I was able to pack in more talks on day two, thus the need for a second blog post …
Breakout Session: Elise Russell, Founder, Pony Friday: Your Brand is your Currency.
I’d not heard of Pony Friday, but the session title resonated with me. Elise’s main takeaways:
Get real about investing in your brand.
Suck it up, save up and spend on it, even if it’s a little at a time. But do it. Think of it like exercise or an investment in your health. Think of it as an account – for both time and money
Small business owners (read: Me) get a symbol to accompany your name. Have a non-type way to be recognized and followed.
Separate your personal brand from your business brand. Give each their own voice and persona and safe space for frequent or constant connection.
We should be making deep connections and making them frequently.
Here’s the tip list on how to do it:
- Be consistent. Be the ambassador.
- Find the money for brand investment. There’s never enough money. Find it anyway.
- Make the investment. Now that you have the money or time, become disciplined enough to work on the brand a little every week or every day.
- Be predictable (different than consistent).
- Be 100 percent authentic. People will spot when you are not.
- Perfection is not attainable. Acknowledge this and move on.
- Keep making progress. Keep going, keep trying.
- To be seen, take a risk. Be uncomfortable. Take a stand.
- What can you today? Do it, whatever it is.
- Roll with the punches and hit back. Go on offense. Step forward. Fight the fight.
Also, explore having some sound involved in the brand stack. Disney cruises use note of “When you Wish Upon a Star” in their ship horns. What can you incorporate?
Lastly, an important note on life versus work.
I learned an expression a few years ago to keep from making excuses about why I couldn’t be there, be on time, do the thing, whatever. That expression “life keeps on life-ing,” rang in my head when Elise expressed how she’s mourning the loss of one of her beloved dogs. Yet, she’s here presenting.
“How are you not showing up because of something devastating in your life?”, she asked. “Don’t wait for ‘someday,’” she said. “‘Someday’ wants you to take the action.“
Get back up on your horse and ride.
Breakout Session: Danielle Boone, Senior Project Manager, Go Fish Digital. “Creating Content for your Brand that isn’t about your Brand at All.”
I’ve had a little experience in content marketing. I want clients to see that a great way to build marketing presence is through content that is tangential, rather than a direct push.
Danielle Boone has a fascinating success track on doing just this.
You know all the interesting survey and research work that gets you to click a link – not the salacious click-bait stuff, but the “gee I never thought about that I wonder how they do it” stuff? Go Fish Digital produces it really well.
This fish is hooked. I have a number of questions to follow-up with her on, but here’s my download on her presentation.
You can get good coverage, important backlinks and strong relationships with media members, by producing fascinating news topics that sync to timely news events.
Danielle presented examples including:
- The Olympics
- Disney Princesses (or, more correclt, Girl Empowerment in the Workplace)
Original data is very valuable to news organizations. Go Fish finds topics and delivers tangential content that gets valuable backlinks and puts a company’s name out as a bit of an authority.
Here’s a look at how:
Start with the end in mind. What will the resource produced look like? Maps are great. We all want to see how our local area measures up. But other graphic representations are valuable too.
Research timely topics. What’s hot? What’s happening in three months or six months? Mine pop culture and cult status areas. Research Buzzsome, Statistica, Google News and Reddit. Ask yourself how you can improve on or find other newsworthy angles on what is being covered.
Go Fish Digital has produced content including What’s the Most Popular Cocktail in your State?
Go Fish needs a runway – six weeks on production, six weeks on promotion – but these are carefully thought out, insightful, enticing, and well promoted. I especially like the personal approach they take with journalists. No batch and blast here. They’ll offer exclusives to big fish, know the reporter’s beat and offer regional insights.
It’s not for everyone, but Danielle says that they have clients who try for four a year and some who go for four a quarter.
The value of original news today has never been higher. Go Fish has my attention.
Breakout Session: Christina Noel, Founder and CEO, Arc Benders. “Scrappy Marketing: One Entrepreneurial Marketing & Sales Strategist’s Guide to Cutting through the Clutter.”
Christina Noel wears her heart on her tinseled sleeve. She’s an infectious person who appears every bit the Subaru driver (lover) she is.
For companies with a cause, see Christina. She shares your DNA. Christina has spent her career with companies that want to make a difference and who find the capacity to make those differences, sometimes in the smallest process changes … sometimes by thinking big and making a change elsewhere in the world … and sometimes by listening to customers and following suggestions.
A key thread to her presentation is the intertwining of commitment and community. Really dedicated audiences will make your case for you – they will advocate for you, inform others of your good works or products, and even provide you suggestions for product improvement and product lines. She talked about how Brandless.com developed a pet line based upon customer feedback and created a body products line that is gluten free on the outside.
Her presentation included focusing on challenges to solve via point solutions. For example, Facebook ads targeted to zip codes, marketing a school by reaching out to parents of enrolled students, and getting attention for B-Corps through a party, rather than through traditional means.
Her site features changemaker stories that are worth the visit if you’re seeking inspiration.
The conference ended with a roundtable keynote. This Q&A included four members of the Raleigh area who are active in the community:
- Mary Ann Baldwin, Holt Brothers, Inc and the Holt Brothers Foundation
- Sophia Hitchcock, SOMO Studios
- Doug Warf, MDO Holdings
- Nick Neptune, Transfer Co. Food Hall and The Assembly
Moderator Evan Carroll lead the discussion. Mary Ann relayed a cautionary tale on the power of social media. Turns out a post of her dog peeing on the NC legislature steps proved all too viral and newsworthy.
But perhaps the most interesting part of the discussion was the question to the panelists of what trends that they felt would be affecting the Raleigh area.
- Collaborators and Connectors – shared workspaces
- Personalizing and targeting marketing without stalking
- Having multiple points of intersection for people. Creating gathering spaces for experiences and opportunity
- Cause marketing and the impact of our current unusual political environment
- Social media changing to handle personal data better
- The impact of live streaming on the political and government arenas
- Augmented reality becoming more a part of our every day
Next year, I hope to volunteer again. I hope High Five Conference gets plenty of actionable feedback from attendees. Make sure you complete the survey when you receive it!
- Submitted by Tom Cosby