Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Proper messaging = Ideal brand positioning by Miji Hope

The first consultation with a new client is always the most fun! Many times, independent professionals and entrepreneurs hear a lot about branding and marketing, yet know little about how to apply this widely misunderstood concept to their everyday routine.

When this is the case, I reassuringly tell my clients; fret no more!

It’s always my goal to guide clients, and now you, through the basics of branding and marketing; how one can fuel the other and how they can work both independently and interdependently.

The first conversation I make sure to have with clients is simple but hard hitting... Begin with the ending in mind. Profound, right?! In one year, two years, three years down the line, what is it that you want to be known for? Answer that question... Now work backwards. That's how you begin with the ending in mind.

Often times your end will be further away than three years, however, the same rules apply. Taking the time to brainstorm and reflect on your end 'game' will allow you to begin with a strategy that carries you through; making certain that the objectives you set in place today will build you up for tomorrow's win.

Brand messaging and your company's content should be especially created by using this philosophy or approach.

Messaging and content qualifies as any and everything written, verbally communicated and/or visually projected to the public from you on your behalf. This includes Press Releases, Media Advisories, Logos, Website platforms, Social Media designs as well as Tweets/Updates, Webisodes, Special Events, Posters, Flyers... The list can and does go on and on!

When operating as a professional, either in your individual brand or for the brand of your own company, you've got to be clear about a few things. Every SINGLE intentional impression counts (so use it wisely), and brands are built over time with consistent and frequent action.

A mentor of mine once shared with me an interesting, but hard hitting fact: it takes someone 3 times to notice a brand and 7 times to want to play a part, patronize or even become interested in that brand. When you've figured out what your end game is, its then time to create a message and corresponding content that not only supports it, but that can be used and communicated on a consistent basis over a long period of time.

Let's look at an applicable example::

Message: I'm the best Life Coach in Arizona, You need me, Come purchase this service from me- Target Reaction: Didn't hear/see it- 3rd Impression[Registered in the Sub-conscious/Semi-conscious]

Message: I'm the best Life Coach in Arizona, You need me, Come purchase this service from me- Target Reaction: Heard it/saw it- 4th Impression (Registered in the Conscious)

Message: I'm the best Life Coach in Arizona, You need me, Come purchase this service from me- Target Reaction: Heard it/saw it- 5th Impression (Conscious)

Message: I'm the best Life Coach in Arizona, You need me, Come purchase this service from me- Target Reaction: I need something/someone to help with my goals... Heard it/saw it and begins to reason with self- 6th Impression (Conscious)

Message: I'm the best Life Coach in Arizona, You need me, Come purchase this service from me- Target Reaction: I've been hearing about this Life Coach in Arizona; maybe I could use her... Heard it/saw it and begins to consider actually utilizing the service-7th Impression (Conscious)

As seen in this example it literally takes repetitive, consistent and on-going messaging to brand, convince a potential and complete the sale of a service or product. The selling component is usually the aim or ideal result for branding in the first place. Additionally, marketing will be one or the only outlet you choose to use when communicating the said brand messaging and content.

So let's wrap it up...
When creating or revamping your brand, begin with the ending in mind. Envision where you'd like to be 3+ years down the line and work your way backwards. Whatever the brand concept is that you come up with create the messaging and content to align with it and consistently, across all channels of communication, project the same messaging over a long period of time.

Although there are other factors that play a part in the positioning of a brand, to understand the importance and role of a brand's messaging and content is the first step to ideal positioning the mind's and hearts of consumers.

Learn more about Miji Hope at The Premium World

Monday, January 16, 2012

HEY BOSS! WHAT’S YOUR PLAN? By Dartesia Pitts, Esq.

We are blessed to see another New Year.  Most of us have claimed 2012 to be “our” year.  As I scroll through myFacebook newsfeed and Twitter timeline, I often see proclamations of how this year will be the best year yet!  However, my question to you is, “What is your PLAN to make this year (and beyond) greater?”

That’s right.  I said it.  YOUR PLAN.  I mean, Oprah did not go from the anchorwoman of the local news to having a billion dollar media conglomerate without having a plan.  Steve Jobs was not able to resuscitate a dying Apple to become a company with more cash on hand than the United States of America without having a plan.  I guarantee you that these two business icons createdat least two types of plans:  a business plan and an estate plan

Your plan is a personal roadmap to your success.  It will serve as a guide to your ultimate dreams and goals.

1st  #DAPLegalTip  – Have a business plan

As an attorney, I don’t write business plans.  I do, however, assist my clients with business ideas and aid in their business structure.  My most successful business clients are the ones who have a written and well thought out plan.  They include the what, when, how, who and why in their plans.  You must take the time to write down your business ideas and how you intend to bring it to life.Without it, you don’t know where you’re going, where you started or how far you’ve come.   How do you intend on raising capital if an investor can’t determine where you are going and how you intend on getting there? 

This tipapplies to those who are entrepreneurial as well as to those who are in corporate America.  Everybody should want to grow and expand his or her horizons.Nobody wants to stay in the “mailroom” forever.  We all start somewhere but where are we going in our corporate careers?  Make plans for your corporate moves now!

2nd #DAPLegalTip – Have an estate plan

We all are working in order to have the best life possible.   At the end of the day, there are situations that happen in life that we cannotcontrol.  Some occurrences can wipe out everything we have worked so hard for in the blink of an eye. This includes the death /  illness of a loved one, a major accident, or even the birth of a sick child.   Though we are unable to plan for every situation that life hands us, we can attempt to alleviate some of that unexpected stress by having the right tools in place. 

I help families plan their estates using what is afforded to them by law.  There are ways to protect your assets now.  As difficult as this discussion may seem, having an estate plan is very smart and also very uncommon in the African American community.  But I say to you, to know better is to do better. 

For example, a land trust is a tool that can protect your home and allow privacy as to its ownership.  A will or private trust is another tool that can assist in the distribution of your assets avoiding fights amongst family.  Insurance policies can provide funding for unexpected life disasters like a life changing car accident.Health Powers of Attorney designate who will serve as your agent when making major healthcare decisions if you are unable to speak on your behalf.  There are so many estate-planning mechanisms that can aid you as you create, build and maintain your legacy. 

Creating a business or an estate plan can be achieved on any budget.  On the other hand, not having either can be quite costly to you, your family, your business or career.

So, back to our proclamations….2012 will, indeed, be a great year!  I have planned for it.  Have you?  

Learn more about Dartesia A. Pitts at