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Monthly archives "September 2013"

Dropping the F** Bomb at Work!

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03_zappos-employeeNo, not that f-bomb.  In this case, the ‘f’ stands for fun! You may ask if work and fun can be synonymous. The answer is ‘yes.’ Companies need to brand themselves from the inside out to create happy employees. Happy employees work harder, While certain companies are doing it right, others are suffering through the day-to-day struggles.

Fun does not mean not doing work. Fun means having an enjoyable environment. It involves hardworking people who want to be able to take a break to re-energize. It is a management team who understands that happy employees make the best employees. A fun work environment is not meant for the lazy or undetermined. It is meant for the go-getter, the innovator and the rule-breaker. This type of work environment expects and retains the best.

Branding your company as one that is fun and full of life is not easy. It takes a good amount of thought and a culture that encourages you to enjoy your work life. Here are a few examples of work environments that brand themselves from the inside out:

  1. Google: Google probably makes every one of these lists. It just goes to show if you do something right, you will be recognized. Here is a great explanation of what Google does to make work fun.
  2. Brogan & Partners: Every year Brogan takes their entire company on a mystery trip. No, not the mystery trip your grandparents took with their senior unit to Branson, Missouri. Real vacations to tropical paradises. The catch is they do not tell them until they get to the airport. Pretty cool, huh? Yea, they know how to have fun. They also encourage you to bring your dog to work.
  3. Zappo’s: This office environment is not state of the art like Google. It is not relaxing like Brogan. It is what is known in the corporate world as ‘cube-ville.’ This boxed in world is very different from the average though. They ask employees to have a lot of fun with their cubes. It is not unusual to have props hanging from the sides of the wall cubes and even the ceilings to make the space their own. See what I mean here.

Now you may be thinking that your work environment is nothing like that. Not to worry. There are things you can do. If your work is stuck in the past, you can step up and make change. Sometimes it only takes one person to get the fun started at work. If you were a small business owner, what would you do differently to foster creativity and fun at work?

1 Year on My Blogging Journey

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Today marks the one year anniversary since I published my first post. I especially want to thank you for being a follower of Advertorious and reading it regularly. It makes me feel so good to know that my thoughts and ideas are being well received with a larger community.

Here are some fun statistics from the first year of Advertorious:

Why do I blog? I do not do it for the money, that is for sure. In fact, this entire year I have not been paid for any of my work. I blog to open opportunities, to share ideas and most of all, to learn. In my post Educate or Deteriorate I spoke on the importance of continual learning. That is a philosophy of mine that is ingrained in my being and will stay with me for life.

What you can do for me? I never ask for much in return. All I care about is that you enjoy what you read and from time-to-time you share a post or two with your friends. if you have any suggestions for further posts leave a comment below.

What will you see in the next year? Some even larger interviews with key folks in business, advertising, marketing and public relations. No guest posts. A deeper focus on social media and personal branding. A continuation of the dedication to answer to every question or comment that is made by readers, You never know, I may just write a book.

What do you want to see in the next year of Advertorious?

How Often Should I Be Logged Into Social Media?

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computer-typingBeing a social marketing professional I have noticed the same question popping up over the years — how often should I be logged in? This and other questions seem to reform themselves and surface in most conversations regarding social media strategy. The problem is, it is entirely the wrong way to look at business.

To truly understand social media you must stay on top of it daily, read continuous amounts of articles and insight from other industry professionals, and overall just use it. Compiled below are a list of three social media questions that seem to arise in most conversations with people who may not truly understand social media. They are as follows:

  1. How often should I be logged in? The better question I have is how often can you afford not to listen to your customers and engage with them? When you word the question that way it is much more difficult to even ask. Social media does not start at 9AM and stop at 5PM, especially if you are a global brand. For some companies, their best engagement happens after 10PM. This is why it is very important to have at least one dedicated social media specialist at an organization, and depending on the size of the organization you may need more. For the entire General Motors brand, they have…

Read the entire article on the Talent Zoo blog Beyond Madison Avenue at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beyond-madison-ave/blog_news.php?articleID=18211

The Band With No Name

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band-with-no-nameLast week, I went with my wife and a couple of friends to wish another friend “Happy birthday.” We went to a honky-tonk-type bar in a part of town I have never been to before, The atmosphere was relaxed. The dance floor was filled every song with patrons dancing their hearts out to mostly country songs. The food was simple, The drinks were cold. The band was good. While it was not necessarily my type of bar, I can appreciate good music when I hear it. When I asked, “What is the name of these guys?” The only answer I received was, “They don’t have one!.”

