How to Build A Brand from Scratch

Blogging, brand reputation, branded content, building brand trust, code of conduct, content writing, entepreneur, Guiding Principles for Success, Marketing Strategy, website design
When building brand awareness, aim for collaboration over self-promotion.
When building a brand voice, shoot for sincerity over originality.
Worry less about being authentic and more about being honest and sincere.
Monday Motivation

New York Play List #4 October 22, 2011

brand management, brand reputation, code of conduct, Entertaining, Uncatergorized

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The pre-game play plan included taking the N or the R down to Cortlandt Street just to see what this Occupy Carny is all about. Truth is, we are just too busy working to get down there during the week.

Occupy Observations

1. Zuccotti Park is much smaller than you think. It’s not a park. It’s more of a “square” with trees and plants.
2. People of every age and stage of life are eating/sleeping and doing God knows what in this “square” but there wasn’t any violence anywhere during our brief visit. Just a lot of blue tarp and people with many different reasons for protesting.
3. No one seemed “angry” or ready to fight; it was more like a circus really. The police just stood by watching and a walk around Zuccotti (which takes all of 5 minutes) revealed –
  • Clowns against Capitalism. yes, clowns.
  • Hindus in a prayer circle – praying for peace? reform? couldn’t really hear, because of those noisy little clowns.
  • A women who lost her job due to “gang stalking” a form of systemic control in the work place. (P.S. she was all alone).
  • Two men giving out $3.00 bogus bailout bucks and “felony deserve notes” with photos of Paulson and Greenspan.
  • One single guy trying to create awareness to help the environmental and socio-economical risks of the proposed Puerto Rico and Power Authority gas pipeline.
  • A few people talking about the elimination of the “fat cat spoils system” and the proposal of a flat 23% fair that would eliminate the IRS.
  • An older gentleman in a suit, educating everyone about “Why the Arab’s hate us.”
  • A grandma, who has gotten her fair share of media coverage, sitting and knitting with a sign about why she is protesting (for her grand kids).
  • Some grown man sitting in a small box with a sign that said “Let’s show China how its done”.  How what is done exactly?
  • An ivy league graduate with a cardboard sign claiming to be an “indentured servant”.
  • A few union workers (hey, they had hard hats on) and two gentlemen, a little early to the Halloween party; claiming they’ll work for money.

Not one uniform message to change anything. No real media coverage at all (well, maybe except for the Wiki Leaks truck).

It was like a carny. But if you read the sign about PR and propaganda, I don’t know if we’d make a whole lot of friends down there.

Never the less, fun at Joe’s Pub listening to Pokey La Farge last night. Love his reference to his case of “laughing heart disease”. Pokey and his South City Three put on an awesome show. Amazing. These guys are working hard to make it and they are so gracious, taking nothing for granted. Not an ounce of self-entitlement.

A taste of Americana straight from St. Louis, Missouri. Take a listen.

So Long Honeybee, Goodbye  and a few other picks from our play list –

It Takes Time to Be a Man by The Rapture

She Walks In So Many Ways by The Jayhawks

Not new, but still fast, cheap and delicious – a mango lassi, cardamom coffee and curry chutney chicken, spinach & balsamic roasted onion dosa with peanut chutney at Hampton Chutney.

A quick walk around Soho to check out new retail. Looks like Chris Burch went on a long trip to China. The C Wonder store is a big huge disappoint. Don’t even bother.

But the libation selection and lighting at The Smile always flatter.

Exploration in Collaboration

code of conduct, creative collaboration, Earned Media, Marketing in the Moment, the future of branding, Trends, Uncatergorized

It’s happening more and more often and its beginning to seem  like one big marketing experiment. We’re all in this big beautiful boat, sailing uncharted waters.  The conference room salon all abuzz, everyone excited and brainstorming about collaboration. New ideas flying across the table and filling our sails with wind.  Everyone trying to understand how to work together for mutual success and mapping out routes to new revenue streams.  The underlying major question we see – that no one seems to mention –  who will lead?  Is it the team with more clout, followers and a larger audience? Or is it the brand with history, subscribers and a trusted voice?

The “Me to We” Global Movement

brand management, brand reputation, building brand trust, code of conduct, Collaborative Consumption, customer loyalty, Experiential Marketing, Uncatergorized

Courtesy of BMW Guggenheim Lab

We are fascinated by the evolution of important movements that have evolved from competing for a smaller slice of consumers’ disposable global income.

Crowdsourcing– let go, trust and let others take over, leaving the design element to the consumer, sometimes skipping retail altogether and letting the creative process take place where ever it may. Tapping into the collective intelligence of the public. Aiming to engage fans on a deeper level and solve bigger problems.

Social media engagement that helps to build international networks and encourage social entrepreneurship while inspiring consumption through charitable endeavors while creating campaigns that stimulate a sense of interaction.

Teamwork with connections that promote a positive exchange of skills, ideas and culture as well as integration and interaction.

