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Is Your Brand a Legacy In The Making or a Flash in the Pan?

We read and hear about how fast-moving society has become, thank due in part to people having online access and generating an always-on awareness. That awareness sometimes celebrates overnight success, instant gratification, and unfortunately hyperactive short-term thinking. With that environment in mind how can marketers craft messages and ideas that stick with people enough to attract a customer? Even deeper, how does a business establish the right operations for long-term….to even build a legacy? One answer comes in the book Legacy In The Making: Building a Long-Term Brand to Stand Out In a Short-Term World by Mark Miller and Lucas Conley. The authors offer ideas and solutions for how business leaders take the right operational risks to establish their companies for the long haul. Miller and Conley offer ideas based on in-depth research and insights from leaders at venerable brands like Patagonia, Lexus, and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Miller is the founder of the Legacy lab and the chief strategy officer at Team One. Conley is author of obsessive branding disorder and co-author of the method method. There is also a forward by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia. What Is Legacy in the Making About? Legacy in the Making offers profile of leaders from the brands examining their decisions.   The authors advocate that business legacies develop from companies that really don’t stand still in their markets, offering the same approach to services or products. The current time has evolved the properties of legacy to require more dynamic thinking. “We are all familiar with the traditional meaning of a legacy … We see it in every leader who seeks to “cement” his or her legacy as if it were something set in stone and left behind on museum pedestal to gather dust … In contrast our lives or anything but static they evolved fluidly on a continuum.”   Each profile shares a scenario and lessons, noting how the modern age is revising long held views.  Examining the visions of the leaders is a similar format to another book I reviewed, Jewels, which examined the leadership of African-American women. The book include one page framework at…

“You Are Your Brand” Teaches Solopreneurs to Develop Their Businesses

Getting a brand started can sometimes feel like starting an old car. The ignition key does not turn when needed, you hear the engine struggle to get its pistons running, and you are on a prayer hoping the car will run well enough to take you where you need to go. Well, there is no shortage of books to help a brand get started. For first time entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, they may want to consider You Are Your Brand, a personal branding book by Felicia Shakespeare. Shakespeare is the founder of Integrity International Group, a full-service personal business and professional development firm based in Chicago. Like many small business owners, Shakespeare wears a number of hats: a published author, brand strategist, and an advocate for library media and education. But unlike many small business owners, she has cultivated her experiences to show how personal brand building leads to real value. I learned about the book after meeting Shakespeare at a mixer with another author, Julie Holloway, who started the TEW books series (I reviewed Volume 2 in 2014; Charles Franklin reviewed Volume 3 a few years ago).  Her book reflects the ideas solopreneurs and entrepreneurs who offer services should carry forward when establishing their own brand. What Is You Are Your Brand About? The book is focused on developing a personal business brand. In an environment where technology is essential for business development, small businesses must still rely on personal development, because so many of the early steps center on one’s perception of one’s own capabilities. Shakespeare addresses this need well by offering her insights on her brand while highlighting the experiences guiding her wisdom. She shares the outlooks she gained from her parents, her faith and her work experiences. All of these combine to explain how “focus should lead to excellence”.  Shakespeare does this understanding the challenges an entrepreneur normally encounters, such as the fear arising from the drive for excellence. “Having an expectation of excellence can provoke some level of fear in people who don’t live by this standard.  Being excellent requires one to strive to surpass just being typical…

Hacking Marketing Teaches How Adopting the Right Software Can Grow Your Customer Base

To say marketing has changed in the last few years is an understatement. Software drives not only marketing innovation but business innovation as well.   There are plenty of books and articles that offer an overview of the rise of software in business operations. But few authors have done as great a job at explaining how to leverage technology for marketing than Scott Brinker. His book Hacking Marketing, Agile Practices to Make Marketing Smarter, Faster and More Innovative, explores the right ideas in managing MarTech. Brinker is editor and chief at Marketing Technologist Blog where he covers MarTech related news and trends. He is also the program chair of the MarTech Conference, and co-founder and CEO of Iron Interactive, a marketing software company that counts Dell, Dun & Bradstreet and General Mills among its clientele. What Is Hacking Marketing About? Hacking Marketing advances a philosophy focused on how to manage software development that impacts your product or brand.  It’s not a workbook, as Brinker states.  He offers a unique perspective to help small business owners do it themselves and manage apps, chatbots and websites in a more cohesive manner. Brinker spends the opening chapters laying out how software development protocol became part of the marketing landscape. Here’s an example of why marketing automation is important and how software development has infused into every bit of marketing. “For many years, marketers mostly concerned themselves with only the design of their company’s website — the way individual pages looked — and the content inserted into pages, primarily static text, photographs and illustrations. But websites today are often much more sophisticated. They include functionality to let customers place orders, make custom service requests, and check on the status of their accounts.” The next chapters outline Brinker’s thought process about how marketing relates to technology.  He explains how marketing automation is programming, and diagrams approaches for how teams should manage information and resources with agile marketing and scrum tactics in mind.   He also notes examples of leadership concerns related to current technological practices. What I Liked About Hacking Marketing What I liked about Hacking Marketing is that Brinker simplifies each chapter topic…

Connect Looks at How Businesses Large and Small Manage Customer Experience

Customer experience management has emerged as one of the biggest trends for 2018, as businesses realize their path to profitability must include a savvy customer experience strategy. One book that neatly summarizes this realization is Connect: How to Use Data and Experience Marketing to Create Lifestyle Customers by Lars Birkholm Peterson, Ron Person and Christopher Nash. All three authors are Sitecore executives. Sitecore is a customer experience management company that offers web content management and marketing automation software. I discovered the book a few years ago while presenting at the DXSummit, a Chicago marketing event hosted by CMSWire. While I did not get a chance to talk to the authors directly, I did read the book to gain vital insights into what the authors feel is important for creating great customer experiences. What Is Connect About? The chapters in Connect explore how customer experience can be best managed, with each chapter mapped to the customer experience maturity model, a process of managing people processes and technology to better serve the customer and better strengthen the business plan. The customer experience maturity model offers an actionable means for managers to plan their content against the growing behavioral trend of micro-moments — the concept of customers viewing  content tailored to the instances when a consumer has a need or questions. The book’s focus on the model helps businesses that have been around the block a while learn to transition their material to more strategic activity that leverages product lifecycle and customer usage of product.  The authors offer this view: “As your organization evolves to higher levels in the maturity model, the strategic value of marketing increases … If you want anything to last a lifetime, you have to care for it!” What I Liked About Connect Two ideas stood out to me about Connect.  First, I liked that the ideas of the book dovetail into the micro-moment trend. A mobile-centric consumer behavioral trend first advocated by Google has brands connect with customers at opportunities when a consumer seeks answers to a question or has a need. Using the consumer experience model will essentially encourage the reader…

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