Nobody quite knew why they did not have a name. The fact was nobody cared. The music was good to them, and that is all that mattered. I knew why. I thought about it the rest of the night.

Each of the individual members of the band were good musicians. They knew their parts well and enjoyed playing music. They play for the same pay at the same bar every week. So why is it that their band does not have a title, a name, something? The reason is they know who they are. They know what they do. They do not need recognition. They do not need something more. They purely love playing good music to people who will enjoy it week after week.

Would this not making an interesting concept for an organization? No titles, just people who enjoy doing the work and collaborating on the same level. No office politics or drama. No colleagues trying to shoot for a promotion that they do not deserve. No one begging for a fake trophy or recognition. Efforts being given to the team as a whole only. It is an interesting concept.

Below are three interesting and very different organizations with similar philosophies. I have taken an excerpt out of each article on the importance of no job titles to them.

  1. The Nerdery“Our job titles are designed to empower us, not to limit us!” Bucklin wrote. “Put your business card on the desk in front of you…This card does not define you. You are a Co-President. You are bigger than your defined role, and you are much more than your job title. Play your part—transcend your job title, be a hero.”
  2. Valve: Titles specialize employees, and put them in a little plot where they’re allowed to work. Specialization sets employees against each other, carving out little kingdoms of responsibility. Anything outside their kingdom is beyond their purview, and anyone stepping within that kingdom is encroaching upon their pride and their job security.
  3. Sun Hydraulics; How does a company grow to that size with such an organization?  By spending a lot of time hiring the right kind of collaborative idea-generating individual who doesn’t need to be told what to do. 

What is your band? Could this approach work in your organization? Why or why not?

5 Steps to Landing the PR Internship You Want!

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You, the millennials, are looking for internships and neomillennials will be shortly. It is both a scary and exciting time. Getting your first job in public relations is not that easy. There is a ton of competition. When you finally land a job, it may not be all it was cracked up to be. These five steps will help put you in the best possible position to land your dream internship in public relations or any industry:

  1. Your sell sheet! The first thing that any potential employer will see is your resume. You on paper. Use this resume to sell yourself, Before you even send one out, do some research on resume writing tips. Make sure to have your resume reviewed and critiqued by as many people as possible including teachers, friends, relatives and even professionals. It is widely known that the average human resources professional looks at a resume and makes a decision in under 10 seconds. Make sure your resume stands out.
  2. Escape social beheading! Social media is more powerful than ever, I do not need to tell you that. However, I do need to tell you to review your accounts. After your resume passes approval the next thing that is looked at is the social media profiles. If anything of your is public it is now connected to you. Before you even have the opportunity to talk to someone you could be nixed because you looked wasted in your profile pic. Clean up these profiles. Review them alone and with a friend, critically. Google yourself and see what else comes up. Do your own PR damage control before the damage is done.
  3. The 3 P’s! If your resume gets through and your social media profiles pass the test, it is time for the interview. The 3 P’s are simple – practice, practice, practice! Practice your interviewing skills. Ask your PR professor or another student if they will do a mock interview with you. Online there are many sites with common interview questions. Research them and decide on some talking points to those questions. Along with this it is important to listen to yourself, so record it. Every iPhone has a voice recorder. This will allow you to adjust things that may get in the way of the interview, such as ending every sentence with “So… yea.”
  4. Get your swag on! Prepare well in the last three steps and you will get the interview. From the time you arrive in the lobby until the time you leave you need to be well put together, not just in clothes but in mannerisms. The number one thing that you need to remember is that every person you talk to was in your place at one time. They are only human. Have confidence, dress the part, and most of all be yourself.
  5. Get the eye of the tiger! See what you want and do not stop until you get it. Following up is an important and underrated part to the interview process. In my most recent internship interview process, only 1 in 7 millennials sent a follow-up note. Follow-ups are important because they might be that extra little boost you need to stand out from that other stellar intern that you are competing against. Put together a well-written, passionate note and either email or mail it to the employer. Handwritten notes allow for a nice personalized touch. This will show them you have drive and lets potential employers see you roar!

These five steps will elevate your chances of landing the internship you want and deserve greatly. You may have heard pieces of this before, but it is a process. One or two  of these steps could be solid but without any one piece you will falter. Think about it this way, skip a step and automatically the best you can do on the test is 80%. That is, if all other cylinders are firing correctly. Challenge yourself to shoot for 100%.

What is the best advice you have ever been given in regards to interviewing for an internship?