Sustainability that inspires, educates, activates and celebrates as well as focuses on rising above defeat rather than suffering from it. For example, BMW Guggenheim’s mobile lab that is traveling around the world to inspire innovative ideas for urban life.

Creativity with a model that fuses the online and offline worlds, while still maintaining its tradition of crafted storytelling. The goal is to weave the brand into the conversations while making it an empowering and universal truth.

As Robert Redford, founder of the Sundance Film Festival, said during this year’s seminar program “A good story is telling something you haven’t known; something that hits your gut, your heart and therefore, your emotions.”

Healthier Marketing & Public Relations Habits

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Good Marketing  Habits Make for Healthier Customer Relationships

  • Share your ideas and your expertise. Be selfless not selfish.
  • When developing a campaign, entice and encourage everyone in ways in which they can participate in something enjoyable.
  • Listen and learn from your customers through exceptional service and social media.
  • It’s the quality of followers and fans, not the quantity.
  • Customize and personalize your campaigns for real time engagement.
  • Gather, nurture and grow your network with random acts of kindness.
  • Engage and empower your audience with a positive attitude and interesting messages.
  •  Give them straight-talk, not spin.

Building Brand Trust Begins in the Boardroom

brand reputation, building brand trust, code of conduct, Guiding Principles for Success, the future of branding, Uncatergorized

While many of us in the US are celebrating Independence Day today, we’re thinking about tomorrow, the start of a new work week and what we’d really like to be free from – the BS business speak that happens in boardrooms daily. Although we’d like to believe that the majority of our colleagues know that this business jargon does not necessarily assert intellectual authority, we wonder why it continues and how it could possibly lead to building brands that communicate clearly and effectively with their customers.

We declare our independence from the opposing words and phrases that cause confusion and help to ensure that nothing makes sense while creating a messy chain of misunderstanding.

So dear key team players and stakeholders, let’s get some traction on this, take a high-level approach and  push forward in a significant way and stage or own declaration of independence and revolt from –

  • redefining mission-critical deliverables
  • targeting virtual relationships
  • trying to power solve problems
  • syndicating cutting-edge markets
  • benchmarking turn-key interfaces
  • meshing real-time platforms
  • embracing real time infrastuctures
  • leveraging turn-key deliverables
We ask everyone to remain proactive as we simplify the way we strategically speak to each other. There will be no circling back on this initiative.
Amused? Feeling our pain? Check out the Web Economy BS Generator for more BS business speak. Have an early morning meeting tomorrow? Play Buzzword Bingo to get through the gruel.

And the list goes on – a few words we’d like to ban from the boardroom –

synergy, core competencies, end-to-end, facilitate and lead, identify potential, milestones and objectives, leverage, best practice

bench mark, value added, vision statement, fast track, cross functional

And BS job titles we think are ridiculous

  • Chief Optimization Agent
  • Forward Usability Associate
  • District Marketing Coordinator
  • Central Branding Assistant

Annoyed at branding and business speak? We hope so.

Creating a Code of Conduct for Your Company

brand management, brand reputation, code of conduct, ethical business practices

How you do something is more important than what you actually do. And in business “how you do it” can be communicated with a strong code of conduct.

Holstee, a brand that promotes kick ass products, sustainably made with a social impact and designs and curates with a conscience, offers a place for mindful shoppers to find meaningful products. They communicate that quite well.

A code of ethics and conduct for your business will help guide all of your decisions. It also creates a cohesive understanding of the boundaries within your company and the standards set for interacting with all consumers, partners, vendors and strategic alliances as well as shareholders.  One of our favorite fashion companies, COS outlines their code of conduct in their supplier requirements for the world and their customers to see.

A formal, well-communicated code of conduct will also help to protect a company’s brand reputation. Starbucks has been doing this since the beginning and blogs about the way they do it too.  And in today’s global economy, customers now more than ever, actively seek businesses that promise to produce, manufacturer and sell their products in an honest and ethical way.

Developing a code of conduct should be incorporated into your business plan right from the beginning with the help of all involved in the process.

Your code of conduct should emphasize your fair working conditions, the manner in which you use new materials and production procedures and distribute with methods that reduce the impact on the environment. Other key factors that should be incorporated into your code of ethics include how your company manages quality assurance, professional relationships, intellectual property rights, equality and discrimination.

To have a positive impact on its culture, a company must continually tailor its code of conduct to meet its particular needs and build community involvement. Levi’s waterless program is a perfect example of how to develop new ways to produce with inspired principles and generate the brand message to its audience in an exciting way.  This ethics manifesto is not something that gets filed into the work cabinet or sits in a folder on your desktop. It is the basis for how you will grow your brand reputation.

The Market Council

Your code of conduct should be included in your company’s operational manual, overall business strategy, employee and vendor training program, and marketing collateral. Your code of conduct will only become stronger with annual reviews along with continual auditing and assessment through employee surveys and partner audits.