s content, like certain overused buzzwords or corny stock photos. These should be stated explicitly in your style guide, along with the warning that contributors who include them will be asked to remove them.
Create a designated list of words that should not be used, and maybe offer some alternative words that you can use instead. Give the list a punchy name like “Word Wall of Shame” so that readers will take the time to actually look at it and hopefully listen. Some words I suggest putting on your no-go list because they tend to weaken writing are “bunch,” “very,” “a lot,” “much” and just.”
Indicate words you want to be spelled a particular way. For example, you might want contributors to write “call to action” and not “call-to-action” or “click bait” and not “clickbait.” I suggest reading of weak phrases and words to avoid in your writing.
You may also want to include examples of visuals they should avoid. For example, here’re ’s style guidelines for featured images:
4. What tools does your brand use?
Every site has an arsenal of tools for design and SEO that they use regularly for their content. Point contributors to those tools so that their content will meet your site’s standards. For example, if you have specific guidelines about what visuals they should or shouldn’t use, you can direct them to a particular or that you recommend. You may also recommend that they run their content through a to eliminate surface errors.
5. Demonstrate your brand’s creativity.
Style guides are typically written in word docs and sent to prospective contributors. But if your site’s traffic is picking up and you are getting more pitches for guest contributions,or if you want your style guide to reflect the outside-the-box culture of your site, you may want to take a more visual and interactive route.
is a great example of this. They’ve divided the page into sections for visual content and written content. They’ve also dedicated a section to their brand values. The amount of detail you put into your style guide will create a precedence for the quality of content you expect from contributors.
6. Proofread your style guide!
This seems like such an obvious point but trust me, I’ve seen enough style guides with typos and surface errors to know this warrants repeating. Easily avoidable surface errors are one of the most immediate blows to credibility. Think about it: would you feel as hard-pressed to use an acute eye to detail in your content if the site you were contributing to didn’t seem like they even read their own style guide closely? Just take the extra 20 minutes, or however long, and proofread your style guide.
The more concise and clear your style guide is, the better the quality of your submissions will probably be. So take the time to consider exactly what kind of content you want guests to contribute. Have any questions? Asks below.
Sara McGuire is Content Editor at , a free and easy to use infographic maker. When she isn’t writing research-driven articles for a number of business and marketing sites, she enjoys reading graphic novels and hanging out with her cat.