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Article originally posted as a guest post on http://emuprssa.com/2013/09/13/5-steps-to-landing-the-pr-internship-you-want/

What Happens in Vegas: Brand Immersion in the American Culture

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whathappensinvegasOnce a brand is so heavily immersed in the American culture, it creates a huge amount of staying power. The brand name turns into a word or phrase used to describe entire categories of products or a lifestyle choice. The perfect example of one brand applying to an entire category is Kleenex.

Growing up i, like many others, did not know the word ’tissue.’ Kleenex is what everyone I knew called them, no matter the brand. To this day, I never use the word tissue. It was something built into my culture as a specific word. When a brand has this amount of pull, the staying power is immense. This of course applies to only one product category. Can you think of a brand that spans the gamut of all product categories?

Cadillac is one such brand. Cadillac has been synonymous with applying as a phrase meaning the “gold standard.” What do mountain biking tips, health care. grilling, power cables and surf shops have in common…

Read the entire article on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=18181

Burning the Candle or Burnt Candle? Personal Brand Lessons

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fireIn the midst of a conversation the other day I was posed with the question, “How are things going? Busy?” The question made me think heavily about the term busy and how it is used so lightly. Everyone is busy. In the same respect, every person has a different definition of what it means to be busy. To the question I simply replied, “I am no longer burning the candle at both ends; The whole candle is on fire!” Uproarious laughter ensued.

In my post Busyness or Business, I touched on the shortcomings of saying the much overused phrase “I’m busy.” This post goes a little further to discuss the source of being busy and what you can do about it. When the burning candle that is your life is no longer just burning at the ends, you should ponder these next few thoughts:

  1. Self-reflection: Harvard graduate and executive consultant Dr. Robert Pasick describes self-reflection as one of the most difficult things for business people to do. “Self reflection is merely spending time asking ourselves important questions which others ask of us but we fail to ask ourselves,” say Dr. Pasick. Being self-reflective will not only allow us to change things that we may not always see that is wrong with us but it may also help us understand where we are letting things slip in work and life. This will teach us what things we can let go and what things we need to pay more attention to. It will ultimately allow us to realign one of the most precious aspects of our life – time.
  2. Minimalism: Some people, myself included most days, try to be all things to all people. This does not work for long periods of time. It is important to minimize your lifestyle. What is the excess? What does not matter as much anymore? What matters more? These are the things we must consider. Minimalism is not just for the people who go through life with little or no possessions. It is also a mindset for the “busy” individual who needs to refocus their personal brand.
  3. Healthy balance: Many of us have work, home life, friends, volunteer activities, church, hobbies, and the like going on every week. Not to mention trying to find time to hit the gym, clean your house and spend time with kids or family. It is important to find a healthy balance. Thousands of articles will tell you to find a balance and give you all the ways to make it easy on you, which it is not. As long as you know you need a healthy balance it is easier to focus on it. Once you know you want it just do it. Delegate tasks. Plan more from the beginning. Let lower priorities wait longer. Tomorrow, it will still be there waiting for you.
  4. Letting go: Some perfectionists, like myself, have a difficult time of letting certain things go. Whether it is a nagging work project, mowing your lawn, cleaning your house, and the like, it is okay to ask for help. It is okay to assign a project to someone who may not be completely versed in what to do. These tasks all take away precious hours of your week that could be better spent elsewhere. It may not be easy to let go of some things, but it is necessary.

Read the article again. Understand why these four points are needed in life to strengthen your personal brand. I can already see the flames off your candle dying down. What is the fifth thought you would add to this list?

4 Brand Twitter Fails and 4 Ways to Prevent Them

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Capitalizing on trending topics can give businesses the reach that they need on Twitter — if used correctly. Sometimes the tweets do not work and just come back to haunt the business. This is particularly true when it relates to political and social events. While tweeting about a trending topic can be a great way to advertise your company, it can also have harmful effects. Hashtags can be friend and foe to large corporations. Here are four examples of Twitter fails in relation to political events:

  1. #DreamDay: The Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the most revered speeches in history. It holds the actual dreams of an entire generation of people who went through unnecessary evils. The Golf Channel decided to capitalize on the 50th anniversary of the speech with this tweet:@GolfChannel Tweet your ‘golf’ dream on the 50th anniversary of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech using: #DreamDay: I have a dream that ___________. 

golfchannel-tweet-fail

  1. #frankenstorm: Hurricane Sandy was a national disaster for all those on the East coast of the United States. Lives were taken, worlds crushed and changed forever. Urban Outfitters decided to make light of the situation tweeting this #fail…

Read the entire article on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=18109